Next Saturday at 11:59 pm ET is the ottoneu keeper deadline. It’s time to complete your trades and trim the fat from your roster. If you’ve followed my advice, you haven’t cut anybody since the end of the season. You can start making those moves soon.
A Deadline Quirk
There is one quirk to note about the keeper deadline. You can execute trades right up to the last minute. However, any trade made in the last 48 hours won’t clear until after the deadline. That means you can’t cut players you acquire after Thursday.
You can handle this one of two ways. If you want to keep it simple, don’t trade for somebody you’d potentially cut. Or if you’re like me and you’re juggling multiple plans, you may want to arrange to have your commissioner allow for manual cuts using the message board.
Perhaps you’re wondering why I would trade for a player I plan to cut. Suppose I snag a $9 Jake Peavy on Friday to stand in as my fifth starter. Then I work out a deal later for $6 Justin Masterson. They’re both questionable additions. Depending on the conditions in my league, I might only want to keep one of them.
The Bait and Keep
Another scenario where you might want to cut a trade acquisition is the bait and keep. Let’s say I have a $35 Justin Upton. His track record justifies the cost (arguably), but I’m convinced he’ll be a $15 to $20 player in San Diego. If I can’t find a deal to my liking, I’ll take anything that sees him gluing up somebody else’s roster. Simply put, I want to squander somebody else’s resources on draft day.
With a guy like Upton, he’s still likely to have the same effect if you cut him. Somebody will bid serious money on draft day. I usually use this tactic with relievers. Those marginal $3 types not only steal a roster spot, they also eat up $2 when they’re eventually cut.
Two Stage Roster Cuts
A two stage roster cut can be useful for confusing your rivals. Let’s say you have 15 players you intend to cut. They range from an automatic to a last minute decision. In a two stage roster cut, you would drop most of them all at once. This should be done before most of your rivals make their cuts. You want them to think you made all of your cuts. You’ll drop the rest of your guys as late as possible.
But why? You’ll usually use this tactic to create confusion around a scarce position. For example, I’ve been stockpiling third basemen, in an effort to solve the most obvious hole on my roster. I now have $32 Evan Longoria, $21 Matt Carpenter, and $3 Conor Gillaspie. If I can’t work out a trade for one of them, I’ll probably need to make a cut. Let’s say the best third baseman in the draft is Casey McGehee. If I know two teams have iffy third base choices, then I’ll feign keeping all three of my options. That might convince those owners to settle for their own marginal options.
This approach works best with third basemen and middle infielders. Other positions have plenty of draft depth.
One commonality with everything discussed today – the value of these tactics is dubious at best. I find them thoroughly enjoyable – hence why I’m sharing – but they won’t make or break your season.
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