In 2004 I had no idea that I would stumble across something that would change my life forever … Fantasy Baseball.
It was that faithful year that I signed up for my first Fantasy Baseball team – named “WickedHarribleBaston” for some odd reason – and fell head over heels with everything that Fantasy Baseball had to offer. Instantly I was sucked in and many college courses took the back burner to my baseball player studies. To date, I currently obsess over the phenomenon that is Fantasy Baseball.
I’ve played in at least one Fantasy Baseball league each year since, and in 2011 I created, and currently manage, a dynasty league with 11 of my good buddies. Each year that I play, I learn something about the game.
With these five lessons, I hope you take something out of it. The 162-game season can be a lot for some people (not myself) but when you stick with it through thick and thin, you do take a lot for the game. You realize that there is truly more to baseball than just a game and I feel that these lessons that I’ve learned has truly made my lust and admiration for the game more endearing.
Now, let’s go around the diamond and talk about five lessons that I’ve learned in my 13-year Fantasy Baseball career.
Five Lessons Learned About Fantasy Baseball
I cannot stress this enough. The baseball season is long, as is the Fantasy Baseball season. I’ve seen too many managers expect immediate results from players and drop quality guys too soon because they start the season slow. If that player has a track record of being a solid player, he’ll more than likely balance out – stats don’t lie.
You have a better chance at holding on to the player and them coming out of their funk than picking up a guy who probably didn’t even get drafted, and for good reason. Sure, there are exceptions with guys breaking out, but I hear managers all the time in my dynasty league who look to pickup the next big thing (who hasn’t even been called up) and drop a guy because of a cold snap.
The season is long, play the bet safe and be patient – it can be tough at times, but it’ll payoff in the playoffs (see what I did there).
Be Active on the Waiver Wire
Who doesn’t love a prospect? When you pick one up, that player is YOURS. This player now becomes your favorite player because it was YOU that did the research and found him – not the scout. Come June and July, a lot of MLB teams who are on the cusp of doing something great in the dog days of summer tend to bring up that big name prospect in order to provide a spark plug for the team and the fans.
Last year I was very fortunate to get my hands on Carlos Correa weeks before his call up – in good measure it was in my dynasty league – I scooped him up, reaped the benefits, and locked him up for this year as a keeper. Not every guy comes up and does what Correa did, but to play it safe, watch those prospects in the summer time, they can sometimes be a game changer for your team.
Be Overly Prepared For the Draft
Make sure you start off your Fantasy Baseball season right by going into the draft overly prepared. Easily the best day of the Fantasy Baseball year, on draft day – whether in a redraft or dynasty league – you have to capitalize on each pick. Now I know that’s easier said than done but hear me out. Know who you want and always, and I do mean always, have a backup plan. I tend to have an A, B, and C “player plan” for each position where I rank my Top 3 guys I’d like from each position and go from there.
Nothing is worse than seeing your guy get drafted and then you have to scramble to figure out a replacement player, and in doing so, you more than likely miss out on a better player because you panic and draft a random player. It happens every year, you’re one pick away from the player you want and the manager RIGHT BEFORE YOU drafts him.
A great way to be prepared is to do as many mock drafts as possible. In doing so you will get acclimated to where players are ranked and you will be able to find players easier if your guy does get drafted before you have the chance to grab him.
Don’t be a Jerk Manager
Do unto other managers as you would have other managers do unto you – This is simple: don’t be a jerk manager. Don’t be a manager who continuously sends a barrage of garbage trades, complains about everything, who constantly talks garbage to other managers and boasts about winning. If you do this, it won’t take long until other managers begin to shun you.
If you continuously annoy other managers, they won’t want to make trades with you and you more than likely will end up fending for yourself, which can become a factor when you need help later in the season. Fantasy Baseball is fun, so have fun with it – don’t be a jerk.
You Learn Something New Every Year
Fantasy Baseball is funny. It never fails, year in and year out, I learn something new that I hadn’t known before. Whether it’s a new way at looking at statistics, figuring out the perfect way of balancing a winning team, obtaining the “perfect draft,” or it critiques your fool-proof plan on how to take home the first place prize each year. Trust me when I say that you’ll takeaway something from each year and cherish it to the next.
Fantasy Baseball forces your hand each year – no matter how much you think you know about it – it makes you adapt, or you die (Moneyball reference). But that’s the greatest part about Fantasy Baseball; it’s ever-evolving, and there’s nothing you can do about it besides enjoy it and continue to learn from it.
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