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NFBC - The "Beat Ryan Rufe League" Update v.2

Four months of the MLB season is in the books and I wanted to check back in on the standings of the NFBC "Beat Ryan Rufe League". As a reminder, this is a 12-team mixed league, standard 5x5 scoring, no trades allowed, as part of the $100k grand prize RotoWire Online Championship.

NFBC Standings 20160802

As you can see, my squad "Stealing Signals" is still in third place out of 12 teams (standings as of August 2, 2016). I'm 29.5 points out of first place and 20.5 points from cashing –- far worse than the 16 point and 10 point deficits than I had when I posted my previous update back in June.

I currently sit in 474th place out of 1,644 teams overall –- 233 spots lower than my previous update. Every morning, I receive my auto-generated Daily Report email from NFBC and shed a few tears as I slip further and further away from cashing in my self-proclaimed "Beat Ryan Rufe League."

So what the hell happened?

For one, I lost Clayton Kershaw, Wade Davis and Joe Ross to injury, but I can hardly use this as an excuse as my pitching has remained pretty steady since my last update. I'm third in the league with 46.5 pitching points, just a 1.5 point drop from June. Carlos Martinez has been ultra-reliable and a healthy Lance McCullers has provided the strikeouts I was desperate for when Kershaw went on the shelf. I also added Jameson Taillon and Sean Manaea via FAAB, which you'll see noted below.

I currently lead the league in ERA (2.999) and WHIP (1.122). I'm tied for fifth in the league with 62 wins and I rank fourth in saves (65) and seventh in strikeouts (889).

Here's a summary of what my pitchers have contributed to Stealing Signals thus far:

Pitching Standings 20160802

I'll be honest, I don't even want to summarize how my hitters have performed in Weeks 10 - 18.

Again, my team was impacted by injuries, as Mike Moustakas suffered a season-ending injury right before my June update and his teammate Lorenzo Cain also missed a month of action. Not good for a struggling fantasy offense to miss two of its top contributors.

I was extremely light on stolen bases when I submitted my June update and my initial attempts to gain ground in the category didn't pan out. Tim Anderson and Bryon Buxton were FAAB busts. It wasn't until the Nationals finally promoted Trea Turner – who has 8 stolen bases in limited action thus far – that I finally gained some ground in the speed category. Even still, I rank 10th in the league with 73 steals. I'm only 10 steals behind 3rd place in the category, but I'm going to need Turner to continue running at his current pace if I'm going to make up those 7 points in the category. If Trea Turner was promoted back in late-May or early-June, I'd feel much better about my chances of cashing in the league.

On the bright side, Tyler Naquin and Jose Ramirez have been fantastic FAAB additions (details below) and I felt much better about my catching situation as soon as Evan Gattis gained eligibility at the position. Granted, he was AWFUL for a stretch right after I slotted him into my lineup as a starting catcher, but we all know the home runs come in bunches.

Here's a summary of what my hitters have contributed to Stealing Signals thus far:

Batting Standings 20160802

Now let's take a look at my FAAB activity from weeks 10 - 18:

FAAB Results

Week 10 - Attempt No. 1 to address my stolen base woes was a successful FAAB addition of Byron Buxton for $30 (runner-up $27). However, I was unsuccessful in my attempts to addWill Harris - $93, Jurickson Profar - $52 and Ken Giles - $39. Eric Heberlig snagged Howie Kendrick for $1. Not sure how I missed that he was available.

Week 11 - Attempt No. 2 to address my stolen base woes was a hefty $121 bid for Tim Anderson, who I THOUGHT would contribute a lot more in the category. Runner-up bid was $37, so I grossly overpaid. Anderson was hot out of the gates, flashing a bit of power while quickly earning a spot atop the White Sox' lineup, but he's since fizzled and earned a spot on my fantasy bench. I also picked up Shelby Miller for $20 because I saw earlier that day he struck out 11 in five innings in a minor league rehab start. I didn't pay attention to the fact the rehab start came in A-ball.

Other notable additions this week were James Paxton - $149, Brandon Kintzler - $59, Carlos Estevez - $56, Tommy Joseph - $41 and a sneaky $1 stash-bid on Hunter Pence.

Week 12 -Given how dominant Jameson Taillon was in the minors this year, I just HAD to have him on my team, even though pitching was already a strength and I didn't exactly NEED the Pirates rookie. I spent $303 FAAB dollars on him when I could have had him for $200 (runner-up bid was $199). Zach Davis was a nice addition by my friend Chris Olesen for $1.

Week 13 - After blowing my wad on Taillon the week prior, I sat on the FAAB sidelines this week. Notable pickups were Willson Contreras - $97, Seung-hawn Oh - $83, Jeremey Hellickson - $21 (with a backup bid of $21 also), Danny Espinosa - $11 and Lucas Giolito - $11.

Week 14 - In need of middle infield depth, I picked up Jace Peterson for $4 and watched him sit on my bench for a week while other squads picked up bargains in Max Kepler - $43 and Justin Turner - $1. Oops.

Week 15 - Came away with Nick Tropeano and Tyler Naquin for $2 FAAB apiece. Nobody else bid on Naquin, which was surprising since he'd been on fire prior to this FAAB period.

Week 16 -  I added Marwin Gonzalez for $5 due to his position flexibility and the fact he had been hitting second in the Astros' batting order, sandwiched between Springer and Altuve. Good spot to be in, but he's currently dealing with a hand injury and sits on my fantasy bench. Other notable additions were Koji Uehara - $100, Michael Conforto - $71 and Dylan Bundy - $1.

Week 17 - There was several guys I wanted (Blake Snell - $26, Jedd Gyorko - $3, Aaron Altherr - $1), but I snagged Sean Manaea for $7 (runner up $6). Don't you LOVE when you outbid someone by $1 FAAB dollar?

Week 18 - Plenty of useful talent available after the Trade Deadline, but with a limited $18 FAAB budget, I missed out on most of them (David Dahl - $81, Tony Watson - $119, Jake Barrett - $51 and Kelvin Herrera - $17). Fortunately, I was able to pick up Alex Bregman on the cheap ($12) due to his poor first week in the big leagues. He's hitting the ball hard, but he's been a victim of bad luck (.050 BABIP).

Any thoughts or feedback on my squad's performance thus far? Want to bash or praise me for the FAAB bids I made or did not make? Hit me up on Twitter.