You've got a promising roster, and the season's about to begin. Here's what you need to know.
Step 1: Follow the news Beginning in the off-season, follow baseball news closely, which will prepare you for draft day. Getting news fast -- especially about player injuries -- will also help you beat out other people on your team for free-agent pickups throughout the season.
Step 2: Understand the system Fantasy baseball leagues are commonly organized as rotisserie leagues, meaning teams compile their scores in various categories from the statistics of their players. To win, shoot for balance: assemble the best stats you can in every category.
Step 3: Make changes Check out the waiver wire for free agents, who become available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Examine the stats to see who's hot, and use the knowledge you've gained from following baseball news to add and release players.
TIP: To claim a free agent, open a spot on your roster by dropping a player.
Step 4: Decide who to play Examine your roster and decide who to put in. Batting average is a key stat, since it affects so many others, like RBI, on-base and slugging percentages, and stolen bases.
Step 5: Play players who play Favor players who have secured their position, rather than those who are vying for a permanent starting spot or who alternate with someone else. Keep tabs on players who are usually benched against lefty or righty pitchers so you can avoid playing them if they might sit out part of the game.
TIP: Pay attention to the ballparks your hitters will be playing in. Some parks are known as hitter parks, while some stymie even the best sluggers.
Step 6: Keep an eye on pitchers For the pitchers on your roster, stick with starters and closers who have been delivering. If you want to shore up your pitching lineup, look for shaky closers. When you find one, pick up the best middle reliever on his team, who will often replace the closer when he's slumping.
Step 7: Be patient Baseball players often go through streaks -- and slumps. But unless they have a season-ending injury, think twice before you trade away marquis players, who are likely to get hot sooner or later during the long season.
Step 8: Watch the real thing Don't forget to watch the actual games. Not only will you learn valuable information by watching the players in action, but you may even have fun!
FACT: Daniel Okrent, the reporter who is credited with inventing fantasy baseball, called his league a "rotisserie" league because he started it at a New York restaurant called La Rotisserie Francaise.