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Blog: Fixing A Fantasy Mess

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

By: Andy Wheeler

How do you fix 2 things that are so broken, that there seems to be order to the chaos that are the broken pieces? No I’m not talking about a broken lamp, or a broken relationship. I speak right now of my Fantasy Baseball teams.

That’s right if you don’t play fantasy sports, you may want to move on from this article.

Many of you know that I take my fantasy sports pretty seriously. This comes from a competitive streak that honestly could be considered a handicap, and from being a super enormous nerd. I mean who would continue to do this to themselves year after year and say they enjoy it…but actually enjoy it. It’s like punching yourself in the face and yelling “YAY!!!!” over and over again.

It’s about being right and hoping you aren’t wrong.

Fantasy Baseball is a completely different animal than Fantasy Football. Football is pretty cut and dry, 15 weeks and you’re done. You can tell who’s going to go where in a snake draft pretty much before Training Camp starts. You know who are going to be the most expensive players at auction right now, Cam Newton, Shady, Megatron…it’s just about how much you’ll have to spend at this point.

By the way, you’re welcome if you didn’t know that already.

In fantasy baseball, you can plot out how the first 2 rounds are going to go. However, it’s funny because it never goes that way because some idiot or idiots in your league will throw everything out of whack with a reach pick early. Then complete chaos follows and you can be left with a bunch of guys you wanted…and a bunch of guys you don’t.

Factor in that if you make the playoffs we’re talking April to September in terms of how long your season could go. That’s right 6 Months! And let me tell you something if your team stinks…it’s a pretty awful way to spend your summer.

So how are my 2 teams doing? A combined 2-11 record with my 2 teams. I’m like the horse in the Derby that gets a late start but then decides it’s going to run in circles for a few minutes before jumping the rail to go eat the infield grass. All this while the Jockey (me in this imaginative comparison) smack the horse again and again with the riding crop while sobbing uncontrollably.

It really has been that bad.

So what can you do? How do you salvage a crappy season? There are a few options. I’ll go over them before I specifically go into my teams and what I did wrong.

1. The Ostrich Strategy:
Look, things could be worse. You probably have some good players…on both teams I have good players. It’s just that right now they all aren’t good at the same time. Now among those players are some clunkers or some over performers, but honestly patience is the key. As previously discussed the season is a long one. There’s always time to rebound. Just bury your head in the sand and hope that if you don’t do anything it will get better. However, be prepared for the possibility that if you wait it out, you’ll be picking close to the top of your draft next season. Just because you believe in players doesn’t meant they’ll turn it around. A good thing to do is look at the stats your league site is compiling. If your team is middle of the pack or if it measures you higher than your record reflects, patience may be your avenue. If you are dead last in everything this isn’t your option.

2. 4 Quarters For A Dollar Strategy:
This is one of the most dangerous things an owner can do. Consider the fact that you probably have the sharks swimming around your team now…they can smell blood you know. I say feed them, but be careful, you have one chance and only one chance to get it right. If you start moving your only desirable pieces for multiple fixes to your roster and screw it up…you may not have thought your team could get any worse, but it can. Make sure that if you are in a keeper league and you move a big piece, for instance a Josh Hamilton that you pick up at least 1 stud keeper in the deal. Values on keepers now are down since you are only 6 or 7 weeks into your season. If you’re selling now, look ahead while trying to fix things. The main thing is indentifying what exactly your weaknesses are and addressing them. Getting back more of what you already have is stupid.

3. Garbage For Garbage Strategy:
You don’t really see this enough in fantasy leagues. I’ve got a player that’s a decent name that’s underperforming…but it’s in an area where I have depth. Another owner has the same thing and you could potentially fill a need by trading your junk for his/hers it’s not a bad option. If you have a hole, my nuclear waste for your nuclear waste isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe you get lucky. Maybe just getting the stink of your garbage away from the rest of your team helps.

4. The Depth For Heft Strategy:
If you have 2 starting pitchers, maybe you trade both for 1 really good starter. Got an extra 3rd baseman and a reliever and are looking for 1 good first baseman…make the move. This is really just a reverse 4 Quarters for A Dollar. This really is a strategy more employed by winning teams but don’t be afraid to try it.

5. Bird On The Wire/Vulture Strategy:
Listen the moment you strung a bunch of losses together your waiver wire status should have been very high. This isn’t such a bad thing to start the season. That means that as guys break out or closers get hurt (seriously the worst year for closers ever) that you are first in line. This is a simple and effective way to fix your team. You’ll get called a vulture or a bunch of different names depending on who’s doing the typing. Plus the best thing about other owners…their dumb too just like you. Multiple owners are bound to drop multiple players of varying value throughout the first few weeks of the season. It’s my belief that an owner should constantly have this strategy in play.

6. The Smell Of Napalm Strategy:
You may reach a point where you feel that all of your research was wrong. You may reach the point where you hate everything about every single person on your team and you’re tired of looking at them. That means it’s time to light it up and burn it to the ground. This is hard to do if nobody else is selling…so it’s super hard to do. However if executed properly it could give you a fighting chance.

7. The H.A.L.O. Jump Strategy:
This is of course a last resort and usually the result of a failed attempt at Napalm. You’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. You’ve been an Ostrich, broke dollars into quarters, traded garbage for garbage, been a Vulture and blown things up and it’s just not helping. That means it’s time to make trades for whatever keepers you can still afford and overpaying for them on purpose to a certain degree. The desired result is to field the absolutely worst possible team you can and try for a top 3 pick. The goal here is to force things and hit absolute rock bottom. It’s painful, it’s not fun, but at least you can start with a great player this year and a few good keepers you picked up through all your moves.

These are all pretty common practices and hopefully you have some luck. Right now in the CBS 3 League I’m being an Ostrich while being a Vulture. I’m also considering a few 4 Quarters for a Dollar moves.

In my oldest league, the Battle for Second, I’ve gone 4 Quarters for a Dollar, Depth for Heft, Garbage for Garbage and all this while being a Vulture. I have some hope for both teams but a H.A.L.O Jump is looking more and more possible with each passing loss.

Here were some of my drafting mistakes:

In the CBS League:
6th Round: Jordan Walden – He’s been terrible and that was way too high for him here. Saves have real value in both of my leagues but I could have waited another 2 or 3 rounds and still got him despite the fact that a lot of folks were high on him. I traded him away.

12th Round: Adam Lind. He was a keeper for me here. He was so bad the Blue Jays put him on waivers this week. I always believed in the guy but apparently I’m an idiot. He was released.

21st Round: Phil Hughes. He has an ERA over 5. Enough said. Released

23rd Round: John Mayberry Jr. Have you watched a Phillies game? Did you know he has 1 Home Run and almost a 6 to 1 Strike out to walk ratio. Released

25th Round: Gordon Beckham: Yeah he’s hitting .200. Released

In Battle for Second:
This league honestly has been me running into a bunch of big weeks more than anything else. The ranking program has me ranked 7th despite only having 1 win. I’ve also had an enormous amount of roster change due to severe injuries.

1st Round: Troy Tulowitzki
He’s the best SS in the game on paper, but not so far this year. I already traded him.

4th Round: Carlos Santana
Is he the best offensive catcher in terms of potential in the league? Yes he is…did I draft him too high since I could have just gone with Yadier Molina who I picked 16 rounds later? Yes I did. He’s still on my team but I traded Molina away for Adam Lind…which was a really great move.

5th Round: Mariano Rivera
Ok, this wasn’t a mistake because if he’s healthy it’s a steal in a saves league to get the greatest closer of all time in the 5th round. However, now that he’s hurt it’s impossible to replace the value lost. Sadly Released

11th Round: Carl Crawford
If I can help it, I will never draft another player that they say “Should be ready by May” in Spring Training. Released

12th Round: Michael Pineda
He was a keeper here for me. And honestly I’d do it again. I am just hoping to illustrate just how bad I’ve gotten rocked by injuries so far. Released

15th Round: Delmon Young
Note to self never draft anybody that’s traded from one division team to another team within their OWN division again. Probably means he’s not a good guy. Which now we know he isn’t. Released

23rd Round: Phil Hughes double your stupidity double your fun. Released

24th Round: Jonny Venters. This was a dumb pick

Hopefully all of your seasons are better than mine.

Follow me at @TheAndyWheeler