This past Friday evening, I participated in one of the Rotowire/NFBC Online Championship competitions. It was my first NFBC-style league since the 2009 season, and also my first 12-team mixed non-mock draft in quite some time so there were two things I had to adjust to for this competition. One, I had to draft a balanced roster since the league does not permit trading and the free agent acquisition moves are very competitive. Secondly, I had to adjust to a rather deep talent pool and the fact that every day serviceable starting players were going to be available in the reserve rounds. As someone who specializes in 15 team mixed leagues or 12 team NL/AL only leagues, this required some adjustment because I gave up shallow mixed leagues around the same time I gave up drinking canned beer.
My strategy heading into the draft was simple: collect as many multi-category players as possible early in the draft, do not reach for anyone in the first third of the draft, get two big strikeout pitchers in the first ten rounds, and do not take a closer in the first ten rounds while still making certain to get at least three closers. Surprisingly, I was able to execute the plan even better than I could have hoped for and only reached on five of my 30 picks.
Here is a list of all of my picks in a sortable spreadsheet form in case you would like to click on the column headers to sort. If you would like to see the entire draft results from my league, click here.
|Player||Avg Pick||Min Pick||Max Pick||My Pick||Difference|
|Ryan Braun (LF, Mil)||2.42||1||4||3||0.58|
|Adrian Beltre (3B, Tex)||23.36||14||33||22||-1.36|
|Justin Verlander (SP, Det)||17.06||7||27||27||9.94|
|B.J. Upton (CF, Atl)||43.16||26||61||46||2.84|
|Jason Kipnis (2B, Cle)||57.36||35||84||51||-6.36|
|Yadier Molina (C, StL)||70.14||50||89||70||-0.14|
|Freddie Freeman (1B, Atl)||71.58||44||104||75||3.42|
|Michael Bourn (CF, Cle)||77.06||51||119||94||16.94|
|Matt Moore (SP, TB)||95.14||73||131||99||3.86|
|Norichika Aoki (RF, Mil)||141.06||72||218||118||-23.06|
|Mariano Rivera (MR, NYY)||126.78||85||178||123||-3.78|
|Tom Wilhelmsen (MR, Sea)||150.04||122||194||142||-8.04|
|Ian Kennedy (SP, Ari)||135.84||104||172||147||11.16|
|Justin Morneau (1B, Min)||173.58||112||226||166||-7.58|
|Nick Swisher (RF, Cle)||163.08||109||245||171||7.92|
|Neil Walker (2B, Pit)||164.92||107||215||190||25.08|
|Glen Perkins (MR, Min)||184.82||128||337||195||10.18|
|Alexei Ramirez (SS, ChW)||197.7||145||255||214||16.3|
|Homer Bailey (SP, Cin)||198.74||132||248||219||20.26|
|Alexi Ogando (SP, Tex)||222.94||150||414||238||15.06|
|Erasmo Ramirez (SP, Sea)||334.82||231||539||243||-91.82|
|Jeff Keppinger (3B, ChW)||311.23||219||418||262||-49.23|
|Wil Myers (RF, TB)||238.56||155||323||267||28.44|
|Bruce Rondon (MR, Det)||266.69||156||376||286||19.31|
|Justin Maxwell (CF, Hou)||318.85||261||372||291||-27.85|
|John Jaso (C, Oak)||266.6||202||345||310||43.4|
|Ivan Nova (SP, NYY)||347.32||268||448||315||-32.32|
|Zack Cozart (SS, Cin)||283.21||181||357||334||50.79|
|Wade Davis (MR, KC)||317.02||175||394||339||21.98|
|Chris Carter (1B, Hou)||324||206||439||358||34|
Thoughts on each pick:
Braun (3, 1.3): PEDs, schmeds. I don't thing MLB is going to suspend him after this latest witch hunt and he's a consistent fantasy monster.
Beltre (22, 2.10): Between this draft and today, the third base pool has taken a beating with David Wright being dinged up, and both Chase Headley and Hanley Ramirez are now on the shelf. Beltre was already a consistent stud and now he stands at the head of the class, even with a healthy (so far) Longoria around.
Verlander (27, 3.3): Never, ever, did I envision Verlander falling to me here. In fact, I had Edwin Encarnacion's name written in for the spot but both Stephen Strasburg and David Price went before Verlander went off the board which is inexplicable.
Upton (46, 4.10): I feel there is a 30/30 season in Upton this year and batting average is his only true risk. He will do very well in the counting categories.
Kipnis (51, 5.3): Maybe a bit of a reach for Kipnis but he is a player I have targeted in drafts and I don't feel the reach will look too bad at season's end.
Molina (70, 6.10): This was right at his ADP, but that was not my guiding force. I just really like Molina as a five-category catcher and have never had the chance to draft him.
Freeman (75, 7.3): I love Freeman for this season and the fact he will be hitting cleanup only enhances his value. If everything breaks right in Atlanta, he should fall into 100+ RBI.
Bourn (94, 8.10): This was 20 spots below his ADP at the time of our draft and he was not hurt. Um, yes please.
Moore (99, 9.3): I will own Matt Moore in every draft I participate in....as long as I don't have to go $20 on him. He's a top 20 pitcher for me in 2013. David Price 2010 = Matt Moore 2013.
Aoki (118, 10.10): Another player that is on all of my teams already this season. He will hit leadoff and demonstrated last season what he could do out of that spot. 15 HRs, 90 runs, 30 SB is possible which is why I didn't mind going two rounds early on him.
Rivera (123, 11.3): One last hurrah for the Hammer of God. I have not had him on a fantasy roster since I picked him up as a middle reliever my first year in fantasy football.
Wilhelmsen (142, 12.10): I like the skills and he is someone I have targeted at the second tier of closers. He impressed me last season.
Kennedy (147, 13.3): The only difference between the 2011 version of Kennedy and the 2012 version was the home run rate. The strikeouts are there, the walks are not, and if he can keep the ball in the yard again as he did two seasons ago, Kennedy could easily slide into the top 120 if not top 100.
Morneau (166, 14.10): Liss pretty much insists all of us take Morneau and I had no problem taking him outside of the top 150. Hopefully he is not as putrid against lefties as he was last season.
Swisher (171, 15.3): Versatility is key in NFBC leagues so I can juggle Swisher around and his new park is one that still will help him as he hits from the left side.
Walker (190, 16.10): I have no idea why Walker was still on the board with this pick. I sweated him out as I nearly took him in the 13th round and did a happy dance when he was still there the next time I picked.
Perkins (195, 17.3): The skills are very good and saves happen on both good and bad teams. Nobody else in their bullpen is as qualified as the lefty.
Ramirez (214, 18.10): He is coming off a down year after a string of consistent ones. I am a fan of bounceback candidates, especially ones that play in cozy ballparks.
Bailey (219, 19.3): As Liss mandates Morneau, Erickson mandates Bailey. Not that I needed encouragement as I've been on the Bailey bandwagon for awhile and now that he has put up back to back consistent seasons, it is getting a bit crowded on the wagon. This will be the last year Bailey is out of the top 200 for awhile.
Ogando (238, 20.10): In a 12-team mixed league, you need 1300 strikeouts to place near the top of the category and Ogando has the potential to put up a bunch if he can make it through an entire season as a starter.
Ramirez (243, 21.3): This pick was supposed to be Alex Cobb, but Cobb went the pick after I took Ogando. Ramirez is someone I have written about here a few times and a guy I am a believer in for 2013 and beyond.
Keppinger (262, 22.10): He qualifies everywhere and should see a bump up in home runs as he likely gives back some points in batting average. I took him for $3-4 in auctions last year and loved the return on investment.
Myers (267, 23.3): I have seen him going in the 18th round in many auctions which is too early for a guy that may not even be on a major league roster until early July. If he signs a pre-arb deal, the pick is a steal. If the Rays leave him down until early July to ensure he is not a Super 2 player, the pick sucks.
Rondon (286, 24.10): If he can close, a 4th closer is a bargain in the 24th round. If he can't close, he becomes my first cut.
Maxwell (291, 25.3): Maxwell is a toolbox that flashes both speed and power when he has been able to stay healthy. He is never going to conquer health, but if he can conquer his inability to hit right-handed pitching, he will take that next step up.
Jaso (310, 26.10): You do not have to fill your roster in the first 23 rounds of NFBC, so getting a very low risk catcher like Jaso in the 25th round is better than I had hoped for. I had initially targeted Wellington Castillo, but he went just after Maxwell which led me to notice Jaso still on the board.
Nova (315, 27.3): Nova's strikeout rate went up last year while his home run rate did because he had this annoying habit of leaving fat pitches out and over the plate. There's a lot of IF involved with Nova, but the biggest risk with him is a bullpen demotion once Phil Hughes and his back are in order.
Cozart (334, 28.10): At this point of the draft, J.J. Hardy, a pre-concussed Drew, and Cozart were all still on the board. I went with the guy who I think has the most upside here for depth purposes and someone I can put in Keppinger's place if the regression monster haunts him.
Davis (339, 29.3): The strikeout gains last season were great, but nobody knows if the velocity that he flashed as a reliever will maintain in the rotation. If it does, Davis should not be falling this far into the 300's.
Carter (358, 30.10): He's a two-trick pony, but he could be very good at those two tricks. As long as the Astros let him play, 20 home runs should be a lock and he should be able to fall into 75 RBI.
I enjoyed drafting a balanced team for once since punting categories is a fool's play in these leagues. Now comes the frustrating part of watching how it all plays out because like any other owner, I really like my own team coming out of the draft.