FANTASY BASEBALL: Tips For Getting Off To A Good Start

First of all, reeelllaaax, it’s early.

How do you tell the difference between a novice fantasy owner and an experienced one? Look at the add/drops made in the first week. Newbies can be quick to dump slow starters that a fantasy veteran would never dump a mere two weeks into the season. While practicing patience is important early on in your season, you need to pick your spots and take a few chances on hot-starting free agents. Here are a few reminders from the guys at that will help you get off to a good start this fantasy baseball season…

1) Don’t Turn Upside Down
These days, with so many media outlets and talking heads, it’s rare for players to slip under the radar. But it does happen. Last season, guys like Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee sneaked up on everyone and provided an offensive jolt for their owners. But for every one of those guys, there are a dozen Chris Sheltons—guys who light it up initially, only to flame out shortly after. So how do you know when lightning will strike? You don’t. So here’s what you do. Find the weakest link on your team and designate that player as “Mr. Drop.” This player should be someone you drafted late or got for a buck or two. Not a slumping player on whom you made a decent investment. Then, when a free agent starts tearing it up out of nowhere, pounce on him without a second thought about who to drop.

Here’s a quick anecdote for you. Back in 2001, this no-name guy with a limited minor league track record was called up and started hitting home runs like crazy. Everyone was reluctant to pick him up because they had never heard of him. I finally saw enough and added this player. My buddy said he had his finger on the mouse, but couldn’t pull the trigger. I ended up getting 37 HR and 130 RBI out of that “nobody.” Of course, I’m talking about Albert Pujols.

2) Target the Terrible
CC Sabathia. Carlos Zambrano. Mark Teixeira. Ryan Zimmerman. What do they all have in common? A lousy start. We’ve already seen the first two turn things around. For Teix and Zimm, it’s just a matter of time. They’re all proven, so a slow start shouldn’t rattle you. But if you think an impatient owner in your league may have devalued players like these, by all means, make an offer. Lots of owners don’t like to trade early on, so also focus your attention on the normally steady players that owners are dropping to go after those aforementioned upside guys. I just scooped up a scuffling Chris Coghlan off of waivers in one of my leagues. Sure, he’s not entirely proven. But he came up big for me last season and he deserves more than one bad week before getting released. Someone else dumped Mike Napoli because he’s losing at bats to Jeff Mathis. Well, I just lost Miguel Montero to injury, so you can bet I’m keeping an eye on Napoli to see if he works his way back into the lineup more in the coming weeks. There are often deals to be found in early season struggles.

3) Don’t Panic!
The fantasy baseball season lasts well over 20 weeks. It’s a loooooooong season. If the first one or two don’t go your way, doesn’t mean you should stick a fork in your season or trade away half your team. We’re talking about 30 at bats or 10 innings pitched here! Cut your guys a little slack and show some restraint. I’ll let you know when it’s no longer okay to be saying, “It’s still early.”

Need a second opinion about a free-agent pick up? Not sure whether to pull off an early season trade? Come by, send The Geek an email: or Tweet the Geek.

Better yet, come by our weekly Hardball Help Live Chat. This week, it will be on Sunday at 6pm ET/3pm PT.
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