Guys, I expect totally subjective responses from this, but I see so many strategies out there, I'd like to know some of your strategies... (this is regarding standard Yahoo! 5x5 leagues with the 1250 inning maximum)
For me, I like to get 4 SP's (who start nearly every start), 3-4 closers, 1-2 MRP (Shields, Linebrink types--Vultures with low ERA's and WHIP's)
Just watching drafts, I see some people punt saves and get 9 SP's or they'll draft only 2 closers and they'll draft 7 starters...
I'm guessing that they pick and choose their starts (for example, against the royals, or something), but I think that's a dangerous way to live in FBB (not to mention exceeding their innings maximum early)...
I'm a fan of playing matchups so I tend to have more than 4 SP but I do normally have at least 3-4 closers. With roster restrictions, I generally don't have room for the Shields types but that's not a bad idea.
I have noticed that if I have too many closers or middle relief guys, my wins tend to suffer so there has to be a balance.
I've never ever seen anyone punt saves and win the league...unless they only punt on draft day, then deal for some (along with using the waiver wire).
I guess you are talking about roto style. If you are going to pick a pitching category to punt, saves is the obvious one. Some people will load up with starters to try to gain an edge in wins and ks. I have done that in the past, built up a lead in each through to August, then switch out the less productive starters for the hot middle and set up relief of that year. It lets me keep the lead in both those categories and work on lowering my WHIP and ERA. I do always start at least two closers though.
But that strategy changes as well, depending on what other owners are doing. In the past, I have also taken dominant closers, started 4 of them, along with a set up guy and just used four starters for the year, finishing in the lower tiers of k's and wins. Luckily in that year, my hitting was dominant so I was able to win. I finished first in ERA, WHIP, and saves in the pitching cats.
You can win with any strategy, and just like going to war, strategy has to change on the fly, depending on what your opponents are doing. That's one of the things I like about the game, you have to constantly change your pattern if it is working, as the other owners will just copy it.
Punting a category in roto is generally a bad idea. A common strategy is to draft an ace in the first 4-5 rounds, then a top closer, then fill out the rest of your staff along the way.
I like to take more than 3-4 SPs, as I also play match-ups. For example, Brad Penny is on several of my rosters (someone who will only be started at LAD.) and Chris Young. High K/9 guys is a must because you get the most bang for your buck.
...Boston papers now and then suffer a sharp flurry of arithmetic on this score; indeed, for Williams to have distributed all his hits so they did nobody else any good would constitute a feat of placement unparalleled in the annals of selfishness. -Updike
I go 4 SP, 3-5 closers, 0-2 MR's (depending on how getting the closers goes). I agree that high k/9 SP's are very important since you have an IP limit. I also like getting a SP eligible closer if I can since it lets you maximize your saves (and possibly get more than fair value in a trade once you've locked up a good position in the saves category).
I'm experimenting with a new strategy this year. Usually I would strive for a balance between SP, RP, and offense, but this year I'm going to devalue pitchers a couple of rounds where I would have picked them in years past. That means probably my top 9 out of 10 picks will be hitters. Then I will stock up on my sleeper undervalued pitchers as well as stay on top of waiver pickups throughout the season and riding the hot arm. My hypothesis is that a great offense and average pitching staff can win in 5x5 roto.
Grady Sizemore will have more value than Jason Bay regardless of draft position
Aramis Ramirez in 155 G will hit over .300 40 HR 110 RBIs
Brian McCann will have more value than Jorge Posada regardless of draft position
My advice - pick maybe one ace (preferrably an undervalued ace, like Randy Johnson this year, or maybe Prior). Then grab as many closers as you have RP and P slots (so in a standard Yahoo, I think that's 5 closers, if you can get them - feel free to replace one of them with a Reitsma or Linebrink or whoever has a good chance of being a closer and a good chance of not sucking). Your other 3 (or however many) starters should be undervalued or sleepers. You'll only start 2 SP's at a time, keeping the closers in there to get as many saves as possible, and rotate in your starters as necessary. Feel free to use the waiver wire as a second bench for starting pitchers - assuming they're not *too* valuable.
This generally works pretty well on Yahoo. You can make a reasonable run at Wins, assuming you set your roster every day, and should run away with Saves. Oh, and towards the middle of the year, you can trade away a closer to fill a need on your team. Closers get *very* valuable in June and July.
That strategy (going with bats early) can work very well. It's absolutely critical that you have at least 2 good SB guys, some speed elsewhere and very good average hitters. The average is important since you need to do well in ALL offensive categories (and average can very easily get overlooked). The SB's are important for the same reason as average in addition to the fact that SB's and SV's are the easiest category to manipulate at the end of the season by moving a closer or a speedster to another team. You can help yourself by picking up a quality SP down the stretch and hurt the people closest to you in the standings by trading a closer/speedster to whichever team could do THEM the most damage in the applicable categories killing two birds with one stone.