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Sunday 18th Feb 2018

It's kind of funny.

Over the past month, I have participated in a half-dozen mock drafts, as well as the actual and for real Fantasy Sports Trade Association Draft (FSTA) with my mate Lord Z.

Truth is Todd is a common denomonator to all of these drafts for some reason. I am not sure if we are just Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, or someone thinks "I'll have a mock draft and invite Todd and Lawr," or the natural evolution of things to work in this fashion. And, the truth is it does not matter.

The reality is I never really read or study for my drafts. Rather, I write and/or concoct profiles. And that means I essentially do my own review of pretty much every player. Not that they are all indelibly stamped, but pretty close.

But, I have never done the number of mocks in such a short span as I have this year, and I find it not only helpful, but something that has really solidified a sort of ephiphany of a few weeks ago in my piece, Buster and the Scarcity Scare.

Todd has already kind of waxed poetic on the issue a couple of times with his ADP Principles of Equivalence (APE), most recently with "Where's John Belushi When You Need Him?"

Since I was first and foremost a liberal arts student, I cannot really go into the math like Todd does, but he basically assigns dollar values to picks throughout an NFBC snake in a way that really levels out Average Draft Position.

Which is fine because I am on record as really not liking ADP at all. In fact, I think rather than simply being a useful information tool, ADP becomes a sort of gospel that players not only draft to but use to validate their decisions.

But, in reality, as Lord Z has suggested, the context of ADP is existing market value, not potential return. 

Which means if you draft a team to ADP you might well get a solid enough team, but not necessarily one that outperforms itself--or anyone else for that matter--and that suggests not winning.

For in an auction-based universe, the objective is to get a $5 player who turns in $9 worth of performance. And, since we know only a handful of players exceed the $30 earning level year-to-year, it seems you will never win by buying those guys for $30 or more, as it is a loss leader.

On the other hand, it is essential to establish as solid a potential base of statistics as possible, so essentially, that is what the first three rounds or so are for, just like allocating $95 out of a $260 salary cap for two or three players to anchor your team is a must do.

The thing is, it does not matter from where that profit arises.

So, though the obvious does seem to spend more money on positions with less productive players--this year like second base and catcher--the truth really is it doesn't matter at all who you draft in whatever round as long as they deliver the goods.

Mind you, I am not suggesting drafting Elvis Andrus #1 for, as noted a team has to have a foundation, and as good as Andrus is, his skills are first of all complementary to the Prince Fielder workhorses. Second, the objective is to maximize profit, and hunch or not, Elvis would have to really produce to provide $30 bucks of value.

Not that he won't some season--maybe even this year--but, as a first-rounder he will give you no return even with a $30 season; however, as a ninth-round pick, worth maybe $14, the potential of $16 in your back pocket helps towards winning a lot.

More to the point, unlesss your league is unflinchingly deep, you should be able to get starters at every slot, meaning you miss out on Dustin Pedroia in the second round, there is Howie Kendrick in the 12th. Or, Mark Ellis in the 22nd.

And, the reality is Mark Ellis, that late as a $2 player with a .275-11-58 line along with seven swipes is probably close to a $7 season. Meaning if you didn't get D-Ped in the second, Buster Posey or Yoenis Cespedes or even Ike Davis in the third are no worse, for the bottom line is the numbers the player produces.

Not the position. And not the name. Or even team.

In other words, it does not really matter what spot you fill when, as there will always be players available. Unless, as noted your league is shallow (but if that is the case, then your fellow owners will at least be in the same boat).

Fantasy drafts are always dynamic things, and it is foolish to go into one without a plan. But, it is also just as crazy to not have a secondary, or even tertiary path to follow since rarely does anyone get the players or team he or she envisions going into the competition.

So, just as we all need to adjust and allow those back up plans and players to be our path to ideally some kind of security, let alone win, I think we really need to give up on thinking the term "position scarcity" is anything more than words from the Boogy Man.







0 #7 Lawr Michaels 2013-02-17 15:41
yep. lotta ways to skin a cat. though i never would, and i always wondered exactly where that saying came from?
0 #6 OaktownSteve 2013-02-16 19:50
"as for your scarcity comments, it is certainly true that we all need second sackers and catchers. I would like to think the objective of the draft is to pick the best possible guy at the needed position at the appropriate time of the draft."

The above is exactly so. The question is what is the best way to accomplish it? And that is a very interesting question indeed. It leads down many interesting paths. Of course I have one or two thoughts on the topic...
0 #5 Lawr Michaels 2013-02-16 19:38
thanks guys. z and I do sort of make a good yin/yan. we have noticed this too. kind of fun.

as for your scarcity comments, it is certainly true that we all need second sackers and catchers. I would like to think the objective of the draft is to pick the best possible guy at the needed position at the appropriate time of the draft.

that will always be true, I think.

but, I also think the midset of "I must get a top tier second baseman no matter what" simply locks us into a mindset and obscures the other avenues to success.

I think that is sort of the point of all this, though, right?

I feel like some movement has come back, btw, kid.

thanks again guys. happy to be writing, believe me!

0 #4 John Verdello 2013-02-16 16:37
And, BTW ...looks like someone is regaining some zip on his fastball after a stretch on the DL. Keep it up, Lawr.
0 #3 John Verdello 2013-02-16 16:36
We are liking this piece VERY much and we are intending to delve more into it!
0 #2 OaktownSteve 2013-02-16 16:31
You and Todd make a classic left brain-right brain pair. Analytic, quantitative stat driven analysis helps filter out bias and broaden the sample size beyond what you can see with your own eyes. But fundamental, subjective, observational, qualitative analysis helps place the players in a more complex human context and use the power of our subconscious minds to make connections and make strong decisions. If all you needed to do to win at fantasy was crunch numbers, it would be best spreadsheet wins. But if you don't know the numbers you're overly influenced by the "best shape of his life" type stories. A good pairing. As to scarcity, it is hokuum, but we cannot forget that the requirement to fill each postition per the rules is one of the key inputs to the game. While most fantasy players misunderstand why it's important, it is critical. It just needs a rethink. Interesting that you and Todd are converging on the right answer from opposite directions.
0 #1 OaktownSteve 2013-02-16 15:40
Amen. Great piece.

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