Accountability Corner: Eight More Leagues

I’ve already gloated about my ottoneu success, bemoaned my DFS performance, and wistfully analyzed my nearly 7-for-10 Bold Prediction performance. Today I’ll run through my performance in eight other leagues.

I’ll be up front – it wasn’t my best season. Even in March, I knew I was biting off more than I could chew. In my sophomore year of high school, I doubled up in Geometry and Algebra 2. Every time I caught up in one subject, I fell behind in the other. That’s how my 2015 season felt. Whenever I put in the time to grind some advantage in one league, I let another fall into the weeds. By the end of the year, I was down to actively managing two teams. Let’s discuss those successes first.

1. Macalester League

My best performance was in a H2H league with my former college teammates. Last year, I finished second in the regular season and won the playoffs. This time around, I won the regular season and finished second in the playoffs.

What Worked: This is a 6×6 keeper league that adds OPS and K/BB. I kept an elite pitching staff including Jake Arrieta, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Jose Fernandez. Most weeks, they made up for any poor streaming performances from the waiver wire.

What Failed: My team limped into the postseason, and it only got worse in the final week. It’s hard to win with Miguel Cabrera, Michael Brantley, and Stephen Piscotty on the bench. Brett Gardner also stopped doing anything.

2. FSWA League 

This was a 14-team industry redraft H2H league hosted by Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski. I finished fourth in the regular season and second in the playoffs.

What Worked: My team contended for the entire season despite obvious roster shortcomings.  I guess A.J. Pollock and Jacob deGrom can carry you a long way all by themselves. Kris Bryant, Buster Posey, Carrasco, and Brandon Phillips were my other top players.

The challenging part of this league was a 50 move cap with three moves per week. We used deep rosters with a four-man bench. I’m convinced my team held its head above water simply because my roster had the ideal balance of starters, relievers, and position players all season long.

What Failed: There just wasn’t enough talent. Jonathan Schoop and Greg Bird can save your season only so many times.

3. MLBTR League

This was a 12-team redraft with my co-workers from MLB Trade Rumors. It’s hard to beat these guys to the waiver. I finished in fifth place.

What Worked: It’s a 6×6 league with OPS and holds. I nabbed 63 of 72 possible pitching points. I didn’t record a single hold for the first two-and-a-half months of the season. I still wound up winning the category.

Between the wide range of categories, three-man bench, and deep rosters, it was next to impossible to produce in all 12 categories. Early in the season, I traded Yasiel Puig for Gerrit Cole. I definitely won that deal. My other big swap was decidedly worse…

What Failed: Unfortunately my offense never got off the ground with just 21 of 72 possible points. Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and…Mike Moustakas were my best players. I recognized a need for an offensive boost early in the season.

Eventually, I worked out a trade of Clayton Kershaw for Giancarlo Stanton. This was three days before Stanton hit the disabled list. Obviously, I didn’t actually need Kershaw – I had the best pitching staff without him. I did need his equivalent on the offensive side.

4. Devil’s Rejects

This is a 20-team, 45-player dynasty league I share with Chad Young. You’ll be hearing more about it over the winter as I provide further dynasty analysis. Eno Sarris and a variety of other industry types are also in the league. Chad and I finished sixth with a blue collar roster. The top five spots pay. Shucks.

What Worked: You can go a long way in a deep dynasty format by simply filling every active roster spot. Charlie Blackmon, J.D. Martinez, and Kendrys Morales were our best players. It’s a weekly lineup league which ties my hands with regard to useful platoons.

What Failed: Our roster was and remains straddling the line between contending and rebuilding. We couldn’t sell Nomar Mazara or Bradley Zimmer for mid-season upgrades because we need them to carry our roster in the future. We can’t sell Blackmon or Martinez because we need them to supply the offense now.

It’s a sticky spot to find oneself. The conventional wisdom says to commit to rebuilding or contending. Poppycock! Commitment is the easy way out (remember that kids). With enough skill, one can walk the tightrope without ever fully committing to the future or the present. Chad and I may or may not have the necessary skill.

5. The Daily Grind Invitational

This is where it starts to get ugly. You may recall me organizing this league in July. It was an interesting mid-season auction draft with standard 5×5 roto. I was pleased with the league-wide parity – six owners finished with between 61.5 points (me) and 69.5 points. Three were better. Three were worse.

What Worked: My plan was to couple a decent offense with elite pitching. I got the hitting. Bryce Harper, Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward, and Blackmon were my best batters. The rest of the crew was good enough. I could have used one more stud. Maybe Pollock?

What Failed: The pitching plan flopped. I thought a few top starters anchored by an overpay for Chris Sale would set me rolling. I also rostered six closers which quickly became five when Jason Grilli hit the skids.

Paying $42 for Sale was a huge mistake. I completely misjudged the room. Everyone was paying out the nose early, but sanity was restored very quickly. Most other top pitchers ran between $25 and $30. Arrieta was $25. If I had him instead of Sale, I could have upgraded my last starter from Andrew Heaney to somebody like Carlos Martinez.

6. FSLR League

Yet another industry league with 5×5 scoring. This was another league with parity. Seven owners had between 61 and 68.5 points. I split the difference with 66 points.

What Worked: Once again, my pitching staff did the work by scoring 50 of 60 possible points. One thing I’ll be investigating in the coming weeks – are there any obvious indicators for my successful and unsuccessful pitching staffs? It looks like I pick better pitching in snake draft leagues.

What Failed: For those doing the mental math at home, my offense posted a measly 16 points. It would have been even worse without midseason waiver claims on Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Josh Reddick, and others. In this case, I just bet on the wrong guys. Namely Jorge Soler, Christian Yelich, Victor Martinez, Josh Harrison, and Brandon Moss.

To be honest, this was the first team I left to drift. I held on until some point in August. At that point I decided to put more time into my possible winners.

7. A Reader’s League

One of my readers asked me to draft and run his team this season while he focused on silly things like planning a wedding. The winner would get something like $1,000, and he would put up the entry fee. Unfortunately for both of us, his ringer (i.e. me) flopped. I turned the roster back over to him once his wedding was past.

What Worked: It’s a keeper league. I was able to snag a $1 Kyle Schwarber, traded for a $6 Brantley, and drafted Lorenzo Cain for $8. I also laid the groundwork for a later blockbuster – Edwin Encarnacion and parts for $16 Anthony Rizzo. At least I helped to improve his situation for 2016.

What Failed: It can be really important to know a league. The format was weekly rosters with FAAB processed on Saturday and Sunday. It’s not my best game mode (there’s a reason I write the Daily Grind).

When I play with new owners, I’m used to other industry types. We try not to look foolish in front of one another. I was entirely unprepared for the draft experience in which $29 for Jacoby Ellsbury felt like a bargain. Everybody cost so much money, and I went into the draft hamstrung with semi-expensive Encarnacion and Jose Abreu. I also lost some key early FAAB bids to crazy wagers.

8. My Home League

Last year was the first time I didn’t finish first or second in this league. I ended in third place. This season, I shattered my winning tradition by tying for last place. I could have done as well as eighth. I opted to hang onto fringy keepers rather than fill my active roster. I left 209 innings on the table as a result along with countless games played.

What Worked: I traded Ian Desmond for keeper priced Anthony Rendon ($20). That was a good thing, right? (sorry Will)

I built a fun keeper pitching staff including $8 Marcus Stroman, $8 Steven Matz, and $8 Luis Severino. I have to decide if I’ll invest $8 in Henry Owens and/or Eduardo Rodriguez too. Carter Capps ($8), Jeurys Familia ($9), and Ken Giles ($15) will anchor my bullpen. That may seem like a lot to pay for those three, but our league has decided to place a big premium on closers in recent seasons. If I’m lucky, Darren O’Day ($8) will pull a Luke Gregerson over the offseason.

In case it’s not obvious, $8 is the minimum keeper cost.

What Failed: Everything. Most importantly, the draft.

I had hoped to turn a pricey-but-keepable Stanton into a young stud like Carlos Correa. I really needed Stanton on the field down the stretch to entice a trade. I also dealt $14 Danny Salazar for a pricey-but-not-keepable Aroldis Chapman under the premise that he’d be easier to shop for top keepers. I was forced to eat Chapman after the top teams decided they weren’t interested. The best offer I received was $8 Brandon Crawford. I definitely don’t regret declining it.

We hoped you liked reading Accountability Corner: Eight More Leagues by Brad Johnson!

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Pat's Bat
Pat's Bat

Rough year. A good rule is to never draft or trade for someone with the expectation you can flip them later.


So much this… I have been guilty of this so many times. I get what looks like a really great offer on paper. Too good to pass up. So I take it knowing that I need to flip a bunch of the pieces into something that works better for me. At the end of the day, I realize the other guy had already shopped these guys hard, and everyone has devalued them in their minds since they have seen them in so many offers over the past weeks.

That has worked well for me before too, I have gotten stuck with a player I do not really want, but need to stick with since they have more value than I can drop… That is how I have Goldschmidt in one keeper (he was not the highest regarded prospect, but I got him as a spare part in a bigger deal his first season. I tried flipping him for a prospect/young player I like more- Profar… but was turned down, now he is the cornerstone of that team)