These tips are pretty much generic. They apply to most any format you can play and are more basic philosophy or tenets than specific strategies. Don’t worry, I’ll offer more targeted tips in the Xclusive Edge package, where I’ll take a dive into auction strategy and get more indepth about how to succeed in NL/AL-only leagues and deeper formats.
For now, take a few minutes to digest these. Learn them. Love them. Live them… and send me your own Fantasy Baseball tips
13 Fantasy Baseball Tips to Live By
- Be aware of IP and AB limits – If there is a set limit of innings pitched from starting pitchers in your league, you don’t want to use them up with mid-level pitchers… or you could even build up your innings early in the season and trade your starters for offense and saves later in the season. Either way, know the rules and look for ways to
cheat exploituse them to your advantage.
- Know the position eligibility requirements – If your league has unique eligibility rules you need to know which players qualify where. Here’s a nice sortable table of all Games Played By Position in 2017. Bookmark this baby and have it ready at your draft. There really is not a better tool to quickly check eligibility for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.
- Don’t draft innings eaters – The few extra wins and strikeouts you may get are more than offset by irreparable damage to you ERA and WHIP. These innings eater types typically have below average ERAs and WHIPs and actually un-do the work your top pitchers are putting in. Instead grab a couple good middle relievers and you’ll be a lot happier. Of all these Fantasy Baseball tips, this one may be abused more than all the others. The Ricky Porcello’s of the baseball world don’t offer as much in Fantasy as they do in real life.
- Don’t project players into elite value – We’re all guilty of it. We all want to be the one who “discovered” the next great fantasy thing. We like a player’s potential so much that we draft them several rounds before their past production would dictate. Over the past few seasons we’ve seen a ton of rookies put up huge numbers. Remember, it usually doesn’t work out like that. It just doesn’t pay off to draft a player for production they haven’t proven they are capable of. If you’re right, you just got what you paid for. If you’re wrong the high price you paid is going to haunt you for the whole season. Your high picks or big auction expenditures need to be spent on proven commodities. Save the speculation for a point in the draft where you gain value out of the pick. Give your upside picks somewhere to go. That’s how you win leagues.
- Never dump a category before the season starts – Is it possible to win by dumping a category? Sure, but everything has to work out perfectly. It’s much better to build a balanced team that can compete in every category. If something goes wrong, then you can make a decision to dump a category mid-year. This allows you to trade whatever value you do have in that category for players who can help you elsewhere. Dumping at the draft locks you into one plan that can get derailed rather easily. A balanced draft allows you the freedom to go in many different directions as the season unfolds.
- Don’t overestimate position scarcity – We talked about it with catchers specifically, but position scarcity has a minimal impact this year. In fact the traditionally shallow positions of middle infield and catcher are pretty deep. You might run into more shortages in the outfield and first base this year. Just draft the best player that meets your needs and you’ll be happy at season’s end.
- Wait on pitching – You’ve heard this a lot over the years, but it’s still true. I like to grab one ace starter and then wait until the 12th round or later to start filling out the bulk of my pitching. There are solid hurlers even as you approach the final rounds of a typical mixed league. Once you get past the elite pitchers the values start to blur. It just doesn’t make sense to draft mid-level starters in round 10 when similar pitchers will still be there in Round 15
Check out these 9 Post-Hype Sleepers that offer huge Fantasy Upside
8. Draft middle relievers in the reserve rounds – Deep league owners know the value of good middle relievers, but it often gets ignored in mixed leagues. If you’ve waited on pitching, you’ve no doubt drafted a few high risk/high reward starting pitchers. Rather than throw them out there early in the season and see what happens, use a middle reliever or two. Never really considered using middle relievers? Check out these 5 reasons to draft middle relievers even in mixed leagues. Not sure which middle relievers to target? Here are my 20 favorite middle relievers for 2018.
Wanna share some of your own Fantasy Baseball tips or just want to make fun of mine? Throw out your ideas to me on Twitter @RotoDaddy.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
9. De-value thy catcher – Back in the days of Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez an owner could profit from drafting a catcher very early in their draft. Not so much any more. The obvious danger is the risk of injury, but even if they’re healthy they just don’t get as many at-bats as other position players. Gary Sanchez and Wilson Contreras are great players, but neither one scored over 80 runs or drove in 90. I’m not stupid enough to avoid Sanchez or Contreras. It’s just likely a better investment to settle for a lower ranked catcher and and use your early picks for position players who give you more of the counting stats. Besides, catcher is deeper in power than you think.
10. Ignore coach speak in the spring – Managers and GMs will always talk optimistically in Spring Training. Most of it just hot air meant to pump up the players. Someone is always in the best shape of their career, while another player packed on 20 pounds of muscle or had laser eye surgery Sometimes it pans out, but most often it’s just a distraction.
11.Ignore spring training stats – Veterans are working on new pitches. Rookies are facing minor league pitchers. The numbers in Spring Training contain way too many variables to get much out of. History is littered with Spring Training heros who fizzled out when the season started.
12. Do not ignore spring training – While much of Spring Training can be dismissed, there are aspects to pay attention to. Has a pitcher regained velocity that they lost the previous year? Does a player coming off of injury appear to be healthy? Who is winning a position battle? If you can look past the stats, there are things to be taken from Spring Training.
13.Don’t give up on players in April and May – Every year certain players start the season on a sour note and too many Fantasy owners are ready to jump ship. Trading them away or dropping them only ensures that you lost value from your draft-day investment. If you team has underperformed early in the year, you’re not going to magically get value through trading disappointing players. The best course of action is to hold onto them and in most cases they’ll bounce back to career norms.