4 Strategies to Cure an Autodrafted Fantasy Baseball Roster
The walls started to close in. A persistent ringing echoed through my ears. I closed my eyes and thought I saw an injured Troy Tulowitzki, fantasy baseball's angel of death, signaling that my time in this realm had come to an end.
I had just autodrafted an entire roster.
You see, I had spent my Sunday morning waltzing through the day, not having a care in the world. The draft for the numberFire baseball staff league was on a site that I don't check as often as I should, so I didn't have any warning that this was coming. Until I saw this tweet from numberFire's Jacob Adler.
Mother of God.
What had I done to deserve this punishment? Had I not properly genuflected in front of my bedside Mike Trout statue? Had I uttered Clayton Kershaw's name in vain? Regardless, my penance had been assigned, and it was truly wicked.
So, because I'm an idiot who got exactly what he deserved, I figured I'd at least try to get something out of it. I wanted to develop some kind of strategy for curing the irreconcilable evil that is an autodraft. And here we are.
Throughout the piece, I'll be referencing numberFire's season-long projections. They can come in handy in countless ways if you're trying to repair a roster. I'll go through a few beneath, but I'd recommend giving them a spin to see all that they can do.
Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive, as I'm still trying to learn how to do this. If you have any tips you'd like to add, plop them in the comments below because I can use any help I can get. Let's exercise these autodraft-induced demons, y'all.
Trade Backup Catchers
Catchers are to fantasy baseball as defenses are to fantasy football. You'd own zero if you possibly could. Yet, autodraft insists on blessing you with the gift of a backup. Hallelujah.
The only time you'd possibly want a second catcher on your roster is if one is dealing with injury problems. There are only eight catchers projected to record 500 plate appearances for the upcoming season. This means two things. First, you don't want to own multiple. Second, there's going to be someone in your league that owns a low-volume backstop. That could be your window.
In my case, I was given Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters. Neither is projected to record more than 500 plate appearances, but I could totally roll with either as my starter. Finding a team to take one of them on isn't easy, but getting anything in return may be better than having both.
Trade Relievers on Your Bench
This is mostly applicable to points leagues, as there are more varied strategies in roto leagues. In a roto league, you might look to acquire more relievers and just overload on low-ERA, high-save guys. But in a points league, you need to drop it like it's hot.
If you have a reliever sitting on your bench, that's a wasted spot. But that doesn't mean they don't have value. If your autodraft went overboard on closers, you can probably find a buyer that's looking for saves. I'd recommend selling on guys that might be overrated based on their team's 2015 outlook.
numberFire's algorithms don't seem to value relievers as highly as they do starters, and for good reason in points leagues. The highest rating for a non-starter is Mark Melancon at 4.02. That value would put him behind 20 starters, yet most drafts don't go that way, especially for the Aroldis Chapman's of the world.
Personally, I'd rather populate my bench with players that I can plug in based on matchups and projected usage. It's infinitely easier to predict when a pitcher will start two games in a week than when a reliever will make four appearances. For this reason, I'm voiding my bench of all relievers, especially the ones that can get me anything of remote value in return.
Punt, Punt, Punt
It's the Oakland Raiders' guide to fantasy baseball. Billy Hamilton finna be the first overall pick, y'all.
Punting is a great strategy to utilize even if your team wasn't autodrafted. It just takes on a slightly different identity in this instance as you're doing it after the draft as opposed to within.
Let's say, hypothetically, you were autodrafted Carlos Gomez, but he was the only huge stolen-base threat on your team. Then it would make complete sense to try to ship Gomez off in return for a player that provides the pop as opposed to the speed.
This is where numberFire's projections again come up huge. You can sort by each category to see the top players in each.
So, if you want to unload Gomez and stock up on long balls, you can sort based on home runs and find a combination of players that you feel is an adequate return. The punting of stolen bases would free you up to acquire someone such as Jose Abreu or a package including Chris Carter.
If you'd prefer to just find all-around hitters, you can sort by OPS. These are the guys that are likely to provide you value in average, runs, RBI and potentially home runs. If you're punting stolen bases, you can find players that rate well here but not in stolen bases and try to spin a trade for one of them. Either way, I'd find at least one category you are going to vacate in order to maximize the value you get from the rest of your roster.
Swallow Players with Poor Value
Guess who won the Prince Fielder sweepstakes in the autodraft? THIS GUY. Value is for losers, y'all!
At this point, though, Fielder's value has never been lower. Do I want him on my team? Not a chance, considering I believe I used a fourth-round pick on him. Is anybody else going to give me value for him? The odds there are about as minuscule.
This is a situation where I'm almost going to have to eat Fielder. Preferably not all of him as that seems gluttonous and bad for cholesterol. I just can't trade him right now.
If I sell low, there's a very low chance I come out as the victor of the trade. Fielder could rebound well, as unlikely as that may be. Meanwhile, the piece I get in return probably isn't going to be effusing potential, so the value of the trade is capped in the backside. It's better for me to sit on Fielder and see what happens. If he starts hot with the warm weather in Texas vis a vis other colder areas, that's when the selling could begin.
Although Fielder was the example here, there are plenty of other guys that fall in the same category. The draft slot with which you selected them probably sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it now. You might as well just sit back, see what happens, and give the autodraft the double-barreled single-finger salute if he ends up fulfilling said suckiness.
Overall, there is no great strategy for curing an autodraft. They make you wake up in a cold sweat for a reason. But that doesn't mean you should give up all hope.
For me the strategies above are how I'm trying to attack the situation. It'll be a fun experiment to watch throughout the season to see if I can be semi-okay, even if that's a reach given my splendiferous start.