How can I pick 3 teams that will give me the best chance to win my league? This is the most challenging Bandwagon Fantasy Sports league as there is no room for error. Each draft pick needs to perform. There are two schools of thought here: $3, $2, and $1 or $2, $2, and $2. I’m afraid of drafting three $2 teams because if one of them falters, I’m stuck in the cellar with the worst teams available. Instead I’d rather draft one elite team and take my chances on the other two teams. So who is my Holy Trinity of teams?
SALARY CAP: $6
SD, TOR, and BOS = $6
$3 Team: San Diego Padres
I expect most BWFS users to snag the Dodgers with this 1st spot, so I’m going to throw a curveball. The Padres are loaded in 2021 and I’m banking on their success to amass 100 – 102 wins (fingers crossed). The additions of Yu Darvish and Blake Snell bolster an already strong pitching staff. 2020’s injuries to Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet hurt this club’s chances, but this year, the Padres’ rotation figures to contend with the Yankees as the best in the MLB. Top prospect, MacKenzie Gore is waiting in the wings to help out as needed. Throw that rotation in front of an elite bullpen and the Padres figure to shut teams down all year.
San Diego also features a superb lineup – a great mix of talent from 1 to 9. Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis finished 3rd and 4th in last year’s MVP vote. I believe Tatis might take that honor in 2021 and lead this offense to a very productive year. Machado continues to put impressive numbers, with 16 homers and a .950 OPS last year in a shortened season. Other highlights include Trent Grisham and Austin Nola.
The Padres are pushing in their chips and are “all in” this year, after a disappointing end to 2020. I’m all in on their pitching staff and hope to ride them all the way to the World Series.
Honorable Mention: New York Yankees / Los Angeles Dodgers
I’m crazy not to pick one of these teams, right?
$2 Team: Toronto Blue Jays
The $2 Tier is full of Wild Card contenders, .500 teams, and teams that will disappoint this year. Of the teams available, the Blue Jays have the best shot at making the postseason. I don’t believe they will take the AL East, as I think that spot is reserved for the Yankees. I am buying the Blue Jays leapfrogging over the Rays to take 2nd in the East and a Wild Card bid.
The leader of Toronto’s pitching staff is Hyun Jin Ryu – a stellar performer who figures to make his way into the Cy Young conversation again. The rest of the staff is very solid, featuring Tanner Roark and Nate Pearson. Their starters should amass quite a few wins and make it easy on the bullpen. The pen is deep and the Blue Jays should be able to ride the hot hand to plenty of victories.
George Springer was a huge off-season pick up for Toronto. He’s a bona fide star that might hit 40 homers in this loaded line up. Cavan Biggio, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk should be hitting bombs all year so expect the balls to be flying out of Toronto (or Buffalo, or wherever they’re playing this year).
The Blue Jays are my most important pick for the 3 Team League. I need them to gather enough wins in the first half of the season to keep me near the leaderboard, then trade them in for the Yankees mid-season.
Honorable Mention: Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers should challenge the Cubs and Cardinals for the NL Central. They probably have a better chance of taking their division than the Blue Jays, but I’ll take Toronto in overall wins over Milwaukee.
$1 Team: Boston Red Sox
I’m not happy about picking the Red Sox – they have a lot of issues. Eduardo Rodriguez missed all of last year dur to an illness related to Covid. If he can return to form, he should be able to lead an average rotation. Nathan Eovaldi also has injury issues, but if he can remain healthy, he can be a consistent #2 starter.
One more “if he’s healthy” starter is Garrett Richards… a very talented RHP with a lot of upside.
Some of the leaders in their lineup include J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogards and Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe projects to tally quite a few long balls in 2021.
One of their most interesting storylines for this year is the return of manager Alex Cora. Hey, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. Listen for banging trashcans in Fenway this year – it might mean the Red Sox actually want to be on the field this year.
I guess I’m drafting Boston because everyone else is so down on them. These are professional baseball players and Boston’s a big market. They have to perform well… right?
Honorable Mention: Kansas City Royals
If the Red Sox struggle early, I’m flipping them for the Royals. They have a little more consistency that should equate to wins.
The Padres, Blue Jays, and Red Sox are gutsy picks for different reasons. San Diego is an excellent team, they just happen to be 120 miles down the coast from a better team. If the Blue Jays weren’t in the AL East, I’d be higher on them. But I love their pitching staff, so I’m drafting Toronto. Boston is my biggest gamble. I’m hoping that no one else in my league drafts them and they surprise everyone. As usual, my hope is to hold the higher tier team and trade up the lower teams. Here’s my prediction for the teams I hold at the end of the season:
1. San Diego Padres
2. New York Yankees
3. Chicago White Sox
I believe the White Sox will underperform this year, but still make the Wild Card. Here’s hoping that I can carry 3 teams into the playoffs and ride two of them to the World Series.