Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Now that drafts are over and spring break is done, I should have more time to write. Not sure if I can continue day to day as I am looking for another job, but I should be able to post at least once a week. More on this later. Now, let's just enjoy the start of another season.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
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These are important numbers to have when trying to organize your team during the draft. If you select players which let you meet these numbers, you should do well to win your league.
Good luck on your drafts!
Friday, March 7, 2008
- The Early Rounds (1-5): At the end of the first five rounds you should have 2 power hitters (potential for 40 HRs), 1 five category guy, 1 SPs, and 1 good SB player with decent stats in at least one or two other categories. Due to our understanding of scarcity theory, we know that it will be best to grab the power hitters and five cat guy first, then look for an good SB guy and an SP. Now when I say you should grab a good SB guy with decent stats in other categories, I am talking about players such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, and Ichiro Suzuki. They always have lot’s of SB's, runs, and a good average, while putting up average stats when it comes to HR's and RBI's.
- The Early Middle Rounds (6-10): Once you have a solid base, you should target 2 more SPs, 1-2 saves guys, and make sure you have at least 1 other player with good SBs on your roster. Otherwise, continue to focus on power potential and guys who contribute in as many categories as possible.Typically in a draft, no more than 6-8 SP's will be off the board by Round 6, so there is still plenty of Pitching value available. At the same time, if you already drafted someone with top SB numbers in the early rounds (such as a Reyes or Crawford), you don't have to worry about picking up SBs in these early middle rounds, and can concentrate on finding more power.
- The Late Middle Rounds (11-16): Fill your all position needs. You want to make sure you have 2 RP's starting the season as closers. Although 2 closers usually will not be enough for the saves category, you can pick up help either in the late rounds by speculating on a player who is in a fight to be a closer, or by picking up someone after the season begins.
- The Late Rounds (17-21): Time to focus on sleeper prospects and pick up some additional SP's for depth. You should also consider grabbing any RP's who are either fighting to be a closer or has the potential to be a closer, But keep in mind there are always good SP's available in late rounds.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Having a successful draft in Fantasy Baseball has a lot in common with understanding our current spate of high gas prices: it's all about scarcity. The more scarce a certain type of player is, the more valuable he comes and the quicker he will be drafted.
While I have already talked about position scarcity, which will be especially important this year, there is another important type of scarcity which Fantasy managers need to consider: Category scarcity. In order to understand category scarcity it is important to group players based on the following categories which are the mainstay of the fantasy game: 1) Power (HR), 2) Speed (SB), 3) Starting pitchers (W, K, ERA<>
The best way to look at scarcity in categories is to see how easy it is to pick up a premium player of that type during the season:
- Saves are the easiest category to pick up after draft day. As the season progresses, many teams will change closers either due to injuries or ineffectiveness. This means there are ample opportunities for a perceptive manager to pick up saves.
- Speed is the next easiest category to find post-draft. As the season gets going, it's not hard to find someone who will steal 20-25 bases—heck if you really pay attention it's even possible to pick up a premium base stealer after the draft (just ask those who picked Hanley Ramirez last year).
- Starting pitchers are the third category group, and here things become a lot less certain once the draft is over. Truly dominant pitchers (ones who get Wins, Ks, and with a low ERA and WHIP) never come available during the season. But a good manager can pick up a 12-13 win pitcher with decent K's and reasonable ERA/WHIP once the season has started. Sometimes an ace is called up from the minors and sticks, other times a ace will emerge as the season progresses. At the very least, the categories present by a good SP can be had even as single contributions from just a solid Middle Reliever.
- With the exception of Ryan Braun last year, true power hitters (those who will hit 40 HRs) are damned near impossible to pick up from the waiver wire. But there are always several 25-30 HR guys available.
Of course there are several categories that I am not mentioning. Keep in mind that I am trying to demonstrate how easy it is to find quality players after the draft. By looking at scarcity in terms of categories, it becomes apparent that it isn’t impossible to make up for losses due to an injury, a freak accident, a bad year, or even a bad draft. While the line between different categories, especially between power hitters and speed players, is not absolute, it is always possible to find players to fill in where you are deficient. A good place to start is to consider players who pick up stats in several categories, since those players become increasing valuable with every stat they contribute in. But new guys like this emerge every season.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I believe that luck makes up 20% of everyone’s draft strategy. As with all games, Fantasy Baseball players must factor in random events and chance occurrences in their quest to win a Fantasy Baseball League. While some players carry the injury mark with them everywhere they go, you normally won’t be able to accurately pick whether a player will get hurt during the season. Therefore, you have to take chances during the 6 month long season to win. You will need to decide between two Free Agents to replace injured or under-achieving players, or you will need to decide which of your stud players you will deal in order to boost a stat for the stretch run.
No one knows what is going to happen during the season, but there are a few things you can do during your draft to reduce the impact of luck on your season. Every player you draft is a risk, but the key to winning is minimizing your risk while maximizing your value. For instance, a lot of people drafted SP Chris Carpenter in the Top 5 rounds of their drafts last year, and when healthy, he is worthy of such a high selection, but he got injured after just 6 innings and didn’t play again last year. Clearly, that should carry over into 2008, and yet some people actually included him in the top 100. I happened to be one of those skeptics, and wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.By always thinking about a worst-case scenario when compiling my draft order, I try to remove every risk possible from my draft. Simply reducing the number of "one-year wonders" and “injury-prone” players on your teams from 5 to 2 can make a big impact on the success of your draft. That being said, if by some chance one of my favorite “high risk” guys is still around in the late rounds of the draft, I will take a chance on him, because I will have reduced my risk and increased his potential value to my team. Of course, I am still not touching Chris Carpenter this year.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
When it comes to the draft, there are certain things you need to consider when selecting players for each position. While it is always important to go for the best players available regardless of position at the beginning of the draft, as the draft goes along, you will probably find that your best bet is to concentrate on a couple of categories or to ignore a couple of categories altogether. It is essential to remain flexible and be willing to improvise as the draft plays out. With that in mind, here are some position specific tips:
Prospects & Sleepers: Once you filled out your roster, you want to look toward drafting a couple of bargain players near the end of the draft to fill any empty slots or to find that break out player the. Players drafted early tend to be over priced and there tends to be a lot of depth in the outfield. If you don’t have the time to track down your own prospects, then consult one of the lists provided by the sole called experts on nearly any of the big websites. By looking at a few of their projections, it isn’t hard to come up with a consensus opinion on the best prospects and sleepers for the upcoming season.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Before going into a draft, it is essential that you prepare well in advance. Here are a few basic Pre-Draft tips:
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Although no one wins a league on draft day, it is possible to lose one. Drafting is one of the most important aspects of fantasy sports, so important that fantasy players spend countless hours preparing for draft day. Since we have covered the basic types of drafts, let’s take a look at a few draft strategies for the typical 5x5 rotisserie baseball league. Here are the most popular draft strategies, in no particular order:
Position Scarcity: Drafting the best players possible in the early rounds in positions with few star quality players. Examples of position scarcity this year include catchers, and out field. Once you fill these positions with few star players, you would then look for the best value picks, while always keeping position scarcity in mind concerning the remaining players available to be drafted. Positions like third base, first base and starting pitchers would be chosen later in the draft because there is a much larger pool of quality players at these positions this year.
The Balanced Team: Drafting a team to be as balanced as it can be in all batting and pitching scoring categories. The idea is not to win any single scoring category, but to place in the top four in all of the scoring categories. Therefore, you draft as many players as possible who score well in four or five of the scoring categories. You also need to blend in pitchers, although your mix should include slightly more batters than pitchers, but not many more. For this strategy to be successful, you must stick to it through the first 10-12 rounds, then it is crucial to fill any holes where you may be weak in a scoring category, although you should shy away from players who only score good in one or two categories.
Best Player Available: Draft the highest ranked players available without concern over position. While you may have the best overall talent after the draft, you may be deficient at a few positions If you have too many players in one position and not another, then you simply trade for what you need. This strategy is one of the simplest in terms of preparation if you just rely on the expert rankings. In my opinion, if you use this system why bother to show up at all, you should just let the computer auto draft for you. The biggest variation on this strategy is to come up with your own rankings, which can make it one of the most time consuming plans out there.
Controlling Offense: Draft only hitting through the first 10 rounds, focusing in the first five rounds on 4 and 5 tool players. For rounds 6 through 10, pick the best batters in a given category, like steals or home runs, where you are the weakest. Once you fill out the offensive positions, you then draft the best available pitchers concentrating on pitchers that have the best combination of ERA, Ks, WHIP and saves. By the 11th round, you probably won’t find many solid starting pitchers, but you should be able to draft enough to show up in the pitching categories.
If pitching is scarce, you could modify this strategy to secure the top starters in a given year. In the book Fantasyland, Sam Walker employed this tactic and called it REMA. The only problem is that pitchers are notoriously fragile players, prone to injuries. If you cannot get enough offense to be in the top 5, one injury could ruin your team.
Punting a Category: With this strategy, you intentionally ignore one of the scoring categories, concentrating instead on the others. For hitters, stolen bases are often punted. Since the guys who usually get the highest number of SBs often do poorly in other categories, having them in your line up limits production in other categories. For pitchers, saves is most often punted. In all honesty, I don’t recommend you start the draft using this strategy, but if you find part way though the draft that you have few producers in one category, you can use it to your advantage by concentrating your remaining picks to strengthen the scoring categories you want to score high in.
Specialist Drafting: The opposite of Punting, here you draft players who are the best producer in a single category in order to dominate a few categories, and then move on to another player who dominates a different category until you have players covering all categories in your league. This is much more common and useful in Head to Head leagues than roto, since you can rarely draft the best single category guys. With just that in mind, for this strategy to be successful, you must limit your domination to 2-3 categories and not worry too much about the others.
Conclusion: There are more strategies which fantasy players employ at their draft than this, and even combination approaches, but they all boiled down these simple approaches. When it comes to fantasy sports (regardless of the type), everyone incorporated their favorite draft strategy into their Drafting plan. Whichever strategy you decide to employ, keep in my no strategy is fool proof. How a draft strategy is implemented, executed and the "expertise" of the other team owners also affect how successful a draft strategy will be. What is most important is that you come into the draft with a plan of execution.