Fighting fantasy baseball mediocrity

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Before I even start, let me just say that I know exactly how you feel.

For three months last year my friends ripped on me with the tenacity and vocabulary of an angry Ozzie Guillen.

And I deserved every second of it.

A little cocky heading into the 2007 campaign, I spent the entire month leading up until our fantasy baseball draft in the kind of trash-talking zone that would make Woody Harrelson in ‘White Man Can’t Jump’ jealous.

After the first week I was in second to last place and by this time last year I had managed to climb my way back into second to last place. Yeah, you read that right. It was hideous and the league did not let me forget about it.

So, like I said, I know how you feel.

You’re stuck somewhere in the middle of the pack in your fantasy baseball league and can’t figure out why. Day in and day out you set your lineup only to come back the next day to find your squad in exactly the same position as the day before.

Frustrating isn’t it?

There’s a multitude of reasons that can explain why this is happening to you. Sure, you could just be in the middle of a rough patch right now.

But then again, there’s a very good possibility your team just isn’t that good.

I know that’s the hardest realization for an owner to come to. But sometimes we as fantasy GM’s have a hard time taking an objective look at our rosters and making the decisions that need to be made, but those we don’t necessarily want to make.

There’s a lot of baseball left to play so don’t fret because there’s plenty of time to make up that ground between you and first place. So with that in mind, here are a couple of tips to help you break out of your fantasy slump.

Don’t be afraid to make a trade

There is a plethora of underachieving superstars out there right now that you could probably snag for a very reasonable price. The first name that comes to mind to me is Detroit Tigers first/third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

In previous years, you’d have every reason to question my fantasy acumen with that statement. However, ‘Miggy’ hasn’t been himself this year and may be had for the right price. Package together a couple of players on your team that are playing slightly above average and give it a shot.

I’m not saying it’s going to work, but sometimes you simply have to think outside of the box to get your team rolling. Trades can bring new life into areas of your team that weren’t doing anything productive for you in the first place. So roll the dice and take a chance. The worst thing that could happen is they say no.

Take a step back

Like I said before, you need to look at your team objectively and understand its deficiencies. Figure out what it is you need more than anything and figure out the best way to go and get it. If your big bats are striking out too much, make an effort to pick up a replacement that either plays the same or another position that hits more for average.

It may sound simple enough, but understand that complacency can doom you to fantasy mediocrity.

(Write that down.)

When you watch a game, make sure you watch the game

Huh?

Yeah, excuse the obligatory clever header there. What I’m trying to say is that you obviously got in to fantasy baseball because you enjoy the sport in some capacity or another. There’s probably an even better chance you might watch a few contests on T.V.

So from now on, make sure to pay attention to the other team’s players while you’re watching. Too many times I’ve found myself focusing more on what Disney character White Sox slugger Jim Thome looks like (Buzz Lightyear by the way) than who’s up to bat or who’s throwing to him.

You might develop a hunch about a guy that could pay off somewhere down the road. Pick him up, stash him on your bench and give it a couple weeks to see if your hunch was right.

If not, suck it up, drop him and pick up another one. It’s never a bad idea to have an extra roster slot for a ‘hunch’ guy.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on June 11, 2008 10:30 AM.

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