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Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Shifting to fantasy football

By Todd Zola, MastersBall.com

Let's be honest -- a great many of fantasy enthusiasts (including many of us) play both fantasy baseball and fantasy football. What are some of the ways you go about preparing for football but still keep up with managing your baseball teams?

Perry Van Hook

1B Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
From Abreu to Adrian Peterson

First as at other times of the year, it is a question of time management: what has to be done at certain times/days; when you have specific needs (i.e. draft at 7 PM tonight); or how to use a lot of multitasking time.

The NFL Network now has very good shows to watch: Inside Training Camp, which is basically a wandering news/report show; and NFL Total Access which has some things worth storing upstairs. In addition, ESPN has NFL Insiders and NFL Live in the middle of the day (with plenty of re-airings). The big value of these shows is that they don't demand your compete attention they can be background which allows you to focus elsewhere online and then turn when something of interest perks your ears.

Tim Heaney

We're full-blast preparing for football over at KFFL, so it's just another arm of this job.

The balance of baseball management in July and August can be tough. I've tried a little extra reading at night for MLB; planning ahead with waiver wire possibilities earlier in the previous week; and trading a bit more aggressively in efforts to avoid overpaying on the dwindling waiver wire.

Rob Leibowitz

I've always felt prepping for football had minimal impact on my baseball given that I play in exclusively weekly transaction leagues. That said, debating my football keepers and tradeables and thinking about trades in my leagues like I did today doesn't so much impact each other so much as it just reduces the time I spend on other activities.

Right now it's still mostly a baseball focus. Sundays and Mondays (my transaction deadline days) are football-free zones. My football keepers are pretty obvious and most of my leagues don't wake up and only first start talking trade in mid to late August so it is easy to balance the two for now. Mid draft in late August while negotiating deadline deals for baseball can be hectic but I revel in that and just embrace the fun.

Lawr Michaels

I'm with Rob in that it doesn't really get in the way.

Just more games to play.

Lord Zola's Wrap-up

Before I became a full-time fantasy analyst, and before my 20 or so years wearing a chemical lab coat and safety googles, I did a lot of teaching at the undergraduate level. The toughest part was concocting exam questions to elicit the response I was seeking. Early on, I'd write a question and when I was correcting the tests, realize the student misinterpreted the question and in essence answered another question. I couldn't blame them -– the question was poorly constructed. I graded it based on the response given and learned to pose question to eliminate this scenario.

That sort of thinking has carried over to the weekly questions for this Round Table, and I must say, the Knights and I are usually in lockstep. In rare instances do I receive an answer that diverges from the big-picture point I want to make. Kudos also goes to the Knights for recognizing the point and addressing it in a means to make this space as useful as possible.

But this time, for whatever reason, things did not go as planned. The given was supposed to be we collectively make it work – find a way to handle both sports. I was fishing for some of the tricks we all use to make it happen. Maybe the question should have read:

Most of play both fantasy baseball and fantasy football and can successfully keep up with our baseball teams while readying for football. What are some of the ways you go about preparing for football but still keep up with managing your baseball teams?

Regardless, I'll offer some thoughts.

I've actually broached this question with some friends and their response has been "it's only football."

To which I say to myself, "If it's only football, why are there always some fantasy football owners always in the playoffs while another group are always blaming injuries or bad scheduling luck for their non-playoff finish?"

To which I answer to myself, "They work harder."

For what it's worth, the same is true of fantasy baseball preparation. The most successful players aren't universally smarter or even more skilled; they put more effort into their preparation.

Let's harken back to the student thing. Were those that received better grades necessarily the smartest or did they work the hardest? I venture to say it was a little of both but working hard is never a bad thing.

Which student has the better chance of nailing their exam – the one that studies a little every night that spends the night before reviewing or the one that pulls an all-night cram session fueled by alternating Red Bull and Mountain Dew? The same is true for prepping for a fantasy draft.

The key to working hard is working efficiently. Back in my lab coat and safety goggle days, my boss used to say “think about how to work smarter, not always harder.” The idea was he didn't want to see us staying past normal working hours and coming in on weekends. He wanted us to be more efficient with our time.

That's the key to handling both baseball and football – time management. And to be fair, the Knights did talk about this.

It's the end of July. You don't need to know the fifth wide receiver on every team. But it would help if you knew which teams have new head coaches or offensive coordinators thus may be installing new systems and how that may affect the team's skill players. This way, you're not relying on a ranking you download the night before (or day of) a draft. You have a feel for the genesis of the rank and can decide if the ranking incorporated the new system.

These are the sort of things that are talked about on the shows Perry references as well as the radio shows on the Sirius XM football channel.

Looking for sleepers now is a fool's errand as so many training camp scenarios turn would-be sleepers into overhyped must-haves. My suggestion is to focus on the bigger picture: team-oriented scenarios like what team has a better offensive line and how injury to one player may affect another. It's almost like you're not studying; you're just watching (or listening to) something you enjoy.

Then a couple weeks before your draft, spend the time really assimilating all the more casual knowledge into rankings etc.

Work smarter, not harder.


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