It’s about that time of year where you need to prepare for your fantasy baseball draft. The NFL hype is dying down; the NBA trade deadline has passed, and baseball is starting to ramp up. Draft prep doesn’t need to be difficult, but finding the motivation can be. Whether you’re a huge baseball fan or just a fantasy junkie, it’s time to buckle up because, well, it’s all we have for the next 5 months. You may not be ready to fully dive into baseball just yet, but this is the perfect time to start your preparation. With a little extra effort each day, you can sufficiently prepare yourself for your draft.
Warning: you are not guaranteed to win your league by following these steps. You are only guaranteed to be the know-it-all come draft day.
Read – Yes, I am telling you to read while you are reading my article that is apparently about reading. Find a couple of websites that give daily updates on players and check them every day. Read articles from so-called “Fantasy Experts”. You may find that only 20% of what you read helps you on draft day, but that’s 20% more than the managers who didn’t take the time to research spring training snippets.
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Look Back – Here’s the step that most people overlook. Take a look at the leagues you were in last year and see what round players were drafted in (or price they were drafted at). This will give you a much better idea of undervalued/overvalued players come draft day, especially for the guys you are targeting. For those in leagues that are in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th year, this step is incredibly beneficial. Study your previous drafts and see what managers have man-crushes on certain players. Use this to your advantage when that manager is drafting behind you or trying to outbid you.
Rank – Rank players in an order that you would draft them in. Seems obvious, right? Most people don’t do this and it seriously helps you come draft day. This step takes some time and practice, but it makes drafting that much easier. Everyone and anyone can draft using the pre-ranks from ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, etc. Use what you have learned from reading and create your own ranks. Feel free to refer to your favorite “fantasy ranker” when you’re stuck at a tier of players. I do this every year and it makes draft day much less stressful.
By no means are my tiers perfect, but they help me perceive value during the draft. If one of my 1st tier guys were left after multiple 2nd tier’s came off the board, I knew that I had a (perceived) steal at my next pick. Creating tiers is also a great way to explore the depth at each position. If you find it hard to group the top 20 guys into two tiers, it’s probably a deep position and you can afford to wait.
For auction drafters like myself, put a personal cap on each player…the cap being the highest dollar amount you would spend on that player. This alleviates that “oh-no” moment when you overbid for Pablo Sandoval because you thought your buddy would go $1 higher. Once you get confident in your pricing, you can be the guy who throws out the $40 bid after the 3 rookies bid him up $1 at a time. Trust me; drafts will move quicker, your mind state will remain calm, and you can take a piss when the bidding war for Josh Hamilton starts.
I hope that your new-found preparation skills will finally allow you to taste greatness. This article was not sponsored by Miller Lite, but if they would like to send me some free beer I would not object.