New Fantasy Leagues: Where To Begin
Before I begin, let me apologize in advance if I end up rambling. I had a minor elective surgical procedure on Friday and am on Oxycodone to help with the pain.
About a month ago, I put out an all call on Twitter looking for a deep dynasty league to join. After receiving a few offers, I joined a league called “The Big Show.” Run by Tory Hernandez, a former employee of the Angels organization turned baseball writer you should be reading if you aren’t already, it attempts to replicate Major League Baseball and comes pretty damn close.
Within days of joining the league, I had to decide who to protect on the 40-man. As an example of just how deep the league is, the great T.J. McFarland became the newest member of my team in the Rule 5 draft this morning. Joining such a deep league was intimidating, but it all starts with one thing – the organizational depth chart.
My first look at the roster was through an Excel spreadsheet where it’s impossible to gauge strengths and weaknesses. A simple spreadsheet is of little help when the sharks start circling a brand new owner. Act with haste and pull the trigger on a bad deal and you’ll be labeled a minnow for life. Within an hour of joining this league, owners had already inquired on Danny Salazar, Corey Seager, Jason Kipnis and Mike Trout, among others.
For me, building an organizational depth chart serves two purposes. First, I can respond to any owner looking to deal by thanking them for the inquiry and asking them to get back with me in a few days after I’ve built the depth chart. This buys me time and subtly lets them know I’ll have a plan by the time we talk trade again.
Two, I’ll truly understand my teams strengths and weaknesses by the time I’m ready to talk deal. The first ten offers I received in the league were trash. With everything from salary caps to player options, it’s hard to make a trade work for both sides. At the time, I was saddled with Jake Peavy for over 20-million in 2014 and a busted salary cap situation. He needed to go and I was in search of first base help, a backup second baseman and relief pitching.
Fortunately, an owner reached out to me offering Adam LaRoche in a package. For the record, I’ve never wanted to own LaRoche in any format. In a league like this where defense matters, the Nationals first baseman is an albatross. But with his price tag under ten million, it was the chance to clear millions in cap space. Additionally, the owner was looking to dump Reds Sean Marshall, a pitcher considered one of the best relievers in the game prior to a 2013 injury. With a 3.3-million dollar price tag, it was a chance to fill holes and reduce salary by close to seven million.
The catch is Marshall is now mine through 2017, but the other owner is eating enough of his salary to make the risk a worthwhile one – especially with my need for another quality reliever. Meanwhile, I only needed to eat $600,000 of Peavy’s contract which was heavenly.
Of the four managers who inquired on Jake Peavy, all of them wanted me to eat 6-8 million in salary AND add a minimum-salaried player with years of control. As I was able to let opposing owners know exactly what my needs were from the depth chart, working out a trade became exponentially easier. In the end, both owners could claim victory.
If you decide to take my advice and build an organizational depth chart like the one I included above, know it will need to be tweaked to your format. In the past week alone, I made a pair of changes to better help understand roster construction. Most notably, color coding the 25-man roster blue to separate it from the 40-man. It was a small adjustment, but opened my eyes to the fact I’ll need to deal another veteran starter OR Corey Kluber because the Indians right-hander is out of options.
When joining a new league, a little planning and patience goes a long way. Even the best fantasy owners can be overwhelmed and confused by new formats. And if you end up lost, remember, your subscription allows you to reply to any newsletter with questions and I’ll do my best to help. Even better, try an organization depth chart and send it my way. I’ll be happy to take a look and make a suggestion or two.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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