There’s a BRAN (Balanced Roster After Nine) Drafting Strategy by Rudy Gamble. Yesterday, he went over some fantasy baseball drafting hints from Heloise. You go read it. It will make you smart. There’s also a LIMA Plan (Low Investment Mound Aces) by Ron Shandler. There’s been a ZIMA Plan by Matthew Berry; it involves a lot of stumbling around and the hiccups. There’s been a Punt One Category draft strategy. There’s been a Punt Two Categories draft strategy, which was conceived by a leaguemate of Punt One Category who just couldn’t stand being upstaged. And there’s the Forget When Your Draft Is So Your Team Is Autodrafted strategy. I love when my leaguemates use that one. Then there’s my draft strategy, Performance Enhancing Draft Strategy or PEDS.
PEDS has five basic steps. If you follow these steps, you will place near the top in all of your leagues. No plan is foolproof because, unfortunately, they still have to play the games. But PEDS puts you in the best position possible to win coming out of your draft. Okay, onto the steps:
1. Never draft a pitcher with your first two picks.
No Lincecum. No Halladay. No F-Her. You abstain! They’re fantastic. I love them all. I have bedsheets with Lincecum on them… Hmm… That sounds wrong. These starters give you the value of a 1st or 2nd rounder. They do. I said it. The problem is the loss of one of your 1st two hitters is really difficult to bounce back from. You, son, are putting yourself in a hole. A hole? Yes, you are. The absence of Utley or Teixeira or Longoria or whoever is too great.
2. Never take a closer in the first tier.
This is a tough one for some people. I’m going to be you for a brief moment. Me as you, “Hey, everyone’s starting to take closers in the fifth round. There goes Papelbon, Rivera, Broxton… Wait, I have to take a closer with my next pick! And why am I not wearing pants?! For the Lord’s sake, why don’t I have pants on?!” See what happened there? You done got swept up. You did. You got swept up in a closer run. Ignore everyone who takes closers. You don’t need a top tier one. Stick to your own game plan. Grab some schmohawks later that will get saves because, as we all know, SAGNOF.
3. Have your offense squared away before the final rounds and never take an offensive bench player.
I know, you owned Josh Willingham last year and you guys got along thick as thieves. Awesome! Send him a postcard. You’re not going to hold onto these late round offense guys anyway. You’re going to get to the first week of the season and you’re going to wonder why you have Clint Barmes on your bench. Instead of an offensive bench player, grab a middle reliever who seems like he has a good chance of taking over for the incumbent closer. Or grab a starter. (Note: This rule is for 14 team leagues and shallower. If you’re in a 15 team league or deeper, offensive bench players can come in handy when there’s nothing but scraps on waivers.)
4. When deep into a position, take a flier on upside.
Nobody in the history of fantasy baseball has ever won a league by playing it safe in the late rounds. In 1995, I tried drafting Mike Greenwell as my fifth outfielder; just didn’t work. A darn fine year by Klesko wasted! You play it safe in the early rounds. You take solid contributors early. You take fliers late. You’re looking at either Juan Rivera or Julio Borbon, who do you choose? Orlando Hudson or Scott Sizemore? Valerie Harper or Sandy Duncan? You get the picture.
5. When in doubt, draft your third, fourth and fifth starters from NL teams.
Self-explanatory. No DH, pitchers hitting, weaker offenses. They bunt in the NL! Does this mean I don’t want Slowey? No, I’m saying when in doubt. Tim Hudson or Andy Pettitte? I’m taking Hudson. Billingsley or Garza? I’m going Bills. Slowey or Price? Ah, trick question. But I’d go Slowey.
If you follow these five simple steps, I guarantee you will be in the top three in your league battling for your championship. PEDS is so easy, it should be illegal. You’re welcome.