Kicking Rocks: A Case of the Januaries

While the movie Office space made the phrase, “somebody’s got a case of the Monday’s” a modern day staple of the American workplace, I think it’s time someone in the fantasy baseball community made the adjustment and coined the phrase, “a case of the Januaries.” Because let’s face it, this month sucks, plain and simple. The GM winter meetings have come and gone, the majority of free agents have already signed, Spring Training isn’t for another month and a half, and the baseball news feeds are pretty much barren. The derivative distraction that is fantasy football is finally over and…well…neither the NHL nor the NBA come close to that glorious six months of MLB deliciousness. I’m bored. And boredom brings on depression. And depression brings on…the Januaries.

Obviously there are things you can do to help distract yourself…

You could spend a little extra time with your significant other, but really, she’s still mad at you for blowing off her best friend’s engagement party back in September because you had to be in front of the computer to make your waiver claims when the site rolled over at 3 AM. She says she forgives you, but when you’re sitting together on the couch, flipping through the channels and you pause for even a split second on the the MLB Network, you immediately hear that disapproving “tsk” and know that she’s going to bring it up again soon unless you put on her favorite show or start rubbing her feet. No thank you.

You can sit and click through a number of the sites you frequent during the season but most of them (FanGraphs excluded) don’t have the fresh content to get your juices flowing. Most of them are still doing all their behind-the-scenes work — getting their draft kits, magazines and upcoming season’s player rankings together. Sure, there’s some content, but in the end, how many times can you read about some idiot who keeps driving up Michael Bourn’s ADP?

Maybe you call up a buddy from your keeper league and try to talk strategy with him, but all he really wants to do is run down your players, talk about his own grueling decisions between a $4 Ryan Doumit and a $3 Wilson Ramos, and brag about how Matthew Berry re-tweeted his clever thought on the crappy officiating during the BCS title game. I don’t care how many Lagunitas IPA you’re sucking down to cloud your judgment; the conversation is getting old, and fast.

Mock drafts can be fun, but let’s face it…in the end they’re like a bad sexual experience. You get yourself all worked up about getting ready to draft, you pre-rank your players, dig out a couple of tasty sleeper names, jump into the draft room, throw out a few quips in the chat area, make some picks and brag about them, razz a buddy about some of his choices, you make it through 25 rounds of glorious excitement and then……nothing. You’re done. Finished. The team you just picked is going nowhere because there is no season. There is no league. Hell, these guys aren’t even yours. You can sit and analyze the roster grid in the end, the equivalent of a forced cuddle I suppose, but when it’s all said and done, you know this experience really just isn’t going anywhere.

No, this month just isn’t any fun. I need more baseball, both real and fantasy. I need position battles. I need pitching match-ups. I need boxscores. I need FAAB dollars to pick up another shortstop. I need all of that and I need it right now. Because all I’ve got going at this moment is a stupid case of the Januaries.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

24 Responses to “Kicking Rocks: A Case of the Januaries”

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  1. Brian says:

    Sounds like you wish you were in the Bull Durham Ottoneu league in January… #legit

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  2. Justin says:

    I love you, Howard. If that helps.

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  3. Dave Randolph says:

    Amen…this the winter equivalent of the dog days of summer. And now, when my wife sees me dumbly staring at the blank computer screen I can tell her I have a bad “case of the Januaries”. A great term to add to the Fantasy Baseball glossary!

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  4. MustBunique says:

    You have described my life. Please remove your recording devices from my brain. I am procrastinating on draft prep this year on purpose so that I have something to do in a week or so. One thing that did make this month fun is that keepers for a couple of my leagues were due (extreme cases can be approved for changing keepers after this early deadline). Makes for a good time combing through the available player pool.

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  5. Andrew says:

    “Mock drafts can be fun, but let’s face it…in the end they’re like a bad sexual experience.”

    Most accurate paragraph about mock drafts that has ever or will ever be written.

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  6. Jon says:

    Here’s how I get through the Januaries (and the Februaries): I’m in an 18-team league that slow drafts via message board. You have 6 hours to make your pick (with the clock turned off during the overnight hours). As I write, we’re in the 7th of 27 rounds (we’ll probably draft until about Valentine’s Day). It’s great to be actually drafting a team that you’ll play with, and because it’s an extremely deep league, it helps me prepare for my other three leagues that won’t draft until March.

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    • LuckyStrikes says:

      I love this idea. I tried to convince my league to do this last year but they didn’t take the bait. I’m left with playing MLB The Show on PS3 to get my baseball fix in January.

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      • MLB Rainmaker says:

        I’ve done a two-week draft in my points league for 8 years now, and its the only way to go for a snake draft. You end up getting 15 picks a day or so and it really gives you time to think through about positional depth and strategize your next pick. In my opinion, the draft is at least 40% of the fun of a league, so why not draw that part out over a few weeks.

        Although it doesn’t help much now, as we typically don’t start the draft until 21-days from first pitch.

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    • The Rajah says:

      Slow draft – UGH – the most painful two weeks of any year. These are made for people who don’t really know who to draft so they scour the websites for hours for a hot name and steal time from my life. Knowledgeable people can get it over with in one evening.

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      • Stuck in a slump says:

        One of the leagues that I’m in does a slow draft, but the reasoning is that when you try to get 18-20 people online at the same time it gets difficult, and since the way that we’re setup doesn’t allow us to do auto-drafts, this is the best alternative.

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      • Jon says:

        Rajah, the whole point is to make it last throughout January and early February. The draft is actually full of “knowledgeable” people.

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  7. Evil Empire says:

    Maybe you should spend this time trying to find the right package to deal away Mike Trout in your keeper league. Just a thought.

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  8. Nevin says:

    I get through The Dark Time in the following manner: have 1 fantasy football league that continues into the playoffs. Top 4 teams pick 6 players from their regular season roster to keep for the playoff period, and re-draft to fill out the rosters. Draft is in order of regular season finish with no snaking. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, etc. QB/WR/WR/WR/RB/RB/TE/K/DEF/Flex/Flex, where Flex can include any position you choose. That carries personal competitive fake sports through lat Jan and early Feb (if you can be one of the top 4 teams in your league).

    Further: In my most competitive roto league determine draft date before Winter Meetings in December, and assign either an NFL playoff team or else an NBA team to each owner, and draft in reverse order of elimination from the playoffs, or reverse order of datetime loss in NBA after Jan 1. So, the owner randomly assigned the team that wins the Superbowl gets the first pick in the upcoming fantasy baseball draft. The owner of the team that loses the Superbowl picks 2nd. And so on, backwards in order of elimination by datetime. Note: Its nice to have the second game of the day.
    In the case of the NBA, its the same. We assign out the 12 teams that have the best record as of New Year’s Eve, and the last owner who’s team loses gets first pick.
    It’s fun in that it gets you to root for or at least slightly follow a team or sport you might otherwise as soon ignore, and it let’s you start playing around with potential draft picks and projected keepers for all teams sooner.

    The rest of the Mid Jan to Late Feb period is spent studying players, choosing keepers, deciding on a strategy, setting values. Making decisions. Then late Feb and early March, mock drafts. Real drafts start Mid to Late March (this year: March 16).

    For example, I want (for my football league) for the Falcons, Broncos, Niners and Texans to win this weekend; for my baseball league, for the Broncos to make the Superbowl; and for real life, for the Falcons to defeat the Broncos there. Falcons win, I win football, and I get the #2 pick. I can live with Braun instead of Trout this year. 38/20 instead of 23/50. I can live with that.

    I spent yesterday laying out projections for and comparatively ranking Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Yoenis Cespedes, Harper, Matt Holliday and Jason Heyward.

    Helps pass the time.

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    • The Rajah says:

      Fantasy football is for people whose fantasy baseball teams suck. I always promote football to the rest of my league in August I even start a league and invite everyone to join and promote the heck out of the draft with a lot of trash talk. Then I use their lack of attention to run away with my league title.

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  9. MLB Rainmaker says:

    Agreed. Its brutal.

    I spend my time ticking through my player notes from last seasons, and making my watch lists for Spring Training. Here are my favorites lists (still much work to do):

    1) Injured Pitchers – Collect my list of potential high value guys that will be off radars because of injury. Guys like Beachy are obvious, but Cory Luebke or Juan Nicasio might be off the radar. A $1 bid on Brett Anderson got me three quality starts in the playoffs.

    2) Short-season phenoms – Guys that didn’t get enough time to be proven, but shined enough to be potential gems. Kris Medlen almost doesn’t count group, but I also like David Phelps (NYY) if he starts or maybe Steven Johnson (BAL) after he had a couple decent spot starts. Got huge value from Samardzija and Lance Lynn last year this way.

    3) New faces/new places – Lots of guys moved this year, so folks will be targeting Trevor Bauer and Mike Olt (once he moves), but that leaves quite a few others that will slip through. Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi in MIA, Tommy Hanson opens the door for Delgado or Teheran, and Wade Davis going to the Rotation in KC.

    I just realized those are all starting pitchers, but you get the idea. Once Spring Training starts, the names will get lost in the mix, and these guys are the guys that win your league, not deciding whether you’re taking Votto or Pujols.

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  10. Joey Donuts says:

    Don’t walk, run from any girlfriend that disapproves of fantasy baseball.
    Run hard and run fast.

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  11. Mac says:

    Two way to pass the time, only one of which is fantasy oriented:

    1) Educatw yourself on some minor league systems you’re less familiar with

    2) For a more general fix, dig into baseball’s history. Imagine playing fantasy baseball at the turn of the century. Frank Baker and his 10 HR a season would be cream of the crop.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      I always look at the numbers Randy Johnson put up in the late 90′s — 5 straight seasons of 220+IP and 300+Ks. No one has even come close to that level of dominance in 10 years! In today’s game, I can’t even fathom a 300K pitcher…

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