Diary of a Fantasy Madman: Rules of the Game
by Zach Steinhorn
Monday, June 4 - 10:46 PM
Never bench your best players. It's one of the few rules I live by when managing any fantasy team, and it really does make a lot of sense. A 2-for-20 slump? I don't care. A 10-for-20 stretch could be right around the corner, and you wouldn't want to miss that, would you? But in weekly leagues, this can get tricky when we're dealing with star players who are expected to come off the DL. No one knows exactly when Pablo Sandoval will return to the Giants, other than that it will be soon, perhaps as soon as Friday. So are three games from Sandoval worth more than six games from a backup third baseman? I usually say yes. But I was in a rule-breaking kind of mood earlier today, so I decided to leave Kyle Seager in my lineup for one more week. Well, Seager has already rewarded me with a first-inning homer tonight, and the latest word is that Sandoval might not be back until early next week. Breaking rules isn't my style, but this time it worked out pretty well.
Tuesday, June 5 - 10:38 PM
What a waste of $25! Can someone explain to me what's going on with Ben Zobrist? He's been terrible. Well, the six homers and five steals are OK, but a .203 batting average? And 19 RBIs from a guy who I expected would knock in around 90 by year's end? At this rate, he'll be lucky if he reaches 70. Meanwhile, Jose Altuve (.327 AVG) sits on my bench. He's been on my bench all season thanks to the small starting lineups in this league, something that I actually find very challenging to deal with on a week-to-week basis. What exactly am I thinking, sticking with Zobrist all this time? How much better would this team be if I had started Altuve for the last few weeks? It's those rules that are screwing me up. Never bench your best players. But wait a minute, just because I spent 25 bucks on him doesn't mean that Zobrist is one of my best players. He's one of my worst players. This is getting very confusing.
Wednesday, June 6 - 11:25 AM
I wasn't really that high on Ubaldo Jimenez coming into this season, but when he was still available in the 15th round of my 15-team NFBC draft, I couldn't hold out any longer. For some reason, I thought that there was no way he would pitch as poorly as he did last year following his mid-season trade to the Indians. So much for that. The 2012 version of Ubaldo Jimenez has been an absolute train wreck. His ERA is terrible, his WHIP is dreadful, and his K/BB is at a career low. But I'm an extremely patient owner, so I stuck with Ubaldo throughout. Until this week. I'm sick of being patient all the time! I wouldn't drop him, as the quality of starting pitching available on the waiver wire was scary bad. I'd bench him and spare myself the frustration of watching him get shelled by the Tigers and then the Cardinals, two of the top offenses in the game. So of course, Ubaldo goes out last night and pitches one of his best games of the season, limiting the Tigers to one run over 6 2/3 innings. I think I'll go back to being an extremely patient owner.
Thursday, June 7 - 10:32 PM
Here we go again with Adam Dunn. I thought my relationship with this guy was over after last year when he completely ruined one of my teams. Then the bidding stopped at $4, and I had to call out "Five." So far our reunion has been going fairly well. He's back to being Adam Dunn, hitting a ton of homers at the expense of a woeful batting average. But there comes a point, let's call it when his average dips below .230, when the power just isn't worth it, and after going 0-for-4 tonight, Dunn's average has dropped to an unbearable .215. Maybe it's time to bench him again. He started the season on my bench, as it did take me awhile to trust him. I do need the homers though, and he's my best player when it comes to power. And I never bench my best players, do I?
Saturday, June 9 - 3:55 PM
He's back! In just a few minutes, Pablo Sandoval will officially make his return to the Giants' lineup after missing more than a month due to injury, and the best part is that I won't be faced with a difficult lineup decision next week. Kung Fu Panda will play a full slate of games, so I might as well make the lineup switch right now. Starting Sandoval is a no-brainer. It's tough to bench Kyle Seager though. He's done such a great job for me, and this is how I thank him? I'll sit Pablo for one more week and make sure he's fully healthy. Nah, benching one of my best players would be a huge mistake.
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