Auction day is one of my favorite days of the year. Luckily, I get to enjoy three of those days annually. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the delayed season has caused me to postpone the local league auction I commish, while a second AL-Only keeper league was postponed as well. So what to do when you love auctioning, but won’t have the chance to for a while? Fake buy players from auctions that did actually take place! For fun, I decided to check out the NFBC average auction values and build a standard 14-player offense for $14. That’s right, every player I selected had to be a buck. Imagine the pitching staff you could assemble with $246!
MLB announced the season would be delayed by at last two weeks on March 12. Since, it’s become pretty clear that the season will start much later than previously anticipated. The later start will have a dramatic effect on many players’ values. As I’ve discussed recently, there are a bunch of less obvious players who should see a boost in value, as well as a group of players who should suffer a decline in value. Are NFBC drafters correctly making those adjustments? Let’s compare March 1-11 ADP (pre-delay) to March 18-24 ADP (post-delay) to find out. I chose to start the post-delay period on March 18 somewhat arbitrarily, but wanted it to be more recent to account for the assumption that we won’t have baseball until sometime in May, at the earliest.
Yesterday, I discussed six 2019 fantasy breakouts and concluded with a verdict as to whether I believed each was for real or would be a 2020 bust. Today, let’s flip to the 2019 busts.
Two years ago during Fantasy Baseball Week at The Hardball Times, I researched whether last season’s breakouts were solid investments the following year. Spoiler alert: they are actually terrible investments. Of course, that’s as a group. That means that not every breakout from the previous season is going to fall flat the following year. So let’s discuss some of the big breakouts from 2019 and decide whether each turns out to be a poor investment bust or ends up holding onto their gains.
Yesterday, I discussed five players that aren’t generally thought of as gaining value due to the delayed start to the season. Today, I want to discuss players that stand to lose value because they were originally expected to enjoy a playing time boost replacing an injured player, but might no longer do so.
The delayed start to the season is going to have a significant impact on player values. If you originally expected a player to miss the first two months of the season, now that player is looking like he’ll be ready for opening day. We all know the big names that gain value with the later start date — Justin Verlander, Aaron Judge, James Paxton, etc. Let’s ignore them and discuss some of the less expensive players expected to have a smaller impact. Though the impact is certainly smaller, that doesn’t mean there isn’t profit to be had.
Last week, I identified and discussed a smattering of players whose ADPs have jumped from February to March in NFBC league drafts. Let’s now review players whose ADPs have fallen and investigate why that may be the case. I will ignore guys who got injured and focus only on guys who had been selected inside the top 300 in Feb.
Right around this time each year, I gush about the wonderful weekend devoted to Tout Wars, including our party at Foley’s, mingling with friends and industry folk, and, of course, participating in the AL-Only auction. I then share my team, my strategy going in, and my thought process in purchasing the players ultimately finding their way onto my roster. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed everything. Initially, the plan was to keep the weekend events as scheduled. That plan then (rightfully) changed pretty quickly, with all auctions/drafts moving online, and live activities canceled. Then last Thursday, the remainder of Spring Training was canceled and the start of the regular season was to be delayed by at least two weeks. We now had no idea when the season would begin, which makes valuing players even more challenging. Although the season was to be delayed indefinitely, the Tout Wars league auctions/drafts were held.
While it is wrong to use an ADP (average draft position) list as your actual rankings to draft off of, that doesn’t mean that ADP data is useless. It’s far from it, in fact. One of the insights you can glean from the data is identifying players rising and falling in value. So today, let’s compare NFBC ADP from February to March and discuss the players who have convinced fantasy owners to pay more for them this month than last.
Let’s dive into another Pod Projection! As a reminder, the 2020 forecasts are available now and include over 500 player lines. The projections follow the same process that resulted in the most accurate non-aggregate system of 2019 as calculated by FantasyPros.