Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy for Roto Leagues
The 2014 fantasy baseball season is just around the corner and that means owners all over are preparing for their drafts. There are many different kinds of formats for fantasy baseball with points leagues and leagues that are head-to-head. The most popular and longest running would be the original rotisserie, or roto for short. Roto is the classic style where each teams stats are aggregated throughout the year and the winner of the most statistical categories takes home the bacon. Offensive positions gets just 162 games of eligibility and pitchers are only allowed to throw a certain number of combined innings. In Roto Leagues, there are many types of strategies to employ, but for now we'll cover three of my favorites.
1. Stock Up on Stud Hitters
There is no doubt that when the number of games played is topped off, you need to have players who are going to play almost every day to get the best results. Also, by and large stud hitters are more predictable and reliable than stud pitchers year in and year out. Your first four or five picks should be used on batters who are going to play between 150-160 games and accrue stats in as many categories as possible. Search for players who will produce big stats and will play all the time. Prince Fielder is a prime example of this. He has played in all but one game over the last five seasons. No need to take him out of the lineup ever, you can set it and forget it.
2. Draft Solid and High Upside Pitchers in Middle Rounds
If an owner does decide to take hitters with the first few picks, the big name pitchers are likely going to be off the board. That means finding a number of low-end No. 1 and great No. 2 starters to fill those innings up. There are only a certain number of innings to go around so picking up two or three starters in the middle rounds along with a reliever or two is the way to go. You'll want to do a good job of mixing steady pitchers with high-upside riskier picks. Some owners will want to go all in with their offense but forget about the pitching, and others think it's ok to draft two aces in the first three rounds. Titles aren’t won with all offense and no pitching or vice versa, however, so make sure to get a nice mix of pitchers in the round 6-10 range of your draft.
3. Take Risks Sleepers with Your Final Few Picks
With the caps on games played and innings pitched in most roto leagues, having a super deep bench isn’t terribly helpful, so drafting that minor league star that could come up at midseason to make an impact is a worthwhile decision. They weren’t going to play anyway in the major leagues to begin the year so they can sit on your bench waiting for the right opportunity. It is wise to take a chance on one of them to see if they can help out a late season playoff run. There are many prospect candidates this year to warm your bench the first month or two of the season, including Javier Baez, George Springer and Archie Bradley. Alternatively, there might be some players who missed significant time in 2013 available at the end of your draft who have a lot of upside, or other players who started to breakout last year but didn't fully catch on with most fantasy managers. The last few rounds of your draft are when you can take risks on high upside players, whether they're prospects, previously injured players, or possible breakouts. Be sure to check out RotoBaller's ADP Comparison tool to help you find late round sleepers for your 2014 drafts.