The All-Star break has arrived. It’s a good time to take a breath, collect ourselves and take stock of our fantasy teams. Here are some tips for owners in all positions in the standings on how to approach the season’s second half.
First place: Keep your foot on the gas
No matter how large your lead may be, keep in mind that there’s plenty of season left. You’ve probably put in plenty of effort to get to the top, and now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Maintain the good habits you’ve developed, and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks when appropriate. If you play in a head-to-head league, be sure to monitor things like innings caps for pitchers and late-season prospect promotions that could make a big difference come playoff time.
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Contenders: Look for every edge you can find, no matter how small
You’re in good shape, but you’ll need to minimize mistakes from here on out. The best way to do that is to outwork your opponents. Keep a close eye on the overall standings, especially in rotisserie leagues. It’s not always about identifying your own strengths and weaknesses; you can often scratch out a few crucial points in the standings by making mutually beneficial deals that help another team at the expense of a rival ahead of you. Dealing from a weakness to improve or fortify a strength sounds suboptimal, but sometimes the situation calls for it.
Bubble teams: Time for a Hail Mary
You’re on the edge of contention and your season hangs in the balance. Sure, you could stand pat. Maybe that injured star will come back strong and propel you to victory. Perhaps the unsustainable first-half breakout will persist until October. But you could just as easily end up continuing to tread water as the sand trickles through the hourglass, the trade deadline passes and you’re stuck in limbo. It might be better to make a splash and change things up. Punt a category (or two). Gamble on a player or two who struggled in the first half. Be more willing to cut bait on underperforming players in favor of the flavor of the week. You need numbers, and quickly; it doesn’t have to be pretty. Tools like RotoBaller’s waiver wire rankings assistant, updated daily, can be a huge help.
Cellar-dwellers: Play out the string
Yeah, we know. Your team crashed and burned, it’s nice outside, football season’s around the corner, you’re going on vacation … we’ve all been there and heard it before. Nobody likes a quitter. Even if your championship hopes have flatlined, you still have an impact on the race. Even doormats can win a matchup in head-to-head leagues, or swing a category in rotisserie and points leagues. You don’t have to scour the wire every morning, but at least set your lineups and try to be competitive. You never know — a few breaks here and there, and you could be right back in the thick of things. After all, it ain’t over til it’s over.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.