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).

A Quick Look at MLB Counting Stats

I’ve spent a lot of time and thought into investigating global MLB counting stats, focusing mostly upon homers, stolen bases, and saves – and how those rates dictate how we plan for our fantasy drafts. Now that the regular season is finally concluded, it’s time to look to see what happened in 2018. The last couple of seasons featured such tectonic shifts in favor of more homers and less speed – was it more of the same this year? For now, I just want to identify the results – I need more time to decipher the causes and fantasy implications. Let’s dig in.

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One Last NFFC Draft

Wednesday afternoon I had my last NFFC Online Draft, the second “Beat Jeff Erickson” draft. Because the league filled overnight, and because my KDS settings from the Prime Time draft didn’t carry over to this league, I had a default list of my preferences for my draft spot. When I got the third choice, I ended up with the first draft slot. Following the Le’Veon Bell holdout fallout, this turned out to be welcomed news. I was more than happy to take the now relatively easy choice of Todd Gurley at #1, and pay the 3RR toll. This was my first time out of 13 leagues drafting from the first slot, and I like how this team ended up, in no small part due to what I was able to accomplish at the 3/4 turn. Full results after the break:

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30 Players, 30 Teams – The Forgotten Royal

Alex Gordon has had a pretty good career by most accounts. He’s in his 12th major league season, all with the same club, a team that’s located mere hours from his hometown of Lincoln, NE. He had one of the two most memorable hits from the Royals’ World Series title in 2015 – his game-winning homer in Game 1 against Jeurys Familia. He’s made three All-Star games and has won five Gold Gloves, befitting his reputation as an excellent defender. While his career .753 OPS isn’t overwhelming, there would be a lot of players that would love to have his career. And yet …

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My Draft Portfolio: Significant Shares and Omissions

With one more big draft weekend coming up, I’ve mostly completed nine drafts with at least three more to go, plus a handful of best ball leagues. It’s a good time to take inventory on my draft portfolio to see the common threads of my teams, and to see if there are any significant omissions that I can act on in my remaining drafts. It’s also good for me to help track what work needs to be done with some of my early teams (paging Marqise Lee shares). I’ve tried to lay out the unique league characteristics in the grid. There have been two auctions, and in the six other redraft leagues (I have one dynasty league) I’ve also specified my draft slot.

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30 Teams, 30 Players: The Mariners’ Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz recorded his 50th save of the season Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Going into Tuesday’s game, he leads the closer pool by a wide margin, with Craig Kimbrel next in saves with 37. There are 38 relievers with 10 or more saves so far this season – just taking those relievers, he’s 1.35 standard deviations better than Kimbrel and nearly two full standard deviations better than the rest of the pack. His value goes beyond saves – he’s second among full-time relievers in strikeouts with 108 (trailing only Josh Hader, who has 115), and he has microscopic ratios, with a 1.97 ERA and 0.781 WHIP in 64 innings. He’s just as dominant as he was in his rookie year, and he’s shed the control problems that held him down in 2017. I’m less concerned, however, in how he’s doing it, but more interested in his overall impact on the standings this year.

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NFFC Prime Time Draft: RB Inflation is Real and Spectacular

On Sunday night I drafted in the NFFC Prime Time contest, the first of a series that they’re rolling out over the next two weeks. It’s a similar format to the RotoWire Online Championship, except it’s at a higher price point. The grand prize for winning the whole thing is $150,000. You can read more details about the contest here.

I drew the seventh spot out of 12. A reminder, we do a Kentucky Derby Style lottery for draft slots, and I got the 11th selection of 12 for my spot. That said, I was happy with the choice – it was ranked fourth among my preferences. For what it’s worth, right now my ranking priority is: 3-2-1-7-6-5-4-8-12-11-10-9. My rationale is that I want to get one of the top 7 running backs to begin my draft, as I think it’s easier to assemble a team with that start. Moreover, I like the typical seventh option, Kareem Hunt, just as much if not more than Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley and perhaps even Ezekiel Elliott. So I’d rather draft seventh than fourth and get earlier picks in both the second and third rounds (there’s Third Round Reversal in the NFFC), where the marginal value in an earlier pick is worth than in later rounds. I also like the middle of the draft merely from the standpoint of being able to better withstand the various position runs.

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Changing on the Fly – My Steak League Auction

What happens when you go outside of your planned strategy one player into an auction? That’s what happened with me in the RotoWire Steak League Auction on Tuesday.

This is the same auction that Chris Liss wrote about yesterday, so I’ll spare you the details on the league – at it’s essence the league is 14 teams, standard scoring, three wide receivers with a flex, with three IDP’s instead of a team defense. The buy-in is cheap – the real stakes are the steaks. Besides wanting to avoid the costs of buying steaks et al, you really want to avoid the indignity of paying for Liss, and listening to chirp about how infrequently he has had to buy, etc…. I’ve done well recently in this league, and generally speaking in my auction leagues. I think I’ve stumbled upon a formula that works, at least in leagues that have this sort of depth.

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