Targeting Age In Fantasy Drafts

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that my body is starting to break down. Happens to everyone, even professional athletes.  My aging has helped me to come up with a better game plan in fantasy baseball, basketball, and football leagues. There’s a specific age bracket that I’m looking for in fantasy leagues.  If a potential replacement is obviously drafted by the team, then that player is completely off my big board.

I do not want to roster older players in weekly lock fantasy baseball leagues.  They often will miss day games after night games that’s a lot of at-bats missed throughout a season.  In a daily format I will give older plays more consideration since I can adjust the roster if they’re not going to play.   Investing in an older player means I’ll need to possibly secure a high end backup.

I don’t want anybody over the age of 32 as one of my hitters.  Too much wear on the player and signs may start to show. I don’t want a player to break down on my roster.  I miss on good players in the process, but tend to have a healthier roster. I actually passed on Justin Turner this year even though I think Turner still a real good player just because of his age.  I think very highly of Josh Donaldson, but he has shown too many signs of wear and tear. Donaldson slid in drafts this season, but I still didn’t want to invest at a discounted rate.

Just 4 fantasy baseball teams this season for me. The following is a breakdown of the oldest hitter on each roster.  Buster Posey is my backup catcher this season and is age 32. I kept him for cheap and plan to use him as a bench player.  Jonathan Lucroy at 33 is my backup catcher. Both teams the oldest everyday player is Anthony Rizzo at age 29. Yuli Gurriel is the oldest player I have in a daily categories league at age 35. I drafted Yuli with one of my last picks due to his 1B/2B/3B eligibility.  Paul Goldschmidt is my oldest starter at age 31. On the last team Justin Upton at age 30 is the elder statesman.

Moving to pitching, I’m looking for starters that are in between their 2nd and 7th year in the league.  Pitchers in that bracket tend to have a high strikeout rate and can go deeper into games. Going deeper into games increases the potential for Wins, K, and better ratios.  Older pitchers done at 100 pitches have less of a chance of pulling out wins in this era of bullpenning. Rookie pitchers are out of my target age bracket because of growing pains and shutdowns due to workload at the end of the season.  

Tommy John surgery can happen at any pitcher at any time it’s unavoidable.  Older pitchers may show signs of shoulder problems and more importantly back problems.  The velocity goes down incrementally making the hurler get by more on guile than stuff. Harnessed stuff outperforms guile in fantasy leagues.               

Take Clayton Kershaw as an example, had a terrific age 27 season, was effective in 21 starts at 28, lights out at 29.  Age 30 was still solid, but the strikeout per 9 dropped a bit. For the early round draft choice required to take Kershaw, that fantasy owner didn’t get return on his value.  In my theory Kershaw won 21 games in his 7th season, but went on to have value afterwards. I missed out on that production, but also wasn’t left holding the empty bag in 2018.      

With an 82-game season in the game of basketball I am very strict in terms of age limits. I’m looking for players aged 28 and under especially in weekly lock leagues.  Younger players play more games and more minutes which in turn leads to more stats. Younger players don’t break down as often and don’t have maintenance days. Following the idea by Gregg Popovich teams are starting to build in rest days to the schedule.  Can’t completely avoid the rest days, but try my best to limit them. Lebron James in 2017-2108 blows a hole in my theory playing his only 82 game season at age 33. This season however at age 34 played a career low 55 games. I squeaked out a championship in my basketball league this season.  LeBron James cost $51 dollars at the draft. For that amount I was able to draft Devin Booker $23, Rudy Gobert $22, and Luka Doncic $6. I got maximum value on my $51 dollars and the team with LeBron ended up going 6-14 on the season.

Football I view in a similar fashion.  Running backs John Riggins, Curtis Martin, and Thomas Jones all had great seasons into their 30’s, however a majority of backs that age go the other way.  I’m looking for running backs in between their 1st and 6th seasons. Running backs take an absolute beating playing the position. I tend to track Yards Per Carry like a hawk each season as I prepare for drafts.  If the YPC slipped was it poor line play, inept scheme, or diminishing skills? Often it’s due to loss of skills at that age. I tend to have the Hugh Hefner approach to running backs, I’m always looking for newer younger models.  

Wide Receivers the age bracket I’m looking for is between their 1st and 8th seasons.  Medical marvels like Jerry Rice and Randy Moss are exceptions to the rule. I’m tracking yards per catch totals in comparison to career average.  The YPC can give me an idea if a receiver still has the ability to take one to the house at a moments notice. If the YPC is falling the receiver slides farther down my draft board.       

Tight Ends I will often put a premium on the position and draft one of the top options early in drafts. The top options tend to fit into my age brackets as well.  Having a premium TE is a such a huge advantage. The amount of TE that break out each season to make a difference is so small in comparison to RB and WR.

Quarterbacks are the one position where I will consider drafting a little older player.  Escapability and arm strength are the aspects I look for in drafts. If a QB has his feet in cement, I’m avoiding him like the plague.  Drew Brees and Tom Brady are sure fire hall of fame QB’s however I question their ability to be able to crank it up for 16 games. With the amount of passing that takes place in the league, younger options are available later in drafts.     

I’ve really tried to refine my age brackets each season to fit how the leagues are trending.  Avoiding the older players is not a sure fire way to winning, I’ve missed on quite a few good performances by veteran players.  To minimize my risks I’m always looking for youth that is on the upswing. The strategy allows me to hit on lottery tickets and turn over my roster for the next big thing.  Most importantly the strategy is the best way I’ve found to limit injuries.

Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Rays 2B/OF Brandon Lowe

.350/.400/.725 slash rate in the last 14 days. Home games this week vs. the Orioles and Red Sox.  Orioles have a 6.30 team ERA, while the Red Sox staff checks in at 5.80. Has hit safely in 8 consecutive games. Worthy streamer with good matchups.

White Sox 1B Yonder Alonso

Gravy matchups vs. the Royals at home and on the road in Detroit.  Alonso has a slash rate of .150/.320/.300 so far this season. Career stats of a .370 OBP vs. the Royals and .354 OBP against the Tigers. Owners looking to stream power this week may want to roll with Alonso.

Cubs SP Yu Darvish

2 starts this week for Darvish. On the road Monday vs. the Marlins followed by a Sunday tilt with the Diamondbacks.  The Marlins have a team batting avg. of .221 while the Diamondbacks have a .271 avg. Weekly lock players may want to use Darvish for the 2 starts, while daily players will definitely use him vs. the Marlins.

WR Breakouts for 2019

Panthers WR DJ Moore, 49ers WR Dante Pettis, and Broncos WR Courtland Sutton are no-brainer breakout candidates for the 2019 season.  I own all three of these players in my dynasty league. Keeper costs increase by 1 round each season so I plan to have these players as part of the core of my team for the foreseeable future.  Plenty of other lesser hyped wide outs will take a step forward in 2019 as well.

Bears WR Anthony Miller

33 catches for 7 TD last season. Shoulder problem limited his production in 2018.  I own Miller in the previously stated dynasty league and expect big things in 2019.  Miller is one of the highest upside skill position players entering the 2019 season. With his skill set and Matt Nagy’s scheme, I fully expect Miller to lead Bears in receiving. Look his last 2 years of college at Memphis 95/1,432/12 as a junior and 96/1,462/10 senior campaign.  Bears GM Ryan Pace traded with the Patriots to draft Miller. Owners may want reach up in drafts to acquire Miller. I view him as WR3/4 with huge upside. Bear Down.

Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin

Departures of Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson could lead to Godwin catching more than the  7 TD of last year. Mike Evans and OJ Howard will more than likely be the top 2 receiving targets in the Bucs passing attack.  In a Bruce Arians offense, Godwin as a 3rd wheel still will have value to fantasy owners.

Redskins WR Trey Quinn

Played as a freshman and sophomore at LSU before transferring to SMU.  Quinn in his 1 year with SMU caught 114 balls for 1,236 yards and 13 TD.  Quinn played in only 3 games for the Redskins as a rookie. Has good hands and runs good routes as a slot receiver. With Case Keenum under center and Jamison Crowder out of town Quinn is a player I will track this offseason.  I’m looking to see if Redskins draft other slot receiver types. If not Quinn becomes an interesting flier.

Steelers WR James Washington

2nd Round pick didn’t do much during his rookie season. With Antonio Brown gone, Washington will be able to slide into a sizeable role in the Steelers offense. Put together a highlight reel of chunk plays at Oklahoma State. WR4/5 with upside due to scheme and QB. I will be paying close attention to Steelers preseason games this summer.

Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Royals OF Alex Gordon

.294/.481/.647 slash rate to start the 2019 campaign.  Gordon bats in upper portion of the Royals lineup and should have RBI opportunities.  Ride the hot streak for as long as it lasts.

Braves SS Dansby Swanson

.353/.478/.765 slash rate to start the season.  Swanson had 1,229 career major league plate appearances before the start of the 2019 campaign.  In his 4th season Swanson could be a post hype sleeper breakout. Grab him early in case he’s finally figured things out.  

Rays SP/RP Diego Castillo

2 Holds and 1 Save so far for Castillo. His role as a high leverage reliever could lead to some Wins as well. I own him in a daily categories league due to his SP/RP eligibility and SO/9.  7.2 so far this year 10.3 in 2018.

Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Mets 1B Peter Alonso

Nothing else left to prove in the minors after blasting 21 ding-dongs in Triple A last season.  Alonso should see regular playing time at 1B. Feel free to deploy Alonso in lineups where power is lacking.  

Rays DH Yandy Diaz

Expected to see time as part of a rotation at 3B with Matt Duffy out of commission.  Diaz was the main piece in return for the Rays in a 3-team deal with the Indians and Mariners.  Diaz has been road blocked in Cleveland, so we’ll get to see what his hard contact can do with regular playing time.  Diaz will eventually pick up position eligibility at 3B and 1B. Feel free to stream him Week 1 if in the lineup. Owners looking for a lottery ticket may want to roster Diaz.

Padres SP Joey Lucchesi

Takes on the Giants at home on Friday. I believe SF will be one of the worst clubs in all of baseball in 2019 yet again.  Lucchesi struck out 13 and walked 4 in 14 spring innings. I own Lucchesi in multiple leagues this year and expect him to take a step forward in 2019.  

12-team Auction Draft Recap

This is a recap of a 12-team Weekly Points Auction League. The scoring favors power hitters and power pitchers. Lineups break down to have positions followed by 2B/SS, 1B/3B and Util. I was able to keep the first 5 players at cheap costs allowing me to load up on expensive hitters. As you can see from my draft, I don’t put a premium price on pitching. My pitching staff combined cost $39 dollars. Chris Sale went for $42 and Max Scherzer at $40. Spending big money on pitching has always bothered me due to the unstable nature of the position. Elbows and shoulders tend to give out more on pitchers than hitters so I tend to spend my money on the safer positions. I make a list of all the players I like at each position before the draft and my must have list. Makes it easier for me to draft in an auction.

Nolan Arenado was one of my must haves. Really wanted Alex Bregman, but not for $32 dollars. Manny Machado at $26 is a better value to me. That savings allowed me to fill out my roster at the end a bit more. Machado will be able to play SS, 2B/SS, 3B, 1B/3B in this lineup. Kris Bryant bounces back in a big way in 2019 and has 3B/OF eligibility. Bryant will be able to play 3B/, 1B/3B, and OF for me. Anthony Rizzo cost $26, while Paul Goldschmidt came in a $29 and Freddie Freeman $30. Joey Votto was a $18 bid this season. I’m happy with Rizzo at that price point. This lineup is loaded the power/rbi advantage a majority of the positions. Because of the high strikeouts rates of some of my big hitters, guys with low K and high OBP were added to balance things out.

Pitching wise I targeted cheap pitchers with a high SO/9. May 12.8, Robertson 11.8, Darvish 11.0, Severino 10.3, Lucchesi 10.0, Gray 9.6, Colome 9.5, Bradley 9.4, Castillo 8.8, Eovaldi 8.0, Stroman 6.8, Rodon 6.7, Gausman 6.6. If the command doesn’t show in 2019 then I don’t feel as bad hitting the eject button. Injury concerns are there on this pitching staff, however the league allows up to 4 IR spots. I target pitchers young pitchers that have been in the league for just a few years or are younger than 32. Older pitchers don’t go as deep into games which means that can’t accrue as many counting stats.

The final selections in this draft were all about finding upside. That’s the best way to find lottery tickets. If the ticket busts, makes the decision easier to cut bait to chase the next best thing. Here’s my full draft let me know what you think.

Fall Guy Stuntman Asoc.

Joey Lucchesi SD, SP
Aaron Judge NYY, RF
Rhys Hoskins Phi, LF
Gleyber Torres NYY, SS
Luis Severino NYY, SP
Kris Bryant ChC, 3B
Nolan Arenado Col, 3B
Manny Machado SD, SS
Anthony Rizzo ChC, 1B
Andrew Benintendi Bos, LF
Yu Darvish ChC, SP
David Robertson Phi, RP
Nathan Eovaldi Bos, SP
Luis Castillo Cin, SP
Byron Buxton Min, CF
Elvis Andrus Tex, SS
Jon Gray Col, SP
Austin Meadows TB, RF
Kevin Gausman Atl, SP
Danny Jansen Tor, C
Archie Bradley Ari, RP
Carlos Rodon CWS, SP
Willy Adames TB, SS
Marcus Stroman Tor, SP
Trevor May Min, RP
Yandy Diaz TB, DH
Alex Colome CWS, RP
Isiah Kiner-Falefa Tex, C

Week 20 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Grizzlies SG Delon Wright

The centerpiece of the return from the Marc Gasol trade. Wright really should be playing more minutes as the season winds down.  Mike Conley is a potential shutdown candidate making Wright a must own player. I picked up Wright in a keeper league for a possible stretch run and cheap keeper option for next season.  Weekly players can use Wright in the meantime for looking for rebounding from a Guard. 3-games this scoring period.

Pistons SG Luke Kennard

Drilled 3 or more from downtown in 4 of 5 contests. Kennard has 3-games this week. His playing time and field goal attempts have progressively increased each month this season.  The Pistons are in the thick of fighting for a playoff spot and Kennard could play a role in helping that push. Owners looking for scoring and 3-point shooting should stream Kennard.

Bulls C Robin Lopez

The young Bulls have turned the corner a bit winning 6 out of their last 10.  Lopez was expected to receive a buyout, but will remain with the Bulls the rest of the season.  In the last 7 days Lopez has averaged 14.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.5 BPG in the last 7 days. Bulls have 4-games this scoring period and RoLo should be in lineups.     

Week 18 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Wizards SF/PF Jeff Green

5 straight games of scoring in double figures.  Drilled a 3 pointer in 9 consecutive contests and blocked a shot in 5 straight.  Green is the beneficiary of injuries to the Wizards along with the trade of Otto Porter.   4-games this extended scoring period. Owners looking for 3 and D stats may want to roll with Green until lineup shakes out.  

Grizzlies PF/C Ivan Rabb

13.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG in last 7 days at time of this post.  Rabb should be part of a rotation with Jaren Jackson Jr and Jonas Valanciunas.  Rabb is worth a look for owners looking to add rebounding and field goal percentage to their lineups.  Rabb has 4 games in Week 18.

Pelicans SF Kenrich Williams

12.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG in the last 7 days. Williams may get more run with the Pelicans managing Anthony Davis’ minutes. Williams is a player that is worth streaming and could have some deep league dynasty value.  In one of my leagues it was between Rabb and Williams for the waiver claim. 4-games this week.

Week 17 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Nets PG Shabazz Napier

3-games this scoring period. Napier in the last 7 days is scoring 18.5 PPG including 3.5 from downtown.  Owners can feel free to stream Napier this week with Spencer Dinwiddie out for the foreseeable future.

Magic SF/PF Jonathan Isaac

10.3 PPG 10.3 RPG in the last 7 days. Isaac should be owned in dynasty formats. Isaac has a block in 4 consecutive games and 8 or more rebounds in 5 straight.  Streamers looking for defensive stats should roll with Isaac in this 4-game week.

Suns SF Mikal Bridges

3&D player is making more impact in Phoenix.  Has a steal in 8 consecutive games and knocked down a 3 in 13 of 15 games.  With the Suns soon to fully embrace tank mode after the deadline, look for Bridges minutes to continue to stay in the Mid 30’s.  Stream Bridges for a 4-game week.

National League Circle Of Trust

Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Wilmer Flores

Another player that could benefit by a change of scenery. As you can tell I’m a big believer in those.  Flores in a daily league could carry solid value for the multiple position eligibility.

Atlanta Braves RP A.J. Minter

Saved 15 games and had a 10.1 SO/9 last season.  Arodys Vizcaino and Dan Winkler could be threats to Minter for save opportunities.  I would roll with Minter at the end of the pen and set everyone else’s role accordingly.   

Chicago Cubs C Willson Contreras

Fell off the cliff in the 2nd half last season. Batted .213 in August and .152 in September.  The Cubs had a weird season with a number of early rain outs which led to brutal stretch to end the season.  Contreras looked wore down at the end of the season. With the Catcher position so thin, don’t be afraid to bet on a Contreras bounce back.   

Cincinnati Reds RF Yasiel Puig

Won’t get platooned with the Reds.  Puig is a free agent after this season and the Reds could be highly motivated to flip Puig for future assets at the deadline.  

Rockies 2B Garrett Hampson

Stellar minor league track record .315/.389/.457 could help force Hampson into the lineup.  The Rockies frequently block their prospects with declining players. (Ian Desmond/Daniel Murphy) Odd practice. Projects as a top of the order hitter. 123 steals in 3 minor league seasons.

Los Angeles Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo

Nothing left to prove in the minor leagues .321/.389/.452 slash rate in 2 seasons at AAA.  Verdugo’s value goes up higher if Joc Pederson gets traded. I believe Verdugo finds a way to force his way into the lineup.    

Miami Marlins SP Trevor Richards

Got knocked around his first run thru the league.  Richards has a career minor league track record of a 2.44 ERA and 1.001 WHIP thru 3 minor league seasons. With a solid spring training could be a worthy flier to fill out your pitching staff.

Milwaukee Brewers C Yasmani Grandal

5 consecutive seasons of double digit homers and 3 straight of over 20.  Grandal is a much better play than he showed in the post season. Grandal owns a career .922 OPS at his new home.  I’m banking on Grandal having a career season moving from more of a pitchers park to launching pad in Milwaukee.

New York Mets RF Brandon Nimmo

.404 OBP in 535 PA for 2018.  Just 47 RBI due to teams low OBP.  Name consistently has been mentioned in trade rumors. Worthy backup outfielder selection.  

Philadelphia Phillies SP Nick Pivetta

10.3 SO/9 in 164 innings. 7-14 record and 4.77 ERA in 33 games. The wheels came off from June 0-4 7.71 ERA and Pivetta never recovered. Entering his 3rd major league season it’s possible Pivetta turns the corner. Worth a late round flier to fill out rotation to find out.

Pittsburgh Pirates SP Joe Musgrove

Who had a lower WHIP for the 2nd half of the 2018 season Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin or Joe Musgrove? Pirates hurler had a 1.011 WHIP after the All-Star Break. As the centerpiece of the Gerrit Cole trade, I’ll take a late round flier on Musgrove.

San Diego Padres 3B/OF Wil Myers

Played 36 games at 3B and 30 Games in LF in 2018.  Myers is locked up contractually thru the 2022 campaign.  Remember Myers had 28 Ding Dongs and SB in 2016 followed by a 30 Dong 20 Stolen Base 2017.  Injuries ruined 2018. If healthy is a worthy late round pick in daily leagues for the multiple position eligibility and 20/20 potential.  

San Francisco Giants CF Steven Duggar

Career minor league slash rate of .287/.377/.425 in 4 minor league seasons. Had a cup of coffee with Giants last season with minimal success. Could patrol CF for the rebuilding Giants in 2019.  Skill set projects as a plate setting top of the lineup hitter. I plan to grab him in my daily categories league with a late flier.

St. Louis Cardinals SP/RP Carlos Martinez

Too inconsistent for my liking. I was on the Martinez train for a few years and got off in 2018 drafts. Late in the season, I spent big auction money to acquire Martinez as he served as the Cardinals closer.  The SP/RP eligibility is so valuable in fantasy baseball. Weekly leagues you can load him up as an RP during 2 start weeks. At age 27 maybe finally puts it together.

Washington Nationals 2B Brian Dozier

Bottomed out in a contract year in Minnesota and served as a platoon player with the Dodgers.  Doubtful that Dozier has lost it at age 32. Will come much cheaper in drafts this season.