2013 Draft Strategy for Roto Leagues

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Fake Teams team is taking a short break from the rankings articles, so I thought I would write about rotisserie league draft strategy. Some of what follows applies to 2013, but, for the most part, this is the thought process I always use, and I think can work every year.

The Fake Teams team is taking a short break from the series of rankings articles, so I thought I would write about rotisserie league draft strategy. Some of what follows applies to 2013, but, for the most part, this is the thought process I use, and I think can work every year. Overall, I look at league-type, player rankings, position scarcity, team balance, and having fun.

In no particular order, I will start with league-type. Am I drafting for a dynasty league or a redraft league? Essentially, I draft the same for both, but in a dynasty league, I will give more weight to injuries and age. For instance, I will target Josh Hamilton in both leagues, but because of his injury history, I will drop him down in my rankings, slightly, in a dynasty league. A common mistake in dyansty leagues is to draft more for tomorrow than today. Don't fall into that trap. The goal for dynasty is to build your team in such a way that you balance the needs of the current season with the needs of future seasons. Every player has value. It is up to you to draft him where he belongs. You can accomplish that best through preparation. More on that, below.

I do my own player rankings. That forces me to look at playing time, batting order, team dynamics, and other things that may be forgotten if I just rely on a magazine. I also run those rankings by folks I trust. I sent my 2013 outfield rankings to someone who is much better at player evaluation than I am, and, I found that advice very helpful. (By the way, if you do this, you need to chose people who will give you their honest opinion, and not just agree with you because you are friends) I still look at the web sites and magazines. This helps me keep up with helpful player information and also gives me a different perspective on players and teams. Also, I can see which sites are the most accurate. Whichever site has the projections that are closest to mine, is the most accurate.

Position scarcity enters into the equation to the extent that I want to make sure I do not end up with nothing but duds at a particiular position. I do not draft a position early, because it is shallow, but I do have a player floor, below which, I hope I do not venture. In 2013, for instance, I think SS is a shallow position, and I hope I do not need to take anyone below Erick Aybar, on my cheat sheet. Knowing this, I will adjust my in-draft tactics, as needed, to make sure that does not happen.

Once I have the players ranked and I have figured out what I want to do with each position, I put all that onto cheat sheets. One for batters and one for pitchers (closers and starters, each get their own). Within the draft, I will keep track of players that are taken, to determine what adjustments, if any, I need to make.

Each draft is dynamic and each draft is different, and those two characteristics go together like nachos and salsa. Drafts are living, breathing, entities, unto themselves. I go into each draft with an overall strategy, but, within the draft, the tactics I use to accomplish that strategy may change. For instance, last year I was in a 15 team, mixed league draft that saw closers go very early. Someone started stock piling closers, and had about four or five before anyone else realized what was happening. I ended up taking a closer earlier than I originally planned. (Huston Street) He was the only closer I was able to draft, and I spent the entire year chasing saves, and ended up ninth place in that category, and second place in the league. Closers became gold in that league, and owners were asking, and getting, much better players than usual for anyone who could get a save. You cannot possibly think of everything that can occur in a draft, but you can be prepared. There is no substitute for preparation.

Finally, I like to have fun. For me that means finding a way to draft players I like to follow, and avoiding players I just don't like. Last year, I found a way to get Matt Cain and Ryan Zimmerman on my team. I just like to watch them play. This year I will avoid Hanley Ramirez. He has speed, power, and multi-position eligibility. I, however, will pass on Mr. Ramirez. I just don't want him on my team. I will also target a player my mom likes. That means someone like Jayson Werth, Chad Billingsley, or Chase Utley will be on my team. (I will have those players highlighted in a particular color on my draft cheat sheet) She makes me lunch when I go over to talk to my dad about the upcoming fantasy season, and has offered to decorate our War Room, so she gets a player. I just need one. That's it. I hope this helps. Good luck in your leagues, and if you also want to draft a player my mom likes, just email me; I'll send you a list.

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