Here is a dirty little secret the ‘so-called’ experts and industry touts do not want you to recognize – in order to win at fantasy sports, and baseball, in particular, you do not have to be a wizard or possess some crazy MIT science degree…you don’t need to have a radio show or be a guest on one…and you CERTAINLY do not have to understand the intricate differences between wOBA and BQR-S and IDGAF (I made up that last one just to prove a point in case you a)can’t google it and b)can’t figure it out).
So how do you win at Fantasy Baseball if there isn’t a secret formula or code to crack? As an online player since 1996 that has won some and lost even more, for me the answer is quite obvious; there is no exact ‘how’ in how to win. But if you are looking to improve your odds of winning the prize, ahhhh, now we can begin to take a look at some tips to make yourself a stronger, more prepared fantasy manager. If you are looking for the ‘get rich quick’ approach and don’t care about putting in the work, then you are better off parroting the picks of every satellite radio host and hoping for a Dolf de Roos-type miracle.
Take a look at my free advice on how to get better, but remember – this information cost you nothing to obtain. In order for it to have any value, it’s up to you to pick up that dollar off of the ground and spend it wisely.
1) Read a Newspaper
You know, that thing that old people sit down and open up and stare at for endless periods of time? Well, guess what – you don’t even need to stain your manicured fingers with the printer’s ink thanks to computers and smartphones, but there is no better source of information out there – anywhere – than the beat writers covering Major League Baseball clubs. Period. If you want to learn about the closing situation for Minnesota or who is in line to pick up the Yankee starts while Severino is on the shelf, anything other than direct reporting from the scribes directly in the line of communication with the teams and management is nothing but conjecture and rumor. Therefore, it is imperative to read the sports sections (the more you read for each team, the better) to get the best information. Of course, following the twitter accounts of those same writers can’t hurt, but remember, their twitters exist to get your eyeballs glued to their written work! (Hats off to a wonderful person that made me realize just how valuable this is – thank you, Lenny!)
2) Stop, Look, and Listen
Seriously, slow down and take the time to carve out space to actually push everything else aside and watch a ball game, either in person or on TV. You will learn more through your own observations than by every Rotowire or Yahoo graphic bubble pop-up combined. Watch the players. See if they are hustling, if they are running without a limp, swinging at good pitches or pressing too hard. Trust yourself to do your own scouting. Also, listen to a ballgame. Yes, like on the actual radio. Listening to a broadcast opens up a whole new world of information because radio broadcasters are trained to tell the story your eyes cannot see so your mind can envision – in other words, a good on-air duo (modern-day Orioles, Yankees, and Twins are best in the business in my opinion) will not only bring the game to life, they will provide you with nuggets of wisdom you can use to eschew a trade balance or make that shrewd waiver wire move when necessary.
3) Know your Guides and Rankings
We are all guilty of following the crowd at one point or another. This is especially true during drafts when we blindly pay homage to the lesser god Average Draft Position (ADP) whilst ignoring the good angel on our other shoulder telling us that Vlad Jr. really is too heavy to be worth the hype. It also holds true during the season. Who amongst us, fellow owners, did not fall in love with Eric Thames two seasons ago and moved heaven and earth to acquire him, via Free Agent Budget (FAB) bucks or ridiculous trades? He ranked as a top ten player after a month, but by season’s end, he was back to who we all knew he was during 2017 Grapefruit League reporting days. We also ignore players we see with our own eyes and observations due to our bias created because they weren’t highly ranked during the pre-season by the ‘experts.’ So the key here, friend, is to not get caught up by other peoples’ numbers and hype – take it all in stride, and keep it in context with a dose of healthy reality.
4) Go to Class Once in a While
When I was a freshman in college I literally attended three days of classes for each course the entire year (first day, midterm, final). My results, obviously, were miserable. There is no school for Fantasy Baseball (that I know of…), but the best way to gain knowledge and broaden your view (much like a college campus is supposed to nurture) is to get yourself in a chatroom or two once in a while. Find a group of like-minded baseball nuts and kick around ideas and theories. (I would highly recommend www.lennymelnickfantasysports.com) Share strategies, knock around trade proposals and whine a little about Joe Maddon using his players as smartly as a Swiss watchmaker tries to build a moonshine still. You don’t have to listen to all of the advice, but I guarantee that you will learn about baseball, its players, and along the way you might even make some friends and…
5) HAVE FUN!!!
Darn it, above all have fun! What are you doing playing this crazy game anyway? If you are trying to make a living at it, here’s to you and I hope you succeed, but for the other 99.99% of us, shouldn’t our main objective overall be to enjoy the heck out of this wonderful beautiful game of Baseball? I can honestly say that once I learned to not take Fantasy Baseball leagues so seriously, I started winning and placing a whole heckuva lot more than I used to. So as simple as it may sound, relax…chill…smile…and when A.J. Pollack’s shoulder is obliterated by a home plate slide and Robinson Cano is sidelined by 80 days-worth of tainted baby aspirin (or something), laugh it all off and remember that it’s only a game, and in baseball, there is indeed no crying.
Questions? Comments? Hit me up via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook (search Michael Diton-Edwards)…I am not a fan of twitter and social media, so I am happy to converse via the tried and true landscape of email or Messenger.