ROTOWIRE.COM NFL MLB / Minors NBA NHL GOLF RACING    COMMUNITY FORUMS PODCASTS MYROTOWIRE ASK AN EXPERT GAMES

The Importance of Understanding Your League Parameters

On one level, this is obvious - an old school 4 x 4 league that doesn't count strikeouts will devalue starting pitchers and significantly boost closers. A league that counts hitter's strikeouts as a negative will find contact specialists like Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco in high demand. But even in more common 5 x 5 formats, there are some important factors to consider. For example, does your league require one starting catcher or two?

Most cheat sheets presume the latter, and as a result, quality backstops are given a large upgrade due to production scarcity from the position. According to Mock Draft Central Joe Mauer is going at No. 19, Brian McCann at No. 27 and Victor Martinez at No 28. In a 14-team league, those are second-round picks.

If you were to take them based on those average draft positions (ADP), and your league only required one catcher, you'd be seriously overpaying. Let's look at what McCann's done the last two years - an average of 21 HR, 85 RBI, 63 runs, 5 SB and a .275 batting average. He might do better at age 27, but the bottom line is he wouldn't even be in the overall top-50 if he were an outfielder. Moreover, the 12th best catcher is going to get you 12-15 homers and 60-70 RBI and runs. You can see what a waste of a second-round pick McCann would be once you subtract out the replacement-value catcher numbers. Contrast that with a two-catcher league where the 24th catcher constitutes replacement value (let's give him 8-10 homers, 40-50 RBI and a .260 average), and the difference between McCann and him is stark. In that case, taking McCann at No. 27 is defensible (even if I probably wouldn't do it).

Another example is an innings-cap league. In order to prevent constant streaming of pitchers, many Yahoo! leagues, among others, will stop counting pitching stats once an owner has accumulated a certain number of innings. If the cap is fairly attainable, say 1250 IP in a mixed league, you have to assume every owner is going to get there by season's end. In which case every team will have the same number of innings pitched. What that does is turn counting categories like strikeouts and wins into averaging ones like ERA and WHIP. Instead of strikeouts, you're really dealing with K/9. As a result, you simply cannot roster Mark Buehrle, Mike Pelfrey and Dallas Braden in a 14-team or less mixed league because every inning they pitch is costing you Ks. On the flip side, Jonathan Sanchez and Clayton Kershaw get a significant bump - even if their high walk rates often keep them from going deep into games (though it does conceivably cost them some wins). A closer like Carlos Marmol who had an ungodly (and probably unsustainable) 16 K per nine innings last year was pure gold.

The upshot here is you not only have to be acutely aware of your league's rules and quirks, but you'll want to think through their implications on player value - particularly how positions and categories in your league differ from those in standard leagues upon which most cheat sheets and rankings lists are based. One shortcut you can take is by plugging your league settings into RotoWire.com's Customizable Draft Kit.

Comments

By: Zenguerrilla
On: 2/27/2011 8:28:00 PM
Good stuff Chris.....drafting a Roto team for a Points league probably won't fair to well and vice versa....Draft according to your settings.
 
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/27/2011 11:54:00 PM
Liss - I'll take your K/9 point even further. I'd actually argue a guy like Tim Hudson, who posted a 2.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 17 wins, was at least neutral if not a negative in a league you speak of last year. He was a big, big negative in two of five pitching cats. Elite middle relievers, subsequently, are far more valuable in this format.
 
By: Zenguerrilla
On: 2/28/2011 8:45:00 AM
You can tell this is one of the best pieces Liss has ever done apparently by the frivolous advertising. :( BJ Upton off the top of my head is one of the more volatile players being drafted in different style leagues. I have seen him go $5-$10 higher and 2-3 rounds earlier in Roto formats because of the 40+ sb potential. Most fantasy leagues offer trading but you need to figure out before the draft how active that will be. You can roll the dice in leagues that are very active in trading and/or only draft 250 players because it is easier to replace high upside injury risk players. In leagues that are no trade or trade very little or who draft a lot of player(450+).....your paranoia for drafting injury prone players should be through the roof since the means to replace with equal or higher value is much more difficult. Being a good fantasy owner is much more than just projecting stats....you need to put value on all of the intangibles as well.
 

Leave a comment

Commenting is restricted to registered users only. Please register or login now to submit a comment.

Tell Someone

  • Digg it
  • submit to reddit reddit
  • Add to Mixx!

Recent Favorites

Do Analytics Take the Fun Out of Sports?
Apparently that was the topic of one of the presentations at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston last week. The presenter, Yale's Edward Tufte, opined:

Don't let people tell you analytics are reductionist and take the joy out of sports. They mostly just take the stupidity out of sports.

Is he right?

RotoWire's AL LABR Squad
The 2014 AL LABR auction went down at the Arizona Republic offices in downtown Phoenix Saturday night. It's a 12-team, 5 x 5, AL-only league with 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B. 1 3B, 1 SS, 1 CI, 1 MI, 5 OF, 1 U and 9 pitchers. Everyone has $260 to spend.
The Problem With Drafting Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton went for $28 in the NL LABR auction this past weekend. I discussed this with a fellow writer who participates in Tout Wars with me later this month and we discussed the problem with investing heavily into Hamilton.
Payne's Daily Fantasy Basketball Experiment
Let's see if I can make any money doing daily fantasy hoops.
My 12-Team NFBC RotoWire Online Championship Team
I drafted out of the 11-hole for the "Beat Chris Liss" league. I had done a fair amount of research on optimal roster construction from that slot, and I decided I'd go hitter in the first round, three pitchers in 2-4 and then hitting for the next 10 rounds or so before filling in with upside pitchers late. Of course, few battle plans survive the actual war. Here are the results:

RSS Feeds