Deciding if it's time to punt the year

by on August 19, 2010 @ 12:00:00 PDT


If you play the game of keeper Rotisserie long enough, you will probably experience at least one August when you're forced to accept that you'll not finish in the money. You've made you're mid-season moves, perhaps pulled off a trade or two, but you're still fifteen points out of fourth place with six weeks to go. It's time to decide whether to throw in the towel.

Should you punt?

Choosing to do nothing further this season may appear to be surrender, but a number a situations can exist where doing nothing is exactly the correct approach. The following circumstances, especially if you're in more than one of them, may suggest sitting tight:

Injury-Ruined Year: If the loss of stats from injuries has been enough to drop you out of the hunt, look at the types of injuries your players have suffered. You'll need to decide which injuries will affect the players next year. Other than rotator cuff surgeries, serious knee surgeries, or chronic back problems, most injuries will be healed by next spring.

Unless the injury is chronic or career threatening, holding on to those hurt players with low salaries may pay off next year. And trying to trade an injured player is "selling low, buying high" - bad in the stock market, bad in Rotisserie.

Also, if your league rules allow you to keep reserved players on next year's roster, late season injuries can sometimes be turned to your advantage. Adding a quality free agent for a player who won't come off the DL (at least until the middle of September) can get you two for one next year. Of course, a quality free agent will need to become available at the right time, and you'll need to have some FAAB dollars left.

Unfulfilled Potential: You may have drafted well, but your team may be suffering from too many players not performing up to projections. Deciding whether your young players will ever adapt at the Major League level is difficult. Some of them will turn out to be overmatched, resulting in journeyman numbers or a short career. Others will continue to grow.

Check the numbers. Did your young batters and pitchers show improved control of the strike zone (batting eye, BB/K ratios, etc.) as they climbed through the minors? Even for struggling young players, those numbers are positive indicators. And if your young pitchers have also had enough innings at the different levels without being overworked, be patient.

A veteran having an off year may be just that, or it may be the result of declining base skills. Again look at the numbers. Are those pitching command trends down over several years, or is he maintaining his base skills? Don't give up on a veteran with skills intact during an off year. But do consider cutting him next year if you believe his value will be down in your league. That, of course, depends on whether the other GM's value players based on last year's stats or on their skills.

Contracts: Low salaries and/or initial contracts drafted this past spring will allow you to manage the economic end of next year's draft more effectively. If these contracts represent unfulfilled potential, consider holding on to them over the winter, and resist the offers from other GM's. Long term salary cap management makes a greater difference than most owners realize.

So if you have one or more of the above situations, shutting it down for the season might be best. If you're not convinced of the future of your core players, however, consider another approach. That means that if your league has a trading deadline coming up, it's time to act.

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Ron Shandler began publishing statistical reports for baseball analysts and fantasy leaguers in 1986. Since then, his enterprise has grown into one of the largest information providers in the industry, producing quality products continuously and over a longer period than any other fantasy baseball company.

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