‘Big Board’ Draft Assistant Tutorial
So you’re considering purchasing the 2015 Fantasy Baseball ‘Big Board’ Draft Assistant. This tutorial will give you an idea of how it works and also how to set it up just right if you do purchase it.. Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be ready for draft day in no time.
I’ve seen enough. I want to purchase the “Big Board” Fantasy Baseball Draft Assistant!
After opening the Big Board for the first time in Excel, you should see this:
Click “Enable Editing” and then “Enable Content” to get everything started. Click the “Settings” button up top and the settings window will pop up:
(1) Set up the lineups used in your league. ESPN standard league lineups are loaded by default.
(2) Hitter % controls what percentage of your budget goes to hitters (the rest goes to pitchers). Most rankings sources use something around 67-70%. Shift this up or down if you want to go more or less pitcher heavy.Budget, Teams, and League should be self-explanatory.
(3) These adjustments make tweaks to the default projections. For players projected for less than a full season of playing time, we can add some ‘replacement level production’ since you likely won’t leave your lineup spots empty if players aren’t playing. (Choose Yes to enable)
For this playing time adjustment, change the maximum # of plate appearances and innings pitched as desired. You may want to turn this lower if your waiver system makes it hard to pick players up frequently, or if you use weekly lineups.
The next two options in this box are highly recommended. Each projection system uses wildly different (and frequently inaccurate) methods for deciding on playing time. Selecting ‘Yes’ for these will apply the Steamer and Fangraphs’ Fans projected playing time for hitters and pitchers respectively. These are generally regarded as the best playing time estimators. Select No if you’d rather use the default playing time projections from your chosen projection system.
Last is inflation. For those unfamiliar, enabling this option will account for the actual remaining dollars during your auction draft. If teams are overspending, you’ll be able to get the remaining players cheaper, or vice versa, and the sheet will adjust player values accordingly.
(4) and (5) Select the relevant hitting and pitching categories for your league. The bottom checkboxes allow you to define custom categories, although you may have to provide projections of your own for custom stats.
(6) Choose the default projection system for all players. Options include Steamer, ZiPS, Fans, 2014, Custom, and Combo. Custom will pull projections from the “CustomH” and “CustomP” tabs (pre-loaded with 150 custom projections), and all other players will default to Steamer. Combo will pop up another window that allows you to assign weights to the various projection systems to create a mixed projection.
(7) Choose to display Ranks and ADPs from either ESPN, CBS, or Yahoo.
Click ‘OK’ to start a series of calculations and popups:
Click ‘Yes’ to get a popup to edit the team names for your league – easy enough! Press ‘No’ to skip. Team names can be manually changed on the Standings tab.
Click ‘Yes’ to set up a punting strategy (Click ‘No’ to skip it). The resulting popup is fairly self-explanatory, use the drop down to pick a category to punt, then click ‘Punt!’, selecting ‘Done’ when you’re finished punting categories. The sheet will generate a regular BigZ score in addition to a PuntZ score for each player.
Whew. All done. Your board is ready! Let’s look at what’s on it.
Sections of the Big Board
Best remaining – highest value undrafted player left on the board
Biggest position drop – largest difference between the best and second best players remaining at any given position
Best ESPN/Yahoo (next 20) – going by the remaining 20 highest ranked players (ESPN or Yahoo), finds which player is the highest valued on your board
Next Watched – finds the next highest valued player remaining on your watch list
Hit/Pitch Split – displays your chosen h/p split
PT Correction – displays your settings for playing time corrections for both hitters (H) and pitchers (P)
Team – H/P split of your currently drafted team
Taken – H/P split of all players taken
(2) Current round and pick, based on number of players marked as drafted
(3) Name, Pos., Age, Rank, and Pos. Rank are all static, but click on the “5x5z” header to get a dropdown selector to pick from BIGz, 5x5z, and PUNTz. BIGz is the Big Board player value tailored for your league, 5x5z is the value of players in your league if standard 5×5 categories were being used, and PUNTz is the modified version of BIGz we set up with certain categories punted. These values are displayed in units of $ (but don’t worry about that if you’re in a snake draft league). You’ll also notice the BIGAA, 5x5AA, and PUNTAA settings, which allow you to display the player values without replacement-level adjustments.
Bonus feature: to compare different z-scores side-by-side, you can use the dropdown in the “Rank” column to change it to BIGz, 5x5z, or PUNTz.
(4) Each row in the “Team” column has a dropdown selector to pick which team a player has been drafted to.(5) Ranks/ADPs from your chosen site.
$ – Use this column to enter the price paid for each player during the draft.
D – Use this column to mark ‘y’ for players you drafted and ‘n’ for players you didn’t. Players marked this way will be highlighted or crossed out appropriately.
Bonus:Highlight a player’s name and press “Ctrl”+”n” to mark him as drafted.
W – Use this column to build your watch list. Enter a ‘w’ for any player you’d like to track.
(1) – Keeps track of number of players drafted at each position and displays predicted # of starters at each position.
(2) – The top row represents your team’s projected performance in each category. The middle row is the projected average performance of all rostered players and is used as the ‘midpoint’ in the blue-to-red color scales for each category. The bottom row is the projected performance of players drafted to all other teams. The far left shows the total z-score for your team (broken into hitters/pitchers), an ideally split $260 team, and average z-score for all other drafted teams.
(3) – Each players projected stats show up in these columns. For leagues with more than 6×6 categories, the 7th+ will not be displayed, but will still count toward the calculated scores.
You may have also noticed that each column on the left has a filter button on it. This gives you some neat capabilities like quickly sorting by position. For instance, if you wanted to see OF players only, you could filter for that like so:
Big Board Tabs
Next, let’s step through the remaining tabs below which have all sorts of good stuff in them…
Just about what you’d expect of a standings page. The average age, projected z-score, $ spent, $ remaining, projections for each category, and ROTO score are all displayed here. AVG and STDEV of each are displayed for stat-heads. You can edit the team names on this page as well.
Each team’s roster is displayed here, scrolling left to right. Click the button to switch from expanded view to compact view.
(1) through (3) – Team name, number of players drafted, and projected total z-score of starters
(4) and (5) – Starters and reserve players, as determined by z-score.
(6) – The compact roster display easily shows which teams have drafted players at which positions. This is great for identifying whether your rivals are about to draft a certain position before you!
(7) – Projected total z-score of each team
(8) – Each square will be colored in as teams fill those positions in the draft. White squares represent empty positions. Grayed-out squares are lineup spots not used by your league.
(9) – A copy of the display on top of the Big Board shows # of players drafted at each position.
SEARCH & ROSTER
(1) and (2) – Choose to search by either Name or Position in the 1st box, and then enter your search in the 2nd. The remaining undrafted players that match your search will display in the rows below.
(3) – Every undrafted player you’ve marked with a ‘w’ back on the Big Board page will display here. Both of these lists are automatically sorted by z-score.
(4) – Your roster displays here (works the same as on the Teams page).
(5) – The number of players you’ve drafted, broken down into hitters/pitchers.
(6) – A visualized distribution of player values at each position. Each blue circle is a player. The black bars show the average value of above-replacement value players at each position, with a half standard deviation above and below. Use this to visually find tiers and get a sense for which positions are more/less valuable on average. As players are drafted, their circles are removed.
(7) – Enter which pick you have in a snake draft and the box below will show which picks you have and the approximate dollar value of each pick.
(1) – The best remaining players at each position are listed here, left to right.
(2) – The z-score for each player is listed in the columns left of the players’ names.
(3) – The difference in z-score between the best and next best remaining player at each position is listed in the columns right of the players’ names. Use this to look for big drops in player value coming up in the draft!
(4), (6) and (7) – Same as above, but now listed for each stat. Use this to quickly find which players can help you in the categories you’re lacking.
(5) – Use the dropdown selector in this box if you’re looking for a specific position. This example team needed to look for a 3rd baseman, so below we see what happens if we select ‘3B’ in the position box:
Yikes. Here be dragons. I’d say this is for advanced users only. The projections used for all players are housed here.
(1) – The categories relevant to your league are displayed here.
(2) – The BIGz, 5x5z, and PUNTz scores for each player.
(3) – Steamer’s projected plate appearances and at bats for each player. If the box on top is set to ‘On’ (something we set up in the initial settings page), these columns will be used instead of columns C and D.
(4) – Each row contains a dropdown selector which allows you to change individual players to other projection systems. (If you want to make a custom projection, select custom, and create a line for that player over on the “CustomH” tab)
(5) – Displays the automatically calculated replacement levels for each position. Shown visually at (8).
(6) – Displays the average value of above-replacement players at each position.
(7) – Displays the per-plate appearance bonus applied to players projected for less than a full season of playing time (as described in the initial settings page).
More projections. This time for pitchers!
(1) through (6) – About the same as before.
(7) – The per-inning bonus applied to players projected for less than a full season of playing time. The bonus applied for starters maxes out at the value defined in the initial settings (60 IP by default), while the bonus for relievers is ~1/3rd of that (20 IP by default). Press that fancy GO button to re-calculate your per-IP and per-PA bonuses.
(8) – The hit/pitch split conversion factors are all housed here. Press that fancy GO button to re-calculate them. In the bottom right, you’ll notice all the settings for your league are housed here. This is the low-tech place to update some of the settings!
This is my favorite part of the sheet because it’s where I get to disagree with the projection systems. There’s already a large number of custom projections entered into both of these with the stats that have been altered from the default Steamer projection highlighted in green. If you wish to edit any of these, it’s as easy as typing in a different number for the given player/stat. When the sheet is set to use “Custom” projections it will look here to see if you’ve made one for a player, and otherwise use Steamer (or whatever projection you’ve chosen in the HittersP/PitchersP tabs).
To add a new player, just add them at the bottom of the table. As a baseline, you may wish to copy the formulas from the “Steamer” row which will load in the default Steamer projections in every column for that player.
You can also use these tabs to load in other projection systems! Simply copy/paste into this sheet (make sure everything goes in the right columns) and the Big Board will do the rest.
The positions tab holds the names of every player along with their position eligibility (in ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo), their age, and their league. By default players are listed at their most valuable position of eligibility. Players whose eligibility in Yahoo is different from ESPN are highlighted. Be careful not to delete anything important in this page or you’ll break everything!
Lastly, there are three more buttons we never clicked on the BigBoard tab:
(1) Drop down menu to select the player you’d like to add. You can also type in names manually.
(2) Drop down menu to select player’s position
(3) List of players projected for significant playing time by steamer who aren’t currently listed. In this example, Rizzo and Bumgarner were deleted from the board. Click a name in this list to auto-fill it into the top box.Press ‘Add’ to add the selected player to the appropriate places in the Big Board.
Finally – the Sort button. I’m not even going to put a picture here because all it does is sort your BigBoard by z-score!
You’ve made it to the end. Good job. Now go win.