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Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Late Season Strategies

JOSE TABATA: Steals are best category to make late move.

JOSE TABATA: Steals are best category to make late move.

Just like in regular baseball, you are either in the hunt for your fantasy baseball championship right now and have visions of Yoo-Hoo being dumped over your head.  Or, you are struggling in the second half of the league and looking forward to next season when you are finally going to win your fantasy baseball league.

Regardless of where you stand, September should be the month when you make the most roster moves, but in all too many cases, it’s where fantasy baseball managers make the least amount of moves–either from fatigue or they just don’t care much any more.

Here’s some general fantasy baseball tips for the end of the season.

1.  Avoid veteran players on teams that are out of contention.  A guy like Wes Helms of the Marlins may not play as much as he would if Florida were still in contention.

2.  Players on teams that are running away with the division may sit out some if they’ve been injured this season or are older players.  Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is one we think will sit out some games over the final two weeks of the season to rest his injured knee.  Another is the Reds Scott Rolen who at 35 could use a day off to be in top shape for the playoffs.  It’s probably not enough concern to put Hamilton on your bench, but if you are locked in to your average, HR, and RBI standings position, maybe you do  deal you wouldn’t normally consider like trading Hamilton for Juan Pierre and Rajai Davis to move up in the SB category.

3.  Look to make a move in the cumulative statistical categories.  At this point in the season, there’s probably not much you can do in ratio categories like WHIP, ERA, or AVERAGE.  Concentrate instead on categories where you can pick up one dimension players that can help out dramatically in categories like STOLEN BASES or SAVES.  Michael Bourne of the Astros is an example of a one dimensional player who can quickly move you up in the STOLEN BASE category, although he likely won’t help you much with your power numbers.  A younger player to look at to help you in saves is the Pirates Jose Tabata.  Looking for saves?  Consider Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates.  Hanrahan recently became the Pirates closer and if they win any more games, he’ll likely be called on to save them.

4.  If your league uses STRIKEOUTS as a category, this is one where you can make a late season move by streaming pitchers.  It will hurt your SAVES, WHIP, and ERA, but if you are locked into position in those categories, who really cares.

5.  Look to release young pitchers that have reached their innings limits and drop them.  Mike Leake of the Reds has been on the shelf for a while now and the Blue Jay’s Brandon Morrow has been shelved for the rest of the season.  Is the Dodgers’ 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw next?

6.  During the last week of the season, take a look at your pitching staff and go with as many starters as possible or as many closers as possible depending on if you need WINS or SAVES to move up.  Arizona’s Daniel Hudson is a nice pickup that may be available in your league and is a good keeper for 2011.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER: Daniel Hudson is 7-2 with 1.08 WHIP

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER: Daniel Hudson is 7-2 with 1.08 WHIP

7.  Pick up mediocre pitchers on good teams.  With the struggling teams looking to see what their young talent can do, # 5 starters will get chances to rack up wins.  Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies is a good example.

8.  Pick up players just to keep them away from your competition.  If you have a guy gathering mold on your bench and you know he’s never going to see the light of day, drop him and pick up somebody from the free agent pool who might actually help one of your competitors.

9.  If you play in a keeper league and you are out of it for this year, the obvious thing to do is build for the 2011 season.  Look for youngsters like Kyle Drabek of the Blue Jays.

10.  Play the matchups.  You should be playing the matchups all season, but now it’s even more important.  If you think the Pirates were bad in May, take a look at them now!

Most important is that now is the time to concentrate on your fantasy baseball team.  Sure, I know your still in the running on your fantasy football team, but don’t give up on baseball, at least not yet.

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