With Opening Day mercifully arriving next week, most leagues have held their drafts. The only thing left to do, of course, is play the games. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the waters in the early going.

 

DO: MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WATCH LIST

The major platforms all include this feature. It’s a godsend all season long, but particularly in the opening weeks of the season. It’s a place to keep tabs on any and all available players you might find interesting, but didn’t grab in the draft for one reason or another. During April, when players’ stat lines can swing violently in either direction, the watch list can help keep you from losing anyone in the shuffle.

 

DON’T: PANIC

The saying goes, “You can’t win a championship in April, but you can lose it.” Some owners might interpret that as a call to action, desperate to avoid falling behind early. It can be agonizing to wait for a scuffling star to get going while your rivals may be snatching up the players off to a hot start. As often as not, though, the best move is the move you don’t make. For every J.D. Martinez, there are a dozen Emilio Bonifacios. A slow start doesn’t doom you. Remember: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

DO: BE PROACTIVE

Wait, doesn’t that contradict the last suggestion? Not at all. There’s a difference between being proactive and overreacting. You should always have a general idea of how long of a leash you’re willing to give every player on your roster. Paul Goldschmidt stumbling out of the gate is different than, say, Lucas Duda doing the same. This is where your draft prep can continue paying dividends well into the season. While it’s tricky to separate signal from noise in such a small sample, a player struggling with something he’s previously fallen prey to – injuries, contact issues, heavy platoon splits, etc. – may be a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

DON’T: GET ATTACHED TO OLD VALUES

We’re all human, and as a result we all struggle with the concept of sunk cost. The second your draft ends, what anyone paid for any player ceases to be relevant (beyond keeper or dynasty considerations, of course). Hanging on to a player because you invested heavily in March simply results in compounding the error. This goes for emotional investment as well. Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” The same principle applies here. It doesn’t matter how much you bought into the hype or potential of a player. If they aren’t getting the job done, it’s time to re-evaluate their place on your roster.

Enjoy the games, and good luck this season.

Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.