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August 7, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

A Strategy Example From the Deadline

by Jeff Quinton


Less specifically, I type words. More specifically, I type words about the theories and concepts that surround fantasy baseball strategy. Every once in a while, it is worthwhile to zoom in a little, to take a look at an actual fantasy baseball example because it allows us to see how these concepts and theories can play out in our leagues. Consequently, I bring you a case study from my NL only keeper league (which also happens to be my favorite league). The trades and non-trades made by the top three teams in my league provide excellent studies on strategy, owner tendencies, competitive response, and trade markets as well as the interactions of all these concepts. Let us get cracking.

The League:
11 team, NL only, 5x5 roto, 15 major league keeper max, 4 minor league keeper max, 12 hitters/9 pitchers/1 utility slot.

The Facts:
Heading into our fantasy baseball league’s trade deadline (last Sunday) the top three teams were fluctuating (as they do in roto) around an 8-10-point separation between first and third. The first-place team had already made a couple of trades and had been entrenched in the top spot for about six weeks. Even after trading Oscar Taveras and a $1 Patrick Corbin, the first-place team probably still held the most tradeable assets in the league and definitely the most among the top three teams. The decision thus became how much of anything should the top three teams sell in order to maximize their chances this year and in the future.

The Factors:

1. Owner Tendencies:
Often, I have typed about the importance of knowing the tendencies of your competition. This was certainly not a problem as each owner has been in the league for at least the last 10 years. The second- and third-place owners both knew the following about the first-place team: (i) he has usually been willing to sell in order to make a run at first and (ii) he has never won the league. The sum of these two factors was that any trade made by the second or third-place team would be rendered moot by a response from the first place team, which brings us to our next factor.

2. Competitive Response:
Per the above, what we had heading into the deadline was a genuine Red Queen effect. If the second and third place teams made trades to go for it (selling long term pieces for short term pieces), then the first place team would simply match their moves by selling its more desirable pieces. In other words, if the second and third place teams chose to go for it, they would ultimately fail to improve their chances of winning this year while diminishing their chances of winning in the future. The simple answer, therefore, is that all teams should stand pat. However, the following:

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Related Content:  Trades,  Fantasy

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (08/07)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Lea... (08/04)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Jer... (08/08)
Next Article >>
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/07)

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