April and May: Where Fantasy Baseball Owners Really Win their Championships

Eliot PodgorskyContributor IApril 6, 2008

September and October may be when your Fantasy Baseball League ends and the champion is crowned, but April and May are the months where you can assure yourself bragging rights come the end.

That's not to say pulling off that blockbuster trade isn't important, but you can win without doing so.

The formula for coming out on top is simple, WATCH YOUR WAIVER AND FREE AGENT WIRE. Everyone gets impatient; we want results from our teams now and if we’re not getting production from players, we’re willing to dump them for someone who will produce. It's a mistake that even the most grizzled of fantasy baseball owners make from time to time.

Some players get off to hot starts and some don't; it's a fact of life. When players don't hit or pitch great right away, owners start to get antsy and drop them for the guy who's hot right now.

When a star player is dropped, pounce on them. It could set you apart from the rest of your league.

The greatest experience I had in this area was two years ago. I had the No. 1 waiver wire pickup and happened to see that Mark Teixeira had been dropped and I added him immediately. Teixeira, paired with my incumbent first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, gave me a potent combination that led me championship gold.

The guy who dropped Teixeira picked up Chris Shelton. Needless to say he didn't get what he expected and ended up in last place.

Teixeira, statistically, is a slow starter. His career home run totals in April: 16, September: 38. When you draft someone to start for you: know what they’re going to do. There’s no need to give up on them because of a bad month or two.

When other owners drop their starters to pick up the hot stud right now, make them pay. Monitor free agents and guys on waivers. That said, holding onto a guy too long could hurt you in the long run. Owners of Vernon Wells and Bill Hall last year may have learned that.

In 2006, Wells hit .303 with 32 home runs and 106 RBI. In 2007, he hit .245 with 16 home runs and 80 RBI. Those who took the chance that he would turn it around kept him and it might have cost them. Those who dropped him could have picked up a better outfielder and gotten better. Same can be said for Hall who hit .270 with 35 home runs and 80 RBI in 2006 and .254 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI last year.

I've experienced too much heartbreak in fantasy baseball to say that a free agent or waiver wire pickup in April or May will assure you the gold. Players get hurt, have off years etcetera. However, keeping your eyes open in these two months may give you that little extra push that gets you over the edge.