Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Fantasy Baseball Strategy: Make Smarter Moves and Maximize your Value


By SD Dirk (Tony La Russa) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As the calendar gets ready to turn to August, the stretch run is coming into sight.  Rotisserie fantasy owners must look at where they'll be able to pick up ground in their leagues and where they have room to give. The concept is simple but very often overlooked. Not all fantasy stats (HR, R, K, etc.) are created equal, and being able to understand your standings can be the difference between taking home your league’s title and ending up as the beer boy for the following year’s draft (see: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-10-worst-punishments-losing-in-fantasy-league). A hard analysis can sometimes lead to the realization that you don't need to get even value in a trade-- accepting a lesser player who can gain you more points mught be the better option.

As an example, take a look at the following league's standings. We'll keep it simple and pretend this league only uses hitting stats, but you can and should expand this analysis for all categories. Remember, first place in runs is just as valuable as first place in saves so you want to get the whole picture.

R HR RBI SB Avg
A

621

127

570

75

0.257

B

588

97

509

131

0.259

C

670

95

508

129

0.284

D

603

100

520

92

0.298

E

610

102

526

87

0.266

R HR RBI SB Avg Total
A

4

5

5

1

1

16

B

1

2

2

5

2

12

C

5

1

1

4

4

15

D

2

3

3

3

5

16

E

3

4

4

2

3

16

 

At first glance you might say it will just be some luck to see who has a hot finish to the year in to determine who will win this league, but I'd have to disagree. There are probably just four teams in the hunt (B would need some real magic), but I would prefer to be Team C currently in fourth place if I had my choice, because they could easily jump to 21 or 22 points while the other teams would all struggle to get above 20. Teams A, D and E are all tied at 16 points with C just behind at 15, but fantasy baseball stats aren't quite as linear as the real life version. Put another way, while it's true each HR your fantasy team hits will tally equally a HR, R, RBI and improve your average, what really matters is how each of those stats accumulate and compare to the other teams in your league.

Without looking at the entire roster, it's clear that Team C is short in the power department, but how bad are they really? It's unrealistic to imagine that they'll catch Team A, but a small power surge could move them from fifth to second fairly quickly and net the team three fantasy points. The same logic applies in the RBI department, too, where Team C could easily pick up three points. In the other categories, Team C has a huge lead in runs and they are grouped at the very top of stolen bases.  With the big lead in the runs department, it's very unlikely Team C is going to give up any ground there, and while they could gain a fantasy point in SB, it's unlikely they would give up any points and finish worse than second.  And finally, Team C is basically by itself in batting average where it would take something significant for them to move up or down there.Just to reiterate: Team C currently sits at 15, but could easily gain six (three in HR, three in RBI) or seven (if gain one more in SBs) fantasy points.

Again, without looking at the rosters, there's a pretty good chance Team C has a few guys like Matt Carpenter, Jacoby Ellsbury, Starling Marte and Everth Cabrera, which has helped build their lead in runs and SB, but it's come at the expense of power production. They could stay the course and hope to find some power on the waiver wire, but at their current pace, they're going to end the season with a GIANT lead in runs. To put it nicely, that's just plain dumb, because the goal should be to finish first in every category by 1 run, 1 SB, 1 HR, 1 point of batting average, etc., since the incremental value of each run or RBI you finish above the team behind you is precisely zero.

Let's fast-forward to the end of the season.  Team C finishes with 850 runs (first in the category), and the next closest team has 700. In HR, Team C finished last with 100, but the team that got second in HR had 110. Objectively, Team C "wasted" 149 runs, because they could have used the players that generated these runs to trade for players that generated power which would have gained them three actual fantasy points.  With the goal being to maximize fantasy points, Team C could have realized its excess of runs and identified a power bat to trade for. Even if this meant accepting a trade that resulted in 100 fewer runs but 11 additional HR (this would seem like an awful idea in most circumstances) and "losing the trade" in a vacuum, it would actually net the team three fantasy points by moving up in HR from fifth to second (and could potentially have a similar impact on RBI) without costing any points at all in the runs category.  To provide context, rarely would I trade Jacoby Ellsbury for Adam Dunn, but it could actually make sense under the right circumstances at this point in the season.

You can take this logic to the next level by looking at what other teams need to gain points, too. In doing so, there may be times when there's some logic to "keeping" stats on your team to prevent another team from having them and gaining ground on you (think of this as a defensive strategy). Conversely, there may be times when you see the person you're competing with for first place has a very slim lead in a category, and you can trade a player to a team who's out of the running but that can steal a point from the team you really care about by allowing them to overtake your direct adversary in a specific category (think of this as a sabotage strategy).

Remember, this logic should be applied across your entire standings, because though you might have an excess of saves, picking up extra steals could put your team over the top. Even if it costs you a point in one category, you should be willing to sacrifice that to pick up three or four elsewhere.  You’re always better off working smarter rather than harder.

============

Sign up for our newsletter to get all of our content delivered directly to your inbox.  And check out our awesome daily-updated waiver wire pickup list!




More Recent Articles

 

FAAB Bidding - Week 8 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More


We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 7 Outliers

Week 7 seemed extremely fluky for fantasy football purposes. Devonta Freeman was ejected, and players like Will Fuller, Adam Thielen and Kerryon Johnson were both forced from their games very early on which hurt a lot of fantasy owners. The Rams wide receivers were supposed to light the world on fire against a Falcons secondary that... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 8

We're past the halfway point of the regular fantasy football season, which means you'd better start making some serious moves if you have any weaknesses in your roster. Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year when the waiver wire is at its most desolate. But that's why I'm here. To navigate you through... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 8)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This was a REALLY difficult week to rank, because there are so many usable DSTs this week. There are usable options all the way down to Tier 4 this week, and you're going to have something available to you on the waiver wire in even the deepest of leagues. Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense... Read More


Week 8 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 7 is over, and a few things have changed. The Los Angeles Rams learned how to play offense again, and the New York Jets came back to Earth, among other things. Week 7 was an especially quiet week for kickers across the NFL. A lot of kickers weren't able to get on the field... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 8. Some of you are ecstatic with the level of production that has been delivered by your running backs. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More


Week 8 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

A two-team bye week is a lot easier for fantasy football players to navigate than a four-team bye week. Fantasy owners are going to have to live without Dallas’ Jason Witten and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews in Week 8. If you have one of the those players as your starting tight end, the problem is that... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 8

Tragedy struck a few top quarterbacks this week, as both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan left games with injuries. We already know Mahomes will miss 3-6 weeks, while more will be revealed about Ryan's status later today. Either way, owners of these quarterbacks will need a backup plan in place, and this week the waiver... Read More


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups List

Back by popular demand in 2019... RotoBaller has brought back for the NFL season our Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups List.  Be sure to also try our other lineup tools below. Using your phone? Be sure to also download our free app which includes news, notifications, injury alerts & articles.   Rankings WizardWeekly... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss several weeks. Matt Ryan is out for the game with an... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of seven weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More