Fantasy baseball draft
tips: go big or go home
On the DL
In the movie This Is Spinal Tap, there are many
memorable quotes. To paraphrase one standout: “There’s
a fine line between brilliance and stupidity.” That nugget
of wisdom is well-applied towards the growing hobby of fantasy
With opening day less than a month away, it’s likely your
draft will be happening very soon. Thus, in the spirit of glasnost,
I present the following draft tips. Vets, please take note: these
tips are geared towards first-time players.
As any fantasy veteran will tell you, the early rounds are the
easy part. Pick the best player available and shape your team into
an offensive powerhouse or pitching and speed dynamo. The only
thing you should avoid is picking players near to your heart or
Last year, a competitor in a public league picked Hideki Matsui
with the third overall pick. The chat section of the draft interface
went wild and the guy tried to defend himself with wild predictions
of 50 homers and a .350 average, which Matsui didn’t come
close to. My competitor’s ineptitude meant that A-Rod fell
into my lap, since the first two players had picked Albert Pujols
and Todd Helton respectively.
Which reminds me: if you’re lucky enough to have the first
pick, make no mistake — you need to pick A-Rod. Though the
debate has heated up in recent years, nobody holds a candle to
the Yankees’ new third basemen. That being said, you can
still pick Pujols or Mark Prior and not look like a complete idiot.
But with quality players being scarce at shortstop (and even more
scarce at third base, which A-Rod will soon qualify for), A-Rod
is the natural choice. Pujols qualifies at first base and outfield,
two positions that can be filled by other players, and quality
arms exist beyond Prior.
As your draft moves on past the seventh or eighth round, don’t
keep picking the highest-ranked player available. Doing that will
only guarantee you a mid-range finish. If you want to compete for
the league title, you’re going to have to take some risks,
including taking players coming back from injury or statistically “off” years.
The middle rounds are where you need to focus on getting your “sleeper” picks.
Sleepers are players the unprepared have low expectations for.
If you’ve done your research, though, you’ll know the
latest on positional battles within a team and emerging rookie
Finally, as you enter the last few rounds of your draft, fill
out your squad and get some backup for injury-prone players. If
you really want to take a flyer on an uber-sleeper, this is the
Above all else, try to have fun. If money’s on the line,
this can be difficult, but regardless of financial obligations
you should take the time to make the occasional post in your league
forum or actually get out to a ball park and watch a real baseball
game. In the end, fantasy baseball is just that, and no matter
how good or bad your team is, there will be few real-world repercussions.
So to all those new to fantasy baseball, welcome aboard. Always
remember: using your head in your draft can be the difference between
creating a true fantasy squad or just another wet-dream team.