Fantasy Baseball: Will Playoff Clinches Lead to Player Benchings?

More and more teams are clinching a playoff berth, which could affect the fantasy baseball championship. With nothing to play for, will star players be benched?

With one week left for the regular baseball season, the playoff picture becomes clearer. As more teams clinch the playoffs, teams could begin resting their star players in order to save them for the postseason. How do you go about your fantasy baseball championship if one of your top players are benched?

As of now, the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox have clinched a playoff berth. The Toronto Blue Jays have a significant lead in the American League Wild Card, which brings the total up to five teams.

Looking at those five teams, there are a lot of fantasy relevant players on those rosters. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Max Scherzer, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Craig Kimbrel, Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels are just some of the big names that could see a decline in playing time.

The Rangers are already getting a jump on this. They rested most of their starters on Saturday. Elvis Andrus was the only regular that started the game.

This is one of the reasons why the rosters expand at the beginning of September. It gives management the ability to sit their superstars and save them for the postseason. It also gives them a chance to play some younger players and see what they have for the future.

Some of these players, like Trea Turner or some of the New York Yankees rookies (even though they are practically eliminated from the playoffs), have made the most of that opportunity and carved out a nice role for them for the rest of this season and possibly next year.

This strategy becomes a little difficult in weekly leagues. You only have one chance to edit your lineup, and if someone is benched for a day, that could affect your score at the end of the week.

Players resting doesn’t affect hitters as much as it does pitchers. If a batter misses a game, it’s not the end of the world. There are four or five more games they can play in to help your fantasy baseball team. If a pitcher misses a start, they won’t get another chance for another five days, if not longer. Some teams are even going with a six-man rotation down the stretch, which hurts the value of those pitchers.

Fantasy baseball ends on the final day of the regular season. Baseball managers don’t care about that. The managers of playoff-bound team are looking towards the playoffs and a World Series appearance. They will do whatever they need to in order to get there. It’s your fantasy team and you need to keep up with the managers’ strategies in the final week of the season.