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Fantasy Baseball & Football Draft Strategy – 10 Simple Rules

Today’s article uses some MLB names as examples to help guide you through how to successfully approach your upcoming fantasy draft. You can easily take these principles away and leverage them across a number of different sports like fantasy football and basketball, for example. Don’t worry too much about the player names used… focus on the high level lessons we’re trying to teach you here so you can dominate your draft.

Everyone is looking for the golden ticket… that one-stop shop, or checklist that if they follow to a T, will result in them winning a championship.  The cold, ugly truth is that – it doesn’t exist!

What you can do, however, is focus on making quality decisions with a reasonable base for why those decisions are made – and that is what we are here to provide.

Here are 10 simple rules to follow as you head into your upcoming fantasy draft:

1)  Make your heavy investments count.  This is vital.  If you are in an auction league – you want to make sure that the players you are shelling out big coin are at a discount to the value they will provide, and the chances of them producing less value than what you paid for them are minimal.

2)  Avoid selecting players with limited potential for profit.  Now – I’m not saying drafting David Dejesus never has its perks.  However, you can set your watch to steady production with guys like Dejesus given playing time.  However, unless you are in an extremely deep league – you are better off going after someone who has the potential to produce double-digit value instead of taking the safe play with limited upside.

3)  Do not transact for the sake of transacting.  Whether it is trading, add/drops – stay the course with your plan at least initially.  I’m not going to go as far as to say to pull a Billy Beane out of Moneyball and stand pat for the first two months no matter what…but make sure that every roster move that you make has a specific purpose that has the odds in your favour to address a need, or make your team a better overall squad.

4)  Do not fall in love with your players.  If you drafted Chris Johnson in 2013 – odds are he has earned a special place in your heart. I’m not saying he is bad.  However, there are numerous reasons to believe he will regress.  Too many fantasy players think the world of players that are on their roster – and to be blunt – they think players they have are worth far more than they actually are.  Don’t be one of these players – and take advantage of those that do.  While they are asking for the moon and the stars for their Chris Johnson – by being realistic about the players you own – you can be more active in the trade market – and shoot for deals that are likely to return profits for you and your club.

5) Have a good plan… and stick to it!  If you finish your auction or draft and you like your staff – don’t panic if they get off to a poor start in April.  Don’t move a $30 hitter for a $20 pitcher because you ‘need arms’.  It is a recipe for disaster.  And make sure your plan is good – and that you do the best you can to actually execute it.  Just going in and winging things is not likely to provide good results or a successful fantasy baseball season.

6)  Don’t be afraid to spend a couple extra bucks on a player you really think will break out.  How many of you were afraid of spending that extra buck or two on Domonic Brown in 2013?  You’re not alone.  As long as the player provides reasonable expectation of significant upside – do not be afraid to splurge a little.  I’m not talking $6-10 more in an auction or 4-5 rounds early in a snake draft…but when the situation dictates, don’t be afraid to modify your budget slightly to lock in a player with significant room for return on your investment.

7)  Don’t pay top dollar for what you feel are scarce categories like saves… there is just too much turnover at the position.  Now, saying that, everyone has their price and if you can lock in any player at a reasonable discount to their value then pull the trigger and grab them.  But don’t pay more than the value that one category can provide…I’d have a hard time going more than $15 on any closer – outside of the absolute studs in a 12 team AL/NL only pool.

8)  Which leads us to our next point – when filling out your reserve slots – target 3-4 high upside MR’s or set-up men that rack up strikeouts and throw strikes.  Odds are they are next in line – and with the turnover noted above – odds are they will provide significant return on your investment in them.  This can also be a great strategy if you happen to miss out on saves all together – or if you only land one of the low-end options.

9)  Don’t be stubborn.  Everyone makes mistakes in their projections.  Even the best prognosticators on the street are often misguided.  When a player is struggling and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, cut your losses and look for profits elsewhere.  Treat it like a sunk cost.  If you can’t think of any other reason than ‘he just has to be better’ – and suitable replacements are at your disposal – it is time to bite the bullet and move on.

10) Remember why you play.  It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and become frustrated if things don’t go your way.  The majority play for fun, others for profit, some for bragging rights.  Many – a combination of the three.  Regardless of what it is – it sounds simple – but remember why you play and compete with that in mind.  If you do that and keep your objectives clear and straightforward – you will find the 2014 season that much more enjoyable.  And we look forward to partnering with you to provide advice that helps you reach your 2014 fantasy baseball goals.

If you follow these – you will have set yourself up for a successful 2014 season.  Things can happen on the way to derail even the most perfect of draft day plans – but by having a defined, set process and by being prepared, you will be in better shape than 99% of fantasy owners worldwide – and you will be successful.

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About Brad

Brad hates the term fantasy sports expert, so instead he is someone who specializes in NFL, NHL and MLB DFS notes and analysis. He had a 68.2% win rate in 2015 NFL cash games to go along with a 83.5% win rate for the 2014 season. For NHL he had a 58.7% win rate in the 2015-16 season for cash games and a 66.2% win rate for the 2014-15 season. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy.

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