If you are new to the Fantasy Draft, there are some pitfalls that might be just outside your vision. If you are a veteran, you may or may not have made these errors before. If you already drafted, then it may already be too late, but bon chance anyhow.
A word of warning; Take these to heart, you too will be a cold, calculating, Fantasy Mercenary. It will drive the local fan base nuts, but you're here to win at all costs, right? And yes, it will hurt sometimes, but the W heals all wounds.
So DO NOT:
10. Pick Players because they are on good teams
A common trap for the fantasy novice. If the team succeeds, then the player must too right? Not necessarily. If you look at the top 25 Picks this season, 12 of them were on teams that did not make the playoffs and at least five were on teams with losing [sub .500] records. At risk of dating myself, I remember glancing at Football draft form and thinking Who is Lee Evans and WHY would I want ANYONE from Bills on my team? That was 2006.
9. Draft Players because they have the same name
An All Jose Team may sound entertaining, but the results are not. Trust me. I know.
8. Go Player-for-Player with those in your draft
Well the guy before you just picked a respectable pitcher so you will have to take one. The result may lead to trouble, as well as an unbalanced roster. The good news is that this is easy to avoid. All you need is a little bit of homework and a pinch or self-control. First, look at your board. Count up the number of teams in your league, lets say its ten for this example. Draw a line after every ten players and you will quantify your draft rounds. This will help you pick up any players that someone left behind or, if necessary make that reach on someone that you are sure will spoken for in the next round. Speaking of numbersâ€¦
7. Use Too Many Sabremetrics
Moneyball is still one of my favorite books, but you have to be a mercenary. Player solo production MUST be your focus, so numbers like the WAR statistic will be meaningless. After all, IF THE TEAM WINS, WHO CARES. It would be better for them to lose and have your player put up 9 homers. While a loss may be unlikely in that situation, you see what I am getting it. To take this a step further, be wary of stats such as OB%. Unless walks and hit by pitch are stats in your league, you may get a free base that will do nothing for your total.
6. Use Too Few Sabremetrics
They should be part of the conversation, of course, but as I said earlier, not the WHOLE conversation. OPS [On-Base plus Slugging Percentage] is a great tool for measuring if the batter will get to base, as opposed to striking out, and how many bases he will pick up. Still, weigh this against your needs. I think that a good AVG and OPS will learn towards that hitter getting onto bases, which is good for you. But if you are blind to the other stats, you may be stuck with batters that never quite bring in the runs. For example, you may select a player early on with a high OPS and that's great. You may, therefore, want to look at other stats, like homers and RBI's, and select a batter that may be slight on average, but higher on the raw materials that you will need to win. And if your league takes defense into account, you have consider Ultimate Zone Rating [UZR] for fielding and Skill-Interactive ERA for Pitchers.
5. Ignore League Scoring
ALWAYS KNOW WHAT STATS YOU WILL NEED TO WIN IN YOUR LEAGUE BEFORE YOU DRAFT. This will reinforce my previous point. Check your stat listing and try to compliment with players that will feed those needs. One round, you may be looking for a top batting average, and the next, high RBI's. This will be especially true in your average head-to-head league.
4. Select a Player because you like them
If you were inviting them to your child's middle school, than you can ignore this comment. Also, one good season does not a player make. It make it a habit to scan AT LEAST the last three years or more if I can. Rookies can be difficult, but most major sites will have minor and major league stats. Again, they are not coming over to babysit on Saturday, they are brining in some statistic that will give you an edge over your opponent.
3. Ignore Batting Order
This was a big one for me in the last few years. Lead off men will, if they succeed, maintain high averages and pickup bases. Middle lineup will focus on HR and RBI's. If a player is batting from the basement, they won't get as many chances and my slouch when it comes to big numbers. There are exceptions to every exception, but you must consider this order when you balance your stat out put. All the RBI's in the world will win you RBI's week after week, but they won't win you homers, OBSP, WOBA, or stolen bases. You may be handing those to your opponents. This seems like a basic one, but you would be amazed how many times this is overlooked.
2. Buy into Sleeper Picks
They are called sleeper picks because no one, not even the experienced analyst, will know what they will do. The good news is that in most cases, they will go on drafted, and you can monitor them as the season goes on.
1. AUTO DRAFT
Stuck on the roof, called into a meeting, my first child is being born. I've heard them all. JUST DON'T. Your friends won't be mad, just disappointed shutter.