Thursday, June 26, 2008

Living a Lie: Playing to Win

Living a Lie will be a weekly installment delving into the annals of the world of fantasy sports and will hopefully run until the end of the baseball season.

The old baseball adage is that a win in April means as much as a win in September. Unfortunately in the H2H fantasy world, this simply isn't the case.

If you play rotisserie, your standing reflect your total stats cumulated throughout the year. An injured starter might net you the exact same stats as a middle reliever, and therefore would be of equal value to you, even though his stats would be more concentrated in a couple months rather than spread out over the season.

In H2H format, however, you have the little thing we like to call the playoffs at the end of the year, a time when all previous records get thrown out and you're only goal is to win that week. It doesn't matter how badly your team performs in-season, as long as you nab that coveted 6th spot, your team has a chance for the championship.

For this reason, players who perform better later in the season are much more valuable than quick starters. The Xavier Nady's of the world will help you get to a number one seed, but probably won't hoist the trophy for you. Injured superstars, your Soriano's and Ortiz's, are still just as valuable as they were before they went down, as long as they get back for those three weeks.

Does this mean that you take a flyer and pick up Chien-Ming Wang if he's on your waiver wire right now? Probably not, but I certainly wouldn't advise dropping him either, in hopes that he hits his projected September 1 return.

What it does mean though is that you should care less about hot and cold streaks than about just gradually building a team that can do some damage late in the season. No one is going to remember that you draft Josh Hamilton in the 12th round if he cools off and ends up with a 30 HR, 120 RBI season (i.e. Solid, but not winning you a title). Nobody will remember that you picked up Edinson Volquez if he is shut down before the end of the season with Cincy out of the race and his already having pitched more innings than the rest of his life combined. None of that helps you. You just need to be on the look out for players who you know will help you down the stretch, and possibly more importantly, whose RL teams still have something to play for.

As my friend, Seth Coburn, once said after making a controversial trade, "Hey, I play to win, not to come in second or third, baby!"

Second half studs (Players who routinely perform better in the second half than the first):

  • Eric Byrnes
  • Mark Teixeira
  • Robinson Cano
  • Jermaine Dye
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Chipper Jones
  • AJ Burnett
  • Jeff Kent