Nope, we aren’t talking poker but rather how long to hold onto players on your fantasy baseball team. If you’ve played fantasy sports long enough you’ve probably noticed that certain managers win more than others. Why is that? Are they really smarter than you? Can they evaluate talent better than you? Two factors that separates perennial winners and losers in fantasy baseball are the quality and quantity of transactions made throughout the year. Losers tend to stand pat and only make a few moves to improve their club while winners constantly tweak their team. Some managers tend to be satisfied with their drafted team and develop an attitude that says these are my guys and I’m going to sink or swim with them. Unfortunately that’s a sure path to a losing season.
Rule #2 – Do not hold onto players not producing
None of us know which players are going to have good years. We all try to stock our teams with players we think are going to be good. But once the draft is over we need to stay current with how our players are doing. That takes time…something many of us don’t have…and effort. We need to look for a replacement when a player isn’t producing. Sounds simple enough, right? It isn’t. We logically based our decisions on who to draft by a player’s past history. The assumption being that a player lives up to his average and doesn’t deviate much year to year. That’s a good assumption and unless a significant change has occurred (a trade to a different ballpark, injury, age, etc.) that’s as good a way to evaluate talent as any. The problem occurs when the player isn’t performing up to his potential (career averages). We think that a player not performing well now is just in a little slump and will surely start playing well soon. Therein lays the problem.
Week after week we put Joe Shmo into the lineup thinking that any day now he’s going to start hitting. And week after week he fails to produce. What should we do? It’s easy to look back and say it was a dumb move to play him but the point is what are you going to do about it? When do you know to bench the guy and move on? You can hope all you want that he’ll soon snap out of it…but you need to be prepared to move on when he doesn’t.
The manager who recognizes the situation early and proactively searches for a replacement is the manager who wins. Don’t just stand pat and hope for change. This is difficult. We like having name brand stars on our team. We especially like having guys we’ve heard about for years and who were top performers for more than a decade. We like to think that they are still that good and have at least one or two more good years in them. So it’s hard to trade those players or drop them into the free agent pool. But if they aren’t producing you have to do it, or at the very least you have to consider making a change.
Some fantasy baseball games charge extra for making transactions. That is certainly a deterrent to making a lot of moves. Baseball Manager doesn’t and that lends itself to this type of strategy. Remember that all we are saying here is that you should be ready and willing to make moves when the situation calls for it. It doesn’t mean you can improve things. There may not be anyone willing to trade with you or there may not be a better player sitting in the free agent pool. The point is you need to be looking…constantly…and make the move when it presents itself. Don’t just keep sinking lower and lower just because so and so used to be good. If he’s not good now he isn’t helping you.