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Sunday 20th Aug 2017

Every year at this time, I am always asked the same question - “Do you guys have anything that will calculate inflation at my auction?”

And every year, I regretfully respond – “Sorry, no, not this year.”

Until now.

Here’s the deal.  I know there is a conventional treatment to account for draft inflation that is….um....

Actually, I should probably first start with a general explanation of inflation, for those new to the hobby or more familiar with drafts than auction, as inflation is a concept intrinsic to the auction format, specifically keeper auctions.

A rotisserie auction is a zero-sum game.  There is a fixed amount of money available to purchase a fixed amount of talent.  The price of the talent is tailored to perfectly match the available money by assigning a value to each player based on their projected performance.  The number of players assigned value is exactly equal to the number of players needed to legally populate everyone’ roster.

In keeper leagues, owners are allowed to own the same players the following year.  The players they most often choose to keep have salaries less than what they are projected to earn.  A typical keeper list may consist of eight or ten players, projected to earn $100 but only costing that owner $50.  Keeping in mind that every league owner is going to be keeping players less than projected value, what results is an economy where there is more money available to be spent than there is available talent, according to their projected value.

This scenario is what leads to owners buying players for inflated prices, hence the term draft inflation.  It is a cardinal sin to leave money on the table at an auction, so in order to leave spending your entire available budget, you need to pay more than projected value in keeper league auctions.  So what the original question I posed was really asking is “do you guys have a means of resetting the projected value to account for league inflation?”

Which brings me back to…"Here's the deal."

I know there is a conventional treatment to deal with draft inflation that is algebraically correct and even makes some logical sense, but quite frankly, it is impractical and not representative of what really occurs in keeper auctions.  As such, I feel it does more harm than good and perhaps selfishly, have opted not to incorporate it into any of our tools available in our Platinum subscription package.

The concept is as follows.  A league inflation factor can be calculated based on the total money available to be spent and the total of the projected value of the remaining draft-worthy players (the best players left to fill each roster legally).  The inflation is the former divided by the latter.  By means of example, let us say that we are playing with a 12-team league with a $260 budget and each team has a keeper list described above (protecting $100 worth of talent for $50).  The total money in the pool is 12 x $260 = $3120.  The money available is $3120 - $600 = $2520, where the $600 is derived from 12 teams each freezing $50 in salary.  Another way of looking at it is each team has $210 left to spend so there is 12 x $210 = $2520 leftover.  The projected value of the remaining players is $3120 - $1200 = $1920, where $1200 is generated from 12 teams each freezing $100 worth of talent.  The inflation factor is the former divided by the latter or $2520/$1920 = 1.3125.  This example league is said to have 31.25% inflation.  That is, if every available player is purchased for 31.25% more than their projected value, every owner would spend exactly all of their money.  Therefore, the conventional means of accounting for inflation is to multiply each projected value by the inflation factor, a treatment I call linear since every value gets adjusted the same percentage.

As suggested, the chief beef I have with this treatment is this is never the way real keeper auctions precede.  For reasons that are beyond the scope of this essay (but will be discussed in the future) the tendency is for the best available players to be purchased at prices beyond this linearly adjusted value.  My concern is if we provided this value, you would never spend all your money in a keeper auction because this adjusted linear value would always suggest that you stop bidding at a price where you will never acquire quality talent.  Granted, to be completely truthful, I have the same concerns about our standard values being a stop/go mechanism and not a guideline, but there is no way we could get away with not publishing dollar values, so we do it and offer companion strategy essays covering this subject.

In the back of my mind, I have always had an idea I wanted to try to better account for draft inflation and it turns out it “works,” or at minimum, renders inflated bid guidelines I am more comfortable providing.  Amid the problems with the conventional treatment is the fact that there is no real theoretical or even scientific reason for doing it beyond “the math works out.”  My idea incorporates some basic valuation principles.  Plus, the math works out.

One of the principles of a sound valuation system is the last player drafted at each position should be assigned a value of $1 (or whatever the minimum bid is necessary to purchase the player).  The linear application of inflation makes a $1 player to be $1.3125 in our example.   While I understand when you round off, the value returns to $1, but that is not the point.  The non-rounded off, lowest value should be the minimum required bid at all times. To carry this further, the order of the players put up for bid in an auction does not have to go from top to bottom.  The lowest valued player can be put up for auction at any time.  Once that player is off the table, the next lowest ranked player at that position should now assume the minimum bid.  That is, if the second to bottom player is valued at $3, once the bottom player is purchased, that $3 drops to $1.  While I realize you can set up the conventional method to recalculate inflation each time, this adjustment is not talked about enough.

So we have established that at all times, the lowest ranked player at each position should always be assigned a value of $1.  What happens next is the available money is then distributed to the available players in proportion to their percentage of statistical contribution to the total statistical contribution.  This is the key, as it makes the adjustment in proportion to the player’s contribution, not linearly.

The way my treatment of inflation works is just as described.  The lowest ranked player is set at $1 and everyone else is scaled up proportionately.  This calculation is repeated after every player purchase.  The result is far more money is allocated to the top players as is done via the conventional treatment.

The reason I am now comfortable providing this functionality in a couple of our Platinum tools is now, these values are on a par with the normal dollar values we publish. By on par, I mean in both instances, the lowest ranked player is worth $1 and everyone else is scaled up.  I have the same concerns I had before, but at least now I feel I can better address them in an essay.  There is no algorithm that can accurately predict how others will think.  There is no set of equations that can determine that someone is looking to rebuild and is willing to pay whatever it takes to purchase Albert Pujols so they have a trading chip.  There is no macro that can be written to get inside someone’s head that believes they have a great, cheap offense and are thus willing to pay through the nose for Roy Halladay to anchor their pitching staff.

With that as a backdrop, at the bottom of this column, I have linked a sample version of an Excel tool that will soon be available for our Platinum subscribers.  The MastersDraft, our own drafting software already has this functionality built in.  The Excel tool will be offered as a standalone product which you can use to track inflation (or deflation in redraft auctions) to HELP/GUIDE/ASSIST you with your bid price.  The sample version is loaded with hitters and their year ending value from 15 team mixed leagues last season.  The version made available for Platinum subscribers will allow you to use any of our 2012 values for common leagues or to import values customized to your own leagues.

Here is what you need to do.  The only column you need worry about is D, labeled REAL.  Here is where you type in the salary of the protected players as well as the amount they are purchased for in your auction.  The column labeled PROJECTED is the unadjusted projected value, it will never change.  The column labeled OLD computes the inflated value using the conventional method. The one called NEW is the value adjusted in the manner that allows me to sleep at night.

To see how things work, type in some typical keeper salaries in the REAL column.  Once you reach a point where values are affected, you will see the numbers change in OLD and NEW.  You will also see how the two columns differ with the NEW column containing values higher than the OLD column.   As a matter of fact, you will see that before any player is even entered to the REAL column, which is what usually happens even in redraft leagues – the top players go for more than the projected value.

You will note as each player is purchased, their price disappears and the available players are re-ranked.  If you opt to use this to track inflation in a real auction, you can sort on the rank column by placing the cursor in cell AI (where it says RANK) and sort ascending.  All the available players are brought to the top to make it easier to see who is left.

One final note: inflation should be calculated separately for hitting and pitching.  All I have here is hitting and it assumes the standard 69% budget allotted to hitting.  MastersDraft and the standalone tool allow for customization in this regard.  You can say to lump hitters and pitchers into one pool and adjust globally, or set them separately and assign a hitting to pitching split.

CLICK HERE to download sample inflation tool

I apologize in advance for the brevity of today’s offering, as I am really swimming in the deep end with respect to churning out content for our Platinum subscription.  That said, today’s message will hopefully crystallize a bunch of related, but somewhat disconnected thoughts I have presented in various and sundry forms over the past several months.

In the name of full disclosure, today’s topic was actually spurned from my listening to a fantasy football show on the radio.  The discussion pertained to how different the player landscape is and how drastic one has to adjust one’s strategy to account for the differences in the player pool as compared to years past.  The talk revolved around how much of a passing league the NFL has become and how that has impacted player value, along with the recent boom of running backs by committee.  The hosts were really going over the edge, reminiscing about how all football drafts used to be so dominated by running backs early, most teams drafting two right off the bat, but now, quarterbacks, wide receivers and even a tight end or two warrant first or second round consideration.  The discussion about how necessary it was to rethink one’s strategy was a bit over the top for me.  I began yelling, OK, cursing at my SiriusXM receiver, imploring that the basic strategy has remained the same.  It is just how a different input leads to a different output.

Here is what I mean, with the following message transcending fantasy football and being true for all fantasy sports.  I do not care what the sport is, what the scoring is, what the format is, there are some basic facets of strategy that apply across the board.

STEP ONE

Whether it is via a spreadsheet, pen and quill or simply using the neurons and synapses in your gray matter, you have a general, or if it suits you, more specific idea of how each player will perform on an individual basis.

STEP TWO

Again, you can break out the most recent version of Excel or do this intuitively.  Ultimately, the objective is to amass as much useful potential as you can, key being the word "useful."  For what it is worth, I am coming around to the notion that the term value is overused in this context.  Sure, we have an idea of what we expect a player’s value to be, but since it is still just an expectation, perhaps the terminology used should better reflect that.  The word value has an absolute connotation, absolute meaning factual.  Until something occurs, it is just conjecture, or as I now call it, potential.  OK, back to useful.  Useful value, I mean potential, is that which differentiates you from everyone else.  It does not matter how many raw points a player scores, it only matters how many more points this player scores as compared to other players at his position.  So what you want to do is keep this concept in mind and come up with a general ranking of players according to their raw potential adjusted for useful potential.

STEP THREE

It’s draft time.  As already mentioned the goal is to construct your roster with the most potential possible.  In order to do this, you need to find the proper balance between how you feel a player will do and how the market also values the same player (sorry, “potentials” does not sound right).  A factor not yet discussed is the reliability or confidence you have that the (or any) player in question will achieve his potential.  Or, perhaps, balancing the likelihood the player reaches something less than full potential with the chance they realize the whole kit and caboodle.  More often than not, an optimally constructed team has a degree of reliability as well as a degree of upside. So whenever it is your turn, you are aiming to pick the player that is best able to allow you to build the strongest team by the time Mr. Irrelevant is taken.  You want to consider his useful potential, the risk/probability he lives up to that potential and the order you select your players to accrue the greatest potential.

Really, that is all there is.  There is no drastic change in strategy from one year to the next.  What changes is the input, hence output for steps one and two.  The names and potential may change, but what you need to do with the potential remains the same, regardless of the sport, regardless of the scoring, regardless of the format.

I know this is a baseball themed column, but let’s bring it back to the opening theme.  Taking a QB, WR or TE early is not a drastically different strategy than the one used in previous seasons.  The strategy five years ago was not to go “running back – running back.”  The strategy was to pick the best two players that leave you with the team amassing the greatest potential and it just happened that selecting two running backs was the best way to affect this.  Today, the goal is still the same, maximize potential.  It is just that the way to accomplish it now might be to draft a QB then a WR - same strategy, just different players.

Now bringing this back to baseball, while the more complicated rotisserie style scoring adds complexity to steps one and two as well as adding more layers to your decision in step three, the strategy is still the same – assemble a team capable of putting up the most points.  The strategy is not draft scarce positions, or draft the best player available or wait on pitching.  Combining steps one, two and three dictate what player you take, not your strategy.

OK, back to writing profiles.

At the recent Fantasy Sports Association Experts Draft, I was taken aback by how early a trio of talented youngsters left the board, as well as the order they were selected.  Brett Lawrie was picked 32nd, Desmond Jennings was taken 35th while Eric Hosmer was drafted 40th.  There are several lessons to be learned from this, the primary one I want to focus on is the danger of misusing an ADP.

By means of brief review, "ADP" stands for Average Draft Position and is becoming an increasingly popular tool, especially in snake drafts.  Just as it sounds, the ADP shows where every player is being drafted.  But remember, the A stands for average, so sometimes the player goes earlier, sometimes later.

One pratfall of drafting using ADP as a guide is too many people forget what it actually is and use it incorrectly.  An abundance of drafters aim to get players after their ADP.  On paper, this makes sense.  The thing is, getting a player after his ADP means nothing.  In theory, each pick in a draft is “supposed” to return a certain amount of value, be it in a vacuum.  If you do not like the term value, think of it as potential.  What you want to do is pick as many players as possible at a point where they will return more value (potentially) than can be reasonably expected.  The ADP can be useful in scheming the order and timing of your picks, but the goal is not to accrue as many picks after their ADP as possible.

Another means the ADP is misused is learning when you feel a player will be picked, then deciding that in order to insure you get him, you jump the ADP.  In some cases, there is nothing wrong with this.  But in many instances, you end up drafting a player at a spot where the potential value he can return is significantly less than what can be reasonably expected from that spot.

Let us discuss the above using Hosmer, Lawrie and Jennings as case studies.  What we will do is look at where this troika has been drafted in various formats.

The first example is a money league that our own Perry Van Hook administers.  This is a pseudo-NFBC league, playing by many of the same rules and in fact many NFBC veterans comprise league ownership.  We drafted in December and Hosmer went 61st, Lawrie 73rd and Jennings 84th.  Keep in mind that there is a dearth of information available at this time to guide your draft.  We rolled out our projections on December 1.  A couple other sites also had early projections, but the available information was limited.  I think it is no coincidence that these draft spots came pretty close to the site’s projections where we have Hosmer 64th, Lawrie 71st and Jennings 94th.  I am not trying to insinuate these people used our projections, just that this is where these players “should” be drafted, based on an objective view of their potential stats.

Next, Mock Draft Central has kept an ADP composed of drafts organized for magazines so the drafters are my fellow industry brethren.  I actually participated in five of the seven drafts used.  Here, Hosmer’s ADP is 51, Jenningsis 61 and Lawrie’s is 66.  Some of these drafts took place after the Halloween candy was off the shelves but before the majority of turkeys were consumed with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries.  Some are more recent, but the point is my fellow pundits, many of whom were aware of the reasonable projections for these players, opted to take them at a point where their return on investment was likely to be poor.  But, they want to be the person to be able to say “I told you so.”

Mock Draft Central also tracks general ADPs.  Looking at mock drafts from the past week, Hosmer’s ADP is 52, Jennings’ is 54 and Lawrie’s is 56.  You can see how recent drafters use the experts’ (oh how I loathe that word) picks/ADP as a guide and have drafted Lawrie and Jennings a little earlier in order to make sure they get them.

An ADP produced by the National Fantasy Baseball Championship incorporating their slow draft format have Hosmer’s ADP at 46, Lawrie’s at 48 and Jennings at 60.  This makes sense to me as Lawrie’s 3B eligibility is going to be attractive to NFBC participants, probably more so than other formats.  And while I consider the NFBC to be the sagest group of drafters, one area I do not pay too much heed to is where the young players go, as even the NFBC has owners fascinated by the shiny new toys.  I do pay attention to global trends within the ADP.

The final comparison will be a second league also run by Perry, with almost the exact rules as the other, having several owners playing in both.  We started about a week ago and Hosmer fell to 41 (61 first time), Lawrie went 54 (73 first time) and Jennings 65 (84 first time).  What we are observing is a direct result of the subjective influence of some experts and others that have to have the shiny new toy.

By means of review, here is a chart showing all of the above data, JBL being Perry’s first league and PBY the second while MB is the Mastersball ranking according to our most recent projection.

 

JBL

Mag

MDC

NFBC

PBY

FSTA

MB

Hosmer

61

51

52

46

41

40

64

Lawrie

73

66

56

48

54

32

71

Jennings

84

61

54

60

65

35

94

 

While I do not want to give the impression that everyone else is silly because the site’s projections are correct, I do think that the current market value of this triumvirate is overly optimistic.  I do not think it is an accident that the market value started out in the neighborhood of our projection and has since morphed to be greater and greater.

Perhaps it is best to let you decide.  These numbers are ballpark, but they are close enough to get a pretty good idea of where you put these three youngsters in terms of potential value.  Below are approximate stat lines necessary to finish the season as the 30th, 40th and 50th best player.

30th: .290-.310, 30-40 HR+SB, 170-180 runs+RBI

40th: .280-.310, 30-40 HR+SB, 160-170 runs+RBI

50th: .270-.290, 27-40 HR+SB, 150-160 runs+RBI

Take a look at the numbers needed for 30th and 40th and decide if any of Hosmer, Lawrie and Jennings has a reasonable chance to attain that line.  Of course, they all have the potential to do it, but you cannot convince me that should be their 50th percentile projection.  This means there is a 50% chance they produce BETTER numbers and a 50% chance they produce WORSE numbers.  Those lines might be their 95th percentile projection, 5% chance they do better, 95% chance they do worse.  Drafting any of the three in the 30s like what was done in the FSTA gives you about a 5% chance of BREAKING EVEN, let alone getting a return on your investment.

As was alluded to initially, there are several pertinent points that can be extracted from this case study.  The first is being wary of how you use ADPs to guide your draft.  Do not get overly exuberant, jumping the ADP to a point where the intrinsic value of the player drafted cannot provide a reasonable return on your investment.  The second is be careful.  Owning the next big thing is fun, but winning is even more fun.

Last week, I talked a little about the misuse of what is commonly known as average draft position (ADP).  The focus was on how three players, Eric Hosmer, Brett Lawrie and Desmond Jennings have all zoomed up the ADP because there is a desire for many enthusiasts to own the next great thing.  What happens is drafters look at the most recent ADP, determining an order and ideally assuring drafting a specific player. Meaning to get the coveted player,  they need to jump the ADP a few spots.  This cycle repeats itself and some player’s ADP continue to rise and rise as a result.  While I have no issue with going after your guy, there comes a point where his reasonable value exceeds the expected value of that draft spot, eliminating any possible return on your investment.

Here is what is meant by expected value of each draft spot.  An expected value can be determined for each player, based on that player’s anticipated production.  This is really just the value used as a guide in auction formats.  If you graph out a draft, using these expected values, you can determine a rough idea of what each draft spot is worth.  The names of the players may change from year-to-year, but the distribution of value remains basically the same.  One quirk of the data is it is not linear.  The difference between consecutive players is largest at the beginning of a draft.  This is not unlike the NFL rookie draft where there is a value placed on each pick to facilitate trading.  If a team trades down three spots in the first round, it costs more than a three spot difference in another round to balance the deal.

Here is an outline of the pick values for a typical 15-team draft.  The value of the first and last pick of each round is presented; consider this value to be +/- $1.

ROUND

FIRST

LAST

1

$45

$31

2

$30

$24

3

$24

$21

4

$21

$18

5

$18

$17

6

$17

$16

7

$15

$14

8

$14

$13

9

$13

$12

10

$12

$11

11

$11

$11

12

$10

$10

13

$9

$9

14

$8

$8

15

$9

$9

16

$8

$8

17

$7

$7

18

$6

$6

19

$5

$5

20

$4

$4

21

$3

$3

22

$2

$2

23

$1

$1

There are other implications of this chart that we will broach in future columns, but for today, the idea is you can estimate the expected return of investment per pick according to the above chart.  As an example, a third round pick should return in the neighborhood of $22 or $23.  Bringing this back to last week, Hosmer, Lawrie and Jennings are being selected in this range, so they should be expected to return between $21 and $24.  For those that play in mixed auctions, would you pay that much for an unproven player?  That is a pretty good chunk of change.  Our current expected dollar value for each of the three is about $15.

But, there is another fallacy of ADP I want to discuss.  There are some who feel a successful draft is one in which you select as many players past their ADP as possible.  In fact, some sites score your draft using this as the measuring stick, awarding positive points for every draft spot you pick a player after his ADP and negative points for early picks.  Here is the problem: the goal of a draft is not to beat the ADP, but to assemble as much talent as you can based on how YOU feel your selected players will do and how they will contribute intrinsic value to your team.  Another way to look at it is the objective is not to beat the ADP, but to amass as much talent that has the potential to return more than the expected value as defined by the above chart.

This is not to say ADP is useless as it can be a tool to help you accomplish the above.  The ADP gives you an idea of the market value of some players.  You may have a set of players you want.  The idea is not to pick the ones that beat the ADP but to use the ADP to help you determine the order of your picks to maximize your chance of getting the biggest return on investment from these picks, relative to the value chart above.  Sometimes this entails your drafting a player ranked LOWER on your personal draft board if the ADP says you can likely wait a round to pick someone you rank higher. (Those who completely ignore the ADP may just take the higher ranked player first.)

In terms of dollar value, let’s say you expect Player A to return $15.  That means he is “worth” a 7th round pick.  However, his ADP is 10th round.  Now let us say you also like Player B, ranked a few spots lower on your board.  Maybe he is supposed to also return $15, but round off puts Player A higher than Player B.  If you take Player B first and then take Player A in the eighth, you get $30 worth of potential value.  If you took Player A first, then you would be left with Player C in the next round, who could be valued a buck or two less so your combined value is only $28 or $29.  If you do this three or four times throughout the course of the draft, you can amass significantly more potential value than what is dictated by the value chart above.  Think of it this way, instead of having $260 to spend at your auction, you have $265-$270.  It might not seem like much, but in competitive leagues, every little bit helps.  Plus, this is a zero-sum economy.  If you effectively have $270 to spend, someone else has $250, or at minimum, that $10 is dispersed amongst several players.

As mentioned, there are several other game theory implications of the value chart that we will talk about down the line.  But for now, hopefully it opens up your mind a little to not rely on the ADP as a draft list, but to also not completely ignore it either.  ADP is a tool and if used properly, it can help you gain an advantage over your opponents.  But if used frivolously or ignored, you can miss out on the opportunity to gain said advantage.

While I enjoyed writing on fantasy football for the past few months, I would be lying if I said I did not miss our weekly baseball get-together.  It is great to be back with you talking a little horsehide.

While I may not have been writing about baseball the past few months, that does not mean I have taken a vacation from it.  I have been in full baseball mode since November 1, refining our projection engine with some advanced batted ball data I have added to the arsenal.  This data is part of the benefit of doing some consulting for ESPN, as I have been contracted to help backfill the previous preseason duties of the Tampa Bay Rays' newest scout, one Jason Grey.  But don’t worry; my work with the World Wide Leader will not at all impact my contributions here.  In fact, as just alluded to, with access to additional data, my work here will only be better.

Today, we will start off by sharing a lesson I learned by participating in a very unique drafting experience, one that was educational, extremely entertaining as well as thought provoking.  In order to pass the time over the winter, the gang over on the NFBC forums came up with the concept they called the “All Time Draft.”  To be fair, they were not the originators of the idea.  Our friends over at Rotojunkie have been doing their version, called Vintage Drafting, for years.  I am sure others have done this as well.  In short, the All Time Draft I participated in was a retro draft, the player pool consisting of anyone appearing in the Major Leagues since 1901.  A second draft ensued, with everyone playing since 1941 comprising the player pool.  In both drafts, standard 5x5 scoring was used along with the traditional 14 hitters and 9 pitchers.  The owner would draft a player and designate the year and then that player was off the board.

Now that I think about it, I actually learned two lessons, or perhaps better stated, was reminded the hard way not to stray from one of my cornerstone drafting principles, so why don’t we start there.  Without boring you with the manner I determined player value, my rankings had Ty Cobb’s 1911 campaign (.420-8-127-83-147) as the highest remaining season on the board when I made the eighth pick in the draft.  I was a bit reticent to pull the trigger, since I know in standard drafts, homers are of the utmost importance, but I looked at the batting average and decided that I would be able to chase some of the seasons of high homers with a lower average.  I also figured that it would be an advantage to get such a high number of steals without sacrificing too much in the way of RBI and runs.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the inaugural All Time Draft Championship as I was blindsided by how quickly the seasons I was targeting left the board.  My ranking system placed these seasons in the eight, nine and ten round range, so I figured I could hold off for a few rounds, build up all the categories with balanced players, toss in an arm or two and make up for the power later.  Much to my chagrin, a couple of the competitors had the opposite strategy in mind and decided to pound up the counting stats in lieu of batting average, perhaps addressing average later if necessary.  So before I knew it, the names Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Luis Gonzalez all left the board well before I expected.

The cardinal error I made was pigeon-holing my necessary strategy after only a single pick.  Actually, that is not exactly the mistake.  The real mistake was not designing a complete drafting plan based on the initial Cobb pick.  I literally should have thrown my rankings out the window, or perhaps recalculated them after heavily discounting average and steals, then using that as my new cheat sheet.  The present day analogous situation would have been taking someone like Ichiro Suzuki or Carl Crawford first a few years ago or maybe spending an early pick on Michael Bourn this year, as many are doing.  This strategy works great if you can draft Dan Uggla, Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn, well, Uggla and Reynolds anyways.  But if you miss out on them, you are in trouble.  This is exactly what happened to me in the All Time Draft as I ended up woefully short in power and actually gave back too much of my advantage in average and steals chasing the remaining power options.  I failed to properly readjust the intrinsic value the stats had to my team once I started off with The Georgia Peach.

This segues into the lesson learned that I was originally going to discuss and that is while the idea of dumping categories is frowned upon in standard roto, it is a viable, if not necessary ploy in this format.  In reality, what I should have done after drafting Cobb was a modified Sweeney Plan, ignoring homers and RBI while making sure I finished near or at the top in average, steals and runs, while competing in pitching.  As suggested, conventional wisdom is that this will not work in standard roto.  But the lesson the All Time Drafts taught us is that if you really plan around the categories you are ignoring, you can indeed assemble a winning squad.

Of course, playing with known stats versus the unknown are two entirely different beasts.  The nature of playing with known stats is for the categorical distributions to be tighter, facilitating punting.  Further helping this is the uncertainty and variability of pitching is not a problem.  It is easier to make sure you have the requisite pitching to help account for the loss of points in the punted categories.

This is not going to alter my initial strategy in my drafts; I still favor balance when dealing with the unknown.  However, I will keep the results of the All Time Drafts, where both of the winners cleverly punted select categories, in the back of my mind.  If, during the draft I find myself deficient in an area like batting average or steals, I will not panic and chase that shortcoming with inferior players if the option of really solidifying my strength with better players is there for me.

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