Here's the theory - let everone else fight evenly over HR's and RBI's. Go after only SB's on offense, since they can typically be had cheap (usually fast guys don't offer much in HR's or RBI's, which means they get drafted later - think Bourn or Gomez).
This allows me to focus on pitching, which most players again decide isn't worth high picks. So while they all draft their 5 toolers, I get SP's and CL's. By the time I'm done, I have a significant advantage over every team in all 5 pitching categories, and I have over double the SB's over the team with the second most.
Another advantage - makes free agency easier - not stealing bags, pick up the guy who is. Don't have to worry about the impact on HR's RBI's etc.
There are a couple of fundamental points I think make this strategy work:
1. Don't bend on your desire to get SB's only, and don't overpay for them - don't go after Upton or Reyes, because they are overvalued to you - all you need is speed, so get it late.
2. Overdraft your pitchers. Since you are relying so much on pitching, spend all your extra roster spots there. Look, you are so far ahead of your competition in SB's, it doesn't matter if all your players aren't starting every day - it is overwhelmingly likely you will still win SB's by a large margin, because it is the hardest thing to do randomly. If the other teams aren't as fast as you, they aren't going to suddenly get fast one week. So that means you don't need bnch offense.
Instead, draft 5 CP's and 6 SP's. I know you only get 12 starts per week, but the nice thing about this is, even if you have more scheduled starts than you are allowed, now you get to pick the worst match-ups and bench your pitchers for them. Also, this takes away another strong starter from your competitors. So, you run 5 great to elite closers out every night, and pick and choose your starters from a stable of studs.
The way I see it, here's how it plays out:
Runs - up for grabs HR's - always lose RBI's - always lose SB's - always win AVG - up for grabs (although I'll lose it more often than I win it)
W - should win 90% of the time K's - always win ERA - should win 90% of the time WHIP - always win SV's - should win 90% of the time
And if it goes as planned, you'll win all the pitching categories plus steals, and even in the weeks that you lose one of the pitching categories, you are likely to offset it with R's or AVG.
Here's my team - see if I'm wrong:
Offense: Brian Roberts (35 - 40 bags) Jacoby Ellsbury (45 - 50) Rafael Furcal (20 - 25) Shane Victorino (30 - 35) Chone Figgins (35 - 40) Willy Taveras (40 - 50) Carlos Gomez (30 - 35) Michael Bourn (35 - 50) Elvis Andrus (25 - 30) Cameron Maybin (20 -25) Rickie Weeks (20 - 25) Whoever at catcher and first base
SP's J. Sanatana T. Lincecum D. Matsuzaka E. Santana R. Nolasco R. Johnson
CP's Papelbon Nathan Soria Valverde Wood
Disagree...think I'm wrong? I've stated why I think it will work, and I was in a league last year (first year playing), and I kind of fell into this strategy by accident...and made it to the finals. Now I've taken the time to refine the process, and I don't think anyone will beat me.
No. This is a terrible strategy. People reluctantly ditch 1 category sometimes, but you willingsly ditched 4, for pitching which is the most inconsistant thing in the game. I'd be shocked if you get a winning percentage over .300
It could work, but everything would have to go right. I also think you need more starters to make it work consistently. Those pitchers are just average for taking a bunch early on. Maybe get a few more big time starters and I'll endorse this strategy...kind of.
To clarify, I did not pick only pitchers in the beginning. If I had, I would have had even better SP's. I had to spend top 10 round picks on Roberts, Furcal, and Ellsbury, and I had to spend 2 or 3 top 10 round picks on Papelbon and Nathan.
However, how are those pitchers not elite? J. Santana and T. Lincecum are widely considered the top 2 pitchers available. If they aren't in your opinion, then insert your top 2 SP's (since first 2 picks are spent on SP's), and instead of Dice-K, how about Lester, or Billingsley, or Gallardo - just look at ADP between 75 and 90, and take your pick. Same for Nolasco - replace him with some other pitcher between 125 and 140 ADP - guys like Zambrano, Lowe, and Lilly.
Point is, you have your pick of these SP's, and you will be SIGNIFICANTLY better than everyone else, because you have the cushion of having 5 of the top 10 closers in the game. Even if you're wrong on 25% of all of it, you have the same chances as everyone else in FA, and since all you are focused on is SP, CP and steals, you can really focus on what you need.
Lastly, you are not automatically giving up 4 categories. I saw for myself last season AVG is the most fickle category there is - much more so than WHIP or ERA (which were the most consistent to me). I could easily win AVG, and my team ranks middle of the pack in Runs, so I'm obviously not giving that up altogether - just HR's and RBI's
Another thought - it's all in your perspective. You say I'm "giving up" 4 categories...I say I'm strengthening my position in 6 categories. You are trying to compete on the same level in the same way as 9 other owners - everyone wants the 5 tool offensive player, the sure thing SP, and the elite prospect with huge upside. So, you all end up getting even disbursements across the board of all 10 categories, and the difference between you and the other team is so miniscule, I can argue your success is much more based on luck and injuries than mine. Through my strategy, I leverage a position - I don't hope I make the best picks. For what I'm trying to do, I can be reasonably certain I'm making the best picks.
i think i have to disagree with that strategy. punting 4 cats (especially hitting ones) won't ge; t you long term success. this strategy may have taken you to the finals, but great fantasy teams are built on the following premises: hitters who make contact (OPS) and pithcers with good WHIP and K/BB ratios
Once again, I'm not punting 4 categories. I am middle of the pack in runs, and I can win AVG as well. I'm only at a significant disadvantage in HR's and RBI's.
I keep hearing everyone tell me "this can't work"...but no one has explained the flaws. Fine - I'm giving up two categories. And I'm significantly enhancing my advantage in 6 other categories (all pitching plus SB's).
Give up two, enhance in six. Tell me why that won't work.
Is it a daily lineup change league with unlimited roster moves? If so, you have close to a zero percent chance of winning any matchup, assuming your opponent counters properly...all an opponent would have to do is spot start the two best pitching matchups that are available each day from free agency and they would win both W's and K's in addition to 4 hitting categories (they would have 14 waiver wire starts + however many starts from their core starters).
If it's a weekly lineup change league, you have a slightly better chance, but still not good. All an opponent would need to do is stock up on two-start pitchers for the week they matchup with you. Since they only get 10-12 starts to your 5-8, you will have a chance to compete in W's and K's, but will still be at a disadvantage.
To put it bluntly, IMO this is an extremely poor strategy...but it doesn't mean I'm not curious how it will turn out for you.