Well, I’m back! Who, you ask? Why, I’m your faithful Main Event reporter, returning for another season (please tell me there will be a season!). This article looks at the nation’s biggest, oldest, and most-discussed contest, considered by many as the premiere contest for fantasy baseball…The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) Main Event, which last year reached a record 645 entries; Forty-three 15-team leagues; with a $150,000 Grand Prize and a $1,700 Entry Fee.
The NFBC Main Event is an industry-wide event. It attracts past champions, experts from home leagues wanting to challenge their skills, fantasy baseball industry insiders, podcasters, projection creators, website developers, and fans of all 30 MLB teams. Competitors include solo entrants, partners, and boatloads of the smartest fantasy minds . Each fantasy team’s performance is not only is measured in its league (which awards prizes for the top three finishers), but also in the NFBC Main Event overall competition, which pays extra bonuses to the top twenty overall finishers.
Rotisserie Categories are the ten industry standard categories and each team earns from one to fifteen points in each category which determine the league standings and from 1 to 645 points (assuming the same number of entries as 2021) which determine the overall standings.
The NFBC Main Event contest started in 2004 with 195 teams and 13 leagues – premiering the industry’s first widespread 15-team format. Artie Rastelli of Hoboken, New Jersey, won the NFBC’s first Main Event overall title, and among his many accomplishments, Philippe Dussault won last year’s Main Event (you may have heard about that). Here is the full list of champions:
|NFBC MAIN EVENT YEAR||Number of Teams entered||CHAMPION|
|2021||645||Philippe Dussault – Terrebonne, Quebec|
|2020 (Sprint)||570||James Tomony – Madison, Wis.|
|2019||570||Abdul Madani – Sarasota, Fla.|
|2018||510||John Pausma – Tinley Park, Ill.|
|2017||480||Chris Fessler – Florence, Ky.|
|2016||450||Rob Silver – Toronto, Ont. CANADA|
|2015||450||Glenn Schroter – Whitestone, N.Y.|
|2014||420||Dale & Greg Morgan – Westerville, Oh.|
|2013||435||Ken Norred – Ashland, Ala. and Dan Semsel – Fairborn, Oh.|
|2012||420||Dave Potts – Auburn, Ala.|
|2011||390||Lindy Hinkleman – Greencreek, Id.|
|2010||435||Stephen Jupinka – Waldwick, N.J.|
|2009||390||Lindy Hinkleman – Greencreek, Id.|
|2008||390||Robert Jurney – Dunkirk, Md.|
|2007||375||Terry Haney – Johnston, Iowa|
|2006||330||David DiDonato – Johnston, R.I.|
|2005||300||Brian Oldenski – Middletown, N.J.|
|2004||195||Artie Rastelli – Hoboken, N.J.|
Just like last year, this article series will follow the 2022 contest as we wind through the summer. We’ll note the leaders along the way, try to give insight into winning strategies, and follow the teams as they battle for prizes. Many of the features will be back again, as we measure the rate of Free Agent Acquisition Budget (each team is provided with 1000 fictional dollars to bid for free agents every Sunday night of the season) spending and the value of the top pickups each week.
The goal will be to provide the reader, who may not even be entered in the Main Event, an idea of how fantasy owners in one of the most competitive contests approach the game. Who are they adding with their FAAB? Which players are being dropped – Main Event teams have 23 active roster spots and only 7 bench positions, (no IR) so it is often difficult to retain injured players or those sent to the minor leagues.
The Magic 80%
If a Main Event fantasy team reaches the 80th percentile of points in each overall category, not only does it have an excellent chance of winning its 15-team league, but this would place it very close to the overall top 20 as well. Therefore we’ll follow how this 80% target level shakes out for each of the ten rotisserie categories in 2022, as this will provide an idea of what each fantasy owner is seeking. As the saying goes, if you don’t know what you’re aiming at, it’s awfully hard to hit the target. Provided below are both the 2019 and 2021 80% levels, skipping 2020 because it was not a full season. Please note, in the categories that did not grade out with one result at exactly 80% of the total, I’ve chosen the total closest to 80% in each case.
|CATEGORIES||2021 MLB||2019 MLB||MLB PCT CHANGE (Positive=improvement; Negative=Decline)||80% LEVEL: 2021 MAIN EVENT||80% LEVEL: 2019 MAIN EVENT||MAIN EVENT PCT CHANGE (Positive=improvement; Negative=Decline)|
However, it IS tough to say with certainty what the targets will be this season, because both 2019 AND 2021 category levels were rather unique. In 2019, the major league baseball was definitely lively. Looking at Home Runs, in 2014, just five years before the big boom of 6,776, only 4,186 flew over the fence. So 2019 was 62% higher than 2014. And even though 2021 was down 12.3% from 2019, the 2021 total was still easily the second-most ever recorded. But 2021 is also hard to bank on because MLB cracked down on sticky substances for pitchers mid-season and the ball was changed during the season as well (although the exact circumstances of this change are murky).
But we have to start SOMEWHERE, so let’s assume for the moment that 2022 is roughly similar to 2021. Maybe MLB settles on one type of baseball, and hopefully the sticky substance rule is the same all year. In that case, we should probably aim at the 2021 Main Event 80% target levels…at least for starters.
Three categories I’d focus on during draft season would be the ratio categories. As fantasy owners look at potential draft targets, they should remember that a batting average of just over .261 was required to be in the top 80% last year. It may sound pretty easy, but roster a few hitters under .240 and this gets dramatically more challenging. Remember that the NFBC requires two catchers in the Main Event (and most NFBC leagues) which doesn’t help matters. Fantasy owners will need to roster a few high-average guys if you want to have those sluggers under .235. And similarly, keep the 80% levels of ERA (3.64) and WHIP (1.165) in mind. If you roster pitchers with higher ERA/WHIP in an effort to get strikeouts or wins, it will be difficult to hit the target needed.
That’s all for this edition, but I’m looking forward to tracking the Main Event again this season and hope you will be along for the ride. The Main Event fantasy owners will be ready I’m sure…here’s hoping that MLB will be ready as well!