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The Tough Choices Required Down the Stretch to Win a Title (Fantasy Baseball)

by Alex Altmix | @Altmix_23 | Featured Writer
Apr 9, 2020

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We’ve all been there. You drop a guy only to see him explode down the stretch; you got a little busy once or twice and lost sight of your league for a few days; perhaps you got bitter at a player and benched him the day he busted out of a slump.

Maybe you can get away with one bad decision. But two, three, or more, and you can expect to get bounced out of the playoffs. So, what does it take to win a title? Check out these strategies for making the tough choices required to win a title down the stretch.

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Never Act on Tilt

This is important to list first because it affects every aspect of fantasy baseball. Man, oh man, can it be easy to drop a quality player after a bad performance, especially toward the end of a year. It’s critical to never make a rash decision in fantasy baseball. If you can’t figure out whether to drop a stud, the answer is most likely no. Patience is king, even in the fantasy playoffs. Never make a bad day at the office even worse by dropping a player your team really needs.

Keep Paying Attention After the Trade Deadline

Do you think I’m talking about your whole fantasy league? Or do you think I’m talking about the entire MLB? Either way, you’re right. 

Hey, after your trade deadline has passed, you only have one way of making your team better: the waiver wire. Study your opponents. Know when they need to pick up a pitcher, batter, both, or neither. It can and should affect your strategy. Also, if you’re not paying attention nightly to what’s happening in 15 different ballparks across the nation, you’re at a disadvantage. Vital information is readily available at your fingertips right here at FantasyPros. Use this link daily to stay updated to the latest news.

Study the FantasyPros’ Closer Depth Chart

By the time September rolls around, you should know FantasyPros’ Closer Depth Chart like the Astros know other teams’ signs (Yep, I said it). When a team’s closer goes down, the time to pounce on the replacement closer is typically very short. Having a good understanding of the depth chart, or at least having it easily accessible, can snag you a league-changing pick up at the most important time. 

Find Two-Start Pitchers

Many leagues either have a weekly pick-up limit or a weekly lock. Each and every roster move becomes vital during August and September. Finding two-start streamers throughout the stretch run can be the difference between winning a championship and not even making the playoffs. Every week, a handful of pitchers are slated to start twice. Many of those pitchers might be rostered already or not worth rostering altogether. Some, however, are diamonds in the rough. Sundays and Mondays are the perfect time to get a leg up on the competition by finding yourself a two-start pitcher, and you should use FantasyPros’ Two Start Pitcher Rankings as your guide. 

Start Your Studs

Take this one from me personally. Don’t bench the guys who got you to the playoffs even if they are a little cold. There’s nothing worse than benching a typical starter only to see him have a crazy day that would have won you… er me… an entire playoff matchup. Your ride or dies got you there for a reason. Ride them out.

Understand Your Matchup

This one is directed toward those of you who play in head-to-head categories leagues. Understanding the current and ever-changing landscape of your matchup will be the difference between winning and losing if you play long enough. Take this example. 

It’s Sunday, and you’re beating your opponent 6-4. Nine of the 10 categories are wrapped up, with ERA being the only potential outlier. You’re even up nearly a full point there, though. Your opponent has no starting pitchers left; you have one. The matchup should be done, over, finished. Bench your starter, and go home happy. There’s no way your opponent can lower his or her ERA a full point with no starters left. What’s that? You forgot to bench your starter, and he got blown up and knocked out in the first inning? Congrats. You’ve now lost ERA and lost your playoff matchup 5-5 on a tiebreaker. I think you get the point. Know your matchup, and set your roster accordingly.

Trust Your Gut

Last but not least, put a little trust in yourself! You’ve done the homework, and you’ve watched your players all year long. Give yourself a little credit. Believe it or not, you may actually have more knowledge of certain situations than you think. Making the calls you believe are correct always makes the consequences a little easier to deal with. 

Conclusion

The hardest part about fantasy baseball is that there is no exact science to winning a championship. That’s also what makes it so much fun to play. If you put in the work and make sound decisions, a fantasy baseball championship will eventually come your way. Following this guide is the perfect way to help you make the tough choices required to do so.

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Alex Altmix is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive or follow him @Altmix_23.

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