Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 06 March 2008
With more than 20 years of fantasy baseball experience under my belt I feel as though I have learned a few things worth sharing. Some of these things may apply to you and your leagues, some may not, but I have discovered that year after year - these things have always kept me on the right side of .500 and more often than not in the top three in 85% of the leagues I’ve played in.
- I have met dozens upon dozens of fantasy players that take the strategy that you spend all your money on hitting and build a starting pitching staff with players who are $1 (or less each) and I’ve NEVER seen them win a league. It’s a bad strategy.
- Even closers on bad teams should get 30 saves. Therefore sometimes it’s not worth spending $20 or more on a primo closer when you can get one for $8.
- Roughly one third of all closers will lose their jobs each season and be replaced by someone else. Elite closers are more likely to get their job back.
- Keep your eyes on the wire. The waiver wire and free agent wire are your best friend during the season, especially in leagues where there isn’t a lot of trading. You should be scanning the news and watching who is available constantly so that you can pounce either on players who are an upgrade or on replacements when your guys head to the DL.
- Be realistic - when Greg Zaun hits three home runs opening week, don’t expect a 20 home run season, he’s probably going to only hit four for the whole year. Don’t drop a solid player to chase a flavor of the moment.
- Use judgment - At some time or another you are going to have to decide that a player is the real thing not just a flash in the pan. Last season I picked up Troy Tulowitzki, Hunter Pence and Adrian Gonzalez off the waiver wire while others were still monitoring them.
- Buy a backbone pitcher. It’s always good to have one stud pitcher. Does that mean you have to have Johan Santana or Jake Peavy? No, it doesn’t but the value of someone who’ll make a solid run at 200 strikeouts, 18 wins with a sub 3.7 ERA and sub 1.30 WHIP can’t be overestimated. You can survive without them - but in most leagues - especially Yahoo! leagues where ERA is used as a tiebreaker having a solid pitching staff is part of any successful plan.
- Always have a backup plan. Either stashed on your bench or drifting about on the Free Agent wire you should always have a backup plan to minimize damage if one of your players goes down at specific position.
- Pay attention. Nothing kills a fantasy team worse than wandering away for a few days to find out that you have missed the trading deadline, or that your stud closer lost his job and someone else already scooped up the new closer. If you can’t check your team at least every 48 hours ask a friend (with full access) to substitute manage for you as needed.
- Don’t be afraid to cut a player that looks like he’s done - even if he’s a “Name” player, but don’t do it too quickly. If a player is dead wood or you can’t trade him and he’s preventing you from picking up someone you want, then it’s time to let him go.
- Talk trash, but don’t be offensive. Fantasy baseball is a game and it is supposed to be fun - when talking trash try not to get too personal. These people are your friends; try to keep them that way.