Draft strategy

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.

Big Board's Picks: Sultans of Stats

Big Board's Picks: Sultans of Stats

It's the thick of draft season, and once again this year, members of the Reddit fantasy baseball community are rallying to the /r/SultansOfStats subreddit to sign up for drafts. SoS uses a unique format, in which managers seek to progress season-to-season through a premier-league style system of four divisions. Make your way up to Division 1, and you could even challenge yours truly for the title! To add yet another wrinkle, these leagues use a unique 6x6 roto scoring setup (HR, R, RBI, SB, OBP, OPS for hitters and QS, SO, ERA, WHIP, SV, HD for pitchers). To that end, I'm here today to write about the top players that are value gainers in this format, and the top players that are value losers in this format from the changed categories. All of this analysis was done using the Big Board - if you're interested in creating your own customized rankings and winning your fantasy leagues (like I did in SoS), check it out! Additionally, I'll drop them into a few categories, as you'll see there are certain types of players that are good or bad in SoS.

Big Board's Picks: Second Base

Big Board's Picks: Second 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. Let's keep it rolling with second base!

2B is changing, with old go-to's like Kipnis, Kinsler, Pedroia tumbling out of the upper ranks (or out of relevance completely), but there are some exciting names here. Jose Ramirez's surprising power outburst in '17 pushes him into the upper echelons now, and Ozzie Albies' exciting debut last year has people hyped. As always, 2B is also home to easily-projected, reliable type guys that can allow you to take risks at other spots, but this year there are a fair amount of upside/risk plays, like Albies, Villar, Moncada, and Happ. Which way I go will totally depend on the rest of my roster - if I have safe guys elsewhere, I really like some of these upside plays, but if I have say, Matt Olson at 1B, Paul DeJong at SS, Ian Desmond in the OF... I need some safety at 2B, like Lemahieu or Harrison. 

Big Board's Picks: First Base

Big Board's Picks: First 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. Let's keep it rolling with first base!

With Miggy's injury issues and Goldy getting humidor'd, Votto is my top option at 1B this year. The tier just below that feels fairly interchangeable, with Freeman, Rizzo, Goldy, and Abreu all providing solid 2nd round value. There is a youth movement underway at 1B, and though Bellinger/Hoskins are not yet in these upper tiers, either (or both) of them could make their way in by 2019. Jumping down a bit, Tier 6 is just huge, featuring breakout names from last year such as Smoak, Olson, and Zimmerman, and the best option might be to just wait and snag two guys out of that group (depending on your site/your leaguemates, grab the ones that fall). It drops off quick, so don't find yourself left holding the bag with the risky bottom tier that can include the likes of Cron, Davis, Adams, and Moreland - they could be good bench options, but I'm not relying on them.

Big Board's Picks: Catcher

Big Board's Picks: Catcher

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. Let's kick things off with Catchers!

Sanchez has claimed the top spot, and Posey's power has really started to wane, but the real story at catcher might be the disappearing middle-tier. After Sanchez, Contreras, Posey, there are a few viable catchers left in Realmuto, Perez, and Gattis... it gets real ugly after that. Even in 12-teamers, the bottom tier is mostly unappealing, a bunch of 30+ year olds that you're hoping hold up to the rigors of a full season of catching. So, what's the strategy at this position?