NFBC Main Event: Fever Dream, Chapter 5

NFBC Main Event: Fever Dream, Chapter 5

This all started with a $175,000 dream.

That dream became a potential reality when I won a Fanball MLB DFS qualifier in spring of 2021 to earn a free entry into the 2022 NFBC Main Event. This past season was my first time participating in this prestigious contest. I thought chronicling my journey would not only help myself but also others who are thinking about playing the Main Event for the first time.

If you're just now coming along for the ride, you can find previous chapters below:

  • Chapter 1 - Qualifying for the Main Event, preparing for the draft, plus my draft review
  • Chapter 2 - Recap of weeks 1 through 7
  • Chapter 3 - Recap of weeks 8 through 13
  • Chapter 4 - Recap of weeks 14 through 20 

As you might have guessed, Chapter 5 will recap the stats, standings and FAAB results for the final seven weeks of the 2022 season - from August 22 through October 5.

Here is my roster going into Week 21:

One reminder based on the graphic above: Starling Marte and Garrett Whitlock weren't injured as of Week 21, while Clay Holmes and Vinnie Pasquantino were on the IL at that time and Nathan Eovaldi had a chance to end up there.

Period 21 (August 22 - 28)

Period 21 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

271

.3321

46

6

42

5

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

65.1

3.031

0.949

58

6

2

End of Period 21 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

+1

133 / 705

+53

This was an outstanding week, as I moved up from third to second place in my league. My 'Fever Dream' squad did not hit many home runs but hit well over .300 during the week for the first time this season. Six wins and excellent ratios gave me a boost in four of the five pitching categories.

August 28 FAAB - $102 FAAB remaining, spent $27

Added Emmanuel Rivera (3B) for $12 (backup bid $5), dropped J.P. Crawford - Rivera was my primary hitting target on a long list of conditional bids that also included Brendan Donovan, Elvis Andrus, Drew Waters, Avisail Garcia and Albert Pujols. Rivera, who had 11 home runs through 82 games at the time of acquisition, had been playing every day and hitting second in the lineup for the Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, Crawford became expendable to me once I realized I wasn't starting him anymore. In hindsight, Pujols — at age 42, no less — would have more power upside. 

Added Brendan Donovan (1B/2B/3B/OF) for $8 (backup bid $2), dropped Dylan Carlson - Obviously, Donovan was not a power target, but he was hitting nearly .300 and riding a 10-game hitting streak at his time of this pickup. His quadruple eligibility was a plus and he'd be a fixture for me in my lineup during weeks the Cardinals primarily faced right-handed pitching.

Added Blake Treinen (RP) for $7 (no backup bid), dropped Nathan Eovaldi - Eovaldi did wind up landing on the IL, so I decided to use the roster space on a potential save source. Brandon Hughes, Rafael Montero and Giovanny Gallegos were included in my conditionals, but Treinen had been trending towards a return for the Dodgers, and with Craig Kimbrel struggling at the time, I thought there was a good chance he'd step into some saves. I also added Brusdar Graterol the week prior, so my hope was that one of the two Los Angeles relievers would overtake the closer role.

Period 22 (August 29 - September 4)

Period 22 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

287

.2544

40

8

39

3

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

52.1

2.408

1.013

55

3

5

End of Period 22 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

n/a

109 / 705

+24

AJ Pollock was my standout offensive performer, while Jordan Romano pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and three saves this week.

September 4 FAAB - $75 FAAB remaining, spent $69

Much like "Vinnie P Week" earlier in the season, FAAB was highlighted by two top prospects who had been recently called up by their respective clubs. I initially had Arizona's Corbin Carroll atop my bid lists, as he was James Anderson's top-ranked prospect at the time, but I realized my outfield depth was quite good. Meanwhile, shortstop was my weakest position by far. Between J.P. Crawford, Kyle Farmer, Nicky Lopez and Ramon Urias, I had gotten very little production from the position, thus Gunnar Henderson became my top priority, worthy of spending 85 percent of my remaining FAAB on.

With recent roster addition Brusdar Graterol headed back to the injured list, I had another long list of save specs and also decided Andres Munoz was an upgrade for ratio support and strikeouts over Nick Pivetta.

Added Gunnar Henderson (SS) for $64 (backup bid $42), dropped Nicky Lopez

Added Giovanny Gallegos (RP) for $3 (backup bid $2), dropped Brusdar Graterol

Added Andres Munoz (RP) for $2 (backup bid $1), dropped Nick Pivetta

Period 23 (September 5 - 11)

Period 23 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

264

.2765

37

8

25

5

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

53.1

2.700

0.881

55

5

6

End of Period 23 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

n/a

107 / 705

+2

Thanks to three left-handed pitching matchups during the week, Pollock maintained his hot streak at the plate, while the normally light-hitting Brendan Donovan led my team with two home runs during period 23. Shane Bieber won both of his starts, while Alek Manoah, Jordan Montgomery and Nick Lodolo all dominated and Ryan Helsley racked up three saves. I gained 2.5 points in the saves category alone but also lost two points thanks to a poor RBI showing.

Sadly, I suffered a devastating loss to my roster when Starling Marte was hit by a Mitch Keller fastball and fractured his finger. Despite initial reports expressing confidence in a late-season return, the injury ultimately forced him to miss the rest of the regular season.

Lesson Learned: My RBI performance would have been much better this week had I not benched Justin Turner — who hit two homers with five RBI over the weekend at San Diego — in favor of Rivera (playing at Coors), Pasquantino (just coming back from the IL), and Josh Bell. Sometimes it's best not to overthink the matchups. Also, there was risk in starting Pasquantino fresh off the injured list, while Bell hadn't been producing in the home run and RBI categories that I need most.

September 11 FAAB - $6 FAAB remaining, spent $2

Unfortunately, two more players hit the IL this week. Round 21 success story, Eric Lauer, had been dealing with elbow inflammation, while Treinen made two appearances for the Dodgers before experiencing shoulder tightness. I didn't bid more than $1 on any player in both of my bid lists and wasn't thrilled with the returns.

Added Brooks Raley (RP) for $1 (no backup bid), dropped Eric Lauer - Raley should have been much further down on my conditional list — I had him listed fifth out of 13 bids — as the Rays were traveling to Toronto and he was unable to play that four-game series due to his vaccination status.

Lesson Learned: Know your players, including every player you are bidding FAAB on! Also, pay closer attention to the weird MLB rules that affect playing time. Every strikeout counts.

Added Jose Siri (OF) for $1 (no backup bid), dropped Blake Treinen - I was starting to lose ground in stolen bases and the category standings were pretty tight. Siri was benefitting from more playing time in Tampa than he had been getting in Houston and was consistently providing one or two steals per week.

Period 24 (September 12 - 18)

Period 24 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

294

.2687

38

10

46

4

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

55.0

3.764

1.200

57

2

5

End of Period 24 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

n/a

94 / 705

+13

This was a much better week offensively, highlighted by J.T. Realmuto's three home runs, Manuel Margot's six RBI and Gunnar Henderson's .400 batting average and eight RBI. Thanks to their efforts, I gained 13 standings points in the overall contest to climb back into the Top 100 for the first time since week 11.

September 18 FAAB - $4 FAAB remaining, spent $3

With only $14 FAAB dollars remaining for three more bidding periods, this was a quiet week for me. It was quiet for the rest of the league too, as the highest and only double-digit bids were Edward Olivares for $15, David Villar for $11 and Aristides Aquino for $10.

Added Aledmys Diaz (2B/SS/3B/OF) for $2 (backup bid $2), dropped Brooks Raley - Houston loves to play him and he had launched a home run in back-to-back starts for the Astros. Position flexibility was what I was seeking for the back-end of my roster with so few FAAB dollars left.

Added Davis Martin (SP) for $1 (no backup bid), dropped Emmanuel Rivera - Martin had a standout performance at Detroit over that FAAB bidding weekend, pitching six innings of one-run ball. He'd also be a potential streamer for me against weak AL Central opponents over the final weeks.

Period 25 (September 19 - 25)

Period 25 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

302

.2483

35

11

41

3

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

48.0

3.188

1.063

45

3

1

End of Period 25 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

n/a

101 / 705

-7

Kolten Wong (three home runs, six RBI, one steal), Pasquantino (.450, one homer, five RBI) and Realmuto (.417, two home runs, four RBI, one steal) paced my offense this week, but the rest of my hitters struggled. Jose Siri hit a lowly .100 over 20 at-bats, while Josh Bell (.071), Vladimir Guerrero (.148) and Gunnar Henderson (.154) also didn't produce. I also left two saves on my bench, as Gallegos and Munoz each tallied one apiece.

September 25 FAAB - $1 FAAB remaining, spent $1

There's not much you can do when you only have $1 FAAB dollar left other than create a gigantic bid list and hope you get one of your top guys. Braxton Garrett, Jonathan Heasley, James Kaprielian, Mitch Keller and Joey Wentz were atop my bid list, as the number of available starting pitchers that had starts remaining were limited. Garrett Whitlock would have been a final-week play for me, but he suffered a season-ending hip injury and I had to cut him.

Added Jonathan Heasley (SP) for $1 (no backup bid), dropped Garrett Whitlock

Period 26 (September 26 - October 2)

Period 26 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

257

.2062

22

4

22

4

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

43.0

2.093

0.907

44

4

2

End of Period 26 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

3/15

-1

113 / 705

-12

After opening the week in second place, with a seven-point lead on my leaguemate and friend, Vlad Sedler, his team rallied while my offense totally crapped the bed! Just when I thought I was cruising to a second place finish in the league, Vlad passed me in the standings by a half-point after Sunday's games. He's an incredible player with a Hall of Fame track record, so I should not have assumed that my seven-point lead was a comfortable one.

Lesson learned: Every Main Event league is filled with great players that give it their all through the final week of the season. Don't ever assume that any lead is comfortable!

October 2 FAAB - No FAAB remaining

With one more, three-day scoring period remaining, I'm left with a handful of players that are essentially dead spots on my roster. Marte and Holmes are injured, while Bieber, Manoah, Montgomery and Lodolo aren't scheduled to start. That is SIX roster spots I could have churned for the the final scoring period. Even worse, I'll be forced to 'start' two of those pitchers who won't provide me with any stats during a week where the strikeout, win and save categories are extremely close! Had I saved any FAAB, I could have landed Julio Rodriguez, Tyler Glasnow and Nathan Eovaldi for the final scoring period.

Lesson learned: Always save a handful of FAAB dollars for the final scoring period. Be particularly mindful if the final scoring period of the season is only a partial week. 

Period 27 (October 3 - 5)

It's only a three-day scoring period, but with the battle for second place in my Main Event league separated by only a half-point, I spent several hours focusing on lineup decisions for my 'Fever Dream' squad prior to lineups being released. My pitching lineup was fairly automatic as I had limited options, but hitters were a different story. With only one-half point separating the now second-place Vlad Sedler and myself in third, I tried to look into everything I possibly could. I accounted for the recent form for each hitter and batter versus pitcher (BvP) history, and then I analyzed the standings to see which player(s) could give me a boost in the categories I need help in most. Prior to Monday's games:

  • I'm 6th in my league in the AVG category, but only need 0.009 points to gain two points and only 0.001 points to gain one
  • I'm 4th in my league in the Runs category, but only four runs ahead of fifth place, with the possibility of losing ground
  • I'm tied for 11th place in my league in the RBI category (giving me 4.5 points). Just one RBI will give me a half-point, while 6 RBI will boost me to 10th in the category

Lesson learned: Every at-bat matters!

Since Aledmys Diaz, Kolten Wong and Jurickson Profar were not in their respective lineups for Monday's games, I benched all three in favor of Justin Turner (who also sat Monday), Christian Arroyo and Josh Bell.

Period 27 Stats

AB

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

105

.2762

17

3

14

2

IP

ERA

WHIP

K

W

SV

12.1

12.405

2.270

9

0

0

End of Period 27 Standings

League Standings

+/-

Overall Standings

+/-

2/15

+1

132 / 705

-19

Contrary to others, who I'm sure were sweating every pitch and every at-bat over the final three days, I unplugged the moment all my players locked on Monday. I did check the box scores throughout all three days, so I had an idea of how my players were performing, but I told myself I wouldn't check the league results until after the last pitch of the final game Wednesday. 

Imagine my reaction Wednesday afternoon when I saw that two of my active starting pitchers — Jonathan Heasley and Davis Martin — got completely blown up! Heasley allowed six earned runs across five innings at Cleveland, while Martin permitted nine earned over 1.2 innings against Minnesota. I thought for sure 'Fever Dream' was doomed, and the sinking feeling in my gut wasn't pleasant. While they almost cost me a point in the ERA category, I somehow managed to maintain my standing and finished a mere 0.001 ERA points ahead of the next finisher after entering the abbreviated scoring period with a decent ERA cushion.

Ultimately, I ended the season with 102.5 points in my league, which was good enough to sneak back into second place!

Special kudos goes out to Bill Macey for dominating my Main Event league as the runaway winner since he took over first place all the way back in week 8.

I also want to shout out Vlad Sedler again. I have so much respect for him and our battle for second place is something I will always remember! Thanks to all of my leaguemates for making my first experience playing the Main Event incredibly rewarding. I'll most certainly be back next year.

I will share my parting thoughts and summarize all lessons learned from this experience in a separate article. Stay tuned for that in the coming days. In the meantime, enjoy this well-deserved break until 2023 drafts begin!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Rufe
Ryan manages the MLB Closer Grid and authors 'Closer Encounters'. He also contributes to the MLB draft kit and has been helping RotoWire subscribers through our 'Ask An Expert' feature since 2014. He's an NFBC enthusiast.
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