What method do you use to make your draft day cheatsheets. Do you use mathematical formulas? Tiering? Draft preparation is something you do, right? You don’t just pick all the players from your favorite team and call it a draft?
Every year I do the same thing for my drafts. I find a somewhat reliable list and then make my gut choices based on those rankings and all the information I’ve stuffed into my brain over the weeks leading up to the draft. What I mean is that I might take their 24th player instead of their 20th player if I’d rather have that player on my team.
This year I wanted a cheatsheet that provided me with the guys I wanted instantly. I knew it was going to be a horrendous undertaking to do it well, but in the name of Chinstrap Ninjas I forged on.
So Saturday afternoon I sat down with online projections and some spreadsheets, and devised a formula so I could rate all the players on relatively the same scale.
The formula works well, too. I play in a 10×10 league, I dislike the 5x5s in case you didn’t hear, so I have to factor in other categories. My formula adjusted the typical 5×5 rankings to include the stats like total bases, OPS and holds. /stats geek pats himself on back/
After a few hours, I realized that all I had done was take someone else’s opinions (again) and tweak them to fit another format. While this will be more helpful in my draft, it didn’t really do what was intended. I was still going to have to weed out the players I’ve pegged as overrated and dig for the players I think will be sleepers.
The cheatsheets are not getting dumped yet, but I am going to make a new list. My own list. Here are the steps that need to be taken to pull this off, feel free to steal this for your own draft prep:
- Toss the projections. Projections are merely someone’s opinion about how a player is going to perform. To calculate formulas, etc. based on fake statistics is ridiculous. Instead I’ll determine a tiering system for each position.
- But don’t forget about three-year statistics. None of us can truly predict how many stolen bases Alex Rios is going to get, but I can determine a base number to look at. He had a career high 32 steals last year and has always been in the mid- to upper-teens. Expect a good chunk of steals from him this year.
- Study the teams. While I have a pretty good idea about teams and players, I’ll admit I’m not as up to speed as I could be. Did you know that Aubrey Huff had three-year highs in almost every offensive category last year? Who’s starting in the Blue Jays infield this year? While none of them have much fantasy value, searching the depth charts for other teams will reveal sleepers and potential free agents to watch once the season starts. In this vein, I’m going to provide some capsules for each team over the next few weeks. My intention is to post two or three at a time. These will be invaluable for your draft prep as well as mine.
- Along with studying depth charts, read up on spring happenings. Every year coaches praise players who won’t make the team and harpoon players that will end up being solid. Read between the lines and stay on top of the situation.
- Account for Average Draft Position. The perceptions of the herd are an important factor for a ninja. In order to be a proper assassin, you must strike at the right time and place. By checking ADP, you can get a good idea which way the herd turns and when. If you think Stephen Drew is primed for a season equal to or greater than Derek Jeter — they were pretty similar in 2008 — know that he is drafted three rounds later. Pick someone else instead of Jeter, wait two rounds and still get Drew as the rest of the herd is hoping to get him the next round.
- Information in hand, pick some sleepers, busts, prospects and some players that fit into the shades of gray between all those categories. Obviously, Drew is underrated, Jeter is overrated and we can’t expect Huff to match his numbers from last year. Maybe we can — I don’t think he will match them, but he’s always been underrated and will be a nice contributor to fantasy teams.
- Devise not just a list, but an entire cache of tools for draft day that will allow me to make swift, confident decisions. Then I’ll post them to www.chinstrapninjas.com for you all to see.
So, what do you think? How are you going to prepare? Will you use any of these tips? Let us know in the comments.