Draft Week! Are you ready?

As always, I'm bringing together a sort of 'Draft Day Survival Guide' for y'all that sums up the preseason work here on the Harper Wallbanger blog. First, the Player Valuation series all in one place for easy reading:

Tip #1: Where do player values come from?
Tip #2: Set your Hit/Pitch split
Tip #3: Value your picks and make preseason trades
Tip #4: Draft with tiers
Tip #5: Use xFantasy, the xStats projection system
Tip #6: Use aging curves for keeper/dynasty leagues
Tip #7: Use the best projection systems
Tip #8: Draft undervalued players

If you're using the Big Board, you'll also find these helpful:

Big Board Tutorial
Patch Notes

My sincerest thanks go out to all the supporters of Harper Wallbanger and the Big Board. It's been a banner year here, with hundreds of people signing up to use the Board. Here's hoping that every single one of you dominates your drafts this year, and manages to ride that to the 'ship in your respective leagues.

Big Board's Picks: Relief Pitcher

Big Board's Picks: Relief Pitcher

This week at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. It's the position I love, and everybody else hates, relievers!

The story is more or less the same every year. Relievers are volatile, and in certain league formats, vital to your success due to their elite ERA/WHIP numbers. I like the old addage that you should 'draft skills', and so I always focus on drafting relievers I believe will be good, regardless of role. At the high end, I want one of the top guys like Jansen, Britton, Chapman, or any of the next 3 or so. After that, I'm out. The mid-range is generally a terrible investment if your league only counts Saves. So today, I'm identifying a number of guys that fit into the mold of what I'm usually looking for: good skills, possibility of future saves, and cheap.

Big Board's Picks: Starting Pitcher

Big Board's Picks: Starting Pitcher

This week at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Welcome to the final stretch, it's starting pitchers!

Last year's story was how reliable the top 20 or so "aces" were, and then the great homerun surge of '16 happened. This year the search for reliable pitching stands on much shakier ground, with a solid top-10 followed by question marks on top of question marks. I'm taking one of those top 10 aces and then searching for values. As always, there is a tier of overvalued mid-range guys including Paxton, Nola, and Rodon. I love these guys too, but there is a real trick to drafting them. Someone always ends up taking them very, very early. Every bit of profit you might get from predicting their breakout is thrown out the window by doing that, and so then you're hoping for a breakout on top of a breakout! It's a bad bet. So I'll be shooting for the overlooked potential breakout SP's... here we go.

Big Board's Picks: Outfield

Big Board's Picks: Outfield

This week at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Now I wade into the deep depths that is the Outfield pool...

I tend to think of outfielders as the complement to the rest of the hitters I draft. As my infield fills out throughout the draft with power-, speed-, or average-focused players, I push for the remaining stats with outfielders. I also try to let outfield come to me, waiting to see what guys fall well below their value. I hate the FOMO that comes with filling all your OF slots too early. That means finding good late round options, which is where I dedicate most of my focus today (outside of the first guy, who I think could be a real breakout all-around fantasy star this year).

Big Board's Picks: Shortstop

Big Board's Picks: Shortstop

This week at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Next up is Shortstops!

The Shortstop renaissance is here! After a first-tier full of can't-go-wrong players such as Machado, Correa, Story, and Villar, there is a dropoff to a still-exciting middle tier that includes Russell and Diaz. Unfortunately, I've found that drafters are valuing most of the high-end options fairly accurately this year, so I'm leaving shortstop as a position where I'll wait and see what draft position I have before formulating a plan. If a guy falls to me, so be it, otherwise there are great options in the mid-to-late rounds. There is a ton more power at this position than there was just a couple of years ago, and while that is exciting, keep in mind that if you take an all-pop, no-speed shortstop, you're going to have to fill in those steals elsewhere, possibly by taking a more SB-focused approach in the outfield than you're used to. All that said, let us get to the picks, where I have an underappreciated A's player (classic), a potential breakout speedster, and a "one of these things is not like the others" bust-candidate from the top tier.