Fantasy Baseball: A Revolutionary Look at Draft Theory and Perceived Value

by Todd Zola, on February 4, 2013 @ 13:54:16 PDT


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On the other hand, the scolding one gets for reaching too early is often unwarranted. So long as the player is ranked within round-times-three, it isn't a reach at all. It is simply taking a player inside a reasonable projected range. If you're in the sixth round and the ADP of the player is round eight, some will say you should have waited until round seven. But six times three is eighteen, which could put the player into round eight.

It is this latter example that I will harp on in the coming weeks, mostly to refute the principle of scarcity. We'll detail this more in coming installments, but it isn't too hard to figure out the contention is going to be there is no need to leave stats on the table early for the sake of a scarce position since there will surely be someone within round-times-three at every position later in the festivities.

Before you go and spend the week coming up with a clever nickname so I can market this concept, I'll address the breakdown of the rule at the extremes. Recall that early on, the delta between players is greatest. In the first round, there can be anywhere from $2-$4 (sometimes more) between adjacent players. So even if you only jump down three players, the difference will be greater than $2 or $3. Actually, this serves to really reinforce how detrimental it is to sacrifice potential on a first-round pick for perceived scarce positions.

At the end of a draft, the round times three means there are up to 69 players either way. Once you get to round twenty, the 60th player previous is often $3 or even $4 different. But by that time, players that far away will likely be drafted. If not, you have a different opinion than the field for that player, which is great, now you truly get a potential value pick. In the end game, it is all about needs and differing opinions on players' skills and, more importantly, playing time.

Hopefully this gets your juices flowing for fantasy baseball. We'll spend the next several weeks applying this principle. So far, the best names I have are Rx3 (a very poor takeoff on the Redskins' RGIII) and JAZZ, as in close enough for jazz.

I told you I needed help naming it.

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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