Fantasy baseball 2011: The Harry Stamper strategy to draft day dominance

Tiger Woods has nothing on Harry Stamper. Nothing at all.

Could Tiger drive golf balls at oil rig protesters with the same authority as the iconic hero of the movie “Armageddon?” Could he take down a Texas-sized asteroid before it pulverized life as we know it on Planet Blue? Could he go that long in outer space without female companionship?

A year ago, I wrote a fantasy baseball draft strategy post to end all fantasy baseball draft strategy posts. At the core, I urged you, our faithful readers, to tap your inner Tiger Woods to be successful on draft day. But Tiger is not the same golfer he was last March.

So, forget the Google searches for certain draft day manifestos and rehashed lectures on finding value and outwitting your opponents.

Want to dominate your fantasy baseball draft in 2011? Let Harry Stamper be your guide.

First, some background. Harry Stamper is the rogue oil rig foreman played by Bruce Willis in the 1998 Michael Bay hit “Armageddon.” He and his team are hammered with mishap after mishap en route to saving the world from a large flying asteroid.

Stamper is Willis at his best. Haven’t seen the movie? Think  John McClane from the “Die Hard” films. In each, Willis faces nearly insurmountable odds, weathers a number of setbacks but ultimately gets the job done, although usually in an unorthodox way.

Successfully navigating through a fantasy baseball draft may not be as intense as blowing up an asteroid or taking out a throng of terrorists, but it does require a similar mindset in some ways, such as being able to stay cool under pressure, think outside of the box and accept that you will make mistakes along the way.

1. There is no perfect draft. You will make mistakes. You will panic and take a guy you aren’t thrilled with. It’s OK. It will happen. Accept and even embrace this fact, and you’ll be well on your way to dominating the draft.

This is more a psychological maneuver than anything else. When we’re amped up for something and a mistake happens, we’re more likely to feel discouraged and let that mistake snowball into a whole slew of miscues.

Imagine if the epic Harry Stamper had allowed the numerous curve balls he was thrown in “Armageddon” to get to him? No gut-clenching ending, and no more fictional earth thanks to the colliding asteroid.

Same can be said of professional quarterbacks throwing an interception or a golfer shanking a drive off the fairway. The good ones find a way to quickly put the mistake in the rearview mirror. Those that crash and burn do so because they let their mistakes dictate future actions.

2. One or two bad draft choices won’t kill your season. Professional golfers hope for and plan for every shot to be a perfect one, but they also know that the occasional bad shot is inevitable. A bad shot doesn’t have to kill your chances of winning a tournament as long as you make the next shot count.

Same philosophy here. A bad draft pick isn’t going to kill your chances at a successful 2011 season. It’s just a matter of bouncing back with the next selection.

3. There are plenty of ways to improve a team during the course of the season. Let’s say you do struggle to put together a competitive team from the draft alone.  Even this doesn’t mean your fantasy baseball team is doomed.

Like a Harry Stamper or John McClane improvision in the heat of action, there are many out-of-the-box ways to deal with issues on your fantasy team.

One is to carefully watch and participate in the free agent market of your league. Watch for players who start trending one direction or another. If you can clear room on your bench, take a flier on a player that seems to be on a hot streak. You can always dump that player later if they tank.

Another is to be active in your league’s trade market. In every league there are owners who will actively shop players and make moves, and there are managers that would rather ride the team they drafted from day one. A healthy combination of both tactics is usually the best way to go. More on fantasy baseball trading will come in future posts.

4. Do your homework. Sorry to get a little systematic all of a sudden, but there is too much at stake for you not to do your homework before a draft.

Knowing your league settings is the first must before draft day. Scoring can alter drastically from league to league and can have major implications on your draft plans.

It also is good to have backup options at every position. These are guys you can fall back on if you miss out on a stud player you were hoping to snag in an early round. A Dan Uggla or Adam Dunn may not seem a sexy pick when compared to Robinson Cano or Albert Pujols, but each can score enough points to make the transition seem less painful. This, in turn, makes it easier to bounce back from a possible draft day disappointment.

5. Practice, practice, practice. Tiger Woods hit thousands upon thousands of golf balls growing up — a lengthy history of hits, misses and altered swings that provided a strong foundation for his professional rise to greatness. Harry Stamper had drilled thousands of holes before landing on the asteroid. John McClane had beat up tons of deadbeats (fictionally speaking, of course.)

What sort of foundation are you building? Try some mock drafts. Perhaps you’ll come across some mid-draft changes that will help sharpen your skills for the real thing. Either way, you’ll have a much broader foundation from which to pull from when things seem to go screwy on your real draft day.

Know the three auction draft personalities and how to deal with them: Hilton strategy, Hitler strategy, Hinrich strategy

What are your tried-and-true draft day domination tips and strategies? We’d love to hear more about them in the comments below.

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