Welcome to Fantasy University, or FU, for short. I'll be your Professor. No, not that Professor. Not that one either. I'm Brendan Horton, longtime Fantasy Cafe member and writer. I'm bringing you this feature to discuss various fantasy strategies that speak to everyone from the greenest newbies to the most hardened, grizzled veterans of this game. Some of the things discussed will seem like such old hat that some of us don't even consider them anymore and just do them naturally and continuously; yet for others will be grand new, never considered concepts. Essentially, some of us are taking 100 level introductory courses, while others are working on our doctorates and dissertations. There's room for everyone to not only enjoy, but also be successful and win at this game. Ultimately, I hope you enjoy my writing style and personality that I bring to my articles. The beautiful nuances of my butchering of the English language, made up words, and circular logic. If not, you can go kick rocks for all I care. And off we go!
Today I want to talk about a very simple pre-season approach for Points Leagues. Lately I've been noticing a lot more Points League-based questions than in previous years. Very often I'll see questions in our Draft, Trade, Keeper and Waivers Questions Forum that ask questions like, “Which players should I target in my points league draft?" or, “Which player would you rather with this Points League format?" Now, grossly oversimplifying this, and removing the entire strategic concepts of Separation of Hitters and Pitchers (capitalized because of how important it is), and even positional scarcity and the like, I'm going to give you a real easy process you can follow to make your Points League Draft or Auction as easy as 1, 2, 3; or at the very least, get you started.
The first thing you want to do is find a reliable set of 2015 Projections. There are many available, so I might as well point you in the right direction and let you decide what you like for yourself. Some of the most popular Projections are at FanGraphs, in the form of Steamer and ZiPS. If you're unsatisfied with those, FantasyPros offers their Zeile Consensus Projections, which work similarly to the Cafe's Wisdom of the Crowd Projections of previous years, as well. The best thing about all of these is that they are free to view. So, peruse them, use the Google machine to see what other free options may be available to you, and pick your favorite.
Now, depending on your level of comfort with Microsoft Excel or an equivalent program, the next steps vary. Some of these projection systems will have a link that will export all of this data right into an Excel spreadsheet for you (you'll probably have to export Hitters and Pitchers separately, and then either manage two spreadsheets or merge your data); otherwise you're in store for a lot of copying and pasting. Either way, get all of this data into a spreadsheet (or two, if you wish to keep Hitters and Pitchers separate, which you may), and make it look all nice, since it's going to serve as your Cheat Sheet. Using your particular set of point scoring for your league, create a formula that assigns the appropriate value to each cell in your spreadsheet, and gives a Projected Point Total for each player based on your projections (here is a Tutorial for Writing Excel Formulas, if you're unsure what I'm referring to).
Okay, so now that you've got a projected point total for every single player you'd consider drafting, the process really becomes a much simpler one. Pick the players who project to score higher. Of course you'll want to employ strategies of getting players before large drop-offs in projected point production, how to situate your pitchers and when to draft them, so on and so forth; but ultimately, this is infinitely easier than having to balance Stolen Bases and Home Runs, and the like. Remember, it doesn't matter how you accrue your points, as long as you amass them.
Have a topic you'd like me to discuss in a future article? Catch up with me on the Fantasy Baseball Café Forums at bigh0rt. Happy drafting. Class dismissed.