Going to go a bit outside the box today describing how I am going to prepare for the Draft Buddy Head-to-Head Weekly Fantasy Baseball Points League. We really need a snappier name for this league.
The outside-the-box part is that this is a living (changing) document, with updates through today and the weekend describing what I am doing to prepare for the draft on Monday. I guess you could say the questionable part of this, is one would not normally publish their draft preparation in advance of a draft for their competitors to see.
Oh well. It’s fine. For the fantasy baseball community, for the greater good!
Fantasy Baseball Points League Draft Prep
Haven’t accomplished much so far this morning, unless you include making a Pi pizza for my son to take to school, donating blood, and reading an article about an incredible theft of Star Wars collectibles.
Obviously, I am going to turn to Draft Buddy first to start my draft prep. I so often run Draft Buddy for roto scoring leagues this will be a good refresher doing it for a fantasy points league. Let me work up a YouTube video setting up Draft Buddy and post that.
Set Up Draft Buddy Demo Video
Wow, that takes a while. Lunch was in there too, but recording the demo, processing the video and uploading to YouTube all add up in time. I didn’t even listen to or edit it, so hopefully, you find it useful. How to set up Draft Buddy for a fantasy points league video…
Review Overall Rankings For Position Values
Normally when I am in a new fantasy league with unfamiliar scoring or format (number of teams, starting lineup, etc.), I will jump to review the overall results in Draft Buddy. This helped me immensely in two fantasy football leagues in the past two years. I took advantage of some odd scoring in each that most of the other participants did not realize had a major impact on player values. They wrongly assumed the fantasy scoring was close enough to standard performance or point-per-reception (PPR).
This is my first time in a long time doing a fantasy baseball points league, and first time on Fantrax using their default scoring. Earlier this week I input scoring for various league managers (CBS, ESPN, Fantrax, Yahoo) in our database to allow for custom scoring player stats, projections and player pages. I noticed there is quite a difference in default scoring from site to site, so especially in fantasy baseball always check your league scoring.
Okay, so the Draft Buddy overall results… half of the Top 12 players are starting pitchers. Another five starting pitchers make up the players ranked 13th to 24th overall. This I did not expect. Its unfortunate for me personally, because I love to draft hitters over stockpiling pitchers. Maybe I would have altered the scoring!
To make sure I did this correctly I am going to run the numbers through Last Player Picked, fantasy points version. You knew that was a thing, right?
The numbers all match, except for pitchers LPP does not have quality starts as an option. Checking the projections and quality start scoring, everything looks accurate from Draft Buddy. Starting pitchers are very valuable. Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper and J.D. Martinez are in the Top 10, while Trea Turner, Ronald Acuna and Jose Altuve are 20th and lower. Why?
On the pitchers side, they get 1 point for an inning pitched, 10 for a win and 3 for a quality start. That is pretty significant for a starting pitcher expected to log 190-200 innings. For hitters, no penalty for strikouts, and homers are worth 4 each, +1 for a run and +1 for an RBI. The 30-40 projected home run crowd has an advantage over players like Turner and Altuve who are each projected for fewer than 20.
Going to do some more detailed review before I return to discuss next steps in my fantasy baseball draft prep.
The end of the day is near, so I will wrap for today with a couple thoughts. First, I need to set the 12-team schedule for our league’s regular season and playoffs. We are trying to find something fair and balanced. For regular seaosn, we hope to reduce schedule luck, while not diminishing the competitiveness of head-to-head format. Ideally, we will not use divisions. Every team plays every other team the same number of times.
For playoffs, we want it to be challenging to make the playoffs, so likely four of twelve advance. Debating a one week semi-finals, one week championship one-and-done format, or a multi-week combined total points among playoff teams format.
Listening to Craig Mish on Sirius XM Fantasy Radio this morning, he mentioned how spring training stats can, in some cases, help identify undervalued players who are raking in March and continue that into April. That got me thinking that we actually have access to spring training stats from our provider, Reliant Stats. I will see how difficult it is to add these to the website, so maybe we can do our own research to help identify the next… what was one example he gave… oh right, Whit Merrifield.
Late last night after returning from indoor soccer, I set the weekly schedule and randomizes the draft order. The schedule is indeed a 22-week regular season. Every team will play every other team twice. Plus, every team will play against the weekly average score for the week.
This is called victory points format. If a team beats their “real” opponent, then they get a win. If a team beats the average score, then they get a win. Each week a team will finish 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2. As mentioned above, this should be a nice balance to reduce schedule luck from pure head-to-head, while still enjoying head-to-head competition that gets lost a bit in an all-play format.
The playoffs are the remaining MLB schedule after the first 22 weeks (including the short opening week and All-Star Game week merged with their subsequent week in the calendar. The single long playoff period is a total points competition between the top four teams based on won-loss record from the regular season. Should be a real slugfest at that point.
Drafting From The Wheel
Now for the draft order, I drew the… drumroll please… 12th pick in the draft. Yep, dead last. “The Wheel” as they call it. This season is actually the first time I’ve ever heard that term for drafting on the end, but drafting from The Wheel I am.
Not a bad spot really. I am sure many would like that spot since there seems to be a lot of different opinions between players drafted three through eight or ten. It is possible a pair of those top players falls to 12 and 13. Personally, I prefer an earlier draft pick because of the benefit of the early third round pick, outweighing the benefit of the early second round pick.
I also usually like being a spot or two off either end of a draft, because then one can try to take better advantage of tiering and position needs of the team(s) drafting after you on the short turn. Drafting on the end, I may be more inclined to grab a pair of players at the same position. This helps incent the start of runs, like pitchers, instead of waiting and getting caught because a run started at the other end of the draft board.
In this case with our points league, I wonder if drafters will follow average draft position that is readily available and based more on roto leagues. If they do without adjusting for the points scoring, a player who rightfully deserves a spot in our Top 10 could easily fall to me at the 12th and 13th picks. An example might be Giancarlo Stanton, a projected Top 5 hitter but normally drafted about 21st.
Or, the aforementioned starting pitchers with their high valuations. Surely Max Scherzer will still be drafted Top 5 regardless of format, but will all of Chris Sale, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander get drafted before my first pick? Do I take a pair of pitchers this early and worry about hitters later? It will be a tough decision given the uncertainty what options I’ll have coming back, another 22 picks later.
Spring Training Stats
Hey check it, we have MLB spring training stats. There may be some players missing if they weren’t in our database previously, but I will investigate that and add them as needed.
No roto values available but you can change the fantasy points scoring system to any of the major fantasy league managers or DFS sites using the Switch link in the upper-right.
Benefits of a Slow Draft
I realize this is turning into one of the oddest how to prep for a fantasy baseball draft posts you’ve likely read in a while. As usual, things are hectic around here as I am juggling family obligations with website stuff and prepping for the draft is taking a bit of a backseat.
Thankfully, it is a slow draft with a 6-hour timer, not a live draft with a minute per pick. This draft had better not average 6 hours per pick, but it will span over days. This flexibility allows me to be a bit more casual prepping because I can research while the draft is underway.
I try to take a cerebral approach to fantasy drafting, which means intellectual as opposed to overly emotional decision making. And thinking intellectually, there is only so much one person can control in a draft.
In this 12-team league, I have exactly one pick for every 12. Picking 12th, I have zero control over the first 11 picks. To that end, do I need to spend any time – for this draft – deciding between Mike Trout or Mookie Betts? Is Max Scherzer rightfully the consensus number one starting pitcher? No, there is no need. It would be a waste of time.
Tailor your own draft prep to focus on things that will make a difference in your own draft, using all of the available information you have at the time. Maybe you don’t know your draft position until just before the draft starts, so you need to take a more broad approach.
My next step is to update the projections, depth charts and ADP in Draft Buddy, so I have the latest up-to-date information for the start of the draft. Plus, I did promise to take my kids to see Captain Marvel today. I’ll be back in a while with a short Captain Marvel review, and after Draft Buddy is updated.
Captiain Marvel Review
Captain Marvel was awesome! Excellent tribute to Stan Lee in the opening credits and short but respectful cameo of Brie Larson smiling back at him from chance encounter early in the show. The movie kept me highly entertained from start to finish.
The story really helped tie some things together in the Marvel cinematic universe, and did justice to the character showing how powerful and integral she is, and will be moving forward. It was great seeing Coulson and Fury. Highly recommended if you are fan of the Marvel movies.
Now, back to baseball. I am still working on updating the Draft Buddy projections, but most of the update is ready.
— DraftBuddy.com (@DraftBuddy) March 10, 2019
And we’re off! No surprise Mike Trout went first overall followed by Mookie Betts.
And we're off! Draft Buddy H2H Fantasy Points league draft kicked off this morning at 9:00am @Fantrax. First 5: Trout, Betts, Ramirez, Arenado, Martinez
— DraftBuddy.com (@DraftBuddy) March 11, 2019
Now seems like a good time to close this post, but start a new one to provide in-draft commentary. I will post the link, or you will find it on the homepage, once I get it set up. Thanks for reading my pre-draft ramblings!
Update: The draft is underway. Here is the link to our points fantasy baseball league draft recap.