Fantasy Astros - Get Ready to Draft!

USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball draft season approacheth. Are you prepared?

Fantasy Draft season loometh, and we here at The Crawfish Boxes aim to keep you as prepared as possible. As I noted in a previous article, SB Nation has partnered with Yahoo! to give our readers the best Fantasy Baseball experience possible. Here are some great resources to help you prepare for your upcoming Fantasy Draft.

  1. Mock, Mock, Mock. By clicking on the Draft tab in your Yahoo! Fantasy League, you can access their Mock Drafts. Mock Drafts are a great way to prepare for your draft because they may give you an idea for how other managers value certain players. Every good manager makes a draft plan. If your draft plan includes targeting Jose Altuve in Round 8, but you find during Mock Drafts that he is continually being drafted in Round 8 by other players, you may need to adjust your plan accordingly because chances are, you won't get him. So you do one of two things: 1) Plan to draft Altuve in an earlier round (but only if you think he's worth it...don't pass up a better player because of your hometown man-crush!), or 2) Plan to take Altuve in Round 8, but make a backup plan. Target a handful of second basemen lower in the draft that might be overlooked or value picks.
  2. Draft Kit. Halfway down the page, Yahoo! provides some great resources so that you can estimate how much you will have to reach or pay to get that player you like. I like the Mixed Cheatsheet, which includes positional rankings, injury updates, top prospects likely to see the majors in 2013, and auction values.
  3. Fangraphs is your friend. Check out http://www.fangraphs.com/ if you haven't already been made aware of this excellent baseball resource. Individual player pages now hold no less than five different projection models for the 2013 season (for most players). Make use of this resource.
  4. Microsoft Excel. OK, this may seem silly, but Excel is your key to a great draft plan. Don't be afraid to copy/paste the Yahoo! players list into Excel (there is a trick to it - it can be done...perhaps I'll share my technique in a later post). Project what players might be available at your picks, and give yourself a list of five or six that you'd be happy to take in each round. Plot out your course - what positions are you targeting first? Or are you drafting the best player available? If Justin Verlander falls into your lap, are you taking him with your first pick, or do you go with a position player, knowing that plenty of pitching will be available later? A good draft plan makes the draft go quicker (your friends will thank you) and will give you a more confident feeling about your team afterwards.

So what is your draft plan? There are several you can adopt:

  • Pitcher-Heavy - cornering the market on elite starters and closers can help a team win their rate stats every week. This plan comes with some risk though, as starters are inherently riskier and more volatile than position players.
  • Ignore the pitchers - some managers don't draft a starting pitcher until they have most of their lineup assembled, under the premise that good pitching can always be found during the season. This only works if good pitching can be found during the season.
  • Take the best player available - sure, you may find yourself with four outfielders in the first four picks, and no shortstop until Round 12, but taking the best player available is the most risk-averse strategy.
  • Tank on a stat category - this is a debated tactic. With 10 to 12 stat categories, some managers decide to tank on stats like SB or SV and focus on pounding the remaining ones. This can be very successful in helping you reach the playoffs, but makes it difficult to win the big game at the end.
  • Focus on only one or two categories - I don't recommend this because you'll probably get rocked in the playoffs, but some managers stock up on closers and players who will rack up SB and Runs. Utterly dominating a few categories can assure you a close win every week, but injuries and bad luck will hurt you worse than they would a more balanced team.

Our Leagues:

Astros Blogger League draft is on March 24 at 7:00 PM (PODCAST!)

The Crawfish Boxes snake draft league drafts on March 12 at 7:00 PM.

The TCB Auction draft league drafts on March 28 at 7:00 PM

  • Yahoo! Sports is the leading fantasy provider on the Internet, home to millions of fans playing the #1 fantasy baseball game available – all for free!
  • Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball ’13 is easy to use, with mock drafts, player comparison features, and numerous customization options. Plus - Yahoo! Sports offers superior stability, especially during drafts and games (Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball doesn’t drop the ball).
  • The #1 free game keeps getting better: now with same day drafts, custom playoff seeding, and game-time waivers.
  • Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball provides fans with top-notch information, resources, and expert advice. From player notes to injury updates to player availability across leagues, Yahoo! Sports helps you win big. This year never miss a last minute injury with updated player notes.
  • Yahoo! Sports provides pre-draft advice clips to help you draft the best team possible. Fantasy advice is also available throughout the season with bi-weekly video clips and the Fantasy Freaks on Yahoo! Sports Radio on Friday’s 8–10pm EST
  • Don’t miss a trade or waiver wire again! Daily roster changes are made easy with the Fantasy Baseball app available on Android, iPhone, and iPad (new this year!).
  • Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball gives you real-time fantasy score updates wherever you go. View team, league, and player stats, edit your lineups, and check your standings and matchups.
  • Yahoo! Sports offers the fantasy fanatic an even more competitive way to play with Pro Leagues! Join a Pro League for $20 or $100 and compete to win cash prizes. For those who dare to put some skin in the game.

Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball supports SBNation and fantasy league families everywhere. Get better experts, better tools, and better stats with the #1 free fantasy baseball game. This season also features a brand new iPad app, so sign up now. Get ready for opening day with better play on Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball.

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