I’ve got bad news: You aren’t the only one managing your fantasy team. Now, before you get all indignant and bitchy, let me just say that it isn’t your fault. See, these “other” managers manage everyone’s fantasy team, and yet they don’t even know that they are doing it. Who are the “others”? Well, the people of Westeros like to call them White Walkers. I, on the other hand, like to call them by their names — names like Cox,
La Russa, Valentine, Scioscia and Washington. That’s right, everybody, I just made a “Game of Thrones” reference in a baseball column, and I’m going to get paid for it. That’s how much better my life is than yours. But let’s not dwell on that too much. A little dwelling is good — even healthy — but too much can be bad for you. So let’s end the dwelling here. Now, before we get too caught up on how awesome I am, let’s not forget how humble I am. That’s another one of my great features. Let’s also not forget what we were talking about, which was that you aren’t the only one managing your fantasy team. Don’t get me wrong; you do most of the work by setting your lineup, making trades and acquiring free agents, but when it comes down to it, your players only see action if their real managers write their names on their lineup cards.
For people playing in leagues that allow daily transactions, this isn’t as much of a problem. As long as you check to see which of your players are starting each day, you’ll have a chance to substitute your bench players in for anyone who is sitting on any given day. For those of us who play in leagues with weekly lineups, things get a bit more complicated.
Every player sits sometimes for one reason or another. It could be due to injury or to disciplinary action, but usually when managers sit a player it is just to give them some rest. The trick to dealing with this is to pay attention to how many days per week your players usually sit and why they are sitting out. Star players don’t get more than one day of rest per week, since managers don’t want to lose that production. One day isn’t anything to be concerned with. However, not all players are top- tier players, and second and third-tier players tend to sit multiple days per week, depending on where or when they are playing and what kind of pitching they will be facing. Paying attention to these details will help you decide each week whether or not to start a player.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have to worry, I don’t have any second or third-tier players.” Shut up. You do have them. The majority of players, especially those that fill bench spots on fantasy teams, are classified as something other than elite. However, these players are still very important, as they are the ones who will fill the holes left when your starters inevitably go down with injuries. If you know about how often and for what reasons your bench players sit, you will have a better idea of how many games they will miss per week, and that will allow you to make an educated decision on who to start each week.
Catchers present a particular problem. The role of catcher takes a larger physical toll on a player’s body than any other position. That means that catchers need more days of rest than other position players. If your catcher is in a platoon with another, pay attention to what kind of pitching they sit against. For example, it may be they don’t hit as well against lefties as they do against righties, and so managers rest them against lefties. If you know how many lefties they will face in a given week, you will know whether or not to start your catcher.
There. I finally gave actual advice again. I have to say, it feels good. It’s a big responsibility to oversee the fantasy baseball education of so many ignorant minds, but it is a task I undertake gladly because that’s just how awesome I am. And humble. We can’t forget about the humbleness.