And my experience as a beginner fantasy baseball manager continues...
C – Nick Hundley
1B – Matt LaPorta
2B – Freddy Sanchez
SS – Angel Sanchez
3B – Alberto Callaspo
LF – Jonny Gomes
CF – Marlon Byrd
RF – Ben Francisco
OF – Alfonso Soriano
OF – Sam Fuld
UT – 3B Scott Rolen
BE – RF Jeff Francoeur
BE – SS/2B Orlando Cabrera
SP – Edwin Jackson, Zach Britton, Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, Kevin Correia
RP – Chris Sale, Logan Ondrusek, and SPs who qualify as RPs Chris Narveson and Sam LeCure.
These are the top available players in my league by position this time last week. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea who some of these guys are.
Here's what I've learned about these guys...the Relievers scored 186 points so far, Starting Pitchers scored 307, and 1075 from the position players (not including the Bench guys). Take off the stats of a couple days (since I can't seem to do that, at least I haven't figured out how), and you're looking at a score of...let's be conservative, 875. That number would have easily won any matchup in our league (first game was a 2-weeker). So are free agents important? You darn right they are!
Take me for example, I've already let some...I don't want to call them “dead weight”...but some “I'm-not-dead-yet-weight” go. Guys like Ludwick (whom I still like), McGee, and Posada were not proving as valuable to me as I'd like. I'm probably as loyal a fantasy player as you can find, but even I had to let these guys go. The question seems to be, how does one make good free agent pickups?
As I often remind myself, I'm writing primarily for you new players...so here's a few of my tips so far.
1 - “He's teaching me to change my instincts...or at least ignore them.” - Sheila, “Waiting For Guffman
Know your hunches and know whether they're good. If you're not playing this game yet, try it out. What players would you have liked this season? How are they doing this year? (Hint: listen to Fantasy Baseball podcasts and listen for your players) Personally, I know some of my instincts are absolutely terrible. I liked Curt Schilling in a year when he didn't put great numbers up, I liked Prince Fielder to breakout in a year he hit something like...-.122 or something awful like that. This year? Carl Crawford. That was “my guy”, and thankfully, someone took him before I could. He might turn things around, but good gravy, is he off to a bad start. I had to listen to my fantasy experts to drown out my own opinions.
2 – Admit you MAY be wrong...and you may be right
I didn't dislike Scott Rolen, but I knew nobody else was high on him at all, so I passed on him in the draft. He's currently 7th highest in points among 3-baggers in our league. I may have been sorta right about him. On the other hand...Matt LaPorta. I'm a Brewer fan, I remember hearing about this guy coming up the ranks, and I was fairly excited about him. I didn't like letting him go, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked passing him off. He hadn't proven himself very well in Cleveland as far as I could see to this point, and I wasn't on his bandwagon this season. Maybe, just maybe, he's actually going to be decent this year. He's got power, but how long will he hold up?
Ultimately, that's always the question. How long will (insert name here) perform at this level? They will falter at some point, as every player does, but will they rebound?
Bottom line, here's my best advice to you: If your team is doing well, don't mess with what works. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
...don't be afraid to grab someone if you are sure they'll turn out to be pretty good. I'm a believer in trading rather than releasing when possible. If I can trade off 2 players for 1, I have an open roster spot for a Gomes or Francisco or whomever. The end result is a 2-for-2 deal, in which my trade partner only had to give up 1 player. There are always good free agents available, so I generally advise trying to make deals where you get fewer players than you give. It's like that saying, “it's better to give that to receive.” It's true here too, at least that's (usually) what I think. Perspective is important; find the positives and look over every aspect of potential moves.
That said, all of my moves so far have been drops and adds. When nobody wants to trade their best pieces, you have to settle for the small moves.