It's one of the best days of the year. Fantasy Baseball draft day is a long awaited, much anticipated and (hopefully) much prepared for event that gives fantasy owners the base for their season.
I had a reader email me with a very good question: "What do you bring to draft day?" What a great yet basic question!
This is something that I have messed around with for years and I've tried a bunch of different approaches. Do you bring your projections? ADP reports? NOTHING?? My goal is to keep it as simple as possible, which means I'll show up with one piece of paper that has my tiered positional rankings. Also a pen to cross off names that are taken.
I do it this way for two basic reasons. First, I don't care about Average Draft Position anymore. ADP never matters on draft day as players are constantly picked earlier than anticipated or fall further than anticipated. You have to get the players YOU want on draft day and not the players the ADP data says you SHOULD pick in any given round. The second reason is because I trust the research that I've done and I don't want to panic or make a bad choice because the clock is ticking down.
This does vary based on different drafts. If I am participating in an auction draft I'll bring my positional rankings that include projected dollar values. I'll also have already highlighted the players that I want to target, usually between 55 and 75 names. My goal would be to only bid on players that I have highlighted and stay out of the rest of the action.
As far as my overall goal on draft day; that is also fairly simple. When all is said and done I want a team that has a good balance of power and speed offensively. From a pitching standpoint I want a staff that has plenty of strikeout potential and some upside picks toward the back end.
Some people like to target certain numbers for each category. The only problem with this is that the numbers are calculated through projections, which are only "projected" numbers, not the absolute numbers that will be there at season's end. How many people had Jacoby Ellsbury pegged for 70 steals in 2009? Or Cole Hamels for a 4+ ERA? I know that if I draft Prince Fielder in round one and Carl Crawford in round two that I have a good balance of power and speed to work off of. If round 15 rolls around I can glance at my roster and see that I have a ton of power, but could use a player like Juan Pierre or Julio Borbon to add some elite stolen base numbers.
Everyone goes into the draft with a plan (well, not everyone), but rarely does that plan go accordingly. The key is to be flexible and adjust on the fly. That is exactly why it is best to keep things simple on draft day. If you show up with your rankings, your projections, an ADP sheet, sleepers, busts, etc, you'll be flipping through papers the entire time. Not only does that lead to confusion and panic, but it takes some of the fun away in my opinion.
So whether you get together with friends or do your draft online, just remember two basic rules: Keep it simple and be flexible.
This also helps because by your seventh beer you won't be able to find your ADP sheet anyway.