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Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers Only?

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Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers Only?

Postby OBPlover » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:02 pm

A question and a story.... (because I think just like Lucy Ricardo, I got ome 'splainin to do)

So I joined a 12 team, mixed league 5X5 H2H league just for fun. I don't usually play just for fun but I was just bored.

The draft got started and I got 12th out of 12 for draft order. Sometimes I find that fun, but I think this year, there are just TOO many risky players. You choose a player after maybe the first 6-8 are gone, and chances are you can find at least 1 or 2 things you don't like about them. Times have changed in Fantasy Land Baseball.

Anyhoo, the draft began. 2 Sps went in the first round.Verlander/Holliday. So my turn came up. To my amazement Troy T was still available. I assume this has something to do with his getting plunked on the elbow and people were worried about his health. Now his was a few nights ago, right after the incident was reported, so in hindsight, nobody knew if he was ok. But I decided TT was just TOO good a player not to risk and take as 12th overall. With my second pick I took Evan Longoria.

So another round followed and I could tell these casual types really like their Starters. Bye-Bye, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Jared Weaver and Cole Hamels. My turn came up. There just wasn't a SP to justify a 3rd/4th round pick. I took Carlos Santana and Ian Kinsler, filling out a real nice infield.

Another round went by and the starters really went fast - farewell Ian Kennedy and Mad BUM and a few others. Ok I figured, I would go the high risk route and take Yu Darvish and Matt Moore. Pretty much an "all or nothing" scenario. Then Yu Darvish and Matt Moore got taken. POW to my gut. "In the 5th bleeping round???" I thought.

I was in trouble. I didn't really have any reliable starters to turn to. I figured, later, I coud dip into some sleeper picks early like Beachy and Luebke. But for now, I'd have to go wirh Brand name starters that had medicore peripherals like Hellickson and romero. I decided, it wasn't worth it, so I just worked on my Offense some more. I took Eric Hosmer and Michael Bourn for stolens.

The next round came and went and the Starting pitching crowd thinned out some more. romero and Hellickson were taken. Then the Canary in the Cole-mine came.. "Craig Kimbrel". Uh Oh. Don't tell me closers will be gone soon too. My pitching was sure to be aweful.

When my turn came up, I decided I needed to try something. I noticed that the roster requirements were just 7 P positions, without designated SP/RP roles and only 8 innings minimum per week. SO I decided I'd take the strategy of loading up on RPs only. I figured to dominate Saves/ERA/Whip each week and tank W and K's. So I took Mariano Rivera and John axford for what I fugured to be reliable Saves.

The next round came closers cooled down a little, I got Desmond Jennings and Michael Cuddyer for the OF for what I thought were some good bargains for these rounds. I later took Grant Balfour and Jason Motte who I thought would be fine and keep their closer status.

So there I had it, a few UTil picks later and then I went for Middle relievers who were available in the latest rounds because Holds are not a category. I took Antonio bastardo, Dave Robertson (Mariano Insurance) and Johnny Venters to fill out my remaining 3 piching spots.

WHat do people think of this strategy? Have you guys ever tried it?
Last edited by OBPlover on Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers On

Postby Izenhart » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:07 pm

I used this strategy once, I finished 4th out of 10 and squeeked into the playoffs in H2H and lost round 1 and lost round 2. Any time one of your relievers gets bombed and blows a save you risk losing ERA and WHIP for the week, and if it happens twice in a week forget it. If you go this route you need elite arms top to bottom, no excuses. And even then there's no guarantee your hitters will stay healthy enough for September. Drafting like this requires little room for error, but if done well you could have an enjoyable season.
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Re: Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers On

Postby jcook3127 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:17 pm

It's not a horrible strategy in H2H but you definitely have to be precise in having a clear edge against your opponent every week in every offensive category

If you do that...you'll definitely have your share of 7-3 and 8-2 victories...but you also bring blowouts in the other direction into play..

I've found that a strategy like this all comes down to your draft. If you get to August and look at your lineup and go, "wow, the bats I took are just filthy"..then chances are this worked. Of course, if you're saying that..chances are the strategy you use doesn't matter much either

But if your bats go bust...you don't have a prayer..so..hopefully it all works out, it definitely has potential assuming its a good draft year for you

I guess what I'm saying is..just get the best players and you'll do good

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Re: Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers On

Postby Fantasy Sports Genie » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:22 pm

A coworker here was intrigued by this strategy and took it for a spin in a public league last year. He won by a ton, as I recall, with like 4 or 5 closers and no starters. He's trying it again this year in the main Yahoo! Sports Engineering league, so we'll see how it works... In a league with SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, he drafted Kimbrel, Mariano Rivera, Valverde, Putz, Hanrahan, Venters, and Fernando Salas. I'm not convinced his hitting looks good enough to justify this stunt. Time will tell.
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Re: Has anyone ever used a strategy of drafting Relievers On

Postby Skin Blues » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:23 pm

Sounds like you played it right. You should win every hitting category judging by the names you threw out there. Maybe not steals because surely one or two guys loaded up on them ("yes they did load up on them, and don't call me shirley"), and you'll probably win saves, ERA, and WHIP most of the time. Don't like the Bastardo pick as I think he was injured to finish the year and I'm always sceptical of guys that go from completely dominant to completely useless overnight, especially after a heavy workload (the downfall happened after pitching on 3 consecutive days, a la Jon Broxton 2010). But that's only a minor nit pick and you can easily address that via waivers if need be. I don't play H2H leagues but this looks like it was a well-executed plan, even if it wasn't your plan to begin with. It's probably exactly the way I would play it, and you made the right choice by not going after guys like Hellickson and Romero (neither of whom I like at all). It's not like a roto league where you essentially need closers and sometimes have to pay theough the nose. You don't need starting pitchers, especially with an 8 IP minimum.

Off topic here, but in an NL only league I'm in somebody used 27% of their total budget on 5 closers at the auction (over 30% of the available closers) and only spent 3% (!!!) of his budget on a few fringe SPs. AJ Burnett is his ace. Sounds like he's going for ERA/WHIP/SVs, right? Well, it's a roto league so right from the start he's guaranteed to lose because he'll finish last in W and K. And he can't just start his RPs and get that low ERA/WHIP because there's a 125 Games Started minimum threshold otherwise you automatically mvoe to last palce in ERA and WHIP. So either he dumpster dives for enough starters to meet the minimum and destroys his ERA/WHIP, or he sticks with RPs only and gets last place in all of W/K/ERA/WHIP. Far and away the worst strategy I've ever seen employed in a fantasy baseball league. And it's a money league. I assume once he reaches the terrible realization that there is a GS minimum (onyl explanation I can think of is that he didn't realize it) he'll be unloading all of his closers but he still has no hope. Moral of the story: don't try H2H strategies in Roto.
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