Tips for Killing It at Fantasy Gymnastics

In 2015, one of our editors, Elizabeth, finished fourth overall in college fantasy gymnastics. So out of the goodness of her heart (and maybe a bit of boredom), she’s decided to give you a few tricks to doing well — or at least better than you did last year. And we’ve separated the tips by your level of commitment to the competition. Are you a hardcore fantasy sports guru or a casual gamer.
Casual Collegiate
If you’re playing this season because a friend is basically forcing you to or you’re just too busy with real life to put much effort into it, no worries. You can still do better than average. You might not be on top of the podium or even your conference in April, but at least you won’t be down in a hole either.​

  • Schedule time for Fantasy Gym. If you signed up, it means you’re at least planning on giving at least a little bit of effort each week. Set aside five minutes once a week to set your lineup. It’ll probably take even less time with that, but it’s simple things like setting your lineup each week and making a note of which teams aren’t competing that will automatically put you above two or three people in your conference. If you don’t think you can remember yourself, set a reminder on your phone or computer or even go old fashion and write yourself a note.
  • Draft the names you know. In the past, this is probably something you’ve heard people say not to do. However if you’re short on time, you’re not going to be searching for the hidden gems anyway. So why not ask for the people you at least have heard of and then let the competition’s random drafter give you the rest. If you’re someone who at least follows collegiate gymnastics some, there will be enough names that sound familiar for you to have a solid backbone for your team.
  • Draft the popular gymnasts. Don’t not draft the Bridget Sloans or the Elizabeth Prices just because you think everyone else is going to as well. Best case: You’re near the beginning of the order in your conference and — surprise! — actually get your top pick. Worst case: You don’t get the gymnast you weren’t even expecting to get and instead get another good choice.
  • Order is Important. Speaking of your draft, the order you put your gymnasts in is actually more important than which gymnasts and how many of them you put on your list. Especially at the top, make sure the gymnasts on the list are the ones you want. Think ahead and say to yourself, “If I don’t get my No. 1 (and so on), is the next gymnast the next best thing?
Fantasy Fanatic
This is your second or third year playing the game, and you’ve made it a goal to improve upon last year’s finish. You’re willing to spend more than a few hours on your draft but still have enough of a life that you’re not going full-on crazy with it. Assuming you’ll take into account all the tips for a casual player, here’s a few more to bring you to the next level.

  • Quantity vs. Quality. Your top 10-20 gymnasts on your draft should be all arounders or at the very least three-event gymnasts. You can’t afford more than five or so one event specialists even if they’re going to go out and hit 9.9+ every week. One or two of those is OK, and feel free to draft a McKenzie Wofford or a Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto if they’re a favorite of yours, but don’t go crazy with the one- or two-event gymnasts. In your draft, start with a handful of great all-arounders and three-eventers, sprinkle in some standout specialists who might also be average on the other events then repeat with second-tier all arounders/three-eventers and specialists and so on.
  • Don’t be Afraid of Non-Top Teams. Don’t just stick with the girls from Florida or UCLA or Oklahoma. There might be a strong competitor from Michigan State who will give you solid scores week in and week out that you would otherwise overlook. A low-39 all arounder from a second-tier DI school will do much more for you than a reserve from Alabama who may or may not compete every week.
  • Beware of Injuries. It’s easy enough to check up on a team’s health and previous injuries. We even has an injury update page for this purpose. Don’t make the mistake of drafting someone who’s out with a season-ending injury just because you didn’t do your research. Also, don’t draft those who were out all 2015 with injuries too high unless you’re 100% sure they’ll be back to their pre-injury selves.
  • Same Goes for Freshmen. Get excited about the freshmen. But be wary. You never know what’s going to happen with them most of the time. A standout elite might not be physically ready to go for the NCAA season or a phenomenal JO competitor might not make the lineup right away. Take the risk if you think the reward is worth it, but I’d suggest drafting your favorite freshmen in the middle of the pack.
Hardcore Gamer
You’re all about fantasy gymnastics. Some might even call you crazier than those that participate in the football version (is that even possible?). It’s first place or die and you’ll spend any amount of time perfecting your draft so you annihilate the competition.

  • Numbers are Your Friend. Do your research. Look at past year’s results. Look at a gymnast’s average on every event she competes. Look at her RQS. Look at her consistency across the board. What’s the point of having a gymnast that can score a 9.9 if she falls just as often. Look up her season highs and her career highs, but remember it’s a high and not something she’ll be matching every single week.
  • Stay Organized. Make a spreadsheet detailing all your findings. Before you even think about clicking and dragging a gymnast into your draft, make a spreadsheet with all your names, numbers and notes that you can use to sort in as many ways as your heart desires. Don’t let favorites and biases take over although we’re all allowed a sympathy draft pick or two.
  • Know the New Rules. Pay attention to who can do 10.0 start value vaults and who can’t — or who can do a 9.95 SV vault better than someone else with one that starts from a 10. If you’re wrestling between two gymnasts, this could be a factor that puts one over the other.
  • Bye Weeks are Important (but not that important). Make notes of which schools have bye weekends when. Most teams won’t have a week off, but if you have four or five gymnasts from a couple teams that are off the same week, you’ll be scraping the bottom of your barrel for girls to put in your lineups.
  • Pay Attention to Social Media. We live in a world where you can see a team’s practice without actually having to be there. If you’re serious about this fantasy gym thing, go and watch preseason training videos. See how the girls you’re thinking of drafting are doing. Don’t know where to look or don’t want to go searching? We’ve got training updates separated by team on the site.
  • Don’t Set Yourself up for Failure. Drafting lower tier and DII and DIII gymnasts is a great strategy, but not when it comes time for post season. If you happen to make it to the finals and have a team with eight or so gymnasts who don’t even make regionals or nationals, you’re going to be out of luck when it comes time to set lineups. This is where your draft becomes important. Fill in all 150 spots on your draft, and don’t leave it to chance. Include a good number of gymnasts from teams that typically don’t make post-season to help fill in gaps during the regular season but not enough that you’ll be stuck with too many at the end of the year. It’s a balancing act. But this is gymnastics… We know all about that.

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