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).

AL Tout Wars Review

The 20th Annual (really? 20 years? Damn we’re old) Tout Wars weekend took place at Rock ‘N’ Reilly’s patio bar this weekend. The venue is the home of the FNTSY Radio Network’s beautiful new studio, so along with SiriusXM we had two networks covering the draft, which is pretty awesome for the industry.

If you want to skip the preamble or even my article and just see the results from all the auctions this weekend – you can go here.

When we last wrote about Tout Wars, we discussed the unrelenting disaster that was my 2016 team. For those that don’t want to read the whole thing, the short of it was that both my draft structure and my player evaluation was tragically off. In a year where hitting budgets were grossly inflated by Steve Moyer’s strategy, I spent less overall on hitting than I typically do, and I apportioned it awfully, rostering six hitters at either $2 or $1. I then lost Prince Fielder, a $27 purchase, for most of the season after he did so little prior to the injury. The result was I had the fewest at-bats in the league, and ended up with just 12 hitting points over five categories.

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NFBC “Beat Jeff Erickson” Draft Results

Wednesday night was the “Beat Jeff Erickson” draft as part of the NFBC’s RotoWire Online Championship. As a reminder, the NFBC features both your individual league and an overall contest, and a good chunk of the $350 entry fee goes to that overall prize. There’s no trading within the league, for obvious reasons. The individual leagues have 12 teams apiece, and you can enter as many leagues as you want.

This is the sixth year that we’ve offered this particular contest as part of our partnership with the NFBC. I’ve done better in this 12-team format than in the 15-team Main Event. I’m not really sure why that’s the case – beyond just the statistical likelihood of finishing worse when there are more teams. I’m comfortable with both formats.

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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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