You ever have that feeling like you've forgotten something? You know, like sending out a question to your colleagues to answer for a weekly Round Table column? In lieu of our normal witty banter, I'll provide some lordly advice how to best manage your squads the last two-plus weeks of the fantasy baseball season.
1. Even if you are not in contention, continue to make routine moves like replacing injured players and starting your pitchers with the best match-ups. You owe it to your league to maintain the integrity of your standings. You don't have to comb the waiver wire if you have a viable alternative on reserve, but keeping an active lineup is your responsibility regardless of your team's stead. Not having time is a lame excuse. Something tells me if you were in the thick of things, you'd make time.
2. Don't ignore the ratios (batting average, ERA and WHIP). Conventional wisdom is there are too many at-bats and innings already accrued to move in the categories. Conventional wisdom is wrong. In fact, there is usually MORE movement in ERA and WHIP than any other categories. The key is where you are situated within the categories in terms of a series of bunched teams, but the big-picture notion of being locked into your spot in ERA and WHIP is fallacious.
3. Drop Carlos Gonzalez. Give it up, he ain't coming back.
4. If the choice is dropping a potential keeper for help to win this season, flags fly forever -– make the drop and don't think twice.
5. With so many roster moves, especially after minor league affiliations are eliminated from the playoffs, pay extra attention to who is playing, especially in daily leagues. GRATUITOUS PLUG ALERT: The best way to track this is to take advantage of our cousin daily fantasy baseball leagues and use the tools they use to make sure a player is active that day. My favorite is http://dfsedge.com/mlb/, which not so coincidentally is found at a site for which I write.
6. If you are forced to stream pitchers, focus on:
- National League starters
- Home starters
- Lesser opposition
- Pitcher's park
Try to have at least two of the criteria. Feel comfortable with three and sleep like a baby with all four.
7. Think ahead with pick-ups; don't want until the day before you need the player to make the move.
8. If you have a spare reserve spot, look to fill it with someone with a chance to play a 163rd game in order to decide the playoffs. In the NL, look to the trio in the Central. In the AL, the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers are fighting for both the division title as well as the wild card so they're prime candidates. The Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees are possibilities, as well.
Good luck down the stretch, everyone. You've come this far. Let's seal the deal.
About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com
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 fantasybaseball.com, 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 MLB.com and SI.com, 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.
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