On Monday night, I had a draft with 11 other competent owners. The format is 12 teams, head-to-head, 10 categories. We each drafted 24 players, meaning we had to go 288 players deep. It's a solid format that rewards owners who know more than the studs.
Here's how the first round went down:
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Ryan Braun
4. Matt Kemp
5. Jose Bautista
6. Troy Tulowitzki
7. Joey Votto
8. Robinson Cano
9. Jacoby Ellsbury
10. Clayton Kershaw
11. Adrian Gonzalez
12. Justin Upton (my pick)
Notes: It's hard to argue with any of these picks. Bautista is eligible at 3B and Tulowitzki is a SS. In the grand scheme of things, that makes a big difference. I'm fine with Clayton Kershaw over Roy Halladay as the first pitcher off the board. Halladay should be fine, but he's not going to be this dominant forever. Kershaw is rising.
1. Carlos Gonzalez (my pick)
2. Evan Longoria
3. Justin Verlander
4. Roy Halladay
5. Cliff Lee
6. Price Fielder
7. Dustin Pedroia
8. Ian Kinsler
9. Jose Reyes
10. Hanley Ramirez
11. Felix Hernandez
12. Andrew McCutchen
Notes: You see the pitcher run here. In Roto style I think that's a strong play, but in head-to-head I don't like it. If/when he pitches just one time in a week for you, the impact is limited. We can stream to get wins and strikeouts where necessary and don't need elite guys to do that.
1. Tim Lincecum
2. Jered Weaver
3. CC Sabathia
4. Curtis Granderson
5. Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Adrian Beltre
8. Josh Hamilton
9. Elvis Andrus
10. David Wright
11. Ryan Zimmerman
12. Carlos Santana (my pick)
Notes: David Wright's ab injury combined with his declining play of late is scary. I'd rather have Zimmerman. I think Carlos Santana will be the best fantasy catcher this season by a wide margin, so I reached for him here. In hindsight, it was probably too early.
Here's the rest of my draft:
4.1: Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR - A real candidate for 20/20 at age 22.
5.12: Jon Lester, SP, BOS - Looking for high strikeout guys at all costs.
6.1: Jimmy Rollins, SS, PHL - A little old for my liking, but the power/speed combo is there.
7.12: Ian Kennedy, SP, ARZ - I'd expect a regression off last year in wins, but otherwise solid.
8.1: Matt Moore, SP, TB - The game's best pitching prospect.
9.12: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARZ - First base is so deep. Goldy is a decent bet for 30 bombs.
10.1: Jordan Zimmermann, SP, WAS - Now two years removed from Tommy John, the innings cap is off.
11.12: Shaun Marcum, SP, MIL - Last year's breakout wasn't a fluke while playing in the NL.
12.1: Cory Luebke, SP, SD - I'm always trying to get pitchers that throw in Petco.
13.12: Brandon League, RP, SEA - Now I turn to closers. League was the best one left.
14.1: Javy Guerra, RP, LAD - Kenley Jansen is a threat, but Guerra gets the first crack.
15.12: Matt Thornton, RP, CWS - Another mid-range closer that could run with the job.
16.1: Jim Johnson, RP, BAL - See above.
17.12: Neil Walker, 2B, PIT - Expected to bat cleanup for Pittsburgh's underrated offense.
18.1: Brett Myers, RP, HOU - Actually profiles well as a closer.
19.12: Kendrys Morales, 1B, LAA - Looking healthy and now has Pujols in lineup.
20.1: Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC - Lots of power upside if the switch turns on.
21.12: Ben Revere, OF, MIN - A steals specialist on the cheap.
22.1: Mike Minor, SP, ATL - Another bright pitching prospect.
23.12: Erik Bedard, SP, PIT - We'll see if he has anything left. Starting Opening Day.
24.1: Tim Stauffer, SP, SD - Again, Petco.