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2017 Fantasy Baseball: 15 Team League Statistical Targets

When planning for your draft, it's important to determine what you'll need in each category to have a shot at winning. Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs breaks down a rough estimate on how you'll need to perform in each statistical category to have a shot at winning in the NFBC or any 15 team league.

One of the first stages of developing a winning game plan in Fantasy baseball is researching the target goals in each category in your league format. Over the last decade, offense has faded badly as pitching has improved dramatically. When this happens, it changes the value of the important parts of team development. A winning Fantasy owner should have a good feel for each season's inventory to help them make better draft decisions.

Last year there were 450 teams in the NFBC Main Event. It’s time to look at the overall standings and get a feel for what it took to end up in the 20 percent in every category. If you finished the year with 3600 points, you would have a point total equal to the finishing 90th in every category. To win the main event, you will need to average more than 80 percent of the points in all categories plus you will need to have an edge in two or three others categories. I think 80 percent plus about 150 points should win most years. If the event size grows, the 150 number will also grow. Last year’s winner finished with 4066.5 points, which was 90.4 percent of the overall available points (4500). Eight teams finished with 80 percent or more total points. The past winners won with these percentages: 87.3, 83.8, 86.7, 85.7, 86.2, 81.0, 90.2, 86.4, 90.5, 86.7, and 89.4. After looking at these numbers, maybe the target number to win the overall should be more than 85 percent of the possible league points across the board.

Here's a look at the 13-year history of the NFBC 15 team main event:

Batting Average: The highest batting average in the NFBC main in 2016 was .2868. You needed to hit .2713 to finish in the top 20 percent and .2740 to finish in the top 10 percent in 2016. To finish in the top 20 percent, you needed – 2015 - .2697, 2014 - .2674, 2013 - .2710, 2012 - .2717, 2011 - .2715, 2010 - .2733, 2009 - .2793, 2008 - .2797, 2007 - .2829, 2006 - .2845, 2005 - .2785, and 2004 - .2829. In 2017, I’m setting my goal to .273, which is still higher than last season final 20 percent number. An elite batting average is a huge edge in a competition with an overall prize.

Runs: In 2016, you needed 1078 runs to finish in the top 20 percent and 1102 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 1009, 2014 - 989, 2013 – 1003, 2012 - 1050, 2011 – 1032, 2010 - 1058, 2009 – 1096, 2008 – 1106, 2007 – 1131, 2006 – 1154, 2005 – 1084, and 2004 – 1158. With offense starting to rise again, I’ll set my target number runs at 1075.

Home Runs: The first couple years of the NFBC, it seemed like 300 home runs was the target number heading into the season. In 2016, 308 HRs put you in the top 20 percent and 318 in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 263, 2014 – 237, 2013 – 250, 2012 - 272, 2011 – 259, 2010 - 253, 2009 – 279, 2008 – 273, 2007 – 266, 2006 – 293, 2005 – 274, and 2004 – 298. Home runs made a massive push in 2016 thus raising the value of many batters headed into 2017. I’m going to use 300 as my target number in 2016.

RBI: The RBI total is typically 25 less than runs. This is the result of runs scored by double plays or errors. Last year 1049 RBI put you in the top 20 percent and 1077 in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 975, 2014 – 956, 2013 – 966, 2012 - 1012, 2011 – 1013, 2010 - 1015, 2009 – 1068, 2008 – 1076, 2007 – 1102, 2006 – 1119, 2005 – 1053, and 2004 – 1102. I’ll set my RBI goal at 1050 for this season.

Steals: Last year you need only 147 steals to be in the top 20 percent. You needed 160 to finish in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 145, 2014 – 155, 2013 – 155, 2012 - 179, 2011 – 183, 2010 - 170, 2009 – 175, 2008 – 161, 2007 – 172, 2006 – 162, 2005 – 151, and 2004 – 150. Speed continues to be a tough category. The top 20 percent goal faded to an all-time low in 2015 with weakness in 2016 as well, which make it tough to get out in speed if you have wrong team structure. In 2017, I’ll use 160 as my target number when building my roster on draft day.

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Wins: Wins are the most painful category in Fantasy baseball. Without looking at the data, my goal is 104 wins. It’s pretty straightforward – four wins a week for 26 weeks. Last year you needed 96 wins to be in the top 20 percent and 101 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 98, 2014 – 99, 2013 – 99, 2012 - 101, 2011 – 101, 2010 - 104, 2009 – 98, 2008 – 99, 2007 – 99, 2006 – 103, 2005 – 103, and 2004 – 98.

ERA: Pitching has less value in 2016. You need an ERA of 3.670 to be in the top 20 percent and 3.546 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 3.517, 2014 – 3.321, 2013 – 3.475, 2012 - 3.635, 2011 – 3.539, 2010 - 2009 – 3.853, 2008 – 3.808, 2007 – 3.941, 2006 – 4.081, 2005 – 3.679, and 2004 – 3.90. ERA is tough to gage in a draft or auction. I’ll use 3.50 as a baseline, but I would love to beat that number in 2017.

WHIP: This number pretty much parallels ERA. For every three base runners, a pitcher gives up about one run. A pitcher with a 1.25 whip should post about a 3.75 ERA…a 1.30 whip = 3.90 ERA. It isn’t that simple because home runs and walks are huge factors, but I’ll use 1.17 to parallel my ERA target. Last year you needed a 1.222 whip to finish in the top 20 percent and a 1.197 whip for top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 1.202, 2014 – 1.191, 2013 – 1.209, 2012 - 1.224, 2011 – 1,220, 2010 - 1.247 2009 – 1.293, 2008 – 1.286, 2007 – 1.296, 2006 – 1.309, 2005 – 1.255, and 2004 – 1.279.

Strikeouts: Strikeouts continue to trend upward. The top 20 percent target has risen in eight of the last ten years. This year I'm going to use 1375 as my target for Ks. If I need more, I might add a couple of double starts to reach my goal. For me, it breaks down to 53 strikeouts a week. If you miss that number, you are falling behind the field. Last year it took 1389 to finish in the top 20 percent and 1423 for top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 1375, 2014 – 1415, 2013 – 1375, 2012 - 1345, 2011 – 1345, 2010 - 1317, 2009 – 1273, 2008 – 1240, 2007 – 1205, 2006 – 1188, 2005 – 1187, and 2004 – 1230.

Saves: You needed 89 saves to finish in the top 20 percent and 95 for the top 10 percent. I'll use 90 saves as my target number this year. My goal is 3 and ½ saves a week which would put me in the 90 range. If you can reach your desired number with two closers, you will have a better chance at success as far as wins. Top 20 percent in 2015 – 88, 2014 – 89, 2013 – 89, 2012 - 86, 2011 – 89, 2010 - 83, 2009 – 84, 2008 – 87, 2007 – 85, 2006 – 87, 2005 – 95, and 2004 – 95.

As the inventory changes, we need to adjust our game plans to accomplish our goals. A 40 home run hitter has more value in a down year in home runs. A 300 strikeout pitcher has a bigger impact when few pitchers are striking out 200 batters. When we prepare for this season’s drafts, it is important to identify impact players with each draft dictating a different opportunity. Once you establish your goals, you then need to find a game plan to reach your goals. You will do this by studying drafts, player rankings, and paying attention to player trends.


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