Fantasy Baseball Meditation: the DL and depth perception

      May 1, 2012 @ 13:26:42 PDT

As is the case with many fantasy baseball owners, early-season injuries - especially to Ryan Zimmerman and Brett Gardner - have ravaged a few of my squads. Luckily, outside of extremely deep formats and our KFFL-hosted leagues, we have disabled list spots.

Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman
Zimm grim again

Even more luckily, some of the bigger industry games have an unlimited amount of DL spots. My Tout Wars mixed squad has five DL inhabitants. My LABR mixed, seven. Not shockingly, I sit in the middle of the pack or worse in both as of today.

We by default look at a player being a 15-day-or-longer observer as a crippling tragedy. When losing big-investment commodities like Zimmerman and Gardner, it makes sense. These are guys you need to carry your team, so any absence is detrimental as, in theory, you'd fall behind the statistical race.

But it's not damning in every way: Especially if those players were struggling, removing them from consideration early in the campaign can actually help you build depth for when (if?) they return. It at least increases the players you get to hold and dissect as you determine your long-term fortunes and strategy.

Tout Wars

DL players: Gardner, Zimmerman, Jason Bay, Victor Martinez (added as DL spec anyway), Jorge De La Rosa.

Depth acquired: Henry Rodriguez (JDLR, 4/9), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Gardner, 4/23), Jake Arrieta (V-Mart, 4/23), Matt Thornton (Bay, 4/30) and Jack Hannahan (Zimmerman, 4/30)

Standing: 10th of 15 | Underperforming core players: Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Alexei Ramirez, Jayson Werth, Ike Davis, Tim Lincecum


DL players: Gardner, Zimmerman, De La Rosa, Grady Sizemore, Tim Stauffer, Sergio Santos, Brad Lidge

Depth acquired: Ross Detwiler (JDLR, 4/9), Jason Hammel (Stauffer, 4/9), Michael Saunders (Sizemore, 4/9), Jon Rauch (Santos, 4/23) Pedro Strop (Lidge, 4/30), Jake Westbrook (Zimmerman, 4/30)

Standing: 7th of 15 | Underperforming core players: Joey Votto, Ike Davis, Max Scherzer

(OK, so the likes of Hannahan and Saunders aren't exactly world-beaters. But buoys are useful, too.)

You'd be surprised how often managers with healthy, performing teams find themselves getting complacent early on and don't account for weak spots down the road. Conversely and indirectly, injuries before the summer hits can force action and deeper analysis of your team.

Decisions on who to keep could eventually become difficult, and of course, if some of these injuries drag on, I'll need to take more drastic measures to boost my chances of winning. But when absorbing voluminous medical charts like these, don't write off the benefits of expanding your personnel possibilities for the remainder of the season.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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