As someone who has a longer fantasy tenure than Miley Cyrus has years on Earth, I can tell you first hand there have been an explosion of tools online which anyone can use to their advantage.
There are dozens — if not hundreds — of sites that claim they can help you win your league with spread sheets and calculations. Many of them aren’t necessary. However, there are many current tools online — most of them simple — that can help give you a tremendous advantage through not only your draft, but the regular season as well.
Here are my top 15 tools for fantasy baseball in 2015.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.
15 Fantasy Baseball Tools
Buy at BaseballHQ.com
Ron Shandler has been on the fantasy baseball bandwagon long before there was one. In fact, it was 1986 when he created the Baseball Forecaster -- ya know, during the Reagan administration. Since that time it's become one of the most respected, and considered one of the most accurate, baseball almanacs.
Projections have to be taken with a grain of salt to some extent, but researching highly calculated forecasts can really help you determine which players could be trending towards breakout seasons.
Many sites keep a closer chart but I've found ESPN's to be the most continually up-to-date and trustworthy. Use this when you not only need to know who is the likely closer for each team, but who could be next in line, pending a change.
ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcast
Do a search within your iTunes and you'll find dozens of podcasts which dedicate themselves to the art of fantasy baseball. However, many of them are un-listenable. Although you won't find my main man Matthew Berry on the podcast any longer, Eric Karabell and Tristan Cockroft still do a great job of dishing out relevant and captivating fantasy advice, while still keeping it fun. Listen long enough and you'll learn some of the inside terms, such as the "Jimmy Rollins Rule."
This site has a team of writers that does a great job at making sabermetrics interesting. Daily articles break down who is likely to slump or surge at the plate, based on very technical computations.
Fantasy Alarm App
Nothing is more frustrating than finding out half of your starting lineup was benched just minutes before first pitch. You end up losing runs, RBIs, or even worse, HRs. Because of the stats lost, you lose your weekly matchup, then a playoff spot, equalling a last place finish in which you're forced to get that Justin Bieber tattoo the rest of your colleagues have always wanted for you. The butterfly effect could really be endless.
Fantasy Alarm fixes all that, sending an alert to your phone if any of your players sit out for the day, for any reason, whatsoever. It could be the difference between a championship and never being able to go to a public swimming pool ever again.
Fantasy Baseball Name Generator
This is a fun one for you newbies out there who want a clever name for your team, or for the veterans who just want to mix it up every year. Just be careful. Some of the punny names involve players that have moved on to other teams, and you don't want to be THAT guy.
Add to Chrome
This is a great extension for Google Chrome that adds FanGraphs and Baseball Reference integration into ESPN, CBS and Yahoo fantasy sites. In other words, no matter which host you'll use, you'll be able to instantly see more news regarding each player on your team with just a click of your mouse on your own team page.
This is one of the few newer sites you can trust. They have a great deal of tools on here you can use. Two of my favorites include consensus rankings and a badass free mock draft simulator that let's you customize number of teams, your pick position and league host.
It might not seem like much, but this website might as well be called TheBomb.com. They accumulate the relevant fantasy news and articles throughout the day and post them onto one neat list for you, again, each day.
Breaking MLB News and Updates
Seems like common sense, right? But what you need is something incredibly organized and reliable. For all the latest fantasy news,
MLB.com has a great listed updated 24/7, as does Rotoworld.com.
Another fun app that let's you customize your own baseball cards. We did this last year in my fantasy league and it was a ton of fun and a great way to boost morale -- and smack talk -- within your league.
Roto Wire Fantasy Baseball Assistant
Purchase at iTunes store
Everything a manager needs in one app: breaking news, available players customized to your league, up-to-date stats -- it's all here.
This genius site acts as a community arbitrator in which people vote on whether they think a proposed trade is fair or not. Whether you use a league vote or a commissioner's ruling to veto trades, this site might save a few fisticuffs. Unless of course someone in your league tries trading Mike Trout ... they should never be allowed to be part of any fantasy league ever again ... ever.
Transaction Trends Tab
That's right -- something incredibly simple, right in front of your eyes. Checking the transactions tab every morning can work wonders for your team. At this section you'll see how many times a player has been added, dropped or traded in your respective fantasy universe (Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, etc.).
Many times this is a great way to get in first on a player who is flying under the radar or who is about to get a promotion.
Follow beat reporters on Twitter
This will take some work, but if you really want to be overzealous and be on top of breaking news, you need to be following each team's beat reporter.
This list right here should get you started.
Among the beat writers, it's also vitally important to follow the fantasy 'experts,' which includes the Talented Mr. Roto, Mr. Matthew Berry, whom I've considered for years to have the best smart, and least nerdy, insight to the game.