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Scott Pianowski

Tip Drill: Seven nuggets, sauce not included

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

After the runaway success begrudging reader acceptance of the Tip Drill series last summer, we've decided to bring it back for the baseball draft season. Look for a couple of TDs every week, and as always your intelligent disagreement is most welcome.

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Not every tip is meaty enough to have its own blog post; sometimes this series will turn into a collection of mini tips that add up to one catch-all column. Today is one of those times. Let's bullet the blue sky.

Don't reach for your sleepers and targeted players: It's one thing to have a list of names you want to attack on draft day, but if you're not getting them at a reasonable (or even a discounted) price, you're killing the entire objective of draft day. ADP gives us a good idea of what things cost; there's no reason to get overzealous and pay more than the sticker. Sure, you won't get everyone you want, but that's a reality of life you should already be familiar with. If you remain unemotional about the process and keep mining the pool for value, you'll get what you need.

Track the other owners during the draft: This is especially important when you consider the owners in your "neighborhood" - those drafting near your slot. What positions are they loaded at? Where are they thin? Every mid-game decision you make will in part be tied to the position-draining pattern the room, and your neighborhood, is using.

Value First, Balance Later: The first objective on draft day is getting the richest haul possible, the most bang for your buck. We'll worry about balance later. Don't spend the first third or half of your draft being paranoid about getting positions filled.

• Closers on a Budget: I suppose someday we'll have to shift this strategy because some year down the line everyone will be blowing off closers in the first quarter/half of their draft. Until that day comes, let's keep being penny pinchers at this position, confident we can mine the non-sexy worker bees in the middle of the draft, and beat people to the punch when closer turnover is about to rain down in-season. Let everyone else pay the hefty price on a Mariano Rivera or a Brad Lidge, I'll pay the pittance to get those Matt Lindstrom/Brandon Lyon/Brian Wilson types.

• Don't get married to a plan: It's okay to have an idea of what you might do in Round 5 or Round 10 or Round 17 before the draft starts, but for the love of all things holy, reevaluate the current landscape when those picks actually come around. Any Draft Plan should be sketched in pencil, not mandated in pen.

• Draft to help yourself, not to screw someone else: Some rotoheads can't help themselves, they're willing to torpedo their own roster progress just so they can frost their rival who's just about to pick. The temporary joy sounds like a good idea at the time, but you might feel differently when you see the damage caused and your own needs that didn't get met.

• The Rookie Rule: The more sophisticated your league is, the more everyone will fall all over themselves trying to get to the hot rookies first. Everyone thinks they're a scout. If people want to take Matt Wieters in the Fourth Round (as they did in one of my early mock drafts), move aside and let the man go through . . . let the man go through.

As always, this is "to be continued" and I welcome your thoughts on this theme. Ready, steady, go. If you need some music to help you along, let me suggest this selection.

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