Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 8/15/12

I was just talking with a coworker about how two of our fantasy baseball teams were in an absolute free fall. His team had dropped from a solid 3rd to a fight for 7th. One of my teams went from a 30+ point lead into a fight to even stay in 3rd. Both of us needed a hug, but the awkwardness of this at work prevented it.

Does this sound familiar? Are one of your fantasy baseball teams in a dive and dropping fast in the standings? If so, read on. First we’re going to talk about what might cause a team to fall quickly in the standings, then we’ll try and take a rational look and your position, and finally we’ll talk about some simple things you can do to pull out of the dive and climb back up in the standings.

Why a team might go in a dive:

First, we should clarify that we’re talking about a team in a free fall, not a situation where other teams have caught you in the roto standings. Using my team as an example, I was maintaining a 160 roto point pace. The team at the top of the leader board certainly made a strong push, but he sits at 137 points. He didn’t catch me; I’m tanking like the 2011 Boston Red Sox. I’ve written before that if you fall behind in the roto standings early that it’s possible for you make a comeback, but that it is predicated on the teams at the top falling back toward you. This is such a case.

So what causes a dive?
  1. A key injury or prolonged slump of a star player. This is obvious, but we’ll actually come back to how much of a hit this gives your team.
  2. Flippant management. I’m horrible in this regard and know several other owners who are the same way. I get much too bored or distracted to hone a truly killer instinct in fantasy baseball. My mindset is often, “Eh, I got a nice lead. I’ll just fiddle around with my lineup, adding and dropping folks on a whim.”
  3. Inattentive management. Or – worse yet – I’ll take my eyes off the prize and let the team coast.
  4. Attrition from all angles. When you are doing well, it gives the other owners a target to beat. Trades won’t come as easily for you and the other owners are making moves specifically to beat you. This comes from all angles and it will chip the foundation out from under your team.
So we’ve identified a few things that can cause a dive. Guard against these things in future seasons. For now, let’s look at how bad it really is. Find out exactly where you stand. I keep going back to the same well, which is that you need to have solid baseline goals for success and that you need to monitor those month-by-month at a minimum. Let’s continue to use one of my teams as a case study, considering I dropped over 30 roto points in the standings in about 5-6 weeks time. We’ll also simplify the example by only looking at hitting statistics, but the principles stand for pitching as well. Runs HR RBI SB AVG April Totals 124 37 119 23 0.290 May Totals 131 37 145 22 0.272 June Totals 130 33 127 20 0.299 July Totals 100 22 94 16 0.239 The above table shows my team stats, month-by-month. Does anything stand out to you? Yeah, my team sucked in July. I’m down 24 runs from next next lowest month, 11 homers, 25 RBI, and over 30 points in batting average. Not a good month, but clear that July was the one bad month, while I had three solid and consistent months of data. July is the outlier. But what caused this and how should I react to it? First, I was being carried by Josh Hamilton. When he was hot, there was no one hotter, but when he got cold… Well, he alone could account for an 11 homer drop. Second, I became inattentive as a manager. I got lazy and put my team on cruise control. As a result, I wasn’t maximizing my stats and probably lost a few runs or RBI from simply leaving them on the bench. Toss in an injury here and there and it’s easy to understand the bad month. Thirdly, my teammates made a run. To their credit, they chipped away at me and caught me. What should we do when our team is in a dive? Honestly, I probably shouldn’t do much of anything. For 3 out of the 4 months it’s was clear what my team was capable of. It’s a first place team. Blowing up your team and making wholesale changes is often a bad move when your fantasy baseball team is in a dive. (Click to tweet this.) I need a slump buster, to be sure, but it’s also clear that my team can put up the type of numbers to win. But do consider these small steps when your fantasy baseball team is in a dive:
  • Temporarily bench a slumping player. Had I been paying closer attention I would have realized that Hamilton was slumping. Even a slightly above average fill in would’ve mitigated some of the damage.
  • Keep your head in the game. Don’t leave stats on the bench because you aren’t paying attention to your team.
  • Resist the urge to panic and blow up your team. Don’t make desperate fantasy baseball moves.
  • Focus your attention on gaining back your ground in the easiest categories for you. Remember, you don’t need to win in a land slide, you just need to win. Go category by category and make tiny moves to gain ground in those in which you have the easier path to gain back points.
  • Cross your fingers. So far in August Josh Hamilton is pounding the ball. Remember that’s it’s a long season, so slumps typically turn themselves around.


The post How to pull out of a dive. appeared first on Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks.

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