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Well, I’m back – Again! Who, you ask? Why, I’m your famous – er – well-known – um – OK – faithful Main Event reporter, returning for another 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 and this year looks like it will reach 705! This would result in forty-seven 15-team leagues; with a $175,000 Grand Prize and a $1,750 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 (if projections of entries are accurate) 705 points 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:

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)
RUNS 22,010 23,467 -6.2% 1,083 1,149 -5.7%
HOME RUNS 5,944 6,776 -12.3% 318 360 -11.7%
RBI 20,993 22,471 -6.6% 1,041 1,105 -5.8%
SB 2,213 2,280 -2.9% 121 125 -3.2%
AVG 0.244 0.252 -3.2% 0.2612 0.2686 -2.8%
STRIKEOUTS 42,145 42,823 -1.6% 1,389 1,476 -5.9%
WINS 2,429 2,429 0.0% 89 94 -5.3%
SAVES 1,191 1,180 0.9% 70 73 -4.1%
ERA 4.26 4.49 5.4% 3.649 3.845 5.4%
WHIP 1.297 1.334 2.9% 1.165 1.202 3.2%

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.

And So It Begins – FAAB, I mean…

With that in mind, we can look at the first FAAB period – held on Sunday, April 3rd. In this FAAB run, 403 players were picked up (see below) with Dillon Tate targeted the most as he profiles as the new Baltimore closer. Greg Holland also was added in 14 leagues as Main Event owners see him as the possible KC closer, and newcomers Steven Kwan and Bryson Stott drew interest as rookies that could make an impact.

ADDED IN MOST MAIN EVENT LEAGUES Leagues Added Reason Highest Winning Bid Lowest Winning Bid
Dillon Tate 15 Possible BAL Closer 79 1
Greg Holland 14 Possible TEX Closer 59 10
Steven Kwan 13 Made CLE roster 77 1
Bryson Stott 11 Could make PHI roster 149 52
Jordan Hicks 11 In STL closer mix 68 9
Kyle Wright 10 Starting for ATL 52 1
Brad Miller 10 Hot spring for TEX 48 1
Daniel Bard 9 Part of COL closer mix 40 2
Spencer Howard 8 Named TEX starter 28 2
Kyle Higashioka 7 Hot spring for NYY 77 4

Wow Bid of the Week

Looking at winning bids over $100, just seven teams successfully bid a large amount in this first FAAB period, most likely depressed because not all the leagues were involved and the fact that Main Event drafts only started recently, so there were not as many targets. Nevertheless, one league with Matt Brash available generated a $244 bid, while three owners bid strongly for the services of Bryson Stott and C.J. Abrams.

TEAM BIDS OVER $100 – MAIN EVENT Winning Bids over $100 Winning Bids over $200 Highest Winning Bid (FAAB $)
PHI Bryson Stott 3 0 149
SD CJ Abrams 3 0 132
SEA Matt Brash 1 1 244

The players who were dropped the most were a combination of injured players like Pete Fairbanks, Evan Longoria, and Riley Greene along with those who did not make the opening day rosters such as Josh Lowe.

Good luck to all the NFBC Main Event entrants and in fact to fantasy owners in all types of leagues this season! May you have health for all your key players; pick the right streaming pitchers, and have a top pitcher or hitter emerge from your last round selection!

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Todd Whitestone

Todd Whitestone

Writer for focusing on the NFBC Main Event

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