Fantasy Baseball Round Table: September strategies

by Todd Zola, on August 28, 2013 @ 13:53:58 PDT


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One of the perks of being a card-carrying so-called expert is representing our respective sites in industry showcase leagues such as the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) and Tout Wars. Today we'll ask the Knights how they approach the last month of the season.

Other than the obvious -- trying to do as well as possible and hopefully win -- what sort of things are you trying to accomplish and how are you going about doing it?

Perry Van Hook - Mixed Tout Wars Draft and AL LABR

Los Angeles Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig
Don't slack off, even if you're out of it

I think we have an obligation - at least in the more serious industry leagues which I define as Tout Wars and LABR (although there may be others that should be in that tier) - to compete as well as we can for the ENTIRE season. We have all seen in many different types of leagues, players whose attention wanders especially if they are not in first place or close. People who stop trying to get as many points as possible for their teams do a disservice to the league and the other competitors if they are randomly dropping points.

There is a slight difference in that while both are redraft leagues (which makes late season trading even more problematic but that is another subject). At least Tout Wars has penalties for finishing under certain point totals so if that competitor is even invited back, they will be docked FAAB dollars next year for poor performance this year.

Todd Zola - NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR

I think it's safe to say we all agree with Perry and we owe it to our followers and fellow combatants to compete until the season is complete.

Nicholas Minnix - Mixed Tout Wars Auction and AL LABR

Sabotage! Cheat!

Honestly, anything. Just try something new. You're paying attention, so no one can have a beef with how you experiment. The experience is for you, first and foremost.

From what others (like Brian) have written and my somewhat woeful experiences this year, power and offense in general are in short supply. If you're out of the running, perhaps it's because your bats aren't the problem. Even if you're just middling in hitting categories, if you can gain a lot of ground in pitching ones, why not take advantage of someone who should have to overpay with pitching at this point? Or, probably more the point, just see how much you could improve your staff by putting some batters on the block. (If you can still trade, of course.)

That's a little unorthodox, but the point is, if you're already losing, what do you have to lose? There aren't too many ways to experiment. Adjust your FAAB spending habits just to become more comfortable with, say, throwing money around, taking risks. Or, be more conservative; see how many players who turn out to be useful you can get for $0 or $1. If you don't ordinarily try to cycle through two-turn pitchers, get some practice, evaluate matchups. Or, if you do that a lot, how about giving that a rest?

Maybe there's nothing wrong with your process and it was just a bad year. It never hurts to refine your process. Nothing else comes to mind of things to try. Just try to manipulate categories, and see how easy or difficult it might be. This could give you ideas about how to build your teams next year.

Don't forget the kids....

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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