March 27, 2012
My league had our MLB fantasy baseball draft recently. As always, I got some of the guys I wanted and missed out on a few as well. But since my draft has come and gone I don’t have to worry about the other guys in my league knowing who I want on my team. Therefore, I will give you a rundown of what my ideal team would look like. It’s not like I had much to worry about, anyway. Chances are none of those guys would have seen this since most of them can barely even read. (Bazinga!) Trash talking your league members is one of the best parts of a fantasy league. Anyway, here’s who I would realistically try to take going by the average draft position on the site my league uses.
Round 1 Miguel Cabrera, 1B
I want my first pick to be a sure thing. Cabrera has put up an average of .320 batting average with 33 home runs, 115 RBI and 102 runs for the last eight years. That’s as much of a sure thing as you will find.
Round 2 Carlos Gonzalez, OF
Again, I want a sure thing if I can get it. Gonzalez has had at least 25 home runs, 20 steals, 90 runs and 90 RBI to go with a .295 average for the last two seasons. He is the real deal.
Round 3 Jose Reyes, SS
Here’s a guy who has led the league in steals and in batting average. Reyes joins a Miami team that has loaded up on talent and brought in Ozzie Guillen to manage. Guillen had the White Sox running a lot and he should do the same in Miami.
Round 4 Michael Bourn, OF
Just in case Reyes isn’t 100 percent healthy and his steals come down again, adding Bourn will make up for it in a hurry. You can pencil him in for 50 steals and he gives you a solid batting average as well.
Round 5 Zack Greinke, SP
Greinke will be nearly as good as the biggest name pitchers in baseball but will cost you a much lower pick to get him.
Round 6 Carlos Santana, C
There aren’t a lot of great catchers so if you get one of them you will have a big advantage at at least one position.
Round 7 Carl Crawford, OF
If Crawford is still available in the 7th round you better jump on him. He had injury problems last year and was a big disappointment. I believe he will bounce back big time.
Round 8 Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Here’s another guy who had a disappointing year in 2011 and should be better in 2012. Youkilis could end up being a steal.
Round 9 Brian Wilson, RP
This guy is awesome. I want Wilson on my team regardless of what he does on the field but it just so happens that he can pitch.
Round 10 Josh Johnson, SP
Because of his injury history this is a high-risk, high-reward pick. Go for it. You aren’t playing for third place are you?
Round 11 Matt Garza, SP
I’m a Cubs fan. I always need a Cub. I choose Garza.
Round 12 Heath Bell, RP
He’s going to a better team which will hopefully translate into more saves.
Round 13 Brandon Beachy, SP
He averaged almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings last year.
Round 14 Torii Hunter, OF
Round 15 Ryan Roberts, 2B
You are going to have a weak spot somewhere. This is mine. And it’s not that bad.
Round 16 Emilio Bonifacio, SS
I love guys that can play multiple positions because they provide lineup flexibility.
Round 17 Josh Willingham, OF
Not a guy people will be desperate to get, but always gives you at least 20 long balls.
From this point on in the draft, grab as many high-upside players as you can. If they don’t pan out, you can always drop them and find someone else.
March 22, 2011
We are just nine days away from baseball’s opening day. With labor uncertainty hovering over the future in the NFL and NBA, it could be your last chance to play in a fantasy league for a while.
I have been in all kinds of leagues in the last 15 years. More than any person should according to my family. Some leagues were a blast. Some were a waste of time. Here are a few ideas for anybody looking to spice up their fantasy experience.
Active league members
It doesn’t matter what sport you play. If you have a person or two in your league that are not actively participating, it can ruin the league. I hate when you go into the last week of the season fighting for a playoff spot, and someone you are competing with gets a cheap win because their opponent has stopped participating. Maybe the only thing worse is when a manager stops playing and agrees to lopsided trades because they just don’t care anymore. Bottom line: Find players who are serious or a way to replace people who stop playing.
Everyone knows everyone
Fantasy leagues are the most fun when everyone knows everyone. It is so much easier to have the necessary elements of a fun fantasy league when everybody knows everybody. It is easier to trash talk to someone you know. I play in a baseball league with a group of guys that go way back. When we hold the draft on Saturday, I can guarantee there will be 10-15 jokes about a certain player’s sister. It may not be original, but it is hilarious. It happens every year.
Speaking of the draft
In professional sports, the highlight of the season is at the end when the champion is determined. It is the exact opposite in fantasy sports. When you get to the championship week at the end of the year, there are probably just two people still paying attention. The highlight of the season is the draft. Do whatever you can to make the draft memorable. If players live close enough, get together and have a draft party. Schedule the draft at a time when the most possible people can be there. A fantasy league is just not the same if you end up with a team that you were not able to draft yourself.
Something to play for
You should have a prize of some sort. Some people have entry fees and play for the cash. That’s not my style. But neither is playing for bragging rights. You want something to show off when you win the title. We play for a championship belt. It is great when you can walk into a friend’s home wearing the title belt after defeating them for the league championship. And you can rub that in their face all year long.
Make them pay
My favorite way to make the league fun is to win. Punishing those who lose is the next best thing. There are lots of things you can come up with to provide incentive to avoid being the loser of a fantasy league. One thing we like to do is allow the winning player to choose the team name of the player who finishes last. They have to use that name for the next season. And it’s not going to be a name you want representing your team. Trust me on that.
Be creative. There is no limit to what you can do. A few ideas: weekly power rankings, game of the week, and rivalry props (such as the trophies two schools will play for in a collegiate rivalry). Let your imagination run wild.