I have a different approach to the game - maybe it's something that comes with time. First of all, like all of us I want to win - but that's not the main reason I get into a league. Ultimately, I want to have fun; I'll set goals for many of my teams that may have nothing to do with W-L. For example, I haven't played OLs for a while but two months ago there was a thread about steals, and I thought WTF - let's put together a steals team for sh*ts-n-gigggles and put it in an OL. That's also why I play so many random-based themes - they let me try (and learn about) players I never knew before.
So why approach it this way? If you don't make the playoffs, a season is 162 games - with three games a day, that's 54 days (call it two months). If your sole goal is winning the league, let's face it: you'll know within the first 40 games if you have a realistic chance. That's two weeks: if you aren't competitive, you are now consigned to six weeks of maintaining a team for which you do not care. But what if you looked at the team you were dealt (assuming a random league), and decided you can't win a championship but your team could excel at _______? Build your team to achieve that goal, and every day you're excited to see how that team is doing, even if it's mired in third place.
I don't believe in 'punting' a team: I'll always field a competitive roster (unless I'm resting for the playoffs). Still, there's no dishonor in an OL - or in a random league where you got a bad hand, or in many other iterations of this game - in saying "I'm going to have fun with this non-competitive team" and enjoying every day of the two-month season, as opposed to slogging your way through 80% of it.