The mock draft below is a 10 team roto league with 1 catcher, no MI or CI and only 3 OF. I've come to loathe this type of league. Everyone seemingly has an all-star OF and there are very solid everyday players sitting on the FA wire. Where's the fun in that?
With that said, I present to you a contrarian strategy that I'd like your opinion on. Below you'll notice I took 2 closers in my first seven picks. Papelbon and Rivera are high end closers that show much greater consistency than their fellow firemen. You hear "Don't Pay for Saves" so often these days it's unheard of to seek 2 top closers. Most people take a closer with good job security and then fill out the rest of their bullpen's with 1-2 more high K guys with a current closer gig on bad teams.
In this case, I don't feel I'm paying just for the saves. I'm paying for highly reliable, dominant pitchers who will positively effect ALL of my categories. Their incredibly low ERA and WHIP will take the pressure off the rest of my staff. I, like many people, seek to build a strong offense first. By taking two star closers I, in effect, help buttress every pitcher taken thereafter.
Before you snicker, let's look at what we're getting from our 5th and 7th round picks. Papelbon and Rivera in '08 combined for 11 wins, 80 saves, 154K's, 1.85 ERA, and a 0.80 WHIP in 140 IP. The '08 year end Yahoo player rankings had Papelbon and Rivera ranked as the 41st and 15th best players in fantasy. So we're not just paying for saves. Paying for saves is drafting Todd Jones and Joe Borowski back to back in the 16th and 17th round. You're only helping yourself in one possible category and most likely hurting yourself in 4 others.
Now, I'm not married to this strategy and haven't used it in a real league for a couple years but, it sure would be nice not to have to worry about the Scott Schowenweis' of the world come August.
1. Miguel Cabrera (Det - 1B,3B)
2. Ryan Braun (Mil - OF)
3. Brandon Phillips (Cin - 2B)
4. Justin Morneau (Min - 1B)
5. Jonathan Papelbon (Bos - RP)
6. Alexei Ramírez (CWS - 2B,SS,OF)
7. Mariano Rivera (NYY - RP)
8. Adam Dunn (Was - 1B,OF)
9. Stephen Drew (Ari - SS)
10. Ryan Ludwick (StL - OF)
11. Daisuke Matsuzaka (Bos - SP)
12. Matt Wieters (Bal - C)
13. Ricky Nolasco (Fla - SP)
14. Zack Greinke (KC - SP)
15. Lastings Milledge (Was - OF)
16. Andre Ethier (LAD - OF)
17. Kevin Slowey (Min - SP)
18. Joey Devine (Oak - RP)
19. Clayton Kershaw (LAD - SP)
20. Chris Carpenter (StL - SP)
21. Shin-Soo Choo (Cle - OF)