Yahoo F&F League: Team Singman

Yesterday afternoon I drafted for the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, my second year in the league. Last year I finished fourth of 14 teams, so this year I am looking to break into the top three and hopefully take the title. Having received the first overall pick in the draft, I knew that with a solid draft I’d have a good chance of contending.

The league is a 14-team mixed league with rotisserie scoring, standard 5X5 categories, waiver additions, and daily updates. In other words, it is probably similar to your own league.

My team looked like this after the draft last year, and comparing it to this year’s team I feel this year’s team is significantly better. And considering that I finished in fourth last year … well I won’t get ahead of myself.

Here’s the team (the full draft can be found here.)

image
Hopefully Marco will smack plenty of doubles off the Green Monster this year. (Icon/SMI)

C: Kurt Suzuki – Round 12
1B: Albert Pujols – 1
2B: Ben Zobrist – 3
SS: Marco Scutaro – 18
3B: Ryan Zimmerman – 2
MI: Placido Polanco – 16
CI: Adam LaRoche – 11
OF: Adam Lind – 4
OF: Shane Victorino – 9
OF: Elijah Dukes – 13
OF: Cody Ross – 17
Util: Chase Headley – 15
Util: Todd Helton – 14
BN: Ryan Sweeney – 24
BN: Casey McGehee – 25

P: Justin Verlander – Round 5
P: Ricky Nolasco – 6
P: Yovani Gallardo – 7
P: Marc Rzepczynski – 21
P: Carlos Marmol – 8
P: Huston Street – 10
P: Phil Hughes – 19
P: Daniel Bard – 20
P: Juan Gutierrez – 22
BN: Gio Gonzalez – 23

Overall my hitting is leaning way toward the power side of the power/speed balance, but my strategy was to load up on power since I feel steals will be much easier to trade for after the draft if I want to quicken my team. I opted against taking some of the more young and unproven middle infielders like Alcides Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Scott Sizemore and Everth Cabrera and instead waited for the steady veterans. Between McGehee, Scutaro, and Polanco I should get decent production from my MI and SS spots. Ben Zobrist as the first pick in the third round was a bit of a reach, but I like the flexibility he offers and anything close to the numbers he posted last season would be awesome.

I went on a pitching run in the middle rounds, landing me with a polarized staff composed of three near-aces and high upside picks like Rzepczynski and Gonzalez that were praised in the draft room. Hughes and Bard are two valuable middle relievers—Hughes with the potential to jump into the rotation and Bard a great closing job if Papelbon gets injured.

Those are my thoughts for now; any thoughts you have I am interested to hear in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Adam said...

    Marmol in the 8th? You must have a lot of faith in him not to walk 5+ guys / 9IP, or for him to have an artificially low HR/FB rate (like in 2007). Just curious, what other closers had been taken at that point?

  2. bennythedog said...

    I like your “reaches”/sleepers.  They should provide you good fleibility and as you said, maybe a surprise or two (Hughes/Bard). 

    btw…Is there a way to get a list of players with the Yahoo pre-rank ranking on it?  I can’t seem to find one and exporting it seems to be impossible.

  3. Bill said...

    Paul – good team – like you say light on speed. Lot of BA anchors (Pujols, Polanco, Helton, Sweeney) with only one guaranting anything plus in the other 4 cats.

    the link:
    http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/b1/440774/draftresults
    Here’s the team (the full draft can be found here.)

    gives this -
    There was a problem
    You are not allowed to view this page because you are not in this league. (Error #152)
    Back to previous page

  4. Lou D. said...

    After Verlander and Nolasco that pitching staff is gonna drive you nuts. I’d also look to pick up an OF you feel will have a Lind like breakthrough as soon as one emerges. I have Zobrist, Lind, Zimmerman and Nolasco on my keeper team from last year.

  5. Nate Marcum said...

    It looks to me that you have a solid foundation, but with a couple cracks.  Replacing Dukes will be obviously necessary.  Huston Street should start the season on the DL, but I look for him to have another strong campaign.  Big fan of Rep and Gio in k/9, just hope each progresses this year instead of regresses like Gio did to start last season. 

    I personally love taking Laroche around the same time as you did. 25/80 out of CI spot is pretty solid. *same goes for cody ross*.

    Good Luck on Scutaro and Zobrist.

  6. Jeff said...

    @Jacob:

    I think the vast majority of people who play fantasy baseball use roto-style scoring.

    To my eyes, H2H seems like a peculiar format to use for a game that simulates the play of 162 games per year. In football it makes sense, since just about every team plays 1 game per week.

    Perhaps you are a H2H player—can you give me your best pitch on why that is superior to roto? I’d really like to hear it.

  7. Paul Singman said...

    Adam – For some perspective the two closer taken before I took Marmol were Rafael Soriano and Heath Bell and the two taken after were Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde. People were drafting them fairly aggressively. He is riskier than other closers so perhaps Valverde or K-Rod would have made a better choice.

    Bennythedog – I don’t think there is an easy way but what you can do, and this shouldn’t be too hard, is you go to the players tab and hold down Control while highlighting so you can highlight vertically, then copy and paste the player names into a simple text editor like notepad. From there recopy and paste into Excel or whatever you like. Do the same thing with the O-rank column and that should do it.

    ayebatter – Yup definitely oops at the moment. Carlos Beltran or Dexter Fowler would have been much better picks. He still has a chance with another team but hopefully Ryan Sweeney steps up.

    Bill – I thought the league info was public, guess not. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take screen shots of the draft results and put them in a BoTR post if you guys are interested.

    Lou D. – If it were that easy I would but breakout players don’t grow on trees. Dukes I thought could be that type of player but now with Ryan Sweeney I’m not so sure. Chase Headley has some breakout potential though.

    In this league with a max of 1250 innings pitched you don’t need much more than three to four solid starters. Between Hughes, Rzep, and Gio I think I’ll get at least one more solid starter to compliment my top three. I’m very satisfied with my SP.

    Nate – I’m hoping Sweeney might be able to replace Dukes, but if the chance arises I can slot Headley in the outfield and try and trade for another hitter to play Util.

    Thanks for all the input guys!

  8. Jonathan Sher said...

    Paul -

    Thanks for the posting. While I prefer auctions to drafts, I am doing my first draft league in 11 days with an almost format so it’s interesting to see who was taken when.

    In auctions I spend about $190 of a $260 budget on hitters so I suspect my tendency in the draft will be to wait for pitching. That said, I like your picks in rounds 5, 6 and 7, but it’s impossible for me to say if those were the best picks when your link to the full draft won’t allow non-league members access. Perhaps you can figure out a way to post or link to the full draft.

  9. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Jeff,

    I guess the thing about H2H is that it provides for direct competition. Rotisserie baseball is like the golf of fantasy sports; yes a winner is decided at the end, but nobody is ever directly competing with anybody else. In H2H, however much it may suffer from the same sample-size concerns of, say, the MLB playoffs, you are in direct competition with your leaguemates week in and week out. As well, in H2H you are not able to rely on some random hot streak at the beginning of the season to get your team ahead. You must have a roster that is competitive every day, and every week to win.

  10. Andre said...

    After playing roto for years, I played in my first H2H league back in ‘08 and have been hooked ever since, playing it exclusively the past two seasons. Why?

    As Jacob said, the experience of direct competition is unparalleled, especially when playing in a league with people who know each other personally and know the game well. The ####-talking is off the charts and only adds to the excitement in my opinion – that along with weekly side-wagering only sweeten the victory. I love watching a week come down to one play on an otherwise meaningless Sunday night game between cellar dwellers.

    H2H also provides teams a chance to turn things around mid season that roto does not, keeping more owners interested. In roto it’s all too common for those who’ve fallen behind to simply give up and I can’t blame those people who do. Where’s the incentive to invest the time and energy to come back in a roto league when you’re mired in the basement in July?

    I hope H2H leagues (particularly those with deeper than 5×5 format) become more popular as I’d love to see more articles focused on it in regards to strategy and player evaluation (streaky players vs. steady players for instance).

    As for your team, I’m not feeling some of your mid picks like LaRoche, Victorino, Street or Marmol. I think those picks could have been better used on some of the solid SP options that might have been available around there. Obviously Dukes was a whiff, but did you have to pick him so soon?

    I like the Helton, Polanco, Gallardo and Ross picks most of all.

  11. Jason B said...

    I like the potential value Gallardo, Helton, and Ross picks too.  Might have gone with Valverde or K-Rod rather than Marmol.  Mcgehee is becoming more useful with Gamel’s (annual) injury.

  12. Jacob W said...

    Andre & Jacob

    I played H2H for years before my league switched to Roto, and in my opinnion Roto is a much better format. While I agree that it’s fun to have the H2H competition each week, it is much more gratifying to be rewarded for having the best team for an entire year. I can’t tell you the years in which the top 2 or 3 teams, who did the best job managing all year, were beaten out of the playoffs by a team that barely squeaked but who had a hot team the last couple of weeks. I know that it happens all the team in sports, but I prefer to have a manager rewarded for the job they do over entire year instead of having a manager get rewarded for 3 or 4 weeks of a hot streak. The roto system is just a better scale for a managers body of work over an entire year, from draft to finish in my opinnion.

    Paul
    Love your run of pitchers 5-7. Thats a great K heavy staff, with great ratio possiblities. Would have been a fan of the closer in the 8th if you would have gone with Valverde or Wilson.

    Your right Fowler would have been a much better choice than Dukes considering your lack of steals. I do like the possiblities in Headly and Sweeney and they were a good price. Good draft overall

  13. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Other Jacob,

    First of all, fantasy baseball and basketball are not similar. Basketball has a core group of stars and as long as your draft is decent it is possible to do well as an absentee, because only the very bottom of your roster would ever turn over.

    Your point that “roto leaves less to luck and more to your body of work all year,“just strikes me as hollow. I want to defeat somebody, and I want to win a championship, there is nothing worthwhile about a victory based on a hot streak in April or May, if there were the Blue Jays would have made the playoffs last year. If you can manage your way to a playoff seed in H2H, then you can manage your way around a one week matchup, and if you lose, well then you always have the small sample size bugaboo to blame.

  14. Andre said...

    I’ve found that H2H just seems to lead to more strategic play, not just trotting out the best guys and tallying the final numbers come September. In some roto leagues, one can essentially draft well, forget about their team and check back 6 months later with a title. That’s an exaggeration obviously, as I wouldn’t play in such a weak league but I feel H2H is actually a much better barometer of managerial skill, as I have to play matchups and try to outmanage on a daily basis.

    So maybe the better team may not always win – although the 2nd seeded team has won my league all three years it has been running so far. I’m not looking for statistical vindication, I like competition.

    Believe me, as a Mets fan who sat in the stands for NLCS games in both ‘88 and ‘06, I know all about the pain of the supposed better team losing. I’m sure the Dodgers and Cards of those respective years found their victory just as sweet, as if they had been favorites.

    Anyway I’m just preaching the gospel of H2H in hopes of seeing more writers focusing on it.

  15. Jacob Rothberg said...

    The thing I don’t get is why it seems that virtually all “experts” leagues still draft rotisserie league. You want to impress me as an expert? Win a league against other experts where you can’t just set and forget (h/t Ron Popeil) your roster. Yahoo says that H2H is more popular, if the experts exist to provide advice, one would think they would do it in the most popular format. Or perhaps fantasy writers are falling prey to the pretensions and snobbery of the dreaded MSM?

  16. Jacob W said...

    Drafting a good team then leaving them alone all year and still winning is a possiblity in both formats if the league is weak. Ive see it happen in a weak H2H basketball league. If the league is a good league then both formats can be challenging and a test of good managing skills, I just think that roto leaves less to luck and more to your body of work all year.

  17. Derek Ambrosino said...

    J-Roth,

    I really just don’t follow any of your logic. This early hot streak argument is a canard, Stats are stats and they come all throughout the year, you need a lot of them to win and just as the Blue Jays hot start last season wasn’t enough to compensate for their overall mediocre play (4th place finish), the Tino Martinez May 2005-s and Chris Shelton April 2006-es don’t win leagues.  Hot streaks affecting the standings are traits of small sample sizes – and that’s a trait of H2H leagues, not roto leagues.

    Also, there’s something of an ironic paradox about the notion of direct competition through the lens of a virtual team. Further, it’s just as legitimate to conclude that through roto you are competing against everybody every day rather than just one team. To “win” a week in roto, you have to beat all the teams, not just the one you happen to play.

    But, perhaps my biggest peeve about H2H leagues is the way the sample sizes alter the value of pitchers week-to-week. I’m sorry, but I prefer a league in which I’d rather have Dan Haren than A.J. Burnett every week, not just most weeks. I prefer a league in which a coastal thunderstorm can’t be the cause of my team losing three pitching categories.

    And, just going back to streaks again. In H2H leagues, streaky players are more valuable because they are higher above replacement level when soaring than they are below replacement level when floundering. This is actually (counterintuitively) true about baseball as a whole too, from what I’ve read. But, the effect is so incredibly marginal that it doesn’t matter, and it only holds true at the individual level – on a team level you are too subject to getting wasted surplus production during team-wide hot streaks.

  18. Jacob W said...

    Derek

    You took the words out of my mouth about hot streaks, and couldn’t agree with you more about any of the points you made.

    In roto you are trying to compete in each category on a day to day basis with every person in your league. At the end of the year, as a top 5 manager in your league, you may have to make moves to steal a point in SB for example from a manager in 12th because they are a few SB’s a head of you.

  19. Paul Singman said...

    I think it is fairly self-evident that a rotisserie league is more fair while H2H can be more fun, depending on your opinion. Roto is, like Derek said, playing everyone every week while in H2H you are playing one team per week and you would be surprised how much who you play influences what your overall record is.

    A result of H2H leagues being less “fair” is that it is easier to take advantage of them. Punting categories (something very difficult to do in roto and win) is a much more plausible strategy in H2H leagues. In leagues with small min innings pitched limits one of my favorite strategies is to field a roster of only closers and middle relievers. By doing this you can probably win ERA, WHIP, and hopefully saves and the pitching categories are yours, 3-2, with minimal investment in pitching (hallelujah if K/9 is a category).

    Spot starting, streaming, and other strategies of the sort are also more profitable in H2H leagues and they can be intriguing for a time but after a while I find them nothing more than gimmicky. A H2H league with good settings can be just as fun as a roto league, however if you are looking to see who can draft and maintain the best well-rounded team all season long, H2H competition falls short of roto scoring in my opinion.

  20. Jonathan Sher said...

    Paul,

    Thanks for updating the link to the draft results. Seeing now the context in which you drafted starting pitchers round 5 to 7, there were no hitters taken between your fifth and sixth pick that I would have preferred to Verlander; I might have been tempted with your 7th pick to take Carlos Gonzalez as both a second power/speed guy after Zobrist and a 2nd outfielder after Lind, but I say that as someone whose first snake draft will be tomorrow. Out of curiosity, a question:

    -> I’m picking 3rd (ugh) in a 15-team league which means my second pick will be the 28th overall. I saw you took Zobrist 29th and I would be tempted to take him as well. Any other players you would have taken over Zobrist had they slid a few more spots? I likely will have ARod with the 3rd pick so Zimmerman wouldn’t be that high on my priority list. And he may be gone sooner as I’m playing in a league with fellow UVA alum.

  21. Paul Singman said...

    Zobrist is a nice pick at this point in the draft but other players to look for that went before I took Zobrist are A-Gon, Crawford, and Votto. Other players I considered taking during the draft were Cano, Upton, Morneau and Mark Reynolds.

  22. Jonathan Sher said...

    I ended up getting A-Gon in the second round and Reynolds in the third (we have two utility slots).

  23. Paul Singman said...

    I like both of those picks Jonathan. If you did get A-rod early than you certainly have your corner spots locked up.

    I’m not sure if many people will read this (or care) but I completed a 1 for 1 trade today giving up Scutaro (which means McGehee is now starting) and getting Franklin Morales. It’s a fairly minor deal but if Street is out for longer than expected Morales could be a big contributor.

  24. Jonathan Sher said...

    That’s a good trade Paul. You lose some steals and potentially runs by swapping Scutaro for McGehee, by it doesn’t appear to me you were doing to do much in steals anyway and that you have more to gain with a few more HR’s from McGehee. I think swapping them is no worse than a wash and Morales provides needed insurance for Huston; In a 14-team mixed league you need two closers.

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