What's up, Special Ed?!?!
This is week 9 out of ∞ in Dougy Tacos' fantasy baseball league and, folks, the Worst Case Scenario®️ is upon us: We're kinda getting into it.
That's very bad news for the OG DYM fantasy team over here in the Special Ed league.
Fantasy baseball strategy is very different from the Fantasy Football strategy that we've been marinating in for the past decade. In fact, for the past few years we've been looking for Fantasy Football writers who also write about fantasy baseball so we can fade all their football picks. We don't want this baseball shit seeping too far into our brains, it fucks dudes up for real.
Normally, by Memorial Day we'd be knee deep in mock drafts and football podcasts. But not this year. For the month of May our iPhone Screen Time clocked us at 2 and a half hours on the ESPN Fantasy App, but we've only done three (3) total Fantasy Football mock drafts to date (scores: B, A+, A).
The cool thing about fantasy baseball is it's really just a numbers game. We probably watched less than 2 and a half hours of actual baseball last month and we were the 2nd highest scoring team in May (after Doug, of course). What got us into it is we recently figured out a little strategy that's pretty easy to manage and seems like it's gonna work.
It took us a while to nail down since things like funny hair cuts and cool jersey numbers are such non-factors in fantasy baseball. We do have some pretty on-brand funny names on the squad at the moment tho:
Our fantasy baseball strategy is probably not that ground-breaking since it exploits an easily avoidable loop-hole in this particular league's rules, but it's noteworthy for DYM Nation for a few reasons:
(1) Doug figured it out about a week before we did;
(2) It makes a mockery of the league and the entire enterprise of fantasy baseball;
(3) It should, therefore, serve as teachable moment for all fantasy leagues everywhere - Never change the rules mid-season AND move limits are dumb.
That's right -
THEY CHANGED THE RULES DURING THE SEASON!!!!!!!!!!
There are only two things a fantasy commissioner really has to do: BEFORE the season - they have to establish league rules; AFTER the season - they have to pay out the winners. That it. They can’t make rules after the season starts and they can’t pay out before the season’s over.
As we all know the second of those duties was once remiss in our own fare league, so perhaps we ought not to judge this league too harshly.
We’re trying to take a principled stance here. We just think it’s never right to change league rules during the season. Period. We should all be able to agree on that.
But we gotta be honest with you guys this shit pissed us off on a kinda personal level 'cause the rule they implemented just so happened to be our LEAST favorite rule in all Fantasy Sports -
That’s right, move limits. We went from two-day-waiver, wild-west style down to 5 measly fuckin' roster moves per week. It’s the worst.
So now we're thinkin': Yo, this league really hates our freedom, ya know? It’s like George W. used to say - “Either you’re with us, or your league has move limits.” Simple as that, folks.
As much as we despise the move limit rule, we must admit we wouldn't be where we are today without it. Either our team or Doug's team are gonna win this league and The Strategy would likely never have been conceived if not for the rule change.
It went like this -
The first thing we learned about fantasy baseball was that starting pitchers (SP) score way more points than anybody else in a given game. So clearly you gotta find a way to get some SP's going everyday.
At first we tried streaming SPs who were gonna get 2 starts in a week. We had limited success there because (A) we didn’t know which guys were good, and shitty SPs can sometimes get negative scores; and (B) the fucking move limit.
So now, with the move limit in place, the only way to maximize SPs in this league is to actually roster a lot of SPs. (A fact that woulda been good to know BEFORE THE DRAFT!!!) So we spent about a week and a half restructuring the lineup to where our entire bench was SPs.
No bench batters. Then we figured we could take it a step further (and this is the part Doug beat us to) by just dropping any batter averaging less than 3.1 points per game for a >15 point per game SP (which is pretty attainable and usually available on waivers).
The only question then was: How many SPs is too many?
We needed to know the odds that more than 5 of my SPs would end up starting on the same day with 13 or more SPs on the roster. It shoulda been a straight-forward enough statistical problem to solve so we called in our Advanced Stats Consultant (aka the Official Dad of DYM). We usually don't have much work for him this early in the off-season, so he was chomping at the bit. Before we even got off the phone he was already furiously running through this long-ass regression of factorials. He was in the ZONE!!!
We figured out the magic number is 15 SPs. Since we already had 5 SPs all going on "Day 1" (Sunday 5/30) so even if theres a rain out (there was) we can start the calculation at 11 SPs which ended up with a 50% chance of producing >5 starters but only about 3% chance of seeing >7 (and if it ever happens it gets less and less likely to happen again). So realistically, we'd only risk wasting 15-30 points in any given week which is much less than the points advantage we plan to build overall.
Last week we both got down to 2 empty positions and 13 SPs. We bumped it up to 15 on Sunday afternoon, and Tacos followed suit. This week both Doug and ourselves rolled out rosters that are 74% pitcher - leaving four (4) empty position spots and fifteen (15) SPs each.
Just look at these monstrosities:
Like we said before, we don't expect The Strategy to be viable in many other leagues. But this is a stupid, stupid league so we're just gonna run roughshod on 'em. In this league about 400-450 points will usually get you a win, and our teams are both averaging over 500 since implementing The Strategy two weeks ago.
And, honestly, they should all be insulted. This isn't even fantasy baseball anymore. It's just a pitcher hording contest. It's an absolute travesty.
Of course there's a million ways to have prevented this (minimum positional roster limits, maximum positional roster limits, separate bench for pitchers, points for non-counting pitching stats (WHIP, ERA etc.), cost-per-transaction, or no move limits obviously), our little brain-child here is simply the result of a poorly considered mid-season rule change. Ostensibly they wanted to take the pressure off less active teams by preventing SP streaming. But in actuality those teams are at a far greater disadvantage now if they're still not willing to make a lot of roster moves.
So remember, folks, there's a couple important lessons here for all of us -
NEVER change the rules mid-season. And if we've said it once we've said it a thousand times: NO MOVE LIMITS!!!!!!!!!