Blueprint To Victory: Fantasy Baseball Strategy Basics Part 1

Elliott SaltaresContributor IFebruary 22, 2011

We all want to win the league championship this season.

Sure, we play for fun, but we also want to win. Some of us are in leagues with cash prizes, and others just play for trophies. Ultimately the goal is the same ... VICTORY!

But what are we doing today to take home the trophy tomorrow?

I offer you all a little appetizer to get the ball rolling and help you realize that championship potential inside you. Every great endeavor, no matter how small, begins with the first step.

Know The League Settings. What categories count in your league’s scoring system? How many pitchers do you start? Does your league include holds? These are vital questions in determining your draft strategy. For instance, where should you draft starting arms if the pitching categories also reflect reliever performance?

Use Your Head. Most successful owners in fantasy have the same draft philosophy: a conservative approach backed by superlative knowledge. The smart owner targets consistency and reliability early on. In later rounds, this owner sets himself apart by drafting quality players instead of “taking shots in the dark.” With that in mind, be mindful of the risk in each of your selections. Do not let allegiances to your favorite teams sway you from the prize. Make choices with your head, and take reasonable risks. If you have prepped correctly, there will be no need to make assumptions.

Research; The Key To Victory. Be proactive and do your homework. Look for resources with columns and/or player news to keep baseball on the brain during the offseason and preseason. It will be helpful to look for a draft guide. If you go that route, find one you are comfortable with and one that will help you the most. If you are so inclined, feel free to create your own. Although luck and chance do play roles in your success during the course of the season, research is the easiest and most effective way to control your destiny. 

Form a Plan of Attack. Are you going to concentrate on K/BB and WHIP more than K's? Maybe you are planning to downplay speed and focus on power. Do you have a specific plan on what round to draft that first SP. Maybe you’ll take the best player available and worry about trading for position players later. Whatever the case may be, the important thing is that you have a game plan.

Tier and Target; Use a Mock. Ranking players is not an exact science, but it is very helpful in draft preparation. In addition to an "overall" list, rank players by position and split them up into tiers. On draft day, this will help you make your picks. In addition, it doesn't hurt to take part in a few mock drafts. Even if they don't use the same stat criteria as your league, they are great when it comes to gauging what round the talent you are targeting may be chosen.

If these first few morsels were but common knowledge to you, I tip my hat. These are notions that a fantasy veteran should definitely be familiar with.

This first part was indeed geared toward new owners. However the experienced should not discount what is written above either. As veterans, we tend to be set in our ways. We can be impatient, especially with newcomers. I ask you to offer this information to any new owners in your leagues.  We love to play, and we should nurture the newcomers so that they can eventually enjoy it as much as we do.

Far too many of us want a nice big league, but fail to put in the work to cultivate it.