Fantasy Baseball Drafting: Five Secrets To Besting Your Opponents

Peter DouglasCorrespondent IApril 1, 2010

Remaining pre-Opening Day drafts are dwindling, and you’ll have to hurry if you’re going to gather an untainted fantasy roster. If you want a good one, you’ll need to skip the live-draft lobbies and register for one 24 hours in advance.

I seriously recommend CBS Sports Fantasy Baseball. Once you try it, you’re hooked. Yes, a partnership exists between CBS Sports and the Bleacher Report, but I’ve been a user at CBS far longer than I’ve been a writer at Bleacher.

Wherever you draft, here are five lessons I’d like to pass on from my most recent draft in a CBS Fantasy Commissioner League.

1.Download Applications and Check Compatibility Well in Advance

One of the guys drafting failed to run the standard compatibility check in advance. He needed to update his Flash. Yeah.

He had the third overall pick. Although he banked Roy Halladay, he would have much preferred Alex Rodriguez.

While we might debate the merits of taking one or the other, we can all agree that you don’t like showing up and finding your top pick was misapplied.

We all enjoy feeling as though we made that smart pick.

2. Take Ten Minutes to Preview the Site’s Rankings

I can’t tell you how many top players dropped into my fifth draft spot because those ahead of me over-trusted the default rankings.

I bagged Albert Pujols with the fifth overall. Then I snagged Mark Teixeira on the turn around.

CBS has excellent rankings for their scoring structures, but when you’re on the clock, you can’t effectively scan through more than fifty players.  What if you really need a reliever and only a few good ones are remaining, but they’re all beyond the top fifty sitting there?

You can easily miss them or, worse, panic and choose a name you know. Most of the time that name is no longer the ace he once was.

How many drafters will take Joe Nathan tomorrow? Yeah, we’ve all seen it happen.

Don’t be that guy.

CBS Sports in particular has a draft cheat sheet.

Download it to excel and highlight the players you want in advance.

3. Pick Your Battles

Whatever you do on draft day, you must have a strategy.

Several positions are thin. Others are flush. Top players are limited. You must decide where you’ll allocate your resources.

Do you take Tim Lincecum or Hanley Ramirez? Do you take the Ace or the rare power-hitting shortstop?

Set a bar for yourself and stick to it.

For example, I decided early not to pursue the handful of top middle infielders. I allowed Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, and many others to pass me by.

I planned out my roster in advance and knew I’d be happy with Jose Lopez at second base and Alcides Escobar at shortstop. Those two were my bar, and they allowed me to take Albert Pujols, Jon Lester, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Holliday, Tommy Hanson, and Carl Crawford with my top seven picks.

I got Lopez much later, and I actually got Jason Bartlett as well. Pleasantly pleased.

Fantasy is like real baseball in certain senses. At the Major League level you want to be at league average at all positions, and you want to be above average or elite at as many positions as possible.

Decide early where you will be elite and where you will be average. Stick with your plan.

4. Be a Leader, Not a Follower

Avoid trends.

You’re planning to pick one of the remaining top relievers with your next pick when the owner two spots ahead picks a catcher, another position you still need.

Then the owner directly ahead of you follows suit and picks up a catcher as well.

You’ll be tempted to do the same, but if you abandon your pursuit of that reliever and gamble he’ll still be there your next time around, you’ll lose everything.

You’ll get the third catcher and someone else will take your reliever.

Instead of Heath Bell, you end up with A.J. Pierzynski and Brandon Morrow.

5. Ignore the Chatter

Most people don’t have a clue what they’re doing on draft day, so be the one who does and don’t get riled up when someone calls you names and trash talks your first pick.

Like fifth-grade boys, drafters like to poke you until you trip. Stick to your guns and don’t succumb to peer pressure.

Remember, the proof is in the pudding, so focus on your plan and you’ll get the last laugh.

There's still time. Remember that you can save a fortune by drafting at CBS by following this link:

If you want to check out some of the things I'm talking about in my own league, feel free to check it out at:


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