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).

What Went Wrong – NFBC Main Event

Let’s continue my “learn from my mistakes” tour. Take my NFBC Main Event team. Please. I finished in ninth place (of 15) in my league with 69 points, and never really challenged. That translated into 333/450 in the overall contest. Just terrible.

For those unfamiliar with the NFBC, the National Fantasy Baseball Championship is a series of high-stakes leagues run by Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich. There are multiple live and online events, both with an individual league component as well as an overall contest. The Main Event is a series of 15-team mixed league teams where one can compete for the individual league title in addition to an overall grand prize of $125,000. Teams are selected via snake draft, and there’s no trading allowed.

I agonized about how to tackle starting pitching from the 12th spot in the draft in my league, debating whether to leap early to take Max Scherzer in the first round, leap early to take Chris Sale, Jake Arrieta or Madison Bumgarner at 2.4 (19th spot), or take what came to me in the third round or later. The NFBC pushes starting pitching harder than any other format both because of the trading ban and because of the overall contest, so waiting much later really wasn’t a viable option. I decided to open Door #3, and take what was given to me in the third round.

I chose ……. poorly.

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What Went Wrong – AL Tout Wars

It’s often said that you learn more from your mistakes and defeats than in your victories. 2016 was not one of my best fantasy baseball seasons. I won one league and finished in money spots in three others (not all were $ leagues), but all in all I came in short of expectations. Winning one league is a baseline expectation when you play in 10+ leagues every year. Even worse, I finished last in AL Tout Wars, was never competitive in the NFBC Main Event and had a couple of other bottom-division leagues. So I’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn, I suppose!

I’m going to try to break down each of my leagues to determine what went wrong and what I (and hopefully, you!) can learn from it. Mistakes clearly were made, but was there a consistent theme? Do I make strategy errors more often than not? Was I overlooking a particular category? Or was it simply a case of player evaluation error?

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MLB Playoffs Cheat Sheet

Here’s a quick MLB Playoffs Cheat Sheet. This is for 5×5 leagues, assuming that you have a single draft before the playoffs start, without any redrafts after a round of the playoffs is completed. As such, we’re trying to project who is going to play more games in addition to simply evaluating players. Positions are based on 20 games played during the 2016 regular season.

My operating assumptions:

  • I like the Giants and Blue Jays slightly better in the Wild Card games, but neither Wild Card winner to advance beyond the next round.
  • I’m picking against the Indians and Nationals in their respective Divisional Round matchups because their starting pitching is so decimated.
  • Even though I like the Giants and Jays to have better chances, many of their respective top players are buried in the rankings because of the risk that they play just one game, or none at all in the case of their starting pitchers. At best, they’re 52-48 favorites.
  • My team preferences are pretty chalky – I like, in this order: Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, if I’m building a stack in drafts.

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Stopa League FAAB Results

For those of you with early drafts, the first round of FAAB bidding is vital. So many things have changed, be it by injury or job battles. Every team seemingly has a hole to fill, or an opportunity to grab. Obviously the early bids have to be weighted higher – the upside of the players available is typically higher, and the length in which get to use them is longer.

The Stopa $11K Auction League completed our auction over the All-Star break during RotoWire’s Annual trip to Vegas, just as it did last year. Mark Sanchez was still the Broncos’ quarterback, Tony Romo was still coming back from his previous injury, and Jamaal Charles was expected to be ready for the start of the season. This is a unique league – there’s a flex spot, super flex spot, and two starting tight ends. So your values might not correspond to ours. Nonetheless, here’s the results of a wild round of FAAB bidding.

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NFFC PrimeTime – Quarterback Chicken

I competed in the NFFC (National Fantasy Football Championship) Prime Time draft Saturday afternoon at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, drafting from the 11th spot in a 12-team league. Most of you are familiar with the NFFC by now, but for those that aren’t, here are the key aspects to the league:

  • It’s a full-point PPR league, with three starting WR spots and a Flex spot.
  • There are no trades allowed in any of the NFFC leagues.
  • We have 10-man benches.
  • Most importantly, there’s an overall contest in addition to the individual leagues.

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The Most Interesting Man In the World This Week

It’s rare to find a pitcher that’s coming back from injury that has added three miles an hour to his average fastball, and even rarer still to find him available on the waiver wire in a deep league in mid-June. But that’s where we are with James Paxton, and also why he has become one of the most important players to my success this season. And the funny thing is I’m not even going to use him this week in one of my two leagues where I own him (Hi, Red Sox!). Late note – it appears now that Paxton will face TB  instead of BOS, which still isn’t a picnic given what the Rays do against LHP.

NFBC Main Event (15-team mixed)

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
El Scorchos Main James Paxton (SP) 133 78
Team enfield Tim Anderson (SS) 125 37
CC’s Desperados Jameson Taillon (SP) 112 18
Canadian Beavers Carlos Estevez (MR) 96 76
Strike Force ME Dan Straily (SP) 70 33
Team Keikoan Fernando Abad (MR) 37 19
El Scorchos Main Matt Cain (SP) 27
Canadian Beavers Martin Prado (3B) 19 11
Doctor Who Danny Espinosa (SS) 13 2
Doctor Who Zack Godley (SP) 13
Doctor Who Michael A. Taylor (CF) 11
Ozville Flying Monkeys Boone Logan (MR) 9
CC’s Desperados Jason Motte (MR) 7
El Scorchos Main Robinson Chirinos (C) 5 3
HARRY CRUMB Raisel Iglesias (SP) 4
HARRY CRUMB Danny Santana (RF) 4 1
Ninja squirrel Kurt Suzuki (C) 3
Canadian Beavers Tyler Anderson (SP) 3
Team Keikoan Luis Valbuena (3B) 2
Money 2 Tom Koehler (SP) 1

My ratios in this league have improved from “historically bad” to “still gruesome, but not all-time bad” – I even have a better WHIP than one competitor in my league! But I still need a lot of help, and it was worth it to me to spend a good chunk of my dwindling FAAB on Paxton and use him.

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Memorial Day Weekend FAAB Results

As the season persists and the FAAB budgets drain, the winning bids are getting smaller and we’re having trouble identifying potential impact players. It’s now that league-context is so important in analyzing the results.

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
Ozville Flying Monkeys Eduardo Rodriguez (SP) 69 38
Ozville Flying Monkeys Archie Bradley (SP) 69 53
Canadian Beavers CC Sabathia (SP) 67 37
Ninja squirrel Michael Pineda (SP) 57 42
Ozville Flying Monkeys Logan Morrison (1B) 37 2
Ozville Flying Monkeys Chase Utley (2B) 34
HARRY CRUMB Yangervis Solarte (3B) 34 6
CC’s Desperados Jurickson Profar (2B) 26 16
Canadian Beavers Paulo Orlando (RF) 20 15
Doctor Who Ryan Rua (LF) 18
Doctor Who Hyun Soo Kim (LF) 18
El Scorchos Main Christian Friedrich (MR) 17
El Scorchos Main Williams Perez (SP) 17
Rock Me Amadeus? Tim Lincecum (SP) 16
Team enfield John Jaso (1B) 13
Strike Force ME Jhoulys Chacin (SP) 12
Arthur Digby Sellers Chase Headley (3B) 9
Ozville Flying Monkeys Bobby Wilson (C) 4
Strike Force ME Chris Heston (MR) 3
El Scorchos Main Mat Latos (SP) 3
Money 2 Luis Valbuena (3B) 2
Arthur Digby Sellers Peter O’Brien (LF) 1 1

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