2018 Fantasy Baseball: 15-Team League Statistical Targets

How many HR or RBI will it take to lead the category in your Fantasy league? Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs breaks down precisely how well your team should perform in a 15-team league format.

One of the first stages of developing a winning game plan in Fantasy baseball is researching the target goals in each category in your league format. Over the last decade, the batting stats faded while the pitching inventory improved. In 2017, power returned to the game with regression in frontline starting pitching and a tighter baseball. When this happens, it changes the value of the important parts of team development. A winning Fantasy owner should have a good feel for each season’s inventory to help them make better draft decisions.

Last year there were 480 teams in the NFBC Main Event. It’s time to look at the overall standings and get a feel for what it took to end up in the 20 percent in every category in a15-team format. The goal of a Fantasy owner is to finish the year with 3,840 league points or 96th in every category.  To win the main event, a Fantasy owner will need to average more than 80 percent of the points in all categories plus hold an edge in two or three others categories. The target finish should 80 percent of the league points plus about 150 points should win most years. If the size of event size grows, the 150 over par number should be even higher. Last year’s winner finished with 4343.5 overall points, which was 90.5 percent of the overall available points (4,800). Fourteen teams that finished will 80 percent or more total points. The past winners won with these percentages: 87.3, 83.8, 86.7, 85.7, 86.2, 81.0, 90.2, 86.4, 90.5, 86.7, 89.4, and 90.4. After looking at these numbers, maybe the target number to win the overall should be more than 85 percent of the possible league points across the board.



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Here’s a look at the 14-year history of the NFBC 15 team main event:

Batting Average: The highest batting average in the NFBC main in 2017 was .2844. You needed to hit .2709 to finish in the top 20 percent and .2739 to finish in the top 10 percent in 2017. To finish in the top 20 percent, you needed – 2016 – .2713, 2015 – .2697, 2014 – .2674, 2013 – .2710, 2012 – .2717, 2011 – .2715, 2010 – .2733, 2009 – .2793, 2008 – .2797, 2007 – .2829, 2006 – .2845, 2005 – .2785, and 2004 – .2829. In 2018, I’m setting my goal to .273, which is still higher than last season final 20 percent number. An elite batting average is a huge edge in a competition with an overall prize.

Runs: In 2017, you needed 1092 runs to finish in the top 20 percent and 1120 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 1078, 2015 – 1009, 2014 – 989, 2013 – 1003, 2012 – 1050, 2011 – 1032, 2010 – 1058, 2009 – 1096, 2008 – 1106, 2007 – 1131, 2006 – 1154, 2005 – 1084, and 2004 – 1158. With offense starting to rise again, I’ll set my target number runs at 1110.

Home Runs: The first couple years of the NFBC; the goal each season was 300+ home runs which was the case in the last two years. In 2017, 326 HRs put you in the top 20 percent and 339 in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 308, 2015 – 263, 2014 – 237, 2013 – 250, 2012 – 272, 2011 – 259, 2010 – 253, 2009 – 279, 2008 – 273, 2007 – 266, 2006 – 293, 2005 – 274, and 2004 – 298. Home runs made a massive push in 2016 with follow through in 2017 thus raising the value of many batters headed into 2017. I’m going to use 320 as my target number in 2018.

RBIs: The target RBI total is typically 25 less than runs due to some runs scoring via double plays or errors. In 2017, 1070 RBI put you in the top 20 percent and 1094 in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 1049, 2015 – 975, 2014 – 956, 2013 – 966, 2012 – 1012, 2011 – 1013, 2010 – 1015, 2009 – 1068, 2008 – 1076, 2007 – 1102, 2006 – 1119, 2005 – 1053, and 2004 – 1102. I’ll set my RBI goal at 1075 for this season.

Steals: Last year you need only 140 steals to be in the top 20 percent. You needed 156 to finish in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 147, 2015 – 145, 2014 – 155, 2013 – 155, 2012 – 179, 2011 – 183, 2010 – 170, 2009 – 175, 2008 – 161, 2007 – 172, 2006 – 162, 2005 – 151, and 2004 – 150. Speed continues to be a tough category. The top 20 percent goal was an all-time low in 2017 with weakness in 2015 and 2016 as well, which make it tough to get out in speed if you have wrong team structure. In 2018, I’ll use 150 as my target number when building my roster on draft day.

Wins: Wins are the most painful category in Fantasy baseball.  Without looking at the data, my goal is 104 wins. It’s pretty straightforward – four wins a week for 26 weeks (2018 will have an extra half week in the season). Last year you needed 98 wins to be in the top 20 percent and 102 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 96, 2015 – 98, 2014 – 99, 2013 – 99, 2012 – 101, 2011 – 101, 2010 – 104, 2009 – 98, 2008 – 99, 2007 – 99, 2006 – 103, 2005 – 103, and 2004 – 98.

ERA: Pitching lost value in 2016 and 2017. You needed an ERA of 3.882 to be in the top 20 percent in 2017 and 3.734 to be in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 3.670 2015 – 3.517, 2014 – 3.321, 2013 – 3.475, 2012 – 3.635, 2011 – 3.539, 2010 – 2009 – 3.853, 2008 – 3.808, 2007 – 3.941, 2006 – 4.081, 2005 – 3.679, and 2004 – 3.90. ERA is tough to gage in a draft or auction. I’ll use 3.50 as a baseline, but I would love to beat that number in 2018.

WHIP:  This number pretty much parallels ERA. For every three base runners, a pitcher gives up about one run. A pitcher with a 1.25 whip should post about a 3.75 ERA (a 1.30 whip = 3.90 ERA). It isn’t that simple because home runs and walks are huge factors, but I’ll use 1.17 to parallel my ERA target. Last year you needed a 1.246 WHIP to finish in the top 20 percent and a 1.123 WHIP to place in the top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 1.222, 2015 – 1.202, 2014 – 1.191, 2013 – 1.209, 2012 – 1.224, 2011 – 1,220, 2010 – 1.247 2009 – 1.293, 2008 – 1.286, 2007 – 1.296, 2006 – 1.309, 2005 – 1.255, and 2004 – 1.279.

Strikeouts: Strikeouts continue to trend upward. The top 20 percent target has risen in eight of the last ten years. This year I’m going to use 1400 as my target for Ks. If I need more strikeouts, I’ll add a couple of double starts to reach my target goal. For me, it breaks down to 54 strikeouts a week. If you miss that number, you are falling behind the field. Last year it took 1404 to finish in the top 20 percent and 1452 for top 10 percent. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 1423, 2015 – 1375, 2014 – 1415, 2013 – 1375, 2012 – 1345, 2011 – 1345, 2010 – 1317, 2009 – 1273, 2008 – 1240, 2007 – 1205, 2006 – 1188, 2005 – 1187, and 2004 – 1230.

Saves: You needed 80 saves (lowest total in my time in the high-stakes market) to finish in the top 20 percent and 89 for the top 10 percent. I’ll use 90 saves as my target number this year. My goal is 3 and ½ saves per week, which would put me in the 90 save range. If you can reach your desired number with two closers, you will have a better chance at success in wins and strikeouts. Top 20 percent in 2016 – 89, 2015 – 88, 2014 – 89, 2013 – 89, 2012 – 86, 2011 – 89, 2010 – 83, 2009 – 84, 2008 – 87, 2007 – 85, 2006 – 87, 2005 – 95, and 2004 – 95.

As the inventory of players changes each season, a Fantasy owner need to adjust their game plan to accomplish their target goals. A 40 home run hitter has more value in a down year in power. A 300 strikeout pitcher has a bigger impact when few pitchers are striking out 200 batters or even pitching 200+ innings. When we prepare for this season’s drafts, it is important to identify impact players with each draft dictating a different opportunity. Once a Fantasy owner establishes his goals, he then needs to find a game plan to reach his targets. A drafter will do this by studying drafts, player rankings, ADPs, and paying attention to player trends.


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Shawn Childs
About Shawn Childs 408 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros.As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.