As baseball teams evaluate prospects in spring training, we’re here doing the real work figuring out who will be on our soon to be fantasy rosters. Picking a strategy and building on it is critical as specialists are rare and ‘sure things’ rarely are. This isn’t football where AP’s rookie legs or Peyton’s bionic neck can single handedly beat your weekly opponent, you’ll need a handful of strong players that fit into your team’s identity. And yes, you do need to pick a strategy and stay on top of it each week with the goal of winning 3 batting and 3 pitching categories (10 category league). Here’s how I build my team to win the majority of categories each week.
I avoid the expensive long bomb hitters. I get it, one home run gives you at least 3 stats and most of these guys just feel good to have on your team. The issue is consistency. If you’re dependent on homers from a few different dudes, any given week your team can go cold, like your roommate took your last drumstick cold. You still want to have home run potential, but use your middle-late draft picks to take dice rolls on sleepers and unsexy performers, grab a handful you can filter through.
Instead of long bomb hitters, I lean on speedsters. It’s more likely for a consistent stealer to generate results than a slugger. Their average tends to be higher and with each steal they’re in scoring position. Lots of runs, lots of steals and a competitive average. With this emphasis you’ll take runs and steals and give yourself a chance at either AVG, HR’s or RBI’s, and only needing one to take batting you’re in good shape.
This isn’t poker, stay away from the aces. I’ve never taken more than 1 SP in the top ten. Acquire pitchers throughout the year as you exercise your 6 weekly ads. This shouldn’t be overlooked. Your ads are extremely valuable, use the maximum amount on as many SP’s you can, this usually earns you wins and K’s. By filtering through so many pitchers, you’ll notice trends and be able to hold onto pitchers on hot streaks, and pick up some legit sleeper aces too.
Remember when using your ads, it’s best to try and save two for Sunday night and one for Monday when you can grab 3 pitchers who will give you 2 starts that week. You’ll have 3 more you can use on pitchers or batters if you’re in a bind or someone is streaking.
Draft and acquire closers. I like to have 6 closers on my squad at all times. If you roll with 6, you’ll lock up saves and usually get a nice bump in the K department. These pitchers are usually quite skilled and will bring down your ERA and WHIP more times than not. If your opponent blows their ERA and WHIP early, you have the option of just starting closers and likely grabbing 3/5 pitching categories (Saves, ERA, WHIP).
With a team built on stealers and closers and a focus to strategically maximize your ads on starting pitchers, you won’t sweep many weeks but you’ll win a lot and never lose horribly. Play the numbers, aim for a majority in each category – not a sweep, and stick with it – enjoy the playoffs.