Articles by Ryan Rufe

Baseball, baseball, baseball. I cover the Astros and field your Ask An Expert questions for RotoWire. Love the NFBC, roller coasters, wrestling.

Sold on Sale

On Saturday, March 23, I drafted my second and final entry into the $125k grand prize NFBC RotoWire Online Championship. One advantage to drafting on this day, in particular, is hundreds of the world’s best fantasy baseball players were in Las Vegas for the live NFBC Main Event drafts. No NFBC draft is ever a cake walk, but avoiding some the best players could improve our chances of assembling an overall contender.

Speaking of the NFBC Main Event, it’s definitely something I’d like to experience in the near future. Reading draft recaps via the Rotowire MLB Blog and seeing all the pictures on Twitter had me feeling a bit jealous. Not to mention, there are dozens of NFBC veterans and people in the fantasy industry that I’d love to meet in person. One day it will happen – I promise you that!

I drew the 8th pick, which was my 3rd KDS preference. My plan going in was to hammer pitching early. There are plenty of hitters I love in Rounds 3-15, but I’m not confident in the starters being drafted in that range. Here are the results (scroll down to see the full draft board):

1.8 (8) – Chris Sale – Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have even considered Sale in the first round. I may have even passed on him in the 2nd. Rotowire’s Clay Link and Jeff Erickson had me convinced after listening to the Rotowire Fantasy Baseball podcast that the velocity dip and health risk was far too great to spend an early round pick on him. Then the Red Sox signed him to a contract extension. This alleviated any concerns I had and the Las Vegas Main Event participants agreed, pushing Sale up their draft boards to the 5th-13th pick range overall (at the time of my draft). Granted, pitching inflation is more apparent in the Main Event vs. the Online Championship, but Sale quickly went from potential draft bust to a FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”) target of mine. Jacob deGrom was available, but Sale has the better track record, better team and higher strikeout upside. deGrom and Aaron Judge were my backup plans if Sale wasn’t available.

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I Finally Quit Kershaw!

On Sunday, March 17, I drafted my $125k grand prize NFBC RotoWire Online Championship team with friend and co-owner Chris Hahn. Chris and I have both cashed the overall contest – he finished 7th in 2012 and I placed 15th last year – but we’ve struck out in all of our co-own entries. We are determined to right the ship this season.

We drew the 9th pick, which was our 7th KDS preference. Here are the results (scroll down to see the full draft board):

1.9 (9) – J.D. Martinez – The plan going in was to take Aaron Judge, but Team 8 quickly reminded us that nothing ever goes to plan in a room full of NFBC sharps. Judge went as early as 5th overall in Main Event drafts last weekend, so this really wasn’t a huge surprise. I’m certainly not complaining that JDM was the player that fell to us.

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Staff Keeper League – Going for the #3Peat

The 18-team Rotowire Staff Keeper League auction took place Wednesday, March 6th.

A quick run-down of the league for those who aren’t familiar: 18 teams, $260 auction/keeper budget, you can keep up to 15 major leaguers and 10 minor leaguers per season. You get a $100 in-season FAAB budget. The in-season salary cap is $360, which gives you flexibility to add pieces via FAAB or trade after the auction.

You may remember from my 2017 recap that Team Rufe narrowly edged Bret Cohen’s “Tuffy’s Goats” squad by a single point to secure its first league championship. Last year was far less dramatic, as I climbed atop the standings early in the season and never looked back, winning by a comfortable 25-point margin.

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Chronicles of a Rotowire Staff Keeper League Champion

On Tuesday night, April 3, 2018, I joined 17 other Rotowire staff members for the annual Staff Keeper League auction. The draft began at 7pm EST and typically lasts 6-7 hours, so I made the decision in advance to call off work the next day since it was going to be a late night. I wake up for work everyday at 5:30am and can’t imagine being productive after only 4 hours sleep. Rotowire’s Chris Liss would probably say a “real man pulls an all nighter” which is exactly what he did starting the draft at midnight Western European time. You can read Chris’s recap here.

A quick run-down of the league for those who aren’t familiar: 18 teams, $260 auction/keeper budget, you can keep up to 15 major leaguers and 10 minor leaguers. $100 in-season FAAB budget. The in-season salary cap is $360, which gives you flexibility to add pieces via FAAB or trade after the auction.

As the defending champion, let’s recap my history in the league and some of the notable trades that put me in position to win last season:

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Can I Ever Quit Kershaw?

On Saturday, March 24, I drafted my $100k grand prize NFBC RotoWire Online Championship team. I drew the 5th pick, which marked the second time I drafted from that position within the last week. I didn’t write up my first Online Championship entry yet — a co-own with my friend Chris Hahn — so stay tuned for that. Here are the results from last night’s draft (scroll down to see the full draft board):

1.5 (5) – Clayton Kershaw – This was the third straight year I’ve taken Clayton Kershaw in the first round of the NFBC Rotowire Online Championship. I took him with the 2nd overall pick in 2016 and 2017 and got a bit of a discount this year. Taking Kershaw was my Plan A, but if he wasn’t available – a very real possibility after he went 2nd overall in my OC draft last weekend – I was planning on taking Bryce Harper (does he explode in his contract year?) or Mookie Betts. Harper ended up falling to the 14th overall pick.

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NFBC – “Beat Ryan Rufe” Draft Results

On Sunday, April 2, I drafted my $100k grand prize, NFBC RotoWire Online Championship team. It’s a 12-team mixed league, standard 5×5 scoring rules, with no trades allowed. It’s the same format as the “Beat Jeff Erickson” and “Beat Chris Liss” leagues that you’ve read about, so as I do every year, I’ve unofficially dubbed this the “Beat Ryan Rufe” league. Among the other participants were Wim Miree (11th pick), who finished 2nd in the overall contest last season, and Eric Heberlig (5th pick) who won the Online Championship overall prize in 2013.

I drew the 2nd pick for the second straight year.

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