What is the key to winning fantasy baseball. This is the question that every person that plays the game wants to know. The standard answer is to have a good draft, but that begs the question how do you have a good draft. The answer to that is to draft good players and that begs the question how do you know who good players are. Unless you are in a league of newbies who don't follow baseball, everyone should be assumed to know the good players.
If that assumption holds, then how can you have a good draft if everyone else has the same information on good players? In mixed leagues, you have to get players in the latter half who perform like higher round picks. Again, how do you know who those players are? You've got to project from bits of information and hope for the best. Can Erick Aybar equal Orlando Cabrera's fantasy contribution? Sure he can - if he gets 400 ABs. Where is he going to get those?
If you draft Aybar late in a mixed-league draft, he needs to play to fulfill your expectations. If he doesn't then, you're back to the drawing board - along with every other team in your league - looking for that free agent who will keep you afloat.
This is all complicated, and I still haven't answered, in anything approaching coherence, how to win at fantasy baseball. If you draft the best players to the exclusion of the other teams in your league, an impossible condition to meet, then you win. However, every one of your competitors know who the best players are. Any number of free rankings provides that information.
How, then, if everyone knows who the best players are, can you win?
After years of drafting teams, I am near the conclusion that the way to win fantasy baseball is to avoid injuries to the foundation pieces of your team. This means Johann Santana and Albert Pujols do not get hurt. It means your key player(s) for SBs continue to steal bases. Your closer keeps his job.
This doesn't mean you back-up middle infielder flops or gets injured or your 3rd or 4th outfielder falls on hard times. Those events are easily remedied by the depth of your free agent pool (in mixed leagues) and, by the fact that other teams will experience the same events.
Unfortunately, as human beings, we are hard-wired to accept answers that provide the degree of certainty we can never obtain. My answer is to avoid injuries, but fantasy players have no way of knowing when and to whom the calamitous injury will occur. If we did, then we'd have passed on Derrek Lee last year. But it unknowable.
So to win you need luck. Period. Anyone who says otherwise, isn't tuned into the misfortunes of his competitors. Did I mention the fortuitous turns that occur when another team doesn't accept a trade offer?