Reverse Psychology

Hey guys, Quick question for you if you have the time to give me your thoughts. 

I have been a competitive force in FBB using a very unorthodox method and I wanted your ideas about my strategy. 

I have been in a 5×5 12-team Plus league for three years now (we started as a public league but decided to hang together the next year).  Anyway, I digress. 

I go for SPs and CLs in the early rounds and try to utterly dominate the 5 Pitching categories week in and week out.  It works very well.  Seeing as there are only 10 competitive categories if I win four or five of them each week in pitching I only need one or two batting categories to grab a win or draw for the week.  While everyone else goes for the A-Rod and Ryan Howards of the world (they can’t help it) I grab Santana, K-Rod, Peavy, Nathan etc.  I dominate in pitching although my weekly wins are usually close (6-4, 5-4 etc) since I don’t have many of the big name batters..  Last year at the end of the season I had the most wins, saves, Ks, lowest ERA, lowest WHIP etc of any team in the league and never lost a pitching matchup. 

Our league will be a keeper league this year with each team keeping five from last year. Mine will be Santana, Peavy, B. Webb, K-Rod and Nathan (I’m having to put the likes of Kazmir, Harang, F. Carmona, T. Hoffman and Izzy back into the draft pool). 

The last piece of my strategy is to get the best of the remaining batters during the draft and carefully study the waiver wire and free agents to pick up solid day in day out players to fill my offense (There are usually one or two diamonds in the rough available during the year).  All I have to do then is remain competitive on that side and 7-10 times I get a win for the week. 

As experts in FBB I just wondered what you thought of my "bush-league" strategy. 

Stan
Augusta, GA

Stan,

Although your strategy seems to be working out well, it’s a very risky one, and I wouldn’t fall in love with it too quickly.  The key factor helping you out here is that everyone else is doing just the opposite, greatly increasing your chances of sweeping the pitching stats on a weekly basis.  But even if the other teams continue their hitter heavy approach, you’re walking a very thin line between domination and devastation, especially in a weekly H2H league, where a bad start or two by one or more of your top pitchers would result in an almost certain ERA and/or WHIP loss.  Wins are also very fluky.  Even the best starters at times struggle to pick up wins despite pitching well.  Relying on a consistent week to week dosage of wins is asking too much.  Strikeouts are easily attainable without investing in the top-tier names.  Guys like Rich Hill, Matt Cain, or Javy Vazquez provide solid strikeout rates, and can all be had in the middle rounds.  It’s OK to try to stack up on closers, as saves are scarce.  But all in all, I’d much rather assemble a more balanced team, one that will contend in each and every category each and every week.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

5 Comments

Stan, while I would never argue with any strategy that works, this one sounds a little too risky to me given the volatility of starting pitchers in particular. I’d rather do the opposite, build a killer offense and a deep bullpen and piece together the SP’s.

However, you touch on a key point here that’s valuable no matter what your strategy: if and when possible, be contrarian. Roto legend John Benson was a major proponent in this regard… if everyone in your draft is taking bats, take arms, figuring that there will be greater depth to choose from and less inflation, therefore, greater value. While I think this is only true to an extent — you don’t want to be contrarian so long that you, say, miss out entirely on closers — it’s a valuable approach to keep in mind.

Bottom line, be flexible during the draft, apply a strategy that works for you, and flags fly forever!

–CS

I love the show, i want to know if there are any listener leagues that need a player?

If I could branch off from this question – what do you guys think about the value of top-starters in H2H leagues? I’m considering keeping Verlander over Robinson Cano as a final keeper, but I’m just not sure about going with a moderate ace over 90 RBIs at 2B when I can pick up list-of-twelve types in the later rounds.

Any thoughts?

Stan I think you might actually be on to something here. While pitching is less consistent in a roto league over the course of the season, in H2H it might work just fine.

In roto big hitters are more trustworthy because as Cory and Mike say, ‘hitters hit’. That said, most of them will have a few down weeks and a few hot ones over the season. Though their end-of-season line is predictable, their week-to-week output may not be.

Pitchers are inconsistent too, but they give you a potential advantage in the H2H playoffs: you’re going to be matched up against other guys who have top offenses. If you were a bats-heavy team, you might be no better than 50/50 to win. With your pitching strategy, you could have an advantage as their pitching staffs may well be just ‘average’ for your league.

To add to that, if you’re light on offense, i’d say try to focus on players that’ll get you runs and SBs…you could focus on those two categories and have a decent shot at winning r, sb and avg in any given week.

I have done something similiar to this in the past with success. I load my team up on hitting, and completely punt wins and K’s. Draft hitting and top tier closers, and middle relief pitchers, dominate saves, era, and whip and pick up some wins in a couple offensive categories.

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