You can do all the research in the world and draft yourself the "best" team out there, even one that all your competitors will agree is tops. But for some reason, these great drafts don't translate into top 4 finishes and most importantly a share of the money. If you're perplexed as to why this is happening, perhaps you should look at your maximum innings and maximum game totals versus those people above you.
In most cases, the owners that consistently finish in the top of your fantasy league aren't the ones with necessarily the best teams, they're the ones who are maximizing the talent that they do have. Now don't let me mislead you here, you still need a quality bunch of players in order to seek fantasy gold, but if you are only getting 150 games worth of stats out of every position, while your competitors are getting 160-162, you're at a significant disadvantage. Even a crappy fill-in player should be able to pull in 3-5 runs and/or rbis over those 10-12 games, and if you multiply that by the number of players on your team, you're looking at a pretty sizeable chunk of stats you're missing.
Don't think it's going to make a difference? Go check the final standings from your league last year and see what separates each of the teams in these categories. In most cases, it could be as little as 1-2 runs, so a push of 20-30 runs could earn you vital extra points. The same holds true for Ks and even Ws for pitchers.
So, how can you fix this problem and push yourself up from "Draft Wizard" to "Money Winner?" It's actually pretty simple. Depending on how many bench spots you have in your league, try to actually grab a few guys who play on a regular basis, even if they're not all that great. We'll call these the "Mark Teahans" of the fantasy world, and he's probably one of the best guys to have. The more positions this player is eligible for, the better, as you can plug him in in several locations. Now, I don't expect you to be checking the pre-game lineups (though some people do) and switching these guys in for late decision scratches, because frankly we all have lives aside from Fantasy Sports. Don't we? Anyway, these guys are crucial for filling in on the travel days or when one of your regular player is obviously day-to-day or sick. If it's a Monday, there shouldn't be anyone on your bench that is involved in an actual game.
He may go 0-4 with no other stats, but he may just as easily go 2-4 with 2 RBI. The damage he may do to your BA is minimal in comparison to the chance he may actually have a good (or even mediocre) game. As the season wears on, you'll certainly have that day or three where your starter was expected to play and for some unknown reason, got a night off. Or maybe you decide to take a trip for the 4th of July and can't get to a computer for four days after your starter pulls a hammy. Trust me, you're never going to wish you hadn't used these guys. And even if you do have that iron man player, who actually appears in all 162 games, that's why we have the Utility spot on our rosters...move him there once you reach your MAX. At least you'll know you got the most stats you could possibly get...and with that a few extra points to pull you closer to victory.
But of course, you need a decent team to begin with...and that's what I'll be blogging about in the next few weeks.