By NL King - C. Lizza
Fantasy baseball advice these days is plentiful, but when it comes to your auction draft, trying to weed through the best strategies can be overwhelming. Below are thoughts that draftees should consider when preparing for their auction draft.
- Stick to your game plan. When you have needs at a position or category, and a player is on the board for less than expected, you can deviate from your plan to purchase that value. However, if another player you like goes for less but is not needed (position or category), let that player slide in the first half of the draft as it could interfere with your overall plan. The example would be if we are only talking about a player who went for a few dollars (between $5 and $7 let's say). So if you are strong in speed, I don't care if Michael Bourn goes a few dollars less, that is not you are of need. Stick to your draft plan and what you need.
- Remember the goal is to walk out of the draft as one of the top contending teams. The goal isn't to walk out saying wow I got great value on players X and Y.
- In the second half of the draft when teams have serious money restricted that is when it's a good time to add to a strength when players go under valued and only cost you a few dollars. So using the scenario above if you are strong in speed and in the second half of the draft Cameron Maybin comes up and goes for a song then that's a good time to pounce on a value and adding to your strength.
- Know your other owners tendencies and how that will impact your draft plan. Must size up the competition on who else in your league are possible suitors for your targeted players. In keeper leagues, you can email manager and chat about trade offers which is a great way to collect information.
- You must monitor during the draft the other owners who needs the same kind of players as you and where they stand during the draft with their draft dollars.
- Remember steals and saves are like a game of musical chairs, don't be caught at the end of the draft without a chair. If you are chasing these categories late in the draft odds are you will be over paying for mediocre talent.
- AT the end, if you need a player, aim for a hitter and not a pitcher. A lot more players come through the waiver wire that are at least decent hitters than guys who can help you're starting rotation or get you saves. Also a lot easier to trade for a hitter than a quality pitcher.
- Sometimes you have to overpay. If the guys on your draft board lists start dwindling down, you must make sure you secure the kind of players you need to win. If that means you have to overpay by $3 to $5 for that player so be it, much better than losing out on the talent.
- Do not put yourself in a position where there is an area of need and there is one guy left that you have to have. Reason being you could wind up in a bidding war and way over paying.
- Attack the draft with your draft dollars. Most owners increase they're bidding by $1 or $2 at a time. Do not be afraid to increase it by $7 or $8 or even more as long as you're getting the player you want at your estimated price. In any kind of auction there is a psychology to it. Also remember many owners get cautious as your break certain threshold numbers during the draft especially after the first couple of rounds. Take advantage of that. Threshold numbers would be $10, $15, $25 , etc., so bid just beyond those thresholds.
- Do everything you can to save a few bucks for roughly your last 6 players so you have some purchasing power. This will be huge as you will be able to get the better secondary players at the end of the draft. Very hard filling out the back end of your roster when you have $7 for 5 slots.
- Target a promising prospect who could be up 2 months into the season as your 14th hitter for $1. The guy I would choose this year would be Brandon Belt of the Giants.
- Don't take too many older players, or too many rookies, or too many injury risks or too many guys trying to bounce back from a bad season. Pick your spots wisely.
- Early on it's a good idea to bring up big players that you won't be bidding on to get some of the competition draft day dollars drained as soon as possible, especially a manager who could be in competition for your primary targets in the draft.
- Remember do not draft any player who kills you in the percentage categories - ERA, Ratio and batting average.
- Finally you must be patient with your draft plan. Do not panic. As long there are players on the board that fit the bill for your open core slots there is no reason to panic. As your lists start to dwindle like I said above you may have to spend a little more to secure the talent. Remember every draft is its own animal.