Alter your preconceived notions or be doomed to failure.

More than any skill, the most important part of succeeding as a fantasy baseball manager is being able to quickly realize that things aren’t going how you thought they would. The longer you drag on expecting significant change, the more doomed you’re going to be.

A specific example from a few years ago is what actually triggers this. I had one of the better teams in a league (which I eventually won), and was trying to get a bit of a jolt in a few stats I wasn’t as great in.

So, I saw one of the weaker teams in the league had some players that interested me, and made an offer. I can’t remember the players involved, but I will say that the trade would have benefited me. What I found interesting was the response I got, with this guy basically telling me that none of my players were worthy of being on his team.

It was an interesting thought, for sure, as my team was much better. Coming out of the draft, maybe he did have the better team. But I made a few nice adjustments on the fly and a few of the players I wasn’t sure about when drafted ended up being great, while some of his better names were a year past their primes.

This was about two months into the season, and the gap between my team and his only grew. The point of this story isn’t to put anyone on blast. After all, it is your team, your money (if you’re in that kind of league), so you have no obligations to do anything.

But if you’re in a league and actually trying to compete, you might want to think about changing some things up a little bit.

I don’t have a particular trade strategy that I apply to all leagues at all times. I have written in the past that I generally prefer many pitchers over one ace, and one stud hitter over many good ones, but that strategy can be broken depending on how well my season is going.

If my team is awful and someone offers me a trade, I may actually take it and deal with the texts from people asking me just what it is that I am doing. Conversely, if my team is doing well, I may turn down an offer that looks great on paper.

I don’t care what format you are dealing with, you will not win a fantasy league based on how well you draft. The season is too long, leaving plenty of doors open for positive and negative surprises. Nash is hands down the best, most prepared drafter I know, but he makes tons of moves in season, because he has to if he wants to win.

So if you really want to compete in your fantasy baseball league and things aren’t going well, change things up just a little bit. That’s not to say that you should make terrible trades or anything, but alter things a little bit. Look at the numbers the players are generating, not the names on their backs.

  • Don’t have “untouchable players” if you’re struggling. No, don’t deal your best producers for nothing, but if someone makes an offer, think about doing a counter before shooting it down immediately.
  • Conversely, if things are going well, don’t be so quick to make a move, even if it looks good. I mean, things are going well for a reason, right?
  • What you have to realize is that things change very quickly in sports. A player who was a stud last year (or maybe even the previous five years), may all of a sudden fizzle without any real warnings.

In short, it’s okay to let preconceived notions dictate how you draft; that’s really all that you can do. But don’t let those dominate for the next six months. When the draft ends and the season begins, wipe your mind clear of all things. What you were used to before could easily be radically different than what you see in front of you.

Topics: Fantasy Baseball Tips, Strategy

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  • Nash

    Again, thank yo ufor the draft preperation props BUT it is almost silly how much time I put into draft prep because you are right, it is WAY too long of a season to draft well and let your team just play it out.

    Also my favorite thing about fantasy sports is making trades!!

  • Joe

    hey fellas I have yet another question , you guys have given great advice thus far so I figure stick w/ it

    anyway I am in a pretty deep roto league and am lacking big time in STEALS and RBI I drafted Ellsbury in hopes he would steal around 30 bases but well he is down so any advice on how to make up some ground in those categories ?
    any sleepers ?

    thanks again guys I appreciate it

    • http://fantasybaseballcrackerjacks.com Dixon

      Steals are interesting. There are a lot of guys who are likely available to you.

      For example, Jordan Shafer of the Astros is available in nearly a quarter of ESPN leagues. Guys like Carlos Gomez and Brett Lillebridge are also available in nearly all leagues, but I wouldn’t call those guys especially productive in other areas.

      Alcides Escobar isn’t a bad idea either, especially since SS is a thin position.

      RBI. Look at Cody Ross. His swing is built for success in Fenway, and there will always be ducks on the pond in that lineup.

      Luke Scott is also a nice pickup, as there will be plenty of chances to drive in runs in Tampa

      • joe

        Perfect thanks for the advice, Escobar is available and so is Ross so I will be making those moves ASAP, i alsi drafted Cameron Maybin and Austin Jackson but those guys have really not lived up to my expectations thus far, what is your take on those guys? Should i be worried about both / either or should I just be patient?

        Thanks again

        • Dixon

          Jackson I would be patient with. Maybin isn’t in such a good situation, so I would probably look to cut him loose if he doesn’t turn things around quick

  • Joe

    sorry to post to comments back to back like that but I was just offered a very interesting trade in my ROTO league

    I was offered
    - Ben Zorbrist &
    - Ichiro
    for
    - Dustin Pedroia &
    - Vinny Pestano
    I would be giving up Pedroia and Pestano , I am in need of Steals & RBI , I love Pedroia but I read your article dont have untouchable players so what do you guys think , good deal or bad deal for me ????

    • Dixon

      I don’t like that deal that much. Zobrist is nice, but he’s not what Pedroia is, and Ichiro isn’t going to drive in a lot of runs.

      I do believe in shaking things up if things aren’t going great, but if you are going to move Pedroia, I would look for a genuine fantasy star coming back. Ichiro and Zobrist are nice players, but they aren’t fantasy stars

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