Fantasy baseball part
II: the art of trading
On the DL
Ric Flair once said “To be the man, you
gotta beat the man.”
The same holds true for fantasy baseball. For anyone that’s
played fantasy ball, you know that one person in your league who’s
always a leg up on the competition. He (or she, though fantasy
baseball seems to have a disproportionate amount of male players)
seems to have ESP and is always making the smart moves. He lets
go of streaking players right before they crash and picks up slumping
players just before they recover. How does he it?
I won’t lie to you — keeping on top of fantasy baseball
takes time and commitment. You’ve got to read experts’ columns,
MLB.com features and daily updates about players’ performance
and health. But there’s an easier way to get ahead and it
comes in the glory that is the unfair trade.
The first step towards making a favourable trade is identifying
strong areas on your own team. By doing this, you’ll be able
to see where you can afford to lose talent. A prime example of
this would be having two elite shortstops on your team, as I did
after my 2003 draft. This type of advantage needs to be properly
leveraged; otherwise, you’ll end up playing a stud SS at
your Utility spot, something that would be much better used by
a bomb-launching corner infielder/ outfielder or a speedster to
add to your SB.
Next, identify teams that are weak in your strong areas. If you’ve
got an extra closer, look for teams that are short on relief. Instead
of waiting for teams to come to you, take the offer to them. You’d
be surprised how many managers will entertain offers they would
have never made in the first place.
Two for one trades are a great way to build a small nucleus of
elite players. Be warned, though — they also mean you’ll
be scrambling to fill newly-created gaps on your team.
Nevertheless, such trades are easy to sell to opponents. By taking
a small step back in one area, your opponent is able to make significant
gains in another. The net effect, you tell your competitor, is
to increase his team’s overall skill level. Meanwhile, you
move closer to your vision of a tight-knit group of studs that
were originally taken in the first few rounds of the draft.
More than anything, a numerically uneven trade in your favour
gives you the greatest tool available to any fantasy manager — flexibility.
The empty roster spot can be used to grab a backup for a position
with minimal depth, a rising star you’ve heard about or even
somebody to replace a starter on your squad.
Alternately, perhaps the best move you can make is to grab a player
that will play no role on your team. In this case, smart managers
use empty roster spots to get a player that will soon be invaluable
to another team.
Again, proactively identifying weaknesses on other teams goes
a long way towards being able to make trades that make your team
the best in the long run. If you can constantly make two-for-one
deals, you’ll end up with a few elite players and a bunch
of nobodies and sleepers. The challenge then becomes trading two
of those nobodies for one average guy and slowly getting a stud
from nothing but acquisitions from your league’s waiver wire.