Knowing your format is probably the most important item on your draft prep checklist. You can know the player pool inside and out, buy the best draft software (ours, of course) and execute your draft strategy perfectly, but without taking into account your league's unusual categories and quirks, you'll be destined to lose. While a standard 5x5 league is still the most common, two scoring categories have been gaining in popularity recently. On the offensive side, many leagues are opting to track On-Base Percentage (OBP) instead of Batting Average (AVG), while on the pitching side, leagues are swapping out Wins (W) for Quality Starts (QS). These changes may seem minor, but they have serious implications to the player pool once they are executed.
In the tables below, you can see the top-40 biggest risers and fallers (from a percentage standpoint) in a standard 12-team league where we swap out AVG for OBP and W for QS.
-The best way to utilize this information isn't by taking Kris Bryant 8th overall instead of 10th overall. It's by seeking the values that won't be on the rest of your league's radar. Ben Zobrist is a nice example of this phenomenon. Right now, Zobrist has an ADP in the 10th round and in a standard 5x5 league, Fantistics ranks Zobrist in the 9th round. However, when OBP is used instead of batting average, Zobrist suddenly ranks with a projection in the 6th round. While this doesn't necessarily mean you should draft him in the 6th round, it does mean that you should be ready to snag him before the rest of the league, ideally giving you 2-3 round profit.
-Beyond the obvious players you would expect to get a boost, the most interesting name on this list is Kenley Jansen. Jansen, of course, is the Dodgers closer and would seemingly be unaffected by wins or quality starts. In fact, if anything, I would have expected the lack of wins to actually HURT his draft ranking, not improve it by 36%. A big reason for this boost is tied less to what Kenley Jansen (or any of the other closers) are contributing, but more because quality starts tends to create a larger player pool of pitchers with value. Pitchers on teams with low win potential will obviously hold less value than those who play on winning teams. By taking wins out of the equation, it levels the playing field in one of the five categories. As the viable starting pitching pool gets larger, position scarcity becomes less of a factor for them and suddenly high strikeout, consistent closers become more valuable.
-Another interesting thing you will see in leagues with on-base percentage is the shift in value towards players with power upside, but are normally at risk for low batting averages (usually due to strikeouts). Players who made our list above that fit into this category are Miguel Sano, Joc Pederson, Carlos Santana, and Jon Singleton.
-The biggest takeaway from these group of players is to not fall into the trap of overdrafting them based on their ADP. It's easy to panic in the 3rd round when our software is telling you to take Miguel Sano, yet when you look at the board, Adam Jones and Jose Abreu are still available. At this point in the draft, you need to stick to the process and trust our algorithms. You must have the confidence to swim upstream against the current and take the players who are the best fit for your league and your format.
-Along those same lines, you also need to remember that not all sleepers are the same. Beware of the sexy names gaining steam this spring if they don't necessarily fit into the categories you need. Marcell Ozuna and Randall Grichuk each fall significantly when OBP is thrown into the mix, yet both guys are getting a lot of attention right now.
The difference between a winning lineup and a losing lineup isn't always measured by the amount of stars or household names you have. Some of the best fantasy teams can be constructed by piecemealing together a mish mosh of talent that exploits the inefficiencies of your league's marketplace. In standard 5x5 formats, people are inundated with these values, which consequently leads to everyone going into the draft with the exact same "sleepers". When you have a unique format, it gives you an opportunity to find these sleepers on your own (and with the help of our software)! Don't be afraid to go against the grain, but make sure you stay within the realm of your league settings. Good luck and happy drafting!
Draft Advisor: bring our winning strategy (Serpentine / Auction) to your draft. Our player rankings adjust as players are selected, adhering to the changing dynamics of your draft. After a player is selected/drafted, the software will display/suggest the best players remaining. Purchase Today!