It can't always be about Rotisserie leagues or Head-to-Head points. Every now and then, we need to show some love for the format that's ever so popular on certain competitors like Yahoo. Yes, I'm referring to the Head-to-Head categories format.
You know the quirks by now: two utility spots instead of one, four flex pitcher spots in addition to two SPs and two RPs, a weekly innings minimum, etc. It still uses traditional 5x5 scoring, with its outsized emphasis on stolen bases and saves, but if there was ever a format where you might consider punting a category, this is the one. A 6-4 category advantage over your opponent in a given week earns you just as much of a victory as a 7-3 advantage does, and often the pursuit of a scarcer category like stolen bases can compromise your excellence in others. That's especially true with so few hitter spots available to achieve that perfect balance.
And so that's exactly what I tried to do: punt steals. It's my intended goal in this format whenever they don't come easily to me (like with a Ronald Acuna) early on. The problem is I didn't follow through on it completely, choosing to pounce on Tommy Edman when he lasted to Round 18. This led to me taking Nick Senzel in Round 19, which led to me taking Andres Gimenez in Round 20 -- both for bench, mind you, and unlikely to see the light of day. But hey, I was giving myself a path to steals contention after all.
Unfortunately, in doing so, I undermined my early gains in the pitching categories, failing to bolster a staff built on three arms with my first five picks. Sleepers I took for granted like John Means (Round 19) and Griffin Canning (Round 21) slipped right by me, all because of a last-ditch effort to compete in a category for which I left myself no chance. You're never done building a pitching staff.
Introductions, then a few observations:
1) Frank Stampfl, CBS Sports (@Roto_Frank)
2) Jason Beckner, Fantasy Six Pack (@JRBecks)
3) Chris Mitchell, Fantrax (@CJMitch73)
4) B_Don, Razzball (@RazzBDon)
5) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
6) Chris Clegg, Fantrax (@RotoClegg)
7) Brent Herzog, Exit Velocity Baseball Podcast (@ExitVelo_BH)
8) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
9) Scott Engel, SportsLine (@scotteTheKing)
10) Adrian Pendygraft, lucky reader who got to join in
11) Jeremy Latzke, Fantasy Life App (@jeremylatzke)
12) Ridge Olsen, lucky reader who got to join in
- Relievers didn't start going off the board until Round 6, and the run didn't begin until Round 11. That's especially late for this format, which is regarded as the friendliest to high-end relievers since their impact in the ratio categories can be greater in week-long stints.
- Framber Valdez was still taken in this league, albeit in Round 14, despite the reports of possible season-ending finger surgery. He retains some modest value until the Astros confirm their plans for him. It seems like an excessive timetable for an injury that appeared so minor.
- Enthusiasm is building for health risks like Trey Mancini and Mitch Haniger, who went in Round 7 and Round 10, respectively. In each case, that's about twice as early as we're used to seeing them go.
- White Sox first base prospect Andrew Vaughn continues to move up draft boards, going late in Round 13 in this one. Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic actually went a few picks earlier, though, even though he's not expected to break camp with the team. Other prospect selected included Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff in Round 18, Rays shortstop Wander Franco in Round 19 and Padres starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore in Round 23.
So which Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Will Smith's huge breakout last season, and find out.