One of the hardest things for fantasy owners to understand is creating a draft plan or philosophy. In today’s fantasy games, most owners know the group of players. Often times, winning or losing comes down to planning your attack. Sometimes you can’t come up with a plan until your draft spot is known.
The first plan is a prevailing theory shared among many of the best players in the high-stakes baseball market. I’ll call it PAPS. This core philosophy is based on Power, Average, Initial Pitch, and Stops. A fantasy owner may land at an early speed, but it is not an objective skill for his team’s development.
Fading Catchers and Middle Infield
A fantasy owner with this draft style tends to push the receiver and middle infield positions back in a draft. By waiting to add these two positions, they create a buying opportunity for additional starting pitchers while they are willing to include a third closing option before some teams include their second closing option.
His goal is to sign up two receivers who can combine for a minimum of 100 runs, 20 home runs and 100 RBIs in hopes of not taking a beating in batting average. Airflow will be vital to identify the best option for each season.
The increase in power exerts more pressure not to be beaten at the receiver positions. A couple of wrong decisions can lead to weaknesses in three categories.
Typically, the backend group at second base and shortstop offers power with minimal steal gains while adding average risk of hitting or hitters with minimal home runs and stealth speed. Most other owners will fade these types of players based on the development of their team.
If they come out of the draft with a solid middle infielder, they will have plenty of opportunities to improve IM’s position as the season progresses. In most leagues, you can always find a middle infielder with a lot of at-bats on the waiver. This type of owner success will come down to finding the right skill sets to keep your team balanced.
By building your base with a high batting average and power, this theory leaves room to add home run hitters with batting average risk later in the draft.
Following the closest flow
Understanding this theory is essential when cheating saves as an opponent. When a Fantasy owner owns a closer heading into the middle rounds of a draft and decides to move to a second closer when competing against this draft style, a PAPS draftsman will look to steal a third closing option to help solidify his bullpen. .
If you have a closer, say pick four in round 16, you will notice that all the teams sitting behind you in seats one, two and three have two closers. At first glance, you think it makes sense to move to the last available closer until round 17. What you might not see is that one of the teams has no receivers and only one center infielder. This team will have two additional picks on most teams to work independently within the draft. They will be looking to strengthen their pitching staff or even add a reliable third closer. By having three closers, they avoid assigning benches to waiting closers, plus they save free agent dollars if they are right about their closing options.
Landing an elite pair of arms helps establish a base in ERA and WHIP while creating a strikeout advantage. Most teams will use this game plan to select their first two starters during the first four or five rounds, depending on the size of the league.
In the past, a typical team had this draft structure after 10 rounds: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, SP, SP, and CL. A team with a PAPS approach will look like this: 1B, 3B, MI, OF, OF, OF or CO, SP, SP, CL and CL. There’s even a chance they’ll add a third starter within the top 10 rounds and push the center frame position through to round 11.
A PAPS team will have strength in four offensive categories, with speed being the weakest category. A fantasy owner with this draft style would be happy to end up in the middle of the group in steals. Many fantasy owners feel they can find stolen bases on the exemption wire, depending on the size of the league. Your starting staff should be above average and the stops should also be a strength.
It is essential for this type of strategy to stay in the game at speed. At the same time, you can’t compromise with more than one Judy-type base robber (one-dimensional speed player) as you don’t want to give up your power advantage. Before 2017, power was on the decline, making it easy to have a pure base robber at the right price. The jump in home runs in recent seasons will force a fantasy owner to be more creative to reach his category goal in speed in 2021.
There are certain draft positions in each draft that favor this type of style. This year a team that starts with OF Juan Soto or OF Mike Trout would have a great start in four categories, while both players still offer some steals.
If you start with weaker players than expected, the road to success can be more challenging.
This type of owner gets into trouble when he adjusts his game plan early and is left in uncharted territory. A PAPS owner needs to find velocity from mid-infield later while hitting his backend receivers. If the PAPS writer fails to finish their offense, they will not reach their offensive target numbers within the draft, which will require a high level of waiver success to achieve a winning season.
Using this strategy, a fantasy owner will be buying in different areas in a few rounds later in the draft. Every year the player pool changes, and it’s crucial to see the best available players from rounds 16 to 23. A team with this flair can jump into a pure base robber if it feels like speed options are running low.
This style may be more successful in individual leagues than in a grand prize event. It may even be more valuable in a 12-team league where inventory runs deeper in key positions. I have seen this strategy win many times and it is one that I must respect. If this is your plan, you should look at ADPs (Average Draft Positions) to see if you need to adjust a couple of rounds of players to help you execute better in the draft.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.