Finding Fantasy baseball strategies in the NFL draft

What can Fantasy baseball owners learn from another draft? (USATSI)
What can Fantasy baseball owners learn from another draft? (USATSI)

For the Fantasy baseball enthusiast who has even a remote interest in the NFL, the Christmas/Independence Day of the football year is upon us: draft day. (Not Draft Day.) The NFL draft brings with it similar beats to the Fantasy baseball season: being a general "fanager" of a "professional" team, preparing for a draft/auction with mock scenarios, trading (and more trading) and, above all else, the optimism that this year will be better than last year.

But, in the season of wildly entertaining NFL mock drafts, what can Fantasy baseball managers glean from the machinations of the NFL draft? As it turns out, plenty.

  • Don't be afraid to trade multiple good pieces for one superstar. In the NFL, this comes in the form of the Falcons moving up for Julio Jones or the D.C. football team trading several potentially good picks for one potential superstar quarterback in Robert Griffin III. Dynasty-league Fantasy baseball owners should be willing to "overpay" when a true young star comes on the market. Jay Bruce and Gio Gonzalez are replaceable. If you have to package several players at that level to land one Paul Goldschmidt or Carlos Gonzalez, do it before the other owner regains his or her good sense.
  • Give up very little for slumping players. Much of the Fantasy baseball trade market is focused around buying low on the right slumping players. In the NFL, players who get placed on the trade block are almost always very cheap to acquire. Look up and down the NFL Trades page and you'll see a lot of sixth- and seventh-round picks getting dealt, even for formerly quality players like Mike Williams, Darren Sproles and Matt Schaub. Many times, a Fantasy baseball owner just wants to get something of value for a slumping player so that the owner doesn't cut the player only to see him gobbled up on the waiver wire. Use this to your advantage in your buy-low offers.
  • Fortune favors the prepared. Both Fantasy baseball owners and NFL decision-makers only get as much from the process as they put into it. At the beginning of the offseason, there was no reason to suspect top QB prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel would be able late in the first round when the Patriots picked, but they brought both players in for private workouts anyway, and now the buzz suggests that one or both could actually make it to the 29th pick. If your dynasty league employs a minors draft, preparing for every possible eventuality will have you ready when crazy things happen in the draft. Same goes for the preseason draft/auction process in standard leagues.
  • Have fun. That's what it's all about, right? If you get too far down the rabbit hole of preparation, elaborate trade offers or box-score over-analysis, take a break from the intense focus of your league and limit your baseball exposure to a televised baseball game here and there for a week or two. The pseudo-vacation will recharge the batteries for the actual draft day in both Fantasy leagues and the NFL and during the actual Fantasy season.
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