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Determining the Roster Runt

Fantasy owners usually feel good about their rosters after a draft or auction. They got most of the players they wanted and/or needed. All is good. A nice core lineup is set. A couple of players with several qualified positions are waiting on the bench to fill in for a starter’s off day. Rookies were selected that should be called up soon. A pitching staff that is second to none is ready. The first waiver period expires and the guy that auto-drafted then places a player on the waiver wire you desire. Now, a owner must figure out which player they should drop to pick up the desired player.

Once a fantasy manager has completed their draft or auction, a owner needs to immediately designate the first player to be dropped. Finding a player to drop for a better player should be easy, but many owners struggle with it. It should be known at all times which player is the first to go on the team if an opportunity arises. It gives an owner flexibility to make moves while others are holding onto their preciously drafted team.

The best way to handle this problem is to draft a team as if it had one or two open spots. For example, a owner takes a chance on Josh Hamilton early in the draft. There is a decent chance he will end up on the DL this season. A backup will be needed. The backup needs to be drafted with the intention of keeping him for the entire season. Some other players need to be drafted to fill the roster spots that are always in flux.

One type of player used to fill these open spots are Plug-n-Play guys. They can be useful for accumulating stats when someone else has a day off. Another group of players to use are SP/RP qualified relievers. They can fill in for starters not throwing and accumulate some extra Ks and lower both their team’s ERA and WHIP.

Right after the draft and before the season starts, there are so many moves that are still being made as MLB teams finalize their rosters. Players that an owner figured would have an opening day job (see Brandon Belt in 2011) are sent to the bench or the minors. Unexpected players will be starting for several teams. A method I use to have extra roster space during this time is to draft as many DL eligible players as I have DL spots on the team. Move these drafted players immediately to the DL and then begin looking over the waiver wire for some pickups.

Another post draft strategy I use in H2H leagues is to canvas the waiver wire looking for opening day starters on bad teams. With most of the teams’ 1’s and 2’s already drafted, these duds on duds will likely be the only week 1, 2 start pitchers available. Once they get their starts done in week 1, look for some more 2 start pitchers for week 2. In H2H leagues, it is so import to maximize IP and this is a nice early season advantage.

Once a player is acquired, a new must drop player needs to be found. Sometimes the option is easily found on the roster. Other times, an uneven 2 for 1 trade may be order. I like these trades because each owner benefits from them.

No matter the decision, make sure you know the runt of the roster in case another opportunity arises. Early in the season is when owners make mistakes and let the wrong players hit the waiver wire. Having a predesignated player ready to drop makes the decision easier for an owner to pick up one of these released players.