Thanks to your fantasy baseball experience, know-how and also our fantasy baseball rankings for a little extra help, you already know who to draft. That's the easy part. But, have you ever thought about the math involved in winning your fantasy league? Believe it or not, your overall draft strategy has to go well beyond who to draft. You have to decide how many position players to draft versus the amount of pitchers you draft.
Also, the type of league you're in - head-to-head or rotisserie - makes a big difference on draft day. Based on your league's scoring system, you'll want to draft a ton of pitchers, or you'll need a delicately-balanced roster across the board on offense and pitching.
Draft Strategy for a Head-to-Head Fantasy League
If you're in a head-to-head league, you're probably in a regular, public 5x5 league: 5 batting categories and 5 pitching categories. Here's what you need to remember:
Because of this, and because pitchers are limited in their appearances every week, you want to draft as many pitchers as you can in a head-to-head 5x5 league and put them in your lineup every time they have a start. Doing this, you can win the strikeouts category every week, even with mediocre strikeout pitchers. On top of that, you can rack up Wins more easily as well - the more chances you have, the more wins you'll likely get. Plus, you're not penalized for a loss, so why not take the chance?
In short, draft a ton of pitchers on draft day and watch your strikeout totals and Wins dominate all season long.
Another bonus benefit to this is that you'll only want to carry 9 batters on your entire roster. That's right: no backups. When one of your batters gets hurt, you address it then, but not before. Best of all, there's never any second-guessing on which guy to start at which position. Your offense stays the same all year long and you just keep cycling in any pitcher you have who's starting that day. That, my friends, is how you can win with minimal effort in a 5x5 head-to-head league.
Draft Strategy for a Rotisserie League
Then, you have to draft pitchers carefully, too. The first stat you go after is WHIP. Since all other stats are reliant upon a pitcher's ability to keep guys off base, a pitcher's WHIP is your most-reliable predictor of his impending success (or demise).
Yahoo's draft interface this season has a cool feature where it scores your "standings" during the draft. Based on last year's stats or their pulled-from-thin-air 2015 projections, it will tell you where you stand in terms of your competitors' rosters. In other words, if Team A has 400 Runs amassed in the first 7 rounds based on last year's stats, and you only have 360 runs based on last year's stats, their Standings tool will show you where you're deficient, statistically at that point in the draft. Is it perfect? No. Is it pretty helpful? Yeah, it actually is.
Nevertheless, you have to prepare to win, so you must draft a perfectly balanced team in order to have a chance at winning a rotisserie league. And that includes drafting a couple of sleepers who absolutely must pay off, and, of course, everyone must stay injury-free all season long.
Oh - also, draft a head-to-head team, too, so that when your rotisserie team is doomed for imminent failure around June, you'll have another fantasy team to occupy your time.