First Time Ottoneu Owner – Draft Strategy and Rationale

On Tuesday night, we completed a second FanGraphs staff league Ottoneu draft, and after eight long hours — spread over two nights — I had my very first squad. I thought it might be fitting to have my first ever Ottoneu draft coincide with my first post at RotoGraphs, so feel free to skewer my decision-making but please keep in mind I was a first-timer.

With every auction draft I’ve ever been in — nearly all of them for fantasy football — I’ve been notoriously conservative. Most of the time, I just nominate players to get other owners to spend their budgets foolishly/lavishly, while I wait to pounce on bargains and only strike on players I truly covet.

Additionally, I make sure I have a nice, layered/tiered list of players that I covet, so that when the Jason Heyward‘s of the world go a little higher than I’d prefer to pay, I have backup plans in place. So have a look:

Lowdown: $400 budget/$399 spent (One waiver claim in on Matt Capps presently at $1)

C: Joe Mauer $20/Jesus Montero $17

Pros– I could very well have two mashing catchers here, and if durability issues plague Mauer, Montero should be good enough offensively to stem the tide.
Cons– Montero is still just in his first full season, and if he has any growing pains and Mauer has any pains himself, I could have a black hole in my catching ranks. (Grade: B)

1B: Joey Votto $49/Carlos Pena $5
3B: Chase Headley $5/Lonnie Chisenhall $4/Pedro Alvarez $1/Chone Figgins $1

Pros– Didn’t really overpay on any third basemen, and I love Pena at $5 back in Tampa.
Cons– I’m really wishing I hadn’t spent that much on Votto, but I think it’s not an egregious overbid. As for the third basemen, I didn’t want to go big on any of the studs, so I’m just hoping something sticks here. If Headley gets dealt, I could see a ton of benefit there by virtue of his home/road splits. (Grade B+)

2B: Jose Altuve $4/Gordon Beckham $3/Alexi Casilla $1
SS: Jose Reyes $44/J.J. Hardy $16

Pros– I think Hardy at $16 is about right, as long as he stays healthy. I didn’t get any great players at the keystone, but they are all pretty much entrenched with their clubs and should get plenty of opportunities. I still believe in Beckham.
Cons– I certainly overpaid for Reyes, but to be fair, he and Votto were my only real ‘indulgences’ and I think I was pretty even-keeled on just about everyone else. I have no idea if Altuve can hit in the bigs yet, but he’ll get the chance. Same goes for each of my other second-sackers. (Grade: C+)

OF: Jay Bruce $26/Josh Willingham $9/Jason Kubel $8/Lorenzo Cain $3/Ben Revere $3

Pros– Bruce could very well be a star going forward, and Willingham and Kubel might have 30-home run power in their new digs. Cain has full rein in centerfield in KC, and I leveraged these guys with a couple top-tier prospects in Cespedes and Harper.
Cons– Only Bruce really stands out, and the rest are more of a gamble. Certainly gambles I’m OK with, but others I’ve asked haven’t been as keen. (Grade: C)

SP: Jon Lester $28/Anibal Sanchez $14/Neftali Feliz $12/Scott Baker $10/Bud Norris $10/Jon Niese $9/Shaun Marcum $8/Homer Bailey $8/Johan Santana $6/A.J. Burnett $5/Drew Pomeranz $4

Pros– Really like this group. It may be relatively short on star-power, but I like the strikeout potential and felt like I did well to buy-low on a few solid arms.
Cons– I probably spent too much on Santana, Burnett, and Pomeranz. (Grade: B+)

MR: Rafael Soriano $5/Glen Perkins $3/Joel Zumaya $1

Pros– Soriano and Perkins could both grab save opps if their closer needs a night off/gets injured. Zumaya is high risk and high reward, as everyone is aware of.
Cons– Soriano was pretty bad last year, and Zumaya didn’t pitch at all. (Grade: I)

CL: Craig Kimbrel $12/Joakim Soria $6/Huston Street $4

Pros– Great group of strikeout pitchers; especially love Street’s skill-set in San Diego, where he should flourish. Three closers in a league of 12 teams means I’ve rostered more than average, which I usually shoot for (more so in saves leagues, obviously).
Cons– Maybe a little high for Kimbrel, but overall love this group. (Grade: A)

Prospects: Bryce Harper $18/Yoenis Cespedes $8/Miguel Sano $5/Wilin Rosario $5/Joe Benson $1

Pros– All are elite talents in their own way, and all but Sano could see MLB time this year.
Cons– Overspent for all but Benson, but badly wanted to inject some youth into my club for the future without adding too many MLB non-factors. (Grade: C-)

Overall Grade: C+

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In addition to Rotographs, Warne is a Minnesota Twins beat reporter for 105 The Ticket's Cold Omaha website as well as a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

24 Responses to “First Time Ottoneu Owner – Draft Strategy and Rationale”

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  1. soamx says:

    I got
    C Avila $22,
    1B Konerko $24
    2B Ackley $15
    3B Zimmerman $44,
    OF Swisher $17
    OF Duda $13
    3B/OF Bautista $45
    OF Ellsbury $36
    OF Ross $2
    DH V-Mart $3

    SP Lee $36, Greinke $23, Haren $22, Lester $19
    I have 26 spots left to fill and about $75 bucks left to spend. (So the rest of my players will have to be cheap)
    How did I do?

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    • Seems really high on Duda, and V-Mart isn’t playing this year.

      Love the price you got on Lester, though.

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      • soamx says:

        Yeah Vmart is a sunk cost but in a keeper league I can have him next year for what $6 bucks? Could pay off. I agree Duda at $13 is too much, was planning on grabbing him for $4-8 bucks but just one of those guys I had a good gut feeling about. I can probably trade him or swisher considering my OF depth.

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      • I like V-Mart but as a DH exclusively going forward I don’t know how much I’d spend.

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  2. DonChrysler says:

    As someone who played last year, I’d also say spending $399 out of $400 is going to hurt you. You should always have some free cash to grab players for need or prospects making a jump. As it stands, you will have to cut players to do that, which means you’ll be losing salary cap for each transaction.

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    • Yeah, I’m envisioning possibly cutting/dealing Niese/Burnett.

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      • dudley says:

        yeah, i would’ve tried to come in at around $15-20 under budget. but you can gain cap room if you can convince someone to grant you a cap loan as part of a trade.

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      • I figured it might happen, but I also crafted my team around the prospects I figured I’d want in season. I’m sure there are a bunch left, but with the way $1 bids went at the end, there aren’t a ton of ML ready guys in the offing.

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  3. Brad Johnson says:

    You did a great job with closers and prospects, when I played Ottoneu last year, those players you got went for a lot more.

    I like what you did with the first 3 players mentioned (mauer-votto), but I think you might have flopped the rest of the draft from a year 1 perspective. You might be looking to turn guys like Lester, Bruce, and Reyes into somebody like Trout pretty early on.

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  4. Chad Young says:

    I was surprised how many people (yourself included) grabbed more than 5 RP. In the other leagues I have played in, no one seems to carry RP depth into the season, yet in this league I think I am on the only one (or one of the only ones) with exactly five RP. Curious to see how this plays out.

    Your OF concerns me a bit – having only five MLB players who qualify in the OF is going to be tough, I think. If Harper and/or Cespedes play all or most of the year in the bigs, this may be a non-factor, but you’ll need some OF depth at some point.

    Think you are very strong at C, 1B, and SS, though. And haivng strength at C and SS can ease a lot of pressure elsewhere. Love your SP depth, too, but unless Feliz or Pom makes the leap, you may be short a top-tier SP.

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  5. theeiffeltower says:

    Your catchers and shortstops look great. 2B, 3B and OF look weak though. I also don’t think you overspent too much on Votto, if at all–I think the guys who you overpaid for are Rafael Soriano, maybe Jose Reyes, and the MOR starters like Baker, Marcum, Bailey and Norris. If you’re in the hunt this year, you’ll be happy to have Votto, and if this ends up being a rebuilding year, barring an injury he’s almost certain to fetch some nice values/prospects in a midseason deal.

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  6. moosh says:

    Only the first 162 games are used for BOTH catchers combined, right? Or am I mis-reading the rules?

    ps I’m dying to get in a points league that drafts on a weekend besides Mar 17-18 if anyone needs an owner

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    • Daniel says:

      Ooh I have a points league drafting on the tenth, which may need an owner (I’ll know early next week). It’s a second year league is the only thing, so depends how you feel about that. If you want to take a look just in case, feel free to email me at obriendg at tcd dot ie.

      I like parts of this team and I certainly don’t see any major overpays? But I guess I don’t love that you have two high end catchers and a whole bunch of nothing at second, especially when one of the catchers has the risks that come with mauer. Third base I like; you’re going to need more outfielders and you’re going to regret spending your entire budget but I like your starters a lot (even if I can’t believe you weren’t driven higher on baker given your strongly stated love for him!) and overall I think it’s pretty solid. You may have been slightly harsh in your overall grading.

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    • davisnc says:

      Yeah, that was my first reaction. 162 games is the cap for the 2 slots combined. I guess it allows him to weather an injury to one of them, play them in favorable parks/matchups, and use one at Util/1B as needed.

      Also there’s an element of risk with both of those players, but both have very high ceilings and could be HUGE values in future years. If both hit, he can keep both or trade one; if one hits he can keep that player and toss the other back after a year.

      I guess I just talked myself out of my initial reaction. There are some definite benefits, especially since Montero’s bat is supposed to be elite regardless of position. I’m still not sure I’d have sunk $37 into the 2 catcher slots, but overall it could work out well.

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    • S a n c h e z says:

      South East Ottoneu League has spots.

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  7. jcxy says:

    really really like altuve for $4, especially as a punt. he doesn’t walk a lot, which sucks for the astros, but it’s good for fantasy (unless his OBP falls to the point where it effects his steals).

    however, as someone above pointed out–it seems like you punted 3rd too and left yourself a bit thin at OF. josh willingham’s HR/FB rate was 3% above his career average and 6% above 2010. be careful not to overvalue the oakland narrative too much. he’s also a year older. i’d like him much more as a 3rd OF, and even then, less than some of the other guys in his tier (although I suspect LoMo probably went 5 bucks higher).

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