Fantasy becomes reality

You spent weeks, even months preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts.  Everything was looking good. You identified sleepers, breakouts, busts, overvalued players, undervalued players and you had your targets. You created tiers at each position and made your projections based on Steamer and The Bat. You memorized the ADP of the top 200 players. You read all the articles, listened to the podcasts and did numerous mock drafts.

When draft day arrived, you were confident because you did the prep work. You were ready to draft the perfect team, with solid players at every position. And then, the draft happened. It was supposed to be so smooth. But the early run on starting pitching left you without the SP1 you wanted. Or you realize that it’s the 12th round, and you don’t have a first baseman. Are you really going to settle for Christian Walker as your starting first baseman?

In the fiercely competitive TGFBI draft, I found myself midway through the 12th round without a second baseman. I ultimately settled on Jonathan India and took him with the 172nd pick, but this was not a player I would be bragging about on Twitter. Nor was I feeling particularly good about reaching the 10th round with only one active starting pitcher (Joe Musgrove, my sixth-round pick, was going to be starting the year on the IL).

When TGFBI draft was over, I had a letdown. It wasn’t a terrible draft, but it could have been better. Every draft can be better. But I was exhausted and needed a break from fantasy baseball – at least for a few days. But then it was time to get back after it. It was time to update my projections and identify shortfalls in Roto categories. For me, the biggest problem appeared to be saves. I had only Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman and Liam Hendriks rostered.

No matter how your draft worked out, the first few weeks are the time when things get real. This is the time when you identify your fantasy team’s weaknesses. Suffice it to say that the deeper the league, the more difficult it is to make those improvements. In a 10-team league, there are always good players on the waiver wire. But in a 15-team league, it’s a different story. Joey Wiemer was the hot ticket in the first FAAB run in my league after the season started.

Most leagues allow trades, and you should always be looking making trades because this is the fastest way to improve your team. For example, if you’re weak in starting pitching, you’re bound to be strong in hitting. Look at the rosters of other teams in your league and find a good trading partner. In this case, it would be a team that’s loaded with starting pitching but weak in position players. Don’t try to win the trade. Look for a win-win in your trade offer.

If you play at NFBC, you know there are no trades. I wish they would change that rule because I love trading, but NFBC doesn’t appear likely to change it anytime soon. The reason cited for barring trades is the possibility of collusion. TGFBI has no entry fee, but some of the other competitions (like Main Event) have entry fees as high as $1,800.  With managers competing for thousands of dollars, the possibility of collusion is real.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand. What do you need to do now to improve your team? Do you make trades? Do you work the waiver wire? Or do you sit tight? There is no clear-cut answer, but someone who drafted Edwin Diaz, or Justin Verlander, is going to feel pressure to make some sort of an early season move. Here are a few general principles that should aid you in managing your team over the first 4-6 weeks of the season.


Less than two weeks are in the books, and two weeks is not enough to drop players who are off to slow starts. Did you buy into all the hype surrounding Gunnar Henderson and are now being crushed by his .148 batting average and 40% strikeout rate? Don’t give up on him yet. A manager in one of my public leagues dropped Teoscar Hernandez and Alex Bregman because both are hitting under .200. I was literally salivating as I scooped them up.

Every year, players get off to hot and cold starts. The hot players won’t keep it up, and the cold players are likely to turn things around before the month is over. I wasn’t thrilled about Juan Soto, my No. 1 draft pick, going 4 for 29 (.137) right out of the gate. But he’s already starting to turn things around.  If you drafted Bobby Witt in the second round, you’re probably not thrilled with his .158/.238/.316 slash line through 11 games. Don’t trade him away.

On the other hand, mediocre players can always heat up. It happens all the time. Please know that I wasn’t racing to the waiver wire to add Brian Anderson after his hot start. Do you really believe that this marginal 29-year-old player with a career .257/.342/.414 slash was going to continue slugging over .700? Always look at a player’s track record. Anderson is in his 7th major league season, and it’s highly unlikely that he is a reborn superstar.


This is the time of the year when the sharks start circling, trying to get inexperienced fantasy managers to panic and “sell low” on proven stars who are likely to rebound. Let’s go back to the struggling Kansas City third baseman. I felt like Witt was being overvalued in drafts and don’t have him on any of my fantasy teams. However, I wouldn’t sell low on him now. I’d rather be one of those sharks trying to entice the panicky manager to trade him for a song.

The takeaway here is that the season is very long, and we are not even through the first 10. A lot is going to happen between now and October. If you drafted a player in the early rounds, keep in mind that there was a reason why he was being drafted early. Some hitters and pitchers are notorious for getting off to slow starts. Give them time to get through April. If he’s a proven slugger, or ace, it’s likely he will start heating up with the weather.

I think I need to add a caveat here. My advice on being patient with players applies to only those with a track record, or possibly an amazing rookie pedigree. An example of the latter is Nolan Gorman. The Cardinals second baseman was called up midway through 2022 and didn’t perform. But his track record in the minors was stellar. I was amazed when his ADP slipped outside the top 400 in February. I wish I had been able to get him on my TGFBI team.


Whether your team is off to a hot start or cold start, you want to make sure you know what’s happening in you league. Is there a hot player on the waiver wire waiting to be picked up when Oneil Cruz goes down with an injury? Are there players on other managers’ teams who are underperforming and can be bought cheap? Take advantage of other team managers who won’t exercise the excruciating patience that is required of a fantasy baseball champion.

You should always be collecting as much information as possible, so that when the time comes to make moves, you’ll be prepared. If you’re off to a slow start, be patient with your slow-starting stars but don’t hesitate to move on from players you only thought might be good. As stated previously, I’m a big believer in track record. If a player who has been a fantasy asset for several years is off to a slow start, give him plenty of time to turn things around.

Don’t blow up your team. No matter how badly your team starts out, resist the urge to turn over your roster with poor trades and by adding the flavor of the month off the waiver wire. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this, even in leagues like TGFBI.  One manager in my league drafted Francisco Alvarez and then dropped him when he was sent down to the minors. One week later, Alvarez was back up and the hot item on FAAB bidding last Sunday night.

Thomas L. Seltzer, AKA Doubting Thomas, writes about baseball and football for CreativeSports. Be sure to follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasLSeltzer1.

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