Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It's Fantasy Baseball Season so it's time to do some Prep Work. Bare in mind that these Preps are as much for me as they are for any other schmuck that happens to read them. If perchance you are in any of my leagues please avoid reading all of this until after our respective drafts. Thanks.
I emphasized this point last year before I went on to dominate all three of my leagues and I will emphasize it yet again, the single most important aspect to a succesful fantasy draft is knowing your league rules and applying them in the draft. There are a million different scenarios for how your leagues rules are set up and each minor adjustment should have a significant effect on how you plan on drafting your team.
The first of which is what type of league you are in. If you are in a H2H, Roto or Points league your goals should immediately be altered. In a H2H or points league it's simple and not that costly to dump a statistic. You are going to lose a stat or two every single week. If steals is only one of your 12 or so categories is it that costly to lose focus on it in entirely? Not really. Your goal in Head to Head or Points should be making a team which will win consistantly. It really doesn't matter the categories you win in, you just want to find yourself at the end of every week with more Ws than Ls. In Roto however it's a completely different story. If you want to be in first you have to be effective in every category. By dumping a single category you put yourself at a much larger disadvantage than in a H2H league. Dumping steals in a Roto league is almost always fatal if you plan on winning the league. You have to make sure your roster is at the very least middle of the pack in each category.
Next focus on the Categories of your league. Does the league emphasize OPS or include walks? Is it simply regarding Hits or average? In one league last year I had categories which included 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, Hs. That's 5 hit categories compared to one On Base Percentage Category. Thus players like Robinson Cano, Miguel Tejada and Matt Holliday, guys that just like to hack and not take too many pitchers were much more valuable than some of the players that typically go at the same spot. Every single league has nuiances that should force you to make adjustments to the typically ranking order you have out there.
Know the positions you need to fill. It's a simple concept but it often gets lost in a draft. If you can only have one utility guy each day than drafting Frank Thomas when you already have Big Papi makes no sense. If you have to play 2 catchers than perhaps you should focus on a few middle round guys to make sure you don't end up with a complete stiff like Brian Schneider playing every day. The amount of players you have to play every day will dictate the importance of both position flexibility and position scarcity.
Know the minute details of your league. In some H2H leagues there are inning minimums and maximums. If you have a season maximum than an estimate of how many innings per week should be taken. This will give you an idea of how to value starters against relievers. If you focus on starters and overuse your innings totals, than you will be sunk in the final weeks.
How many DL spots are there in your league? If you are in a H2H league than drafting a stud player who will be out the first few months is an option a significant option. But if you do not have any DL spots, will he be worth the unused bench spot for the duration of his stint on the DL? Probably not.
Basically the point is, not every league is won at the draft. But several leagues are lost at the draft. If you want to have a good draft than you must know every single rule your league has. If you have this information stored and your opponents do not you should head into opening day with a roster better suited to pull down the title.