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Fred Zinkie

April Fools Don'ts: Fantasy advice to ignore

Many industry 'experts' offer up tips that will hurt your team

April Fools Don'ts: Fantasy advice to ignore

April Fools Day is the day for pranks, but some of the most deceiving fantasy baseball tips are unintentional. If someone ever feeds you one of the following 10 opinions, feel free to laugh out loud and ask them if their calendar is permanently stuck on April 1.

Myth: Finding saves on waivers during the season is easy
Sure, you can grab saves off waivers at any time in the league you formed with your grandmother and her bridge club. But in a competitive league with quality owners from top to bottom, the race for closers is fierce. Those who have the confidence to join challenging leagues should ensure that they have a strong base of saves at the outset of the season.

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Myth: There is a surplus of useful starters
Fantasy aces are dominating their competition at a level that we have not previously witnessed. But the success of the likes of Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer does not guarantee a surplus of useful starters at the back end of rotations. To get a foundation for their ratios and strikeout total, successful owners need to roster one or two ace-caliber starters. A rotation that is comprised mostly of lower-end hurlers like Jason Hammel, Jonathon Niese, Robbie Ray and Alex Wood will not be competitive in 2016.

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Myth: Finding productive middle infielders is difficult
The shortstop position is not deep this year, but the second-base options are more plentiful than ever. Owners do not need to reach for middle infielders in their draft or on the trade market, as plenty of productive assets should be available for a small investment. Second basemen such as Ben Zobrist, Joe Panik, DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Phillips are among the low-cost mixed-league options.

Myth: Closers help with only one category
One of the longest-running fantasy myths is that quality closers do not help in more than one category. Craig Kimbrel owns a lifetime 1.63 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP; even across 60-65 innings, his ratios will make a substantial impact on a fantasy squad with an overall 3.50 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Also, top-tier closers will typically compile 30 more strikeouts than the average player at their position. Those who nab a pair of outstanding stoppers will get nice boosts in three pitching categories, along with more than 80 saves.

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Myth: Owners should wait until May to make significant moves
Dropping a 12th-round pick when he gets off to a slow start is not advisable. And trading a 12th-round pick for a 25th-round pick on April 20 is also not usually a good idea either. But while panic-driven moves are not wise, smart owners will start the quest of improving their rosters as soon as their drafts are completed. Making a savvy trade on April 1 can have a larger impact than making a similar move later in the season.

Myth: Late-round speedsters are one-trick ponies
Owners who wait until the late rounds to secure steals can still find players with the potential to produce in multiple categories. Players such as Norichika Aoki and Ketel Marte can compile swipes and also contribute a helpful batting average with plenty of runs scored. And top-of-the-order speedsters such as Alcides Escobar and Cesar Hernandez can at least add a significant runs contribution to go along with their stolen-base production.

Myth: Players on bad teams provide little production
While many fantasy owners drool over the star players on the Cubs, Blue Jays, Astros and Mets, teams that are projected to dwell in the cellar this season can also offer plenty of talent. The Rockies are set to score many runs this year, the Reds have several productive lineup members and the Padres could provide some quality hurlers. By paying close attention to all 30 Major League teams, owners will give themselves the best chance to find valuable assets.

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Myth: Younger players are preferable to older ones
Many owners chase ascending talents, but wise owners will continue to roster some aging veterans. David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez combined for 70 homers and 194 RBIs last season, and Mark Teixeira belted 31 long balls without registering a plate appearance after Aug. 26. While some owners were chasing Jorge Soler, Yasiel Puig and Byron Buxton, the league winners were not turning their backs on those who reached their prime several years ago.

Myth: Pitchers' workload caps matter
Does your to-do list span to September? Of course not. Similarly, successful owners will not look too far down the road. By the time owners have to worry about skipped starts for Jose Fernandez, Noah Syndergaard, Joe Ross or Aaron Sanchez, the possible league champion will have been whittled down to just a few squads. Successful owners will focus on the first five months of the season, and then patch together their September lineup when that time arrives.

Myth: Hitters with high strikeout rates will struggle to excel
Owners can chase pitchers with a high strikeout rate, but they do not need to avoid hitters who whiff on a regular basis. Chris Davis, Kris Bryant, J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Justin Upton and Mike Trout were each among the 10 Major Leaguers with the most strikeouts last season. All are being selected in the initial rounds of 2016 drafts. So while striking out is certainly not helpful, it is also not a major barrier to star status.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.