Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 Fantasy Baseball for Beginners Part 1 of 3

Part 1: Getting Started

I know what you're thinking, and I felt the same way when I first started playing about 13 years ago. You're probably asking yourself, where do I start? Maybe you're tired of finishing at the bottom of the standings year after year or could it be that you're brand new to the world of fantasy baseball and have no idea how to prepare. Let The Fantasy Man be your guide.

My goal is to help you win your fantasy baseball league. My goal is to help you manage your team throughout the season to ensure consistent success from April through September. My goal is to make sure you don't trade away Ryan Howard for Steve Balboni or get ripped on deals that are clearly not in your favor. My goal is to help you create fantasy baseball success and earn that league championship prize whether it be cash or bragging rights. Let The Fantasy Man be your guide.

Below starts a step by step list on how to prepare for any fantasy baseball season. If you're an expert or an experienced player, this article is probably not for you. However, if you need a reality check, the information below could prove useful. What you see below is what I do personally as I prepare for each fantasy baseball season. Not to toot my own horn, but if I play in say 10 leagues in a year, 9 of those 10 leagues I always finish in the top 5. That is a fact. There is always a league or two that I just totally give away whether it's injuries or just unlucky picks. In some ways, fantasy baseball is a crapshoot, but at the same time, you do have 180 days or so to whip your team into shape, into a winner. That is where I excel personally. Maybe I draft a bad team in the beginning, but throw in a few key trades, a couple of timely waiver wire pick-ups, and I can literally go from last place in late May to first place in early September. I've done it many times. It's persistence and it's being active, it's a little bit of luck, and it's about making the right moves at the right time. You have to know the players! That's fantasy baseball. Here's how you get started, the way I get started....

1. Know the Players - Let's keep it simple, if you know how to read, you can get to know all the players. Here is my basic philosophy to winning a fantasy baseball league.... "Know the players! Know what they are capable of! Know where and when to draft them and how much to pay for them!" Who cares about crunching stats? It's time consuming and boring. It's all about when and where to find value in a draft or auction. That is what I live by. I will get more into that as we go. Think about this.... if you know the players better than anyone, then why not try baseball betting where you can get a ton of info on players!

2. Preparing in November - Do you and your friends/family/co-workers do a live draft every year? Chances are, 7-8 of those 12 players in your league picked up a fantasy magazine at the last minute and tried to do a draft without really preparing. Trust me, it shows. I personally start preparing in November, by keeping up on "Hot Stove" trade talks, seeing where players are getting traded to, who is signing where, etc., is what I am looking for on a daily basis. Read newspaper articles, scour the websites for up-to-date-information, get the scoop on players while most fantasy managers are still fiddling with fantasy football. Pro Sports Daily is a website that organizes articles from all the major newspapers for free. Take advantage of the information that's out there. One great website for up-to-date trade talks and free agent signings and rumors is MLB Trade Rumors by a great fantasy baseball mind named Tim Dierkes. Tim constantly stays on top of the current talks and rumors but also includes articles from other sources who write about the hot topics. This is a great way to get your mind set on baseball. Also, for all you interested in sports betting, sometimes these sites can provide some "out of the box" type of information. You can look at the spreads and get a sense as to what people are thinking. If the masses are all betting one way, maybe you should too.

At the same time in November, The Fantasy Man (me) is preparing for the next fantasy baseball season by adding rankings, cheat sheets, draft tools, podcasts, etc. Start early and work up a base of knowledge
. Keep in mind that most fantasy baseball experts/analysts are just observers who give their opinions. Every expert/analysts has different opinions and value players differently. You should always diversify. It's great to have one guy you know and trust, but it's always worth it to test the market and see what else is out there. Sometimes you need the opinions of a few experts instead of just one. A great site to get multiple opinions on a player,strategies, trades and add/drops, go to which is an individual fantasy players database.

3. Organizing Information - Did you know you can get all of your favorite articles and blogs and such organized into one page which continues to update 24/7. If you go to Google and register a free account (might as well get a gmail account) to service all of your fantasy baseball communications. Once registered, click "My Account" and then click the link for "Reader". Then, open a new browser and go to Fantasy Baseball Express . In the right side bar, you'll see a little orange icon that says "subscribe in a reader". This is my RSS Feed icon. If a column, blog, article, etc., offers an RSS feed, it will have this icon or a link to subscribe. Click the icon and copy the url. Go back to the Google reader and paste it where it says "+ Add Subscription" in the left side bar. This is where you add the FEED address. Now, go to any of your favorite columns, blogs, news geeds, etc., click the little orange icon, copy url, and paste in reader. On some, you may automatically be able to just "add" it to your reader by clicking one button.

Now, all you have to do is log into your Google reader (or whatever reader you want to use) and all of the updated articles are organized neatly for you. This helps so that you don't have to spend time searching for new articles by the same people or spend time constantly clicking on websites and possibly not getting updated information. Get all the info you need on one page and save that time for studying players.

Part 2: The Draft - Preparation and Execution will be posted next.

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