Is draft preparation really that important in fantasy baseball?

As a fantasy manager, how important is draft preparation compared to in-season strategy? Andrew Hancock for ESPN

If you're like most serious fantasy leaguers this month, you are probably scouring websites, filtering news, downloading data, crunching numbers, ranking players, making charts, requesting advice, doing mocks and generally obsessing over all of it.

Is it worth the effort?

For some, the draft is everything. Those in leagues with limited in-season player movement rest their entire season on the draft. For those in AL-only or NL-only leagues, the thin free-agent pool makes draft day success more important, as well.

But some people don't think the draft, and all the preparation that goes along with it, is as important as other variables. After all, in many leagues, your draft roster will contribute less than 50 percent of the stats your team will accumulate over the course of the season.

In a recent poll at RonShandler.com, I asked readers their opinion on what aspects of playing this game are important in contributing to consistent success. What is the recipe for winning?

I gave them a choice of seven variables and asked them to choose the one that they believed was the most important. These were the variables: