John Coleman interview

John Coleman is the statisticalexpert at the Sandlot Shrink.

The following is an expert’s interview with the Sandlot Shrink's JohnColeman. John won the championship in the NL Tout War's expert's league twoyears in a row.

1.What was the most important factor(s) that led you to win your league?


Reallygreat FAAB pickups, especially pitching. The Stars & Scrubs budget strategylends itself to active FAABing. Also, Chipper Jones and Randy Johnson weregreat bargains.


2.What is different about the expert leagues that the average player should keepin mind when following them?


Themost significant difference is this: TRADING. Experts just don't want to wheeland deal, and the best traders often win private leagues. For this reason,ROSTER BALANCE is of the utmost importance in expert leagues, while SHEERTALENT is more important in private leagues.


3.In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake fantasy players make that keepthem from being successful?


Makinga trade without offering your players to several other owners first! It's justlazy, and it costs you big time.


4.Do you believe in "punting" a category?


Mid-season - yes. I would never want to be shut out of a category right outof the chute, though. Too many things can change during the season. Exceptmaybe in a 5x5 league. That is a possibility to punt either the steals or savescategories (not both) and still win. But don’t make that a cut and driedstrategy. You have to respond to the market. If on draft day you notice thatthe rest of the owners are overvaluing the steals and/or saves, then back offand buy the stud power and starting pitcher guys. Stud starters are like goldin 5x5. You can also address your weaknesses in free agency throughout theyear…

This theory does not work in 4x4 though. If you scrap saves all together,you will get one point. It is best to try and not to overpay for saves. I wouldsuggest that balance is they key. You can do reasonably well in your league ifyou can get a decent closer along with a few guys that normally get some savesor try to grab a potential closer in waiting. Do not blow your budget on saves,i.e. one big money closer.

5.How much do you normally budget for pitching?


30%in 4x4, 40% in 5x5


6.During the draft things never go as planned, what piece of advice can you giveto deal with this?


Idraw up several budgets based on the acquisition of unique talents (i.e. ThePedro Strategy, the Pudge Strategy). Most players are not unique - you alwayshave lots of $19 outfielders from which to choose (for instance, there arethree $35+ shortstops.) Once the unique talents are dispersed, I write down abudgeted dollar amount at each slot on my roster sheet, so I know my choicesavailable to fill each slot. Then I can easily choose which players are notuseful to me, so that I can bring them up for bidding. With minor adjustments,this plan will keep you in control for the entire draft.


7.Do you believe in position scarcity?


I donot overpay for skill positions, though I encourage other owners to do so.


8.How much does luck come into play?


Anawful lot, but remember: Chance favors the prepared.


9.In keeper leagues, what type of players do you keep?


INEVER keep a "DH ONLY". I hate to keep non-closing relievers. Irarely keep starting pitching, unless it's very cheap or Pedro. I LOVE keepingspeed. I like keeping cheap catchers, shortstops and third basemen. I likepricey stars when they are priced below their draft-inflated market value. Iwon't fill a position, i.e. 2 SS, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 1B or 5 OF. I want to keep myroster flexible until the very end.


10.In a straight draft, one piece of advice players should know.


PositionalScarcity must not be ignored.


11.In an auction draft, one piece of advice players should know.


Always"bid up" players you can't use, but drop out well before marketprice.


12.Do you use the same draft strategy from year to year?


Yes,but I always target players using a "theme". The theme changes.


13.Do you believe there is a trend towards spending less on pitching?


No.The Stars are more expensive than ever.


14.What tools do you have with at the table you on draft day?


Ablank league roster sheet with spaces for reserve picks. A budget worksheet. Acheat sheet with enough players listed to fill the entire league, ranking allplayers by market value, sorted by position group. Automatic pencil. Fine pointHi-Liter.


15.How do you usually approach the draft "endgame" or "dollardays?"


Havethe DH slot open. Know who you want in it. Target the owners with money, andget them out of the way by bringing up the player You Know They Want. Ifpossible, choose a player that two of them will fight over. This is fun. Knowyour opponent's max bid, if you can keep up with it. Spot the player that youneed, but no one else does (he's your last $1 bid).


16.For players that have not been successful, what are your "key"components to winning?


Nothaving a complete player listing ranked by value is a great handicap. Youshould not need any periodicals at the draft table. Understand draft-dayinflation for keeper leagues. Budget your roster. All you need to do is mix 2-3stars into a solid roster and you're a contender. Steals and Saves are alwaysoverpriced. Live with it. Don't EVER use up your pitching budget on mid-pricedrelievers and setup men. Use your pitching dollars for a stud starter, a solidcloser, decent starters and finally whatever $1 pitchers are best. Setup menand middle relievers are a waste at anything over $1 because they are entirelyunpredictable and have no residual value when they bomb.


17.Any comments you like to share I didn't cover.


Don'tDrink and Draft.




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