If you're an experienced Fantasy Baseball player who is looking for a new challenge this year, I strongly recommend the National Fantasy Baseball Championship -- or NFBC for short.
If you're not familiar with the NFBC, they've been offering the industry's premier high-stakes fantasy baseball contests since 2004. Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich lead a professional first-class organization that draws more and more participants each year. One of the main reasons that I think the NFBC is so successful is because Greg and Tom truly care about their participants. As the testimonials indicate, the NFBC's customer service is incomparable.
Last year was my first season playing the NFBC on my own, after I agreed to co-manage a team with friends a few years back to save costs. When Chris Olesen, Christopher Rodgers and I ponied up the $350 entrance fee for the NFBC Online Championship, I didn't really know what to expect. I had never split a team with anyone before, but the prospects of winning a five-figure overall prize was too good to pass up. Unfortunately, our team didn't perform to expectations thanks to a number of reasons -- mainly due to injuries to our star players and differences of opinion between three stubborn co-managers.
After a brief hiatus, I returned to the NFBC last year to partake in two leagues -- the Online Championship and the NFBC Draft Champions National Championship. While my Online Championship team fell short, placing third in my league out of 12 teams and 274th out of 1,140 teams overall, I did find success in the unique Draft Champions league format. I finished second in my league out of 15 teams and placed 161st out of 1,845 Draft Champions teams overall, which was far better than I expected considering it was my first time playing.
NFBC Draft Champions leagues are a great way to get your feet wet in higher-stakes leagues, but you should be aware of a few things before you sign up. First, you must have a deep knowledge of the MLB player pool since 750 players (15 teams x 50 rounds) are drafted in total. There are no in-season waiver acquisitions -- the 50 players you draft are the players you're stuck with for the entire season. Trading is also prohibited in NFBC as a means to prevent collusion. To give you an idea of how deep the player pool is, most minor league players who are expected to get a major league promotion during the upcoming season are selected, along with less-skilled MLB players who you'd never consider drafting in a typical standard league. To put the latter in perspective, Elliot Johnson was a 49th round pick of mine last year and I actually ended up starting him down the stretch for his stolen base contributions. Another trait that you'll need to participate in Draft Champions leagues is a certain degree of patience. Each participant has eight hours to make each pick. Not everyone uses the full eight hours -- I'd say most try to draft within three-to-thirty minutes of their turn when they're available in the draft room -- but it's important to note that the entire draft takes a couple of weeks to complete.
One of the biggest perks of participating in any NFBC league is the access you'll get to their ADP data. Considering the stakes that NFBC participants are playing for, there is simply no better ADP data available.
If the NFBC sounds like your cup of tea, I encourage you to sign up for the Online Championship or Draft Champions National Championship today. Of course, the NFBC offers other contests as well -- both live drafts and online, and for a wide variety of stakes -- but the "OC" and "DC" leagues are a great place to start. Not only will you get to test your fantasy baseball prowess against some the best players in the country, you'll have a great time doing it too.
Ryan Rufe booked his first fantasy sports win at age eleven. He’s a RotoBaller through and through and also contributes as an MLB Beat Writer for RotoWire.com. For more from him, follow him on Twitter @RyanRufe.