Recap of experts draft: Mad Max slides to second round in Friends & Family

Max Scherzer was a curious value in this year's Yahoo F&F Draft
Max Scherzer was a curious value in this year's Yahoo F&F Draft

As much as the Yahooligans love to defend the home turf in the annual Yahoo Friends & Family League, we’ve got our work cut out for ourselves this year. Rotoworld’s Ryan Boyer is the defending champ and on a nice run, and juggernaut Fred Zinkie has been added to the 2017 field. Throw in the usual staunch challengers from RotoWire, Rotoworld, the Wall Street Journal and Razzball, and the competition has never been tougher. (On the plus side internally, Yahoo’s Jason Klabacha is also joining the fray. Last year he willed the Cubs to a World Championship; this year he’ll focus on more personal tasks, like his fantasy players.)

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Add it all up and we had a 14-team bloodbath on Tuesday, a 364-pick meandering that answered a few questions but raised many more. We’ll let the combatants retell the story in their own words. Everyone started with a graph or two in any direction they chose, then we specifically inquired about steals and reaches.

As you consider the results, keep these specs in mind:

— standard 5×5 format

— transactions capped at 125

— only one catcher and four outfielders required; two utility players

— 1400 innings-pitched maximum; no minimum

— trading allowed, with a deadline of Aug. 13

Let’s get to it, if you have an hour to kill and want to improve your winning chances this year. (If not: too long, didn’t read.)

Michael Salfino – Wall Street Journal/Yahoo – @michaelsalfino

Previous F&F Finishes: 10th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 2nd, 7th, 11th, 12th

1. (1) Mike Trout (LAA – OF)

2. (28) Yu Darvish (Tex – SP)

3. (29) Daniel Murphy (Was – 1B,2B)

4. (56) Adrian Beltre (Tex – 3B)

5. (57) Edwin Díaz (Sea – RP)

6. (84) Ian Kinsler (Det – 2B)

7. (85) Ken Giles (Hou – RP)

8. (112) Julio Teheran (Atl – SP)

9. (113) Adam Eaton (Was – OF)

10. (140) Zack Greinke (Ari – SP)

11. (141) Tim Anderson (CWS – SS)

12. (168) Adam Duvall (Cin – OF)

13. (169) Joc Pederson (LAD – OF)

14. (196) Tanner Roark (Was – SP)

15. (197) Manuel Margot (SD – OF)

16. (224) Sean Manaea (Oak – SP)

17. (225) Chris Carter (NYY – 1B)

18. (252) Brandon Phillips (Atl – 2B)

19. (253) Matt Bush (Tex – RP)

20. (280) Tom Murphy (Col – C)

21. (281) Matt Duffy (TB – 3B,SS)

22. (308) Kevin Pillar (Tor – OF)

23. (309) Zack Cozart (Cin – SS)

24. (336) Drew Hutchison (Pit – SP,RP)

25. (337) Zach Davies (Mil – SP)

26. (364) Cody Bellinger (LAD – 1B)

Mike’s Take: I thought dominant closers were the story of this draft. The room would not let anyone get them cheap. This is obviously very different from most leagues, where not only saves but huge K/9 numbers from these bullpen aces can be more cheaply leveraged. ADP was out the window. But the lesson here is that at some point in every draft, absolute value of players is meaningless and the only thing that matters is the value to your team. In my case, I had lots of early batting average and I spent it on low-average homers.

Steal: Justin Upton at 111, or one pick ahead of where I had him queued up, was the steal of the draft without question.

Reach: The reach of the draft was me taking Chris Carter on his projection and contract without checking on the current state of the depth chart. Amateur move. Everyone is smart and makes good picks for them. But if forced to say, I’ll peg David Dahl with pick 82 only because Dahl seem pretty seriously hurt. I love Dahl if healthy, however.

Fred Zinkie – – @fredzinkieMLB

First Year in F&F

1. (2) Clayton Kershaw (LAD – SP)

2. (27) Starling Marte (Pit – OF)

3. (30) Freddie Freeman (Atl – 1B)

4. (55) Matt Carpenter (StL – 1B,2B,3B)

5. (58) Seung Hwan Oh (StL – RP)

6. (83) Todd Frazier (CWS – 1B,3B)

7. (86) Matt Kemp (Atl – OF)

8. (111) Justin Upton (Det – OF)

9. (114) David Price (Bos – SP)

10. (139) Jason Kipnis (Cle – 2B)

11. (142) Aaron Sanchez (Tor – SP)

12. (167) Kole Calhoun (LAA – OF)

13. (170) Marcell Ozuna (Mia – OF)

14. (195) Dallas Keuchel (Hou – SP)

15. (198) Jay Bruce (NYM – OF)

16. (223) Carter Capps (SD – RP)

17. (226) Jung Ho Kang (Pit – 3B)

18. (251) Marco Estrada (Tor – SP)

19. (254) Marcus Stroman (Tor – SP)

20. (279) Eugenio Suarez (Cin – 3B)

21. (282) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM – SS)

22. (307) Russell Martin (Tor – C)

23. (310) Brad Hand (SD – RP)

24. (335) Tyler Glasnow (Pit – SP)

25. (338) Mitch Haniger (Sea – OF)

26. (363) Joe Musgrove (Hou – SP)

Fred’s Take: I embraced risk in a big way. Drafting Kershaw No. 2 overall is arguably the biggest boom-or-bust pick of Round 1. I also drafted a handful of players (Matt Carpenter, David Price, Todd Frazier, Jason Kipnis and Carter Capps) who are dealing with some degree of injury during Spring Training. And, I wrapped up the draft with some volatile assets such as Jung-Ho Kang, Mitch Haniger, Tyler Glasnow and Joe Musgrove. Drafting this level of risk is not my usual plan, and I’m excited to see how this team fares in a tough league.

Steal: Max Scherzer at pick 23 is a steal. If he throws 215 innings, he’s a top-10 player. I’m not that worried about the finger injury and would have been happy to draft him late in Round 1.

Reach: For me, Xander Bogaerts at Pick 15 is a reach. His second-half fade last season should drop him to round 3 or 4. There are at least five shortstops that I would rather draft. One of them (Trevor Story) went to the same owner (Brandon Funston) 27 picks later.

Nate Jones is a popular closer-in-waiting pick
Nate Jones is a popular closer-in-waiting pick

Jason Klabacha – Yahoo

First Year in F&F

1. (3) Mookie Betts (Bos – OF)

2. (26) Joey Votto (Cin – 1B)

3. (31) Brian Dozier (Min – 2B)

4. (54) J.D. Martinez (Det – OF)

5. (59) Kyle Schwarber (ChC – C,OF)

6. (82) David Dahl (Col – OF)

7. (87) Alex Bregman (Hou – 3B,MI)

8. (110) David Robertson (CWS – RP)

9. (115) Tony Watson (Pit – RP)

10. (138) Hector Neris (Phi – RP)

11. (143) Neftali Feliz (Mil – RP)

12. (166) Troy Tulowitzki (Tor – SS)

13. (171) Javier Baez (ChC – 2B,3B,SS)

14. (194) Evan Gattis (Hou – C)

15. (199) Nate Jones (CWS – RP)

16. (222) Jose Reyes (NYM – 3B,SS)

17. (227) Jarrod Dyson (Sea – OF)

18. (250) Greg Bird (NYY – 1B)

19. (255) Hernan Perez (Mil – 2B,3B,OF)

20. (278) Jeanmar Gomez (Phi – RP)

21. (283) Hector Rondon (ChC – RP)

22. (306) Ivan Nova (Pit – SP,RP)

23. (311) Cameron Maybin (LAA – OF)

24. (334) Kevin Siegrist (StL – RP)

25. (339) Huston Street (LAA – RP)

26. (362) Darren O’Day (Bal – RP)

Jason’s Take: I went in trying to be flexible depending on how things shook out but as things progressed I made a choice to go heavy on offense, punt on wins and Ks and try to be respectable in the other pitching categories. As the least accomplished player in this group, it was going to be tough to build a balanced team in this deep of a league and with a bunch of great players. I realized about six rounds in that Scott had the same philosophy to go all in on offense. It’s good to be on the same page as him but he’s better at the execution than I am.

Steal: Max Scherzer going 23. I know he’s coming off the finger injury but if he fell to me at 26 my whole draft might have gone in a different direction.

Reach: There’s a lot to like about Trea Turner but at 11 he went ahead of some really great, proven players. The speed plays but expecting the average to be well above .300 again could be a stretch and the power has never been there like it was in the second half of 2016.

Andy Behrens – Yahoo – @andybehrens

Previous F&F Finishes: 3rd, 10th, 14th, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 3rd, 7th, 1st

1. (4) Kris Bryant (ChC – 1B,3B,OF)

2. (25) Robinson Cano (Sea – 2B)

3. (32) Jake Arrieta (ChC – SP)

4. (53) Dee Gordon (Mia – 2B)

5. (60) Chris Archer (TB – SP)

6. (81) Evan Longoria (TB – 3B)

7. (88) Andrew Miller (Cle – RP)

8. (109) Francisco Rodríguez (Det – RP)

9. (116) Jose Bautista (Tor – OF)

10. (137) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD – 1B)

11. (144) Carlos Santana (Cle – 1B)

12. (165) Dexter Fowler (StL – OF)

13. (172) Felix Hernandez (Sea – SP)

14. (193) Michael Fulmer (Det – SP)

15. (200) Ryan Madson (Oak – RP)

16. (221) Josh Bell (Pit – 1B,OF)

17. (228) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY – OF)

18. (249) Josh Reddick (Hou – OF)

19. (256) Jurickson Profar (Tex – 1B,2B,3B,SS,OF)

20. (277) Sonny Gray (Oak – SP)

21. (284) Jedd Gyorko (StL – 1B,2B,3B,SS)

22. (305) Matt Wieters (Was – C)

23. (312) Jeremy Jeffress (Tex – RP)

24. (333) Hunter Strickland (SF – RP)

25. (340) Lucas Duda (NYM – 1B)

26. (361) Aaron Judge (NYY – OF)

Andy’s Take: As the originator of the wildly successful Total Corner Control™ drafting system, there was never any doubt that I would take a corner infielder in the first round. It’s my brand. Kris Bryant got the nod for me at Pick No. 4, but I wouldn’t argue with someone who prefers Altuve, Goldschmidt or Arenado. I’d hoped that Chris Sale or Corey Kluber would drop to me in the second, but I narrowly missed on both.

In this league, which uses the Yahoo default innings cap (1400), we can’t afford to mess around with pitchers who produce sketchy ratios and low K-rates. I feel OK about Jake Arrieta and Chris Archer at the top of my rotation, so that wasn’t a complete disaster. Andrew Miller, my seventh round pick, should help cover any minor pitching deficiencies. I liked my late fliers on Aaron Judge and Jeremy Jeffress. And, in keeping with F&F tradition, I made the first post-draft transaction (Duda dropped, Brinson added.)

[Bullpen Depth Chart | 2017 Player Rankings | Mock Draft]

Reach: I’m hesitant to call Andrew Benintendi a total reach, because I don’t think his draft price here was way out of line with other expert-ish leagues. He’s a terrific young player, no doubt. I’m just not sure his fantasy profile — low double-digit power and speed, nice average — is anything to get too excited about.

Steal: As for the steal of the draft, I’m going with Nate Jones. DAMMIT. I was one pick away from landing him. I’d say there’s an excellent chance he claims the closing gig in Chicago (assuming a Robertson trade), and he’s the sort of reliever who’s worth owning even in a setup role.

After a monster run overseas, what is Eric Thames poised to do?
After a monster run overseas, what is Eric Thames poised to do?

Jeff Erickson – Rotowire – @Jeff_Erickson

Previous F&F Finishes: 8th, 12th, 7th, 4th, 4th, 1st, 13th, 11th, 12th, 8th, 10th

1. (5) Nolan Arenado (Col – 3B)

2. (24) Corey Kluber (Cle – SP)

3. (33) Nelson Cruz (Sea – OF)

4. (52) Zach Britton (Bal – RP)

5. (61) Carlos Gonzalez (Col – OF)

6. (80) Billy Hamilton (Cin – OF)

7. (89) Kyle Hendricks (ChC – SP)

8. (108) Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B)

9. (117) Raisel Iglesias (Cin – SP,RP)

10. (136) Kendrys Morales (Tor – 1B,OF)

11. (145) Eric Thames (Mil – OF)

12. (164) Jonathan Schoop (Bal – 2B)

13. (173) Dansby Swanson (Atl – SS)

14. (192) Yasmani Grandal (LAD – C)

15. (201) Brandon Drury (Ari – 2B,3B,OF)

16. (220) Matt Moore (SF – SP)

17. (229) Jeff Samardzija (SF – SP)

18. (248) Jharel Cotton (Oak – SP)

19. (257) Melky Cabrera (CWS – OF)

20. (276) Brad Brach (Bal – RP)

21. (285) Jerad Eickhoff (Phi – SP)

22. (304) Travis Shaw (Mil – 1B,3B)

23. (313) Steve Pearce (Tor – 1B,2B,OF)

24. (332) Mike Montgomery (ChC – SP,RP)

25. (341) Michael Lorenzen (Cin – RP)

26. (360) Melvin Upton Jr. (Tor – OF)

Jeff’s Take: Every snake draft is about figuring opportunity cost, and that’s especially true in deeper leagues such as this format. What does the league value? Where are the drop-offs? And what can you delay or avoid?

Usually I’m pretty good at evaluating those concerns, but I don’t think I did a particularly good job with that on Tuesday. To wit – look at the consequences of my Carlos Gonzalez pick in Round 5. There’s nothing wrong per se about the player, but it wasn’t a well-timed pick because of the nature of this league. With an innings-cap and moves cap in place, there’s a premium on getting high-strikeout starting pitchers and good closers. Once I went with CarGo over Carlos Carrasco with that pick, I was left scrambling to fill certain needs – second starting pitcher, stolen bases – that ultimately cost me the second closer that I wanted, let alone a third closer.

It’s possibly a minor point and this team still could be very good, but it’s a mistake I shouldn’t be making at this point in my tenure with this league.

Steal: Carlos Rodon, Round 20 by Ryan Boyer. Ok, so the White Sox are going to be pretty awful this year, but they still have a slew of interesting high-upside guys. Rodon demonstrated signs that his command was coming around last year, and he still has a really high strikeout ceiling. There were a lot of interesting starting pitchers late in the draft, but Rodon stood out to me.

Reach: Buster Posey, Round 4 by Patrick Daugherty. In a one-catcher league, I tend to avoid going after the elite tier of catchers unless I’m getting a significant discount. You can almost use the waiver wire to get the 15th best catcher at any point during the season, or at least wait until the middle of the draft to land a 20-homer catcher. Buster Posey is obviously better than that class because of his batting average and reliability, but I wouldn’t spend a fourth-round pick on him.

Ryan Boyer – Rotoworld – @RyanPBoyer

Previous F&F Finishes: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 10th

1. (6) Jose Altuve (Hou – 2B)

2. (23) Max Scherzer (Was – SP)

3. (34) Ryan Braun (Mil – OF)

4. (51) Johnny Cueto (SF – SP)

5. (62) Kyle Seager (Sea – 3B)

6. (79) Jonathan Lucroy (Tex – C,1B)

7. (90) Roberto Osuna (Tor – RP)

8. (107) Cody Allen (Cle – RP)

9. (118) Odubel Herrera (Phi – OF)

10. (135) Lance McCullers Jr. (Hou – SP)

11. (146) Cam Bedrosian (LAA – RP)

12. (163) Aledmys Diaz (StL – SS)

13. (174) Keon Broxton (Mil – OF)

14. (191) Randal Grichuk (StL – OF)

15. (202) Rajai Davis (Oak – OF)

16. (219) Mike Napoli (Tex – 1B)

17. (230) Matt Shoemaker (LAA – SP)

18. (247) Curtis Granderson (NYM – OF)

19. (258) Carlos Rodon (CWS – SP)

20. (275) Starlin Castro (NYY – 2B)

21. (286) Blake Treinen (Was – RP)

22. (303) Carl Edwards Jr. (ChC – RP)

23. (314) Danny Valencia (Sea – 1B,3B,OF)

24. (331) Daniel Norris (Det – SP)

25. (342) Ryan Dull (Oak – RP)

26. (359) Kennys Vargas (Min – 1B)

Ryan’s Take: like my squad overall, but I fear I may have waited a bit too long to shore up my power. It would be helpful if Randal Grichuk cashes in on his huge power potential and Mike Napoli doesn’t fall off too much from last season. And, obviously, what happens with Max Scherzer’s finger injury could make-or-break me.

Steal: I had Rich Hill queued up and ready to go in Round 8 before Del Don scooped him up right in front of me. I’m kicking myself for not going after Hill sooner. The concerns with him are mitigated in this format.

Reach: It’s not a big reach ADP-wise, but I can’t get on board with Brian Dozier at the beginning of the third round. He has to nearly have a full repeat at that price and second base is super deep.

Grey Albright – Razzball – @razzball

Previous F&F Finishes: 5th, 4th, 12th, 12th, 10th, 10th, 3rd

1. (7) Paul Goldschmidt (Ari – 1B)

2. (22) Rougned Odor (Tex – 2B)

3. (35) George Springer (Hou – OF)

4. (50) Ian Desmond (Col – OF)

5. (63) Carlos Carrasco (Cle – SP)

6. (78) Mark Trumbo (Bal – OF)

7. (91) Danny Duffy (KC – SP,RP)

8. (106) Jeurys Familia (NYM – RP)

9. (119) Addison Russell (ChC – SS)

10. (134) Adam Ottavino (Col – RP)

11. (147) Danny Salazar (Cle – SP)

12. (162) Jake Lamb (Ari – 3B)

13. (175) John Lackey (ChC – SP)

14. (190) Marcus Semien (Oak – SS)

15. (203) Brandon Kintzler (Min – RP)

16. (218) Vince Velasquez (Phi – SP)

17. (231) Travis Jankowski (SD – OF)

18. (246) Kyle Barraclough (Mia – RP)

19. (259) Mitch Moreland (Bos – 1B)

20. (274) Blake Snell (TB – SP)

21. (287) Tyler Thornburg (Bos – RP)

22. (302) Andrew Susac (Mil – C)

23. (315) Tyler Saladino (CWS – 2B,3B,SS)

24. (330) Alcides Escobar (KC – SS)

25. (343) Koda Glover (Was – RP)

26. (358) Steven Souza Jr. (TB – OF)

Grey’s Take: It could be because I go by the beat of my own snare drum — a small little metronome that only I hear, my own personal metro-gnome, if you will — but I loved my draft. Everyone I wanted was there — Goldschmidt at 7 overall; Odor in the 2nd; Springer in the 3rd; Desmond in the 4th; ergo, yadda, etc. all the way until the end of the draft. I won’t clickbait y’all, but let’s just say if you saw my rankings, you’d know why I love my team.

Steal: Tommy Joseph in the 16th round. Love, love, lurve Tommy Joseph this year. He’s a young, 30-homer guy who won’t kill you in average. He’s a cheap Duvall. “I love the smell of three-run bombs in the morning!” That’s what a cheap Duvall says.

Reach: Chris Sale in the 2nd round. Honestly, literally, awkward sentence intro-ly, I could’ve named a bunch of people who drafted starters early. On our Player Rater — — there were two starters worth a top 25 pick last year. Of course, every year is different, but if we don’t know where we came from, how do we know where we’re going? That’s me paraphrasing B-Real from Cypress Hill, but it’s true. I don’t pay for top arms, and don’t think others should either.

Dalton Del Don – Yahoo – @daltondeldon

Previous F&F Finishes: 7th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 5th, 2nd

1. (8) Manny Machado (Bal – 3B,SS)

2. (21) Chris Sale (Bos – SP)

3. (36) Jonathan Villar (Mil – 2B,3B,SS)

4. (49) Christian Yelich (Mia – OF)

5. (64) Jacob deGrom (NYM – SP)

6. (77) Hanley Ramírez (Bos – 1B)

7. (92) Kelvin Herrera (KC – RP)

8. (105) Rich Hill (LAD – SP)

9. (120) Willson Contreras (ChC – C,OF)

10. (133) Jose Peraza (Cin – 2B,SS,OF)

11. (148) Matt Harvey (NYM – SP)

12. (161) Jim Johnson (Atl – RP)

13. (176) Aaron Nola (Phi – SP)

14. (189) Yasiel Puig (LAD – OF)

15. (204) Alex Cobb (TB – SP)

16. (217) David Peralta (Ari – OF)

17. (232) Domingo Santana (Mil – OF)

18. (245) Ryan Schimpf (SD – 2B,3B)

19. (260) Justin Bour (Mia – 1B)

20. (273) Michael Conforto (NYM – OF)

21. (288) Jake Odorizzi (TB – SP)

22. (301) Shin-soo Choo (Tex – OF)

23. (316) Corey Dickerson (TB – OF)

24. (329) Denard Span (SF – OF)

25. (344) Taijuan Walker (Ari – SP)

26. (357) Jayson Werth (Was – OF)

Dalton’s Take: I wanted to go heavy with starting pitching, but Clayton Kershaw is the only one I’d take in the first round. I went Chris Sale over Max Scherzer, which I’ll probably regret but it was all about the latter’s injury. I fully expect Jonathan Villar to regress, but pick #36 seemed more than reasonable for a 26-year-old who just combined for 81 steals/homers last season. I was immediately offered this trade for Yasiel Puig, but I held out for a better return.

Steal: Grabbing last year’s Cy Young winner in Round 10 is pretty decent value. Starters are a bit higher of a commodity in this league with a 1,400 innings limit, and Rick Porcello had a 2.62 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP after the All-Star break last season.

Reach: No one jumped out at me here to be honest, but I probably wouldn’t have taken Andrew Miller (whom I admit might be the best reliever in baseball) ahead of Roberto Osuna, given saves are a category.

Andrew Benintendi was not cheap in this year's draft
Andrew Benintendi was not cheap in this year's draft

Patrick Daugherty – Rotoworld – @rotopat

Previous F&F Finish: 10th, 13th

1. (9) Anthony Rizzo (ChC – 1B)

2. (20) Corey Seager (LAD – SS)

3. (37) Jon Lester (ChC – SP)

4. (48) Buster Posey (SF – C,1B)

5. (65) Mark Melancon (SF – RP)

6. (76) Andrew Benintendi (Bos – OF)

7. (93) Jose Ramírez (Cle – 3B,MI,OF)

8. (104) Jose Quintana (CWS – SP)

9. (121) Stephen Piscotty (StL – OF)

10. (132) Rick Porcello (Bos – SP)

11. (149) Ben Zobrist (ChC – 2B,OF)

12. (160) Addison Reed (NYM – RP)

13. (177) Nomar Mazara (Tex – OF)

14. (188) Brad Miller (TB – 1B,SS)

15. (205) Logan Forsythe (LAD – 2B)

16. (216) Jon Gray (Col – SP)

17. (233) Brian McCann (Hou – C)

18. (244) Andrew Toles (LAD – OF)

19. (261) Daniel Hudson (Pit – RP)

20. (272) Lance Lynn (StL – SP)

21. (289) Alex Gordon (KC – OF)

22. (300) J.A. Happ (Tor – SP)

23. (317) Brandon Moss (KC – 1B,OF)

24. (328) Scott Schebler (Cin – OF)

25. (345) Adam Wainwright (StL – SP)

26. (356) Pablo Sandoval (Bos – 3B)

Patrick’s Take: I found myself feeling a little flat-footed at 1.9. I could not decide between Rizzo, Donaldson and Bryce. Prone to flashy picks, I wanted to pull the trigger on Bryce, but retreated to Rizzo. I like his dependability in a roto league where there’s major incentive to maximize games played at every position. I know I won’t have to manage super hard to get to my 162 at first base, a position that is pretty shallow this year. This league has such unique rules. With the innings cap, it doesn’t really pay to make starting pitching a focal point in the draft. I tried to focus on hitting, hitting, hitting, but still found myself feeling an irresistible urge to stop the slides of dudes none of us really wanted to own (Rick Porcello, J.A. Happ).

Only pick I straight up did not like was Brandon Moss. I felt out of ideas that round. Wish I had taken Scott Schebler there. Thankfully, I got him the next frame. My one true vanity pick was Jon Gray. I feel like the rules are set up to punish someone like him, but you have to live a little.

Steal: Hard not to go with Bryce Harper bounce back at 10, but I will take David Price in the ninth. The worry is self explanatory, but we probably baked in more risk than the current facts on the ground call for. Anthony Rendon also fell awful far.

Reach: Not Trea Turner. Wish I had had D.J. Short’s courage. This is an extremely smart group. Very little struck me as out of whack. The gang was maybe a bit bullish on Jean Segura and Khris Davis repeats. I would have let prodigal son Eric Thames fall farther, as well.

Scott Pianowski – Yahoo – @scott_pianowski

Previous F&F Finishes: 4th, 6th, 1st, 2nd, 11th, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 6th, 2nd

1. (10) Bryce Harper (Was – OF)

2. (19) Francisco Lindor (Cle – SS)

3. (38) A.J. Pollock (Ari – OF)

4. (47) Jose Abreu (CWS – 1B)

5. (66) Gregory Polanco (Pit – OF)

6. (75) DJ LeMahieu (Col – 2B)

7. (94) Anthony Rendon (Was – 3B)

8. (103) Adam Jones (Bal – OF)

9. (122) Dellin Betances (NYY – RP)

10. (131) Shawn Kelley (Was – RP)

11. (150) J.T. Realmuto (Mia – C)

12. (159) Brandon Belt (SF – 1B)

13. (178) Victor Martinez (Det – 1B)

14. (187) Brandon Crawford (SF – SS)

15. (206) Kevin Kiermaier (TB – OF)

16. (215) Mike Moustakas (KC – 3B)

17. (234) Luke Gregerson (Hou – RP)

18. (243) Sean Doolittle (Oak – RP)

19. (262) Kolten Wong (StL – 2B,OF)

20. (271) Brett Gardner (NYY – OF)

21. (290) Welington Castillo (Bal – C)

22. (299) Yangervis Solarte (SD – 2B,3B)

23. (318) Joe Panik (SF – 2B)

24. (327) Yadier Molina (StL – C)

25. (346) Michael Saunders (Phi – OF)

26. (355) Pedro Strop (ChC – RP)

Scott’s Take: I still think you can win a league like this with a semi-punt, so I went into the fray looking for versatile offensive commodities at every stop. I also wanted some ratio-dominant relief pitchers with maybe 2-3 closers, but that didn’t exactly fit how things fell. No. 10 overall isn’t my favorite spot to pick — now that Josh Donaldson is dinged up — so I downshifted to the upside of Bryce Harper in the first round. I temporarily had Carlos Correa in the second round, and was thrilled, but an owner was bumped offline and the round redrawn, which cost me a nifty bargain. Oh well, Lindor still applies to the type of player I wanted to acquire.

Starting pitching can be reevaluated or fixed rather easily in a 12-teamer, through trades, streaming, that sort of thing. It’s a tall order in a league of 14 owners, especially given the strength of this year’s owner pool. My offense better produce. On the plus side, I have the depth and resources to take a center cut of daily matchups, if I am game to manage the team that delicately.

Steal: Freddie Freeman is more value than steal at Pick 30, but his line-drive rate validates his profile, and the Braves have quickly and quietly upgraded their lineup. Other values I approve of: J.D. Martinez at Pick 54 (I hope I get a few of those later this month); Evan Longoria Pick 81 (now in the Ibanez All-Star years); Julio Teheran Pick 112; Kenta Maeda Pick 126; Jerad Eickhoff Pick 285.

Reach: I’m not sure how quickly the category juice will arrive on Benintendi, and remember he skipped Triple-A entirely. I wouldn’t consider him at this price tag. Other overpriced commodities: George Springer (a fourth or fifth-round pick in third-round clothing); Christian Yelich (all those ground balls make me leery on his power upside; don’t like the division, team, or park, either); Zach Britton (if I take a closer that early, I want a wipeout strikeout rate); Danny Duffy (I try to avoid red ink in March, unless it’s discounted).

D.J. Short – Rotoworld – @djshort

Previous F&F Finishes: 6th, 1st, 10th, 1st

1. (11) Trea Turner (Was – 2B,OF)

2. (18) Noah Syndergaard (NYM – SP)

3. (39) Edwin Encarnacion (Cle – 1B)

4. (46) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM – OF)

5. (67) Gary Sanchez (NYY – C)

6. (74) Craig Kimbrel (Bos – RP)

7. (95) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY – SP)

8. (102) Maikel Franco (Phi – 3B)

9. (123) Lorenzo Cain (KC – OF)

10. (130) Sam Dyson (Tex – RP)

11. (151) James Paxton (Sea – SP)

12. (158) Kevin Gausman (Bal – SP)

13. (179) Elvis Andrus (Tex – SS)

14. (186) Carlos Gomez (Tex – OF)

15. (207) Neil Walker (NYM – 2B)

16. (214) Tommy Joseph (Phi – 1B)

17. (235) Nick Castellanos (Det – 3B)

18. (242) Joe Ross (Was – SP)

19. (263) Chris Owings (Ari – SS,OF)

20. (270) Santiago Casilla (Oak – RP)

21. (291) Robert Gsellman (NYM – SP)

22. (298) Jorge Soler (KC – OF)

23. (319) David Phelps (Mia – SP,RP)

24. (326) Anthony DeSclafani (Cin – SP)

25. (347) Mauricio Cabrera (Atl – RP)

26. (354) Alex Dickerson (SD – OF)

D.J.’s Take: When looking at my team, the thing that stands out to me are the selections of Trea Turner and Gary Sanchez. It wasn’t my plan going in, but I’m going to live or die by those guys. I’m expecting regression from the both of them. How can there not be after the amazing rookie seasons that they had? But what isn’t discussed enough is that they each offer nice floors to their value even if that happens. Turner should still be a difference-maker in the speed department and Sanchez should provide enough power to stand out at the catcher position.

Steal: It’s only appropriate that I throw my support behind Dalton’s selection of Jose Peraza in the 10th round. I expected him to come off the board a bit earlier. There’s a lot to like here. The speedster has a clear path to playing time after the Brandon Phillips trade and qualifies at three different positions. I have a feeling he’s going to come in handy.

Reach: This sort of seems like a cop-out, but I liked most of the picks. Benintendi in the sixth round strikes me as somewhat aggressive given some of the other more established outfielders already on the board, but I’m also the guy who put a lot of stock into Turner and Sanchez off of half of a season’s worth of at-bats, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me.

Chris Liss – Rotowire – @chris_liss

Previous F&F Finishes: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 3rd, 2nd, 9th, 1st, 6th, 3rd, 1st, 9th

1. (12) Miguel Cabrera (Det – 1B)

2. (17) Madison Bumgarner (SF – SP)

3. (40) Kenley Jansen (LAD – RP)

4. (45) Stephen Strasburg (Was – SP)

5. (68) Wil Myers (SD – 1B,OF)

6. (73) Wade Davis (ChC – RP)

7. (96) Chris Davis (Bal – 1B)

8. (101) Justin Turner (LAD – 3B)

9. (124) Jackie Bradley Jr. (Bos – OF)

10. (129) Gerrit Cole (Pit – SP)

11. (152) Yasmany Tomas (Ari – OF)

12. (157) Byron Buxton (Min – OF)

13. (180) Hunter Pence (SF – OF)

14. (185) Max Kepler (Min – OF)

15. (208) Michael Brantley (Cle – OF)

16. (213) Jason Heyward (ChC – OF)

17. (236) Dylan Bundy (Bal – SP,RP)

18. (241) Cesar Hernandez (Phi – 2B)

19. (264) Didi Gregorius (NYY – SS)

20. (269) Joaquín Benoit (Phi – RP)

21. (292) Josh Harrison (Pit – 2B)

22. (297) Orlando Arcia (Mil – SS)

23. (320) Gerardo Parra (Col – 1B,OF)

24. (325) Garrett Richards (LAA – SP)

25. (348) Joe Nathan (Was – RP)

26. (353) Greg Holland (Col – RP)

Chris’s Take: My approach to this format is always get top-tier pitching early and try to shore up saves. To that end I took Bumgarner, Jansen, Strasburg and Wade Davis in Rounds 2, 3, 4 and 6. I took Miguel Cabrera with the first pick because batting average is the category that’s most difficult to repair if you’re struggling.

The draft went fairly well for me, but I regret one pick, Jackie Bradley, in the ninth round. I was set to take Lorenzo Cain to shore up steals, Cain went one pick ahead of me, I considered reaching for Eric Thames, checked his ADP, decided he might be there on the next go-around, so I passed and took Bradley in 9, Gerrit Cole in 10. Of course Thames went to Erickson before I had another shot at him in Round 11. It’s a lesson I’ve learned a few times, but apparently didn’t sink in: forget ADP, just pick the guy you want. Bradley might well wind up being the better pick anyway, but I screwed up in not taking the player I wanted. I tried to play chicken on Julio Urias later in the draft and got snaked again – Urias’ stats are more valuable than his ranking in this format because it’s the per-inning numbers, not the totals that matter.

Finally, once you get to Round 15 in this format, swing for the fences. Maybe it’s a little less true in the 14, rather than 12-team version, but lots of freely available talent on the waiver wire.

Steal: Max Scherzer at pick 23. I know there’s some risk with his knuckle, but he’s expected to be fine for Opening Day, and he’s a first rounder in this format if completely healthy. I was 50/50 between him and Bumgarner at pick 17.

Reach: All the catchers. It’s a one-C format with daily moves. Almost every one was drafted too early. I also don’t like Julio Teheran in Round 8. Modest K/9 for that round, and only had seven wins last year, though the offense is a little better.

Giancarlo Stanton is a polarizing pick
Giancarlo Stanton is a polarizing pick

Rudy Gamble – Razzball – @rudygamble

Previous F&F Finishes: 10th, 9th, 6th

1. (13) Josh Donaldson (Tor – 3B)

2. (16) Carlos Correa (Hou – SS)

3. (41) Giancarlo Stanton (Mia – OF)

4. (44) Justin Verlander (Det – SP)

5. (69) Andrew McCutchen (Pit – OF)

6. (72) Khris Davis (Oak – OF)

7. (97) Alex Colome (TB – RP)

8. (100) Cole Hamels (Tex – SP)

9. (125) Eduardo Nunez (SF – 3B,SS)

10. (128) Albert Pujols (LAA – 1B)

11. (153) Jameson Taillon (Pit – SP)

12. (156) Steven Matz (NYM – SP)

13. (181) Ender Inciarte (Atl – OF)

14. (184) Brandon Maurer (SD – RP)

15. (209) Fernando Rodney (Ari – RP)

16. (212) Drew Smyly (Sea – SP)

17. (237) Leonys Martín (Sea – OF)

18. (240) C.J. Cron (LAA – 1B)

19. (265) Robbie Ray (Ari – SP)

20. (268) Yuli Gurriel (Hou – 3B)

21. (293) Stephen Vogt (Oak – C)

22. (296) Tyler Skaggs (LAA – SP)

23. (321) Arodys Vizcaíno (Atl – RP)

24. (324) Mallex Smith (TB – OF)

25. (349) Drew Storen (Cin – RP)

26. (352) Jorge Polanco (Min – 2B,3B,SS)

Rudy’s Take: I welcomed this draft as a chance to hose off the stench of last year’s cursed team (Harper at 1.3, Gomez at 5, Rosenthal/Giles at 8/9). This year followed previous years in that Aces go early (6 of first 24 picks were SPs) and relievers go quick (13.5% of draft pick investment whereas I think the norm is 9-10%). Given the caliber of players in the draft room and their lightning-quick trigger fingers in-season on breaking news, my only chance of competing in this league is to NAIL the draft. I have no idea if I nailed the draft (ask me in 4 months) but I think my offense has a solid R/SB/AVG base with an intentional strength in HR/RBI (Donaldson, Correa, Stanton, McCutchen, and Khris Davis in first 6 picks) and a solid pitching staff with experience at the top, upside in the middle/back, and hopefully 3 closers to start the year out of Colome, Rodney, Maurer, Vizcaino, and Storen.

Steal: I did not see many ‘steals’ in the top half of this draft. The best value based on my projections was Dalton landing Jonathan Villar in the middle of round 3 which was a round lower than my projected value for him and NFBC ADP. I was also surprised Trevor Story lasted until the last pick of the 3rd round.

Reach: Brandon Funstion had every SS except Machado on the board to choose from at 2.15 and chose Bogaerts over Correa, Seager, Villar and Lindor. I would have gone with those SS in that order before Bogaerts (though I do think Bogaerts’ is in their tier). I doubt you will find another league outside New England or Dutch-speaking countries where Bogaerts gets drafted before Correa.

Brandon Funston – Yahoo – @brandonfunston

Previous F&F Finishes: 9th, 11th, 9th, 13th, 13th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 9th, 7th, 9th, 1st

1. (14) Charlie Blackmon (Col – OF)

2. (15) Xander Bogaerts (Bos – SS)

3. (42) Trevor Story (Col – SS)

4. (43) Aroldis Chapman (NYY – RP)

5. (70) Jean Segura (Sea – 2B,SS)

6. (71) Carlos Martínez (StL – SP)

7. (98) Eric Hosmer (KC – 1B)

8. (99) Miguel Sano (Min – 3B,OF)

9. (126) Kenta Maeda (LAD – SP)

10. (127) A.J. Ramos (Mia – RP)

11. (154) Salvador Perez (KC – C)

12. (155) Ryon Healy (Oak – 3B)

13. (182) Matt Holliday (NYY – 1B,OF)

14. (183) Julio Urías (LAD – SP)

15. (210) Carlos Beltran (Hou – OF)

16. (211) Hunter Renfroe (SD – OF)

17. (238) Michael Pineda (NYY – SP)

18. (239) Devon Travis (Tor – 2B)

19. (266) Yoan Moncada (CWS – 3B)

20. (267) Matt Strahm (KC – RP)

21. (294) Drew Pomeranz (Bos – SP)

22. (295) Will Harris (Hou – RP)

23. (322) Howie Kendrick (Phi – 1B,2B,3B,OF)

24. (323) Charlie Tilson (CWS – OF)

25. (350) Roman Quinn (Phi – OF)

26. (351) Brad Ziegler (Mia – RP)

Brandon’s Take: I wasn’t enamored with having to pick at the turn (No. 14 overall), but I ended up landing Charlie Blackmon, a 5-tooled outfielder playing his home games in a hard-to-fail offensive park. He was the No. 11 overall player last season, and I have him ranked at No. 11 for this season, so I feel fortunate to have landed him at the end of the line in Round 1. The biggest issue I had with this draft was accumulating enough useable speed. With Blackmon and Jean Segura selected early, I diverted my attention away from acquiring speed in the middle rounds, and found myself misjudging how early I needed to reach for my later round targets (Jose Reyes, Rajai Davis, Manuel Margot, for example). I ended up having to load my bench with speed flyers like Yoan Moncada, Charlie Tilson and Roman Quinn. Clearly, solidifying my speed will be at the top of my early-season to-do list.

Steal: Rajai Davis, No. 201 overall (Ryan Boyer, Rotoworld). I think it’s only appropriate that my steal of the draft is a guy that is known for his ability to steal (bases). Davis was a top 120 player in the Yahoo game last season, and he’s finished inside the top 120 in four of the five seasons he’s accrued at least 400 ABs (No. 160 in the one outlier campaign). Slated to be the A’s regular centerfielder, he has a good chance of reaching 500 ABs this season if he’s stays healthy, in which case he should turn a very tidy profit.

Reach: Rougned Odor, No. 22 overall (Grey Albright, Razzball). I’m a big fan of Odor, but not at No. 22 overall, ahead of Robinson Cano and Brian Dozier, two 2Bs with more trustworthy track records that finished ahead of Odor in ’16 fantasy value. Odor almost never walks and his 33 HRs come on the wind of a spike in HR/FB rate that is likely to see some regression. There was probably a decent chance that he could have been had a round later.

But wait, there’s more: