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Something For Nothing and What Does Luck Have To Do With It.
An Article on Fantasy Baseball and its Implications on MLB Handicapping
I’ve heard a lot of sharp handicappers describe fantasy baseball as not worth their time and that it just doesn't matter. Sure that’s fine, those are the same guys generally speaking of course, who focus intently during football and basketball season and when it’s over, it’s over. Football in this industry reigns supreme and that’s where the money is. If you have the ability to be a specialist in football, that’s exactly where you should be looking and allocating your time and resources. The wise ones understand this, but they also understand you don’t have to have your hand in everything either. Focusing on specific sports is vital to success. It’s widely considered among wiseguys that they truly only are a national authority on one and maybe two sports. There might be a handful guys on the planet who are elite sources in more than that and that’s a stretch. The fact is most sharps depend on people who they trust for the goods on their not so hot sports, and handicap along side them. Inevitably, breaks and time away are necessary in the months of March to June, reflecting on Power Rankings and just about everything that a handicapper does in the football and basketball season, always asking why? Sport specialization will always be a superior foundation in handicapping as somebody gains experience and expertise. Then you can spread your wings out even more. But to those who choose not to take a break and who choose to reflect on football while engaging head on with the Boys of Summer, baseball becomes in season and the only season.
But how does all this relate to fantasy baseball. It can be simply put as this. If you want to win in Fantasy Baseball, you have to find the players and acquire them before the other owners in your league do. The only way to do this, is to do the work. What is doing the work? Well, you must find them before they hit The Show either through solid research or by taking care of business and doing your homework on existing players already in the bigs. Essentially you are a scout, and in baseball where spot start call ups occur often, injuries happen daily and teams dip into the farm for performance; the knowledge you possess puts you in a prime opportunity to stay ahead of your fantasy opponents, and in turn, stay ahead of the market. So if you believe fantasy is a waste, you must shake that negative idea now. There is no question, it’s for beginners to handicap and learn. But when it is done to excel and in the right environment, there’s no question, it will raise you to new heights. Get involved, even if you have to act as a commissioner of a league to get the juices flowing. Put up an entry fee or make a league with your wife and best friends. Don’t just schluff it off. Okay, schluff it off if you don’t really care, sure, that’s reasonable. But any serious handicapper understands the importance of keeping daily tabs in baseball and is truly immeasurable. It has and always will have a significant correlation to handicapping baseball games successfully. Excellent baseball handicappers understand this and utilize fantasy with other capping principles and methodologies. It is all about trusting it, let’s take a look at some tools.
Fantasy baseball, particularly with friends, family members or spouses, there is no question you want to try and lay a beat-down, and if you don’t have the desire to lay one, find it. To win at fantasy baseball, you have to find the players and acquire them before the other owners in your league. That means, on draft day, during the season, in the off-season, you’re always looking. Let’s talk draft first. There are countless resources online and in print that all offer their take on the base-paths. In specific to print and magazines, some come out early and are usually general in nature due to the early release, others are more specific and adjusted as they are published closer to or during spring training. Online, there are a number of sources to use to keep daily tabs and who adjust their rankings with the times and spring training. I believe you find the balance of your world and use whatever you desire. But I will say this. Look vigilantly. Simply put, to look vigilantly means to keep your eye on the ball so to speak, you are more likely to hit a homerun. Looking occasionally means you are more likely to strike out. I get a head start using a number of data points that I respect for the inside track. Any information is good information and I don’t overly concern myself with who’s ranked where according to the varying opinions and different sources. I factor it in, I listen, I learn. I come out of all that with my own vision and my own power rankings of players. You certainly can’t think you know it all and that you can’t learn from others. But you also can’t ride something blindly. You review last year and leave it at that and get back into spring training and the now. In spring comes another chance in evaluating how those rankings from your sources begin to wash out. Who’s meshing, who’s got a nagging shoulder, who’s on the PED list, who’s got drama? Nobody and I mean nobody wants a distracted player on their fantasy team. The best way to keep up on it is by reading and preparing for your draft.
One of the most important data points for baseball is Twitter. You have beat reporters, clubhouse reporters and on field reporters. They cover in game news and write for the cities newspapers. Anything that goes on, is in the information realm and the people I seek and learn to trust, know it. They are doing the job to the best of it, and that’s their service. Covering one team allows any reporter to focus on what matters. Any information leading up to draft day with your filtering system of who to draft and who not to draft then comes through you. You can think. If I had to put one problem I see with fantasy owners or handicappers who struggle, is that they don’t think. They either don’t want to put any thought into it or they want a foolproof system that they don’t have to spend time on. In terms of the draft, if you are ready to think, you are ready. But it doesn’t just stop there. There is no surrender in this business, get on your feet, as you still have to follow your daily routine of checking your teams players statuses, reading any notes and news you can to what’s going on. Some people allocate their time in as little as an hour, others do it not as regularly. I recommend doing it throughout the day in a balanced approach. Do too much, that’s no good. Do too little and that’s no good either. Here’s another thing to consider. Imagine you need a new phone. Go shopping for a new one and ask 40 different companies or sources what phone to get, and you’ll be rewarded with the pain of having too much information from sources that you can’t even make a decision. Too many people don’t make decisions and is one of the leading causes of failure I see by handicappers. Begin at once and trust it. The old adage, less is more can never be more true and is the balance that dials you in. Also, listen to the people you trust. This takes time of course, but you must put in the time. Are you the guy wanting something for nothing? We all learn this lesson at some point in our lives, and usually end up with nothing for something. There are no shortcuts to real growth in this business and it’s all about thinking into results. It cannot be only about what to do, what should I do or what action should I take. Sometimes the best thing you can do is not to take action, not to do anything. So pay attention and think. Who’s slumping, who’s got something tweaked, lineup changes, who’s getting a day off, nagging injuries, who’s playing hurt, are bench guy’s mixing in?
Knowing the day to day to keep your roster in tact and jiving is essential to winning your fantasy baseball league or whether you fire on a game or decide to pass. By getting in a fantasy baseball league and looking vigilantly, you are already ready to apply this to your handicapping. After all my years in the industry, fantasy baseball and its direct and indirect implications is easily above 50% of my handicapping. Think about it, you quantify any stat imaginable on pitchers, hitters and fielders. You know specific details of their lives from coaches, managers, GM’s and themselves. You know how they are feeling and thinking and that backed up with statistics just can’t be measured in terms of value. As you get set to attack the MLB market this year, reflect as always with anything and do your homework. Do you want something for nothing? If you don’t, then luck has nothing to do with your success.