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Fantasy Strategy Ideas from the Guru
I think the issues can best be brought out through several examples. Suppose you own Curt Schilling, and you want to keep owning him, but you note that Pedro Martinez pitches in between Schilling's starts. You could simply flip back and forth between Martinez and Schilling, apparently gaining two starters for the price of one. On the surface, this might seem to be an efficient strategy, since they have similarly lofty prices, and this way you never have to tie up the cash to own them both at the same time. However, this does have an inefficient aspect. Effectively, you're using up two trades to pick up only one extra start. If you did no trading, you would get all of Schilling's starts, so each time you pick up Martinez and then revert back to Schilling, you have used up two trades. Martinez has averaged about 106 SWP per start, so if you use this strategy several times, you would expect to pick up about 53 SWP per trade. Is there a better way?
One approach would be to cycle through a single team's starting rotation over five consecutive days. Suppose you own Greg Maddux, and want to keep owning him. In between his starts, you could use his roster slot to successively trade for Smoltz, Glavine, Neagle, Millwood, and then back to Maddux. This sequence would consume 5 trades. But, you would be picking up an extra 4 starts for those 5 trades. If Smoltz through Millwood combine for more than 300 SWP - which has happened in three out of the past five cycles - then you gain more than 60 SWP per start (300 divided by 5). And you might be able to substitute a better pitcher for one or two of the slots, thereby increasing the chances of doing even better. But be realistic about your expectations. As of late-May, Schilling and Martinez are the only starters who have averaged more than 100 SWP per start.
There are other trading patterns you could construct which would also give you 4 extra starts for every five trades. If you're considering this strategy, project out the start dates for your existing staff, and then see what other pitcher(s) might fit in well. Be aware of off days, or potential postponements. Check out the ballpark factors (you probably don't want to pick up an extra start in Coor's Field, for example - and you might want to target the Astrodome, a good pitcher's park with no rain in sight). With judicious planning, fortunate timing, and a little bit of luck, (and perhaps some spare cash), you could find the "perfect rotation" and pick up as much as an extra 80 SWP per trade. But if you execute this strategy haphazardly, you'll probably wind up with a diluted impact. And even with 75 of them in your quiver, a trade is a terrible thing to waste.
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not employed by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed toGuru<email@example.com>.
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