I’m going to do something I haven’t done all season and that’s borrow a little bit of material I wrote for my colleagues at KFFL.com before I go on a bit of a fantasy football rant. Hey, you try writing for six sites and come up with fresh content with a little over two weeks left in the campaign.
1. Even if you are not in contention, continue to make routine moves like replacing injured players and starting your pitchers with the best match-ups. You owe it to your league to maintain the integrity of your standings. You don’t have to comb the waiver wire if you have a viable alternative on reserve, but keeping an active lineup is your responsibility regardless of your team’s stead. Not having time is a lame excuse. Something tells me if you were in the thick of things, you’d make time.
2. Don’t ignore the ratios (batting average, ERA and WHIP). Conventional wisdom is there are too many at bats and innings accrued to move in the categories. Conventional wisdom is wrong. In fact, there is usually MORE movement in ERA and WHIP than any other categories. The key is where you are situated within the categories in terms of a series of bunched teams, but the big picture notion of being locked into your spot in ERA and WHIP is fallacious.
3. Drop Carlos Gonzalez. Give it up, he ain’t coming back.
4. If the choice is dropping a potential keeper for help to win this season, flags fly forever – make the drop and don’t think twice.
5. With so many roster moves especially after minor league affiliations are eliminated from the playoffs, pay extra attention to who is playing, especially in daily leagues. GRATUITOUS PLUG ALERT: The best way to track this is to take advantage of our cousin daily fantasy baseball leagues and use the tools they use to make sure a player is active that day. My favorite is http://dfsedge.com/mlb/ which not so coincidentally is found at one of the six aforementioned sites.
6. If you are forced to stream pitchers focus on:
a. National League starters
b. Home starters
c. Lesser opposition
d. Pitcher’s park
Try to have at least two of the criteria. Feel comfortable with three and sleep like a baby with all four.
7. Think ahead with pick-ups; don’t want until the day before you need the player to make the move.
8. If you have a spare reserve spot, look to fill it with someone with a chance to play a 163rd game in order to decide the playoffs. In the NL, look to the trio in the Central. In the AL, Oakland and Texas are fighting for both the division title as well as the wild card so they’re prime candidates. Tampa, Baltimore, Cleveland and the Yankees are possibilities as well.
Good luck down the stretch everyone. You’ve come this far, let’s seal the deal.
Okay, now I’m going to tangent into a little fantasy football. Don’t worry; this is exclusive to the Fantasy Alarm, unless you happened to be sitting next to me when I hurled invectives at my satellite radio.
A couple weeks back, I shared my philosophy with respect to constructing a winning fantasy football roster. The key to the plan was putting aside the notion of pigeon-holing players into what is conventionally thought of as RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR#, etc. Instead, you look at the RB/WR/TE positions as a group and set reasonable expectations for the roster spot in a descending manner.
As an example, let’s consider a league with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE and a flex. That’s 8 spots. Perhaps your expectations are 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3 and 1 points with a value over replacement adjustment factored in.
It doesn’t matter what position provides which points – you just need that array of production from your 8 roster spots.
I’m going to call a spade a spade here. What brought on this discussion was a recent call to a show on SiriusXM. The caller began to call of his roster and named BenJarvus Green-Ellis as his second running back. The hosts, in a rather dismissive manner, contended you can’t win a fantasy football championship with the Law Firm as your second running back.
Even after the caller revealed the rest of his roster and his wide receiver corps was extremely strong, not to mention Ben Tate as a reserve, the hosts kept mocking the idea of Green-Ellis as a RB2. Once they learned Tate was in the picture the “advice” was to switch Green-Ellis for Tate. Then they once again said something to the effect of “thankfully he had Tate on reserve because you just can’t win a championship with Green-Ellis as RB2.”
Here’s my issue. The question to ask was how Green-Ellis compared to the eighth (thus worst) QB/RB/WR/TE on all the other rosters. That’s what matters – not how he compared to the other team’s second running backs. The caller had an excellent QB and TE plus three top-24 WR. As a group, they were extremely competitive and could score as many points as any other group in his league. But instead of noting that, the myopic focus was on Green-Ellis.
This isn’t meant to suggest the talents of Green-Ellis were underestimated - far from it. But in a deep league with 3 WR and a flex, he is roster-worthy. What if the caller had a more conventional set of RB and WR and named Green-Ellis as his flex, would he have been the recipient of such condescending wrath? I think not. That’s the point. If a player is roster-worthy, he’s roster worthy. It doesn’t matter where he us placed in a lineup (RB2 versus flex). If he contributes a useful number of points according to the model I described, in this case filling the eighth line with one useful point, that’s all that matters.
Of course, if I am starting Green-Ellis I am looking to upgrade. But at this point of the season, in deep leagues with a flex, he’s a viable play as the worst skill player on your squad.
This segues into another point which piggybacks on this philosophy. One of the biggest mistakes fantasy owners make is robbing Peter to pay Paul, or in this case, trading Peter to upgrade Paul. Points are points; it doesn’t matter where they come from. You just want more than your opponent.
Let’s simplify things into a model where players are ranked on a scale of 1-10. Say you have a second running back ranked as a 2 with three wide receivers 8 and above. There will no doubt be a team that offers you a “5” running back and a “5” wide receiver for your “2” running back and “9” wide receiver, citing the upgrade at RB as the reason you should accept. He’s probably dealing you a reserve RB to upgrade his last WR. The problem is, of course, the deal is a net loss for you. Sure, your second running back is better but assuming you don’t have a better WR on reserve than the “5” you get in return, your team is weaker after the deal (trading “11” while receiving “10”).
There’s another reason to decline a deal of this nature unless you happen to value the players differently and feel you’re getting back a couple of “6” players making it a net gain, 12 to 11. It’s a lot easier to upgrade the “2” player off waivers than the pair of “5” players. Or say a “7” emerges. If he replaces a “2”, your net gain is more significant than if he replaces a “5”.
So again – points are points, it doesn’t matter where they come from. The sooner you are able to look at your roster as a whole and not segment it into predetermined expectations per positions as opposed to roster spots, the sooner you’ll be able to maximize your potential and take home the championship.
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