Fantasy Baseball: Are Deep Leagues for Better or Worse?

I just got finished drafting in an eighteen team league, which to my knowledge, is the largest amount of teams Yahoo allows. This will be the forth year I am apart of this league, whose commissioner runs a sports cards stand in the local hobby shop. The same regulars appear year after year, so there is a sense of camaraderie amongst the managers.

It was actually this commissioner, who I modeled my Closers Schmosers mentality after, because he was the first to begin the elimination movement. With such a massive league, and only so many good closers to go around, it made sense. Now all that needs to be done is the elimination of catchers, because when you look at it, how many good hitting catchers are there?

That is the one negative to really deep leagues. There is Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, and now Matt Wieters, apparently. But after that, there is no one left but lower tier hitters. Sure, Russel Martin, Mike Napoli, and Bengie Molina are worth a mention, but after these six guys, the quality severely drops off.

People argue that fantasy sports are just supposed to be there for fun, and I agree, to a certain extent. I look at it one way: if you have an all-star at every position, and you are facing a team with all-stars of equal caliber at every position, how much fun can it be?

When you have ten teams or less in a league, that is what it becomes. Twelve teams, and each manager still has a good lineup. More than that? Now it’s becoming realistic!

Fantasy managers want to be able to open the draft window and make their selections without much thinking. But where is the fun in that?

Take my draft tonight, for example. Eighteen teams. By the time the fourth round rolled around, all the stars were gone. Not having to worry about closers made it easier, but then there were those poor managers on auto-pick who will end up being stacked with meaningless relief pitchers.

But as for thinking, man did this draft drive me nuts. You make one selection, and then you gear up for you next one. But more than likely, since there are more than twenty picks, due to snaking, before you go again, just scrap all plans you have, and wait to start thinking again when there are only four or five teams left ahead of you.

I love to play in small leagues every once and a while, where I don’t have to think, but deep down, I just love large leagues. It adds a true sense of realism because teams are like actual teams. A star here, a star there; role players everywhere else.

With the thirteenth pick in this years draft, I thought I would be able to grab Lincecum, but there I go thinking again. Had to scrap those plans when the team in front of me chose him. I settled for Prince Fielder. Below is my team:

Batters: C-Bengie Molina, 1B-Prince Fielder, 2B-Brian Roberts, 3B/1B-Pablo Sandoval, OF-Michael Bourn, Jason Heyward, Brad Hawpe, UTIL- Mark Teahen (1B/3B/OF), BN- Skip Schumaker (2B/OF), and Randy Winn (OF)

Pitchers (No relief stats, so no relievers): Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, Ryan Dempster, Phil Hughes, Jonathon Sanchez, Barry Zito, Tim Wakefield, Todd Wellemeyer

As you can see, I’m a Giants fan. Sandoval will come in handy because of his duality in the infield. As for pitching, Sanchez should have the best year of his young career, this season. Barry Zito, with all his struggles, never gets injured and will be out there every five days getting me innings, and hopefully, wins, this season. Todd Wellemeyer has been pitching out of his mind this spring, so I grabbed him with my final pick.

But just take a look at my entire roster. It’s not bad, but it’s not beautiful either. But I look around at all the other teams and everyone is average. It’s like fantasy baseball parity at it’s finest.

Deep leagues are not for everyone, but if you want to feel intensity and realism, give a league with fourteen or more teams a chance, or go all the way to the bring (of insanity) with an eighteen team league. Feel what it is like to actually have to think and build a team, when the superstars run out pretty early.

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