Fantasy Baseball: Micromanaging Builds Champions
For many fantasy baseball managers, Monday is usually a day where you are unable to field a full lineup. Roughly half of baseball's teams take the day off. It's the one day of the week where you actually have a reason to bench a star like Albert Pujols in favor of someone who is playing.
As many leagues head down the stretch, you may find that you are in a tight head-to-head league, one missed move could cost you a playoff spot. For others, rotisserie leagues usually limit each position to 162 games played.
What happens this late in the year when you find your team with several games to spare at key positions? One way to close that gap is to find players who are playing on Mondays (and Thursdays).
I'm not saying to drop Albert Pujols in favor of Adam LaRoche simply because he's playing Monday. Something more realistic such as dropping the reliever who isn't getting you saves, the starter who isn't getting you wins, or the hitter who's been in a season-long slump. Even the latest player to get bit by the injury bug.
There are a number of players that are expendable, and, in turn, those that can deliver a nice punch off of the free-agent market.
As an example, I took advantage of a doubleheader last week between the Braves and Cubs. I wanted a Cubs player who was likely to play in both games. Who was the only regular member of the Cubs' lineup that was available in most leagues?
So I decided to give him a shot. I dropped then-struggling Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya in favor of the slugger. In retrospect, the move turned out to be an exceptional one. In just one day's work, Jim Edmonds went two for six, scored four times, had a home run, and batted in four runs.
This turned out to be a beneficial move to my team. The most important thing is that I didn't fall in love with Jim Edmonds on my fantasy baseball team. I quickly moved on in favor of other talent that was available.
Tony La Russa reminded us in 2006 that micromanaging works, as the St. Louis Cardinals proved they were the best team in Major League Baseball. I'm surprised more fantasy players aren't taking a page from La Russa's book of micromanaging and plugging in guys on Mondays. Even taking advantage of doubleheaders and pitching matchups.
Drafting the best team in March doesn't always mean your team will win in September. The team that wins the league usually has the manager that actively adapted throughout the season to injuries and player trends.
Be that manager and win your league. Good luck down the stretch!
Shaun Copsey currently manages 7 fantasy baseball teams, 1 in 4th, 1 in 3rd, 1 in 2nd, and the final 4 in 1st.
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