Kicking Rocks: Fantasy Tweakers

It never fails. Every year, just before the season begins, my job description changes from fantasy writer to crisis negotiator. I go from offering breakouts, busts and strategic draft plans to talking fantasy owners off a ledge as their anxiety, impatience and insecurities push them closer and closer to idiotic trades that will decimate their team in the long run. Like Crash Davis taking young Ebby Calvin under his wing, I attempt to subdue their panic with trite cliches of, “patience is a virtue” and “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Some I am able to help. Others are too far gone. If you’re reading this right now, step away from the panic button. It’s going to be okay.

Now that I have your attention and we’re in a more calm, soothing state of mind, let’s sit back, take some deep breaths, maybe put on some Enya or some relaxing nature sounds and gently inhale….and exhale. Inhale….and exhale. Feel better? Good.

NOW SNAP THE #&%! OUT OF IT!!!!!

Seriously, people. What the heck is wrong with you? Did we not just spend the last three months doing hardcore prep work? Did we not talk enough about potential booms and busts? Did we not provide you with rankings, explanations and updates? Did we not talk about draft strategy, ADP and auction values OVER AND OVER AGAIN?!?!?

We did.

And you studied them all. Like a tiny baby whose mind is but a sponge waiting to soak up all the knowledge this world has to provide, you sat and read each and every article published. Every night you read the countless player updates and spring training boxscores. You asked a million questions and we gave you the answers to the best of our abilities. We plotted strategies together. Formulated game-plans. We taught you to zig when the rest of your league zagged and like a ninja, you dazzled on the practice field, pulling down killer squads in mock drafts.

So what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your team? Do you think you botched your draft that badly? Do you have that little confidence, not just in your team, but in yourself to think that you could have put together a respectable squad? We never get all of our targets. Never. But that’s why we set ourselves up with depth charts and contingency plans. You roll with the punches. You don’t try to blow up your team five minutes after you’ve drafted. Have some confidence that you did enough prep work and were more than capable of drafting a quality team no matter what trip-wires your league-mates tried to plant around you.

Sure, those of you in deeper leagues or AL or NL-only play may see a few holes in your roster, but making immediate moves without having watched a single game or how any of your potential breakout picks pan out is insane. How do you know you’re not trading away the next 2011 Adam Jones just so you can upgrade from Kolten Wong to Brian Dozier. And is that even an upgrade? How do you know? They haven’t played a single game yet.

And those of you in mixed leagues of 12 teams or fewer — just stop right now. Just stop. The player pool is big enough that your team is probably stacked in some way or another. Stop overreacting and sit on your hands. Let the season begin and then evaluate where your strengths and weaknesses may be.

While technically we’re two games into the regular season, it really hasn’t begun. You have to let your team marinate. Give it some time. Sit back and watch them play a little. Take a vacation from your OCD and just enjoy Opening Day. One of the best parts about the baseball season is the beginning and if you’re sitting there senselessly sweating over your fantasy team you’re not going to appreciate it for how amazing it actually is.

Get off the ledge. Step away from the computer. Enjoy the game. If you need to, go stand in front of a mirror and give yourself a daily affirmation if you need to — I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, I put together a seriously kick-ass fantasy baseball team.




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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, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com


41 Responses to “Kicking Rocks: Fantasy Tweakers”

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  1. Squidblob says:

    I’m debating over whether I should drop Anthony Rendon for Kolten Wong in a 10-team mixed Yahoo OBP league.

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    • mattpullman says:

      I’d take Wong over Rendon. Wong has at least shown 20+ SB potential in the minors, whereas Rendon seems destined to hang out in single digits of both HR and SB this year. Talent-wise, they’re likely even, and they’re both in high-powered offenses, with the Cardinals being more consistent. I’d take Wong.

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  2. yaboynate says:

    You is smawt, you is special, and you is impohtant.

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    • Ninja says:

      Impotent!?!? Great not only is my fantasy team garbage, but I’m also impotent on top of that? Should I drop my viagra and pick up some androgel?

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  3. Umpire Weekend says:

    Better yet, sniff out the owner(s) with buyers remorse anxiety, and offer to help them (without being a bully or dbag about it).

    This alone has probably added a notch in my final standing in a few years.

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  4. junior says:

    hey guys I need your help this is my team is 5 sp and 2 rp max wanted to know where would i need some help this is points league and should I DROP BRAD MILLER FOR KOLTEN WONG BACK UP 2B ANY OTHER IDEAS LOOKING AT MY TEAM :

    C Yan Gomes, Cle C
    1B Joey Votto, Cin 1B
    2B Kelly Johnson, ny 2B
    3B Manny Machado, Bal 3B
    SS Everth Cabrera, SD SS
    OF Ryan Braun, Mil OF
    OF Jose Bautista, Tor OF
    OF Matt Holliday, StL OF
    UTIL David Ortiz, Bos DH
    Bench Billy Hamilton, Cin OF
    Bench Torii Hunter, Det OF
    Bench mike moustakas,kc 3B
    Bench brad miller, sea ss

    sp Madison Bumgarner, SF
    sp Chris Sale, CWS
    sp Alex Cobb, TB
    sp Julio Teheran, Atl
    sp Alex Wood, Atl

    rp Ernesto Frieri, LAA
    rp Aroldis Chapman, Cin

    Batting
    Singles (1B) 1 Doubles (2B) 2
    Triples (3B) 3 Home Runs (HR) 4
    Walks (BB) 1 Runs Scored (R) 1
    Runs Batted In (RBI) 1 Stolen Bases (SB) 2
    Strikeouts (K) -0.5 Hit by Pitch (HBP) 1
    Caught Stealing (CS) -1

    Pitching
    Innings Pitched (IP) 1.5 Earned Runs (ER) -1
    Wins (W) 5 Losses (L) -5
    Saves (SV) 5 Blown Saves (BS) -3
    Strikeouts (K) 1 Hits Allowed (H) -1
    Walks Issued (BB) -1 Hit Batsmen (HB) -1
    Quality Starts (QS) 3

    -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Cliff B says:

    12 teams, auto draft for the entire league. I have had to make a couple (6) of adjustments.

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    • Jason B says:

      Auto-draft = Hey guys, let’s take the most fun element of the league and NOT EVEN DO IT!! Yuck.

      (I know, I know, sometimes it’s a necessity. I guess. But still.)

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      • Jason B says:

        I take that back. I disagree with my younger, dumber self. I don’t think auto-drafts are ever *REALLY* necessary. You communicate with the key/core owners to set a time and date for the draft that works for most everyone in the league and set and publicize the draft date well in advance; if someone can’t make it, move on and find a new owner who can.

        I can’t understand settling for a totally unsatisfying and clearly inferior draft format because one guy’s daughter has travel ball when you want to draft or some such. You are much nicer than I would be to accommodate “that guy”. :)

        An online draft takes maybe 3-4 hours at most? We can all find that in a given 168-hour week, or in the 744-hour month of March.

        And that’s what really grinds my gears. Back to you Diane.

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      • Cliff B says:

        Right. Lot of casual sorts in this one. Not one of my main leagues, but a local one and should be fun regardless.

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    • The Theory says:

      I’m in one of those leagues this year.
      The second I saw my roster I totally regretted it.

      Pretty sure my autopicker was drunk.
      Also pretty sure there’s no fixing it.

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  6. sugarsmack182 says:

    So you’re saying I shouldn’t have dropped Kazmir for Porcello in my 12-team mixed H2H points league?!? Sheet.

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  7. fWAR says:

    OK Howie, tell me how it’ll be allright when I ended up with TWENTY FREAKING DOLLARS after the draft. That kind of stupidity is always punished by the Baseball Gods, it’s like having Delmon Young and Nolan Reimold on your favorite MLB team.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      Yeah, sorry. That’s just poor money management in an auction. We can only take you so far in our suggestions. You have to be able to execute it properly. Doesn’t mean your team is bad. Just means it could have been better.

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      • atoms says:

        I actually ended up with $18 left, and while I did slightly regret missing out on 1 or 2 guys by not going higher, I literally had my pick of the last 5-6 guys on my roster, because I could outbid everyone else. So, it wasn’t a total loss, and I have some nice prospects/sleepers that nobody else was able to get in on. I still like my team.

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  8. JIm Lahey says:

    I couldn’t show up for a draft for my super deep auction league so I got autopicked {St Patrick’s day drinking…) and it could have really not gone much worse. It appears my team spent zero money. Already burned through all 5 of my moves allowed this week.

    Anyone have suggestions what I can do? Trade RP and platoon OF for MI? We have 15 hitting/pitching categories, so anyone that contributes something could have value.

    C – Russell Martin
    1B – Anthony Rizzo
    2B – Dustin Ackley
    3B – Juan Uribe
    SS – Yunel Escobar
    CI – Brandon Belt
    MI – Alberto Callaspo
    LF – Starling Marte
    CF – Robbie Grossman
    RF – Shane Victorino
    OF – David Dejesus
    Util – Adam Dunn
    BN – Corey Dickerson, Jonny Gomes, Abraham Almonte, Ryan Doumit.
    DL – Cody Ross
    NA – Byron Buxton, Maikel Franco

    SP – Mat Latos, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Olberholtzer, Tyler Thornburg, Tyler Skaggs, Erik Johnson
    RP – Danny Farquhar, Brad Ziegler, Luis Avilan, Tony Watson
    BN – Ryan Cook, Sergio Santos
    DL – Mike Minor

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    • grassyjones says:

      Unless that’s a 20+ team league , you are probably screwed. Marte looks like your best player and that’s scary. You are going to have to be all over the waiver wire and pray… alot.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      I say this with nothing but love in my heart, but if you autodrafted in an auction league because you couldn’t abstain from drinking on St. Patty’s Day, then I have no sympathy for you or the team you ended up with. You know the work that goes into a super-deep league and if that means you don’t screw over your fellow owners with a computer player in an auction on draft day, then you skip the drinking for one day. I’m sure the final auction prices were nothing short of disastrous.

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    • Jason B says:

      Out of curiosity, who was your first pick in this apparent 30-team league? Rizzo? Marte? Latos? Did you do an New England Patriots-style trade of your first five picks for three later picks this year, three early picks next year, and two early picks in 2017?

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      • JIm Lahey says:

        Yeah, I should have deleted the team once I found the draft was on Sunday morning but I have been in that league for 4 years so I opted for the roll of the dice. Turned out my dice were blank.

        Marte was my 1st pick and Jason I only wish I had new draft picks coming… more like I have them coming for next year when we redraft.

        Honestly, because we have so many categories I am hopeful I can make my team somewhat competitive. I expect I won’t make the playoffs but I don’t want to be free wins. Either way… I’ll be reading a lot of Rotographs trying to fix it this season. (Write lots of articles for <5% owned!)

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      • Jason B says:

        I hear ya man, my condolensces. Bless you for giving it a go. I imagine I would never look at that team after about April 6.

        On a related note – how did your autodraft pick Marte first?! Were like the top 50ish players kept? I ask because most websites will rank players in a half-decent default ranking, so you should be coming out of round one with at least a Braun or a Votto or a Fielder or some such. Was the auto-ranking that bad, or did you tweak it in some weird, wild way?

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  9. Eric says:

    I have Profar in a 12-team mixed league…been waiting to put him on the DL, but don’t want to let Wong slip through. Would you drop Profar?

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    • Howard Bender says:

      I would. Profar in a half season probably won’t help much in the counting stats. If it’s a keeper league then you hold him.

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  10. Kim Kardashian says:

    I always want to let Wong slip through.

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Lenard says:

    I’m usually pretty good at not making moves before the season, but we drafted at the beginning of March and it has just been so got damn long that I’ve made a few, all tremendous mistakes, I’m sure.

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  12. Howard Bender says:

    While I can appreciate the heavy sarcasm found in some of these comments, let’s remember that I’m talking about people who drafted their whole team from start to finish. Having to autodraft because of an emergency is a different story. Hitting the waiver wire because you own Profar or Chapman is a different story. Adjusting your lineup then is expected and, of course, acceptable.

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    • Cliff B says:

      Right on. Got to stick with the Felipe Paulinos and the Morton, Nolasco, and Corey Dickerson types. You don’t know if they’ll pan out, but there is a reason you drafted them. So you do.

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  13. monkeymilitia says:

    I’ve dropped J.Pinto, D.Pomeranz, and N.Vincent for J.Jaso, E.Ramirez, and S.Kelley. (OPS & Holds deep keeper league)
    Although, I was watching The Walking Dead during the last few rounds of my draft… shit happens.

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  14. Ryan says:

    SSS but this article is off to a good start…

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  15. pj says:

    Made a lot moves so far, but didnt have to do with anyone I drafted. NA’s and DL’s are gold when it comes being able to react to spring training news.

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  16. willsmith888 says:

    Thanks for talking me off the ledge. I almost traded Kolten Wong for Denard Span (oof!)

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  17. junior says:

    Singles (1B) 1 Doubles (2B) 2
    Triples (3B) 3 Home Runs (HR) 4
    Walks (BB) 1 Runs Scored (R) 1
    Runs Batted In (RBI) 1 Stolen Bases (SB) 2
    Strikeouts (K) -0.5 Hit by Pitch (HBP) 1
    Caught Stealing (CS) -1

    Pitching
    Innings Pitched (IP) 1.5 Earned Runs (ER) -1
    Wins (W) 5 Losses (L) -5
    Saves (SV) 5 Blown Saves (BS) -3
    Strikeouts (K) 1 Hits Allowed (H) -1
    Walks Issued (BB) -1 Hit Batsmen (HB) -1
    Quality Starts (QS) 3

    in this points league 12 team im thinking of trading tori hunter,holliday,alex wood for wilin rosario and jason kipnis look at my team

    C Yan Gomes, Cle C
    1B Joey Votto, Cin 1B
    2B Kelly Johnson, ny 2B
    3B Manny Machado, Bal 3B
    SS Everth Cabrera, SD SS
    OF Ryan Braun, Mil OF
    OF Jose Bautista, Tor OF
    OF Matt Holliday, StL OF
    UTIL David Ortiz, Bos DH
    Bench Billy Hamilton, Cin OF
    Bench Torii Hunter, Det OF
    Bench mike moustakas,kc 3B
    Bench brad miller, sea ss

    sp Madison Bumgarner, SF
    sp Chris Sale, CWS
    sp Alex Cobb, TB
    sp Julio Teheran, Atl
    sp Alex Wood, Atl

    rp Ernesto Frieri, LAA
    rp Aroldis Chapman, Cin

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. BloodStripes says:

    Impatiently waiting for a couple of players to be placed on the DL. When do major league 25 man rosters have to be finalized?

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  19. Haymaker says:

    Nicely done, Howard. Really enjoyable and funny read. Some people do have legit reasons to panic, or at least be concerned, but the overall tone of the article was excellent.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      Thank you. That’s the first haymaker that’s come at me in a positive way. Usually I avoid or fall down.

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  20. C says:

    2 teams in my league made a trade in the middle of the draft this year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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