Draft Day 2002


Winning On Draft Day

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Every league has them: the guy who walks into a fantasy draft with a ranking list from their favorite magazine....since most of these publications go into production in December, there's a good chance that he'll nominate (P) Kevin Tapani who retired last month. Sure you're probably going to chuckle, but do you really have what it takes to dominate on draft day? You probably would if you did not have a job and any personal life...but that's not very's where we come in.

There are 3 essential components on draft day that are absolutely necessary to compete in an advanced league, and/or dominate in newly formed leagues:

1. Projections coming from a reputable source, a group with  with a complete understanding of statistical precedence, its forecasting impact, and the ability to spot talent. Most importantly, projections that cover more than 5 categories.

2. Projections that are updated daily throughout the entire month of March....roles change constantly during spring training.

3. A valuation model that considers your league characteristics, and most importantly your league scoring! Almost everyone posts rankings according to a basic 5x5 category scoring (AVG, HR, R, RBI, SB - W, S, ERA, WHIP, K), but that doesn't fit everyone, how about those that play in a fantasy points league (like many of the national contests)...even in the typical 5x5 scoring leagues, valuations and rankings can be WILDLY different depending on how many teams are in your league, how many positions are drafted, NL/AL or single leagues, any keeper players, dollar allowed, etc...(see the article below on the VAM drafting strategy)

Well you probably guessed it....this is why we developed a software package that creates customized rankings & dollar values (if applicable) based on your specific needs. It's not a new software concept, loyal fantistics members have been enjoying these privileges over the past few seasons in an Excel spreadsheet program that we developed. This season we have re-engineered the concept into a Windows compatible program that can run on everyone's PC (all you need is Windows 95 or above) and it is extremely user friendly. You don't need to be a computer geek to run this program. With our step by step instructions you can download, install, setup your league parameters, and produce customized 2002 draft rankings/values in less than 30 minutes over a standard internet connection!  You will "walk" into your draft (whether on line or in person) with a "cheatsheet" and the confidence that you have everything you need to know. Sure, you'll have favorites and may not agree with all our projections, but the valuation methodology will give you a very solid foundation. 

Still more:  We are much more than just draft day projections, during the year we mail out daily email player progress and analysis reports every day of the baseball season. That's 180+ days that you'll hear from our staff of Fantasy Experts in your inbox. Tell us what players are on your team and we'll also track their news stories and key fantasy stats on one convenient web page. Need the lowdown on new rookies or players with new found playing time...we do that also....need to know who should be traded early in the season or picked up...we do that as well...and how about 14 day pitching rotations that are the most accurate you'll find anywhere? Even if you are not interested in downloading our software (apologies to the Macintosh folks), the projections and dollar values are also posted in a database on the website, which is completely sort-able by over 30 categories. In fact all of the information is posted on the website, which is accessible from any computer with an internet connection.

Proudly, we have aided thousands of Fantasy Champions, and over 75% of this year's members will be loyal subscribers, many have been with us since our inception in 1999. This is a testament of our commitment to you. So what are you waiting for? The software is free, download it, play around with it. When you're ready to subscribe you'll get so much more than just the 2002 projections...

Below is an excerpt on our draft day strategy:

On Draft Day, it's all about "VAM"!

VAM..Value Above Mean- It's difficult to say that any one concept is fully encompassing, but when it comes to Fantasy Baseball Drafting, the Fantistics' theory of Value Above Mean (VAM), is the definitive concept to winning on draft day. 

VAM: Value Above Mean (or Average) is a computation that measures a players' fantasy worth versus others at their respective position/s. What we do is take the average fantasy values for the typical number of fantasy starters at each position. This average serves as the standard that we compare all others at that particular position by. In a perfect world, we compared this strategy against "simulation owners" who were set to draft according to total fantasy production (TFP), and found VAM to be  20-30% more effective tool than just drafting by total projected production or Draft $ value. VAM is most effective in the early rounds of the draft as evidenced by the graph below. (We ran 1,000 simulations, basing the incremental gain on the VAM strategy versus employing a straight points drafting methodology through each draft pick.) We have successfully used and recommended this statistical concept (VAM) for over four years. In 1998, we developed the concept using a statistical software package (MATLAB), and found it to be the best overall drafting and trading strategy. We have termed it as "an essential ingredient to winning a fantasy baseball league," aside from a subscription to Fantistics, of course!

The reason why VAM is so effective is due to a theory called "positional value", or "position scarcity". The positional value system works because it values players in relation to their positional peers. In recent seasons, some fantasy folks have reflected the position scarcity concept in their bidding or valuations without the numerical algorithm that we have quantified. Who can forget John Hunt's 2000 Baseball Weekly article on the "$50 Pedro Martinez bid", it was a brilliant move and opened some eyes to the true valuation of quality players at weak positions. A then healthy Pedro was just so dominating in so many major Rotisserie categories that he just dwarfed the average pitcher available from the AL, and in many respects (outside of his current health concerns) still does. Would Martinez have held as much clout if the average draft-able pitcher was the equivalent of a "Joe Mays"? Ask yourself this question, what is the drop-off from the best to the worst player that will be selected at each position in your draft? If your going from "Pedro Martinez" to "Ryan Rupe" at the pitcher's position, and from "Todd Helton" to "Brad Fullmer"...I'd take my chances with drafting the bottom of the barrel 1st Baseman than the rear in the pitching department. Couple this with the fact that bargains exist late in the draft, and you understand the importance of drafting quality players at notoriously weak positions. Hence this is the fundamental theory behind the VAM (Value Above Mean) concept. You want to elevate the value the top performers which come from the weakest positions, according to your draft parameters. This is the principal behind our draft software. Our algorithm will produce a value (a rank per se) for each player based on your league criteria. It's really relative to your league parameters, if you league drafts a high number of required outfielders for example, its quite possible that outfielders will be in demand, creating a righteous artificial increase in their absolute value. 

More on the VAM Concept

 Depending on your league setup, subscribers who use our projections model database, will see the scarcity of quality points at these positions (Catchers, Second Basemen, Shortstops, & Pitchers). If you're in a league that sets rosters according to position (and most are), then you have to value the incremental gain by stars (like Jason Kendall C, Alex Rodriguez SS, Jeff Kent 2B, & Pedro Martinez P) at a higher premium, since the average player at these positions are worth much less in general than a typical player (in fantasy terms), and some of these players are just so much better than the others at their position. For instance the average catchers' production is approximately 35% less (assuming 200 drafted batters) than that of the average fantasy batter.  In simple terms why pay $30 for Ken Griffey (OF) when you can purchase Mike Piazza for $30. Their fantasy statistics will be comparably balanced, but Piazza will outperform the typical catcher by 60%, while Griffey will only outperform the typical outfielder by 15%. Thus you capture that incremental gain of 45%…doing this over and over again you can see how the odds stack up in your favor. Thus even if the projections are off,  the incremental gains from your draft strategy (VAM) will certainly aid you in the overall makeup of your team.  

After the top 80-90 players are selected (if you play in a typical 12 team 14H/9P 5x5 league), you should start considering your positional and specific category needs. As you can see from the chart above, the incremental gain starts to diminish rapidly at this point. The software will guide you through the positive VAM players based on your league parameters and then its time to "switch off" and consider the straight dollar values and positional needs.

Another point to consider is that VAM would work perfectly if we lived in a vacuum and our projected points turned out to be 100% accurate...of course we don't and they're not going to be. Thus you still need to stay on top of it and make pick the right pickups/ roster moves during the season (we'll help you here as well).

If you decide to use the traditional drafting method, you certainly can, and our databases will allow you to sort by "fantasy/roto $", and the "ranking sort" is based on the "fantasy/roto $" method. If you decide to follow our recommended methodology then sort by VAM in the 2002 Draft Database, or use the last column in our Software "Cheat Sheets" during the early portion of your draft.....You will be rewarded handsomely in the end!  

(end of excerpt)

Fantistics Insider baseball is an exclusive provider of the VAM theory and VAM draft day cheatsheets. For more information on the fantistics draft day package, click here, and when your ready you can customize your Draft Player Rankings

Fantasy Baseball 2000 !

Written by Fantistics Publisher & Statistician :Anthony A. Perri



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Anthony A. Perri is the founder and the resident "Stats Nerd" here at Fantistics. Anthony is the designer of the Fantistics Projections, Grading, & the VAM drafting strategy models. His fantasy expertise has been published in several national publications, including being featured as a guest expert on Major League Baseball's official website. Anthony has  worked as a Financial Quantitative Analyst for several Wall Street firms developing statistical portfolio models before joining Fantistics group. He currently lives in Arizona (home of the World Champion Diamondbacks!), transplanted from New York (still a Mets Fan). He can be seen hanging around the MLB spring training facilities (wishing they let him play) during the months of February and March. Having won a "trophy room full" of Fantasy Sports Championships over the last 12 years, he hopes to continue to lead you in the same direction. 

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