The season is winding down in some ways, but for those of you in the heat of a playoff run or at the end of a tight Roto race, it is really just starting to ramp up.
As the games pass you will need to make tough, tough decisions on how to approach winning.
Let’s break down things starting with head to head style leagues, and we’ll start with the leaders.
If you are a top seed or second seed going into to a final week of regular season without anyone close to knocking you out, congratulations! Especially if this means a bye week for you.
Now, as for approaching said bye week. Don’t check out for a week! Much like teams that have to play real the games get rusty with a week off, you can also get out of the swing of things while not checking your team for a full week. However the real danger lies in not being ready for a late-season injury until Monday morning. Just because the games being played don’t count for you doesn’t mean they don’t matter!
Say you are in a bit of a tight race for playoffs. I’m gonna quick run through how to approach your scenario!
Tight race at the top, you need to assess what can be won or lost. If you can reach the top seed and get a bye week then you might want to play it out like you are in the playoffs already. Meaning bench hitters, lower tier pitchers and maybe an extra closer are expendable for the right player to nab you a different category or two and ultimately win the week!
Tight race for the last playoff spot, same as above. You do not want to miss a chance at the playoffs because you couldn’t pull the trigger to stream in some arms or grab a hot bat for an ailing hitter. You need to live to play another day at ALMOST all costs. Don’t drop Albert Pujols for Ike Davis or anything like that, BUT certainly a guy like Mark Teixeira.
If you are just playing for different spot in the middle of the pack with no other incentive, let is ride a little more. If you have guys like the aforementioned Teix or Curtis Granderson, wait and see how their injuries play out.
In keeper leagues, you need to have a good idea of who you are gonna keep, so that the decisions on who you can live without the following season and the guys you can drop if needed have already been made. As a general rule, top three guys at their position should be kept year-to-year, so try your hardest to continue to hold onto guys like Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista.
Now we come to Roto. In many leagues you don’t get much for not winning. Perhaps, your league has a second place trophy, or even a trophy that goes to a league vote for best season without taking first place, like we do in one of our leagues. For those of you that like to wager on our silly game, maybe there are payouts for second, even third. Lastly for you hardcore guys, it comes down to pride, which often outweighs any payouts or trophies anyway. Why wouldn’t you give your all until the very end and finish as high as possible?
If you are thinking about draft position for next year, that’s just lame and really can impact who wins the league. So, don’t talk to me. Is that harsh?
Now there are levels to how hard to go for your final position. If you can get that top spot, EVERYONE is expendable! Even in a keeper league, it’s not likely that a situation arises that you should drop Prince Fielder for a more fleet footed Tyler Colvin. BUT if you think that five more steals will help you more than five homers the rest of the way, “You gotta do what you gotta do!”
It’s all about finding the avenues where you can make up the points you need!
This is also the time of year where you need to start loosening the grip on pitchers and really start streaming. Don’t go wild with who you bring in BUT with just about 3-4 starts left for some guys (or less for Stephen Strasburg), you need be able to drop even as high as second-tier pitchers with tough games coming up in favor of guys like Sam Deduno who would be pitching at home against a lesser opponent.
I know it might seem crazy to drop a potential keeper like Zack Greinke in favor of an absolute non-keeper like Deduno, but hey, this is not a game for the faint of heart!
All in all, you have to weigh risk reward very carefully down the stretch, because you certainly don’t want to crunch the numbers in the off-season and realize one or two moves would have made the difference. Trust me.