The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

2022 Las Vegas Main Event Fantasy Baseball Recap

For the first time in 22 years of playing fantasy baseball, I made the trek out to Las Vegas for the annual NFBC (National Fantasy Baseball Championship) Main Event draft. For the uninitiated, the Main Event is a 15-team 5×5 roto league that costs $1750 per entry. You can sign up for as many leagues as you want if you have the scratch to do so. First place in an individual Main Event league takes home $7000. However, there is also an overall prize that encompasses the collective entirety of all the Main Event leagues. Last year there were 645 teams competing for the overall. That overall prize nets you $175,000! Now you know how much is at stake and why it attracts the biggest whales in the fantasy industry.

Rejoice! There will be baseball in 2022! Why not celebrate with one of our Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!

My Introduction

Last year was my first time in the Main Event. I took home 3rd place in my league which gets you your money back. I have NEVER been happier to finish in third in a fantasy league! I signed up last year after a lot of trepidation about committing $1700 to a fantasy venture. I am not a wealthy man by any means, so I spent a lot of time last offseason considering if I was worthy and if I could justify the sticker price. After a lot of feedback from people in the fantasy baseball industry encouraging me to give it a shot, I took the plunge! I was asked by a few people who were acquaintances on Twitter to co-manage a team so it would be more manageable financially. Unfortunately, I did not have much experience co-managing a team coming into the 2021 season. I had to decline those offers. Full disclosure though, I was hesitant to manage a team with someone I didn’t know very well. What if we have constant disagreements or we have completely different takes on which players we needed to pick up for FAAB? It was too much money on the table to risk running a team with someone I was unsure of as a fantasy player. I ended up signing up solo. I encourage you to do the same if you can find the means to do so.

The Opening Bell

The Main Event weekend is a big-time spectacle! I flew in late Wednesday (I’m such a horrendous flyer). My Main Event league draft wasn’t until Saturday morning at 11AM local time. The first Main Event drafts were conducted on Thursday afternoon. They took place in the designated conference rooms of the upscale Bellagio Hotel & Casino. I’m way too poor to be worthy of the Bellagio, so my accommodations were sleeping on the floor of a suite at Vdara which is next door and connected through walking bridges to the Bellagio. Shout-out to my guys Dave McDonald, Jake Halusker, and Tony DiVincenzo from the Rotosaurus fantasy baseball crew for the comfy quarters. If you feel the fever to check out Vegas or participate in 2023, Vdara is the efficient play for its reasonable price and ideal location. To be clear, I wasn’t paid to say that.

Those drafts on Thursday set the tone for the rest of the Main Events to come. ADP gets changed drastically and someone will do something that is unexpected that creates a buzz around the complex. This year that honor belongs to Dave Shovein. I met Dave for the first time in Vegas and it turns out he lives 25 minutes away from me here in the Detroit area. The honor bestowed upon him was being known as the guy who took Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks with his first two picks. Those selections had the entire scene buzzing with great curiosity! It’s the prime example of the uncertainty you will encounter at the Main Event.

There were also other drafts taking place over the three days I was there. Auction leagues were a sight to see! They move fast and the NFBC always provides a moderator for every condoned draft during the weekend. I am not one of those people who likes to watch other people do speed runs on their favorite video game on Twitch. I’m a doer. I want to be in the action as opposed to being entertained by it. Yet, observing the auction drafts had me enthralled! Players are flying off the board while people bid and nominate player after player. I saw Ty France go for $7 in one auction I witnessed. Context is crucial with auction drafts because you don’t know how much of their budget someone has already spent or how much they have left. Still, I was shocked that Ty France would go for that low of a price (standard auction budget is $260). He is going to rake this year in a very healthy Seattle lineup.

Each draft has its own projector displaying the draft board on a massive 15 by 15 foot screen in each respective conference room. The NFBC also provides first-class service. Every draft room had tin buckets of cold beer on ice and a buffet of treats lined up in sterling silver chafing dishes. Don’t touch that stuff though if you’re not in that actual draft. That was a serious breach I was taught early on in my trip. Meanwhile more faces pop in with big grins on their faces that appear to be fueled by the excitement of their coming drafts. I met too many people to count here. With covid limiting our social interactions the last two years, I felt a strong sense of community and connection with every person I encountered. As a first-timer at this event, I had not met most of the people in person. Our only interactions were through Twitter or podcasting. I met Phil Dussault the reigning overall Main Event winner, Rob Silver of the Launch Angle pod who is also a former overall winner, Vlad Sedler the FAAB whisperer and so many more outstanding human beings!

Friday Night Midnight Madness

I had heard for a couple years now that a guy who goes by the name Mike The Mouth (not the poker player) threw a big shindig every year on Friday night at a suite in the Bellagio. The party, which was filled with plenty of booze and top-shelf eats like chicken wings, culminated in a fantasy baseball draft at midnight local time. I had signed up for this draft prior on NFBC even though I knew my Main Event draft was the following morning. The Midnight Madness is a 12-team 5×5 roto league with a $750 entry fee. No overall. Winner takes home $6000 and second place gets $2000. That’s it for prizes. My competitors included fantasy baseball luminaries like Zack Waxman of the Draft Champions podcast. This was a sanctioned, legitimate NFBC draft that even had a moderator running the draft board (thanks Darik!).

After endless conversations with fresh faces for three hours straight, it was time to sit down for the draft. Problem was though one dude was missing in action so we couldn’t start until he arrived. There was a rumor he was passed out somewhere. All I knew though was the clock was ticking and I did not want to stay up until 4AM with the biggest event of my draft season starting at 11AM. Fortunately, they tracked that fella down and the draft commenced around 12:20AM. The other kicker for this event is you draw your spot in the draft 5 minutes before we start. This leaves no time to prep from a specific drafting spot. I ended up with the 3rd pick.  I took Juan Soto and from there we were off. I was told it was the most efficient and timely Midnight Madness draft of all time. In the end, I was glad I had the drafting practice before the big draft in the morning.

The Main Event Draft

My Main Event league is loaded with tons of elite players and personalities from the realm of fantasy baseball. I had the 14th pick, which was my second to last choice in KDS. For those that are unfamiliar with KDS, it’s a system that allows you to put all 15 picks in the draft in order of preference. For example, if you believe drafting from the middle provides the place where you can get most of your targeted guys, then you would put pick 7 as your number one choice and go down from there. Having 14 as my second to last choice tells you I didn’t prefer to draft there. It doesn’t though. In the end we all have to draft the same number of players to our roster. No excuses!

As I said, my draft was loaded. I sat next to Paul Sporer who had the 15th pick. It was a lot of fun to snipe him! Our league also included Justin Mason, Jeff Zimmerman, Dalton Del Don, Scott Jenstad and 2021 Main Event overall runner-up Emmett Ruland. Someone has to finish last in this league and odds are it will be someone who doesn’t deserve it.

There was a big speech and introduction of NFBC hall of famers from the past and present. There is a deep sense of community in that sphere. It was magnified even more by the lost time during the pandemic which seemed to only increase the sense of gratitude of everybody in the room. After the pomp and circumstance, the drafts commenced. Imagine this: there are 7 different leagues drafting simultaneously. Each one has a moderator and a draft board. One veteran Main Event wizard told me on Thursday that I needed to be wary of getting caught up on hearing the other draft picks get called out as I drafted. Every moderator announces every single pick of each draft. If you can picture it, the scene is quite a spectacle! You can get caught up in the moment and possibly be unconsciously influenced by what you hear from the other moderators. Remember, you only have one minutes to make your pick. Sure you have plenty of time in between, but the moment can creep up on you suddenly.

I watched as the draft got under way. Our moderator Brady was excellent. He started by standing in front of Scott Jenstad who had the first pick. He announced Trea Turner and then he moved on to Dalton Del Don and so on. I watched for a moment with pure fascination, but then I realized I needed to be prepared for my guy Ozzie Albies to not be there. I would have loved to have gotten Shohei Ohtani at the 14th pick, but that was fantasy land. As Brady inched closer to me, the picks flew off the board. In a flash, Brady was standing before me asking me for my selection. I could have taken Ronald Acuna right then and there, but I decided to go with his teammate Ozzie Albies. This made Paul Sporer scream out in frustration. I had just executed my first snipe of Paul and it was all that I hoped it would be! Paul made two selections at the wheel and then it was my turn once more. Again, I passed on Acuna and decided to take the legend himself Mike Trout. Brady announced my choice with a quick quip, which he almost always did to keep himself entertained.

The pregame jitters were now gone. I felt like a pitcher who just got through his first inning unscathed in a playoff game. It was all business from there. If you want to see my complete draft board, click here. The draft provided a break after every set of 10 rounds. Each break gave me a chance to identify the areas where I could score value while filling certain needs. Those breaks also gave me a chance to wonder why I made certain selections. An example was my selection of Connor Joe after I had just taken 2 straight outfielders. I wished I had selected my favorite for the closer job in Miami, Anthony Bender. Instead, Dalton Del Don chose him at the end of the 20th round where I had taken Connor Joe earlier. There was nothing I could do about it. That’s part of the experience of live drafting. You are all alone to make a choice within a minute inside of a gigantic conference area at the Bellagio. Drafting from the comfort of my office chair in my underwear is certainly less stressful. Yet, the experience of flying out to Las Vegas meeting knowledgable people and feeling the exhilaration of sniping people while missing out on players as ADP is thrown out the window has no price tag on it. If you’re dominating your home league year after year and you often wonder if you have what it takes to compete with some of the best in the biz, it’s time to make plans to come to Las Vegas in 2023.

Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites over the last few years, and we’re not stopping now. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.