Tout Wars team stumbled with high stakes; now, I must serve steaks

      July 31, 2012 @ 16:05:45 PDT

Sometimes, you simply back the wrong horses.

Milwaukee Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks
You mean Rickie Weaks

A year after I competed for the Tout Wars mixed title down to the last day with colleague Nicholas Minnix and's Fred Zinkie, the eventual champ, I'm not even sniffing that this season: I sit in last place with a whopping 34.5 rotisserie points in the 15-teamer. Ugh.

Looks like I'll have to pay up on a bet Nick and I made this year - and the fact that I'll be 0-for-2 in such competitions, considering he's making a charge for the title for another year.

I won't get the chance to nosh on New York-style pizza on his dime in San Diego. (Surprisingly, there are quite a few spots.) Instead, I'll have to buy and serve the Delaware native cheese steaks and Tastykakes from Philly Frank's ... while wearing a waiter's uniform for all to see. (For the love of humility.)

As for my team, it picked the wrong league in which to tank. For every point of your rotisserie total you finish below the league's threshold of 75, Tout Wars penalizes you one buck from next season's Free Agent Acquisition Budget allotment.

No excuses: I made my own mistakes. Tim Lincecum ($22) was a superfluous buy that has wound up as a big part of my sinking season. So was my heavy, overpriced, prolonged reliance on risky outfielders like J.D. Martinez, Jose Tabata and Jason Bay.

I dropped Addison Reed early in the season. At one point I spent a nauseating $13 - 13 percent of my allotment - on Matt Thornton only to have Reed assume the gig days later.

Inflation, for awhile, bit me back in the forms of Rickie Weeks and Alexei Ramirez, too. Ryan Zimmerman and Ike Davis unfortunately dragged me down until. My infield is scorching at the wrong time. By the time they've sizzled, I was already way too behind. Ebbs and flows lift and crash your season.

Though Jayson Werth could rejoin my lineup this week, I won't get Brett Gardner back. Buh bye, SBs.

Realizing I was going nowhere with my offense, a few weeks ago I swapped Zack Greinke and Adam LaRoche for Paul Konerko and Edwin Jackson, aiming for an offensive upgrade. Paulie had a slump recently, and though he's turning it on now, he has hardly had the desired effect.

I've been trying to catch up to my slip-up in saves by speculating far and wide. I own David Hernandez, Glen Perkins and Wilton Lopez, who've done little to combat John Axford's disappointing season. Henry Rodriguez was OK for a while but eventually flamed out.

I clinged to Devin Mesoraco for way too long, hoping one of my preseason sleepers would do something. I owned Clay Buchholz through his early struggles, ditched him, and have watched as he's recovered. I spent $10 on Lonnie Chisenhall.

You have to believe in your strategy even after abominations like this one. The FIRST strategy I revealed in organized form before this season has a steady baseline that I'll follow again in the future, but I'll probably need to revisit a few facets of player valuation and bid flexibility, among others.

Along with my pitching bidding miscues, I should've gone even cheaper on my OF while dispersing my money to areas where I could've made stronger bids and spent less money on arms.

Just call me Captain Hindsight.

But in the long-term fantasy game, any sight is OK. Sometimes, you just have to pinpoint where you went wrong and think about how you can alter things in the future.

Of course, it's often just a bunch of piss-poor luck.

At least I still have reason to improve, even if doing so with two months left could only decrease my disappointment and, in all likelihood, leave me with a perilous pickup penalty next year. This will strongly alter my draft strategy next year - maybe pay dearly for track record instead of spreading the risk. FIRST may not be safe, after all.

Besides being battle grounds for boasters, industry leagues are supposed to educate the public on fantasy strategy. In setups like this that aim to keep you competing throughout the season, you see prime examples of how to maintain league interest.

(Spoiler: We'll have a MAJOR discussion piece related to this subject on the site tomorrow.)

Not only is it my job to show you how to attempt crawling out of such holes, but this effort is actually a masochistically rewarding experience.

I mean, it will be, until I look at my reduced inseason allowance for 2013. Guess I better practice my customer service.

"How may I serve you, Mr. Minnix?"

Sigh. Pull up a chair with us in October and watch me eat my plate of crow.

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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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