The Eighth Man

A Not-So-Quiyk Draft Recap: Round Three

The third round of the Quiyk fantasy draft saw many of the biggest names left in the draft come off the board, and the general managers starting to crystallize the styles they want their teams to use.  Some teams still have drafted no beaters —  as I predicted last week —  and none of the major chaser slash seeker hybrids have come off the board — unless you count Kifer Gregoire.  Other teams have drafted two beaters, including one team looking to run what appears to be an all-female beater line.  So let’s examine the picks:

 

Round 3, Pick 17 (GM: Alex Wilson) – David Fox, Keeper, Emerson

Previous Picks: Sarah Holub, Chaser, Lone Star QC; David Gilbert, Beater, Baylor

If this were truly fantasy quidditch, and you earned points based on the real statistics of the players involved, I would never stop singing the praises of this pick.  Holub is a chaser who gets a lot of touches and scores a lot.  Fox, similarly, runs most Emerson offensive possessions as a score-first ball-handler closely resembling a tank.

Unfortunately for Wilson, this is not purely fantasy quidditch, and we are evaluating teams not solely on their individual statistics but also how well the players would play together.  Based on that, this feels like the first major mistake of the draft to me.  Holub excels in a passing-heavy offense where she can use her vision and receiving ability to make plays — both passes and shots — near the hoops.  Fox is a phenomenal player who excels because he has amazing physicality and is extremely difficult to bring down on drives, but his well-known weakness is his troubles as a distributor.  These two players are not a match made in heaven.  I think Wilson made this pick as a matter of talent over fit for the team, and, unfortunately for him, this team looks like one that will have trouble maximizing its talent because of it.

 

Round 3, Pick 18 (GM: Amanda Dallas) – Katrina Bossotti, Beater, Boston University

Previous Picks: Tony Rodriguez, Keeper, Lost Boys QC; Max Havlin, Beater, Boston University

This pick ended up being one of the most heavily criticized picks of the round.  While it likely didn’t help perceptions that the pick’s rationale from the GM felt preemptively defensive, most of the responses to the pick seemed to focus specifically on overvaluing Bossotti, claiming that she was inferior to many players still left on the board.  So, since I care so much about maximizing value of a pick, this would seem a pick that’s prime candidate for me to criticize, right?

Well, not quite.  Last year, Toby Gerhart earned 38 fantasy points in conventional ESPN fantasy leagues, tying him for 313th in the league in points scored. At 53 points in the same position, Jason Snelling of Atlanta was good for 259th in the league.  So why was Gerhart drafted significantly more frequently than Snelling, even if Snelling was a player who provided “more value”?  Well, Gerhart is the backup running back for the Minnesota Vikings, who employ fantasy stud Adrian Peterson.  Overwhelmingly, the person who owns Gerhart is also the owner of Peterson.  Why?  An extremely obvious, but surprisingly easy to miss concept: different players have more value for different general managers.

For the owners of Peterson, this value is derived mostly from the fact that Gerhart’s value is specifically tied to Peterson’s value . In this case, Gerhart protects Peterson’s owner from a disaster scenario of a Peterson injury — this is called handcuffing in most fantasy leagues.  Gerhart is likely to have extremely low value, which means other owners are unlikely to use a valuable roster spot on him.  However, insurance against Peterson injury is a very valuable commodity for his general manager.  So, consequently, you are significantly more likely to see Gerhart drafted than Snelling, even if Snelling is likely to score more points.

You can argue that something similar is happening with Dallas’ pick. Bossotti is more valuable to Dallas than she would be to any other owner, simply because Bossotti gives, in addition to her considerable skill set, instant chemistry with her beating partner Max Havlin.  Given that Bossotti was extremely unlikely to come back to Dallas for the next pick, I don’t have a single problem her taking Bossotti here.  In fact, given that her first pick was a keeper who has shown an ability to run an offense almost by himself, I love the idea of combining Rodriguez with what Dallas feels is the best beater combination on the board.

Often unfairly left out of conversations about elite male chasers, Texas A&M's Kifer Gregoire was likely a steal in the third round. Credit: Sue Decker

Often unfairly left out of conversations about elite male chasers, Texas A&M’s Kifer Gregoire was likely a steal in the third round. Credit: Sue Decker

Round 3, Pick 19 (GM: Dan Hanson) – Kifer Gregoire, Chaser/Seeker, Texas A&M

Previous Picks: Drew Wasikowski, Chaser, Texas A&M; Chris Seto, Beater, Lost Boys QC

Hanson continues the trend of pairing player from the same program together with his pick of Gregoire.  For some reason, Gregoire seems to be the forgotten man amongst elite male chasers, yet one could argue that he provides just as much, if not more value, than his teammate Wasikowski, especially given his ability to seek at a high level as well.  Gregoire is one of the last remaining chasers who can work well in just about any role, and given his chemistry with his teammate — and having played with Seto in the THE Fantasy Tournament this summer — this feels like the perfect pick for Hanson to have made here.

 

Round 3, Pick 20 (GM: Evan Bell) – Chris Rhodes, Beater, Baylor

Previous Picks: Brittany Ripperger, Beater, Baylor; Brendan Stack, Keeper, Boston University

I could basically make the same comments about this pick as I made on the Bossotti pick; once again, Bell has found a beater who has more value to him than anyone else.  The result of this draft makes me feel like we should be considering Baylor the best beating team in the country, given that there have been three Baylor beaters taken so far out of the first seven beaters overall.  Regardless, I think that Rhodes gives Bell one of the best beating cores in the country.  His challenge now is to make sure he surrounds Stack with chasers who can execute a system the Boston University keeper is comfortable in.

 

Round 3, Pick 21 (GM: Beto Natera) – Hope Machala, Beater, Lone Star QC

Previous Picks: Stephen Bell, Keeper, Lone Star QC; Mollie Lensing, Beater, Lone Star QC

Natera seems to be going after a two female beater strategy, taking two of the highest rated beaters on the board to complement his elite first-pick keeper.  Ultimately, Natera’s success will be determined by his ability to find solid male chasers to help Bell out, as he seems to have what will be a reasonable, but not dominant, beater core that will allow Natera to play four male quaffle players.  Plus, Lensing and Machala also come with that instant same-team chemistry boost.

One thing that may worry me about Natera’s strategy — other than how well people may regard a two female beater set versus the more conventional sets — is how every single one of his top picks has come from the same team, potentially losing him some valuable popularity votes. If he wants to win, rather than simply assembling what may be the best team, Natera should be looking to branch out soon.

 

Round 3, Pick 22 (GM: Andrew Canto) – Adam Richardson, Chaser, UCLA

Previous Picks: Augie Monroe, Keeper, Texas; Kody Marshall, Chaser, Lone Star QC

Canto becomes the first of two general managers to fail to draft a beater in the first three rounds, instead looking to further strengthen his chaser lines with Richardson.  This pick sets up Canto with arguably the best chaser core in the entire draft.  Richardson is a pick that certainly carries some risk: while impressive when playing, Richardson has not played as much in the last semester as he has previously, and the talent level around him has fallen off to some degree, with UCLA has struggled somewhat to integrate newer talent successfully.

Still, Richardson has a track record of success, serving as a vital cog for the Bruins since he joined.  He has attention-grabbing highlight reel plays, including his stonewalling of Lost Boys QC’s Tony Rodriguez in the Western Cup IV championship.  He also diversifies the voting base for Canto’s team, drafting someone from outside of the state of Texas.  Plus, he has the accolades to go along with his talent, earning 2012-13 Third-Team All-American honors from The Eighth Man.

I have always been a believer in UCLA, which means I figure that RIchardson is likely to see an upswing this semester.  Given that he potentially could have been sold as a high second round pick, if not late first round, back in May, this could come out as a steal for Canto.

 

Round 3, Pick 23 (GM: Zach D’Amico) – Zachary Luce, Keeper, UCLA

Previous Picks: Vanessa Goh, Chaser, Lost Boys QC; Peter Lee, Beater, Lost Boys QC

D’Amico follows up with the pick I feel Wilson should have made, taking third-team All American Luce off of the board.  Luce is not a complete physical specimen like Fox, and generally won’t intimidate you with his presence alone, but that’s only until he takes the field.  Luce has a freakishly large wingspan, which makes him a terror to guard once he gets close to the hoops, while allowing him to cover all three hoops on defense with ease. He may not be nearly as strong as Fox, he still managed to show plenty of ability to ramp up his physicality at World Cup VI, and one could make at least a decent argument that he deserved MVP consideration at that tournament despite the finals loss.  He’s a deadly shooter who can function solidly as a distributor as well, and he also has plenty of built-in chemistry with D’Amico’s first round pick, Vanessa Goh.  I think D’Amico got great value here, and he can now go on a run of male chasers with most of the less deep positions in the draft already squared away on his roster.

 

Round 3, Pick 24 (GM: Hank Dugie) – Daniel Daugherty, Chaser/Keeper, Bowling Green State

Previous Picks: Chris Morris, Chaser, Lone Star QC; Simon Arends, Chaser, Lone Star QC

For me, Daugherty was one of the biggest enigmas of the draft in terms of where he’d go.  Depending on the general managers, I could see him going anywhere from an early first round pick to slipping down as far as the fourth or fifth round.  Ultimately, he ended up at the end of the third round.  I think Dugie’s getting a great value here: first and foremost, Daugherty is phenomenally popular inside the Midwest region, which will give Dugie a great bounce in the popularity voting.

But Daugherty, aside from his popularity, is a phenomenally talented player.  He is an excellent shooter and drives very well, although solid point defenders can deal with him much more effectively than some of the other monsters taken in the draft.  With this pick, Dugie expands his geographical reach, but still lacks a single beater, joining Canto in that department.  When comparing the two teams, I would give Monroe the edge over Morris, and Arends the edge over Marshall, both by small margins.  Ultimately, I’d probably give the edge to Canto in the three male quaffle player teams so far, but it would be very close. Both general managers have positioned themselves excellently, assuming they can successfully find beaters later on.

Wrap Up

Right now, I’d probably rate Wilson’s team as the weakest, as I think it lacks coherency.  I would put Bell and Dallas’s team very close to each other, with the nod towards Dallas because I would give Rodriguez the edge over Stack at keeper.  Natera’s team is very difficult to compare to anyone else’s, since he is going for a unique drafting strategy.  I’d give Canto’s team a slight edge over Dugie’s team.  I think both Hanson and D’Amico have done a very solid job building their teams as well, but the teams remain difficult to compare until we really start filling in a full lineup.

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