I have to say that I am having a pretty good year, fantasy wise.
I have four actual rotisserie teams, and two sim league squads. My LABR team is in first, in a pennant race, but it seems I have a pretty good and competitive team there. My XFL team is hovering near the bottom of the standings, but it is a keeper league and I have a lot of great cheap players I can freeze like Josh Beckett for $10 and Ben Revere and Dustin Ackley for a buck each. That is a hard league, though, so figuring how to outsmart these guys takes awhile.
My Scoresheet team is tied for first in our division, and I have all kinds of prospects along with a strong core team so I have both depth and trade bait, while my Strat-O-Matic team similarly leads the NL West Division in the MWest Strat-O-Matic League.
Rewarding risk: Cabrera
My AL Tout team has been floating between fifth and seventh place, but I have been dealing with injuries, something that is not a surprise to me. And, if all my players get healthy and can deliver a solid final push in August and into September, I can certainly threaten there.
But, my Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) team completely and totally sucks. This is strange, because as usual, coming out of the draft a handful of people said I had drafted a good team. Unfortunately, the only thing I am leading in is being last.
Now, that team has had some nasty injuries, starting with Kendrys Morales, but unfortunately I replaced Kendrys with Matt LaPorta, now also on the DL. Martin Prado, Hanley Ramirez, and Jason Kubel are all banged up, while Matts Holliday and Garza were recently down. But, the injuries are not the problem.
For though that FSTA team has had injuries, they also have Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Gordon, Drew Stubbs, Ted Lilly, and Brian Wilson to go along with all the names above. We are second in strikeouts, but 12th of 13 teams in batting average, and last in homers, runs, and RBI.
Now, I have played this game long enough to be beyond how is this possible when I have the players I do. But, it happens. And, fantasy teams are often more interesting than their on-field counterparts because they are so much more the sum of their parts.
Because as good on paper, and poor in fact as my FSTA team is, my Tout Wars AL squad was pretty fairly dismissed as one with way too much risk for way too little reward, with the likes of Joe Nathan, Jake Peavy, Josh Hamilton, Justin Morneau, Erik Bedard, A.J. Burnett, Coco Crisp, Matt Wieters, Chone Figgins, and Asdrubal Cabrera all in the mix.
Surely, all of them have been hurt a lot, or have had some poor seasons of late, or worse, both. But, all these players did have some mercurial talent; that is, serious skill that has mysteriously evaporated, and since all were undervalued as a result, well the collection seemed like a natural underachieving aggregate.
And, while it is true one league is AL only and as deep as they come, while the other is 13-team mixed and as shallow as you can get, it is funny how one team looked clearly superior, while the other a potential cellar dweller, when the reality is they have performed the other way around.
It does, however, remind me of two years ago, when after finishing the Bloomberg Experts Draft, the projections of Scott Swanay, the Fantasy Sherpa, suggested I had among the best teams.
That squad had Roy Halladay and Zack Greinke, along with a wad of stars like Hanley, Neftali Feliz, Denard Span, Nick Swisher and some familiar injury prone names like Kubel and the now infamously brittle Morales.
The kiss of death, I always say, ranking high in the pre-season projections, and the kiss of death when your mates tell you you drafted a good team.
I'll take dismissed mediocrity over that any day.
Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.