Justin Mason’s 2022 Apology Tour: NFBC Auction Championship

2022 was the worst year I have ever had as a fantasy player. I played in 16 leagues and did not cash in a single one. The hard part is that I don’t even know what went wrong. I had teams I really liked coming out of the draft and some that were doing very well throughout the season. Over the next few weeks I will deep dive into each team in a series of articles to examine what went wrong and what the common threads were. This is my 2022 Apology Tour.

The twelfth team I am covering in my apology tour was my eleventh draft of the year. The draft a live auction on March 25, 2022 with weekly FAAB. It is 5×5 roto with 15 teams and an overall. The league was packed with great fantasy analysts and some top tier NFBC players. I finished 7th.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship Standings
Rank Team Overall Rank Hitting Pitching Points
1 Texas Connection 10 54 62 116
2 What Was I Thinking 15 73 35 108
3 Butler 26 51 53.5 104.5
4 Bronx Win AC 23 65 38.5 103.5
5 Waxman 40 37 59 96
6 Revenge of The Bobble Heads 61 27 59 86
7 Auction Mason 68 56 26.5 82.5
8 Ryan Staff Wears Red 73 42 38.5 80.5
9 Warner 91 33 41 74
10 Cox 83 30.5 43 73.5
11 Esquire 13 101 26 42.5 68.5
12 Bidding Booms I 99 44 19 63
13 Vandelay Industries 123 27.5 26 53.5
14 Tigers Slappy 122 24 26.5 50.5
15 Sack Auction LV 134 10 30 40

The Auction
While I have played in a number of auction leagues before, this was my first time in this format in NFBC. If you have never played on NFBC, the competition is top notch, but it comes with it’s own quirks. Closers and starting pitching costs much more than in your typical league. This league is also a $1,500 buy-in, so I was pretty nervous about not knowing what the pricing structure would be like. I ultimately came in with the strategy of staying true to my values and not running out of money early.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship Standings
Pos Player Draft Price
C Realmuto, J.T. $24
C Grandal, Yasmani $13
1B Cronenworth, Jake $10
CI Suarez, Eugenio $4
2B Lowe, Brandon $17
MI Hernandez, Cesar $3
SS Adames, Willy $12
3B Turner, Justin $9
UT Cruz, Nelson $9
OF Mullins, Cedric $25
OF Arozarena, Randy $23
OF Pham, Tommy $9
OF Haniger, Mitch $10
OF Zimmer, Bradley $1
P Cole, Gerrit $42
P Hendriks, Liam $26
P Floro, Dylan $8
P Gray, Sonny $9
P Gibson, Kyle $1
P Heaney, Andrew $1
P Rasmussen, Drew $1
P Stratton, Chris $1
P Patino, Luis $2
1B Bradley, Bobby $0
P McCullers Jr., Lance $0
P Bumgarner, Madison $0
OF Kwan, Steven $0
P Cessa, Luis $0
P Lorenzen, Michael $0
OF Brujan, Vidal $0
Blue = Finished year on team
Red = injured

In retrospect, my draft wasn’t bad generally speaking. However, it had some glaring weaknesses that are pretty familiar at this point after doing a number of these articles. First, I was not injury risk averse enough. I had my fears about McCullers, Mitch Haniger, and Andrew Heaney, yet I still put them on my team because of the perceived “discount.” Second, while Liam Hendriks ended being a good buy, I whiffed pretty hard on a second closer in spite of drafting two guys that I was pretty high on in Chris Stratton and Dylan Floro. While I ended up doing well in saves (third in the category), I spent a lot of my FAAB attempting to find that second closer. My biggest issue was my starting pitching. Of the 10 starters I drafted at the auction table, only Gerrit Cole and Drew Rassmussen really played a positive role on my team. Sonny Gray and Andrew Heaney were great when they were on the mound for me, but they only threw a combined 164.1 innings for me. I had to rely too much on streaming and with spending so much money on closers, that was not an easy process.

I tend to try to be aggressive early in FAAB and this league was no different.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship April FAAB
Date Team Add Drop Bid Runner-Up
4/3 Auction Mason CJ Abrams Vidal Brujan 47 46
4/3 Auction Mason Carlos Santana Bobby Bradley 2
4/10 Auction Mason Sam Hilliard Bradley Zimmer 3
4/17 Auction Mason Hansel Robles Luis Patino 78 63
4/17 Auction Mason Jake Diekman Luis Cessa 37 29
4/17 Auction Mason Oscar Mercado Sam Hilliard 3
4/17 Auction Mason Daniel Vogelbach Carlos Santana 2
4/24 Auction Mason Chas McCormick Lance McCullers Jr. 7
Money Spent 179
Money Left 821

I was trying to nail down the guys I thought could be the Red Sox’s closer and picked up Hansel Robles and Jake Diekman which neither ended up not working. I also grabbed CJ Abrams once it was announced he was going to make the team out of spring. Unfortunately, He did not pan out either. While these weren’t technically overpays as others bid nearly as much, I would have been better off with smaller bids on different guys in case these players didn’t pan out. Some guys that were bought for under $20 this month were Jon Berti ($12), Spencer Strider ($6), and Jonah Heim ($15). Taylor Ward and Kyle Wright were also purchased during April if I wanted to spend big money. By the end of April, I was in 8th place with a pretty mediocre offense and pitching.

My big pickup of the month was Jorge Mateo. He was dropped the previous week and I spent a lot of money to get him. It was definitely an overpay, but one I was willing to do in order to boost my steals in a format that is difficult to find stolen bases. I ended up leading the league in stolen bases by 15 and that was in spite of sitting Mateo down the stretch.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship May FAAB
Team Add Drop Bid Runner-Up
5/1 Auction Mason Cole Irvin Oscar Mercado 46 28
5/1 Auction Mason Rafael Ortega CJ Abrams 7
5/8 Auction Mason Aaron Ashby Jake Diekman 67 45
5/8 Auction Mason Kyle Bradish Cole Irvin 7 3
5/8 Auction Mason Luis Gonzalez Rafael Ortega 7
5/15 Auction Mason Jorge Mateo Mitch Haniger 127 83
5/15 Auction Mason Tyler Wade Luis Gonzalez 27 8
5/23 Auction Mason Isaac Paredes Chris Stratton 27 4
5/23 Auction Mason Tony Kemp Dylan Floro 7
5/30 Auction Mason Evan Longoria Daniel Vogelbach 44 35
5/30 Auction Mason Erick Fedde Hansel Robles 17 8
5/30 Auction Mason Hunter Strickland Kyle Bradish 3
Money Spent 386
Money Left 435

I spent most of May streaming starters, but I didn’t have any major pitching pickups outside of Aaron Ashby, who gave me strikeouts, but hurt me in the ratio departments and missed a lot of time with injury and on multiple occasions was scratched for the week after lineups locked. In spite of bad streams like Kyle Bradish and Erick Fedde, I actually was doing well in pitching and my offense was starting to come around. By the end of the month, I was in fifth place in the league and had been in first place at one point and fifth overall.

During June I continued to try and find that elusive second closer. I did end up grabbing Tanner Scott who would get the second most amount of saves for my team with 12.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship June FAAB
Team Add Drop Bid Runner-Up
6/5 Auction Mason Josh Winder Hunter Strickland $11 $6
6/5 Auction Mason Chad Kuhl Erick Fedde $3
6/12 Auction Mason Tanner Scott Isaac Paredes $47 $45
6/12 Auction Mason A.J. Puk Tony Kemp $18 $5
6/19 Auction Mason Harold Castro Tyler Wade $7
6/26 Auction Mason Jose Trevino Madison Bumgarner $3 $1
6/26 Auction Mason Victor Robles Chas McCormick $3
6/26 Auction Mason Chris Archer Victor Robles $3 $1
Money Spent $95
Money Left $340

Unfortunately, I made a few poor streaming decisions in Chad Kuhl and Chris Archer, but more importantly than that, I did not cut loose some starters like Madison Bumgarner, Kyle Gibson, and Aaron Ashby that were actively hurting me. By the end of the month, my hitting was getting hot again, but I was struggling in every pitching category and I had already spent 66% of my FAAB.

July was actually a pretty good month for me in terms of pickups.

Justin Mason’s NFBC Auction Championship July FAAB
Team Add Drop Bid Runner-Up
7/3 Auction Mason Jose Miranda Harold Castro 37 26
7/3 Auction Mason Will Smith A.J. Puk 37 22
7/3 Auction Mason Brusdar Graterol Josh Winder 7 2
7/10 Auction Mason Nolan Jones Evan Longoria 72 47
7/10 Auction Mason Josh Winder Michael Lorenzen 17 15
7/10 Auction Mason Glenn Otto Chris Archer 17 12
7/17 Auction Mason Alexis Diaz Brusdar Graterol 21 8
7/17 Auction Mason Daniel Lynch Will Smith 1 1
7/24 Auction Mason Adrian Sampson 샘슨 Josh Winder 3
7/24 Auction Mason Graham Ashcraft Daniel Lynch 1
7/24 Auction Mason Mike Moustakas Jose Trevino 1
Money Spent $214
Money Left $126

After speculating on closers all season (and earlier in the month), I was able to grab Alexis Diaz who would provide me with a handful of saves, good ratios, and strikeouts. I was also able to grab Jose Miranda who was huge for my offense the rest of the way. Unfortunately, my biggest issue continued to be that I didn’t dump starters that were hurting me. I became attached to guys like Kyle Gibson and Chad Kuhl and they continued to torch my ratios. That damage dropped me to eleventh by the end of the month.

Rest of the Season
By this time of the season, all of the teams in the top three had over 100 standings points. Sitting at about 60 points, I knew it was unlikely I was going to be able to catch up. I decided to focus more on other leagues and that was a huge mistake. While I did not go completely inactive, I wasn’t focusing enough on my biggest weakness which was my starting pitching. My offense continued to be strong, but I did not turn over my starting pitching enough as I waited for Andrew Heaney and Sonny Gray to come back from the IL. In NFBC, there is no IL spot, so holding on to guys like this is often a mistake. By the end of August I was able to work my way back to eighth place and up to seventh by the end of the season, but if I had rehabbed my pitching earlier, I could have made a run at cashing in this league.

My biggest issue in this league was my lack of pitching at the draft table and the inability to address it in season. I looked at the pitching pool as pretty deep and thought I could load up on offense and figure the pitching out later. This was a mistake. While I see the pitching pool as deep again, I am not making the same mistakes this year and will adjust my strategies accordingly.

Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as other periodic articles. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, and the owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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1 year ago

I was not injury risk averse enough. I had my fears about McCullers, Mitch Haniger, and Andrew Heaney, yet I still put them on my team because of the perceived “discount.” ” Do you think that teams that are injury risk averse are more likely to win in this format? Or maybe more likely to contend but not win because a winner must take more risks?