The first few weeks of the baseball season are now behind us and the fantasy baseball studs and duds are rising and sinking. When is the best time to trade or hold onto a player? What do you do when you have a star get hurt? Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Here is a break down of several different fantasy baseball formats with rules and suggestions to help you win your league and compete for years to come.
H2H & Roto Non-Keeper:
In a head-to-head league with no keepers, you only have one shot at a title. This plays a big part in your thinking regarding when to trade or acquire players.
1. If a player is out for the year, cut him. If your league has DL spots, save those for 15-day DL stints.
2. Don’t pick-up a top prospect unless he is going to get called up within a week. You are wasting a roster spot if the prospect doesn’t get called up for a month. Most prospects don’t contribute much in the way of fantasy when first get called up so don’t drop a needed player to have the prospect on your team. It is a non-keeper league, so he will be available in your draft next year.
3. Don’t hold onto aging post-prime stars who are struggling. You never want to make a knee-jerk reaction in April, but May is the time to start making major roster adjustments. Some players start slow in April and then come around to their expected production in May. If players continue to struggle through May, depending on the player, you can look to drop or trade them. A few names to keep an eye on this year include Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Erick Aybar.
4. Don’t be afraid to trade a hot player for an established one. Players go on hot streaks, and if they aren’t an All-Star caliber player, you should probably look to trade them. There are fantasy surprises each year that perform all year but those cases are very rare. A couple of names that come to mind this year are Devon Travis and DJ LeMahieu. If you have either of these guys and they are your backup, I’d be looking to trade them ASAP to fill a need on your team.
H2H & Roto Keeper Leagues:
Keeper leagues are fun whether you get to keep one player or ten. There are several different strategies to use in keeper leagues and some rules you need to follow to be successful.
1. Always be thinking about next year while focusing on this year. In a keeper league you always want to be cautious when dealing guys who are possible keepers on your squad. If you need to trade one of your studs (keepers) look to get at least one back.
2. Don’t drop a possible keeper if he gets hurts. If possible, stash the hurt player in your DL slot. Other teams are always checking the waiver wire for cheap buys or guys to stash that will be keepers.
3. If you are out of the race, prepare for next year. Around July, if you see you aren’t going to make the playoffs, look for people who break rule #2 and snatch up possible keepers that are free agents. You can also gamble on prospects, if you get to keep several players. For example, last July if you were in last place, it might’ve been worth picking up Kris Bryant (if you had several keepers spots). This July, you might keep your eye on Corey Seager of the Dodgers. Seager will be up sometime this year and will be a highly coveted player next season.
H2H & Roto Dynasty Leagues:
This is my favorite type of league as you can feel like a GM unlike other types of leagues. Most dynasty leagues let you keep most if not all of your roster, if you choose. You can hoard prospects or deal them for stars.
Dynasty leagues let you use several different strategies to build your team. Unlike non-keeper and keeper leagues there aren’t a lot of rules to live by in Dynasty since everybody can have their own strategy. So here are some suggestions for you.
1. Don’t have too many or too few prospects. You have no chance to win your league if all you have are prospects, so that’s not a great approach. You also don’t want to have just one prospect because prospects are good to add in trades and also assures your squad won’t all retire at once. It’s a good rule of thumb to always have a couple of pitching and hitting prospects.
2. Know when prospects could get called up. Don’t be that guy who trades a top prospect just days before he gets called up, unless you get a young proven major leaguer in return.
3. Do your homework. Dynasty leagues require that you do a lot of research to not only find prospects but young guys in the major leagues who are regulars. You also need to know who is replacing a guy who gets hurt during the year. For example, when you hear of Yan Gomes going down for several weeks, you immediately need to find out who is the backup catcher. The backup may not be worth adding, but if he is then you have a chance to get him.
Good luck the rest of the season and feel free to share any of your rules you live by in fantasy baseball!