Articles by Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

Sunday Night FAAB

Nomar Mazara

I have seven leagues that bid on Free Agents each Sunday night. It’s exhausting to stay on top of all leagues, let alone relay all the results from those leagues. But I’m going to try to relay the results of those bids late each Sunday night to give you an idea of what I’m bidding on and what it will take to get those players.

Those seven leagues are:

NFBC Main Event – 15-team mixed, no trading, $1,000 FAAB budget
NFBC Online (x2) – 12-team mixed, no trading, $1,000 FAAB budget
Mixed LABR – 15-team mixed, $100 FAAB budget
AL Tout Wars – 12-team AL-only, $1,000 FAAB budget, $0 bids allowed
FSTA – 13-team mixed, $1,000 FAAB budget
RotoWire Staff Keeper – 18-team mixed keeper, $100 budget, no $0 bids allowed

Those are the main details. I’ll discuss nuances of the various leagues as it becomes relevant. Without further ado, here are the results from tonight.

Sell High For What?

Even before Trevor Story hit four homers in his first three major league games, he was the subject of a lot of draft buzz in the last week of spring training. Now that he’s hit four homers, three of them over 400 feet, he’s obviously one of the more interesting players of this early season. The “sharp” but somewhat predictable advice on Story is to sell-high, not buy-in if you’re still to draft, etc… And there are readily apparent risk factors.

  • Job Security – Jose Reyes remains away from the team on administrative league while MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred continues his investigation into Reyes’ domestic abuse allegations (“… take your time, Rob…” – All of Story’s owners). We’re still awaiting word on whether there will be a suspension and how long, and he’ll need some time to ramp up to speed after the suspension is served. But it seems likely that he’ll return at some point, though it’s by no means a done deal that the job is his once he returns.
  • League Adjustments – Many times when a rookie starts well, the league needs a bit of time to adjust, get film and/or scouting reports on him and adjust accordingly. Sometimes it can take a couple of months, and with other players it can happen a lot more rapidly. I have to imagine that adjustment phase occurs sooner with all the resources available to teams – though so do the counter-adjustments by that player.
  • Player Flaws – Story burst on the scene in 2012, when he hit .277/.367/.505 with 18 homers and 15 stolen bases as a 19-year old at Low-A Asheville. But he fell apart the following year at High-A Modesto, striking out a whopping 183 times, or 33 percent of the time. His contact woes didn’t go away in 2014 either, as he struck out 34.6% of the time in 237 plate appearances in Double-A. He improved last year, but at 24% he still had a pretty high whiff rate, and that is a pretty reliable indicator of future batting average struggles.

We can all put on our Captain Obvious hat and say that he’s going to come back to earth, and that his trade value is unlikely to be higher in the next few months than it is now. But just as saying that a player will regress is not a mic-drop, neither is saying to sell-high on that player. We need to ask, “what is the right price?”

Sharing a Brain – Beat Jeff Erickson2

Last week I did the second of two “Beat Jeff Erickson” leagues in the NFBC’s RotoWire Online Championship. Like last year, in this second league I paired up with Vlad Sedler. As you may have read, Vlad had a pretty good 2015 NFBC campaign. Alas, I dragged him down on the one team we shared – and it was my worst team too. We weren’t totally in sync with our draft strategy or even the players that we liked as much.

This year felt a lot different. It started with our draft prep, where we had the exact same KDS preference (4-1, 12-5), and had a lot more players in common that we liked. We are both fans of landing two aces if possible. And we actually drafted against each other in a slow draft – not planned, I didn’t know that he was already in the league when I signed up.

NFBC Main Event – Consequences of the 12th Spot

I drafted in the Main Event of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship yesterday, drafting live in Las Vegas at the Bellagio. I had the 12th pick in this 15-team league. For those of you unfamiliar with the NFBC, it’s a series of high-stakes leagues that also tie in to an overall contest besides winning prizes in your individual league. There’s no trading allowed, there are weekly free agent moves, and you have the ability to swap your hitters from active-to-reserve for the three weekend games beginning on Friday.

Another unique aspect of the NFBC is how we select our roster spots. We use a Kentucky Derby Style (KDS) selection system, where you have to list your preferences in order how you want to draft, and using a randomized drawing, their computer selects each draft slot using everyone’s preferences. I drew the 12th slot, which was my 10th choice. The only slots I liked less were 13-15, and 5-6. In retrospect, I wish I listed 5-6 higher (though through the vagaries of KDS, I might not have gotten either of those spots).

Extreme! Extreme! Extreme! Yahoo Friends & Family Draft Review

Fresh off the heels of Tout Wars weekend (you can read all three recaps from DVR, Liss and myself), the Yahoo Friends & Family Experts draft occurred immediately after our XM show this afternoon.

I love this league, because it has a few unique settings, a lot of great players, and it’s open to innovation. It’s a one-catcher league, along four outfielders instead of five, two UT spots, just three bench spots and two DL spots. There’s a 1,400-innings cap, flexible roster requirements – you don’t *have* to field a full lineup on any given day – and it has the most lenient position qualifications in the industry. Most importantly, there are daily moves – free agents have to picked up the day before you use them, but you can shuttle a player from active to reserve on any given day, maximizing your lineups. It’s not unlimited streaming, however – besides the innings cap, there’s a max of 162 per hitter roster spot, and a cap of 125 moves total.

Battling the Triangle – Jeff Erickson’s AL Tout Wars Team

Troy Tulowitzki

The 19th annual Tout Wars series of drafts happened this weekend, and once again I did the AL-only draft. Last year I finished fourth, losing to Liss. I’ve won Tout Wars just once, the AL league in 2007. Since then I haven’t won, but I’ve finished second twice, third once, fourth four times and fifth once. We won’t discuss the pre-title era for me – nothing good happened there. I’d like to hope that I’m older and perhaps wiser, or at least haven’t lost too many brain cells since then.

Recently my approach at the auction has been to target a handful of players I like at their presumed market rates, assuming that they cost about that rate in Tout, value-seek where I can, and try to adjust categorical needs where it’s reasonable to do so. As opposed to the NFBC, it’s not vital to come out of the auction with a balanced roster. There’s no overall contest, plus trading is allowed.

You can see the full draft results here, and we’ll take a look at my roster after the jump.