The Boys of Spring: 2015 Preview

Andrelton+Simmons+Atlanta+Braves+v+Miami+Marlins+-MFyZNUt7zllFor all of you suffering from fantasy football withdrawal, it won’t be too long before it’s back, but between now and then there’s a whole different animal that can keep your attention, and it’s called fantasy baseball. The MLB season is set to begin in a week’s time, but fantasy baseball drafts have already begun. How can you get in on the fun and enjoy the longest fantasy season in sports? Easy. Head to cbssports.com and sign up for a league.

The glory of fantasy baseball is that, unlike fantasy football, everything isn’t geared up for one day of games. Every day in the week counts, so there are a lot more decisions to make. First, there are two distinct types of fantasy baseball games to keep your interest. There’s rotisserie, a season-long battle between statistical categories like ERA, WHIP, RBI, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, wins and saves to see who comes out on top. If you like marathons then rotisserie is the game for you.

But if you’re an avid fantasy football gamer, and you like the week to week deliberations and individual records, then head-to-head is for you. In this format you set your lineup by Monday’s first game, and your players are locked in until the final game is over on Sunday night. Whoever scores the most points that week between the two teams playing against each other is the winner, and then you lock and load and get ready for the following week’s battle. It’s a chess game with many moving pieces, but you can see tangible results each week.

I like aspects of both versions, but I think for me head-to-head is more rewarding. That way I can swap out my low-end starting pitchers each week for others who have two-start weeks and have the potential to get me more points. But just like in fantasy football, head-to-head has the downside of your overall record deciding whether or not you go to the playoffs, and a couple poor weeks can change everything. Rotisserie doesn’t have a playoff format, which can be a bonus in that respect.

The key to developing a good team in either format is advance scouting, mock drafts, and paying close attention to those low-end players. All things being even, every single round in your draft is important. Your draft position shouldn’t matter too much because you can get quality players at every position. You just have to come up with a plan ahead of time. I always put my players into tiers. There are players you would never draft higher than a certain round, so don’t reach for them even if other players of their caliber are coming off the board early. Never settle or freak out. It will even out. Just be sure you have backup plans in place if you lose a player you counted on.

So go, make your lists, develop your tiers, and plan your contingencies. Coming soon: my first draft of the year!

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