I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding the value of players in your league. Player’s values differ completely depending on your league environment (5X5, 7X7, H2H, Roto, Points, Position Eligibility, Daily, Weekly, retainers or re-draft, AL East fans, etc.). Fantasy baseball is too complex for an outsider to accurately gauge trade value in your league, I will give some examples of players I own in various leagues whose values are greater than they would be in a “standard” format.
Max Scherzer: I am in a H2H 7X7 keeper league with pitching categories including strikeouts and K’s. The majority of rankings are formatted for 5X5 leagues, so I always try to capitalize on the inefficiency, looking to win the two categories unaccounted for in standard rankings (losses is the other category, which also helps Scherzer).
Player(s) I would not trade him for straight up: Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, CC Sabathia
Norichika Aoki: On the offensive side of the 7X7 league, strikeouts count as a negative in a pair of H2H leagues I am in. Aoki’s ~ 10:1 K:AB rate is spectacular. I try to target player who have a AB:K ratio of 6:1 or higher, normally having a pair of superstars who exceed that threshold. There are many weeks in this league, where a narrow margin of victory is a result of opponents over-drafting high K sluggers (for example Ryan Howard in the 10th round!).
Player(s) I would not trade him for straight up: Carlos Gomez, Josh Willingham, Hunter Pence
Dan Uggla: In the previous league discussed, Uggla is not even rosterable (12 team league), however in a different 7X7 format he is very undervalued. The two additional categories are total bases and walks. Uggla had 94 BB’s last year in a little over 600 PA’s. I target players with a PA:BB ratio of 11:1 or lower. Total bases also is a category which favors a power-hitter, such as Uggla.
Player(s) I would not trade him for straight up: Neil Walker, Omar Infante, Matt Carpenter
David Robertson: I am in a pair of Yahoo “Pro” Leagues for $. These are Daily leagues with an innings limit of 1400 innings for the entire season. I am a Robertson owner in one of these leagues, hoping to benefit from his great peripherals. In other formats he is not rosterable, but he could get me 35 more K’s than IP’s and help lower my ERA and WHIP (and might not be terrible in terms of IP per W). Robertson, Herrera and Hernandez are the three middle relievers worth owning in this format (besides save speculating).
Player(s) I would not trade him for straight up: Carlos Marmol, Kyuji Fujikawa, Jose Veras, Kevin Gregg, John Axford, Joel Hanrahan
I found it easier to explain why I own some players in certain formats (I hate Uggla but he is definitely undervalued in that league), and would not even consider them rosterable in other formats. I will give a breakdown to hopefully provide a simpler guide.
Daily leagues: Value of SP less, value of platoon guys more (think Brandon Moss), value of speed demons who struggle for playing time is more (Bonifacio).
Weekly leagues: Two start pitchers (obviously). My strategy for weekly leagues is have 4 “top 20” SP’s, and rotate/stream two-start pitchers. High K/9 pitchers have less value, because variance of IP throughout league is high.
H2H: Value the categories not included in standard 5X5 formatting; for example if you use OBP instead of AVG, I wouldn’t target a Michael Morse, Josh Hamilton or Adam Jones. Also injured players are more valuable in H2H leagues because the last few weeks of the season obviously have a higher weight than May or June.
Roto: I target 20/20 guys more in a Roto format than a H2H format. Desmond Jennings, Alex Rios, BJ Upton, and Carlos Gomez are all guys I would own in a Roto format, but not a H2H format. My reasoning is; in a H2H format normally by Friday you can focus on certain categories (if I have runs and steals locked up I’d bench an Austin Jackson for a Lucas Duda), where as in a roto format I certainly want to finish towards the top in power and speed categories.
Points: Know your categories. If strikeouts and walks count against your guys, then make sure to move a Joey Votto up a notch or two in the rankings and a Josh Hamilton down. Again, focus on the categories not factored in by a standard 5X5 rank. From my experience most points leagues make closers impossible to own, so assuming it is a weekly league the logical strategy would be to stream two start pitchers.
DL Spots: This is an obvious one but a Curtis Granderson has much more value in a 2-DL spot league than a 0-DL spot league. Again this seems obvious but when I see injured players traded their value always seems the same regardless of number of DL spots.
Innings/Games Played limits: In the Yahoo “Pro” League format, I am focusing on K/9 guys (recently dealing for Samardzija), since it is assumed there will be no variance among IP and everyone will reach the limit. I don’t want to start any pitchers with K/9 below 8, and I have some good peripheral guys like Kelvin Herrera. I would prefer a Casey Janssen greatly to Jim Johnson as well, because it is the “inefficency” of this league. K/9 is not weighed as heavily in the ranks, and it is assumed there is a variance among IP, K/9 guys are undervalued in this format. I am also using my bench spots on off days to play matchups (daily league) and make sure I reach 162 games at each position. For example in one league I picked up Carlos Ruiz to “platoon” with Salvador Perez, playing matchups and making sure I get a full 162 games out of the catcher position.
I hope this is a helpful guide for you all. We will be posting more often here, starting with RP re-ranks.