Fantasy Baseball

How to get Started Playing Fantasy Baseball

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"How to get Started Playing Fantasy Baseball"
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Fantasy baseball continues to be a popular diversion for people who enjoy finding ways to get more "invested" in the game.  The Internet has made a variety of fantasy sports very accessible as people can easily draft teams and monitor them throughout the season.  Fantasy baseball can be enjoyed on a variety of levels, as some people join for the social aspect while others invest a great deal of time in order to win their league.  Some people get involved in fantasy sports because they are invited by friends or colleagues at work.  Others decide to get into the game on their own and join a group of relative strangers online.  Here are a few thoughts on how to get started playing fantasy baseball in today's modern day.   

Determine commitment

When people think about getting into fantasy baseball, they have to determine their level of commitment.  As mentioned, some people get into fantasy baseball because they are invited and they are interested in the social aspect.  Of course, there is no requirement in most situations that people put forth a maximum effort.  In fact, some fantasy owners count on dominating managers who lose interest and do not make adjustments to their rosters.  If people are going to succeed at fantasy sports, they will likely be required to do some homework prior to the season.  In addition, they will likely need to perform maintenance on their roster throughout the season.  If people are not prepared to make this kind of commitment, they may choose not to play. 

Understand the rules

Another key to getting started in fantasy baseball is understanding the rules.  Leagues have different sets of rules in terms of transactions, points, and other aspects of the game.  Just because someone understands the sport itself doesn't mean that they will understand the fantasy version of that sport.  In other words, the stars of the "real" game may not be the best fantasy players since success in certain leagues depend on the accumulation of particular statistics that may escape the casual fan.  Some leagues even have limits on the number of games that can be played with particular positions.  If this detail is missed, the fantasy manager may find themselves committing to a strategy that ultimately backfires later in the season. 

Leave loyalty at the door

In general, fantasy sports causes some people to experience some level of split loyalties.  This happens when a fantasy owner drafts players that play for a rival of their "real" favorite team.  Some fantasy owners compensate for this loyalty issue by drafting as many of their favorite players as possible.  This may be an admirable gesture from a loyalty standpoint, but it typically means that they are not going to win their fantasy league.  Therefore, if people want to win at fantasy baseball, they may have to pick players for the sake of their productivity and not their real team.   

Do homework

Fantasy baseball is about statistics, and in many ways it can include the most complex combination of numbers.  Therefore, if people want to get started in fantasy baseball, they will have to do some research and compile a list of prospective players that they might draft.  Fantasy managers also have to come up with various combinations just in case their targeted players are drafted before they can select them.  The fantasy owner should look at historical performance, and try to forecast if the player is consistent in their production, or if they are likely to decline in the new year.  Obviously no one can exactly forecast the future and sometimes people have to make "gut" decisions, but historical research is often helpful if people are going to be serious about fantasy baseball. 

Have fun

Finally, people have to keep in mind that this is supposed to be a good time.  Some individuals get emotionally invested in fantasy sports to the point where it is not longer enjoyable and it actually causes people stress.  This can be a particular problem when people play in leagues where money is involved.  In those cases, poor fantasy performances can actually cost the owner real money.  However, the fact remains that this is supposed to be a leisure activity.  Despite the fact that real players are indirectly involved, the leagues are ultimately still "fantasy."

More about this author: Todd Pheifer

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