It's day 5 of the regular season, and already people are getting antsy with their fantasy baseball rosters. One bad start, or a few bad games at the plate, can get you throw right off a team nowadays. Unless, of course, you want to win your fantasy baseball league. I have learned this the hard way.
In 2007, I dropped Prince Fielder after 2 weeks of mediocrity. He then went on to hit 50 home runs. The same season, someone in my league dropped Magglio Ordonez after a couple of similar down weeks. I picked him up, and he hit .366 for me the rest of the way. Magglio helped me make the finals that season, but I sure wish i had them both for the championship matchup. That's when I learned the lesson to give your players a chance to find themselves before you dump them.
The same thing goes for players who start hot. A 38 year old or a 21 year old have a couple of good games to start the season and suddenly they're on fantasy rosters across the country. In 2006, Chris Shelton hit 10 home runs in April. He finished with 16 for the whole season. The lesson here is don't drop good players who struggle early, and don't pick up bad players early because they have a good first couple of weeks. This strategy will help you for a couple of weeks, maybe. You might win 8-4 weeks one and two instead of 7-5. By the end of the season, however, players are going to play to their talent level. Flashes in the pan (Brennan Boesch in the first half of 2010) will end up back where they belong, and solid major league veterans will end up putting up their usual numbers. There's a reason you draft players when you draft them. Give them a chance to show you why. If the all-star break comes around and they're still having a bad year, then make some moves.
The same strategy should be used when it comes to trading. Unless you have a glaring weakness at one position, or get offered a deal you simply can't resist, there's no reason to make trades in the first couple of months of the season. If you're desperate, you can probably find most of what you need on the waiver wire. If not, it's going to take a lot to pry away star talent from other owners early in the season. You usually end up getting less than you give up. If trades are made later in the season, when every owner knows what they have and what they need, you're more likely to get a better deal. There's a reason why the real Major League trade deadline is July 31st. It takes a while for teams to really weed out the good and bad players on their rosters and see what they need for the late season playoff push.
I guess my message is this: Take it easy, be patient, and don't ruin your teams picking up losers. Like on the classic TV game show, wait til the time is right. Then you can take door number 3 and hope you don't get the giant rubber ducky.
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