How do you consistently lose in a fantasy baseball dynasty league? Obviously, the short answer is that you fail to win. But let’s stretch this out to a full post and I’ll share some head-scratching strategies that can lead to long-term mediocrity.
The fantasy baseball version of the Kansas City Royals.
I’ve seen owners in Dynasty Leagues (BTW, here are some Dynasty League ideas for you.) go after prospects year-after-year, yet never push to field a team that would win now.
Say what you “wil” about the Kansas City Royals trade of Wil Myers, but as disappointed as many KC fans were to see Myers go, they were equally proud for the Royals to draw a line in the sand and say that they were going for it. Some fantasy owners never draw that line in the sand. Every year they’ll pack it in too early and start to hoard up prospects.
Perpetual bets on the future of your team are completely out of whack. Heck, I love me some prospects, but you can’t keep giving owners a hamburger today for the promise of being repaid next season. Meanwhile, the teams getting the established players are up to their hips in raw chuck…
OK, I kind of let that hamburger metaphor get away from me.
The point is not all prospects pan out, so find the balance with veterans that can help you win now. Instead of going all prospects, all the time, only betting on the future, find that balance where you can field a team that will allow you to also be competitive today.
Holding on to auction dollars like it’s real money.
Likewise, I’ve seen fantasy owner after fantasy owner become obsessed with sharing dollars off their cap, consistently choosing to keep the cheapest players possible, while also consistently trading for the cheapest players possible.
This is an excellent strategy, but can be taken much too far.
There is a finite number of stars in baseball. While it is desirable to build a roster of high-performing players who have a low keeper cost, there is no reason to jettison stars to cut costs. Those very stars are the ones you’ll need to buy in the auction with the money you thought you were saving!
Auction dollars aren’t real money, so spend them with wild abandon. Don’t trade Miguel Cabrera for a cheaper player. A player like Miggy is a rare commodity and worth the keeper cost. Instead, be on the lookout for a couple of value players to pair with him. Don’t think that by shaving dollars you’ll have a goldmine going into the next year’s draft. You’ll leave frustrated with the pile of mediocre players on your roster while the prudent owners kept their high priced stars.
Hold on to the trapeze too long.
Lest you think that I’m always beating the ‘win now’ drum in dynasty leagues, I’m going to show you that I also recognize that you need to play for the future as well. Although the win now drum beat is P. H. Fat like the new Daft Punk record.
You can lose a dynasty league by holding on to players too long. While you may have rode that guy to sweet victory for several years (That’s the second metaphor I let get away from me…), in time that horse will slow down an you’ll need to mount a new mare. The secret is letting go of the old player just before the bottom drops out on his value.
Every trapeze artist needs to let go of the bar at the height of the swing so they can fly to the next one. There are the owners that refuse to let go of the veteran to jump to the prospect. Instead they are stuck holding on to the veteran on his down swing into fantasy irrelevance, when they could be swinging high with the new, young player. It’s the cycle of life, kids, cue the Lion King music.
Jurickson Profar is gathering dust on my bench this season, while I play Rickie Weeks. But come next year, I’ll let go of Weeks and I’ll let Profar carry me on his upswing. Take an honest look at all your players. If they seem like they might be replaced by players legitimately on their upswing, it’s up to you to move early, and not wait until it’s too late.
As hard as it is to consistently win in a dynasty league, you can set yourself up for sustained success. Just don’t be guilty of the above mistakes.