Fantasy baseball: I Used To Be The Best

Who remembers when people used to bring newsprint magazines of fantasy values to a live draft or auction? (author raises hand) Ah, the good old days. There was a finite amount of fantasy information and you just read it and moved on with your life.

Begin rant …

For years I lived the fantasy dream. With my freelancer hours, I could structure my day to allow the maximum amount of research before every draft or auction. I would chase down every rabbit hole and I always had an edge; always found those $1 sleepers who would lead me to victory. Now … we’re all screwed.

The internet is a FLOOD of information, and it grows like The Blob, absorbing more and more people’s opinions, research, memes, gifs, and selfies.

Planning my honeymoon last year, I had the realisation that there was TOO MUCH travel information, TOO MANY blogs, TOO MANY reviews … it was overwhelming and somehow harder to plan a vacation than it was even five years ago.

The fantasy landscape is similar; a mess of new and old sites, so many paywalls and pundits. Everyone writes a sleeper column and consequently every sleeper named on the World Wide Web is NO LONGER a sleeper. I don’t have eight hours a day to read fantasy. HELP!

I’ll admit that I typically create my own spreadsheets that synthesise multiple projections and values tailored for each auction I’m in, but even that has gotten harder because I don’t know whose data to input anymore. Every year I go into detail with some X%-Y%+Z ratio that shows me all of the top pitchers plus two “sleepers.” Is that worth the 75 minutes I spent synthesising data? (no, no it’s not—shouldn’t this just be fun?!)

Okay, now who do we trust for information?

Is the super pasty analyst who looks like he’s spent all day synthesising data the smartest bet? But what about the analyst with a super tan from watching all those spring training games in Florida? Maybe we should trust the old guy who has been winning for decades! Or the new guy who created his own stat! Or the British guy! No, not the British guy! [Editor’s note: Woah, buddy!]

I read lots of people and decide who to trust that year. I often end up angry at that person and writing them off by the end (I almost outed the guy I gave up on last year, but restrained myself). This business is fickle. How can we make it more painless?

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So if I can’t get the edge I used to, I might as well simplify, right? Here’s how I’m pledging to do that this year:

First, I’m going to acknowledge now that I have no edge over anyone. I can outsmart with strategy and time my bids appropriately, but there is no player out there that I will be the only one at the table targeting. Just doesn’t happen anymore.

Next, I’ll pick ONE site, pull their data, paste it into excel, and re-order/re-price guys as I see fit. I don’t need the industry consensus from 12 different “experts.”

I’ll make notes on my spreadsheet of spring news … that’s how I stumbled onto Christian Walker as a deep sleeper last year, and now he’s my first baseman in a 24-team dynasty league.

And finally, I’ll throw some darts at the end of each draft/auction: if you spent $21 on Vlad Jr. last year, you didn’t get your money’s worth. If you spent $3 on Pete Alonso, you did. That was my dart … but if Pete hadn’t been good, it was only $3. Gamble a bit, after all, fantasy is, essentially, gambling.

Have fun out there!

David Greenman is an actor, writer, Red Sox fan and (despite what he may have you believe) a fantasy baseball stud. Follow him on Twitter @greenestman

Make sure you subscribe to the Bat Flips and Nerds podcasts and follow us on Twitter @BatFlips_Nerds. News, views and interviews, all with a British twist.

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