Fantasy Baseball: Late Season Strategy Issues

The injury to Yu Darvish is something that can trip up even the best owners and their late season strategy. Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Your team is in contention. The season is almost over and you can see that trophy coming your way. Unfortunately, some things could very well get in your way.

You may or may not be able to do anything about them, but these are some late season strategy issues that you need to consider as you try to win your fantasy championship.

Issue No. 1 — Players from Bad Teams

Intellectually, everyone gets this, but sometimes it needs to be said in no uncertain terms, so here goes.

Nobody involved with the 30 MLB teams cares about fantasy teams. Not the Owners. Not the General Managers. Not the Managers. Not the players. They don’t care about yours, they don’t care about mine, they don’t care about any of them.

Sure, they all want the players to put up big numbers and if that helps your fantasy team, great. But if in September a manager yanks a starter after five innings to give some young relievers a look and in turn, costs your team a quality start, I don’t think they’re loosing any sleep.

Yu Darvish is on the Disabled List. Don’t think that anyone involved with the Rangers is all that concerned with his placement on your fantasy team when they decide on when to bring him back. It wouldn’t surprise me if they kept him on the shelf for a little while longer than he really needs. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if we’ve seen the last of Darvish in 2014.

Is there a way to compensate for this? Not entirely. Just like there’s no way to really account for injuries, there’s no way to account for organizational decisions. But you can help alleviate some of these concerns by trying to bring in players from good teams.

Issue No. 2 — Pitchers

This can be tough because at this point, you have a very good sense of what you need and what you don’t. If you really need pitching help, especially in the counted categories, streaming is nearly a must at this point. Because of that, I plan on doing a Dixon’s Picks for each week between now and the end of the season. Having said that…

You have to be very careful with pitchers right now, streaming or otherwise.

There are plenty of reasons for this.

  • Teams, especially bad teams, have placed innings caps on their young pitchers. So, they’re a little more likely to shut them down or possibly start limiting their innings a lot more, even if the starts are going well.
  • Everyone is dead tired right now, but the warmer weather benefits the hitters in a pretty significant way. Tired pitchers leave pitches up in the zone and when they’re hit, the balls tend to travel a little better in the warmer weather.
  • The weather issues will persist through September but with September comes the reinforcements, as rosters expand from 25 to 40. Maybe that refreshes the current pitchers a little bit, but it also gives managers far more reasons to cut their pitcher’s outings down a few innings. Again, that means fewer wins/quality starts, fewer strikeouts, and fewer chances to lower the ERA and WHIP.

These are things that as baseball fans, we all know. But you do need to take time to realize how it will impact your pitching staff coming down the stretch.

Issue No. 3 — Deadbeat Owners

I’ve had bad teams. I get that it’s a little hard to stay motivated for a full baseball season when you’re stuck at the bottom of the standings. Having said that, when you sign up for a league, you owe it to your league to remain active through the end of the season.

That, however, is not realistic. Fantasy football season is here — or nearly here — and plenty of owners are starting to check their leagues once a week, if even that often.

So why does this matter to you active fantasy owners?

Well, in every roto league I’ve ever been in, the champion has won the league by roughly averaging a third place finish in every category. Remember, that doesn’t mean that you finish in third in every category. Maybe you win a few and have a mediocre performance or two in a few other categories.

If there are three owners vying for the championship, they’re not battling in out for the first, second, and third position in every stat. They’re fighting for some points with owners that have no chance at winning who have possibly/probably checked out already.

What does this mean? Well, when you’re making moves or figuring out what to do, you have to take every chance you can to maximize your own points, even if the gamble seems like a long shot. You simply can’t rely on help from any inactive owners.