Ok i have been a competitive fantasy player for 3 years now, And I have only won one league and that was some crappy yahoo public league where only two other people were active, other than that I always finished between number 2 and number 5 yet I belive I know a good deal of fantasy baseball. For some reason I never do good near the end of the season in roto or in the playofffs in H2H. So I am wondering what Kind of strategies do you winners use like who your have on your team, who you take during the draft, start/benching, spot starting etc.
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Mark my words: Oliver Perez will be 2005 NL Cy Young Winner
Rico The Retard
Hall of Fame Hero
Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: The Magical Valley Of Love And Happiness
I'm not sure I stick to a single strategy to help me win.
I think the one thing I do is I don't overspend on mid-range closers. Grab a top one early (Gagne, Lidge etc) but fill the rest of your RPs in the later rounds. If you use this strategy then you always need to be on the lookout for injuries to closers so you can be the first to pickup the backup. I'm never afraid to take a flyer on a Mike Adams or Justin Speier. You normally know if they are going to work out a few weeks into the season. If they don't you can dump them and they haven't ruined your ERA or WHIP for the season. If they work out then they are bargains.
I play in a 10 or 12 team H2H league w/ coworkers. There have always been a few who've lost interest, don't respond to trades rapidly or at all and that sort of thing but some of them have 'retired' and this year is looking good. Last year, I had a decent team until Sexson collapsed and I was kind of weak at 1B but got some ok results in June/ July by checking the matchups Friday before the night games, getting a list of the 'matchup' scores and identifying categories as 'won by me', 'won by him' and 'contested' and tweaking my lineup to win as many of the contested ones as I could.
I seemed to do ok when I did that but had some personal stuff come up in August/ Sept (funerals ) that kind of got me out of the loop for a few weeks and I got smoked in a very close matchup the second round of the playoffs which was also a drag, one of those, 'if I was playing any team but you...' situations. I know what you mean though about 'diminishing returns' as I kind of suspect that I do about 10x as much 'research' (reading, checking split stat matchups for each starter/ relievers, hanging around here, etc...) as the rest of the league (combined?) and still couldn't quite hold it together to win. That's the vagaries of H2H I suppose...
possibly this is just a result of my personal skills and lack thereof, but in all the leagues I've won, I've had a solid draft focusing on hitters early and middle, picking a few solid closers (not necessarily stars, but guys who won't lose their jobs), then relying on mid and late round starters (in bulk), plus a happy eye on the WW for starters. Partially I think this has worked for me because I'm good at picking best value at hitters, while not so good with pitchers. I've never been much good at evaluating good pitching value, so I try to make up for that by not risking much on pitchers, and relying on a few WW picks to keep me competetive in those cats.
Major League Manager
Joined: 2 May 2004
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: my home is in NYC, my heart is in PNC Park
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard was "You NEVER want to finish first in any category because it means you own wasted value"
I put that advice to work this year. IN August, I was down 20 pts (in second place) and had little hope of catching my first place opponent in any of the offensive cats. But I saw an opportunity with the pitching categories that could possibly catapult me over the first place team. So, I got talking with an owner who was out of the running. He wanted a hitter with great OBP and some speed. So I dealt "career year" Bobby Abreu to him for Johan Santana.
I won the league by 10 points and finished second in 10 of 12 categories.
Announcing Skip's Rules to Win Your 12-Team 5x5 Fantasy League This Year:
1. Know who is injured, and draft them accordingly (or not at all). Examples: Lance Berkman, Matt Morris, and Frank Thomas.
2. Know who was injured, and why their stats were down last year. Examples: Wade Miller, Richie Sexson, Nomar Garciaparra.
3. Have a top 12 at the C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS postions. Make a list of the top 75 SPs and the top 60 OFs. Print out the "Closer Watch " thread on the Cafe. Don't forget about Erubiel Durazo.
4. Don't "punt" or overlook any category.
5. Draft a "balanced" team, in all regards. After 10 rounds I like to have at least one solid closer, at least one starter with a high K total, and at least one starter with a good ERA/WHIP history. Of my 6 or 7 hitters, I'd like to have a good mix of power and speed, with very few category "killers." For example, I like the 30 HR, 5-10 SB potential over the 40 HR, 0 steal potential (i.e. Teixeira over Thome this year, for me). By the end of the draft, I like to have a mix of young players and "aged" veterans (nothing wrong with Mussina, Durham, Alou). I hate having more than 3 guys on the same team. Sometimes, strange things happen to teams as a whole, especially in H2H. I wouldn't complain with Nomar/Prior/Aramis/DLee/Wood on my team, but enough is enough!
6. If 5 of the last 6 picks were closers (or catchers, shortstops, whatever), I am not picking that position.
7. Do not pick a player because they play a certain position. Values are to be had all over.
8. My last pick will be a complete off-the-wall type of flier. I never like to fall in love with my last pick, because that is the guy who I am probably going to drop first if I have to pick someone up from the Waiver Wire.
9. Pay attention. Don't spend time thinking you are going to draft Mr. Smith, and when you are about to pick him, realize that he was picked a few spots ahead of you.
10. Don't let feelings get in the way of Fantasy. I hate the Yankees, but I also have no problem with drafting Jeter, Posada, or Matsui. The only exception to this rule is Barry Bonds. I can't stand Barry Bonds. This sounds ridiculous, but I would rather lose without Barry Bonds than win with Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds, ugh.
11. The first round should include (in my personal order): ARod, Pujols, Vlad, Beltran, Tejada, Soriano, Abreu, Helton, Manny, Santana, RJ, Bonds.
the last few years, last year especially my strategy has been don't leave any blatent weaknesses. that means getting good guys at C, 2B and SS over some one with better production in the OF. i generally wait on 1B and OF till later on because they are deep positions, but its smart to get a good OF early then wait because of the need for three. As for pitching its important to get an ace and a good number two if possible, from there look for bargins or sleepers or guys you think'll breakout (for example santana or peavy last year, i had both). as for closers, get a good one, doesn't have to be top three, then get a solid second tier, and i always like to get a third for backup, someone like chad cordero. at the end of the draft pick sleepers. that's important. its much better to pick a sleeper like victor martinez (did that too) than to get a guy u know will put up mediocore numbers. there's a lot of luck, but aim to pick guys u think will do good this year, not because they did good last year. during the season watch the WW for guys who are could be useful or are starting to breakout. stick to the guys u believe in, but don't be afraid to drop a sleeper if they aren't panning out. i hope this helps and works for u, it has for me
i seem to always end up in the top 3, which is fine with me bc i believe a winning team always gets a little lucky with sleeper picks, and later claims to have "known all along they were going to have a good year" you probably know more than me but my advice is to draft one stud sp and take gambles on others. Pitching prospects are rarely as consistant as hitting-that is all...
this is gonna sound like garden variety schlep but:
-Pitching is more volatile then hitting.
-Dont draft categorie killers in Roto.
-Ignore position scarcity (especially in shallow leagues)
-Dont waste a top 10 draft pick on any closer. (unless ofcourse a real impact type Reliever slips way to far to pass up)
-Target younger pitchers with higher k rates late in the draft.
-Make sure to keep "B.O.B." (Best on Board) mentality, even when your stockpiled in a certain position. (this gives you very good trade bait)
-Target youth (got to love that untapped potential) a great source for finding these type of players is a subscription to baseball prospectus.
-This last one is key for me always:
every year there's veteran players who get off to slow starts (IE: Aubrey Huff, Gary Sheffield--come to mind) then there's always those veterans who are way outperforming their career norms **(buy low sell high)** cant stress enough how important it is to take advantage of situations like these in the beginning of the year when samples of #'s are so small. (after the first month i usually make 1-2 trades -- every year -- selling high and buying low) there's always a sucker out there who is way to impatient and buys into all the hype. It is easier said than done...its hard to trade away guys who are filling up the box score every night, for veterans who cant even hit .200. But these are the type of risks you have to take to really propell your team into championship caliber status.
Ive been playing fantasy baseball for 2 years now. In the 4 leagues ive been in(all extremely competitive) ive won 3. I spend alot more time then the average-joe crunching and studying #'s though. So i would credit my success to the amount of time invested......than i would having some actual kind of "fantasy" skill.