My Yahoo! Friends and Family Team

We drafted the 14-team YF&F League today. It's a standard Yahoo 5x5 format with only 1C, 4 OF and 2 UT, and there's a 1250 IP cap. Here are the overall results. And here's my squad:

Round Player Pos
1.8 Alex Rodriguez 3B
2.7 Kevin Youkilis 1B
3.8 Justin Upton OF
4.7 Mike Stanton OF
5.8 B.J. Upton OF
6.7 Colby Rasmus OF
7.8 Joakim Soria P
8.7 Francisco Rodriguez P
9.8 Matt Wieters C
10.7 Joe Nathan P
11.8 Brad Lidge P
12.7 Rafael Furcal SS
13.8 Jeremy Hellickson P
14.7 Alfonso Soriano OF
15.8 Alex Gordon 3B/OF
16.7 Josh Beckett P
17.8 Brian Matusz P
18.7 Brandon League P
19.8 Sean Rodriguez 2B/OF
20.7 Homer Bailey P
21.8 Nate McLouth OF
22.7 Trevor Cahill P
23.8 Alexi Casilla 2B/SS
24.7 Nyjer Morgan OF
25.8 Scott Downs P

Some quick notes:

I drafted hitters with my six picks, and then closers with four of my next five. I didn't take a starting pitcher (Hellickson) until the 13th round. Why? Because this league has a low innings cap, so closers have a lot more value than usual. Consider that normally when you roster a closer instead of an SP, you lose big in two categories, wins and Ks, in exchange for saves and maybe a small amount of ERA and WHIP. But in a league where we're all going to get to 1250 IP, it's really K/9 and wins/9. My closers won't hurt me at all in Ks, and they might even help slightly. And they'll probably hurt me a little in wins, but if they get 4 or 5 in 80 IP, it won't be by very much. Closers are capable of helping in five categories if they get you a handful of wins.

Of course, an elite starter is also worth more because he can get you 210 IP of your 1250 total, roughly 1/6 of your total output rather than 1/8 or 1/9 in an uncapped league. That means a Felix Hernandez or a Lincecum will help your ratios even more than usual. But if you can cobble together 400 good innings between four closers and assorted middle relief pickups, then you only need 850 more innings over the entire year. And because it's a daily league, you can bench your starters against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers, for example. So my plan was to skimp on starting pitching (unless someone good fell to me - I just missed on Max Scherzer, for example, and strongly considered Jon Lester (Round 3) and Zack Greinke (Round 6), but they were gone before my next turn - stock up on hitting and closers and then grab some pitchers with strikeout upside late.

The other plan - because this is such a tough group - was to be aggressive on pre-peak rising stars. So I took Wieters, Stanton, both Uptons, Rasmus, Hellickson, Matusz, Bailey and even Gordon. Even Cahill, Sean Rodriguez and Alexi Casilla fit that description to an extent.

Overall, I'm happy with the team, but will need my speculative pitchers to pitch well - at least when they have favorable match-ups.


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