I have been playing fantasy baseball for over 20 years, and I am 32 years old. I first started playing by lying about my age online and doing drafts. One year I did one of those mail in leagues that cost like $100 and I got my uncle to register it under his name. Like most people, when I first started playing fantasy sports, it was a 10 or 12 team mixed league with 1 catcher, a snake draft, trades, and weekly waiver wire claims. As I have become more experienced, I have played different formats and each format presents its own challenges and opportunities.
In recent years, I have really enjoyed playing in 12 team AL and NL only auction leagues with 2 catchers and a $260 budget. In my opinion doing well in these leagues requires having a plan, drafting well, and of course getting a little lucky along the way.
With that said, here's my strategy in 2016. I call it "I love me some Ks while making my offense decent". It's risky but I pulled this off in a high stakes league and I think it puts me in the best position to compete. It's risky because I am throwing a good chunk of my budget on pitching but if it works, I will be fine.
Rule 1: My 3 highest priced Pitchers will get me over 500 Ks and 30 saves
I drafted Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and David Robertson for a combined $84. It was a little more than I wanted to spend but I figure it will get me close to 550 Ks, my WHIP will be in the low 1s... Which means that my next 6 pitchers need to average 75 Ks in order to get me to around 1000 Ks which should put me in good position to do well in that category. The good news is that getting a 2nd closer should cost like $10-$12 and everyone else on the pitching staff is going to cost a few bucks.
Rule 2: My 4 highest priced hitters will get more over 100 HRs and 75 SBs
Going into my draft I targeted Jose Bautista, Chris Davis, Jose Altuve, and Jacoby Ellsbury. For a projected $112, I would have about 100 HRs and 75 SBs. From there, I would need my hitters to average 10 HRs, 45 Rs, 48 RBI, and 8 SB to put me where I wanted to be. Getting guys like Rosario, Jennings, Iglesias would all help me get there, all which would cost me less than $10 each.
It didn't work out how I wanted it to in reality. I already spent the $ on pitching, and did get Bautista for $3 more than I wanted. Altuve ended up being the 2nd most expensive hitter of the draft and I had to pass on him. Since I was over budget, my Top 4 hitters ended up being:
Bautista ($33), Springer ($29), Eaton ($21), and CJ Cron ($13) which I project about 90 HRs and 50 SBs.
Getting the 4 I wanted would have cost me: $126. For $30 less dollars I got 10 less HRs and 25 less steals. I just did not have the budget to spend the extra after already spending extra on the pitching I wanted.
Rule 3: I am going to punt the rest of starting pitching ($1-$2), spend no more than $10 on my second closer, no more than $5 on a setup guy, punt catching (no more than $5 for both catchers).
I failed badly at getting the starting pitching I wanted. I got Happ for $4 (wanted him for $2), Ubaldo for $2 (wanted him for $1), I really wanted Hughes for $2 but he went for $8. I failed to get a second closer as they all went for more than $13, so I had to pick up guys who were next in line.
All in all, I had my plan and of course the draft never goes to plan. People like guys you like maybe more than you do, or people try to see what you are doing and try to jack the price up of players you like to make it difficult for you.
Similar to those when they play DFS, have "pivots" off of players you want. I wanted Davis for $31, he went for too high, who's the next guy I should have targeted? Same with Altuve. I wanted him for $33, he went for too high, what's plan b for making up some of those steals and average? These are things you need to ask yourself when things do not go according to plan, and that's the way I believe those who win championships think.