So I went into my fantasy draft yesterday with extremely low expectations. I hadn't prepared one iota. I didn't even print out a player list. I didn't really care about this league.
Then I got to the draft and started looking at the stat categories.
R, HR, 2B, 3B, RBI, SB, Avg., OBP for hitters.
W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, K/BB for pitchers.
It's a 10-team, weekly H2H league. So I figure I need to win 10 out of 14 on the average week to win this thing. I'm drafting #5. You start one of each position plus Util, with 2 SP's, 2 RP's, and 4 P's.
The first few rounds, I just take the best players available, going a bit heavy on pitching, knowing there's fewer elite pitchers in the league than elite hitters for our categories. I take Santana and Beckett in the first two rounds, Ortiz falls to me in the 3rd, and I take Berkman in the 4th.
Then I look over the stat categories again and it dawns on me--4 of the 6 pitching categories are heavily tilted towards closers, who have excellent rate stats and rack up saves. So I take closers with my next 3 picks--Papelbon, Nathan, and Saito. 3 of the top 5 closers, when teams must start 20 relievers across the league, plus whatever they start for P's. With the rest of my P selections, I make sure no one is going to screw my K/BB ratio, WHIP, or ERA--so I take Hudson, Cain, and Maddux. With that staff, I should have little problem winning 4 of 6 pitching categories every week, with a good chance of winning K's and W's too. Right now my 8 pitchers averaged (weighted for IP): 3.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.85 K/BB in 2007.
On the offensive side, I accept that I'm going to lose on the speed stats (3B, SB) nearly every week unless I get lucky. So I go heavy on high OBP, middle-of-the-order guys, which should rack up HR, RBI, Runs, OBP, and to a lesser extent BA and 2B. I end up with a 9 man lineup that averages 92 runs, 34 2B, 23 HR, 84 RBI, a .300 BA, and a .406 OBP. Just in case I match up against another plodder team, I can stick in Juan Pierre and Rickie Weeks off of the bench to get some steals, and I have enough excess OBP firepower that Pierre doesn't kill me. Do I feel some shame for having Pat Burrell and JD Drew on my team? Yes. But they're almost sure bets to give me .390+ OBP's, and over 50 XBH's. It's not often you can get guys with 15+ round picks who actually help you win categories.
I don't think this league knows what's going to hit 'em.
I'm not humping anything.