Dear Mr. Fantasy: On the Offensive: Fantasy Baseball Strategy


I was reading a really great article over at Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks about fantasy baseball strategy that got me thinking.

The article talks about “Player Evaluation” as a strategy for fantasy baseball success. It also talks about “Cunning Strategy” as a means of besting the competition. I agree that a flexible approach is the key to success. Always thinking on the fly, spotting trends and making moves faster than your opponents is one of the most important things in staying ahead of the pack.

However, when it comes to guidelines, here is my secret: use the “Player Evaluation” approach when it comes to offense and a “Cunning Strategy” approach when it comes to pitching. In other words, at the draft table, load up on offense. Power, runs, steals, average. You name it, you need it (and lots of it). Once the season begins, offense is really tough to come across. Therefore, I like to use the draft table to load up on a big bopper at first base (think Pujols, Cabrera or Votto) as well as a strong outfielder or two (Kemp, Cargo or Braun come to mind), if possible. Loading up on offense on draft day (or auction day) is generally a pretty safe bet.

The same cannot be said for pitching. During the season is the time to evaluate pitchers and grab the arms that stand out. Last year, pitchers like Luebke, Vogelsong and Collmenter went undrafted but provided major help to the fantasy owners keen enough to spot (and grab) these guys once the season was underway. This year, arms like Lynn and Sale jumped out early and as the season has progressed, we’ve seen names like Medlen and Harrell providing some real fantasy value to the owners that acted on these guys. All that being said, it is never a bad idea to grab at least one anchor for your pitching staff at the draft table (or when deciding on keepers). However, this doesn’t always work out so well. For example, this year I decided the always reliable and durable Dan Haren would do the trick in anchoring a pitching staff that I planned to build as the season progressed. Needless to say, I have had to do some major tinkering to stay in the race.

Here’s an exercise I use to prove this point: every year, I like to look at the team that I drafted to start the year and compare it to the team that I finish the season with. Almost every year, the offense that I began with is very similar to the offense that I concluded the year with. The pitching staff however, is always a completely overhauled version of what I started with.

If you are looking for a strategy to employ in fantasy baseball, think about this method as an experiment. I have had consistent success, year in and year out. I have always used this approach and have consistently achieved success. It just might work for you as well.

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