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May 5, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

The Upside Fallacy

by Mike Gianella


If you do something for long enough, you start to get complacent. As a fantasy baseball “expert,” for me this complacency came in the form of assuming that there are certain, self-evident truths that “everyone” who plays fantasy baseball simply knows and need no further discussion. However, the reality is that based on some of the questions I receive, this clearly isn’t the case.

One of the biggest misconceptions out there is something that I call The Upside Fallacy. Typically, the concept rears its head when I recommend a boring, stable, yet productive veteran over a rookie or second-year player. The younger player typically has a path to playing time, so to some it seems like the better play is to choose the player with the high ceiling over the player with a more narrow range of options.

This fallacy reared its ugly head a couple of weeks ago after uber-prospect George Springer was promoted to the majors by the Astros. In an only league or a 15-team mixed league, someone like Springer is an instant add. In an only league, it’s likely he’ll be replacing some big league team’s backup, while in a deep mixed he’ll be subbing for a weak regular. Springer might not perform, but since he’s replacing someone who isn’t performing the risk is irrelevant.

In a 10- or 12-team mixed league, this is what constitutes a difficult decision. Chances are good that Springer won’t be replacing a marginal MLB player but rather an outfielder receiving regular playing time. It still could be an easy decision, but if your roster is solid enough, you might have to actually think this one through.

One of my followers on Twitter wanted to know if he should hang on to Will Venable or pick up Springer—a free agent in his league. This must be a shallow league format; it is probably a 10- or 12-team mixed league and possibly a head-to-head (with three starting outfielders). As awful as Venable has been, even in a 12-team mixed Rotisserie league, you probably would have worse options in your lineup.

Over the last three years, Venable has averaged 13 home runs, 58 RBI, and 24 steals. He has also averaged 465 plate appearances over that time; the presumption is that Venable will get over 500 plate appearances in 2014 assuming health.

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Will Venable,  George Springer

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: This ... (05/02)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (04/28)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Neg... (05/07)
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Fantasy Article Interleague Report: We... (05/05)

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