Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Following a Beginner and Realizing Key Fantasy Baseball Strategies!

I've been looking over my 3-4 team (lost by 4 points to an unbeaten team last week) and asking myself how I can get better. To update you on that, I have made a few more Add/Drop moves, including adding 1B Eric Hosmer before anyone else could (Dang, it feels good to be a gambler!) and I dropped C/1B Mike Napoli to add some depth to my Starting pitching. I'm also told that I've added 1B Justin Smoak to my team, in place of Mitch Moreland, who sorta wore out his welcome. Seems like forever ago that I made that move, but nonetheless, I've been pleased with that move. * edit - Further update, I have since dropped Smoak. First Basemen are proving easy to come by at his skill level. *

Which brings me to this point...looking over my last article and how good I think my team looks overall, save for a couple spots, I've realized that there is a key strategy I must put in play here. I think this applies to any sort of league that doesn't have a whacked-out scoring system. Do your best to get points from every position every day.

Thank you Captain Obvious! Should we try outscoring our opponents on a weekly basis too?

First off, I don't like your tone. Secondly, I've been looking at the basic “draft offense first” strategy from one perspective. It's a view that says you can rely on points from your offense primarily day-in and day-out, and you can get pitching that is halfway decent later on. However, there is another view I'm finding now. If you can load up on offensive studs, you can use your bench on Starting Pitching. Have at least one SP for every day, and you'll set yourself up nicely. In my case, I have a total of 3 bench spots. Ideally, I'd put three pitchers in those spots each day. If I have a SP in a RP spot, like Philip Humber for example, even better. He'll probably score more points for me than a #4 RP would. So with 5 SP spots available, 3 bench, 1 RP spot dedicated to a worthy SP who happens to qualify as a RP, I can get 9 pretty good SP options total. I only have 7 SP's right now, which presents the basic subject of this article...

I've identified my weak spots in the field. SS is fairly weak, and 1B has been improved with Smoak and Hosmer *Edit – again, dumped Smoak *. I feel very good about my guys overall. The trick for me is, improve the weak spots by dealing off the excess position players. A guy like Chipper Jones is great trade bait for me, but is he and a high-scoring OF like Jeff Francoeur or one of those First Basemen mentioned earlier enough to land me a top 1B like Adrian Gonzalez or SS Troy Tulowitzki?

The answer is apparently “no”, although it could be that the people I'm talking with aren't paying attention to their teams. Or they all started reading my articles.

The basic trade logic I've come up with in fantasy ball states that you generally want to be receiving the best player in the deal. If you can improve in multiple spots by trading away the best player in the deal, that may be acceptable, but trading strictly for depth is a bad idea. If I'm trading away the best player, either I have another deal in mind that I'm going to make immediately after or I think my opponent is overpaying for what he's getting. Based on that principle, I can only conclude that Shortstop is SO shallow this year, that nobody wants to trade off their starter/depth.

So what is a guy supposed to do? I'm willing to greatly upgrade an opponent at 2, heck maybe 3 positions to get one guy, and we can't get something worked out? Well, this means I'll have to modify my plan, and it's a plan you n00bs may want to keep in mind.

I'll get into this in my next piece, but the bottom line is taking your weaker SP's, who may still be pretty good, and dropping them in favor of pitchers who can help you now. Say you've got Bud Norris pitching on Monday. Fine pitcher, but he's useless to you on Tuesday. In fact, he may be useless until Saturday, save for a relief appearance in a crazy-long game. Maybe you find Travis Wood in the free agent pool, and he pitches Tuesday. Why not snag him before the action starts up on Tuesday? Like I said, I'll get more into this idea next time.

I've said before that I favor trades when making a move. Unfortunately, that's not always practical, as you have to count on hyenas and yahoos in your league cooperating with you. Out of the 60 moves or so that I've made, exactly 0 have been trades.

* Edit – I would like to clarify that my worthy opponents are neither “hyenas” nor “yahoos.” They are, in fact, wonderful people who are all bigger than I am, and despite the fact that they could probably beat me up if they wanted to, they are charitable sort who would let someone like me call them names and then have a chance to retract those statements at a later time, lest I be pummeled with, and I'm quoting here, “Biblical proportions of pain.” As I am familiar with the epic destructiveness depicted in the Bible, I choose to retract the statements made about my opponents. Why? Because I had nothing to close this article with, so I opted to be silly.

David Bobke

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