Let’s get this out of the way: WINS are a stupid category in fantasy baseball, but it’s what we have to work with so we need to rack them up if we want to “win” our fantasy baseball league.
Last year in my primary fantasy baseball league the WINS category was extremely competitive. Out of our 15 owners, we had a 7 or 8 or them who were clustered up with 4-5 WINS of each other. It was brutal. Guys would bounce up and down in the standings based upon if they had a starter get a win that night or not. If you had a reliever vulture a win then it was about the most glorious thing ever.
What it meant was that guys were forced to chase WINS, which isn’t a great position to be in. But first let’s get a gauge on if we are really falling behind in the WIN category.
The first thing you want to do to compete is look at your league history and set some baseline goals. You should’ve done this well before the draft even. I’m turning this into grade school math, but you take that goal for WINS and divide it by 6, because there are 6 months in the baseball season. It’s crude, but it’s just an estimate.
Let’s say your goal for the season was 120 WINS, which divided by 6 equals 20. The pace you need to set is 20 WINS per month.
Hang on because I’m getting to something that resembles a point. Say you have a 12 team league and 5-6 of those teams got well more than the 20 WINS in each of the first 2 months of the season. Well, this means that the trend for WINS is higher than you predicted and you have a dog race on your hands, except instead of stuffed bunnies, the dogs are chasing WINS.
While you hope you get lucky and a reliever picks up a sneaky WIN, you can’t count on that. You need to get extra starts to give you the legitimate opportunity for more WINS.
If you carry 5 starting pitchers on your team then you are potentially getting 7 starts per week, considering that a couple of your guys will be going twice that week. Seven starts won’t cut it.
The most efficient solution is to drop the worst performing starter on your team, which seems counter intuitive, but stick with me. You’ll then use that open roster spot to stream in at least three different starters for that week. What once was 1, possibly two, starts per week for that roster spot has now become 3-4 starts as you stream in guys, meaning you have the opportunity for more WINS.
We’ve written about (and even talked about) streaming before and the tips and techniques you need to use to be successful at that, so I won’t go into those details again. But do keep in mind that you need to get 5 innings out of a starter to qualify for a WIN so grab guys that go deep into a game and is going against a favorable opponent. If you do this for one month you can add several potential WINS and put yourself right back into contention in that category. Dixon’s Picks is a great place to identify pitchers to stream.
I wish it always works out though. I mentioned that last year my league was in a horse race, with several teams trying to pile on the WINS. I went on a tear, but several other teams did as well, only much more so. I finished sadly in the middle of the pack in that category. Luckily I was purposefully grabbing high K guys to stream so I gained just enough in that category to bump me up a couple points. Still, chasing the WIN mill is imprecise and based on a whole lot of luck and things outside your control, like real baseball. Just ask Cliff Lee.