Sunday, April 29, 2012

NL King - Bryce Harper Alert

If you listened to my Bryce Harper strategy pre-draft, especially
in a keeper league and spent a few dollars on him because of the NL
King's article, you are loving the NL King right now. What can we
expect?

In AAA so far this year, in 20 games Harper's numbers are very
ordinary to say the least (1HR, 3RBI, 8R, 1SB, .250 Avg). But 
this kid's talent is immense. Is it possible that Harper is
not ready and winds up getting sent down after 3 weeks or so? Yes of
course if Harper struggles he needs more time than the Nats will send
him down, remember Mickey Mantle was sent down as well Roy Halladay at
the beginning of their careers. But having said that, If Harper can
show he can a decent to solid option I think the plan is for him to
stay. The Nats are not going to yo-yo him between the majors and AAA
unless he is not ready. I would expect good power numbers with the
potential for much more of course, I also can see him giving you some
nice secondary steals (not a ton but if he stayed for the rest of the
season I could see 10 to 12 steals) and let's say batting average
around .250.

It should be fun to watch Bryce Harper.

NL King - C.Lizza

Please join my twitter army @TheNLKing

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NL King - Patience & Dealing with Injuries

Come and join my twitter army @TheNLKing

Believe it or not, even though the season is a little under a week old  
and there are a lot of fantasy baseball owners out there already pulling  
out their hair and in extreme frustration. I am going to be the voice  
of reason and tell everyone to relax it's early April. The 1998  
Yankees started out 1-4 and won 114 games that season. Players get off  
to slow starts sometimes and you just have to plug your way through  
it. To me most teams in the month of April should let their teams  
breath and get a sense of what your team is capable of.  Everyone  
should be paying attention to what's going on in MLB and how it  
effects your league. In addition you should be combing your league  
waiver wire - free agency and looking for any kind of player who can  
help you even in a small way such as middle reliever who can give you  
great ERA & Ratio and K numbers. The exception to the rule is if you  
walked out of your draft and said to yourself...I am so short on speed  
or power, saves or starting pitching, etc, etc. If that's the case you  
should quietly be reaching out to other owners in your league on  
players they have that you like that can shore up your team weakness.  
Other than that my call out to everyone in baseball fantasy land is to  
relax and enjoy April. Don;t get caught up too much in April  
standings. Yes getting off to a good start or even a great start is  
better than a poor one but remember it's a marathon not a sprint. Last  
season in a 12 team league I was in 9th place in late May and I  
finished 2nd. So show some patience, don;t make some crazy wild trade  
because your team had a bad first couple of weeks.

Now talking about injuries, Lets start with the Nationals' Mike Morse 
and Drew Storen. In the cases of Morse and Storen,  
they have hit setbacks and it appears Storen in a major way. Again  
when a player is hurt it takes time for that injury to heal and many  
times injuries are very slow healing (any kind of pull is slow  
hearing, Morse has the lat muscle). In addition teams take a very slow  
and cautious approach with injuries which delays things further. Morse  
was suppose to be back by this weekend and now it's looking like late  
April at the earliest, it'll probably be early May sometime. In Storen  
case despite countless tests it does appear it has a major situation.  
The final test results aren't in yet but the early word sounds like  
Storen could be out until July. Storen owners keep on top of his  
situation and in the meantime if Storen being out is going to make  
your team way short in saves you should be doing the research now on  
trade options with other owners in your league. Do not reach out or  
make any trade offers until you get the word on what exactly is going  
on with Storen and when he is expected back. But by doing the analysis  
and research now when the results are posted and if they are bad and  
you need to get another closer you will be ready to act immediately.  
Again when you get an injury to a player always estimate that it's  
going to take a little bit longer than what you are told. If the  
player comes back on time great but always prepare for the worse  
because that's what happens the majority of the time. For instance Tim  
Hudson is scheduled to come back May 1st but all Tim Hudson owners  
should understand he could be pushed back as well.

NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NL King - The Struggle to Win a Fantasy Championship

Germaine Greer once said  "The struggle that is not joyous is the wrong struggle." When Ms. Greer said this she was not talking about fantasy baseball, but this saying does apply. Winning one's league is a very difficult task. As an owner in your competitive league you have to have a strong draft, make smart trades, know when is the right time to trade, comb the waiver wire and just overall make a lot of good decisions. On top of that you have to hope your team does not get bittern by the injury bug in a major way and finally have to hope you catch or break or two where couple of players on your roster over exceed expectations. In addition, hope the converse doesn't happen and have players have career lows in performance. This is a very difficult assignment. Quite frankly if you can win your league every few years and most years be a competitive team you are doing a great job. Doing well in competitive leagues is very hard. I will use  two players performance from last year to illustrate this point.

Melky Cabrera and Ubaldo Jimenez:
Last season Melky Cabrera was coming off a very poor 2010 with the Atlanta Braves. Cabrera was a part time player plus who played a lot with the Yankees who had a really nice 2009. Cabrera was part of the trade between the Braves and the Yankees in the winter of 2009 when the Yankees landed Javier Vazquez. Cabrera was going to a situation where he knew he would play every day so one would think Cabrera could improve by 10% maybe 15% maybe slightly more right? Instead Cabrera had a disastrous first half and winded up finishing 2010 with a line of 4HR-42RBI-50R-7SB-.255AVG in 458 AB's. Not saying Melky Cabrera was an all-star player but this was a bit surprising. So The Braves saw enough of Melky and Melky went back to the AL in 2011 and what does Melky do? Melky's line in 2011 for the Royals were 18HR-87RBI-102R-20SB-.305AVG. Now I am only an NL only league guy but if Melky had that kind in the NL last year he would have been one of the top 5 to 7 hitters in the NL. I am sure in most AL only leagues Melky went for a song during the draft and in many drafts probably lasted to the reserve rounds. What can we expect from Melky in 2012 now that he is back in the NL with the Giants? You guess is as good as mine, most websites and magazines are splitting the baby and saying Melky will have a good year but that's it (Figure $15 value). Where they came up with that I have no idea I just read the information and try to get a consensus on what the experts think. What I can tell you is Melky is going to hit 2nd in the Giant lineup, he will play everyday, he is in a pitchers park (not that KC was small) and he is very capable of giving you pretty good power and speed numbers. After that it's a guessing game.

Unfortunately, last year I had Ubaldo Jimenez on my team. Saying that didn't go well is putting it mildly. First off, for any player not every month can be an all-star month the bottom line was Ublado was a top young pitcher who had nasty stuff and a deceiving delivery. Ubaldo had a pretty good 2008 for a rookie, and excellent sophomore season in 09 and then a breakout season in 2010. So Ubaldo got better ever year. And then disaster happened in 2011. Now in my opinion in an NL only 5 X 5 league Ubaldo was one of the top starters in the NL. It's one thing to say his value was down 10% or 15% or even 20%, it's another thing to say that last season Ubaldo at best was zero value player and mostly likely worth negative dollars. How does this happen?

These two examples of players who came out of nowhere and had a tremendous season and the other the opposite direction shows how difficult it is to put together a championship squad. You need to do a great job in your league but as the saying goes you also need a little bit of luck. More than a little.

NL King - C.Lizza  
         Come and join my Twitter army @ TheNLKing


 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

David Bobke - Putting it All into Practice


Disclaimer: n, a statement or assertion made disregarding responsibility or claim

Concept #4: Putting It All Into Practice

A few more words before I set you loose on a mock draft hunt.

1) When you mock, you're there to learn, not to party...kinda like what your parents said about college

When you're mocking for the first time, you're getting a gauge on how much you value certain positions.

In my mocks, I've realized how much I value SS. Once I get past the top 7, I think there's a substantial drop off (and I don't like Rollins that much, so that takes it down to 6 guys I'm interested in.) I'm not interested in the next few guys, so the chances are that I may wait a while and take a younger guy or two, hoping that one of them booms this year or I'll hope that someone I'm okay with slips several rounds. Then I'm picking him because he's a good value, not because I'm thrilled to have him (but value is nice too!) Emilio Bonifacio looks pretty good to me in later rounds, so I may look toward him.

If you're paying attention to the categories, you're finding out that you need to consider some categories more than others. For example, you may gravitate more toward big Strikeout pitchers than pitchers with good WHIPs. If you don't realize that in your mocks, you may wind up killing your WHIP in your real draft. Jumping back to the Bonifacio pick, I know he can help me in a category that I'm not drafting well at (Stolen Bases) as well as filling a position I need to fill. That makes him uber-valuable to me if I need a SS. That takes me to the next point.

2) Recognize players that you like later in the draft.

If SS is going quickly in the draft, I don't need to panic and pick a guy just to have one. I know I'll like Bonifacio later on. That makes him more of a priority to keep an eye on later in the draft, but I know that he's my emergency plan at that position. I like to have these guys marked on my rankings. That takes me back to the color system I use, which I described last time.

3) Figure out your strategy

Here's an important thought to consider: When your draft is over, what players will be available that you could still use? It's generally said of free agency that it will be easier to find pitching than hitting. Generally, I think that's accurate, although you can find a position player here and there who break out, but you'll be fighting with everyone else on the waiver wire for them. There's always pitching out there.

The most common draft strategy is probably the “go for hitting early and often” strategy (that's what I subscribe to) because pitching is deep compared to your other positions. Starting Pitching especially levels out late in the draft. That said, there are still plenty of people who will go for pitching early, and they can be successful, but more often than not, offense will be your key to victory. In Head-to-Head leagues, you may consider targeting solid ERA and WHIP guys if you're rock solid in all your offensive categories. Even then, the best ERA and WHIP guys are mostly going to be going early in the draft.

Try some different strategies out in your mocks, see what feels comfortable, and remember to look over your categories after the draft (and during if you can).

4) Your draft day roster is NOT your final answer

Especially in later rounds, you can take a chance or two. Please do so! Go for upside rather than safe picks. To be successful, you will have to stay active throughout the year no matter what. If you draft a questionable player, recognize whether he's a guy you'll be giving a week or two or a month or two to blossom. If you draft SP Adam Wainwright and he isn't great right out of the shoot, I'd think you were nuts for dropping him after 2 starts. Give him time. On the other hand, a guy like SP Bartolo Colon could be replaced in that time if he's looking bad. A bad couple starts is more likely to indicate that Colon might be done, but Wainwright is coming off surgery, and once his command is back, he can easily be an Ace (and if you don't know why, do a little research on pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery.)

5) Drafting trade bait is not such a bad thing

This goes back to those first couple points. Even if you're hurting at SS and C, it's better to get a great player at another position that's getting shallow. So you drafted 2B Cano early and Brandon Phillips is still sitting there in the 6th? Do you have a UT spot to put him in? Yes? Then you can use him. If not, consider taking him anyway if you don't like anyone else around that spot. You can always trade him off after the draft or during the season to a poor soul who needs an upgrade there. They might be able to help you in the same way if your late-round SS or C's don't work out.

Teams that draft “best player available” usually come out well in the end.

6) Have a general idea of what you want to do in your real draft, but don't lock in on one plan

Going in thinking “I'm going to grab an OF in the 1st, a 3B in the 2nd, a middle infielder in the 3rd, etc.” can screw you up. Your player values go out the window. You will have weaknesses in your starting roster after the draft regardless of how you draft, but if you draft intelligently and work with what comes to you, you'll feel confident that your weaknesses won't ruin you.

7) Make mental notes on how you're doing

This is more for future years than for this year, but if you're going to play this game for years to come, this is important. Let's say this year you think that Closers A, B, and C are great and will be terrific this year. This season ends, and all 3 stunk. You can make a mental note that you may not be very good at picking Closers. You may want to go more by-the-book on that position next season.

I'm like this in Fantasy Football. I'm lousy at selecting WR's. I'm great with RB's. So, I make RB's less of a priority early in the draft because I know I can find those later, and I know I should address WR early so that I get a popular one or two.

There are so many more tidbits I'd like to give you, but I think if you stick by this and the stuff we've gone over in previous articles, you should be okay. Have fun. Have faith in your ability to draft. Don't let frustration ruin a draft. Everyone experiences it, but I think I talked enough about that before.

I'll give you a rundown of my own draft next time!

Oh, and this is a personal thing...but have some good pre-draft music to put you in the mood. I like “It's Just a Fantasy” and “You May Be Wrong (But You May Be Right)” by Billy Joel. Puts everything into perspective.

P.S. In case anyone's wondering why I put apostrophes where they aren't needed, such as “Get several SP's,” I know those aren't needed, but my autocorrect keeps getting screwy and I don't want to spend an hour arguing with this computer to fix it. Just in case you were wondering!

David Bobke

Monday, April 09, 2012

NL King - Breaking Bad, The NL King's Draft

I completed my NL only 5X5 auction draft last week on March 30th. This  
is the 21st year of our keeper league. I went into  
the draft with Votto (40), Headley (12), R. Weeks (23), Hairston Jr (1),  
Morgan (8), L. Nix (1), Karstens (3), Brothers (1) O'Flaherty (1).  
My plan going into the draft was to bring back Clayton Kershaw, get a  
good closer for a reasonable price (I was targeting Jason Motte for  
around $20) and then hit the board with as many quality but not  
superstar players between the low and upper teens. I was zero-ing  
in on were Wilson Ramos, Marco Scutaro, Jason Kubel, Jose Tabata,  
Jamie Garcia, and Johnny Cueto to name a few.

The Kershaw Factor:
In my league, per the auction, the team that finished last gets to bring  
up the first player (then it goes to the team who came in 2nd to last,  
and then 3rd to last etc, etc). That first owner announced Kershaw.  
I was very happy because my Plan A draft plan focused on Kershaw.  
There were a lot of starting pitching options available but I felt  
that for the elite numbers that Kershaw brings he was worth the extra  
dollars to land him. I had budgeted $38 for Kershaw. I felt this was a  
good break that he was called out first because if he went too  
high, I had every other pitcher still on the board. I had all the  
options available. When the smoke cleared I got Kershaw back at $39  
just $1 more than I budgeted. I believe this worked out well because  
of the available starters in my draft Halladay went $41, Lincecum $34,  
Hamels $33, Kennedy $30, Gallardo $29. So for the few extra dollars I  
got a stud in every starting pitching category.

When an unexpected good thing happens, don't hesitate:
I was quiet after Kershaw for a number of picks and memory serves  
correct, early in the 2nd round Jay Bruce came up. I thought in my  
draft Bruce would cost between $32 to $34 and be out of my budget. I  
was high on Bruce as I think he is a lock to be a $30 player and to me  
has a very good chance of the 2012 being his break out year and  
becoming a 40HR type of guy. So when the bidding was in the high 20's  
I sensed an opportunity to land Bruce and I did at $29. Adding Bruce  
at that junction to go with Joey Votto and Rickie Weeks gave me three top tier  
hitters. I felt that was a very good way to start my offense. So  
lesson here is doing research on everyone because you cannot assume  
anything in your drafts and a player that you think can't afford you  
might be able to. Also you must be willing to adjust your draft plan  
when an opportunity comes along. My plan was to add Jason Kubel as a  
power bat between $16 - $18 (he actually went $20 in my draft) instead  
I jumped on Bruce and scratched Kubel off my list.

Dealing with a Nightmare:
I do not know why but the closers in my draft all went for ridiculous  
prices. In my league for whatever reason we tend to pay more for  
pitching be it starting pitcher or closers than most drafts you see on  
line or any kind of league. Again every league is different. But the  
last 3 years the prices on closers for our league had been trending  
downward. In fact going into the draft a lot of the owners in my  
league felt that there was not enough hitting but there was a lot of  
starting pitching and their were 12 of the 16 opening day closers in  
the NL available. No one in my league thought in million years that  
the closers on draft day would go insane prices. But that's what  
happened, after a few guys went off the board such as Jonathan Papelbon &  
Kimbrel for $30, Storen for $22, Wilson for $23, Bell for $25 I knew I  
was going to have to pay a lot more than my budgeted $20 for Jason  
Motte. Well when Carlos Marmol went $20 I knew I was deep trouble.  
Long story short I did get my target Jason Motte but at $29. An owner  
in my league who had a lot of money left and Papelbon on his roster  
got into a bidding war with me from $23 on up. At that point the only  
closers left were Street, Francisco and Myers. I was getting Motte and  
just going to deal with the consequences. Bottom line is you have to  
secure the talent sometimes and throw value out of the window. The  
closers is like a game of musical chairs when the music stops the  
bottom line is you have to have a chair and a chair that you like. But  
because of this and over extending my power bat budget on Bruce I was  
just about $20 behind my original plan. It was time to scramble like  
Tim Tebow (Go J-E-T-S !!!!).

I am behind the 8-Ball Now What?
At this point, I had $73 and needed 11 players and needed to add  
another really good starting pitcher to my team and then add as many  
solid players after that. I was quiet for a while and then Wilson Ramos  
came up who I targeted as my number 1 catcher. I was hoping I could  
get him for a little less than $15 and won the bidding at $13. Step in  
the right direction. Then I really wanted Marco Scutaro to be my  
shortstop I pushed it as much as I could for someone who had just $60  
left but winded up having to settle for Furcal at $9. I hope he has  
something left in the tank. Then Danny Espinosa came up and I got the  
sense early in the bidding people were saving their money elsewhere  
and everyone was afraid of that .236 batting average. I saw a young  
guy who nearly went 20-20 last year and can improve and if he can hit 
.250 would be a huge asset to my team. I jumped on Espinosa I won the  
bidding at $16. Okay so after Bruce I added Ramos, Furcal & Espinosa  
at this point I had $35 left and had to focus on pitching. I tried and  
tried to land a front end guy at good value but the prices kept going  
high. Finally Cueto came up and the starting pitching list was  
dwindling. I won Cueto at $20 and then a few picks later even though I  
am not in love with him because of his ratio I landed Trevor Cahill  
for $7. Thought that was pretty good value. That left me $8 for 6  
players. Yikes

End Game:
When I get down to the very end my plan is to literally wait almost  
everyone out. Once teams fill up their roster they can't bid anymore.  
There were still good end game guys left on the board and when it was  
my turn I kept bringing guys I knew I had no chance of getting and  
getting the other owners to finish their rosters. In the end I landed  
for my last 6 spots Clayton Richard at $2, Joe Saunders at $1, Roger  
Bernadina at $1, Eric Young Jr at $2, Tyler Colvin at $1 and McKenry  
at $1 (not in love with that pick). Most of these guys I researched  
and targeted them as end game possibilities. In the reserves I added  
Aoki, Lannan, Overbay, Dolis and Travis Wood. I had targeted Aoki  
having Nyjer Morgan and thought Dolis could have possibilities come  
the 2nd half of the season.

Final Analysis:
Quite honestly a lot of unexpected things happened and for a good  
portion of the draft I had to scramble. This is where researching the  
players is huge but having said that the bottom line is while I have a  
lot of top shelf talent I do need my cheap players to make  
contributions. They do not have to be superstars although that would  
be nice, but what I need from my $1 to $3 players is for 2/3 to give  
me $7 to $10 years. If enough can do that and if the Votto's & the  
Kershaw's of the world do their thing then I can have a team that  
challenges for the crown. I hope you guys enjoyed this article in  
breaking down the draft and using me as the guinea pig

NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, April 05, 2012

David Bobke - Profit


Disclaimer: This is for new Roto players. Parental discretion is advised. You may experience a burning sensation while reading this information. In this event, rub gravel into your scalp every 5 minutes until the burning ceases. After ½ hour, take a bath in tomato juice on your front lawn. This will not help the sensation, but it will be funny to your neighbors, and you may scare some of the ones you don't like.

Concept 3: “Profit!” Or “How to Know When I Need To Take Myself More Seriously”

Guys...you've forgotten something. Maybe you didn't “forget,” but you've been really really busy. You forgot your anniversary. It's 5:45pm, you still have time to cover yourself...maybe...

Recognize this form of panic? This will hit you at some point during your draft. 10 rounds and realize you haven't addressed pitching at all? There's that feeling. Realizing you've addressed all your OF spots and your Utility spot, but you have no middle infield? There it is. 10 Rounds in, you will get some degree of this feeling. It's okay. This isn't so much a “forgetting your anniversary” situation; it's more like a “I've been cleaning the garage all day, so I haven't had time to fix the sink” (and in this scenario, you actually HAVE been cleaning the garage all day, as opposed to cleaning for 20 minutes and playing XBox for the other 4 hours.)

You will always feel like you're behind. It's like life that way, isn't it? Plan on that for draft. That'll be discussed more in the next article; for now, let's get to tiering your rankings. If you feel like you're not following very well, hang in there.

Let's say the categories in this little league here are (for offense) Runs, Runs Batted In, Home Runs, Stolen Bases, Batting Average, (for pitching) Strikeouts, Wins, Saves, Earned Run Average, and Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (or WHIP).

Here's how my rankings currently work. I break SP's into tiers, like so:

Tier 1: Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw
Tier 2: Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee, David Price, Zack Greinke, CC Sabathia, Jered Weaver
Tier 3: Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy, CJ Wilson

With SP's, my top tier is made up of players I feel would be AWESOME #1s. Tier 2 is generally made up of guys that I think would be very good #1s. Tier 3 is generally guys who might be okay #1s, but pretty good #2s. I haven't done any tiers beyond that because everything will depend on how many pitchers I have, what categories I'm doing well in and so forth.

That said, I'm probably not taking a Tier 1 guy because I'm probably going offense-heavy in my draft, and there's no chance those guys will be available. Tier 2 guys are a possibility, but unless one of them slips, I may not get any of them. By the time those Tier 2 guys are gone...it's 5:45pm if you catch my drift! That's the point where I have to realize that if I want a decent group of SP's, I should start addressing that spot.

By the way, I have these guys lined up by VALUE. Just because I have Sabathia on the same tier as Greinke doesn't mean that I'd consider him in the same spot I'd take Greinke in. I'd rather have Haren over either of them. I don't have this listed here, but I use a color system as a quick-reference guide to remind me just how I feel about different players. I have Strasberg in a good color to remind me that I don't need to get a Tier 2 guy, I feel pretty good about Strasberg where he's going in another round or two. I also know there are several pitchers that I like a lot. They're riskier, but I like several of them, and they'll be available in rounds where I might be more likely to pick up SP's. Like I said, I'm not going into the color system because that's a whole different level of insanity that I don't want to expose you to...at least not yet.

...okay, you've talked me into it. As I've stated before, I like leaving the site's rankings basically in place so I know where most people are going to view a particular player.  That said, I go through a lot of these players and assign a color to them. Light blue means I love where they're being drafted and/or I simply find overlooked. Green means I like them, Yellow is more of a questionable color, Red is bad, and Black means I think they have the plague.

Throughout the draft, I'll keep an eye on my list for upcoming Blues and consider the Greens as well. If there are a few Blues coming up in a few rounds, I won't rush to take guys before them. But of course, I'm going to consider my categories, where I'm strong versus where I'm weak, etc. For example, I feel so-so about a lot of the SP's between 20 and 40. Then we get to Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson, Gio Gonzalez. Guys I'm very interested in. So I probably won't take anyone between 20 and 40 on this list because I may try to snag a couple of those guys I just listed. I'm not in a rush to fill my SP spots.

Getting back to the idea of the tier system...it's a little helpful for the first few SP's, but I don't generally use it beyond 3 or 4 tiers. At the fielding positions, I set 1 or 2 tiers, which simply tells me where the guys I'm okay with having as a starter will be. Another example...at SS, Asdrubal Cabrera is the last guy I'm okay with drafting at that position, if I want to move forward in the draft with confidence that that position is taken care of. He is the last guy on Tier 1 and I have no Tier 2. Once I'm past that point, I'm going to have to be creative about filling that spot. Again, this is where my lovely colors come into play. I see Dee Gordon if I'm willing to take that risk and I need speed, I see Emilio Bonifacio later on. I see Derek Jeter if I need Runs and I don't want to wait that long.

I want to know where others view a player AND where I view a player. The tiers tell me where they view him, my color system tells me where I view them. My list shows me one, my colors remind me where my guys are.

Now that's how I view it. Other people may tell you differently, but for me, I have a much better grip on the draft if I know how others are going to view players and how I view them.

We'll go over several of these points from previous articles and some other things next time. We're getting close my friends!

David Bobke

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

David Bobke - The Draft


Disclaimer: If you're a fantasy baseball expert, you will probably not learn anything from this article. Or maybe you will. If you're a newbie, you should learn something from this article. But maybe you won't.  It's still worth a try if you're getting ready for your first year of Roto ball. It could be the difference between having or not having hair by the end of your draft.

Concept 3: The Draft

There's two ways of selecting your team: steers and...er, that's something else. I'll start over.

Disclaimer: If you're a fantasy...no, we don't need to do this over.

Concept 3: The...Larch

Okay, this is annoying.

Seriously now...there are two ways of selecting your team: Draft and Auction. In the Auction, you have a chance at getting anyone you want. You can get 2 or 3 of the best players in the league with relative ease.

In Auctions, you get a budget of, let's say $260 (that's a fairly standard number) for your auction. You will need a cheat sheet to have some idea how much these guys are going for (unless you can really narrow down who you're going to bid on and you can write really small on a notecard, then you can maybe get away with just that. A player gets nominated for sale, let's say, SP Roy Halladay, and your cheat sheet has him pegged at $28. If you really want Halladay, you have to know how much higher than that you might be willing to go. If you're not very interested in him, then you probably won't get him, but if the bidding stalls out at $23, and Halladay for $24 sounds good to you, then hey, put the bid in. Why not? At the very least, you've made an opponent bid $2 more than they would have otherwise. It's a small thing, but I find joy in annoying people like that.

Beyond that...well, maybe tune in next year because that's about all the advice I can give you about an auction draft for now. If you're prepping for your first year of FB, I'm going to suggest you stick with the draft. It's more structured, less chaotic, and as much as I'd love to give you tips on creating chaos around your opponents, the draft is something you need to experience as a newcomer. If you have any control over it, a 10 teamer is probably about right. 8 is a little shallow, 12 is a little tougher, but I wouldn't recommend going higher or lower than that, 8-12. If you're in a 6 team league, the drafting process is too easy (if you're 9 or 10 years old and just getting started, then maybe it'll be enough, but if you're of adult age, no lower than 8, for the love of the game!)

So how does one draft? Several things should happen before you start your actual draft. I've covered these points in an article last year called “Everything I Learned, I Learned From Mocking Kindergarteners.”

The basic points there still apply. I've talked about prep work, looking over the stats, arranging your rankings, and mock drafting (more so for drafts, not as much for auctions). Next time, we'll get into tiers for your rankings.

For now, I want you to get this concept about drafting: Be ready for anything. You remember how I started this article? Didn't expect an article to start like that? That is exactly my point. Drafts can surprise you in many ways. Dumb picks made in the 1st Round that allow a stud to fall in your lap, your favorite player being picked a round early and ruining your game plan, just about anything.

David Bobke