I again have a team in the NFBC but this is a little different. It’s a satellite league with a different set of rules than the standard NFBC league. There are still 15 teams per but there are no free agents and no FAAB. In lieu of this, to go along with the normal 14 hitters and nine pitchers active, there is a 27 man bench. This was also a slow draft that allowed 24 hours between picks but the draft was done in about three weeks – not bad for 750 picks.
This setup is ideal for those who can’t sit through a draft all at once. It’s also good for those who are over-extended on their other leagues and don’t have the time for yet another league with free agent pickups and FAAB submittals. In that regard it’s a set it and forget it type of lineup until the next time you have to submit a lineup. But you really have to do your homework during the draft to make sure you are protected with plan A, B, C, and maybe D at each position so you don’t wind up with dead roster spots. All in all, it’s an interesting type of league variation and I’m very eager to see how things pan out.
The team name is A Knight with Lord Zola – obviously referencing one of our leaders and his weekly Roundtable column on our sister site KFFL.com. I submitted my KDS preference (2, 1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 10, 9, 14, 15, 8, 7, 6, and 5) and wound up with number ten – right smack in the middle of my list.
The draft kicked off and the first nine picks went Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Joey Votto. I was somewhat hoping that Cargo or Votto would drop to me but, in general, was really ambivalent as to who I really wanted. When my turn came I was mulling over two players really – Evan Longoria or Jacoby Ellsbury. My thought process was that I was very skeptical the Red Sox outfielder would hit 32 homeruns again (my feeling is that 20 is more like it) or bat .321 again but I did like the power/speed combination to go along with an average in the .300 neighborhood. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Rays star wasn’t likely to hit .244 again especially considering his strikeout rate fell yet again while his walk rate increased. Add in the fact he plays at a very thin fantasy position and Longoria was my number one pick.
Ellsbury went right after me followed by Justin Upton, Hanley Ramirez, Clayton Kershaw, and Prince Fielder. I was hoping to get one of Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, or Curtis Granderson on the return but the draft went Kinsler, Justin Verlander, Pedroia, Roy Halladay, and Granderson and it was decision time again. I was really surprised that the team in the 14 hole went Kershaw and Verlander with his first two picks, eschewing offense in these rounds. My choices here were Jose Reyes, Mark Teixeira, or Ryan Braun. I just couldn’t take Braun at this point with the whole 50 game suspension thing hovering over him. Although a Yankee fan, I talked myself out of Tex because of concern for his batting average the past couple of years and his problem hitting against the shift. So I decided on Reyes, who could help anchor my team with stolen bases and batting average.
My third pick was Mike Napoli. My thinking here was he would give me some flexibility later on with who I could take at the catcher position or first base – he gave me two different avenues to attack my later picks with. My fourth pick was my first pitcher, Dan Haren. On the way back in round five I had two players in particular in mind – Brandon Phillips and Matt Cain. Looking at how the draft had progressed to this point, I saw that the top tier of second basemen were gone and many pitchers had already been taken so I figured the safest gamble was to go with Phillips here and hope that Cain made it back to me in round six. I was rewarded with my gamble when my turn came up again.
OF – Werth (7), Melky Cabrera (13), Yoenis Cespedes (17), Nyjer Morgan (18), J.D. Martinez (20), Garrett Jones (25), Franklin Gutierrez (29), Sam Fuld (36), Tim Wheeler (40), Scott Hairston (47), Joe Benson (49)
DH – Ortiz (10)
P – Haren (4), Cain (6), Madson (9), Chris Perez (12), Justin Masterson (14), Ervin Santana (15), Grant Balfour (16), Tim Stauffer (19), Jarrod Parker (22), Rick Porcello (23), Glen Perkins (26), Tony Sipp (28), Francisco Cordero (30), Carlos Zambrano (31), Eric Surkamp (32), Scott Downs (33), Dallas Braden (34), Matt Belisle (35), Brad Boxberger (41), Ernesto Frieri (42), Jake Arrieta (46), Tim Collins (50)I’m pretty satisfied how this team shaped up except for what happened with Madson. In this kind of league, every team is going to have a weakness. I made the conscious decision to take care of catchers and the infield and roll the dice with the outfield, which I feel is deeper. Getting Ortiz helped in that, barring injury to Big Papi, I can keep the infield in the infield and the outfield in the outfield without having to put one of them at DH. I feel it keeps my overall roster stronger and no, I wasn’t at all concerned with filling the spot at pick number 10.