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August 26, 2013

Fantasy Freestyle

Hanging in There

by Mike Gianella


We’ve all been there. For all the best-laid plans, there are years where the team we drafted doesn’t look like it’s going to get there. I’m not talking about seasons where you’re in second or third, close all year long, but just miss. I’m talking about years where you’re languishing in the middle of the pack for most of the season and nowhere near first place. Your team isn’t bottom-of-the-barrel bad, but something’s missing from your squad.

A common mistake that a number of fantasy owners make is assuming that all sixth-place teams are created equal. There are some years when a middle-of-the-pack team is going to stay firmly entrenched in the middle, but other years where there is an opportunity to move up in the standings. Identifying the opportunities when they come is the key to determining whether you’re going to stay mired in the middle or turn the tide and win your league.

On July 15 in Tout Wars, I had 68.5 points and was 24.5 points out of first place. Out of context, it would seem as if I was dead in the water. However, I looked at the league, sized up the teams ahead of me, studied my team and thought that I still had a chance.

  • A number of early season injuries (Hanley Ramirez, Aaron Hill, Ryan Ludwick, Lucas Duda, Pablo Sandoval, David Freese) had put my offense in a weaker, more compromised position at the All-Star Break than I had anticipated. The upside of this deficiency was that most of these players were back and performing in July. Not only was I at or near the top of the standings in HR/RBI, but I had an opportunity to trade from categorical strength.

  • A closer look at the top two teams revealed some cracks in their respective foundations.

o Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN was in first place with 93 points. His pitching looked ironclad, but his offense had some holes before Ben Revere and B.J. Upton got hurt, and he had already traded Jay Bruce.

o Todd Zola of Mastersball (87.5) had a pitching staff that looked as strong as Cockcroft’s, but Jeff Locke (2.15 ERA on July 15) and Jordan Zimmerman (2.58 ERA) were both regression candidates at the front of a thin staff.

o The rest of the contenders ahead of my team all had holes/ deficiencies that weren’t as obvious as Cockcroft’s/Zola’s but didn’t necessarily leave much room for improvement

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: This ... (08/26)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sho... (08/20)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: The... (09/09)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Au... (08/26)

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