The Eighth Man

A Not-So-Quiyk Draft Recap: Round Two

As the second round of the Quiyk Fantasy Draft winds down, teams are really beginning to take shape. Almost all teams have picked up players who will likely serve as their team’s primary ball carriers. No seekers have gone off the board, and no team has loaded up on a full beater core. Most teams have taken at least one beater, though there are still teams that have only taken quaffle players. Without anymore fanfare, let’s proceed to analyzing the picks:

 

Round 2, Pick 9 (GM: Hank Dugie) – Chris Morris, Chaser, Lone Star QC

Previous Pick: Simon Arends, Chaser, Lone Star QC

As one of the captains of the reigning world champions, you would think that Morris would get more attention. But, when llisting the players most responsible for Texas’s success last year, I would guess most people would name, in some order, Kody Marshall, Colin Capello, Simon Arends, Augie Monroe, Stephen Bell, Sarah Holub, and maybe even Lauren Carter, but would neglect to name Chris Morris. For some reason, Morris seems to be absent in conversations outside of the Southwest, and he shouldn’t be; he had just as much of an impact as any other player on Texas’ team, but by virtue of his style of play, he seems to get ignored.

So let me be clear: I love this pick and think this is a fantastic value for Dugie. In addition, by pairing up former teammates in Morris and Arends, Dugie allows himself to make a chemistry argument for his team, which voters may or may not find compelling — it’s compelling for me, however, there is no defined voting criteria for the voters. Dugie is betting on Morris’s versatility, trusting him to be able to play any of the four positions at a competitive level — though as a voter, I would want to see him as chaser or keeper, where he can do everything he needs to — to give himself roster flexibility in the future. This will be important, as he doesn’t have another pick for almost two full rounds.

 

Round 2, Pick 10 (GM: Zach D’Amico) – Peter Lee, Beater, Lost Boys QC

Previous Pick: Vanessa Goh, Chaser, Lost Boys QC

This stands as the only team who may have not secured its primary ball handler, as D’Amico follows up his pick of Goh by ending our editor Ethan Sturm’s national nightmare with Peter Lee, his top-ranked beater, finally coming off the board.

Peter Lee is definitely a pick with a lot of pros and very few cons. Lee has long been known in the Northeast for his hyper-aggressive beating style, but playing on a relatively low-profile team in Vassar meant he didn’t get recognition on a national level. This has already begun to change — Lee’s coming out party was probably the most recent Firemercs tournament, where he took MVP for the victorious red team.

Let’s look at the worst case scenario: even if Lee has a pretty bad year, he’s one of the leading male beaters on a team that has been utterly dominant in the Western Region, which means, deserved or not, he’s going to get a large amount of praise for his play. To be fair to Lee, he’s earned most of the praise he’s received this year as one of the primary anchors of a dominant beating line. Lee utilizes his hyper-aggressive style of beating to make his impact felt both on offense and defense, using his presence to generate easy drives and passes for the Lost Boys.  Most impressively, Lee uses his aggression without compromising his defensive integrity. The Lost Boys are rarely ever caught giving up free goals in transition, and Lee is a huge part of that.

Lee is the first male beater to come off the board, and only the second beater overall, as opposed to eight quaffle players. Is this justified? I think so, and once again, I’m going to draw a comparison back to fantasy football. In a quidditch lineup, most teams will play a male keeper, two male chasers, a female chaser, a male beater, a female beater and a seeker. You’ll probably see teams that run two-female and two-male beater pairs, but on the whole, I imagine that most teams will be relatively standard in their composition. That means that if you consider chasers and keepers to be a similar position — as I will, just for the purposes of simplifying my example — a team should be carrying three times as many male chasers as they do other positions, and they should carry an equal number of male beaters, female beaters, female chasers, and seekers.

We see an analogous situation in fantasy football: most standard leagues start one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, and a flex spot, which can be either a running back, wide receiver, or tight end. Statistically speaking, quarterbacks tend to score the most points over the course of the year, which would suggest that the best thing to do in the first round is to take the best quarterback available, since he’ll score the most points.

But, in fact, that thinking is completely wrong. There are 32 quarterbacks playing in the league at a given time, which means less than one in three will actually be drafted. Historically speaking, other than the super elite quarterbacks, the second tier of quarterbacks tends to be relatively wide, which means you can get similar value from the eighth or ninth rated quarterback as you would from the fourth or fifth. Similarly, you can need to start two or three running backs, and there are only about 35 running backs in the league worth starting, which means that on average, roughly 70% of startable running backs are starting in each week — with multiple on people’s benches as well.

In general, unless you’re going for an elite top-line quarterback, you’re likely to get better value going for a running back earlier and waiting on a quarterback until the 5th or 6th round when almost everyone else has picked one. I think beaters are actually very similar: if you’re not grabbing a beater who is indisputably better than the rest, it may be best to wait until a later round, just because fewer beaters play at once.

This being said, Lee is an elite beater and looked to be at the top of the board. I’m totally fine with this pick, as long as D’Amico is confident he can find a ball handler later in the draft.

Round 2, Pick 11 (GM: Andrew Canto) – Kody Marshall, Chaser, Lone Star QC

Previous Pick: Augustine Monroe, Keeper, Texas

I could echo most of the similar points for Marshall as I made for Morris: Marshall is every bit as elite as the he is publicly considered. He plays arguably the best point defense in the country, can drive — Canto alluded to Marshall’s play-of-the-World-Cup drive in his explanation for drafting him — can play effectively off ball and has great leadership. Canto continues to stock up on talented, versatile players, and while he and Dugie seem to have the best chaser cores in the draft, both will rely on identifying solid beaters later in the draft, as most of the biggest names will likely be gone by the time they next pick.

Round 2, Pick 12 (GM: Beto Natera) – Mollie Lensing, Beater, Lone Star QC

Previous Pick: Stephen Bell, Keeper, Lone Star QC

Natera picked a full round later than Evan Bell, and he was able to snag a beater who is arguably just as highly regarded as Ripperger. I don’t feel like I need to go into depth on Lensing’s credentials, but in addition to her leadership and experience, the one aspect Lensing uses to change games most is her aggressiveness and speed; she’s constantly flying around the field.

I think this pick represents great value compared to the pick of Ripperger, as I’d rate the two similarly, and so getting one a round later than the other should be a win for Natera.  However, having talked to Bell, I know he valued Ripperger much higher than he would any other female beater, which gives him great justification for that pick. I have to assume that Natera feels the same with this one.

As the first player from the East Coast to come off the board, Boston University keeper Brendan Stack may have quietly been the pick of the round. Credit: Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff

As the first player from the East Coast to come off the board, Boston University keeper Brendan Stack may have quietly been the pick of the round. Credit: Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff

Round 2, Pick 13 (GM: Evan Bell) – Brendan Stack, Keeper, Boston University

Previous Pick: Brittany Ripperger, Beater, Baylor

Bell took a chance with his first round pick, taking what he believed to be the best player in scarce position instead of settling on one of the primary ball carriers in the first round. His patience was rewarded here, where he grabs a member of the First Family of Boston Quidditch: Brendan Stack from Boston University. In Stack, Bell gets the first player from outside the West or Southwest, and he finds someone who can truly be the centerpiece of an elite team. Stack plays a major role in the fast-paced BU offense, where he is the primary ball handler, constantly going up and down the pitch. Impressively, Stack compliments his high-energy attack with shocking stamina, almost never subbing out despite the torrential pace of his team.

While his physicality is not quite as intimidating as that of David Foxx, his fellow star keeper from Beantown, he plays the hoops and passing lanes very well and is also able to defend against physical drivers like Fox himself. This pick is going to be extremely unheralded, but it may be the best pick of the round in terms of value.

 

Round 2, Pick 14 (GM: Dan Hanson) – Chris Seto, Beater, Lost Boys QC

Previous Pick: Drew Wasikowski, Chaser, Texas A&M

Another pick of a low-risk, high-reward pick male beater from a team on the rise, as Hanson grabs his teammate, Chris Seto. Seto’s reputation has steadily increased: initially a chaser and keeper at Emerson, Seto started playing beater for the Lost Boys last season and made a name for himself on the national scene this past summer when his spectacular day two appearance as a substitute in The Fantasy Tournament in Austin carried his team to the finals. His aggressive style, combined with his strong ball skills and excellent quickness, allowed him to make a large mark at the tournament. Seto will anchor Hanson’s beater core; the value of this pick will be dependent on whether Seto’s value is higher than comparable beaters taken around this point, but subsequent picks in this round may argue otherwise.

 

Round 2, Pick 15 (GM: Amanda Dallas) – Max Havlin, Beater, Boston University

Previous Pick: Tony Rodriguez, Keeper, Lost Boys QC

The emergence of Max Havlin as an elite beater was one of the most surprising developments of the summer, but Havlin has been a revelation in a black headband for Boston University. Taking the northeast by storm, Havlin can take much of the credit for his teams win at the northeast regionals.  As a veteran player and an athletic talent, Havlin brings extreme intelligence and physical tools to the position.

What I really want to discuss about this pick, however, is the intelligence of GM Dallas’ drafting strategy. With her first pick, Dallas made Lost Boys QC’s keeper Rodriguez the centerpiece of her team. Rodriguez’s offense flows from his ability to exert a ton of pressure on a defense, and if he can’t get to the goals by himself, he can either use that to open his receivers up with easy passes or fire an accurate shot. Because of Rodriguez’s style of play, he can thrive without needing elite chasers around him. Consequently, I believe that emphasizing the best beater available makes an extremely intelligent drafting choice. Overall, this is an extremely solid pick-up.

 

Round 2, Pick 16 (GM: Alex Wilson) – David Gilbert, Beater, Baylor

Previous Pick: Sarah Holub, Chaser, Lone Star QC

Wilson follows up his controversial pick of Holub by taking a beater, liking setting him up to select a ball handler with the first pick of the third round. The addition of Gilbert gives Wilson a strong physical presence in his beating core, and Baylor’s beaters were arguably the heart of their run to the final four last year. However, just as questions were raised about Ripperger, there is genuine concern as to whether Gilbert can reach the same level of effectiveness outside of Baylor’s very specific defensive strategy. From what I’ve seen of Gilbert, I estimate he would be able to, but this doubt could influence voters in a negative way.

After two rounds, Wilson’s team really has not taken shape.  He could be setting himself up for a two male beater line by taking a great female chaser with the first pick, but he still seems to be lacking his primary ball handler. We’ll still need a few more picks to evaluate the effectiveness of these first two picks from Wilson.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

Without any female chasers coming off the board in the second round, it seems that the general managers reflected my opinion that there was a two-player top tier in the female chaser department. We’ve now seen two female chasers, two female beaters, four male beaters, and not a single pure seeker drafted. Pure seeking seems to be not valued particularly highly in this draft, with selectors valuing players who can contribute in more ways than simply the seeker game.

This may seem surprising, given how highly contested seekers tend to be in fantasy tournaments: Steve DiCarlo was the first pick of Snow Cup, while Porter Marsh and Kier Rudolph were both first round picks at Firemercs. But I think the primary difference is that in those tournaments, there are only two or three elite seekers. However, in this tournament, every team can have someone of comparable ability, and so the value of these seekers falls off significantly — much like the value of quarterbacks falls off in fantasy football. Two teams still need to find their primary ball handlers, and most of the elite quaffle players are falling off the board.  Expect to see at least one team complete their starting beating core in the next round, while others continue to ignore the bludger game and feast on highly-prized quaffle players.

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