Fantasy Baseball Round Table: How to fix your last-place team

by Todd Zola, on May 28, 2014 @ 13:15:29 PDT


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Todd Zola

We'll eschew Lord Zola's Wrap-up this week as this question isn't a hypothetical. It's my reality; my personal hell. It's my Mixed LABR squad.

You know the way everyone says injuries aren't an excuse? The job of a fantasy manager is to overcome? Everyone has injuries, it's how you deal with them that matters?

It's what we're supposed to say.

But you can't tell me deep down Bill Belichick would have preferred to have had Rob Gronkowksi during the playoffs the past few years.

And while I agree injuries aren't the only reason, they have certainly contributed to my team's woes. The following players have all either spent time or are still on the disabled list: Wilson Ramos, Jose Reyes, Adam LaRoche, Mark Trumbo, Carlos Beltran, Avisail Garcia, Will Middlebrooks, Kris Medlen, Doug Fister, Tony Cingrani, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman. And that doesn't even consider that my first two picks, Mike Trout and Dustin Pedroia, are playing through some injuries which are likely curtailing their production.

Call me a whiner if you wish. I'm telling it like it is. However, I'm not giving up; I'm not throwing in the towel.

I finished in last place in this league two years ago and hated it. Let's be real; I'm not winning this year. But I'm not finishing in last either. Well, I might but it won't be for lack of trying.

I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do - a lot of which will be clear as I run through my colleague's comments. I'll summarize at the end. Here's my reaction to the various replies to the question posed. Please keep in mind it was staged to be a general question and not referencing a particular team. Had the Knights been privy to the true intent, their answers may have been a little different.

Perry's comments - While I agree big-picture wise, it is too early in my estimation to start micro-managing categories. Too much can happen within each category to do anything more than focus on accumulating as many stats as I can. Then later in the season, based on the distribution at the time, I'll trade from a category where I lose the fewest points in an effort to gain more elsewhere, using the rotisserie math discussed in the Captain's Log as part of the process. It's just too early to do the math now. More stats are what I need now.

The other notion I disagree with (and Perry wasn't the only one to mention it) is not dealing with a contender. It's not even June - with due respect to the research we discussed here, I'm treating everyone as a contender. Too much can still happen. This doesn't mean I'll be dealing all my assets to the same team but if a team at the top of the standings makes the most logical offer, I'll take it. What I do agree with is taking chances on buy low players. I don't care if I finish in last place with 40 points or with 10 points - last is last. I need to take chances to make up for lost ground.

Rob's comments - It's cliché, it's what we're supposed to say but it's also true. It's a privilege playing in an industry showcase league. As such, I owe it to my fellow league-mates and readers to keep fighting. That said, like with Perry, I dispute the contention not to deal with the top teams. Everyone is a potential dance partner.

Tim's comments - First off, I'd like to thank Tim for taking the high road and not saying “trade me Mike Trout” as he's one of the 14 teams ahead of me. As it happens, philosophically I agree the most with his comments. Basically, do whatever it takes to gain points.

Ryan's comments - Sorry Ryan, the time for action is now. No more waiting. I need more than a couple of slumbering players to emerge from hibernation. I'm way behind in at-bats. It's more than a correction from regression can fix. I'm also not sure what bad message I'm sending by putting my entire squad on the block. The message I want to convey is no one is off limits. I have no idea what kind of interest there is in some of my players. If I have a “do not deal” list, I may never know what I could have acquired. This doesn't mean I'll just deal willy-nilly; it has to make sense within the confines of what I'm trying to do. But there's no more loyalties; no holding onto my guys.

Lawr's comments - Dude, this isn't about you, it's about me (he says tongue firmly implanted in cheek). Read between the lines in Lawr's message. He's saying to honestly assess your team, but sardonically that may not be enough. The latent message is be proactive. At least that's my take.

So in summary - wait, I have an idea….

Lord Zola's Wrap-up

  • Don't give up, don't ever give up
  • Trade with anyone
  • Deal anyone
  • Take chances, buy dirt low
  • When the time comes, manage the categories to squeeze out all potential points
  • And like Perry says - HAVE FUN!
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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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