On draft day there is only one cheat-sheet you need – Caveball’s Chartfelt Tiers.
Something I have yet to see from fantasy sports “experts” is a cheat-sheet that makes it easy to cross-reference players in one position with players of approximately equal value in other positions. I have been using my own chart of tiers for every draft I have been a part of for the past 8 years. The chart works much better than any of the typical lists or tier formats, because it combines these two forms.
It was a liberating experience. I had released myself from the shackles of lists.
At the beginning of a draft, when the combatants are just taking their seats, you can get a good sense of who came prepared and who didn’t. Those who have “boned up” usually have a couple of sheets at the most. They have come well-studied. They are relaxed, and they prefer to interact and fraternize with the others. The ones who aren’t prepared come with a battalion of information. They are armed to the teeth with magazines, injury reports, countless lists, and secret weapons of mass destruction. They sit, and they begin their incessant flipping. They flip and they cram – frantically. And, they remain in this form throughout the entire draft.
I feel kind of bad for the ill-prepared. They probably don’t have the time to study. People are busy. So, for those of you who find yourselves closer to this latter group, our cheat-sheet, Chartfelt Tiers, is all that more important. We have done the work for you.
The first year I brought the chart to my “home draft” I got heckled a little for putting in the extra work.
“Hey Money, what the hell is that? Gone a little nerdy on us, or what?”
I didn’t mind. I kind of enjoyed my newfound geekdom. I knew it was one subject that a geek could get away with being geeky about, especially amongst my present company of Fantasy Baseball Cujos. My chart was a tetanus shot for their rabid savagery, and their disease – those incurable lists.
During that first “chartfelt” draft came a moment in time that I will remember for the rest of my fantastical life. It was about halfway through round 7, as I recall…
The trashy snarls from the beasts that surrounded me became deafening. Jaundiced fangs were on full display. The action was frantic. I crossed names off both my pretty handwritten chart and the homely decrepit yellowing list that had tagged along. They both demanded all my attention. And they loathed each other. An acrid gas of odium began to form between them. I knew one of them had to go. I was torn, but I didn’t have much time. I was picking 6th. I stood up, grabbed one of them, folded it recklessly into a makeshift flying kamikaze machine, and headed for the back deck. I had made my choice.
Out on the end of the deck I looked up at the night sky in search of some kind of acceptance – some kind of understanding. Nothing. No time. The beasts were getting restless. I threw the flawed mutant into the darkness. On its short flight to obliteration one of its scalene wings caught the moonlight, as if to say “goodbye”. Then it went into a cruel nosedive, as if gravity itself had joined in the execution. It sunk into the long wet blades with such force that I knew survival was beyond hope itself.
(Oh crap, I thought, I forgot to mow the lawn. The one thing she “asked of me”.)
I took one last glance at my long-time love. It was a shell of its former self. There wasn’t a hint of movement. The dew was already creeping into its fibers, like a poison through so many veins. By morning it would be a pulpy glob. It had been a quick and merciful ending.
It was the toughest thing I ever had to do, but deep inside I knew it was time to let go. It was best to remember “Old Yellow” as it once was.
Sorry (…muttering), I get a little worked up every time I think about my old best friend. It is a bittersweet memory. Yet, it was a liberating experience. At that moment, I had forever released myself from the shackles of lists.
(a few hours later…)
Did someone roofie me or something? Why are all these words in front of me? What are Cujos? Oh Crap, did I forget to mow the lawn again? Wait a minute, it’s still February.
Anyway, where was I? (…gives head a good shake)
Okay, so the chart helps you keep perspective throughout the draft, especially if you’ve had a few brewskis. And let’s face it, guys tend to let loose on their favorite day of the year. Yet it seems the “Experts” tend to ignore the ubiquitous involvement of alcohol on draft day. Although, I have yet to be a part of a dry “in-person” draft.
So, allow me to set up a scenario that most “experts” never seem to consider: Let’s say it’s the 19th round, and you’re a few (BTW, I have read that a few means any number from 3 to 9) “wobbly pops” down and you’re completely at a loss for a pick. All you have to do is check to see who is leftover in the 7th tier (or 6th, if you’re lucky), and bingo you’ve got your pick.
But I digress. What I really want to say is that no matter who you are, this chart is for you.
If you take just one piece of advice from Caveball, make it our Chartfelt Tiers format. Whether you are new to fantasy baseball, or a haggard veteran looking for a better strategy; whether you are the prepared type, or the “busy” kind; whether you are a teetotaler, or one who wakes up the next morning with no idea who your shortstop is, deploy our cheat-sheet at will.
I promise you, once you go out back (to put those old yellow lists out of their misery), you won’t go back again. I mean, out back again.