Fantasy Fever: The Home Stretch From image

Fantasy Baseball's Home Stretch

Know the rules of August and September

By Joel Beall,
August 3rd, 2010

With baseball's trading deadline in the rearview mirror, it's time for fantasy owners to move on to more pressing matters; mainly, to focus on their own league's cut-off date for trades and transaction. Commonly, fantasy deadlines are situated somewhere in the second or third week of August. (Although if your league bares any resemblance to mine, the REAL trade deadline has triggered an abundance of swaps in the past week.) Keeping this timeframe in mind, here are several trade tidbits to help you out into your foray in fantasy commerce.

Don't Deal Just to Deal

Many owners get the itch to renovate their roster. Yet the most prevailing problem in fantasy trades is that exchanges are executed strictly on the premise of the owner's penchant for action. I assume this same sentiment is at the core of all gambling addictions. While a trade can liven up your league, bare in mind the excitement is fleeting. The last thing you want is buyer's remorse, so appraise and asses each proposal with care.

Shoot for the (Underperforming) Stars

If a high pick has not achieved his predicted potential by August, the consensus seems to indicate that it's time to part ways with your selection. I can personally echo this approach, as four months of frustration can cause you to despise the mere existence of a team member. As an opportunistic owner, you want to cash in on this resentment. Numerous fantasy participants judge a player's worth on their seasonal stats. In reality, you want to dive deeper and examine the month-by-month numbers of an athlete. For example, Mark Teixeira has performed admirably this season, but his 2010 output has not validated his top-10 projection. But after discounting the Yankee 1st basemen's abysmal April, we find that Teixeira is one of the best five hitters in baseball over the past three months. It's this type of analysis that can help you get a superstar for less than 80 cents on the dollar.

Damn Yankees

Mark Texiera Bad karma for those who seek NY Yankees

Let Statistical Standings Dictate Deals

This rule alludes to the "trade just for the hell of it" theory. The goal of your dealings should be to boost your standings in a statistical department, most notably when there is a negative discrepancy between yourself and the rest of the league. If you are near the top in home runs, don't be afraid to sacrifice some of your power to obtain a better average.

Less is More

If you have built up substantial depth on your squad, consider turning three of your "good" assets into two all-stars. This theory tends to favor hitting, especially when your trade partner is struggling to fill a certain position. This also allows you the opportunity to take a risk on the waiver wire to complete your empty roster spot.

Monitor League Maximums

Some leagues have inning or game limits implemented to ensure a competitive balance. If this rule applies, monitor your accumulated totals. Trade away players whose positions are projected to reach this limit in favor of spots where the estimated figure is far from the ceiling. In a related note, half of my league just came to this realization of an imposed inning/game max, correlating to a flurry of fire sales that would make the1998 Florida Marlins proud. And finally -

Stay Away from Yankees

Unless you actually live in New York, it's unacceptable to side with one in pinstripes. Granted, this eliminates some of the better players in fantasy, but having a Yankee on your roster is a portal for bad karma, so avoid this transgression as much as possible.

Prince Fielder

Start 'em: Francisco Liriano, Twins. Liriano has been lights-out his past four starts. Since getting knocked around in Detroit on July 9, Liriano has pitched 28.2 innings, giving up just two runs while striking out 33. On the year, the lefty is 10-7 with a 3.18 ERA, and is 2nd in the AL in strikeouts.

Sit 'em: Prince Fielder, Brewers. The Milwaukee 1st baseman asserted persistent trade rumors wouldn't affect his play; his stats seem to contradict this claim. Fielder is 2-for-his-last-22 at the plate, with zero homers and no RBI.

Fantasy Flashback: 1911 Joe Jackson. Unfortunately, Jackson's current legacy is a) tied to the Black Sox Scandal, which led to b) being portrayed by Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams. It's debatable of which offense is worse. Jackson's career deserves higher praise for his contributions on the field. And in 1911, he put up one of the finest hitting displays in baseball history. "Shoeless Joe" finished with a .408 batting average to go along with a league-leading .468 OBP, 41 SBs, and 126 Rs.

Waiver Wire Watch: Drew Storen, Nationals. After Matt Capps was shipped to the Twins, the Nationals announced a closer-by-committee configuration would be employed. However, for those looking to add some possible saves, Storen is the safe pickup. Through 33 innings in 2010, Storen has 28 Ks and a 2.45 ERA.

Rookie Review: Chris Johnson, Astros. Since being recalled to the Majors in June, Johnson is batting .364 with 4 HRs and 19 RBI. Johnson just had a 14-game hit streak snapped at the hands of the Brewers on August 1.

This Week in Jonathon Broxton: Broxton's been in somewhat of a rut, blowing a save against rival San Francisco on July 31. Personally, I think Broxton has been pedestrian on purpose, lulling his opponents into thinking he's human. This delusional hope will only aid the Ox and the Dodgers on their home stretch for a playoff bid. Trust me, Big 51 will return to his "kickin'-ass-and-takin'-names" form within the next week.

No Harm No Fowler

Prince Fowler The Rockies' Fowler has been raking

Trade Talk: This has been alluded to in previous fantasy fever articles, but if you're employing the services of one of the multitude of talented rookies, sell when the price is high. Foreseeing an injury is impossible, but with his impending innings-limit on the horizon, how many Strasberg owners are smacking their foreheads at turning down multiple trade requests?

Big League Chew Player of the Week: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. Although Fowler has been raking at the plate (in his last four games, Fowler went 10-for-20 with 6 runs and 5 RBI), it's his defense that earns him this week's distinction. Clinging to a slim lead in the 9th, Fowler crashed into the outfield wall in pursuit of an Alfonso Soriano fly ball, maintaining the catch and preserving Colorado's win over the Cubs. Unfortunately, Fowler's hustle could direct to a stint on the DL, as the centerfielder is dealing with bruised ribs after the collusion.

Spit Your Tobacco At: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. It's bad enough that baseball purists have to see another historic number become tainted. The fact that A-Rod is taking this long to accomplish said feat (homerless in the last 43 ABs) is just an extra kick in the groin.

Your "Dumb and Dumber" Quote of the Week:

Lloyd: I said, "Do you love me?" and she said, "No, but that's a really nice ski mask!"

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