Well another Fantasy Baseball season is upon us, and I'm sure most of you are preparing quite hard right now for your upcoming drafts. Some of the cabin fever baseball diehards may have already drafted and many others are hitting the mock draft scene (check out www.mockdraftcentral.com) on a nightly basis to help finalize your draft boards.
I personally like to wait right up until the last two weeks before the season starts to make sure I have taken in the spring games, know player injury status and have a good feeling about how the teams will set their rosters for the season. Remember patience is a virtue!!
The below tips are meant for first time fantasy baseball players. It's even a good reminder for owners who have played before, but forgotten key elements to playing the game. Either way, hope you win in 2011!
1) Do your research. Buy draft guides and compare all the experts opinions. How about starting right here with The Fantasy Fix 2011 Baseball Draft Kit.
2) Choose a league you will have fun in. There are many to choose from (Mixed, A.L. only or N.L. only). Do you want to try a keeper or dynasty type league? Know your options and go with a type of league you have some knowledge about.
3) Know your league rules BEFORE you draft. I can't tell you how many live drafts I've been in where 2-3 guys have no idea if they are in head-to-head leagues, total points or a Rotisserie league. Know the rules and draft accordingly!
4) Do the scoring rules put more prominence on pitching or hitting stats? How many players do we draft? What positions do we start in our lineups? Is there a injured reserve spot on my roster etc.. Can I draft 12 pitchers out of 21 roster spots or do I have requirements to draft at a certain position? All these questions you must know the answer to going into the draft.
5) Have a draft plan going in, but be flexible so you are prepared for something to happen you didn't plan on. I don't care how many mock drafts you do, it always seems that the league your actual draft is taking place in it never goes like the mocks. Be prepared and when in doubt take the next best player on your list!
6) Do not "fall in love" with certain players that have helped you in the past or are on your favorite team. This is sure fire disaster waiting to happen. If Derek Jeter is your favorite SS, that still doesn't warrant taking him in the first round. Be patient and be prepared that you may not get him this year.
7) How and who to draft is your choice, but I can tell you that small ball, batting average and steals do not win head to head leagues. You want power and RBI guys, those stats out produce the others hands down. Some leagues do punish players for striking out though, so keep that in mind. Pitching is also key—try loading up on two-start pitchers with good match-ups each week in head-to-head formats.
8) Once your draft is over, the great team owners know how to win with waiver wire pickups, trading and putting in the right lineup each week. Keep an eye out for the Carlos Gonzalez's of 2011 (picked him up in two CBS leagues off waivers last year) or the Daniel Hudson's of the world. Be active and check the game stats daily.
9) Keep relationships with other owners of your league at a high level. You will be offered some bone-head trades and the first thing you will want to do is scold the other guy, but don't. If you see a trade you deem is fair for two other owners in your league, do not veto it to be spiteful because it may come back to bite you. Happy owners will be more willing to trade with you, and accept and approve the trades you are making with others, so keep it POSITIVE!
10) Remember above all else to keep things in perspective, this is just a GAME! Life is full of ups and downs and the sun will rise again tomorrow. It will be OK when your number one pick, Roy Halladay, comes out after eight shutout innings with a one run lead and then Brad Lidge promptly blows the save. It happens all the time.
Written exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com by John Marino