Every year, people around the country decide that the beginning of the year is the time to make resolutions. These New Year’s resolutions are typically ridiculous attempts at self improvement that tend to fade away by Valentine’s Day.
If I sound angry or bitter, I apologize. I just quit smoking and went on a diet.
As I reflected on my 2016 fantasy baseball season, I found that I made some obvious mistakes. Some of these mistakes made me less successful as fantasy player. Some made me have less fun. I like to win first and foremost, but fantasy baseball is supposed to be fun. If I wanted to play and be miserable, I would just do DFS.
Again, I apologize. I am just so hungry and these patches do not help at all. Neither does the gum or lozenges or medication.
I digress. Here are my 2017 fantasy baseball New Year’s Resolutions:
Don’t Spread Myself too Thin
At the start of fantasy baseball season last year I had a hard time saying no. I was asked to join a number of fantasy leagues and ended up playing in most of them. By the time baseball season got underway, I was in 17 leagues. This was a huge mistake. I normally play in more leagues than the average person, but I had taken on more than I could chew. Compounding this poor decision, I was playing across way too many formats. I had leagues on ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, and Fantrax. Throw on the fact that I am a father, husband, went back to college to finish my degree, started writing for Rotographs, and took over operational duties and responsibilities at my fantasy baseball website and podcasts (cheap plug); I was spread a bit thin.
This led to a multitude of problems. First, I didn’t always get around to setting all of my lineups. Thankfully, I have a job that affords me time to do a lot of my fantasy stuff while I work. However, on my days off, I found myself forgetting to set lineups on certain platforms. This probably cost me a league or two.
Secondly, with so many leagues, I was not as diligent at checking standings and where I could gain or lose points in the standings as I usually would be. For instance, I was in a league where in early July, I was in 9th place, about 30+ points away from first or second. I decided that while I would continue to field my team, I should concentrate my efforts on teams that were more likely to win money. Next thing I knew it was about a month later and, on a whim, I checked the standings and found that I was within striking distance of second and third place, both of which paid. I took a renewed interest only to finish 3 points short of the money. It was infuriating, but I only had myself to be mad at.
I have decided to only commit to 10-12 leagues this year. I currently have 9 leagues that I have committed to. I am sure I will get roped into 2-3 more, but I will practice saying “no” more.
Spread the Wealth
As I mentioned above, I play in a lot of leagues. One of the issues with that is that you tend to end up with a lot of the same guys on multiple teams. Then when your dark horse pick for AL Cy Young tears his UCL on May 1st, you end up struggling in a bunch of leagues. I am looking at you Garrett Richards!!! I took a number of guys across a bunch of leagues. Some worked out (i.e. Chris Carter and Khris Davis) and some did not (i.e. Garrett Richards and Socrates Brito.) This especially hurt on the pitching side. Aside from losing Richards, I had a number of shares of underperforming pitchers like Luis Severino, Wei-Yin Chen and Gerrit Cole. It is one thing to get large shares of a player that has a low draft cost, but it is another to lose multiple top 50-100 picks across multiple teams. Instead of struggling in a few leagues, I struggled in a bunch of leagues to find pitching all year long.
This year, I plan to do a better job of spreading the wealth across multiple leagues. Give myself less of a chance to get burned hard by injuries, especially on the pitching side and with high draft picks.
Be a Little Less Patient
I tend to be a pretty patient guy when it comes to fantasy baseball. During drafts and auctions, I usually stick to my ranks and values, except when I feel I can grab better values later. In season, I stick with my guys even when they are struggling. These can be good attributes to have. They can also burn you at times.
A number of times in snake drafts last year, I decided I could pass on players at certain positions because I felt I could get others later in the draft that would offer a greater value at the pick. When this worked, I was thrilled, but a number of times I got caught holding the bag when others grabbed up my late targets right before I could. This would leave me with weak spots on my teams. You will hear more often these days that there is no such thing as a sleeper. More than likely your end game targets are also being targeted by others in your leagues. Sometimes it is better to grab the sure thing in front of you than go for the steal later on.
In auctions, I try to be the guy that waits around early on while other players throw money around like they are a rapper in a music video.
*Not a rapper
The strategy is that once the auction hits a lull, I can clean up with a bunch of deals and have a strong team top to bottom instead of a team of “Stars and Scrubs.” However, this backfired a few times. Once because I didn’t play the endgame very well as another owner did the same thing and we battled for a number of the same players in an AL Only league. Another when the auction software we were using me booted me out and I ended up getting auto drafted the rest of the way. While I still stand by the strategy as a whole, I also think sometimes you need to adjust mid auction to what is going on around you. Things aren’t always going to go the way you hoped, so it is best to end up without any money left over than imaginary cash in your pocket.
In season, I tend to be very patient when my players go through a poor streak. This can be rewarded when your star pitcher or hitter turns it around, but it can also put you behind the 8-ball as you fall behind in the standings. In the cases of guys like Marcus Stroman and Luis Severino, if I had cut bait earlier, life might have worked out better for some of my fantasy teams. It is definitely a hard line to walk. The last thing you want to do is cut bait on a player and watch another team pick them up and watch them get the rewards once they turn it around. However, I am learning that my patience in this area can have another downside. While I am stubbornly holding on to my underperforming player, I am not grabbing the breakout guy on the waiver wire. So, while I am sinking in the standings or certain categories, my competition has access to the new shiny toy. I need to be a little less patient this year. It will definitely take some practice.
New Year’s resolutions are rarely kept. They are goals that we aspire for. I hope that I can meet my goals for the upcoming season, but if I fall short or make mistakes along the way, I won’t beat myself up too hard. Mistakes happen. So, keeping that in mind, I am going to enjoy some ice cream and a Kool.
Happy New Year!
Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.