Do’s and Don’ts for a Hopeless September


If this guy plays fantasy baseball, he plays all year.

Photo courtesy of Gary McCabe.

The season is lost. Things just didn’t go your way this year, and there’s nowhere near enough time to win your league.

There’s only one month to go, but that CAN feel like an eternity. Don’t let it. Here’s a few things you should and shouldn’t do to keep a hopeless September interesting.

DON’T: Pack it in.

I’ve been there. I know how frustrating it can be. If you’re really interested in fantasy baseball, there’s nothing quite so frustrating as getting to the end of the season, looking at the standings, and seeing that you have absolutely no chance to win. It’s even more frustrating if you know that some of the people beating up on you aren’t anywhere as good as you. I know, it sucks.

In the past, I’ve written about spoiling rivals, avoiding the cellar, and why your best effort really matters. If those are in play, CONTINUE TO GO FOR THEM. But at this point, there’s little enough season left where even those may not be applicable.

So, you look at that, see that nothing is in play, and you remember that we’re days away from the NFL season. It’s natural to shift your focus to fantasy football. It’s natural but it’s not what you should do. 

You signed up for a full season. It may not be likely that anything you do will impact the title race, but you owe it to everyone in your league to play things out. By the way, if you are a contender, you also owe it to your fantasy football league-mates to give them a solid effort while you’re trying to win your fantasy baseball league. Deadbeats are irritating in every fantasy sport. Don’t be one.

DO: Try Different Strategies

This really applies to anyone paying attention and still active. But if you’re in a position where your actions will have nothing to do with deciding the winner, it’s even more in play.

The one that I’m really going to point you to is MRI. Clave and Nash have both talked a lot about it, so rather than beat that dead horse, I’ll just link what they’ve said. A few of them are more than a year old, so some of the specific names may not be relevant anymore, but you guys can plug in new names as you need to, the overall points are dead on solid.

The reason this is a particularly good strategy to use is that it often involves using relief pitchers that aren’t closers. Guess what? A lot of those guys are available right now. None of these strategies involve getting someone like Craig Kimbrel or Clayton Kershaw on the roster. No, it’s a strategy that can be used all season long and if you figure out a good way to use it in the final month, you’ve given yourself some good knowledge heading into next season’s draft.

There are other strategies you can implement with guys on the waiver wire. If it doesn’t have any impact on the league’s standings, I’d pretty much encourage you to try anything, just to see how it goes. September is a weird month sometimes because of roster expansion, but generally speaking, a full month is a pretty good sample size to draw from.

Find something to give yourself that edge heading into next year. The only way to do that is to experiment a little bit. Break from the norms, because they obviously haven’t worked well enough.


DON’T: Give good players away for nothing

Most leagues are already past their trade deadline, so that’s not in play. Most leagues also have a Can’t Cut List, so I’m not thinking that many of you are going to drop Miguel Cabrera.

But there are plenty of impact players that can be cut, and I’ve been in too many leagues where bad teams just randomly drop solid contributors. Don’t do it.

Someone in a very competitive league I’m in was out of contention at the end of last season and decided to drop Joey Votto. This was a bad idea for a few reasons.

  1. It’s a keeper league and even though this owner wasn’t coming back, the person taking over the team would probably want Joey Votto.
  2. Even without that, the person who claimed him would do nothing right, other than falling in the top waiver spot at the right time.

Nash and I are LM’s in that league and agreed to overturn that move and kick that owner out immediately. There’s just no reason to do something like that. I know I said to try new strategies out, but you won’t come up with a strategy where it makes sense to drop a top-tier player. Bench him? Probably not, but I guess you may be trying to experiment with stats and looking for a different kind of first baseman. That’s a reach, but I could allow it…I guess. But keep the stars on your bench if you don’t want them active.

DO: Have Fun

Present company included, people take fantasy baseball way too seriously, sometimes. Remember, it’s something you took on for fun. If you can’t allow yourself to have fun, don’t play.

But create challenges for yourself in certain categories. Get to X amount of homers, or cut your team ERA down to X amount. Use your imagination there.

Take on a buddy in your league in a similar position.

Whatever you do, keep it fun, but also find ways to stay competitive. Again, there isn’t a shortage of ways to have fun, just be sure you’re doing that.