A King is Crowned: Fake Teams H2H League Recap

Ezra Shaw

A toast to the championship season of FakeTeams writer Alex Kantecki

This past weekend wrapped up our Fake Teams H2H Points League where Alex and I defended our resident title as "experts" and faced off in the championship series. In an attempt to spice up a championship matchup with little else on the line, I made the following proposition to Alex: loser of the series writes up a league recap of the champion's season. Clearly, at this point you can tell....Alex won, and as I pay my dues with the rest of this article, I will attempt to highlight a few "lessons learned" that we can take advantage of in future seasons. Let us learn from Alex's brilliance. Before I do that, I want to quickly give congratulations to Alex on a dominating season, and thanks to all the readers who participated in the league.

Now for the Alex Kantecki love fest. Alex cruised through the regular season with a league-best 17-4 record and a league-high 7,292 points scored. Despite a 3-game losing streak in weeks 9-11 and a loss in week 19 to yours truly, Alex won every other game - most by a comfortable margin. How was he able to find such success? It starts with understanding and exploiting the league settings. I might be giving Alex too much credit here (read: I'm giving Alex too much credit here) but his team is built perfectly to take advantage of the weekly 6 player add maximum. Offensively, he is top-heavy with McCutchen, Freeman, Holliday, Sandoval, and Beltre and he has a stable of reliable arms in the rotation that did not cost him much in the draft: Burnett, Garza, Feldman, Cahill, Nolasco. The cheap rotation allows him to stack his offense while still starting pitchers who can contribute decent innings every week.

Another tactic Alex used to roll through the playoffs was Quantity over Quality. Rotisserie scoring and standard H2H leagues require teams to be well balanced. Scoring 1 or 2 in a roto category is fatal, and winning the same categories for a 6-4 win every week in H2H leagues leaves little margin for error if one of your players has an off week. But points leagues and any other H2H leagues where the winner is awarded only 1 win at the end of a week offers a manager the unique opportunity to win with quantity over quality. Alex's execution was simple - hold only as many hitters as needed to fill out a starting roster, and save the remaining bench spots for starters in order to get the most innings pitched. His offense cared little for speed and instead focused on players who hit for power and were in prime RBI opportunities i.e. Swisher, Hardy, Beltre, Sandoval, Pierzynski. The mid-season additions of Rajai Davis and Nate McLouth might appear misleading, but consider this: his second best running threat in Week 1 was Daniel Murphy. Alex cares not for your speed.

I maintained similar strategies throughout the year and while it helped me advance to the championship, Alex's execution was much better and here's why: Alex is far better looking Alex constructed his roster in a way that complimented his in-season strategy. I built my strength around pitching, which is the one area that can be neutralized by an opposing manager throwing more starters out than myself and making a few nice calls with streaming picks. My offense had been subpar all year and I made it through on the back of my pitching, but when I get a combined 3 points from Cole Hamels and Mat Latos in the championship week, I open the door for the opposing team. If Latos was instead a 4th round caliber hitter, and my worst hitter was swapped for a streaming spot that gets me two spot starts, we could be talking about a 40 point difference in my team's final score. Alex built his team the right way: on good looks and the one area where quantity was more important that quality: offense.

So fellow Fake Teams readers, lets raise a glass to Alex Kantecki. A masterful season capped off by denying my bid for back-to-back championships in the Fake Teams reader's league. I look forward to next season and the opportunity to reclaim old glory. Congratulations Alex, and another big thank you to our Fake Teams readers as we close out another successful season.

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