Archive for Keeper Strategy

Expert Advice for Rebuilding Your Fantasy Team

Successfully “rebuilding” your fantasy team into a contender is an epic challenge that requires vision, skill, patience, and a little bit of luck.  Since there is no perfect blueprint that ensures success, it’s not surprising that owners take a lot of different routes to the same ultimate goal.

I recently polled a group of savvy, successful fantasy owners to get their advice for rebuilding in Ottoneu, asking five key questions that are related to the idea of effective rebuilding.  Regardless of whether you play Ottoneu, much of the (anonymous) feedback below should be relevant to a wide variety of fantasy baseball leagues and may be helpful if you find yourself in a rebuild this season.

What is the best advice you would offer an Ottoneu owner who is rebuilding their roster for the future?

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The Interaction of Keeper Value and Inflation

This is a topic I probably should have brought up earlier in the draft season when more owners could use the concepts to select their keepers. I’ve decided there’s still a reason to talk about keeper value and inflation as it could inform your trade talks or how you think about the game in general.

A couple of my auction keeper leagues included hefty inflation this year. We’re talking prices over $10 above retail. As I’ve said in previous posts, the best way to handle the craze is to join the fray for a few big names then position yourself to be the king of dollar days. But let’s take a further step back. How should we prepare for rampant inflation before the draft even begins?

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Looking beyond surplus value for keeper decisions

I stared at the two options for a long time.

Russell Martin as a 21st-round pick.
Dee Gordon as a 3rd-round pick.

I referred to my projections for each, the replacement level at their position, the surplus value over the expected return in each draft slot. I stared. I went for a run. I came back, stared.
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Dealing With Fringe Keepers

Over the weekend, I had my first normal(ish) keeper deadline. The roster was packed with useful players who could be kept right around cost. It made for quite the challenge deciding on cuts and auction strategy.

Here’s the background – 12-team 5×5 roto (OPS), standard deep rosters (2 C, 5 OF, MI, CI), $310 auction budget, unlimited keepers at previous auction price +$7. And here are my various keep/cuts.

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Advanced Dynasty Rebuild: Scarcity Wars

Zig when others zag. That could be the RotoGraphs motto. It’s certainly a theme I pursue with gusto. Fantasy advice tends to fit in a one-size-fits-all vehicle. Articles haven’t learned to mutate to match their reader. I can tell you my ideas and strategies, but it’s up to you to decide when to apply them or twist them to your own devious needs.

Recently, I wrote about using major league talent to effect a rebuild in a deep dynasty setting. Traditionally, rebuilding is done by rostering as many top prospects as possible. Sometimes, too many teams are rebuilding at once, making fringy major leaguers with breakout potential the much more affordable asset class. In other words, try to find the next Jose Bautista, Ben Zobrist, or J.D. Martinez rather than Mike Trout. Today, I’ll add a useful tactical wrinkle to the plan.

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Does Inflation Increase As A League Gets Older?

The answer to the question posed in the headline is yes, but with some caveats. Last month I wrote about the Ottoneu Surplus Calculator, and one of the takeaways at the end of that article was that post-keeper deadline the calculator could be used to calculate inflation. What I’ve done is gone through every Fangraphs Points league in ottoneu and ran those leagues through the Surplus Calculator to gather data on keepers and inflation, in an attempt to get a general sense of how auction keeper leagues (like ottoneu) evolve over time with respect to inflation. Before I present that data, though, I want to explain what inflation is and why you should care about it.

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Be Patient When Taking Over A Roster

So you’ve joined a new, established keeper league. Or maybe it’s a dynasty, ottoneu, or some other deep format. The team that was abandoned has a couple good guys on it. Or maybe it doesn’t. Clearly, it’s not ready to contend. You have some rebuilding to do.

I bet I know the very first thing you’re going to do – shop your best veterans. In fact, if my experience is any guide, you’re going to really rush into the trade market. Both feet in, taking the best offer on the first day without getting to know your leaguemates, shopping offers, or researching past trades. You’ll swing deals with the zest of A.J. Preller, except instead an ill-fated attempt to contend, you’ll probably acquire a bunch of prospects who are one to five years from any fantasy contributions. And we all know how heartbreaking prospects can be (oh, hello there Fernando Martinez).

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Improved Playing Times Estimates

Fantasy baseball season is upon us and interest will probably spike once Super Bowl L is over. Since I may be considered an expert in fantasy baseball, I get asked questions about this or that player. Who is a sleeper? And tons of keeper questions. With these questions, I follow three rules.

  1. Take the younger player.
  2. Take the more talented player.
  3. Take the hitter.

Sometimes the questions are a little harder to answer and the answer can be a little fuzzy with so many possible inputs and outcomes. Quite a bit of the analysis I see and hear are people just making up values. I have found I can’t go with my gut and some semblance of an intelligent answer should be constructed.

I know I have a few more resources than the average fantasy owner and I would like to put those resources to work. I have taken various questions I have seen discussed and have come up with what I hope are some more intelligently constructed answers.

The two items I will use for most of the analysis is public opinion (from Twitter polls) and historical data. With the polls, I can use the information from the crowds to at least get a consensus of public opinion. The public could be wrong, but at least I have a reasonable anchoring point to start the discussion. With the historic data, the average and range of values can be known.

Here are some questions I have pondered this pre-season and my current answers.

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More Keeper Questions Answered

Hard to believe, but it’s almost February.  Almost all the top free agents have signed.  It’s almost prospect season, and it’s almost time for pitchers and catchers to report.  All these things add up to a baseball season that is almost here.


But patience is a luxury we don’t have these days in fantasy leagues like Ottoneu that have a keeper deadline (January 31st) fast approaching.  Auction formats make player valuation even more complex, and now that it’s crunch time, tough decisions need to be made.  How comfortable are you hanging onto that $20 Corey Dickerson while the risk of a possible trade out of COL remains a real possibility in February or March? Despite the power and the incoming fences, how does Giancarlo Stanton‘s unavoidable injury history influence your decision to keep at $56? How much value, if any, has Zack Greinke really lost moving to Arizona? Is he a $35 starting pitcher? Everybody loves Kyle Schwarber as the next best thing (C and OF!), but where’s the line? $20? $25? $30?

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Redrafting Potential Keepers

Earlier in the month, I spent a week focused on your keeper dilemmas. One of the most popular formats is the Keep X league (if you recall your algebra lessons, X equals some number). There’s usually a cost associated with keepers. In a keep five league, either you lose your first five picks in the draft, or your keepers have an unique value assigned to them.

Both scenarios can leave you with head scratching trade offs. It’s common for two or more players to be on the keeper bubble. Based on current information, there could be more than one “correct” pick for your final keeper. This is when owners usually talk about which player they can reacquire in the draft.

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