Analysis

Big Board's Picks: Relief Pitcher

Big Board's Picks: Relief Pitcher

Over the next couple of weeks 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. Others chase saves and that is a losing game unless you're lucky. At the high end, I want one of the top guys like Jansen, Kimbrel, or any of the next 4 or so. After that, I'm out, I'll take what drops. 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

Over the next couple of weeks 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!

More and more, the debate about SP value is all about innings. The high-velocity, high-breaking-ball usage, along with the 10-day DL and extensive bullpen use means that SPs are throwing less innings than ever, with only 15 guys clearing 200IP last year. Whoever your SP1 is, you should probably hope to get at least 180-190IP out of that guy! That, combined with elite performance, is what sets the top 10 or so SP apart from the rest. As always, there is a tier of overvalued mid-range guys that follows that. I love these guys too, but there is a real trick to drafting them. How sure are you that you'll see the breakout season (Castillo, Ohtani, McCullers)? Or get the innings you need (Paxton, Wood, Hill)? Or see regression in the right direction (Darvish, Tanaka, Archer)? There is risk associated with all of these guys, so you have to pick your spots wisely. What follows is my list of guys where the value seems to outweigh that risk!

Big Board's Picks: Outfield

Big Board's Picks: Outfield

Over the next couple of weeks 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, but sometimes the value at those early rounds is too good to pass up, so I have a mix of both here today!

Big Board's Picks: Third Base

Big Board's Picks: Third Base

Over the next couple of weeks 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. Today it's onward to the hot corner!

3B has evened out a little bit, but we sitll mostly have a big gap between the elite and the rest. Bryant, Arenado, Machado, Donaldson, and Turner are the top guys. Rendon and Castellanos are then the only two that show up between there and a giant grouping in tier 6, where you'll find a mix of some nice value picks and risky bets. I have seen plenty of good values showing up in the mid-late rounds on guys like Beltre, Devers, and Moustakas, making 3B a position that could be waiting on. Included here is a repeat-target from last year who is still undervalued, an xStats darling, and a guy with big question marks here in '18.

Big Board's Picks: Shortstop

Big Board's Picks: Shortstop

Over the next couple of weeks 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. Let's keep it rolling with shortstop.

The Shortstop renaissance continues! The first couple of tiers feature fantasy giants such as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor (plus Machado after the first couple weeks of this season). The dropoff is less stark this year, as Bregman, Seager, Andrus, Segura, and Bogaerts are all perfectly good options in the early-mid rounds. It's still a position where values can be had late, especially since people tend to reach for those early round guys. 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 late-season breakout from last year, and a '17 breakout who might find playing time difficult to come by this time around.