Winning Fantasy Baseball Made Easy

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bill-swift - February 21, 2012

It is that time of year again; time for the Boys of Summer to take to the diamond, and give us another summer of big hits, clutch catches, and scintillating strikeouts to be awed and amazed by.

Yes, folks, it's time for baseball season. Of course where there is baseball season there is another pastime as tried and true as the game itself—fantasy baseball.

The game began as something created by a couple of guys (Robert Barbiere and Brad Wendkos) and launched in a dozen local newspapers in 1989. A little over two decades later it has become a multi-million dollar industry with millions of participants every summer looking to prove that they have the chops to be a big league GM (if only they got the chance…).

Winning doesn't come easy. It takes time; time studying cheat sheets, statistics, trades, line ups, stadium advantages—all sorts of crap. What that also means is time away from other pleasurable pursuits like reruns of NCIS, Words with Friends, and spending time with family (my wife is watching).

If you like studying then go for it; we'll see in October. If you want to win, but still be an active member of society follow these strategy tips:

Before you do anything, check the scoring on your league's site. Make sure that it hasn't changed and that your commissioner does not intend on changing it. Even the most minor of scoring changes can have an effect on who you draft and when.

Do some homework before the draft. Know which positions have the fewest quality players—typically that will be shortstop, second base, and sometimes third. While it may hurt to see some of those stud outfielders get taken, you'll have an infield you can count on.

During your draft take the best available player with our first pick. Not matter where you are in the order, you'll get a stud; everyone needs to have at least one player they'll never take out of the line-up.

Don't take a relief pitcher in the first five rounds. There are too many bats that are so much more valuable than the majority of relievers. However, if one of the absolute studs is available when it's our turn in Rounds 6-8 snatch him up. If you aren't able to wait a few more rounds and then grab your relievers.

Don't put your team on auto-draft after the big names are off the board. There are surprise players every year. Take this time to read up on a few players and pick out the ones that appear to be potential break out candidates. If they become one you're a genius; if not, you drop him and pick up someone else.

Once the season starts there are a few things you are going to want to do:

After a few weeks you'll probably be able to identify one or two guys you either don't need or suck. Don't drop them just yet, though (see next paragraph as to why).

Make sure you pay attention to the news (it will take just a few minutes a day). You want to be the first to hear about the minor league guy that got called up and went 3-4 with 5 RBIs and two stolen bases or pitched a complete game shutout with 10 Ks. As soon as you hear about those guys put in your waiver claim and drop one of your expendable players.

If you really pay attention to the news and hear about this guy before he gets called up, go ahead and pick him up. If he doesn't pan out, the guy you dropped was expendable so nothing lost, nothing gained.

Pay close attention to talk surrounding up and coming pitchers. Pitchers get tried out in the majors all the time, and can be a great way to pick up future stars since a lot of guys tend to be a bit leery to pull the trigger and take a chance on someone.

Follow most of these tips and you'll at least have reason to talk to trash to all the suckers in your league as you coast into the post season. Now if you happen to win, don't forget who helped you get there (a 10 percent cut of the pot will be fine).