By NL King - C. Lizza
Listed below are my fantasy baseball strategies and advice which I'd like to share to help you prepare for draft day. Let's keep this simple....
1. You must have at least a basic draft plan, winging it does not work. I know Mike (The Fantasy Man) says he doesn't go into most drafts with a set game plan but he has core beliefs such as buy power, don't but too much into position scarcity (you have to savvy with your end game), etc., You need a basic plan or philosophy going in a draft. In an auction league, it's a must as there's just too many variables to contend with.
2. Ask yourself, what are my team needs going into the draft? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the draft and how does this play into my team needs. You must list the various options you have on your team needs. If there are a lot of options it gives you a lot more flexibility on what players to acquire for the various categories. If need outweighs supply, then you must be more aggressive in securing those particular players.
3. A contending team is a balanced team. You should never punt a category. Why start the season in a huge hole? If one other component of your team fails, you're sunk. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you'll be able to make trades during the year for certain categories because you're going to wind up short in these particular categories. Remember it's not easy to make trades and if everyone knows you need to make a trade that will hurt you're bargaining position. Make sure you are not way short in any category after the draft. Must be within striking distance of all categories at least.
4. Your draft plan must respect the percentage categories in Batting Average, ERA and Ratio. I wrote a whole article earlier this off- season about the percentage categories.
5. Do your homework on the late round non-hyped players because just maybe you can find a gem. Most teams in auction leagues have very little money left to spend on those last few players. This is your chance to strike gold and find huge value and potential returns. Try to anticipate which players who will be available at the end of your draft this year and do your homework on them. Last year on my final spots I landed Brett Myers at $4, Ryan Spilborghs at $2 and Eric Hinske at $1 in my NL Only league. Remember, the goal here is for your $1 to $4 to land complementary players who can give you a $10 year. If you can accomplish this, it will be a big step into building a contending team.
6. On your key draft day targets try to figure out who will be your chief competition for those players. What are these owners tendencies? Is there a way for you to get that other owner to spend on other players during the draft so when your targets come up those owners are less of a threat.
7. Put together a work sheet of all 23 positions that you have to get for your team. In a keeper league slot in your keepers and calculate how many draft dollars you have come draft day. Your first draft of your game plan should be "The Wish List Game Plan". Slot in all high end players you would love to get within reason under your various hitters, starting pitchers and relievers. Then from their see how many players you still need to get, and figure out how much money you could have left. If you still need 10 players and have $40 draft dollars then this plan will not work. The Wish List Game Plan on the first draft almost never works but it's a good starting point then you can start scaling back and being more realistic in filling out potential roster. I believe it's an excellent tool to start with when putting together a draft plan.