CHASING THE 2014 NFBC: The search for redemption

The 2013 fantasy sports year was a profitable one for me.  My biggest score, the FFWC football overall national championship, came with a grand prize of $150,000.  The NFBC Ultimate Auction baseball league title brought in another $40,000.  When totaling these two championship awards with my other league titles and cashes in both sports this year, I earned nearly a quarter million.

One of those other league titles came in the contest that remains my own personal Holy Grail of fantasy sports, the NFBC Main Event.  It was my second NFBC Main Event title in my five years taking part in the event and continued a streak that I have great pride in: having cashed in an NFBC Main Event league for every season entered.

Thus and with all things taken into account, this was a successful year by just about anyone's fantasy sports standards.  So why the need for redemption?

Our 2013 Glenneration X / BaseballHQ Team Revisited

When approached me before the 2013 fantasy baseball season with a new idea for a series where a subscriber drafts, runs, and chronicles an HQ sponsored NFBC Main Event team for the site, I was thankful for the opportunity and excited about the possibilities.  I envisioned drafting and taking this team to the NFBC Main Event overall championship and writing about it every step of the way.  In the most extreme of these daydreams, accolades would flow, glory would be mine (and maybe a little for HQ as well....ummmm, but not too much), and at season's end I would be placing both an NFBC Main Event championship trophy and a Pulitzer prize on my mantle.  Once Hollywood heard this rags to riches story, could an Oscar be far behind?

Unfortunately, as those who read and followed the series last season, reality told a much uglier tale.  This team was troubled from the start, never really challenged for even the league title, let alone the overall, and ultimately finished a mediocre and disappointing 7th.

A Chance at Redemption

When Ray Murphy went to Ron Shandler for his thoughts on HQ's decision to continue this series for a second season with me, I was advised that his response was...  "Great, let's do it again—please just tell him to do better this time."  Yikes!  Well, I can't promise to Do Better, but after much thought on how to approach this second bite at the apple, I will promise to at least Do Different.

Last year, HQ's goal was simply to have a subscriber draft and run a team for them.  They gave me free rein to do so independently. As I pointed out in one of my preseason articles at the time, though HQ is a primary source of information and insight for my draft prep and in-season management, I do use several other sources, and my ultimate decisions are formulated based on all my sources as well as my own personal opinions and insights.  And I employed these opinions and decisions to put together the team.

This became evident with my very first draft pick for this 2013 team, when I chose Ron Shandler's poster boy to avoid, Mike Trout.  This was going to be my team, and this pick made that statement.  Although that initial pick turned out for the best, ignoring other HQ tenets as the draft went on did not turn out as well.

I ignored HQ's long-standing avoidance of injury risk by not only drafting Hanley Ramirez, which at least came with both positive and negative results, but also Corey Hart, Ryan Madson, Corey Luebke, Shaun Marcum, and Phil Hughes.  All were injured when drafted, and all provided no results or results that were only negative, and all helped sink this ship right out of the dock.

I also ignored HQ's renowned principle to "draft skills, not roles" in picking up Carlos Marmol as my second closer.  Well, it wasn't too long before Marmol lost the role to bring that on par with his extreme lacking in the skills department.  Of course, he did hold the role just long enough to impart irreparable damage to both my ERA and WHIP categories.  By the way, have I mentioned lately just how much I despise Carlos Marmol?

So how do I plan to Do Different for this year?

When HQ indicated that they'd like to continue this series for another season, they left the parameters the same as last year.  I would once again be given free rein to draft and run this team as I feel best.  The difference this year is what I feel is best.

The name of the team will again be Glenneration X / Baseball HQ.  However, this year's roster compilation will be a much more accurate representation of that name.  Although I will again be the sole authority on all draft and in-season management decisions for this team, my intent is to use the HQ tenets and tools to a far greater degree to make this partnership a truer one.

Some of the HQ tools I want to examine in depth during the coming weeks as I determine my targets and draft strategies for this team are the Mayberry Method for potential sleepers and the Custom Draft Guide against ADP for draft values, among others.  As this series of articles moves through the preseason, I will discuss what I discover while using these tools and how I hope to use these findings during the draft.

The draft prep and therefore this team should have some significant differences from other teams I draft this season.  That alone makes this year's project personally more interesting to me than last.  I'm curious if this more HQ-centric approach will produce results more in line with my daydreams from this time last year.  If so, that NFBC championship trophy and Pulitzer prize may be coming after all.  I think Brad Pitt would be a solid candidate to play me in the movie.  Casting for Ray Murphy and Ron Shandler's roles will follow.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.