Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fantasy Man's Fantasy Baseball Basics

I just had a random thought. I was thinking about some of my strategies that I use in every league I play and I thought I would put all of them into a simple and basic format for everyone to look at. Now, lately I have been so bogged down with strategies for this year and tips and advice and everything that goes into preparing for a successful 2008 fantasy baseball season, that I never just listed my personal favorites that I use each and every year. This is a look at my personal fantasy bible, so here goes...... in order of importance....

1. My Philosophy: "You gotta be in it, to win it"! This also means you need to "Know when to fold'em". Basically, I am dedicated from beginning to end....unless my team totally sucks at the beginning of September. You can't give up at the end of May. A few trades, some luck off the waiver wire, and a few turn-arounds from slumping players could truly boost your team a few slots in the standings. Last season, I was in dead last at the end of May, made a few trades between then and the deadline in August and ended up winning the league by a landslide and cashing at about $1200+ for first place. You can do it, don't get discouraged by a slow start.

2. As you have read, my main strategy is "Drafting for Categories" early in the draft which means that I don't give a hoot about "Position Scarcity". In my 5x5 leagues, I am loading up on 1B, 3B, and OF's that provide me with 35+HR power in the first 4 rounds of a 10-14 team draft. 40+ HR power potential is what is more scarce than a .300/15/75/10 potential middle infielder late in the draft! 40+HR power is also more scarce late in the draft than say ... 30+ potential SB's.

3. Plenty of solid MI's(2B & SS) after the 15th rounds or for under $5 in the auction with "UPSIDE".... Drew, Hill, Greene, Hudson, Peralta, F. Lopez, J. Lopez, to name a few and the reason the "Position Scarcity"is useless to me.

4. Same goes for Catchers....I am looking at Towles, Doumit, Suzuki, Snyder, Yadier Molina and John Buck late in drafts this year...and the same goes every Catchers before round 16!

5. I love 2-3 solid top-notch starting pitchers and two top 12 closers. Taking a closer like Todd Jones or Joe Borowski will get you 40 saves each maybe, but will kill your ERA/WHIP. DON'T DRAFT A CLOSER JUST FOR THE SAVES! There are other experts/analysts who will tell you to just get the saves! But if you draft mediocre starting pitching and then you draft high ERA?WHIP're busted! Never spend more than $15 on a closer. If you have to settle for Marano Rivera and Francisco Cordero or Brad Lidge instead of J.J. Putz and Jon Papelbon, then so be it. Or, just wait until the end of an auction and grab Joakim Soria or Rafael Soriano for under $9.

6. You will NEVER see me punt a category!......EVER!!!! Why start the season in the hole?

7. Late in a draft or auction, I always opt for a younger player with more upside.
Example: In the 23rd round of a 12 team draft, I'd rather take a risk on Kevin Slowey (SP, MIN) who has immense upside and is young yet still unproven over an established veteran like Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux who are certainly pitchers I can trust, but just don't provide the exciting upside and the opportunity to really help your fantasy team with a break out.

8. Don't get #7 confused. At the end of the draft, you don't necessarily want to draft all rookies or prospects with potential. This year you could draft Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez and feel like a king but its possible all start the season in AAA or start out slumping. Try to mix good solid guys that play everyday late in the draft with some of these potential break out stars.

9. These young prospects are great for the second half. 2007's top prospects going into draft day were Braun, Gallardo and Lincecum. All were up by mid-season and all were fantastic. This year its Joba Chamberlain, Evan Longoria, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Cameron Maybin, Ian Kennedy and Colby Rasmus for starters. In leagues with a bench, its smart to draft a few of these guys...not all of them.

10. When you have a bench, if you draft injury prone players, make sure you handcuff them with a player with upside at the esame position on your bench. So if you draft Rich Harden or Ben Sheets, make sure you hand cuff with some upside like Kevin Slowey, Jon Lester, or Zack Greinke.

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