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Fantasy Strategy Thread

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3 hours ago, MugsyBogues said:

This has always been my strategy in money leagues, and it tends to work out well. Many more free arms come along than bats, imo. 

this.

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21 hours ago, parrothead said:

One thing I have always kind of believed is that pitching is one of the easiest things to improve upon during the season, and the fact there are starters on the waiver wire, every team has some pitching (so teams who fall out of it a trade can be had) etc.  Some of the more scarce positions, its tougher to find help or you need that lined up trading partner who is selling out to have a tradeable player in that position, it can make it tougher, which is one of the reasons Ive generally weighted some to tougher positions to fill. 

 

Long-term this has all been generally true. However, last year was insane for free agent hitters. I added Merrifield, C Taylor, Zimmerman, and Smoak... I think the lowest finish in that group was around 75 for season long rank. Of course I also added insane pitchers.

 

My point here is that either last year was an anomaly, the fly ball revolution drove the changes, or both factors worked together. If more fly ball revolutionaries emerge this year, pay careful attention.

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In a roto auction league last year, my strategy was to spend as little on pitching as possible, because of all the cheap arms. I felt like the plan worked coming out of the draft. But Tanaka was my SP1 and that is just the tip of an iceberg that killed my chances of winning before the ASB. It became clear in hindsight that with the dropoff from roto aces to everyone else being so big, most managers need to secure one very legit fantasy SP1. 

 

Has anyone else gone progressively lighter on pitching expense (let's say approaching a 70/30 split) and found that the LIMA plan backfires when you get above 66-67% on hitters? This used to work brilliantly. I think the top-shelf SP1s have forced us to moderate our dollar pitchers strategy.

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1 minute ago, rando said:

In a roto auction league last year, my strategy was to spend as little on pitching as possible, because of all the cheap arms. I felt like the plan worked coming out of the draft. But Tanaka was my SP1 and that is just the tip of an iceberg that killed my chances of winning before the ASB. It became clear in hindsight that with the dropoff from roto aces to everyone else being so big, most managers need to secure one very legit fantasy SP1. 

 

Has anyone else gone progressively lighter on pitching expense (let's say approaching a 70/30 split) and found that the LIMA plan backfires when you get above 66-67% on hitters? This used to work brilliantly. I think the top-shelf SP1s have forced us to moderate our dollar pitchers strategy.

I did the opposite of this last year and won. Spent more money on pitching than I ever did, after years of going cheap on hitting I finally changed course mainly because of the the HR trends the year before. I drafted Max and Verlander and added Nola/MadBum mid season via trade. Got big years from very cheap guys like, Duvall, Lamb, Zimmerman, Moose to name a few. I plan on doing the same this year, but i think the following year, with the the new rule about storing baseballs, the swing may go back to elite hitting over elite pitching.

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Reasons why people are targeting pitching: 

 

1.  The 200IP SP is becoming a dinosaur.  Particularly one with good ERA/WHIP that can also...

2.  Strike out 200+

3.  Streaming has become more difficult.  I can say this as someone who loves streaming.  Vast majority of owners were punished for streaming last season.  It doesn't work like it use to.  

 

I dunno... unless there is a drastic change in favor of pitchers, it's just not going to be as easy to catch up in pitching cats as some are led to believe.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, kidtwentytwo said:

Reasons why people are targeting pitching: 

 

1.  The 200IP SP is becoming a dinosaur.  Particularly one with good ERA/WHIP that can also...

2.  Strike out 200+

3.  Streaming has become more difficult.  I can say this as someone who loves streaming.  Vast majority of owners were punished for streaming last season.  It doesn't work like it use to.  

 

I dunno... unless there is a drastic change in favor of pitchers, it's just not going to be as easy to catch up in pitching cats as some are led to believe.  

 

 

 

Playing in a Yahoo league, I've found the evidence of No1 to be especially true. Working with a max IP limit of 1600 in my Yahoo keeper league, I used to have to dial my pitching back and become more selective with the SPs I started in September. Gradually, that seems to have become less of an issue, and then last year, I found myself working to get TO my 1600 IP limit because I wanted to maximize my Ws and Ks. And I still fell short of the max limit. 

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I just joined a 20 team $$$$ H2H 6x6 (BB & HDs) 

We start the regular lineup plus 3 OF & 1util ..... 3 P/RPs & 2 SP 

 

any strategy tips? 

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For H2H categories / 5x5, my thoughts have evolved over the years of trying more aggressive strategies to something more sensible and balanced.  Basically I feel that you need to find the balance between punting categories, and being too balanced.  If you punt then you're 'giving away' wins, and you're limiting what you can do during the draft and season.  On the flip side, if you go too balanced then you'll end up being mediocre in all categories, and good in none.  There aren't enough draft slots to have great players of all types and all positions.  

 

It might sound obvious, but I just try to pick the positions and types of players early that will be harder to find in-season, and wait on those that I'm hoping I can find in-season easier.  This is hardly unique, and a lot of people in here have already said it, but I will wait pretty long on pitching, load up on hitting earlier, and then try to get a handful of mid-round high-upside bargain pitching.  SP in the 100-180 pick range all seem to have the upside to be top players, but just don't have the track record like the earlier picks.  If you can get a decent volume of them and even a couple hit, then you're golden.  Closer is also a spot where I'd rather have a few lower tier guys then pay up for the top ones.  I've punted saves altogether at times, but from what I've found it's not that wise - even with a couple junk closers you still have a chance at winning the category each week.  You still didn't invest much, but depending on game flow you can still give yourself an extra W every few weeks.  

 

I've also abandoned taking the 'safer' early picks and instead gone for more upside.  That's not to say go completely crazy in the first few rounds, but I was always the type to draft the safest floor guys early to have a good 'base' to build my team off, then take more risk later.  The problem is that the steady guys won't give you anything extra, and the later round upside plays don't have a high success rate.  So usually you're left with an average team.  This year I'm trying the opposite - I'll take my chances with the Benintendi's, Hoskins', Bregman's over the Votto's, Freeman's, or Upton's, because if one of those guys has a huge breakout year they will be top picks next year.  Justin Upton will give you decent stats, but he's unlikely at this point in his career to put up MVP numbers.  

 

Then later in the draft, I'll be filling in my holes with more solid-floor guys than upside, like I previously would have.  I'll take Longoria's boring 85 RBI and 270+ TB over an upside play, because I'm already hoping to hit on some of my earlier upside, and as long as I get steady production out of all lineup slots, that should be good enough.  Not to say I won't take any upside later, but my overall strategy has shifted from all steady players early and all upside late, to closer to the opposite.  I'll take the upside guys that actually have the upside to help me win earlier, and then backfill with less sexy options later.  

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

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I play h2h...everyone is saying to grab one of the “big 4” pitchers early, but I think that the starting pitching shortage is maybe being a tad overhyped. Yes, there are not that many bonafide aces anymore, but in h2h I would rather grab two of archer, Darvish, carrasco, or Paxton, and then another couple more of Tanaka, arrietta, berrios, etc around the 100’s, and then shark, Bauer, godley, or fulmer in the later picks.

 

My reasoning for this is because, although I think the first 40 picks are pretty stacked, I don’t really like a lot of the picks for positional players beyond that, whereas I think that you can still find a pretty good continuum of pitching options.

 

In h2h I usually find it’s important to a. Tradeoff upside in favor of consistency and health. b. Having a larger quantity of middle level pitchers with a couple good waiver adds is superior to one ace and a bunch of scrubs. 

 

The playoffs are such such a crapshoot that even if your team might look good on paper at draft time, you can’t rely on it at the end of the season. That’s why I like guys like Archer, Verlander, shark, etc. because even though Archer may not get you a ridiculously low era, I’m pretty sure that the health will be there at the end of the season, and they’ll give me if nothing else, a steady feed of k’s.

 

im totally punting closers which I do every year and works fine.

 

Another thing is that, everyone is hyping the pitcher shortage so much, that realistically I know that at least two guys are going to draft a whole slew of pitchers early, and tons of people will be reaching for guys that they probably shouldn’t be. I think that could be pretty exploitable. 

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As far as H2H 5x5 there are some pitchers that are just such a pain to own imo- like Archer I think is a great example. Its always struggle for me deciding whether to start or sit him.  I feel like week to week his performances are so volatile that he either murders you or makes you- whereas in roto at the end of the year his final line is very useful he'll give you great Ks and (knock on wood) he's been really durable so great inning count and worse case his ERA at the end is a tick above 4 so far from bad in totality. But thats what makes those  top elite sps so valuable is that they so rarely blow up and kill you and they really help you battle the volatility of weekly h2h matchups. 

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On 3/2/2018 at 2:40 PM, kidtwentytwo said:

Reasons why people are targeting pitching: 

 

1.  The 200IP SP is becoming a dinosaur.  Particularly one with good ERA/WHIP that can also...

2.  Strike out 200+

3.  Streaming has become more difficult.  I can say this as someone who loves streaming.  Vast majority of owners were punished for streaming last season.  It doesn't work like it use to.  

 

I dunno... unless there is a drastic change in favor of pitchers, it's just not going to be as easy to catch up in pitching cats as some are led to believe.  

 

 

well said.

 

i used to not take pitching like many others...now im liking getting one of the big 4, or 2 of the top 15 ish

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A big problem with high end pitching in H2H is that often it's not there when you need it.  I used to build teams primarily around a really strong pitching staff, and I'd always dominate the regular season, but rarely have playoff success.  Too often you hit the end of the MLB regular season and you have some of the following scenarios:

a. their team is playoff-bound and is resting their ace

b. their team is way out of the playoff race and is shutting down their ace due to the minor lingering issues accumulated over the season

c. the pitcher is young and on an innings cap / limit

d. they're just not as effective and fresh at the end of the season from being worn down

 

When I used to invest heavily in SPing, I'd find that come fantasy playoffs I'd lose roughly half my aces to one of these scenarios (or just injuries in general).  That's fine if you've been lucky with waiver wire bats, but if your draft was structured around pitching, you'll have a tough time winning in H2H when it matters the most.  

 

I also just like the value of SP this year in the 75+ pick range.  After you get past the top 4-5, I don't feel a whole lot more confident with pitchers in the 3rd round (Severino, de Grom) then ones a few rounds later, like Wood or Castillo.  

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Some strategies I use in my 6x6 Roto. I try and draft NL pitchers and even try and get those in weak divisions. This year NL east is a good target for high end pitching. It's nice to get to go up against the Marlins 2-3 times or maybe even 4 times. I also try and stay away from AL east pitchers. That division will kill your ratios. As for hitting I stay away from the low Avg. guys even if they hit 30-40 HRs. I very rarely go after anyone under .260. Tough to make that up in Roto. I also try and get hitters in hitter friendly ballparks. Colorado, Cincy, Atlanta (starting last year), Texas, NYY, Philly, Zona, CHW. I don't target these hitters exclusively, but the ballpark will definitely play a factor in trying to decide between 2 hitters come draft day. These are prob pretty obvious to some people, but might help you decide between a tough call between 2 players you are targeting.

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1 hour ago, duke of queens said:

Some strategies I use in my 6x6 Roto. I try and draft NL pitchers and even try and get those in weak divisions. This year NL east is a good target for high end pitching. It's nice to get to go up against the Marlins 2-3 times or maybe even 4 times. I also try and stay away from AL east pitchers. That division will kill your ratios. 

 

I tend to think the "AL East is bad for pitching" is a bit over-stated.  Last season in ESPN Player Rater 18% of the Top 50 SP were from the AL East, which is more than their market share, considering that division makes up 16.6% of the league.  I would agree that I'd mentally give an NL East pitcher a win on a tie breaker due to the poor teams he gets to face more often, but in my mind there's not a strong enough correlation to make me avoid AL East pitchers altogether.

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7x7 H2H league...

Strongly considering drafting offense 1st 4 of 5 rounds, effectively punting Quality Starts & K’s by going all relievers. Can dominate Saves & Holds, which leaves ERA, WHIP, & K/9 open for competition. On the pitching side, if I can go 4-3 consistently with some 5-2 weeks, my offense should be strong enough to keep me in the mix, right? 

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12 minutes ago, lvsaint429 said:

7x7 H2H league...

Strongly considering drafting offense 1st 4 of 5 rounds, effectively punting Quality Starts & K’s by going all relievers. Can dominate Saves & Holds, which leaves ERA, WHIP, & K/9 open for competition. On the pitching side, if I can go 4-3 consistently with some 5-2 weeks, my offense should be strong enough to keep me in the mix, right? 

 

As has been discussed in the last few pages, this strategy is a tough go most of the time.  In my 5x5 H2H last year, two teams tried this all-RP strategy, and both failed miserably and were never in contention.  They had to spend too much draft capital in upper tier closers.  Basically if you want the top RP you have to take them early and often.  You can get cheap saves later, but at the cost of ERA/WHIP/K/9 etc.  They also ended up with mediocre offenses.  

 

Also depends if your H2H tallies all 14 categories as a W or L, or just a single W or L for the week.  With this strategy even on 'good' weeks you won't be much above .500 on the categories.  And with the low innings total of your relievers, if one gets blown up then you lose ERA and WHIP and have a horrible week.  Not so bad if it's 1 loss, but if it's 6-7 losses in pitching alone, you're toast.

 

I've found better luck punting ratios and going after counting stats.  If you wait on pitching altogether and stock up on the bottom tier closers and innings eating SPs, plus stream, you can win counting categories like QS, K, SV, and HD, with the ratios being a crap shoot.  Even on a bad week you should get 3 or 4 out of 7 pitching cats, and on a good week your dumpster fire pitching staff could pull off some decent ratios too.  And this leaves you to take tons of bats early in the draft, without having to fight for the Jensen's of the world, so you should be good in the hitting cats.

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1 hour ago, handyandy86 said:

 

I tend to think the "AL East is bad for pitching" is a bit over-stated.  Last season in ESPN Player Rater 18% of the Top 50 SP were from the AL East, which is more than their market share, considering that division makes up 16.6% of the league.  I would agree that I'd mentally give an NL East pitcher a win on a tie breaker due to the poor teams he gets to face more often, but in my mind there's not a strong enough correlation to make me avoid AL East pitchers altogether.

I guess its more non Yankee/Boston starters I should say and in previous years I'd include Toronto.

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I play in a 12 team 8 max keeper head to head league that is categories and I've won the title two out of the last three years by keeping offense every year. 

 

 

I can find pitching all day long. 

 

It took me years and lots of foresight to build the following list of keepers: 

 

Bryant 

Rizzo

Arenado 

Contreras 

Bellinger 

Gregorious 

Martinez 

Sanchez 

 

Just missed the cut and haven't been able to trade bc 2B is deep AF 

 

Schoop 

 

I've lost 11 games total over the last three seasons. 

 

Pitchers are like flies. 

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8 hours ago, handyandy86 said:

A big problem with high end pitching in H2H is that often it's not there when you need it.  I used to build teams primarily around a really strong pitching staff, and I'd always dominate the regular season, but rarely have playoff success.  Too often you hit the end of the MLB regular season and you have some of the following scenarios:

a. their team is playoff-bound and is resting their ace

b. their team is way out of the playoff race and is shutting down their ace due to the minor lingering issues accumulated over the season

c. the pitcher is young and on an innings cap / limit

d. they're just not as effective and fresh at the end of the season from being worn down

 

When I used to invest heavily in SPing, I'd find that come fantasy playoffs I'd lose roughly half my aces to one of these scenarios (or just injuries in general).  That's fine if you've been lucky with waiver wire bats, but if your draft was structured around pitching, you'll have a tough time winning in H2H when it matters the most.  

 

I also just like the value of SP this year in the 75+ pick range.  After you get past the top 4-5, I don't feel a whole lot more confident with pitchers in the 3rd round (Severino, de Grom) then ones a few rounds later, like Wood or Castillo.  

 

 

Underrated comment... and VERY true.

 

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Anybody ever purposefully draft a couple of guys in a platoon with each other with elite splits? 

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Drafted Lamb this year to start against a RH pitcher in my UTL slot. Will sit him against all LH pitching and just rotate a BN bat on those days

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1 hour ago, Low and Away said:

Drafted Lamb this year to start against a RH pitcher in my UTL slot. Will sit him against all LH pitching and just rotate a BN bat on those days

same thinking

 

i wonder how many times this fantasy season will i have a full lineup and ability to sit lamb when he is facing a lhp vs how many times i dont have a full lineup and will start lamb vs lhp 

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21 hours ago, colepenhagen said:

same thinking

 

i wonder how many times this fantasy season will i have a full lineup and ability to sit lamb when he is facing a lhp vs how many times i dont have a full lineup and will start lamb vs lhp 

 

I've been considering doing something like this too. If you roster three right handed players, there is about a 98% chance that at least one of them on a given night will be facing a right handed pitcher (source - hardball times from fangraphs: https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/creating-your-own-platoons/).

 

I took all of the players with the highest platoon splits vs. RHP and vs. LHP from 2017 (you can see my spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hbQMLyVuL4mO44YOYjQtmCK48wvy-qlf4sNlcJhEnew/edit#gid=0) and I also only included players above pick 100. The list of greatest platoon splits with an ADP over 100 projected for 2018 and over 200 PA's last year is:

 

Name 2018 Average Draft Pick
Michael Conforto 194
Marwin Gonzalez 115.2
Jake Lamb 123.1
Eric Thames 195.8
Scooter Gennett 205
Justin Bour 198
Yasiel Puig 111.7
Eddie Rosario 120.2
Logan Morrison 292.3
Adam Lind 515.1
Matt Adams 475.3
Jay Bruce 161.5
Matt Carpenter 181.4
Brandon Belt 304.5
Joey Gallo 112.8
Mitch Haniger 213
Alex Avila 341.6
Aaron Altherr 268.3
Yulieski Gurriel 217.4
Ian Happ 135.5
Trey Mancini 152.5
Matt Joyce 493.5
Neil Walker 425.5
Carlos Gomez 341.9
Kevin Kiermaier 156.6

 

If you were to take three players around pick 200 - Thames, Gennett, and Bour, and prorate their production to 500 PA's, then you get the following composite stats:

Composite of Thames, Gennett, Bour over 500 PA's  
OPS HR R RBI SB AVG
0.931 29 75 85 3 0.292

 

Not bad...This would have tied for the 16th highest OPS in the MLB last year, and it would cost you picks at about the 200 mark. The point is that if you are willing to give up ~3 bench slots you can use this strategy to make some pretty good production. If you are worried about missing out on a big bat early in the draft in lieu of an ace, you might consider trying this out and rostering them for your utility slot. Every year people try to consolidate talent by trading two lesser players for a greater player, but anyone who has played fantasy for a reasonable amount of time knows that people rarely fall for trades like that. This is a much easier way to consolidate your talent I believe. 

 

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I suspect the experts do this, but for those that play in multiple money leagues, do you purposefully go out and avoid players that you have an multiple other leagues, in an effort to minimize risk? Theoretically, If one player that is in all of your leagues goes down or disappoints, that would impact prospects for winning money in all leagues, whereas if in each league your have a difference in players, one injury or dud season isn't a showstopper.

 

I find myself getting attached to a handful of breakout/sleeper/bounce back candidates each year and have to try to stop myself from drafting them in every league. Anyone else do this too?

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35 minutes ago, UberRebel said:

I suspect the experts do this, but for those that play in multiple money leagues, do you purposefully go out and avoid players that you have an multiple other leagues, in an effort to minimize risk? Theoretically, If one player that is in all of your leagues goes down or disappoints, that would impact prospects for winning money in all leagues, whereas if in each league your have a difference in players, one injury or dud season isn't a showstopper.

 

I find myself getting attached to a handful of breakout/sleeper/bounce back candidates each year and have to try to stop myself from drafting them in every league. Anyone else do this too?

no i dont avoid and i usually have alot of the same guys on all my teams

so far 

trea 2/4

correa 2/4

buxton 3/4

bird 3/4

g torres 3/4

w calhoun 2/4

gausman 4/4

wacha 4/4

upton 2/4

 

probably many more in just 4 leagues 

as long as you hit on your first couple picks then it really doesnt matter. so i might say diversify your early rd picks because if you take stanton or harper in 4/4 leagues and he goes down then thats a ball buster and could sink all your teams. its usually hard to get the same 1st-3rd rd picks on all your teams anyways

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