Most people work jobs that give you raises depending on performance and how effective you are at doing your job over the course of a year or two. If you know when your chance at a raise is coming, it can incentivize you to do better at your job than you were previously, so as to impress your boss and get that coveted bump in salary. The same thought applies to professional athletes. When their contracts are coming to an end, most people believe that they have the incentive to up their level of play to then boost their asking price in the offseason. But is that really the case? And how can you take the “contract year effect” into account when putting together your fantasy team? Is it better to get a team stacked full of contract year guys or does it really matter?

Contract years have been talked about since the principle of free agency came to baseball with the Curt Flood case in the late 1960’s. Before that players were essentially locked into playing for the same team...