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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Preparing for Your Fantasy Baseball Draft

You may think that my man Adam Filadelfo is only a football guy.  Au contraire, my friends.  Adam is a baseball expert as well, and below is a report from him on his preparations for a couple of expert leagues where he will represent Brainiacs Worldwide.

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Since this is my first experts draft, I decided to put in a few more hours of preparation than I usually do for my home leagues. After all, these participants are the best of the best and I'll have to be on top of my game to even compete with these guys. I thought I would share some of my ideas on how I have been preparing for my upcoming draft that is this Thursday and is a 12 team NL only auction draft experts league.

I always purchase a fantasy baseball magazine every year just as a gauge. I like to see where my ideas lie in comparison with some of the leading experts in the industry. I didn't put too much stock in what the magazine said in terms of auction value since the magazine was released back in January. Since then, injuries have occurred and values of players have changed either for the better or for worse. Some of the auction prices printed in the magazine I used as a starting point for certain players. I just wanted to get a feel for how much players I would be targeting in my draft were worth to other experts in the field.

Another way I prepared for my NL only auction draft was to mock draft. I felt like I could get a better grasp on the value of players then I could reading my magazine. After all, mock drafts are updated daily so to speak since they are constantly running. If I could get a sense what the players I valued are worth to other fantasy baseball players, I would have a better understanding how much I'd need to bid come draft day also keeping in mind that every draft is different so the value could be more or less depending on who I am drafting with.

While I was mock drafting the day away (I did multiple mock drafts to get a better understanding of how players were valued), I set tiers of positions. I felt like this was the greatest help out of everything I did to prepare. My ultimate goal was to come out of each draft with a balanced team but there were certain players that I wanted and certain players I was willing to let another owner outbid me for. This is where my tiers came in. I categorized 15-20 players at the same position and broke them into groups. The absolute best at that position were grouped together. If the asking price was too high for my taste, I would look to draft the next player at that position based on my tier. I felt this helped me early on in my mock drafts while all of the stars were flying off of the board. For my NL only draft, I feel like the outfield position isn't as talented as the AL so I looked to draft a few of my top ranked outfielders early on. Also, I feel like the second base position in the NL is much weaker so I made that a top priority as well.

I plan on participating in a few more mock drafts before my actual draft on Thursday to test out different strategies but another idea I had going into my mock drafts were to not budget a certain amount of money on hitters and pitchers. Since every draft is different, I felt like going in knowing what each player is worth to me was a better plan than saying I was only going to spend this much on hitting and this much on pitching. I was afraid I would miss out on a potential "steal" using that strategy. I believe to be successful in fantasy drafts, you need to adapt on the fly. Having a plan is good, but don't live or die by that plan. What I did was get a few stars early then sit back a little while and wait so I didn't blow my budget right away. Going back to my tiers, I told myself that if I didn't get player A, I thought players B and C were just as good and I'd be able to grab them for a little less. Every dollar counts for me. I was willing to spend a little more on certain players knowing that I could wait on others that I thought were comparable in value (at least they were to me).

The last thing I did during my mock drafts was to hold certain players back. I'm sure every owner has implemented this strategy at some point in an auction draft (this strategy only works in auction formats) hoping I could get that player at a discounted rate later in my draft. Once again, I went back to my tiers. I also nominated players early on that I had no intent on drafting just to let other owners spend some of their budget leaving me with a better chance of getting players I did want.

The final thing I did to prepare was to look over my mock draft results after my draft was over. The results are emailed to you so you can see where you drafted what player and how much you spent on that player. I printed out a copy of my results and made comments on what I thought I did correctly and where I thought I had made a mistake. In some instances, I felt I got a bargain on a player and in other instances, I felt I had overpaid for a player or could have waited a little longer and gotten him for less. Now that I know what my targeted players are worth to other fantasy baseball owners, I have a much better understanding of what it will take for me to draft those players. Again, every draft is different so the values will of course change according to each draft and owner but I feel like this was a good way to compare notes so to speak with other fantasy owners.

I will be mock drafting and preparing for my AL only auction experts league  draft later on today ( I have been studying and preparing for that also but made the NL my top priority since that draft is this week. I will share some of my strategies with you regarding my AL only draft later this week since that draft is Monday evening. I already have an idea of how I am going to approach that draft as well but a little (or a lot) more preparation won't hurt either. You can never be too prepared.