For more than a year, I worked as a writer for one of, if not the best fantasy sports entities in the world, KFFL.COM , so my advice comes from many nights of writing player reports, outlooks and columns on the topic. There are a few simple rules that can elevate your team over the rest of the field. In random order here are some of my fantasy baseball tips:
Tip #1: It’s important to have a good plan going into the draft, have an idea of who you want in the early rounds and make sure your first few picks are proven superstars. The worst thing you can do is take a guy that had a breakout year the year before and fizzle out the next year. Draft guys early that in their worst season are still pretty good. This way you’ll never have a draft bust and a wasted pick. Remember, the late rounds are for sleepers, not the early rounds.
Tip #2: This is something I think most people do not think about. Similar to the tight end position and kicker in fantasy football, there are several positions in fantasy baseball where there are a few top players and then there’s the rest. For me, if you’re not going to spend a top choice on Joe Mauer then drafting a catcher can wait until all other positions are addressed. The difference between the 5th best catcher and the 15th best catcher is not very extreme, so you’re better off waiting on drafting a backstop, unless you want to go big. This also goes for other positions. I’d be more inclined to take a heavy-hitting middle infielder early, simply because there are less of them around and you’ll want to get the good ones before the huge drop-off. There are tons of decent outfielders out there, you can surely wait on that position. So attack the positions where the top of the class is far better than the middle class, and if you don’t get one of those elite players, wait and draft an average player later.
Tip #3: For some reason, everyone wants to draft closers early. In a standard 5×5 rotisserie league, closers will help with saves, but only provide minimal help in other areas. I’d typically go for one decent save source and then a second player who does about average. The position of closer is an ever-changing role so this is where you’ll want to make up for not drafting top guys with being smart and active in the waiver wire. Every year there are always a few guys who begin the season in middle-relief or as a set-up and by the second or third month of the season are racking up huge save numbers. Another tip could be to draft a solid relief pitcher as your last pick. They can sit in your staring lineup all season and help with strikeouts and ERA numbers…and who knows…maybe they will pick up a save or win or two or have their role increased.
Tip #4: This may sound simple, but look at your team every day. Not everyone in your league will and this will give you a distinct advantage. One area in particular is with starting pitching. In a league where there’s a cap on the amount of innings your team can pitch, you do not have to play your pitcher every time he starts! If you’ve got a guy who performs poorly against a certain team or in a specific ballpark, just sit him. On the other side of the bill, there are sometimes guys to pick up that absolutely dominate a certain team and can be easy fill-ins in the time of a trade or just when you need a boost.
Tip #5: Get the most out of your players. You’d be surprised, but many players either have amazing first-half numbers and are terrible in the second half or vice versa. Take a look at a player’s splits (granted he’s been around for a few years) and see what you can find. This can be an excellent ploy to unload a player who’s first half heavy and grab a guy who dominates the second half of the season. This way, you’re getting the most out of the players on your team and you can really see some results.
Those are just a few simple fantasy baseball winning tips that can separate your team from the field. Again, if you’re looking for a draft cheat sheet or help, KFFL.com is a free source for great information and my former employer, so check them out.