Getting ready for draft day...here are some tips from the Talented Mr. Roto (aka. Matthew Berry from ESPN):
OK, it's game day, baby. Time for the big show. Don't bother cramming on the way in or anything stupid like that. It's like a test. You know it or you don't. You're pregnant or you're not. You want to project an air of confidence -- even if you don't feel it. Make others sweat, be it in person or through chatter in your draft engine. That's my first draft day hint.
1. Never show fear. Just be confident. You don't have to be cocky or a jerk. But occasionally sighing a breath of relief when the owner before you picks as if to say, "Glad you didn't grab the correct guy," will do wonders to rattle your weaker-willed leaguemates.
2. In auctions, throw out a young, hyped player early. Reliable performers like Roy Halladay will be thrown out soon enough. But the first guy I'm throwing out this year is Brett Lawrie. Everyone loves him this year. And he'll go for at least $5 more than he should because he's sexy and everyone has money at that point. That extra $5 off the table will be helpful much later in the auction.
3. If you find yourself getting run out of a position, don't panic! Say you've got Pick 11 in a 12-team league and find yourself on the short end of a second-base run. Instead of reaching for a guy such as Daniel Murphy just to have someone, grab another closer, even if you already have two. Or a second decent shortstop. Give yourself something to trade for what you need.
4. If you are in a snake draft, especially at one end of one, grab what you need when you can. Let's say you really want a good No. 1 first baseman. You see there are at least six guys left whom you wouldn't mind having. So you grab another starting pitcher. But one good run, and you're left holding the bag. It's 20 picks until you get to choose again, if not more. Don't wait. Grab what you need, get surplus later (unless you're in a situation like I described above).
5. Don't listen to anyone else during the draft! (Basically, don't fall for No. 1.) As I mentioned in my theory section, nobody knows anything! And that includes me and any other fantasy baseball analyst. Yes, we analysts probably spend a lot more time looking at stats, trends, players and teams and the like than you do, but that's because you have a life. And we've probably been playing a bit longer. So we probably have a more informed opinion. But that's all it is. An opinion. An educated guess. Emphasis on the word "guess."
So if I'm telling you that "experts" (and notice I put the word in quotes; I consider myself an analyst, not an expert ... there's no such thing in fantasy) aren't always right ... other people in your league sure as hell aren't. If they mock your pick or sneer at your team, who cares? Don't let it rattle you! I often find that the loudest person at the draft is the stupidest. I've seen too many good drafts screwed up because someone listened to some loud jerk rather than trusting his own opinions. Listen, you've done the research, you've played the game ... you've even read this far. You're into it. And your opinion is as good as, if not better than, anyone else's in that room.
6. For those in auction leagues, especially keepers, consider bringing last season's rosters with you. Say someone throws out Evan Longoria. You look at last year's rosters and see one person had him at $36. It's likely that the owner who had him last year will go up to $36 to get him back. How many times have you said to yourself, "Aw, hell, I'll throw him back, see if I can get him cheaper. If not, I can still pay $36 to get him back." So you bid the guy up to $36. It's not a strategy for the weak of heart; you can get stuck. But worst-case scenario, you're stuck with Evan Longoria. Not the most unpleasant thing in the world. And if you're successful, you can take a lot of money off the table a little bit at a time.
7. For the players you do get, write down the name of the last person who bid on him or the ones who complained that you snatched him up right out of their draft queue. That will come in handy later when you're looking for trade partners.
8. The later the draft or auction goes -- and it will go long -- the more people get antsy and stop paying attention. This is when you need to be your sharpest. This is when the cheap guys come in. This is when you got that $1 Jordan Walden last year. This is when you win or lose your league. Not by paying $40 for Prince Fielder.
9. Speaking of the end game, this is where you need to swing for the fences. A guy like Mark Buehrle will always be there -- someone "safe" who you know exactly what he will bring -- you can always grab him or someone similar if need be. But the end game is where you swing for the fences and hope to hit on one or two breakouts. Too many people go "safe" in the late rounds.
10. Have fun. Remember, we do this for leisure. We all (especially I) take it very seriously, and I play to win, but it's not worth ruining friendships over. Unless you've got a shot at winning. In which case, you can always get a new friend.