For those of you that have not had much success playing fantasy baseball or are just getting started playing fantasy baseball for the first time, there is different strategy that goes into playing snake drafts (where picks go 1-15 and then back 15-1) or in an auction format.
One of the biggest problems that people seem to have in snake drafts is they are not always prepared to pick when they are on the clock. If you are drafting online or playing in a high stakes fantasy baseball event, you are going to have a set time to make your pick. If you are flipping through a magazine checking stats or trying to look through multiple sheets of paper or tabs on your computer, you can end up making a rushed pick before the clock runs out that you are not happy with.
There are several ways to help avoid this problem. The first is by doing several mock drafts. Unless you have a good idea long before the draft where you are going to be picking, it is a good idea to do at least for to five drafts so you can draft from several different positions so you have an idea of what players or positions may or may not be available when it is your time to pick.
If you are playing in a league with 15 teams, you should try one draft where you are pick 1 or 15 so you get used to picking twice in a row and you can feel what it is like to go so long between picks, another where you are around pick 4-6, another one where you are pick 9-10 and another around 13-15. This will give you a good feel of coming up with a draft plan so you are prepared on draft day. If you cannot find a place to mock drafts at, then you can simply do a mock draft all by yourself. That way you are making every pick in the draft and it gives you a good idea ahead of time if two players are available which one you prefer. So if you are sitting toward the end of the first round and both Carl Crawford and David Wright are there, which one do you take?
Another way to get better prepared is to take advantage of the ADP information that is out there, especially if the format is similar to that of the league that you play in. While the picks won’t line up exactly, it will give you a general idea of where players are going, what rounds might you see a position run as well where some sleepers you like may be getting drafted.
With the glut of information that is out there on fantasy baseball, it has made fantasy baseball sleepers pretty much extinct and has improved the level of owner that you are competing against. If you are hoping for guys to slide back to you in rounds, you are likely to find two or three guys snapped up right in front of you. If there is someone that you want and it helps your team, you may need to grab them a round early depending what draft position you are picking from.
If there are several players you are targeting for late in the draft that you want to get and think could help your team, this will also help you in the early rounds with your drafting. For example, from your ADP you see Brad Hawpe is going in the 19th round and he was going in rounds 19-20 in your mock drafts, if that is someone your are interested in, you can save a spot in your outfield for him and take him in round 18.
When you head into the draft, you should have some type of general game plan but you need to be prepared to deviate at a moments notice. If you are picking 1st and are planning on taking a closer with the last pick of round six but then see seven closers go in front of you, you need to know ahead of time if this happens if you are going to follow the heard or simply go in another direction and maybe start a position run of your own by taking two middle infielders.
Another way to help you improve in snake drafts is by getting a better understanding of the player pool. In many cases, a player has a so called breakout year, simply because they get more at bats and not because all of a sudden they got new skills. If you understand the roster makeups of teams and can translate that to what it means for playing time, it means you could grab a couple of players late that end up having value several rounds higher than where they were picked.
You also want to decide what type of drafter you are. Are you the guy that drafts all rookies and second year players even if it is not a keeper league? Do you want to load up on pitchers early and then grab hitters late? Do you want to punt saves? Again, it helps to think these things out before the draft so nothing surprises you when you are on the clock. Really it’s no different that studying for a test back when you were in school. The more prepared and practice you do, the better you are going to perform in most cases barring injuries to your players.
You also will want to track the stats of the team you are drafting to make sure you are hitting your goals. If you have played in the league before, you should have a good idea of what the average 1 -3 positions are in each category so you have something to target for your team. This always keeps you are track throughout the draft so you don’t come out of it short 50 stolen bases or 30 home runs.
If you come out of the draft and are not happy with your team or feel that you blew several picks, keep in mind that the draft is just one part of the process. There is also trading that can be done as well as waiver wire pickups. Once the year is over, you should sit down and take a realistic look at your team drafts and see what areas you had problems with and where you might have went wrong so you fix the mistakes then for the next season.
By Todd Lammi at http://www.fantasybaseballtools.com