NFBC Strategy: Hitter Streamers for Week 3

This is an extremely specific blog post as it’s geared towards NFBC players who want to stream hitters. A little background about how NFBC handles starting lineups. Basically, they allow each owner to set their hitting lineup twice a week: on Monday and Friday. So if you start a player on Monday you will receive his stats from Monday through Thursday.

Streaming hitters can be a very viable option in deep mixed leagues. NFBCs rules on starting lineups allow players a great opportunity to stream hitters with favorable matchups because an owner can start a hitter for three or four games and bench him for the other portion of the week. Below are hitters I recommend picking up.

Updated: April 12 at 6:19 PM PST.

First Half of the Week Starts

Jonny Gomes: since 2008 Gomes has a .859 OPS against lefties compared to a .720 OPS against righties. The Red Sox face Chris Sale and John Danks. He has batted leadoff the past three games against lefties.

Alberto Callaspo: the A’s face two lefties, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. The A’s love to platoon their hitters and Callaspo’s OPS the last three seasons against lefties is .770 compared to .695 against righties. Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss will likely sit and Callaspo is going to play in both games.

Ryan Ludwick: he could be in a time share with Chris Heisey, but in the last two games against lefties he has batted clean up. During the first of the week he gets two left handed pitchers, Wandy Rodriguez and Francisco Liriano. In the last three years his OPS against lefties is .832 compared to .719 against righties. There is a caveat. Since 2008 he doesn’t have a platoon spilt. That is why he is my least favorite add this week. It’s up to you on how you interpret both data points.

Craig Gentry will also start of two of the three games against the Angels. For his career he has a .775 OPS against lefties compared to .669 OPS against righties. Last year, in only 287 plate appearances, he had 24 stolen bases so if you’re looking for cheap speed he could be viable option.

Second Half of the Week Starts

Paul Konerko: this is not a misprint. The White Sox will face Robbie Ross and Martin Perez, both average at best pitchers. Konerko fell off a cliff last year, but he quietly had a .923 OPS against lefties last year. Also, he has a .860 OPS for the last three years.

One Week Start

Lyle Overbay: since 2008 his OPS against righties is .798 compared to .585 against lefties. This week he will face six righties. He faces the Pirates and Cardinals, which on the surface do not look appealing, but he’s not facing their premiere pitchers. For example, he avoids Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha in the first half of the week. The second half of the week is not as appealing as he will sit against Wandy Rodriguez and will have to face Gerrit Cole, but he still has two good matchups against below average pitchers in Charlie Morton and Edinson Volquez.

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Podcast 8

Play

In episode eight I provide fantasy analysis for the following players:

Mashiro Tanaka
Zack Wheeler
Scott Kazmir
Corey Kluber
Brandon Morrow
CC Sabathia
Chris Carter
Derek Norris
Jesse Chavez

In the second half of the podcast (24:48) I discuss my strategy for my NFBC 15-team mixed league auction. The article about this topic can be found here.

Musical guest is The Brother Kite.

The name of the songs are:

  • Bees
  • Get On Me

Download Here (38:30)

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15-Team Mixed NFBC Auction Draft Recap

On Friday, March 28 I finished my first ever live auction with NFBC; it was 15-team mixed league with 23 man rosters (14 hitters and nine pitchers). I had an opportunity to draft with ringers such as Lindy Hinkelman. I also had the opportunity to meet Larry Schechter. I’m not a talkative guy so I didn’t say much. If I were more talkative I would’ve joked with him about his Red Sox polo.

Overall, I got the majority of “my guys” or “flag players” in Joe Mauer, Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, Aaron Hill, Melky Cabrera, Daniel Murphy and Everth Cabrera. I got $361 in value for my $260; a pretty good draft. Larry Schecther, in his book, talks about acquiring players at good values, which makes a lot of sense, but those values come from projections you, the fantasy player created. Therefore, every owner should be near $290-300 in value, right? He talks about this in detail in his book so I will not discuss any further, but there are some flaws in his rationale.

The table below shows how much I acquired my players. The first thing you will notice is I spent $197 on hitting and $63 on pitching. This was relatively planned because I was banking on my three “core” pitchers, who I have valued as top 30 starting pitchers, who are extremely undervalued to hit my projections. Honestly, I expected to pay $190 for hitting, but I believe some fantasy owners were price enforcing the players I was nominating.

At least 80 percent of the players I nominated are players I wanted and some of the other owners were trying to bid up those players. For example, Melky Cabrera should have went for $2-3, Aaron Hill $16-17 and Jayson Werth for $17-18. During the middle of the auction I started throw out my one dollar players on the bottom of my list so when I nominated Kyle Lohse for a dollar and someone said two; they were now stuck with him.

If you read my fantasy guide it’s obvious how I ended up with my roster (at least I hope so!) so I will not go through a pick by pick rundown of each player. Instead I’ll talk about my thoughts behind what I was trying to accomplish.

Position

Player

$ Cost

C

Joe Mauer

23

C

Jonathan Lucroy

17

1B

Adam Dunn

1

2B

Aaron Hill

18

SS

Everth Cabrera

20

3B

David Wright

28

MI

Daniel Murphy

13

CI

Brett Lawrie

8

OF

Ryan Braun

37

OF

Jason Werth

22

OF

Melky Cabrera

4

OF

Colby Rasmus

4

OF

Carlos Quentin

1

UTL

Matt Dominguez

1

P

Trevor Rosenthal

19

P

Joe Nathan

14

P

R.A. Dickey

12

P

Chris Tillman

8

P

Corey Kluber

6

P

Bartolo Colon

1

P

Tyler Skaggs

1

P

Eric Stults

1

P

Tommy Milone

1

Res

Craig Gentry

-

Res

Jake Odorizzi

-

Res

Oscar Taveras

-

Res

Kevin Gausman

-

Res

Danny Espinsoa

-

Res

Kyle Gibson

-

Res

Felipe Paulino

-

Hitting Recap

I wanted to get two top tier catchers. Specifically, Joe Mauer and Jonathan Lucroy whom I valued at $24 and $23 respectively, I got Mauer for $23 and Lucroy for $17. Lucroy was the third player I threw out; my initial bid was $15. I knew he went for $16 at Tout so I knew someone could bid $16, but I wanted to try to save money and if I got him for $15 I’d be extremely happy and if someone said $16 I would gladly say $17 immediately. You should have seen some people’s reactions from some of the owners; that person thought clearly thought I overpaid. However, later in the draft Matt Wieters went for $18 and Salvador Perez went for $16 so my $17 Lucroy price was a steal.

The reason why I wanted two top catchers is because of position scarcity. With 15 teams the catcher player pool is 30. After the first 14-15 the position gets bad really fast. I wanted to create an advantage amongst my competitors and maximize my dollar. I believe I was going to get more value with my last dollar at any other position besides catcher and I was correct as I got Matt Dominguez with my last buck.

The biggest deal of the day was Josh Donaldson for $15. If I had known he would go for that I never would have bought David Wright for $28. I had valued Wright as a $30 player and since this was the relative early portion of the draft I wanted to compliment my roster with a five tool player. Also, a few picks later Adrian Beltre and Jacoby Ellsbury both went for $26 and I was really kicking myself because Wright was no longer as big of a discount.

The biggest hole in my lineup is Adam Dunn at first base. I had spent a lot of money elsewhere and I was hoping I could get better one dollar first baseman towards the end of the draft like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Howard and Adam Lind were all off the board, but they went for $3, $3 and $8 respectively. According to my projections I’ll still have a .277 batting average, which is higher than my .270 target, but now I have less margin for error.

In the reserve rounds I had an opportunity to nab Yonder Alonso or James Loney, but I went with Jake Odorizzi and Oscar Tavares with my first two reserve picks in the hope Alonso or Loney would swing back to me, which didn’t happen. I’m going to constantly check the waiver wire for better first base options. I hope Dunn doesn’t begin the year as he did last year.

Pitching Recap

I spent a lot of my money on hitting $196 because I knew I could get discounts on my “core” pitchers R.A. Dickey, Chris Tillman and Cory Kluber for cheap (they cost a total of $26). My pitching is going to live or die based on my projections of these three players. If they come close to my projections I feel really good about my chance to hold my own in the pitching category.  

Another reason I felt comfortable going cheap on pitching was I am utilizing the streaming strategy, which I admit can be extremely dangerous in deep leagues like this. I nominated Tommy Milone and Eric Stults for a dollar each and gladly got them. The idea behind those two players was I’m only going to stream them when they pitch at home which should give me 200-230 innings with a sub-3.35 ERA with 170 strikeouts.

In the reserve rounds I rostered other stream worthy pitchers like Jake Odorizzi, Felipe Paulino and Kyle Gibson. I’m going to immediately drop Gibson because there are better stream options on the waiver wire in the next two, three weeks. It’s important to note just because you draft someone doesn’t mean you can immediately drop them. It’s ok to drop them immediately after the draft if it’s advantageous to your strategy.

Joe Sheehan brought Paulino to my attention in the offseason and like Mr. Sheehan, I see Paulino as a lottery ticket. Paulino has always had really good stuff, but the biggest roadblock to his success has been health. With Don Cooper overseeing Paulino’s throwing program he has the best opportunity to be successful.

I spent a lot of money on closers $33 on Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Nathan. I intended to spend this much because in a 15-team league everyone will have two closers, which means teams with upper tier closers will have an advantage. My definition of upper tier means closers who will first hold onto the job the whole year, plays for a good team and will put up good ratios. I acquired both closers early in the draft because I knew desperation was going to set in. I paid $14 for Nathan, which ended being a good deal because lower tier closers such as Casey Janssen, Addison Reed, and Jason Grilli went for $13. If you ask the owners of those three players they would most likely rather have Nathan for one dollar more.

Another reason why I value upper tier closers more is because I do not have to clog my bench spots on potential save candidates. For example, the Houston Street owner probably owns a Joaquin Benoit, Rex Brothers or Mark Melancon type of player because they know Street will not play a full year. I project my team to have 84 saves which should be enough to finish fourth, but since saves can be had on the waiver wire throughout the year I can always find a closer during the middle of the year to get me over the hump.

Overall Insights

The vast majority of the fantasy owners nominated players below their value. For example, Ryan Zimmerman would be nominated for $5 or Andrew Cashner for $3. Obviously I cannot get into the minds of the other owners, but utilizing that strategy indicates they either wanted to get money off the board or they were hoping to get steep discounts. I find the ladder to be a little nonsensical because I’m very sure everyone in the league knows how much these players went for in Tout, LABR and CBS. The odds players go for that big of a discount is extremely unlikely. I acquired a lot of my hitters in the early portion of the auction so during the middle portion I was nominating high priced players I didn’t want to get money off the board so there would be less owners vying for the rest of the players I wanted.

My view on player nominations is I am going to nominate players at the values I want because that is the only time I have control over how much a player will go for. Also, I want to nominate guys I want so I can plan accordingly the rest of the draft. For example, the three players I wanted the most at the start of the auction were: Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer. Braun is rated as the third best player and I nominated Braun first and at the price I wanted. If I didn’t roster Braun I can readjust and plan accordingly.

Another example is I rated Corey Kluber as a $18 player, but he went for $6 at Tout the prior weekend. That told me that it is highly likely no one will pay more than $6. I nominated Kluber for $6 towards the end of the draft when I was running low on money and when at least half the room had more money. I could have nominated Kluber for $1 and hoped to get him for a steep discount, but the last thing I wanted is for bidding war to break out to the point where I had to pay $7-8 for him. So I threw him out for $6 knowing I would most likely get him and if for someone reason someone said $7  I would go to $8. What happened when I nominated Kluber it was dead silent and my heart was beating as if I were doing an Insanity workout, but after the auctioneer said, “going twice” I was extremely relieved.

Lastly, everyone I met before, during and after my draft was extremely cool. During the intermission the had a really nice spread with food that looked really good. Since I follow the plant based diet I couldn’t eat any of it, but either way everyone else enjoyed the meal. If you’re looking to participate in a high stakes fantasy league I highly recommend checking out NFBC.

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