How To Use Your Fantasy Baseball Cheatsheets To Win Your League (2015 Edition)

So, you’ve got a cheatsheet on your computer and, well, you don’t know what to do next. It seems cool but what the hell do you do with it? Maybe you are sitting there and you are overwhelmed by the myriad of options and, frankly, you may be a little scared. Don’t fret though! Get out of the fetal position, stop sucking your thumb and read through this little guide here to understand everything that is going on in the cheatsheets.

This is going to be a lengthy explanation of everything within the sheets. If you’re just looking for an answer about one thing in particular, browse the headers and you may find what you’re looking for. This is basically a big ol’ instruction manual for those who need more info about these cheatsheets. Feel free to post questions in the comments below though to help clear anything up.

Setting Up Your Cheatsheets

A big part of using these cheatsheets is making them custom for you. You’ll be given a ton of options to choose from that will make the sheet unique to your league and your preferences. Before we get started with looking at the cheatsheet, you need to customize it first.

Before You Get Started

When you open the cheatsheet, most will be presented with two messages from Microsoft. The first is about the cheatsheet coming from an internet source and they’re just making sure you’re cool with that. The second message will be about whether you want to allow macros to be able to run on this cheatsheet. You do want that because the macros are basically some code that I’ve put behind the scenes of the spreadsheet for it to do all of this fun automated stuff for you.

Loading/Saving Settings

After enabling these two messages, we’re ready to start customizing.

A settings pop-up should now appear. On this screen, you have the option to load previous settings you may have saved. This is helpful for when there are later releases of the cheatsheets and you may have already set up your league, your team names and put in the keepers for your league. In that case, all you’ll need to do is click Save Settings in your old cheatsheet (and choose a location to save the settings) then come into the updated cheatsheet and click Load Settings then find that file and all of your league options and keepers will get loaded in automatically. (Note: If you click those buttons and then click Cancel without loading or saving a file then it will cause your cheatsheet to act up. Just close the sheet and start again if you do that.)

If you’re not loading or saving then you can just cruise past this page by clicking the Proceed to Step 1 button.

Your League Rules

The next screen in the initial setup is where you’ll put in the information about your league’s rules. In roto leagues, this is where you’ll choose the categories used in your league scoring. In point scoring leagues, this is where you’ll set your scoring settings. In auction leagues, you’ll also be able to set information about your salary cap and bidding. And, finally, you’ll set the number of starters required at each position because this helps the cheatsheet calculate who the projected starters are and that drives some of the calculations for replacement level players and more.

In addition, you have a button at the bottom that allows you to select Alternate Player Pools. For those in AL or NL Only leagues, this is where you will want to set that (or, if you’re in some strange hybrid league that only uses certain teams, feel free to choose whatever teams you’d like).

Finally, there’s a button that allows you to input the team names for your league. This is helpful for when the draft is actually happening because you can track who got drafted by whom and you’ll be able to see live Standings updated throughout the draft.

Your Data Sources

Now that you’ve told the cheatsheet about your league so it knows how to calculate the player values for you, you need to tell the cheatsheet what data you want to use. For standard drafts, there’s many options for different Average Draft Position sources. I typically recommend choosing the ADP source from the website that your league uses (CBS data for CBS leagues) since everyone’s drafts are influenced by their site’s rankings. For auctions, you can choose from a variety of auction value sources.

If you have a favorite expert ranking that you want to use then feel free to select it so that you can be presented with that data during the draft.

Then, lastly, you’ll want to select what projections you want to use. This is important because these projections will drive the projected player values that you see in the sheet. If you are unfamiliar with the options you have, you can read this post but Steamer is a good choice to default to given their track record (or, when available, using my Special Blend projections).

Using Imported Data

Despite there being quite a few ADP, Auction Values and Projections options to choose from, you may have a different source you’d like to use there. If so, download the template for importing your own data and then click on the appropriate option on this part of the setup and then follow the steps for uploading your data.

Browsing Your Cheatsheet

Now you’ve got your league rules set and your sources chosen so you are ready to browse through all sorts of fun fantasy baseball data. You have five tabs that are part of the spreadsheet (at the bottom) but you’ll be starting in the Draft Central sheet initially.

Basic Player Data

When your cheatsheet opens, you’ll see a listing of all available players and a number of columns with data on them. The first column you see is where you can select which team drafted a player during the draft. After that, you see the player’s name and same basic info about their position, team and age. If you are not satisfied with the position listed for a player, you can click on the position and change it. This may make your team summaries and lineups more accurate.

After that data, you see some information based on the sources you chose. For standard drafts, you’ll see the ADP here and the ADP Round. For auctions, you’d see the projected auction value (based on the projections) and the average auction value for the source you chose (showing the initial value and how the value changes throughout the draft based on the bidding during the draft).

WERTH Values (for Roto players)

For roto players, you get presented with some WERTH values for each player. In non-technical terms, these are basically showing you how valuable the player is in each roto category that your league uses. You can kind of think of it as a way to show you how many places in the standings that they’ll help you for that category.

In more technical terms, the value for a player in each category is how many standard deviations from the league average they are in that category. League average being the average of all projected starters (based on league settings). So, if the league average for stolen bases is 11 per starting player and the standard deviation among starters is also 11 then a player who is projected to have 22 stolen bases would be one standard deviation above average (thus, a WERTH value of 1.0). You are shown a WERTH value that is not position-adjusted but you can also see what their WERTH is if you adjust for the position that they player (giving bonuses to players at more scarce positions).

Point League Stats (for Points players)

For points scoring leagues, you don’t get a WERTH value but you get something similar by being able to see how many standard deviations above average that a player is at his position. This will give you a good way of knowing how valuable a player regardless of position. In addition, you can view a players projected points per plate appearance or inning pitched. This way, you can see how valuable a player might be regardless of projected playing time.

Odds Currently Available (for standard drafts)

When you’re considering whether to reach for a player or try to let them slip another round, you may be wondering how likely it is that they will still be available next round. These fields on the cheatsheet estimate how likely it is that the player will still be available based on the highest points and lowest points that they’ve been drafted.

Viewing Options

In looking at your Draft Central tab here, you may decide that you want to hide certain columns that aren’t relevant to you. You can do so by clicking on the Show/Hide button. From there, you can also control whether to show or hide players who have already been drafted as your draft is going on.

You’ll also be able to sort the data in a variety of ways so you can help narrow down your draft choice during your draft.

Also, if you want to search for a specific player then you may find that the typical Ctrl+F shortcut doesn’t work well here so you’ll have to click on the Search button and search for the player that you’re looking for.

Positional Worksheet

During your draft, you may want a click glance at the entire draft pool by position to be able to see who is still available. As a result, you can jump over to the Positional Worksheet tab to see who is available at each position (previously drafted players are crossed off). You can also see their projected value and projected draft spot. This updates live throughout the draft.

Player Profile and Comparisons

When you’re thinking about drafting a particular player, you may want to see more than just one projection, ranking or piece of data about them. In that case, skip on over to the Player Profile tab. This is where you can pull up a player and see all of the projections and data there is about them. Also, if you wanted to compare them at a glance to another player you are considering then you can select a second player here to view at the same time.

Standings Change

As another neat little feature on the Player Profile tab, you can also see how drafting this player would affect a certain team’s place in the standings for Roto leagues. Despite one player having a higher overall value, he may not be a good fit for a particular team because of players they already drafted. By looking at the Standings Change section here, you can see how they’ll affect your own particular team at any point.

Live Standings

The key to having a good roto draft is to know what areas you need to address during your draft. By clicking on the Live Standings tab, you’ll be able to see what categories you are currently struggling in or dominating at any time. This is very valuable information to be able to adapt your draft strategy at any time. The standings will only be affected by players who are currently projected to be a team’s starter.

Team Summary

The final tab to look would be the Team Summary tab. This can remind you about who you have already drafted and what their projected value is. Since the live standings are affected by your team’s starters, you can view who is projected to be a starter here. If you want to change a player’s position because of how they’re projected here then you can go back to the Draft Central tab to change that.

Using Your Cheatsheets During The Draft

These cheatsheets are most valuable early on in the draft. As the draft gets going, it’s important to update the Draft Central tab by choosing the team who drafted a player. This will allow your standings to get updated and keep your sheet showing only available players. As the draft gets later on, it sometimes gets harder to keep track of everyone so you may not be as picky about getting all of the picks in but you can still see projected player values at that point. It’s up to you how to use these cheatsheets really but one of the most powerful aspects of them is the fact that they change throughout your draft so that makes it pretty important to mark players off as they get drafted.

Also, keep in mind that you can always change Settings to see other projections or rankings to get more opinions. You have a lot of data here so take advantage of it! Don’t make any of your draft decisions without being properly informed.

That wraps up the lengthy cheatsheet rundown here! Post any questions or comments below and happy drafting in the meantime.

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  • JT
    February 24, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Is there any way that the Pitching Category, complete games, can be added to the Roto Draft Cheatsheet?

    • Everyone
      February 17, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Complete games is a dumb category

  • Brian Churney
    March 25, 2015 at 3:22 am

    How do I select keepers without disrupting the "odds currently available"

  • The Awesometeer
    March 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    When you say it updates during the draft does this mean as people are drafted the WERTH will change?

  • JAMES DEZACK
    April 3, 2015 at 12:20 am

    How do you add an UNLISTED PLAYER??

    Our League's 30th year – kind of deep we did have 12 teams
    4×4 NL only + Houston 11 team we also draft minor leaguers up to 2 per year for a total of 5

    James Dezack
    jmdezack@yahoo.com