The Greatest Weekend Of The Year!

For those of us that are fantasy baseball enthusiants, the weekend before baseball season starts (technically it starts on Sunday, but shhh) is often when we're drafting our fantasy teams.

I used to be a guy that played in 10-15 fantasy baseball teams a year. I'd draft all throughout March, which was fun, but managing the teams burned me out.

Now I play 2-3 teams a year. This year, I'm playing one Mixed League H2H Snooze Snake Draft, one 10-team 5x5 AL-Only Auction league, and one smaller (8-10 team), Saber-Slanted Mixed Auction league (more details on this in the comments if you're curious)

I've drafted my Snake Draft team already, and last night I drafted by AL-Only team as well. Now, a lot of guys like to post their entire teams, dollar values, and want us to rate their teams. I like to read these and respond to those fanposts that do that, because I'm a fantasy enthusiast. I'm 26 and have been playing Fantasy Baseball for over half my life. But I'm not really wanting you to do that here, so I'll spare you a lot of the details.

I wanted to share my takeaways from both of the drafts, to maybe give you something to think about as you head into your draft(s) this weekend. I know this is a savvy group, but I still see people out there making some silly decisions:

1. People continue to overpay for pitching.

This really baffles me, because almost every year there is that guy you take in the middle rounds that turn out to be a stud. Grienke and Johnson were that last year. Now, stud pitching is tough to find, and I'm not going to disagree that CC is one of the best pitchers in the game, but the price/draft spot you have to get him at, is it really worth it?

Greinke had a great year, but is this the start of a new trend, or just that, a great year? In my auction league, Grienke went for the 6th highest price overall. If you're getting him at that rate, anything short of Cy-Young again, and you're out of luck.

In my auction league, King Felix, Grienke, CC, Verlander, Jon Lester, and Jake Peavy all went in the Top 15 Overall dollar-wise.

In my snake draft, guys were wasting 1st Round picks on Lincecum and King Felix, while others were waiting until the 8th round to get Josh Johnson and Ubaldo Jimenez. I took my first pitcher in the 11th Round in that Draft (Matt Garza).

Am I going to win my league in pitching? No, but I'm just trying to be middle of the pack. When you take into account that ERA, Wins, and Saves are volatile from year to year, it seems even more foolish to waste a high pick on a pitcher who will help you win a couple of categories guarenteed (WHIP and Ks are more consistent to project), vs. some hitting that helps you in all 5 of the offensive categories! Then factor in the high risk of getting injured that pitchers face, and you can quickly see how your fantasy season can go down the tubes rather quickly if you pay premiums on pitching.

You can pick up Wins and Saves via the Waiver Wire. It's much harder to pick up 30+ HRs.

2. People really do little research

This probably bugs me more than anything else, but it's the reason why some people just suck at fantasy sports. There was someone who nominated Joe Nathan, because he didn't know he was injured. Others threw out Jermaine Dye and Jarrod Washburn, both guys who may not even end up in the AL, and they went for more than $1 or $2.

I get that this isn't life or death, and we're doing this for fun. But with all of the information out there, it's easy to find some of this stuff with doing 30 minutes to an hour of some reading.

3. If you're Auctioning, there's no award for most money left over (unless you play in a league where those dollars go towards your free agent budget).

I'm all about saving money early on, not going too crazy too quickly. The thing is that if you have a money advantage over the rest of the people in your league in the middle to late rounds of the draft, you can get guys at a really good value. (Maybe there's a $15 player out there that you can get for $10, because others can't afford to go higher than that).

At the same time, hanging on for too long is a nightmare as well. At the end, all of the guys are $1-$2 players anyways. Trying to jack up the price to $4 or $5 for them is silly to do.

I don't really have too much advice other than plan our budget out. Decide what players you want to target, and how much you'll pay for them. About halfway through the draft, re-evalulate. You may find yourself in a position to drop some cash on that $15 dollar player, that you didn't originally plan for because you got other guys for cheaper. Or maybe vice-versa. Maybe you can't get that $20 OF because you overpaid for your Closer. You want to figure this out, while there are still quality guys in the pool.

4. Find Ways To Stay Motivated Throughout The Season

Fantasy Baseball is a grind. To win, you're going to have to work the wire and probably pull off some trades. It all depends on how competitve the league is. It takes some a time commitment to be good.

The draft is supposed to start the season, but I see many people who draft and never really show again. I've been there too. Don't be like that. You can find ways to have fun, or new challenges despite how things are going!

Later on in the season, I'll share some things that I do to stay motivated.

5. Have Fun!

People make mistakes. Heck, I think I know a lot and screwed up a couple of picks in the drafts. It happens to everyone. It isn't life and death, and it's supposed to be for fun.

If you aren't having fun playing fantasy sports, then you should try a new hobby.

Best of luck this weekend, and here's to a fun and exciting 2010!