Regular readers have probably noticed by now that our long-time title of this weekly series, The NFBC Zone, has been retired in favor of a new, spiffier tag, “Masters of the NFBC.” This new label, shared by our nine Mastersball writers competing in some of the many NFBC variations this season, is not intended to convey arrogance.
While we are proud of our many titles, we thought of it as a synergistic opportunity to brand two great names together. Also, as you will see below, the masters of this site include many of you, our readers.
Along with our leadoff man, Lawr Michaels, who penned our first Masters of the NFBC column last week, all the names you know and love will be taking turns here in this column on a rotating basis: JP Kastner, Jason Mastrodonato, Todd Zola, Rob Leibowitz, Buster H Esq., Jesse Draper, Marc Meltzer and me.
They way I see it, there are going to be two types of readers of this column. Either you are already competing in the NFBC or you are not. For the former group, you already know what you are into, but should still receive what I believe will be valuable hits, tips and perspective in this space all spring and summer long.
My focus today, however, is on the latter population. You are probably aware of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, but for some reason, haven’t yet taken the plunge.
It could be the expense, though there are now a number of very reasonably-priced leagues added since the NBFC first opened its internet doors in 2004.
It could be concern over the level of competition, worrying about jumping into a tank full of sharks. Let me assure you that the NFBC has some very good players, but so do your local leagues. While many industry names you may know compete, they aren’t the ones taking home those oversize checks each year. That could be you.
Take my NFBC main event league, New York League #2. My credentials as having won a few NFBC leagues and finishing in the top-25 twice mean absolutely nothing. I was a small fry in a pond with some big fish.
Drafting to my right was BaseballHQ’s guru and co-star of the Fantasyland book and movie, Ron Shandler, and his co-manager, HQ’s Dave Adler. A few seats down sat ESPN’s Nate Ravitz. Drafting with him was Glenn Colton, a former federal prosecutor and co-manager of three LABR title-winning teams. Also in this same 15-team league is Larry Schechter, three-time Tout Wars mixed league champion.
You know what? When the NFBC drafts began, we were all on equal footing, with a blank roster in front of us waiting to be completed. Of course, what transpired over the next four hours may have set the tone for the upcoming season, but even so, after 450 players were drafted, I honestly cannot identify a clear favorite.
Just like in any league, the games have to be played, as the tired line goes. Unexpected players will emerge and “sure things” will flop. One thing for sure, if you don’t join in, you can’t win.
You may have missed out on the competition this year, but I hope you will follow closely and by the time the 2011 season comes along, that you will be ready. Most importantly, spend time on our forum. Lurk and soak up the discussion, but also don’t hesitate to post, too.
Here is a way to get your feet wet. If there is one takeaway from this article, it should be “The NFBC Rookie Invitational.” If you are even slightly considering joining the NFBC, we have created the perfect laboratory for you.
Ryan Carey, aka “deansdaddy” on our message boards, is shepherding a group of 11 first-time NFBC-style players against four seasoned veterans with the winner of their league taking away a spot in the 2011 NFBC Main Event.
The primary focus is not about the competition as much as it is to foster an ongoing discussion about the “do's” and “don’ts” of play in the unique 15-team format of the NFBC. There is an entire forum set aside here at Mastersball just for strategy discussions. Chats are planned during the season on a variety of subjects like FAAB and free agency.
The best part is that everyone is welcome to join the discussions, ask questions and learn about playing the NFBC-style game. All you need is a free message board account to get started. Make this forum and the Mastersball website a regular stop all summer long and by the time the season is done, you will be more than prepared to compete in the 2011 NFBC.
Though I am not directly a part of the Invitational, I can assure you that I am learning from the discussions despite this being my seventh year in the NFBC!
Mastersball COO JP Kastner often points out one of our key differentiators. “You can actually talk to real experts in our forums,” he says, and for that, we are all proud.
Come and join us and be masters, too!
Brian Walton is the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 12-year history. He is a 2009 NFBC league winner and finished in the top-25 nationally in both the NFBC and NFFC last season. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and TheCardinalNationBlog.com.