The 2009 baseball season is upon us.
Right now, fantasy fans are done with their drafts and are settling in with their new and exciting teams.
The first task, that of picking the right guys, is done, so here comes the daunting "part deux": managing your team.
All of us need a little help when it comes to this difficult job. Whether it's a closer report, injury updates, a list of minor leaguers, the names of some hot players, or just a waiver pickup, we all need a hand now and then. Most managers are probably searching out the best in-season information sites as we speak.
We have a few warnings, bits of advice, and recommendations for you.
But before I get started on this informative and fun soap-box rant, let me say that there are very few true experts in this industry.
Guys like Joe Sheehan, Ron Shandler, Cory Schwartz, and a few others can be classified as "genuine." The rest of us should call ourselves just fantasy baseball "analysts."
I think you have to earn being called an expert. Just putting up a website or leeching off someone else doesn't qualify a person.
Also, note that, in the end, we are all just guessing. Maybe my guess (or that of a true expert, like Ron Shandler) is more educated than the average Joe's, but it's still just that: a guess.
Everyone will have successes and failures; you should look at consistency for winnings. That is the ultimate formula.
Anyways, to the list of analysts to avoid. This might be awkward, and it's totally up to you to decide which analyst you think gives you the best chances to win your league.
However, there are guys out there that just aren't what they seem to be, and here is a fun way to spot them.
Avoid These Types of Analyst:
- The Extenze Expert
We've all seen those Extenze commercials, the ones for the pills that supposedly make you "more of a man."
In the commercials, they claim to have sold millions, billions, trillions of capsules. It sounds like an Obama budget. Then they interview guys off the street who says, "Oh yeah, I buy it."
They are full of crap, and so are fantasy baseball analysts who use the same marketing tactics. You will see guys who put up a site, fund it well, and get all their buddies to say how good they are. They may even tell you they've sold "thousands of draft kits" and are "the best ever."
To spot these frauds, ask yourself, "Have I ever heard of this guy?"
Better yet, Google search the analyst. If you don't find much, odds are he's a newbie disguising himself as a expert. You don't want to waste your time with that type.
Unless you like living life on the edge, that is.
- The Sabermetrics Expert
Listen. I know right now you're saying, "Here goes Todd again, bashing Sabermetrics."
You all know I don't trust the system, and it's for a good reason.
Any Sabermetrics expert will tell you that it was invented by Bill James and led the Red Sox to the World Series Championship in 2004. They are right, but still lying in a fashion.
Current Sabermetrics is a different beast from the brilliance of Bill James. They are right about the BoSox using the system, but it was actually Sabermetrics with scouting combined with huge payrolls and a great minor league system that won the World Series.
Sorry, but you just can't get all that in fantasy baseball. True Sabermetrics can't and wasn't designed for fantasy baseball because, in the fantasy game, there are just too many variables every season. That is the failure of the system and why I'll tell you to steer clear of the 100-percent devoted Sabermetric guys.
Come on, why would you calculate formulas that account for batting against more ace pitchers in one year over the next? And how about facing an improved lineup 19 times a year for a pitcher?
And formulas for playing with injuries, or better yet, weird weather?
Trust me, there are countless other variables you just can't account for, and that is the utter failure of Sabermetrics.
I know some believe in it. God bless them for trying.
- The "I'm With Him" Expert
This is a funny one and a short one.
You will get the guys who attach themselves to a well-known expert (one most likely paying him) and claim to be an instant expert themselves. How they support the relationship is by putting up a blog or the new hot item, a podcast on Blog Talk Radio.
Come on. All that you need to qualify for the BTR show is an e-mail address.
We recommend you check an analyst's fantasy resume. If it stacks up or he has years of service, maybe he's the real deal.
Don't go for the I play in NFBC crap. The NFBC is great, but it's tough to count that as true fantasy baseball. When you have $1,500 or $3,000 on the line, you aren't playing for fantasy baseball supremacy; you're gambling.
Trust me, people run their teams much differently when huge sums of money are on the line. I prefer leagues with trophies or small cash prizes. That way, the participants are focused on winning and not the bankroll.
If you want to make some dough, try Vegas. It's easier.
- The "Quantity of Quality" Proponent
Finally, you have the sites that think by having 20 writers, they are all of a sudden better. Not everyone can put together a awesome collection of writers like RotoExperts.com has, so buyer beware.
Lots of free information does equate to great analysis and probably can buy you a Big Mac. But again, make sure that the writers are real and have resumes.
And to clarify what I mean by "resumes": How about proof of actually winning, playing a long time, and the predictions they've made for the last year or two at least?
Here are a list of experts and sites we highly recommend:
The Fantasy Man, Mike Kuchera
Fighting Chance Fantasy
Advanced Fantasy Baseball
Chris Mulligan of Behind The Plate Fantasy
Geoff Stein of Mock Draft Central
Cory Schwartz of the famed Fantasy 411
Al Ohhara on FSRU.com
RC Rizza on Junkyardjake.com
The guys at KFFL
And, of course, myself, found at http://www.fantasybaseballsearch.com/
There are more, but in order to end this article, I'll leave the rest for you to find on your Easter Egg Hunt!
Todd "The True Guru" Farino