When we last visited Slaughtergarde, the fantasy baseball league where all the statistics are fake, we were reeling from our disastrous draft. Few owners assembled the teams they were trying to; some of us felt lucky to escape with our lives.
Now that we are a few weeks in, some narratives are forming:
The Race To The Bottom
My coworker Ian nicknamed his team The Underwhelmers before it was clear just how terrible they are. Week one, out of 18 statistical categories, The Underwhelmers managed to take two. Still, they've battled back to a record of 64-96-2, good for last place in Blackmoor but not in the league. This performance is extra notable because Josh Johnson is on The Underwhelmers' roster, and he is one of Slaughtergarde's most valuable pitchers: his Fortitude and Moustache Quality are both top 10, and his Strength is an astonishing 211 (out of a possible 20).
In a stunt league, a stunt draft is a perfectly valid strategy. Sadly, my all-edible team plans were ruined on draft day (I still got Donnie Veal), but three of our owners managed exceptional stunt drafts, and two of them are playing well.
Saddled with the nickname Handsome Chris in real life, Chris' all handsome team has a comfortable lead in the Shadowdale division. And Liz's Deadly Pandas, made up entirely of Japanese players with the exception of Pablo Sandoval, are tearing up Blackmoor. But Annie's Magic Mikes, with their 100% legitimate roster of Napoli, Aviles, Moustakas, Olt, Carp, McKenry, Leake, Pelfrey, Adams, Fiers, Schwimmer, Gonzalez, and Dunn are a disappointing 49-111-2, already 63 games out of first place.
Cheaters always prosper
The blockbuster team in Slaughtergarde is Jordan's tribute to Kenny Powers, at 113-49-0. At first glance, Jordan's success looks to be the result of a strong draft and some good luck: he appears to have skipped some of the flashier stats, like Gold -- he loses that category every week, by a lot -- to build an otherwise powerhouse team. But Jordan has a secret: he is a gigantic cheater.
League rules demand a minimum of one injured and one minor league player. Because of difficulties drafting players outside of the regular fantasy draft pool, roster construction rules were relaxed for the first few weeks. This meant that teams were free to have too many players on their rosters, and have too many of them in active positions, without any penalty. Only Jordan appears to have recognized this and taken advantage. His roster warning page is a thing of beauty, covered in red letters and far too large numbers (NUMBER OF ACTIVE STARTING PITCHERS: 5 -- NUMBER OF ALLOWED ACTIVE STARTING PITCHERS: 2), and I feel like his ingenuity should be rewarded.
Up to a point.
As commissioner, I promised to make this league overly complicated. So here's the deal: cheating will be allowed indefinitely, but from time to time I will log in and switch on "illegal rosters score zero points for the week" for a few days, and then turn it back off.
As a league, we will become a giant game of Press Your Luck.
Until next time, I remain
Named for Hank
Commissioner / Dungeon Master