Wacky Leagues Week 2: Mike P Highlander Edition

Dave Cherman outs himself as a trader and the Mikes battle to the death

This week saw some pretty big shakeups across the standings in a couple of the leagues as managers got settled in and lineups really take shape. I also got to talk to the man himself, Myles Nelson about the past, present, and future of the Wacky Leagues.

Asher Dratel: Last season you gave a little background on how the Grand Theft Leagues got their start, where did you see that Vampire League? And how did you come up with the ideas for all of the other leagues?

Myles Nelson: I was listening to FBT by CBS and they did a little segment on some interesting leagues they had played in, including the Vampire League, which sounded like a fun twist but only for the one person who was the Vampire. For everyone else, it’s a normal league. And so I thought there had to be a better way to do that same concept, but where everyone gets to be part of the action, so rather than just the designated Vampire getting to steal a player, how about every winning team gets to steal a player. That’s where Grand Theft started and I’d say it’s arguably the most successful Wacky League so far, specifically because everyone can be part of the fun.

WorstBall was something I had been kicking around in my head for a while. I actually think I have a Reddit post on the fantasy baseball subreddit from the year before I joined Pitcher List trying to see if anyone out there was doing it. Because it sounded super fun, basically go out and try and put together the worst team possible that would actually still play every day. It takes a dedicated fantasy player who can also kind of see the humor in it to want to do WorstBall, so when I joined up with PL, I felt like it was a community that would really enjoy it.

I wish I could take credit for the other three Wacky Leagues. Guillotine Leagues were created for fantasy football by Paul Charchian, I suppose the most credit you could give me would be to say I adapted it for fantasy baseball. League of Leagues has also existed out there for a while now. But the Blind Draft was inspired by one of our own PL+ members. You’ll have to talk to him to find out whatever fever dream he had that led him to even putting it in the PL Discord, but he was pushing for a co-manager league of sorts and I thought it would be funny if we sort of gave it the Monkey Paw treatment. Yeah, you’ll get your co-manager, but you have no clue who they are and can’t communicate with them during the draft. We did our first one last year and I will admit, it ended up being far more hilarious and exciting than even I thought it would be.

Do you remember which member it was?

Oh yeah, Mr. Content himself, Christopher Reeves.

Of course it would be Reeves. The leagues have been running for a few years each now, right? Have you had to make any big changes to the formats as a result of unforeseen stuff coming up during the season?

Yeah, we started with the 2019 season, but that was just Grand Theft and WorstBall. We haven’t made any major changes to either, but we have tweaked both to try and make them the best they can be. With Grand Theft, we instituted a scaled protection system that made sure you didn’t lose Mike Trout in week 1 and just decimate your season from the get-go. But we were overly protective, for example back then you only had to make 5 players available for stealing in the month of April. Winning almost meant nothing because half the time the guy you stole hit the waiver wire within a week. So this year we started off with leaving nine players unprotected, which has worked out better so far. The players are good enough that it stings, but not so good that it shifts the balance of power too early in the year. We’ve messed around with the points system in WorstBall, and I think there’s still more tweaking to do. The first year, strikeouts (for hitters) were too valuable, so guys like Manny Machado were top-20 hitters despite also being very good players. It’s really hard to find the balance of rewarding crappy play, but having to make sure playing time matters, but also making sure that it doesn’t just become “who plays the most” in terms of who the best players are. Have to find that balance of playing time and also less than stellar performance.

Guillotine, League of Leagues, and Blind Draft are each in their second year now. No changes to Guillotine or LoL, but we did offer a new format for Blind Draft, that being the Best Ball format. Best Ball, for those who aren’t familiar, is draft and hold, absolutely no transactions in season. So how you perform in your season is entirely dependent on how you draft, which is when all the fun happens in a Blind Draft league. It also raises the stakes, if your co-manager drafts a player you don’t like in a regular league, it’s like okay whatever, I’ll eventually replace him on the waiver wire. But in Best Ball, you are stuck with him. Also, doing Best Ball allows us a way to literally grade every drafter. And actually see who was the better drafter for each team.

It’s kind of amazing how much I loved the BestBall team that Kyle and I drafted in our Blind Draft and we’re just wallowing around in last place now, but I guess that’s half the fun of the entire experience. Is there any specific quality or qualities you’ve found that makes for a successful Wacky manager?

The people who keep coming back every year are the ones who embrace the absurd and have fun with the format regardless of how well they perform. This isn’t the type of league you join to prove anything to anyone (well, maybe League of Leagues). No one is gonna run around flaunting their performance in Grand Theft like they do NFBC. But the people who enjoy it the most (which is how I would personally measure success) are the ones who are engaged in the league, talking trash, and having fun with all the random absurdities rather than getting caught up in the scoreboard. Sometimes you see people who are eliminated in week 2 of Guillotine still involved and engaged because they are invested in it and want to see how the league shakes out. That’s what it comes down to. If you play it straight up and just want to dominate week in and week out, you aren’t going to get the most out of it.

Has anybody gone into one of the leagues using a strategy that absolutely baffled you at first but ended up working out? I know in Guillotine last year in the final week one of the managers sat his entire offense and went through a ton of pitchers, can you think of anything else like that?

That’s a good question. The pitcher strategy in Guillotine definitely comes to mind. But other than that, I don’t think anything has really surprised me that wasn’t just differing player evaluations. There are always players that are dragged in WorstBall that make me raise my eyebrows, but that’s just because I think the player is better than that manager does. That’s not to say there aren’t different strategies, but they all have made sense to me.

Like, sticking with WorstBall, I tend to put more weight into job security, so the back half of my pitching staff usually looks like half decent pitchers, but that’s because I don’t want to target the guys who will be out of the rotation after a bad start or two like other people do. There will always be a team or two in Blind Draft that just tries to make their partner make the boring picks like closers and catcher, and they’ll try to have all the fun of drafting the up-and-coming (but polarizing) hitters. I think that is the best part of the Wacky Leagues, the changes in format mean you can throw out draft guides and rankings, so everyone has to come up with strategies and rankings on their own, and it’s interesting to see how different people adjust.

I especially find it incredibly difficult to prep for WorstBall since you can’t just take your normal sheet and flip the sort order since you need that playing time…

Right? So all of a sudden you’re looking team by team for who the projected starters are, looking at their K% and slugging percentage, seeing who has unwieldy contracts that usually force teams into playing certain players, looking for top defensive players that won’t get benched even if they can’t hit. There’s a lot of extra work that goes into ranking WorstBall players.

And then beyond that, when you are drafting, you’re also kind of playing chicken with everyone else. Like, I know I think this hitter is going to massively valuable, but is everyone else in on him? Can I wait till next round to grab him?

Yeah the ADP for every player in WorstBall is just a ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah exactly! There’s no ADP, absolutely nothing to kind of try and anchor your own thought process.

You also added the SP Only league this year which, aside from just being a totally insane idea, requires you to manually go through and adjust scoring every week. What made you want to do that format so bad?

First of all, I want to give credit to writer and In the Deep podcaster Jordan White for being the one to have the idea for the league. It was during one of our typical Discord debates about the DH, and it occurred to Jordan that this might be the last year where pitchers will hit. So we need to have a league where we capture their hitting stats. And come on, who doesn’t love seeing a pitcher smack a dinger, or drive in a run? It’s one of life’s great joys, like finding an accidental curly fry when you ordered regular fries. So let’s do what we do for literally everything else in sports, and turn it into a fantasy sport.

And given the amount of manual labor involved in that league, I’m almost afraid to ask this but: Do you have any other formats that you want to try but simply aren’t supported by the limited options for hosts at this point? I feel like if I could wave a magic wand my choice would be to somehow rationalize all of the LoL sports into one normalized scoring system so you just have one league that runs all year and you have to manage the whole roster in one place at one time.

Yeah, that definitely comes to mind, because right now it does just feel like 12 teams playing three different leagues together. Not like one consolidated three-sport league. Imagine how wild it would get when the leagues overlap? You’re losing a week in November because your opponent’s wide receivers had a Thursday Night Football performance and you respond by picking up a shooting guard who’s getting more minutes and has been on a hot streak lately. That’s what LoL should be about.

But I will say, I have not been denied starting any Wacky League concept. Where there’s a will, there’s been a way. Are there ways we could improve the experience for our players for each of these leagues? Absolutely. How great would it be to designate your protected players right in your lineup for Grand Theft? But I have been able to run every idea that has come up thus far.

Speaking of LoL, do you know of anybody doing this kind of Wacky League stuff in other sports? I knew about a wild Calvinball football league that used to be run by some guys on the SomethingAwful forums where new scoring and positions could change every week, and you said that the Guillotine format came from the football world, but I feel like there’s something unique to the obsessive nature of fantasy baseball players that really lends itself to this kind of thing

Yeah I mean there’s obviously Guillotine for football, and we do Grand Theft and Guillotine leagues at QB List. We tried WorstBall, but it’s much harder for football because if a player doesn’t do well, they sit him. Also not as many negative stats so just became difficult to quantify that kind of stuff. We are also 100% doing Blind Drafts for QB List this year, and I’m honestly mad at myself that I didn’t do it last year but I blame COVID and the fact that baseball and football started at pretty much the same time last year.

But I haven’t heard of or seen anyone else doing these kinds of unique leagues with this kind of regulation and coordination. Obviously, there are some people playing home leagues out there with their own unique twists, I’ve had people tell me about the WorstBall league they played in or some form of a Grand Theft, but I haven’t seen these formats show up elsewhere yet in the way that we are doing them.

If there’s anybody out there on the fence about joining PL+ and getting in on this action, what would you say to them?

The Wacky Leagues are the most fun I’ve ever had playing fantasy baseball, and there’s a reason why most people that play them come back year after year to keep playing. They add just enough of a twist that it gives you that freedom and creativity to try new things, new strategies, and keep it fresh, while at the same time it’s still fantasy baseball at its core, so still very comfortable. So yeah, I’d say to anyone who wants to join a Wacky League, do it, because you just might love it.

And is there just anything else you want to say about this insane little sub-community you’ve built?

First of all, I haven’t built anything haha. This community was built by Nick Pollack and all the amazing stuff he’s done. I’ve just distracted a small army of staffers and community members into this weird alternate universe of fantasy baseball. But this sub-community is a ton of fun and it’s honestly such a great part, it really adds a layer to the smack talk because in some of these leagues there are real stakes on a weekly basis. And so it becomes an added bonus to this six-month marathon that is fantasy baseball, to have this community of people who love the sport enough to add these Wacky Leagues to their plate and to be so invested and engaged in it. It’s really incredible and I’m very very lucky that I found a community where these leagues would thrive in.

My thanks to Myles for taking the time out of his day to chat with me, and also thanks to all of the tireless commissioners/managers who are helping us all to run the Wacky Leagues this season. You the real MVPs.

These leagues are made up of a mix of PL staffers and PL+ members, so if you haven’t already, head on over to the PL+ sign up page and get on the Discord so you can start prepping for the 2022 Wacky Season.


The Guillotine Leagues


insert sad trombone here


Another week, another two managers losing their heads. In league 1, it was Mike P who found himself at the bottom of the standings, as Mike Perugini looked on doing that “Good, gooooood” thing that Emperor Palpatine loves to do. Despite a wonderful 2-start performance from Marcus Stroman, Mike P’s team scuffled around him, and now his loss is our gain. I say “our” because I have set a new personal record for Guillotine longevity, making it all the way to week three! Who would have thought such a thing was possible?!

I’ve been rather conservative with my FAAB bids so far, but I still snagged Sandy Alcantara for $250 to help bolster my middling rotation. Jose Berrios and Pete Alonso each went for $200, both to Kyle Sieler. Kyle also snagged the aforementioned Stroman for $180, which now that I’m looking at it, is probably a price several of us should have beaten. The real bid-getter this week was, surprisingly, Cody Bellinger, going to Jeremy Siegel for an eye-watering $388. That’s a lot of money to spend on a guy who will not be helping you win weeks for a good while yet.

In League 2 we say goodbye to Tina Yu, who retroactively declared her last words to be “I think I’m team live-and-die-by-your-pitchers.” We can all see which option they ended up going with. It’s also worth noting that our illustrious leader Nick Pollack lived up to his team name of I’m In Danger as an utterly disastrous outing from Patrick Corbin netted him -21.50 points and saw him hovering fewer than 20 points away from elimination. 

Tina’s demise set off a feeding frenzy on the board Monday night, with Walker Buehler commanding a $502 price, paid by ZappyAlex. Jordan White opened up his wallet as well, paying $408 for Anthony Rendon, who is also currently on the IL. An interesting move for a manager who is, as of Tuesday night, in last place in his league. Ominous.


As usual, the standings reset this week and it’s a tabula rasa for every manager, but I know all you really care about is seeing me make it to week four, and I thank you for your support.


Grand Theft Baseball


An odd occurrence last week in Grand Theft 4, as Dave Cherman decided to sell low on Keston Hiura in a trade. Literally, he went onto Discord and said “Anyone wanna buy low on Hiura?” And Mike Perugini took him up on it, sending Clayton Kershaw in return for Hiura and Ian Anderson, which strikes me as a shockingly balanced trade in a league where you can outright steal from each other.

Over in League 1, we had a tie between Donny Moskovits and Ben Bingham, which means they both get to steal from each other. In an example of perfectly symmetrical violence never solving anything, they both stole each other’s closers. Donny absconded with Mark Melancon while Ben made off with Craig Kimbrel. Balance, in all things.


And here are some of the other notable steals from around the leagues:

League 1: Allen Vaughan stole Jazz Chisholm Jr./b> from Justin Redler, who is now definitely lacking swag in his lineup.

League 2: Here’s a good example of why Myles called Christopher Reeves Mr. Content: “We respect a short king over here. I’ll take Marcus Stroman.”

League 3: Avery Meyer and Charlie Butcher tied, but I think Charlie got the upper hand here by stealing Jack Flaherty to Avery’s Gavin Lux. Meanwhile, Myles Nelson lost his catcher again, as Matt Nielson took his Yadier Molina to backfill a Gary Sanchez injury that ended up being actually a short DTD issue.

League 4: SABRtoothTiger stole himself Jesse Winker, which is just a good solid player to have around if you ask me.

Grand Theft Baseball Standings




Categories: Nicole Cahill had her backup CI/OF straight up retire on her as Jay Bruce decided it was time to hang up his spikes on Sunday. That’s gotta be a first for the league, although it does speak highly of her ability to spot talent in this format. Last week, it was I who fell victim to the weekly locks, with more than half of my offense on the IL, although I did still manage to win the ratio categories. My pitching proved to be far too cromulent, however, as I dropped the week 5-2 to Justin Paradis.

Points: Myles made the mistake of running Carlos Rodon out there, which meant a whopping -28.50 points for him last Wednesday. A no-hitter is a real no-no in WorstBall. Myles did still manage to eke out the win for the week by a single point, though! It was Jeremy Siegel who put up the highest score in the league last week, headlined by a 38.50 point week from Franmil Reyes.

WorstBall Standings


SP Only


Justin Paradis maintains his position at the top of the standings, as it turns out that having a dude like Shohei Ohtani really does help in this format. Jacob deGrom’s pure incandescent need to be his own run support is also helping, as he is sporting a .571 OBP. Scott Sieber is at the bottom of the standings as his staff has had two members simply not play yet this season (MacKenzie Gore and Dinelson Lamet,) while those who have combined for zeros across the board with one sacrifice hit, which counts against your score here.

Fun fact: Pitchers as a whole are rocking a 47.2% k-rate this season!

SP Only Standings

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Asher Dratel

Asher hails from Brooklyn, wears a 2008 Joba Chamberlain jersey to every Yankees game he attends, and pronounces BABIP funny. Appreciator of Beefy Lad dingers and beers. @asherd.bsky.social on Bluesky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *