Well it’s officially draft season here at The Great Knoche household (Sorry, honey). I’m currently drafting a Draft Champions squad with a bunch of Razzballeroos, but also stepped out and tried the new “Gladiator” Format over at NFBC and boy oh boy is this thing something different. It’s PHAT and I’m not talking Pretty Hot And Thick, or what Russell Crowe looks like now, I’m talking something that is quite good.
In my draft, I had some NFBC heavyweights so the room had a different feel, and my strategy going into the draft got shipped off to the landfill early on. Felt sorry for a couple guys drafting who didn’t know what they were getting into and how the format works so let’s lay it out for everyone so you can enjoy this format and not simply make a $50 donation. Here’s the skinny on the Gladiator Format:
There are multiple 15 Team leagues with a cap of 1,500 entries Max. These are filling fast and furious so if you want in I’d suggest not waiting too long into the main drafting season. They offer almost nightly drafts with 1 minute clocks and also slow drafts in 1, 2 and 4 hour clock formats. The Grand prize is $7,500 for the overall league winner. For the individual leagues it pays $250 for first, $125 for second and a free 2024 Gladiator Entry for third. Scoring is standard 5×5 and rosters are 23 man with 2 Catchers, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, UT, 5 OF, 9 P. The kicker in this is the Ultimate Best Ball Format. There are no free agent pickups in The Gladiator Leagues. The 23 players you draft is all you have the entire season. All rosters remain intact from Draft Day through the end of the season. Draft your team, and forget about it other than checking the standings and forming prayer circles that you still have 9 pitchers getting innings by Mid-April (Or Mid-August if you walk around with your lucky rabbits foot all day). If you draft Bryce Harper hoping to get 2/3 of a season out of him and he ends up not playing this year that roster spot is simply dead and will earn you no stats the remainder of the year. Multi-positional eligibility means nothing, and Shohei is only going to be a pitcher or a hitter for the entire year and you have to decide before the end of the draft where you want him.
I’ll go through my thoughts on how the draft went in traditional Razzball draft recap format, but first here is my overall final roster drafting from the 15 slot.
I THOUGHT YOU SAID THERE WERE NO IN SEASON REPLACEMENTS? WHY DID YOU DRAFT ALL THOSE GUYS WITH INJURY HISTORY?
Well quite honestly, while there is something to be said for being cautious around a pitcher coming back from injury, there really is no rhyme or reason as to how injuries occur every year with Adalberto Mondesi being the exception. Sure, Tatis has fractured his wrist, subluxed his shoulder and taken illegal substances, you got me there. But he also had one of those injuries in 2021 and still managed to go .282/99/42/97/25 in only 130 games. As this draft went on I found more value in guys with injury history as more drafters were playing it safe. Add Rodon, O’Neill, Severino, Sewald, Haniger, and Meadows onto my list of guys that are values if I get 130+ healthy games out of them.
A CLOSER IN THE THIRD ROUND? REALLY? DON’T YOU KNOW ABOUT SAGNOF?
I have heard the term once or twice hanging around these parts. The thing about SAGNOF is a lot of it, at least in daily/weekly FAAB leagues is paying attention to what is going on and grabbing guys that could vulture saves and maybe get the job when the main guy is struggling. In this format that’s not an option. I took Doval at 45th overall and 8 closers were already off the board. Knowing I wasn’t picking again after my Round 4 pick until pick 75 I felt I had to get the only guy left on the board in my top three tiers of closers. Sure enough 4 more closers went before I picked again and none of them are close to where I rank Doval. The other thing on pitchers I had to decide as it got close to the end was if I was gonna go 7 starters and 2 relievers or 6 and 3. Because I think injuries and luck will play the biggest roll in Wins, I went with a guy in Rogers who had a 3.26 xFIP last year and an 11.75 K/9 who should bounce back wherever he lands plus get a shot at some saves while helping on ERA and WHIP. I didn’t want to grab a guy like Eduardo Rodriguez or Cal Quantrill near the end and hurt my ERA and WHIP while really only increasing K’s/Wins minimally. It’s not just closers, but top tier pitchers also got pushed up some as well. If I had to do this format again, which I will, I am likely looking at getting 3 starters and a closer by round 7.
TYLER O’NEILL ANCHORING YOUR OUTFIELD IS KINDA OK I GUESS, BUT WHY TAKE HIM 30 SPOTS AHEAD OF HIS ADP?? ALSO THE REST OF YOUR OUTFIELD IS KINDA MEH….
Quite honestly it’s drafting from the ends in the round and having your plan go sideways right before you pick. I wanted Gimenez and Luis Castillo as it was coming back down to me, but Castillo went 2 picks before me. I am not as high on the other starters going around that spot like Max Fried and Framber Valdez as I am Castillo. I knew guys like Severino and Robbie Ray would be there my next trip through the draft, so I starting looking at bats that could get me a solid power and speed combo at this point in the draft and O’Neill had a 25/25 pace last year outside of the injury and is in a dynamic lineup with a chance to drive in some runs. He will likely hit after Goldy/Arenado with the Contreras signing so the green light to run should still be on. As far as the rest of the OF goes, it’s not pretty, but in a 15 team draft something is always weak. Nootbaar I have leading off for the Cards and should get to 20/5 with lots of runs. Haniger hit 39 homers in 2021 and if healthy should be in the 30 range this year. Austin Meadows is the biggest risk here, but he also has 30 HR potential in round 18. Bubba Thompson is a risk to even make the roster, but if he does he’s stealing 30 bags. I think the Rangers pass on a Free agent OF and let his speed and defense lead the way for them atop their lineup.
YOU DRAFTED THREE FIRST BASEMEN INCLUDING TWO IN THE FIRST 8 ROUNDS. THAT SEEMS LIKE A POOR CHOICE.
Settle Down, Francis. Remember positional eligibility means nothing. Pete Beef is gonna be beefy. Nate Lowe was #51 on the player rater last year ahead of guys like Gerritt Cole. He was worth only $0.6 less than Matt Olson who is going about 60 picks ahead of him. Lowe also has a nice surrounding cast in Semien, Seagar and Adolis Garcia which is a solid group of 4 bats to pad the stats with. As far Matt Mervis goes, he’s a lottery ticket with a big payout potential. See Grey’s Matt Mervis fantasy for more.
THE STARTING PITCHING STAFF LOOKS AS SOLID AS A SPONGE. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR #3-#6 STARTERS.
Yeah it didn’t work out exactly as I wanted it to. I missed on Castillo early, and I also had mid tier guys I liked better like Brady Singer, Freddy Peralta, and Jordan Montgomery get sniped off my queue before it got back to me. At the end of the day with my projections, I’ve got 5 of 6 guys who are gonna have a 9+K/9 or better. 5 of 6 guys who are going to have a sub-4 ERA. 5 of 6 guys who aren’t gonna tie me to the WHIPing Post. (Looking at you, Sandoval) There are staffs with Burnes/Woodruff/Nola and Cole/Cease/Verlander, but I think they are lacking in hitting. If I can get at least mid-level stats off my second tier starters I will be ok. And again, at the end of the day I’m just praying for as many healthy arms as possible.
HOW DO YOU RANK THIS TEAM? WHAT’S THE WAR ROOM SAY?
Dude. It’s barely the start of draft season, Grey’s rankings aren’t even out yet, except on Patreon. I just finished mine last week. My rankings say it’s solid, and it better cause they are my rankings. So to answer your question I have no idea. The War Room also isn’t out yet. Once it is though I highly suggest you get it to help with all your drafts.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS FORMAT?
Hell yes, I would. It’s great for a couple different things. First, the folks that love the excitement of draft season, but aren’t always as great of in-season managers. You know the guys that aren’t Johnny on the Spot with FAABs and daily pickups. Like regular Bestball but with no bench. This is a perfect format for that fantasy manager. Second, it’s great draft prep at only $50 a throw for bigger money leagues coming up. I’ll be doing a few more of these for sure.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE GREAT INFO LIKE THIS FROM YOU?
Thanks for reading. Hit me up on Twitter @TheGreatKnoche. You can also find me here in-season doing MLB DFS articles, and all year long giving out sports betting advice along with free and premium picks for MLB and a few other sports at The Odds Breakers