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Ask Nash: Revisiting Off-Season Fantasy Baseball Strategies

In my last Ask Nash of the season, I wanted to give a little insight for how a fantasy player should approach their off-season.

Since we’re revisiting some past posts this week for Christmas, we’re going to take a more in depth look at what you should be doing for the second half of the fantasy off-season. Fret not if you’re still not in baseball mode, we’re still talking about February-March, so you have a few weeks to get there.

This is the time that you should be gearing up for the fantasy baseball season. Make sure to get our Draft Kit, and read, read ,read!! Yeah, that is a shameless plug, but our Draft Kit will be very valuable to you. We all take what we do seriously and that shows in the Draft Kit, which makes life as easy as possible for you.

Moving on, I want to walk you through the basics of intentionally building a fantasy baseball team. The point of being intentional is that it will help to keep you accountable to the end goal, winning. You do this by selecting specific team structures and organizing your draft strategy.


1) Pick a specific team structure that you like and build your team accordingly.

As for some specific team structures:


A. Masher delight:

This strategy is focused on rostering mostly or all home run hitters. This will give you solid totals in runs, home runs, and RBI. Also, if you can get the right home run hitters then you should fare well in AVG as well.

The downside to this strategy is that you basically punt steals and if you don’t have the right hitters, your average will suffer, as well.


B. Balanced approach:

This strategy can be approached in two different ways.

  1. Draft a balance of complementary players—or coupling—like Jay Bruce (profiled here) and Jose Altuve (profiled here).
  2. Draft a lot of 15/15, 20/20, and/or 25+/25+ guys such as:  Bryce Harper (profiled here), Dustin Pedroia (profiled here), or Shin-Soo Choo.

The main downfall to this approach is that you are trying to compete in all categories and not really corner any categories. IF you run into leaguemates that take masher and speed kills approaches, then you may end up fighting to stay out of the cellar in all those categories.


C. Speed kills:

This is a rarer fantasy baseball strategy and is especially risky in head-to-head formats. For this strategy you would primarily target speed based stats players and try to win Runs, Steals, and AVG.

The downfall to this strategy is that you will be very unlikely to catch up in home runs and RBI. If you need more points towards the end of the year, guys who produce in those categories generally aren’t found on waiver wires, which isn’t the case with speed guys. a


The differences in pitching strategies tend to be much more subtle than what we just went over with hitters.


A. Stars and scrubs:

You draft a couple elite pitchers and fill in with very late round pitchers and hope for the best.


B. Balanced approach:

This one works much like the balanced approach with hitters. You probably won’t have a Clayton Kershaw type of pitcher, but you’ll probably have fewer guys that you find at the end of drafts and on the waiver wire.


These are two of the more conventional pitching strategies. As for less common ones:

  • MRI: Maximizing relief innings by drafting closers and middle relief pitchers to bolster your staff.
  • Streaming: This is the more conventional of these two strategies. In it, you pick up pitchers on a week-t0-week or even day-to-day basis, based on favorable matchups.


You then need to nail down keepers or set up at least 2-3 guys that you want to target to build around. It is important to have some guys at least penciled in as a starting point because then you can begin to plan around them. Once you have a strategy and a core targeted it is time to focus on the draft.


2) Map out your draft.

Whether you have a snake draft or an auction it is wise to make a plan. This will help you from getting caught up in a bidding war that throws off your whole budget, or from impulsively drafting someone in a snake draft that doesn’t fit your plans.

I like to know essentially what I have to spend per player in an auction before I start figuring out which players to fill around my core. If I have $260 total dollars to spend in an auction, and my three keepers cost me $46, then I have $214 to to fill say 20 other spots with, or roughly $11 per player.

Likewise, in a snake draft, I like to look at rankings and figure out where guys should be going. I simply go down the list of players and try to project where I can draft certain guys. This helps me to avoid drafting multiple second basemen in consecutive rounds because they were the best available players, then realizing I am short on outfielders and need to grab whatever is left over at the end of the draft. It seems basic, but these mistakes aren’t terribly uncommon.


3) Mock draft.

This is the final step in your offseason plan. Well, it should be.

As they say, “practice makes perfect!” Also, if you have never mock drafted before, you are really missing out on some valuable experience. Guys like to talk strategy during mock drafts, say when are where players are being drafted, and they like to discuss sleepers.


If you focus on these three steps, you should be ready to field a good team come draft time.

Tags: Draft Strategies Off-Season Fantasy Baseball

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