How to Use LABR Mixed Draft to Your Benefit

The 15-team LABR Mixed Draft is the most exciting of the expert fantasy drafts each year. Amateur fantasy owners from all over the globe tune into the live spreadsheet broadcast and debate each one furiously on social media.

Most of these amateurs are looking for expert guidance to help them in their own draft. They see a player getting drafted well above their ADP and they often move the player up on their own personal big board.

I do not think this is the best way to approach and absorb the most information out of LABR. When one expert reaches on a pick, we have no idea if there is a consensus. It could have been just one expert making a stand on a player he himself feels strongly about, or there could have been several owners who felt the same way about that player. We just don’t know.

What we do know is that when certain players drop well below their public rankings, there is an agreement of pessimism. That is the information that could be significant for the rest us. Every owner in the league letting a player fall well below their ADP is the expert consensus we should be looking for.

Here’s a quick look at nine players who the experts are cool on.

Felix Hernandez
NFBC ADP – 12th (High 7, Low 22)
LABR Draft – 29th

Hernandez has been the consensus #2 starting pitcher off the board in 2015 NFBC drafts and the experts simply were not interested. USA Today’s Steve Gardner even passed on him with the 25th pick, choosing Max Scherzer instead. Take note.

Justin Upton
NFBC ADP – 31st (High 12, Low 49)
LABR Draft – 45th

Granted, some of that ADP factors in the time before Upton was traded to San Diego, but I’m showing a pre-trade ADP of 27th for him. The experts clearly think the negative impact from Upton moving to Petco Park will be greater than what the public thinks. Steamer projections are even more negative of the former Brave. They have Upton’s 5×5 ranking as the 67th best hitter available.

Dee Gordon
NFBC ADP – 41st (High 21, Low 58)
LABR Draft – 59th

Gordon is another one where Steamer agrees with the experts and not the public. The NFBC crowd is overbuying his breakout season and major regression is in order. His projected average of .256 and virtually no home runs puts two strong negatives on his report card. Gordon is the 60th best hitter available according to Steamer.

Adam Wainwright
NFBC ADP – 52nd (High 16, Low 74)
LABR Draft – 75th

Aha! For those that read my work, I’ve been on the anti-Wainwright train all winter and I’m glad to see the experts are also in agreement. This is simply a player that is absolutely certain to not land on any of my fantasy teams this year.

Nelson Cruz
NFBC ADP – 59th (High 18, Low 92)
LABR Draft – 85th

Cruz is a player who has seen a wide range of picks in the public leagues. The experts obviously feel he’s due for major regression. This is actually an instance where Steamer is actually a tad bit more optimistic on Cruz (62nd best hitter).

Matt Harvey
NFBC ADP – 69th (High 43, Low 91)
LABR Draft – 94th

Fans might be just a bit over optimistic on how good Harvey is going to be this year in his first year back from TJS. Also, the limits the Mets front office are going to put on his innings count is real, which caps his upside. They want to get him to the end of September with bullets left in the chamber.

Jeff Samardzija
NFBC ADP – 74th (High 42, Low 94)
LABR Draft – 99th

A full season in the American League will put a dent into Samardzija’s numbers. Keep this in mind: In a career that was nearly all pitched in the National League, Samardzija has a career 3.85 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Steamer is calling for a 3.92 ERA this year. Avoid this guy.

Josh Harrison
NFBC ADP – 91st (High 51, Low 119)
LABR Draft – 115th

Steamer is actually on an island by itself with Harrison. The public isn’t interested in his 58th best 5×5 hitter ranking and the experts are even less impressed. Opinions vary widely on whether Harrison can follow up his breakout year with another good one, but the experts seem to think no.

Mark Trumbo
NFBC ADP – 98th (High 64, Low 142)
LABR Draft – 155th

Wow. The biggest gap of them all, and like Harrison, this is also in the face of a much stronger Steamer projection (63rd best hitter). The LABR results here should at least make you think twice before drafting him.

We hoped you liked reading How to Use LABR Mixed Draft to Your Benefit by Josh Barnes!

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Josh Barnes is founder of Top500Prospects.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jb82mets and @top500prospects

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