Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Over the last several years, NFBC Draft Champions has become one of my favorite formats. Most of my leagues are keeper and dynasty leagues, which require enough attention that it's hard to take on more teams each season, so redraft options tend to be minimal. Draft Champions leagues don't require much in-season attention with 50-man rosters that lock once the draft is complete. So the format scratches the redraft league itch for me without adding much to the overall fantasy league burden.
As of this writing, I'm in the middle of my 8th DC for 2021. We all have our favorite picks, but I try not to put too many eggs in one basket. With a few exceptions, the players I have the most shares of are back-end and second half of the draft players who won't cost me too much if they bust. If you're looking for an interesting discussion of top 250 players, you've come to the wrong place. These are mostly dart throws and reclamation projects.
Across (almost) 8 DC teams, here are players I've taken at least five shares of:
Tyler Ivey - 7 Shares (Min Pick 649 - Max Pick 745) - Ivey is a decent Houston Astros pitching prospect and I expect him to debut in 2021. Houston has done a good job turning decent pitching prospects into decent MLB starters (e.g. Urquidy, Valdez, Javier). Their rotation is far from reliable and Ivey should get a real shot at some point in 2021. There's potential profit here and not a whole lot of downside at this price even if the pick is a bust. That minimum pick of 649 is an outlier as the other 6 shares were all taken in the 45th round or later.
Nomar Mazara - 6 Shares (Min Pick 402 - Max Pick 527) - If you read the piece I wrote on Mazara, you'll understand why I liked him heading into 2020 and why I'm giving him a pass on his poor performance that year. The minimum pick of 402 felt appropriate before Mazara was non-tendered by the White Sox. Even at that spot, he's a 6th or 7th outfielder for me and I was hoping for 18-20 homeruns and semi-regular plate appearances. His ADP understandably fell after he was non-tendered. Now, after pick 500, I've been taking him for the same reasons I was taking him before, but as a 7th or 8th outfielder. There's more risk now because he doesn't have a team, but the cost is considerably lower and I am confident he'll sign somewhere and get another shot.
James Kaprielian - 5 Shares (Min Pick 640 - Max Pick 728) - Much like Ivey, Kaprielian is a decent pitching prospect that I expect to get some run in 2021. He made a brief debut in 2020, making two unimpressive appearances in relief. He's a starter, and it's worth a few picks in rounds 40 or later to roll the dice on a potentially nice return.
Chris Bassitt - 5 Shares (Min Pick 173 - Max Pick 216) - This is my only top 250 player with as many as five shares. I'm a big Chris Bassitt fan and I think he's seriously undervalued. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that he didn't face a winning team in 2020, but take a look at his entire record since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2018. I tweeted about it a while back:
That's a legitimate sample of 250 innings spread across three seasons, the first being a short return sample in 2018, a longer managed-with-kid-gloves sample in 2019, and a full (albeit short) season in 2020. There's plenty to like here at this cost even if there's a drop in 2021.
Jackie Bradley Jr. - 5 Shares (Min Pick 310 - Max Pick 351) - Draft Champions leagues are deep. The 300s are typically where I'm trying to grab a 4th or 5th outfielder and JBJ is usually just sitting there. There has been plenty of buzz about interested teams, so I'm not worried about him signing somewhere. He's a good defender and he'll be in the lineup every day. He brings a power/speed mix to the table. 15 homeruns and 10 stolen bases in a full season will play in a 15 team league. He's also coming off career bests in contact rate and strikeout rate, and tied career bests in walk rate and max exit velocity. This is a reliable skill set, even if it isn't exciting.
Kris Bubic - 5 Shares (Min Pick 372 - Max Pick 434) - I didn't realize I had taken Bubic in so many places. It's the result of potentially overemphasizing his minor league numbers in my projections and ranking him too high as a result. But he did hold his own in the majors in 2020. Across 10 games started, he only gave up more than two earned runs on three occasions. If he's a decent spot-start option in 2021, I'll call this pick a success.
Honorable mentions to my four share players:
Wilmer Flores - 4 Shares (Min Pick 265 - Max Pick 323) - He's vanilla, but vanilla has its place. Multi-position eligibility helps too.
Teoscar Hernandez - 4 Shares (Min Pick 77 - Max Pick 85) - Bad average. Reliable power.
Brandon Lowe - 4 Shares (Min Pick 68 - Max Pick 81) - Love Brandon Lowe in 2021. Read about it here.
Taylor Rogers - 4 Shares (Min Pick 107 - Max Pick 139) - Drafting closers is a tricky game to play this far out from the season, but that's true even when we know who the closers are supposed to be. I view Rogers as a reliable option who has some beneficial regression coming in 2021.
Tarik Skubal - 4 Shares (Min Pick 280 - Max Pick 319) - I'm predicting a Skubal breakout in 2021. Read about it here.
Ka'ai Tom - 4 Shares (Min Pick 621 - Max Pick 739) - Tom could ultimately be a AAAA player, but I like what he did in the minors. I was drafting him in the final rounds of 2020 drafts, but Cleveland never game him a shot. Now that Oakland took him in the Rule 5, I think he gets a chance to carve out a role for himself and it's worth a final round draft pick to find out if he does.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider using the links below to share it on social media. Thanks for reading!