Your drafts are done and the 2014 MLB season is in full swing with every team having had their Opening Day. If you are like me then you were busy in the preseason trying to juggle multiple drafts and preparing to play in leagues of all flavors. I am a big fan of playing multiple style of leagues (as I talked about in Crafting your Fantasy Baseball Portfolio), but I have to admit, it can be draining to maintain complete dedication to each league when you play in so many. But there are some tricks to help you out.
First, a disclaimer: I had originally thought I would write a piece called Draft Report Card. I intended to assess my drafts, and even drafts of the other guys here at Fantasy Assembly (heck, anyone who wanted to send me their roster and some details on league settings). Well, I asked around, and got some great feedback.
“I find those pieces to be a bit whiney.”
“You said it yourself, leagues are not won in the draft room, so why waste your time.”
“A bit self-promoting, or self-deprecating, don’t you think!”
Now while I am not too proud to be self-deprecating, I took these comments to heart, did some thinking, did some drinking, did some more thinking, and changed course. Instead, I will take a broad look at my fantasy portfolio and the assets within in (the players). Hopefully I can give you some tips to managing all of your teams, whether you are dealing with one league or 10, or somewhere in between like me (6 leagues).
Let’s start with a review of my 2014 League Portfolio.
- 12-team rotisserie league, daily roster changes with 5 keepers. 2013 finish: 2nd place, by 0.5 points!
- 10-team head-to-head points, weekly roster locks with 8 keepers. 2013 finish: 2nd place, lost in the finals.
- 14-team head-to-head points, weekly roster locks with 12 keepers. 2013 finish: 14th place, ouch!
- 14-team head-to-head points, weekly roster locks with 12 keepers. 2013 finish: 9th in points, missed the playoffs.
- 12-team head-to-head points, weekly roster locks, dynasty. 2013 finish: 2nd in points, flamed out in the playoffs.
- 10-team rotisserie league, daily roster changes, first year, redraft league.
While I diversify my league settings portfolio, I aim to minimize the diversity across my players.
TIP #1: Target players in your drafts who can excel in multiple settings.
In my player portfolio I own 145 players on MLB rosters (including 2 currently on the DL) and 30 minor league players (players in the minors on our leagues minor league slots). The offseason affords you the most time to research players you think will excel in the upcoming season so use this time wisely and don’t toss those pre-draft notes, they will serve you well all year.
In my keeper leagues, I kept the following players in 2 leagues:
Jose Fernandez , Mike Trout, Yadier Molina and Robinson Cano
Certainly not a tremendous amount of overlap, but cuts down on some tracking of injuries and other player updates heading into the season. Plus, that is a pretty solid base of talent to start your team with (I own Fernandez, Trout and Cano in my 12-team roto league).
Of the 145 players I own, 84 were drafted this year. Exactly half of these players (42) were hitters. These 42 roster positions were filled by 32 individual players. Brandon Moss and Jose Abreu led the way, being selected in 3 drafts. I targeted Moss in all of my drafts, and would have selected him in at least one more if another owner had not snatched him a few picks ahead of me. The other multiple league representatives are Alex Gordon, Dee Gordon, Javier Baez (who I grabbed in 2 leagues, 1 keeper, 1 non-keeper), Jedd Gyorko, Jonathan Villar (who I grabbed in my 2 roto leagues) and Pedro Alvarez.
My pitchers were slightly less diversified, as I was able to fill the 42 slots with 29 unique players. Somewhat surprisingly, AJ Burnett leads the way, being drafted 4 of my rosters. Two young pitchers with potentially high upside, Carlos Martinez and Danny Salazar, were selected in 3 drafts. The RP combo of Greg Holland and Jason Grilli were picked in 2 drafts. Nate Jones and Steve Delabar were 2 other relievers I added. I was able to select Cole Hamels in 2 drafts, and took a flyer on Nate Eovaldi in 2 as well (and have since added Eovaldi off waivers in another league).
The Ones That Got Away: As I mentioned, there were several leagues where my targeted selection was pilfered in the round just ahead of my pick. In cases like these it pays to have another player in mind. And keep these players in your mind, they may be good trade targets.
TIP #2: Build your tiers with players who can bring similar fantasy production.
When Anthony Rizzo was drafted ahead of my pick several times, I didn’t really worry because I had Brandon Moss rated in the same tier. Does Rizzo offer a younger version with potentially more power? Maybe. But Moss also qualifies in the OF, which is a nice flexibility to have, especially in daily leagues. Which brings me to my next tip.
TIP #3: Where possible, grab players who can play at multiple positions to maximize games played.
If you can find a guy who qualifies at 2B/3B or SS/3B, these are, IMO, the most valuable guys to have. Not only are the MI often the shallowest pools of players, being able to shift a guy over to 2B when Robinson Cano is on an off day is a great way to ensure you get as many at-bats as you can. Same with pitchers who are RP/SP eligible, assuming your league allows you to use SP as RP if they are qualified.
So, during the 2014 I will have to keep updated on some 100 players who are on my rosters, not to mention the countless 100’s who wallow on the waiver wires and the other 100’s who are rostered by my competition. The aim is to always stay a step ahead of the competition, and by making a few portfolio-wide decisions in the draft room you can set yourself up by having slightly less work to do in-season. So, are there any tips for staying connected and ahead during the season?
TIP #4: Make some time to check your rosters, every day.
Alright, I get it. People are busy. Stuff comes up. And while we have to find time to work, sleep, eat, workout, maybe read a book, watch some TV, hang out with friends, get together with family, there has to be 2-3 free minutes to check in on your teams. Depending on what sites your leagues are hosted in, you should be able to get an app for your phone so you check almost anywhere.
TIP #5: Follow great people of Twitter.
Sure, I use Twitter (@ThePeteLife), and I follow a lot of people not associated with baseball. But I also follow a lot of great sports reporters and fantasy sports people. I actually find that the reporters are the best resources. Follow the reporters for the teams your fantasy players are on, especially players who may be in platoons, so you get a heads up if they are playing or not. Most reporters will post that days lineup an hour or more ahead of the game start. If your guy is on the bench and you are in a daily league, get him out of the lineup and get someone in there.
TIP #6: Exercise patience.
We are one week into the season and fantasy owners everywhere are blowing up their teams and building for the future, or proclaiming their 2014 titles. Look, you drafted the guys on your team for a reason. You did your due diligence in the offseason and determined these guys were going to perform. Are you concerned about Jim Johnson and his 45.00 ERA? Sure, but are you going to drop him? No way. Are you concerned that the Tigers skipped Drew Smyly this time through the rotation? Sure, and it certainly stinks to see that “0” in the scoring for this week, but don’t cut him for some crappy streaming option. Am I nervous that Billy Hamilton is 0-8 with 6K’s? You bet, but I am sticking to my 100 SB prediction. I don’t think anyone thinks Emilio Bonifacio is winning the batting title or Brandon Belt is hitting 70 HR or Cliff Lee is going to have an ERA of 14 this year. To quote the great Grady Little “the season is a marathon, not a sprint” so don’t waste all your FAAB on Seth Smith, he is not the second coming of Ted Williams. Believe in your offseason work, trust your draft, and buckle up, because this is shaping up to be another great season of baseball.
Be sure to tune in for the Wheeler Dealer pieces that will run on the 4th Tuesday of each month to learn some tricks about trading, and to get updates on my in-season deals. And drop me a tweet or reply to let me know what deals you are working on.