As you enter your fantasy baseball draft, you need to know what league you are dealing with. Recently, I accidentally entered a daily transaction league and had to alter my draft and lineup setting strategy. If daily leagues are your thing, you need to do the same.
Flexibility is the word that should be floating in your mind as you draft. You need to understand several concepts. The first of which is that you still want to get your big sluggers early. These guys will carry your team throughout the season. They will play almost every day, and you want to have the best possible players playing as often as possible.
As for pitching, wait until the middle to late rounds of the draft for starters, and treat your closers like every day players and get them in the early-middle rounds. The value of the drafting of closers is up to you. If you feel that the top closer available when you pick in round four or five, is better than any hitter on the table, go get your closer. Otherwise, continue the drafting of major offensive talent.
Personally, I value top closers at a lower level than good hitters because closers don't necessarily play every day and good offensive players are almost guaranteed to play every day. As for starting pitchers, you want to wait until the end because most of the time, they won't be pitching two games a week and will waste a spot on your bench.
Back to flexibility for a second. The concept comes into play for two parts of your drafting strategy. First, and I can thank a fellow-fantasy player for this draft strategy, you will always leave at-least one roster spot open for a flexing pitcher; someone in the Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, or Wandy Rodriguez mold. This is a guy that you will be adding and dropping all of the time to get as many starts as your league allows per week.
Sure, a guy like this can burn you, but he could also pay off huge dividends. Second, guys who have eligibility at multiple positions have increased value in daily transaction leagues. There are four guys you want to target on draft day. I feel pretty good because in my draft, I nailed three of them.
I will list them in order of most valuable to least valuable and explain why:
1. Kevin Youkilis
This guy is a tremendous hitter who developed power last year. Not only is he a top tier hitting third baseman, but his numbers are not to shabby for a first baseman as well. On the days where your top first baseman is off, you can plug Youkilis in at first and move your backup third baseman into your lineup, and vise-versa.
2. Alexei Ramirez
This guy went in the third round of my draft; far earlier than I expected. He was the one guy I missed out on. He is good enough to be your every day 2B all year, but it seems that the ChiSox are plugging him in at SS this year. This means that for this fantasy year, he is eligible at 2B and SS; both very shallow positions. Ramirez has TREMENDOUS value and I hope you are able to land him.
3. Mark DeRosa
Some people will be worried that last year was a career year for DeRosa and that his numbers were the result of playing in hitter-friendly Wrigley Field. I am not one of those people. You cannot expect him to put up better numbers than his 21 home-runs, 87 RBI and 103 Runs-scored, but if those numbers dropped, they would still be pretty good.
It is fair to expect that his numbers would drop to the level of the two seasons prior to 2008 when he hit between 10-13 home-runs, about 70 RBIs, and about 65 runs-scored. Those numbers are pretty good for a guy who can play 2B, 3B, and OF for you. Draft Mark DeRosa!
4. Jorge Cantu
This is the riskiest of the four guys I mention here, but I have done three drafts, and Cantu was around in the last four rounds of all of them. So, what is really the risk? A 17th round pick not working out? I think you will live!
Anyway, he had a career year last year, and once again, the Marlins will count on him to hit in the middle of their order. But good news for you, Florida will count on him to produce at both 1B and 3B. In this league, Prince Fielder is my everyday 1B and Youkilis is my every day 3B, but I wouldn't be the least bit upset to plug Cantu into one of those spots during the days "Youk" or Prince do not have games.
I hope this helps!