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Wednesday 18th Oct 2017

For the most part, ignore position scarcity early on and just grab the best player available. Fading catchers can be viewed as an extension of this principle, but I make special mention of them because the premium is so high with the tools of ignorance. I use scarcity as a tie-breaker, but nothing more. I've found that the edge you get at Catcher, Second Base or Shortstop due to perceived scarcity can be given right back via the inferior outfielder you draft instead in the latter rounds.

I do want to leave the early rounds with two elite aces. It’s not an absolute necessity, and if your forte is identifying this year’s Kyle Hendricks, or 2015’s Jake Arrieta, by all means feel free to grab just one early. Otherwise, the high percentage play is to get two, and this year that means somewhere in the first four rounds. Hendricks is somewhat of a quasi-ace because he’s the total package minus the strikeouts. To compete for the overall championship, I think you’re going to need somewhere between 1,420 to 1,440 K’s. If you’re carrying two closers averaging 70 punchouts apiece, you’ll need 1,300 from seven remaining pitching slots. That’s roughly 185 strikeouts per arm. Of course one can make a small dent in that by streaming two-start pitchers, but that’s a dangerous game that usually damages ERA and WHIP. Only 19 starters hit the 185-K benchmark in 2016. Tragically, one is no longer with us. Two others, Robbie Ray and Michael Pineda, will also drop a grenade on your ratios. Jon Gray makes half of his starts at high altitude where breaking balls don’t break. Drew Pomeranz is a considerable health risk. Of the 14 that remain, ADP has all but four drafted regularly in the first three rounds. High strikeout arms in latter rounds aren’t unicorns, but they’re only slightly more common, so a "punt and recover" approach to whiffs is not advised. In a perfect world, my two staff cornerstones will put me as close to 500 strikeouts as possible. Apart from that, I want boring, stale, unexciting, insipid, dull, reliable, stable veterans in the first 10 rounds, keeping my eye open for a closer value if one slips.

Another exercise I like to do before I look at ADP and fantasy magazines, before I listen to the experts and the touts, is to rank all the players by position, before my mind becomes "polluted" with the opinions of others and the gravity of ADP. These lists serve as anchors. If you have an outlier that drastically conflicts with the market, usually there’s a reason for it. It’s incredibly difficult to not become influenced by ADP or get swallowed up by groupthink. As far as ADP goes, keep in mind that as time goes by, it becomes increasingly inaccurate. Particular players will have skewed ADP from drafts before certain news or trends influenced the current market. So keep that in mind when mapping out your strategy. If you are participating in any Draft Champions leagues in preparation for the Main Event (which I highly recommend), here’s a list of some skewed ADP's to be aware of in the first 20 rounds. I’ve listed their current ADP, and where they’ve gone in recent NFBC drafts. For example: John Doe – (Current ADP), (Recent Draft), current trend.

Ian Desmond  - (59), (43), up.

Mark Trumbo – (66), (62), up.

Kelvin Herrera – (116), (84), up.

Rajai Davis – (213), (188), up.

Chris Carter – (229), (244), down.

Jarrod Dyson – (293), (186), up.

Some folks are excited about not just the Coors Field effect but also the possibility of Ian Desmond gaining 1B eligibility. Mark Trumbo had been slipping considerably but his stock is back up since he’s wearing an Oriole uniform once again. Once the Royals traded Wade Davis to the Cubs, Kelvin Herrera’s value skyrocketed as the new presumptive closer. The market was worried about Rajai Davis’ role as a free agent, but the journeyman is now an Athletic. He’s poised to hit leadoff, but Oakland loves to platoon, play matchups and ride the hot hand, so be careful. Chris Carter’s extended free agency served to dampen investor enthusiasm and now talk of playing in Japan may cause the bottom to fall out of his ADP. Finally, the Jarrod Dyson trade to Seattle has the market rather optimistic about a potential increase in at-bats and obviously stolen base opportunities.

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