For those of you who participate in fantasy sports leagues, I’m sure you’ll understand where this post is coming from.
Especially if your league has two key components — an auction/salary cap and keepers.
Our baseball league is set up this way. For the draft, it’s auction style and each team has a cap of $260. However, each team is allowed to keep up to 10 players (and in the years we’ve done this draft, everybody has always kept 10 players). The way we do it is that you take the player’s salary from the year before and add on a certain amount. So if you have a player who made $4 or more last season, you add $3 to the salary. If he made $3 or less, you add $1.
That can start to add up, but it can also make for some very valuable keepers and steals.
It also makes the draft a very interesting place to be.
We held our draft Sunday morning. This year, we made it so all keepers had to be e-mailed in before the draft, so we skipped right past that part, which was very nice. That’s when the fun begins.
See, depending on who you keep, you know what positions you need. But say you need a catcher and six of the eight teams already kept their catcher. The odds are, you can do well with things. But, if just three teams kept their catchers and those players are the top three catchers available, things start to get interesting. Depending on the position, people can pay over-market value for players in a hurry.
Lets use me as an example.
I needed a shortstop. With two teams keeping shortstops (Derek Jeter and Troy Tulowitzki were the lone players kept that that position). That meant, of those in the eight-team league, six of us were in the running for the top shortstops.
The FIRST person of the draft nominated was Jimmy Rollins.
Being a Phillies fan, I had wanted to see if I could get Rollins. Though he had a tough season last year, he’s in a contract year and he appears to be healthy. Rollins could have a strong year and being he’s quite key to the Phillies, I thought he might be worth the risk. Though he’s always been one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball, our league doesn’t measure that — it’s based on hitting and pitching. So for me to get value out of Rollins, Jimmy has to hit.
So what’s market value? According to the cbs.sportsline website (which we use for our league), Rollins should be about $26 in a mixed (NL and AL) league with a $260 cap.
I ended up paying $17.
Is that good or bad? Who can tell. But being he was the first player thrown out, there were still some stellar shortstops remaining, so I think I got a fair price for Rollins. Later in the draft, I was looking for an outfielder and bid on Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist, who I’ve long been a fan of. I ended up paying $17 for him, too, which I think is over market value. But being he came out late, I had to overpay to get him as the top players were becoming harder and harder to come by.
That’s where the supply and demand comes into play.
Consider this — if you bid on several players and lost out on them. You have far more pressing needs than some others. AND, you likely have more money remaining for your cap. But, with players disappearing, the supply is not going to meet the demand.
Hence your economic lesson with fantasy baseball.
Let’s take a look at a few.
Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana is solid. He’s one of the best young backstops in the game. And, he was projected to cost about $16 or so.
He went for $26 in ours because it was late in the draft and several people still had pressing needs for a starting catcher.
Players like Atlanta’s Jayson Heyward ($25), San Francisco’s Mat Latos ($16), and Michael Young ($16) were some players who went over their market value during the draft. Young closers like Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel ($10) and Matt Thornton ($17) of the White Sox went way over-market because people needed closers at the end, so they went all-in with the hopes of getting something special with these guys.
That being said, if you wait in the wings, you can get some steals when people fill their spots. Players such as Rickie Weeks, who is listed to be worth about $20 in a league set up like ours went for $1.
We also have a snake-draft at the end of the auction, where each team drafts 10 more players in a traditional setup. For keeper purposes, each player is awarded a salary of $3, but that doesn’t count against the initial $260 cap.
This is where there can be some interesting picks and steals. Sometimes people think about the long-term and draft someone who might be on the disabled list with the idea of stashing him and using him later or as a keeper.
For example, I had the No. 1 pick in the snake-draft this year. That was because I finished last in the league last season. So I took a flier on Stephen Strasburg, the young phenom pitcher of the Washington Nationals who is out the majority of this season following Tommy John surgery. However, with all the hype surrounding this kid and how well he performed last year before getting hurt, I figure he might be worth snagging and keeping for the future.
In the end, who knows how it will work out.
The players in the snake-draft could be awesome and someone you selected for $40 could end up getting hurt in the first game and being out for the season. It’s always a game of chance with fantasy baseball, but it’s interesting to see unfold. Only time will tell how it all pans out.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.