What To Do If Most of Your League Has Tuned Out (Fantasy Baseball)
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People get bored. Sometimes that means giving up on a show midway through the first season, or perhaps it leads to readers skipping the article’s introduction. Far too often, a diminished attention span causes players to give up on their fantasy baseball squads long before October.
Someone is bound to check out in a public or casual league, especially if a rotisserie squad has already run away with first place. As covered recently, managers will often lose focus in September. But what can a floundering league do when multiple participants lose interest before the All-Star break?
Such inactivity could ultimately force commissioners to replace absentee owners. Those bored with their lackadaisical league may just need to find a new one next year. Before accepting those unpleasant realities, here are some measures to boost engagement in a fading league.
Send Out Trade Offers/Inquiries
A lack of chatter and aggressive activity doesn’t always mean a manager is falling asleep at the wheel. Some people are merely content setting a lineup and making the seldom waiver-wire add when the need beckons. However, just because they don’t have the time or energy to explore the trade market like Jerry Dipoto doesn’t mean they won’t respond to an offer.
*Clears throat and enters room with oversized clipboard* Has this ever happened to you? After dashing over to the league’s transaction page right quick, you see a trade involving a player you would have loved to acquire. The only problem: You had no clue he was available. That manager has never updated their trade block, posted on the league message board, or sent out any offers. How were you supposed to know this quiet team was open for business?
Chances are, the other team made the first move. The seemingly unengaged squad wasn’t trying to trade Player X, but they were paying enough attention to see — and accept — an offer they liked.
Unless you’ve played with the same people to know that someone is never amenable to trade inquiries, reach out to everyone until getting a reason to do otherwise. Someone who was laying low may surprise you and respond. Adding a message to the offer can also start a conversation and give that manager more motivation to stay engaged and keep negotiating. Maybe you’ll even spark a fire called friendship.
Create a League Chat
A league lull can cause active managers to lose interest. On the other hand, a group that establishes a sense of camaraderie will embolden everyone to up their game and remain invested. Building a bond beyond the draft room and standings page can help avoid in-season doldrums.
Forge that connection through a league chat. Plenty of platforms are out there. A group text may work for friends, who can use the added familiarity to shame friends into setting a lineup or responding to a proposed rule change. Others can turn to GroupMe, Slack, Discord, Twitter, a chat hosted by the league site, or whatever options this out-of-touch writer without an Instagram or Tic
Tac Toc account doesn’t know about.
Whichever site/app chosen will prove an easy way to talk trash, trades, and any other league issues that arise. One person posting that they’re looking for a starting pitcher usually leads to someone else announcing that they, too, need pitching help. Eventually, if you find you actually like these people, it will become a place to talk baseball and all else.
Is the problem the people in the league, or the league itself?
If partaking in a random public league or one among friends new to — or only slightly interested in — fantasy baseball, the group is probably just a dud. In other circumstances where you anticipated a more stimulating season, perhaps the settings aren’t keeping everyone properly engaged.
While this writer prefers roto, head-to-head will keep more players in the running through the summer. Either way, changing up the categories beyond the bland (and outdated) five-by-five could spruce up your league.
A free league may need a prize, whether it’s money or a commemorative trophy. Installing keepers also tends to grip everyone’s interest regardless of their place in the standings. Get creative and customize your league beyond the unadventurous default settings. This way, it feels special rather than just another faceless league in the crowd.
The league has turned into a ghost town. Trading is all but impossible, and the level of competition has skirted below your expectations.
Oh well. If everyone has already checked out and returned the room keys, there’s not much left to do but to win the whole thing.
If activity has gotten that barren, it shouldn’t be as hard. The waiver wire becomes your oyster to pick up in-season call-ups, new closers, and anyone riding a hot streak. Inactive teams at the bottom are relinquishing points for the taking, so you might as well take them and go out on top.
Granted, this scenario is only likely to happen in a free league with nothing at pride at stake. But hey, a win’s a win. Go for gold before joining a new league up to your standards next year.