The fantasy baseball season is here upon us. We sit Six days away from the first pitch of the regular season and draft boards are filling in everywhere.
Today there are so many options for the fantasy baseball buff. There leagues of all kinds and sizes and competition levels from beginner to so called “expert”.
There are the standard rotisseries leagues, 5x5 leagues, points’ leagues, NL or AL only leagues, huge 20 plus team leagues, or even just a few buds getting together for some baseball talk and a few laughs.
There is no right or wrong, it comes down to pure personal preference. But, if you are going to play, you might as well win. After all, there is nothing like having bragging rights all winter.
Some prefer a live in person draft with all the fixings and of course tons of trash talk.
“Dude, Schilling retired you idiot!”
Others prefer a less personal online experience, these save gobs of time. The live online draft is a lot of fun, but you have to be ready!
With that in mind let’s take a look at the five biggest or most common mistakes fantasy players make.
You don’t prepare properly for the draft.
Many players simply don’t do anything and then make excuse after excuse as to why they take a beating each year. These are the same ones that usually lose interest and stop participating which can ruin the league.
Simply buying a magazine is not enough. Depending on the type of league and how serious the competition is, you must do much more. The internet has a wealth of information, and most everything you need is free somewhere.
A couple of suggestions (believe me, this is not rocket science boys and girls!):
Have depth charts of all the teams in front of you, and understand which players could easily slide from starter to backup or vice versa. I find the best way to do this is to list all teams, the starter and any player behind that player that could incur major playing time at some point. Think upside!
Have a list of each position again but this time ranked by best to worst, with dollar values attached if you use them.
Highlight players that you really want to shoot for and decide if you may have to jump a bit in the draft in order to get them. If so, they better produce!
Make a list of what you or someone that writes fantasy that you respect sees as sleepers, and decide if you can get maybe one or two of these guys. Don’t go crazy, because they are sleepers for a reason.
Target one or two rookies you think might make an impact or maybe even a prospect that you feel will come up at some point and help. You need to be careful here, especially with rookie pitchers, they tend to disappoint. And depending on the number of players allowed or the amount of teams in the league there may not be room for a rook.
The key point is make a plan and work it. Know the players, know who is hurt, know who lost a job or might soon, and look for those on the rise!
Draft your plan, but have a backup.
Once you have the prep done, the draft itself becomes more fun, and easier to manage. There is nothing worse than stumbling around in the fourth round wondering who you want!
The draft will rarely go the way you want, so have a backup! Too many players fall out of their chairs when the guy they wanted goes right before they pick, and they let it destroy their next few round. Move on, attack!
Decide for example when and where each player should go, and just because someone drafts a closer too early for example, it doesn’t mean you have to, stay with the plan.
Many times I see a player picked too early, the rookie catcher for example and you see a run on this position for the next three or four picks. Be happy this happens; it means better players are sliding!
Don’t fall in love with your players!
This is probably the most common mistake after lack of preparation. Some owners draft a guy and two minutes after the draft he is buying all his memorabilia, shirts, cards, and pictures on EBay.
Ok, maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. The player is a tool toward reaching your goal of winning. Don’t overate or fall in love with the player. It only hurts you in potential trading the guy down the road.
He is not your employee, or friend. You will make some great picks and some bad picks. It’s all part of the game. Don’t let your ego get in the way!
Don’t panic too early!
You don’t always get off to a great start and neither do your players. Good players will usually reach their career numbers. There will be sharks out there hunting and preying on the weak and meek. They will take advantage.
If your number one starter gets pounded in his first two starts, somebody will offer you a backup outfielder for him. Beware and be strong!
On the other hand, look for these situations where you can be the one taking advantage! But, play nice!
Always be looking to improve your team!
The first thing you should be looking at in the morning is the transaction wire, and the injury report! Certainly not how your guys did. You can’t control that, but you can get a jump on pickups for those injured, released or guys sent down to the minors.
You need to always be looking to improve the team, this is obviously more important in keeper leagues but never the less you want to catch the guy ahead of you!
Look at your strengths and try to match it up with a weakness on another team. Make an offer! What have you got to lose?
Most of all have fun; it’s a great game and gives all a reason to watch Royals–Mariners in August!