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June 3, 2013

Fantasy Freestyle

Is Dumping Early a Good Plan?

by Mike Gianella


If you are in a keeper league and your team is mired in the second division, you are at least considering packing it in and playing for 2014. However, depending on your league’s rules and the aggressiveness of your competitors, some of the teams in your league may have already thrown in the towel and begun to play for next year.

If this is the case, does this put your squad at a competitive disadvantage? Or is it possible to be patient, wait to cash in your chips, and wait as long as possible to play for next year?

In order to review this premise, I went back and reviewed 10 years of data from one of my non-expert leagues. This data is admittedly anecdotal to some degree; however, given the continuity of the league and how long it has been in existence, using this data as opposed to pulling data from several leagues that have not been around nearly as long seemed better, even if the methodology is imperfect.

Timing of Dump Trades vs. Results: 2002-2011

 

Dumped 1st

Dumped 2nd

Dumped 3rd

Dumped 4th

Dumped 5th

Dumped 6th

Finished 1st

2

 

1

3

 

1

Finished 2nd

 

4

1

 

1

2

Finished 3rd

1

1

 

 

2

 

Finished 4th

1

 

1

1

1

 

Finished 5th

 

 

 

1

1

 

Finished 6th

1

 

2

1

 

 

Finished 7th

1

3

1

 

 

1

Finished 8th

 

 

1

1

1

1

Finished 9th

 

 

1

1

2

 

Finished 10th

2

 

1

2

 

2

Finished 11th

 

2

1

 

1

1

Finished 12th

2

 

 

 

1

2

The table shows what I have always suspected: Dumping early doesn’t necessarily provide any kind of tactical advantage. Teams that give up early are no more likely to win than teams that wait and give up closer to the league’s trade deadline.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says that it’s better to dump early. The reasons for this seem obvious:

  • If you dump first, you have an opportunity to get the best young players. They will be long gone by the time July rolls around.
  • Dumping first means that you have a shot at getting players from every owner in the league. If you wait, some teams will be completely tapped out, and it will be a buyer’s market.
  • By getting your dump trades out of the way early, you can spend the entire season trying to pluck future gems off of your league’s free-agent pool.

All of these points seem fairly logical and coherent. Why is it, then, that it doesn’t work this way?

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Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/02)
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