Writing 2015 redraft strategy posts can be difficult, and although redraft has been considered my bread and butter, it has become increasingly more difficult. The main factor being the conundrum of You need to have a game plan, and a strategy to Crap! My strategy is falling apart! Abort. ABORT! Having a method of how you draft and foresee the draft going is often times far different from how it actually unfolds.
Several factors go into this
- You may be in a league with owners who simply learn and improve with each season.
- Technology advances: I was the first owner to bring a laptop with spreadsheets and composite rankings in one live draft a few years ago. This year, everyone had a laptop or iPad, except for one owner who was given the cute nickname Dinosaur.
- Fantasy Sports is kind of a big deal. It has its own television network, satellite radio programming, and local sports stations in most areas also cover it. Toss in the Twitter machine and NO ONE has an excuse not to have data in their hands when they need it.
- Injuries seem to be happening more, or perhaps they aren’t, but they are more severe and seemingly happen to higher impact players. We are truly at a point where it seems if you have a pitcher who throws above 93 mph and is under 27 who hasn’t had Tommy John surgery, you are playing with fire drafting them. Which is what happened to Yu Darvish a few weeks ago, and most recently young phenom Zach Wheeler.
- The guy in your league without the strategy. You know the guy, nearly every casual or home league has one. The guy who has a Top 300 print out and that is it, likely from January. The guy who ends up with two catchers in the first 12 rounds of a one catcher league. He can destroy any or all hopes of being sneaky, because his obliviousness is itself–sneaky.
One thing that is a must for all strategies is to have tools on hand. Our site has provided plenty of this in posts and articles. David Gonos wrote a fantastic post about 64 essential Draft Tools you should bookmark.
I happen to have a post I wrote in 2014 on davidgonos.com, but is still relevant today and breaks down how to prepare for your draft in 7 Steps, and implement your strategy. Once you have these tools and weapons on hand you shall proceed to the draft with a plan, and most importantly a BACKUP plan!
2015 Fantasy Baseball Redraft Strategy
1. Know Your League Format
This is far and away the most critical part of all strategies. You could devise the most brilliant and complex strategy in the world and pull it off with delight laughing the entire post draft. That is, until you realize your league is a points league or OPS instead of average league rather than standard. OOPS! Joke is on you.
I know this may seem like common sense, but it astounds me in every league, no matter who is playing when someone says something such as “Wait, we lose a point for every strikeout!?” in round 4.
Knowing your format won’t by default make you a champion, but it certainly will not kill you, and help you actually plan a great strategy.
2. Use Tiers and ADP’s more so than Overall or Positional Rankings
One thing I commonly see owners doing is highlighting their overall list, and even though they need a second baseman and want Neil Walker, he is 40 spots lower on their rankings sheet. So they decide to wait another round. Not realizing five other owners needed a second baseman. ADP is still a great tool when considering rankings and draft position, but this should be the year you add Relative Position Value (RPV) to your arsenal. Want to learn more? Read the fantastic Fantasy Black Book by Joe Pisapia.
I am not insinuating that you need to draft based solely on positional scarcity, or positional tiers. If there is a far and away more talented player available in a position you don’t necessarily need, you should still pull the trigger. Talent outweighs scarcity in my world more often than not, within reason.
Tiers will make your decisions so much easier, and if you create your own and use some advanced statistics, deciding if you should take your fourth starting pitcher or third outfielder should be much easier. Hint: I think you should take an outfielder.
I will more often than not lean towards power bats and offensive weapons in the first 4 to 5 rounds. Targeting an Ace is still an option, but if I am in round 7 with only one pitcher, I am just fine with that. Unless it is a points league where pitching weight shifts dramatically, I will hold off on pitching.
3. Know Which Statistics to Use in Player Evaluation
If you are sifting through a draft guide, your league’s site rankings, or even tools such as fangraphs.com and are looking at Wins as a critical category in your pitcher evaluation, you are likely missing out on some fantastic options. Wins are important, but the key to a good pitcher is so much more. What is his K/9 and BB/9 rate? Does he have 13 plus wins, but an era over 4.00 and an above league average WHIP? That pitcher may cause you more harm than good. This is Fantasy and although Wins may be a category, give me the player who is more useful in three categories over one every time. If you go solely by wins, a pitcher like C.J. Wilson is better than Alex Cobb, or even Chris Sale.
For hitters, a similar concept can be followed by using the statistic BABIP. If you had a player who is a career .300 hitter, but really struggled one season, should you worry? Likely not, however, look at their BABIP of his first two seasons. Was his average flukey, and filled with luck? What about that one year wonder who suddenly figured it out and hit for 40 more points and had a career year. It isn’t the only statistic, but helps differentiate between a legitimate talent and a lucky flash in the pan.
4. Believe In Positional Scarcity, But Don’t Live By It!
Obviously positions are thinner than others. They are every year, especially when it comes to shortstop, catchers, and third base this season. It is important to know this and set your tiers up accordingly. However, I think owners who draft as if Positional Scarcity is the most critical element of roster building may be missing out.
Here’s why. Deep positions by default are typically Pitching and Outfield. This season, first base happens to fall in to this group as well. However, these supposedly deep positions drop off very quick. A great way to determine this is to look at points scored in the previous season on your site, or other sites. The disparity between the third and fourth tier outfielders is dramatic, even more so than shortstop. There may be more players overall at these positions and a deeper talent pool, but remember, every owner needs them. I would rather have three very good outfielders, and three very good pitchers than a third tier shortstop, in most situations. Use it, but don’t go strictly by it. Fill positions based on available talent and what talent remains, not solely by positional needs. You won’t regret it.
5. Love Your Lineup After Draft Day, But Not Too Much.
Most people like their teams after the draft, but if you get too attached to a high promise player who has struggled for the first few months and refuse to cut him or trade him, you may regret it. It is great to be confident and excited about your team, but be ready to make moves and consider everyone as a commodity that can be moved at any time. It is redraft, so you need to win now! This year. At ALL costs.
6. Have Fun and Take a Few Risks.
This is something I will do in every league no matter the format or competition. To me, if you are torn between a player you like to have a breakout season, or simply like their facial hair, why not go for it? Seriously, unless it is a very early round selection, it likely won’t destroy you. In all honesty, if you are right, it could win you the league.
Here are a few risks I took last season and guys I targeted in every single league. Corey Kluber and Nelson Cruz turned out just fine didn’t they? I got laughed at in the drafts and pre-season for hyping them. Now before I sound like I am bragging too much, here is who I also had on most of my teams Jedd Gyorko, Jason Kipnis, Jarrod Parker and Patrick Corbin. Now I won’t hide behind the injury defense, but two of them backfired. Not because of poor decision-making, but season ending injuries.
Bottom line, if you begrudgingly feel obligated to take someone out of fear of ridicule, or because someone’s rankings explicitly tell you not to and there is someone more intriguing, go for the mystery player. Just don’t do it every round.
The same theory goes for prospects and rookies. Everyone wants lightning in a bottle, but reality needs to come with it. A player who is 25 and may not get the call until August or September simply is not worth rostering in a redraft league. Temper expectations with the young kids, please.
Again have fun!! Be sure to continue reading all of the great content on socalledfantasyexperts.com for even more strategies, rankings, and tools for any and all league types. Have great drafts everyone!
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