Fantasy Baseball: Seven Draft Tips to Ensure Success in 2024

By | March 18, 2024

I can’t say I was on the ground floor of fantasy baseball, but I was pretty close. I’ve been playing this game since shortly after gaining access to the Internet, and along the way I’ve experimented with just about every strategy imaginable. Every competition is different, but here are my top strategies to ensure success in the 2024 Yahoo competitions.

1. Contributors in five categories

With the increase in stolen bases across the league, there has also been an increase in the number of batters contributing in most categories. These players are the safest to draft because they can experience a decline in one area and still retain most of their value. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, I did some research on players who produce extreme totals in one category, and the findings were clear that these guys rarely live up to expectations the following season. For example, a roster composed of many 20-20 players is more likely to finish with strong overall totals in both home runs and steals than one who pegs all of its power hopes on a pair of sluggers and all of its speed expectations on a pair of base stealers.

2. Two shutters

After briefly flirting with the idea of ​​a bullpen-per-committee, most MLB teams have returned to having one reliever in the traditional role of closer. The slight change in strategy resulted in a dozen guys earning more than 30 saves last year and another 11 pitchers surpassing the 20-save plateau. Many teams use their best reliever in the ninth inning, which increases the likelihood that their closer will do well enough to keep the role. Managers should be prepared to leave their 2024 draft with two locked-in closers from a group that is at least 15 pitchers deep. My draft plan for 2024 is to have my competitors pull about six closers off the board before jumping in and taking two in consecutive rounds. One of my favorite targets in that scenario is Alexis Díaz. I also like Craig Kimbrel, who admittedly you can get much later.

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

3. Near-Ace Threesome

Starting pitchers may be harder to predict than ever before. Teams manage the workload carefully, and few pitchers have truly separated themselves from the rest. There are several potential stars on the horizon, but many of these youngsters likely need another year or two before they can maximize their effectiveness over a large number of innings. For these reasons, this is a great year to attack starting pitchers with quantity rather than quality. I’m fine with selecting Spencer Strider in Round 1 or taking Corbin Burnes in Round 2. But after that duo disappears from my draft queue, I’ll probably have to wait a few rounds before selecting a trio of starters between rounds. 5-10.

4. Superstar hitters

You can now put together my plan for 2024. My best advice is to draft hitters in most of the early rounds of your draft. As a rough estimate, I plan to take hitters for most of the first five rounds before selecting pitchers with the most picks between rounds 6-10. There are plenty of hitters who can contribute significantly in all five categories, and I want some of them. And if I can tip inside, I don’t care about the position of the hitters I take in the early rounds. Position scarcity isn’t a factor in the current fantasy landscape, and there are late-round options I can live with at any position.

5. Devalue catchers

This advice is specifically for players in standard Yahoo leagues or other formats that use only one catcher in the starting lineup. The catcher pool is deep this year, with more than 12 backstops who should produce a useful statistical line. And while there are a few guys like Adley Rutschman and JT Realmuto who are more than just serviceable, they aren’t true fantasy stars. I’m ready to be the last team in my league to draft a catcher, which is part of a bigger plan to stream the position through the waiver wire until I find someone special.

6. Prime players

Many top players follow a pattern of improvement during their early twenties, reaching peak production between the ages of 26 and 32, then slowly declining over the remainder of their career. While it’s fine to grab a few young players with a high ceiling or ageless veterans, a roster composed primarily of players in their prime offers the best chances to enjoy abundant production.

7. Get YOUR guys

My last piece of advice is a big one for me this year. We are deep into the information age in fantasy sports. We know more about each player than ever before, and there are plenty of algorithms and projection systems that are publicly available that provide sensible estimates of how each player will perform. But the essence of fantasy sports – the reason these competitions came into existence – is the quest to profit from correctly identifying players who will have success in the coming season. My challenge to every manager this year is to identify a few players you believe in, and make sure you get them in your drafts. Seeing these players succeed will be more fun than any other feeling you can experience in this great game.

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