Fantasy Baseball: My First NFBC Draft

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This past Sunday night I participated in my first ever NFBC draft. For those unfamiliar with the NFBC, it’s the industry’s leading high stakes fantasy baseball tournament. The site offers many formats, but is most well known for its Main Event.

The Main Event consists of 32 15-team leagues where contestants compete for both their individual league prizes as well as the overall crown. Now while winning your league nets you a cool $6400, the real goal is to take down the overall since the top team out of the 480 entries wins $125,000. The tournament uses standard 5×5 rotisserie scoring and utilizes a 30-round snake draft with weekly roster changes and FAAB waivers that run every Sunday night. The two minor quirks are that there is no trading allowed and each team is permitted to adjust their hitting lineups on Fridays.

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Unfortunately, the league I joined is not actually part of the Main Event. Don’t worry this wasn’t an accident; the $1,600 entry fee was just a little too steep for me at the moment. Instead I entered a satellite league wherein all the money gets paid out internally. However, the good news is that aside from the overall component the rules and format of the satellite are that same as the Main Event so if all goes well I might be able to make the jump to the big leagues next season.

Anyways, below is a breakdown of my draft with my thought process on each pick. To see the full draft board, click here.

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1.13 – Charlie Blackmon

I knew my draft slot a few days in advance so I narrowed down my first pick to four players; Turner, Cabrera, Blackmon and Correa. Turner went the pick before me and Cabrera’s recent back flare-up paired with the loss of J.D. Martinez pushed me towards Blackmon/Correa. Both are five category contributors, but the higher stolen base upside and safety of Coors led me to settle on Blackmon.

2.3 – Carlos Correa

If any of Scherzer, Bumgardner or Syndergaard had fallen I really would’ve had a difficult choice to make, but with all three off the board taking the guy I strongly considered a round earlier was a no brainer.

3.13 – Johnny Cueto

Unless Braun fell to me I knew I was grabbing an ace with this pick. Strasburg and deGrom were two other options I considered before ultimately going with Cueto who I felt was a much safer bet innings-wise.

4.3 – Aroldis Chapman

Picking essentially on the turn I knew I had to be cognizant of a closer run and the pick of Jansen along with the NFBC’s tendency to push up the position altogether led me to pull the trigger on Chapman. I instantly regretted not doubling down on starters with either Strasburg or deGrom, but at least Chapman’s surplus strikeouts would give me greater flexibility when assembling the rest of my staff.

5.14 – Edwin Diaz

I was frustrated from having mistimed the closer run and panicked a bit when the guy I really wanted here (Cargo) went one pick earlier. I didn’t love any of the hitter values at this point and figured that by locking up two elite guys I wouldn’t have to worry about reaching for saves later in the draft.

6.3 – Kyle Hendricks

While I never intended to spend four of my first six picks on pitching, the only hitter I felt even semi-comfortable taking at this point was Beltre and I knew I loved some of the later options at 3B more. All the strikeouts I had already banked with Chapman and Diaz made Hendricks the ideal starter to pair with Cueto since both are very safe in terms of ratios.

7.14 – Khris Davis

Having not taken a hitter since round two I knew I needed a big bat to help me make up some ground in homers and RBI.

8.3 – Justin Turner

This is exactly why I didn’t want to take Beltre in round six. Turner adds power and run production while helping to compensate for the average liability I took on with Davis.

9.14 – Miguel Sano

With the league wide spike in home runs we saw last season the bar to compete in the category is higher than ever. Sano certainly has his warts, but his job is safe and his natural power is among the best in the game.

10.3 – Adam Eaton

I can’t reasonably expect either Davis or Sano to hit above .250 so I needed some batting average reinforcement. I was also getting light on speed and runs having taken middle of the lineup hitters with my last three picks.

11.14 – Carlos Gomez

With Byron Buxton and Keon Broxton off the board, Gomez was one of the last power/speed guys I felt comfortable taking this high. I still expect the average to be a concern, but if he remains atop the Rangers lineup all season 80+ runs is a guarantee.

12.3 – Russell Martin

I knew I wanted at least one top-12 catcher and with seven of them already off the board I figured waiting another round was too risky.

13.14 – Adrian Gonzalez

Although I’m not particularly high on Gonzalez this year, this was far too good of a value to pass up at this point in the draft. I don’t think we see 25 homers again, but .275 with 90 RBI is certainly a reasonable projection.

14.3 – Jerad Eickhoff

Having not taken a starter since round six I figured it was time to address pitching again. Normally I’d target some high upside young arms at this stage, but with two elite strikeout relievers on the roster it made more sense to add to the high floor I had already established with Cueto and Hendricks.

Ronald Martinez - Getty Images

Ronald Martinez – Getty Images

15.14 – Matt Shoemaker

I was really close to taking Logan Forsythe here, but felt a little weird having an all Dodgers infield.

16.3 – Jharel Cotton

Despite being fairly high on him I hadn’t landed Cotton in any drafts yet so this was the perfect opportunity to finally get a share.

17.14 – Starlin Castro

I still needed a 2B and Castro was by far the most reliable option left on the board. The potential for him to gain SS eligibility while Didi Gregorious is out is an added bonus.

18.3 – Robert Gsellman

If Gsellman doesn’t pan out I’m willing to go down with the ship. I literally have him on every mixed league roster I’ve drafted.

19.14 – Domingo Santana

Having relatively balanced production from my first four outfielders allowed me the luxury to take the best player available. I get the injury concerns, but there are not many guys with 30 homer upside at this stage of the draft.

20.3 – Nate Jones

If Robertson gets moved I end up with a top-15 closer. If not I have an elite setup man who should give me great ratios and 80+ strikeouts.

21.14 – Addison Reed

Maybe going with another reliever here was excessive, but I really didn’t love any of the hitters in this range. I also noticed several teams had taken a third closer so I figured this was an ideal way to hedge. I’ll gladly bank the 6-8 saves Reed gives me in April and I can always cut him once Familia returns.

22.3 – Danny Valencia

Projected as a platoon option for much of the spring, Valencia is suddenly slated to be Seattle’s everyday first baseman. I like that, I like it a lot.

23.14 – Alcides Escobar

By far my least favorite pick of the draft. I still hadn’t filled MI and felt like I needed some more speed so that was the logic, but in retrospect I should’ve just taken Cozart or Polanco and paired them with either Ben Revere or Mallex Smith later on.

24.3 – Mitch Moreland

Favorable side of a platoon on perhaps the best offense in baseball seemed like a decent setup for my first bench hitter.

25.14 – Tony Wolters

I’d been playing chicken with my second catcher spot for a few rounds and didn’t want to wait any longer. All the catchers left at this point are going to return negative value anyways so might as well take a shot on the guy playing his home games on the moon.

26.3 – Melvin Upton Jr.

He went 20/20 last season and the only thing standing between him and regular AB’s is Ezequiel Carrera…I’ll take my chances.

27.14 – Kyle Barraclough

I was in need of more pitching and figured that if the Marlins use Barraclough in a multi-inning role he could give me 100+ strikeouts with much better ratios than any of the starters I could have taken at this point.

28.3 – Luke Weaver

Was torn between Weaver and Charlie Morton and somehow settled on the guy without a job. Still, the Cardinals rotation is full of question marks beyond Carlos Martinez and I like Weaver’s pedigree.

29.14 – Adam Conley

Basically a dart throw. The WHIP was a disaster last season, but he’s only 26 and I like the combination of division and ballpark.

30.3 – Cody Bellinger

Theoretically an insurance policy for Gonzalez though most likely I’ll end up cutting him as soon as something viable emerges on the wire.

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