While most Fantasy Baseball championships won’t be won by simply having a good draft, they certainly can be lost by having a poor one. Those fantasy owners who go into the draft unprepared and without a solid strategy will more often than not flounder. Proper draft preparation is often the key to a successful draft. Here then are ten simple rules to follow to have a successful draft.
1) Know the scoring system:
Knowing the type of scoring that your league uses is a must. Know whether your league uses a standard 5 x 5 scoring system, or if it’s a system that rewards other type of scoring beyond the simple 10 categories of Homers, RBIs, Runs, Batting Average, Steals, Wins, WHIP, Strikeouts, Saves and ERA. Knowing the system will not leave you drafting talent that is unfit for your league.
2) Create a Fantasy Draft Cheat Sheet:
Whether you rate the players by what round they should go in, or use a basic 100 or 200 player deep draft sheet, creating a draft cheat sheet will keep you from forgetting what players are available and which of them you had singled out as a must for your team. This is especially true during the critical first 10 rounds of the draft.
3) Beware of injuries:
Make special notes on your draft sheet of players who have had a series of injuries, or who will be starting the season on the Injured Reserve list. A player who will be out for a good portion of the season, is not one to draft early. On the other hand, a player who will be back during the first few weeks of the season, may go untouched during the draft. Such has been the case for me on more than one occasion when I have been able to land a Jeff Kent or a Carlos Beltran, because other owners where not aware of when they would be returning from injury.
4) Know your owners:
If possible, be familiar with your fellow owners. Know who has a tendency to over pay for a player, or who goes after pitching early in a draft etc. Knowing your fellow owners will help you stay one step ahead of the competition during the draft.
5) Don’t drink during the draft:
There is a place for drinking and the draft isn’t it. Don’t do anything to that will impair your judgment, or make you take a player in a draft you would normally avoid.
6) Don’t be talked into a pick:
It’s good to listen to your fellow owners during the draft. It is not good to let them talk you into making a move you otherwise would not make. Don’t be fooled by their talk, more often then not they may try to psych you out.
7) Don’t draft Closer too early:
Yes, Saves is a category. But there are players who can score a heck of lot more for you than Closers. Don’t follow a run on closers too early in the draft. By the same token, use common sense, if all Closers are starting to go off the board, grab one or two good ones.
8) Beware of career years:
Look beyond the numbers the players posted last season. If possible, be aware of the players last three season. Often a player will have had a career year, and post numbers he will never again duplicate. Leave those players for other owners to fall in love with.
9) Look for players with high upside in the late rounds:
The late rounds of draft are made for you to gamble. Go for rookies with high upside or players deemed as “fantasy sleepers.” Drafting a mediocre player in a late round will not win you a championship, but sleepers who delivers might.
10) Do last minute scouting of players you target:
Depending on when your draft falls, you may be able to get last minute Spring Training information, or Winter league data on the players you want. It’s okay to go by last year stats and data, but be aware of players having a hot spring or doing well in winter ball. After all, you can’t be too prepared for your draft.