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Sunday 18th Feb 2018

It's almost here.

"It," in this instance, is the Xperts Fantasy League, a collection of 15 elder--as in over 40--members of the fantasy industry who play in a 5X5 keeper competition.

If you happened to hit the link to the league above, you will note that over the decade I have participated in the XFL, my team has sucked.

Which is particularly rough, for the 15-team mixed 5X5 format is how I first played fantasy ball, and mine was certainly a dominant team during my time in what was the Coco's Fala League.

A lot of my failure, I believe, has been due to my long-held belief that in such a shallow format with just a decent keeper list, and we can keep up to 15 players, there will always be the points in the auction pool ($260 cap) who can be mixed with my freezes to make a winning team.

I also have to admit that the competitors in the XFL are also excellent players and it is not only a tough competition, but one in which my league mates tend to see the same skills that I do.

But, in 2011, due to my consistent failures--enlightening in that I can indeed eventually recognize that repeated failure suggests a new approach--I grabbed the biggest stars I could, and turned them into Matt Moore, Jacob Turner, Yonder Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes on the cheap. This year, I have added Mike Zunino, Jedd Gyorko, also cheap, and with a couple of more bargains--Leonys Martin, Ben Revere, Kyle Seager and Allen Craig--so I have a solid young core going into the auction, which takes place at the First Pitch AFL in just about a month.

As noted before, I really love rebuilding, especially when it works, but despite loving to try new approaches, I want this to work. It does seem like my league mates who have built their strong teams--like Steve Moyer, and Don Drooker--have done it this way.

But, I also have a Strat-O-Matic team in pretty much the same shape: two years ago, realizing we were not going to improve much, a housecleaning of Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Mark Ellis yielded some nice pieces, and I suddenly have an outfield--Carl Crawford, Jose Tabata and Domonic Brown--and some pretty good other chips in a 30-team usage enforced sim set-up.

But, with some other little chips to trade (Norichika Aoki, and either Jonathan Lucroy or Derek Norris) I can up my draft selections for this year, one that should be rich in newcomers all over the diamond, and flesh out a strong starting 8 on the field, and even offer up a strong rotation anchored by Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey (remember, Strat-O-Matic is based upon the previous year, so in 2014, I will get his 2013 stats to use).

But, with Gyorko, Anthony Rendon and Nolan Arenado all out there, and even outfielders like Yasiel Puig, Christian Yelich and Marcel Ozuna, in my National League side of the house, I am so looking forward to that draft, which will not take place until this coming February.

I really do love this rebuilding, and it is especially rewarding when it works, and I have tried to be patient--two years is a long time in fantasy terms, you know--so I am hoping this is a path to respectability in one league, and a return to it in the other.



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