September 06, 2006

Fantasy Sports

Last Minute Trades

We're in the stretch.

After a full season of conniving, lying, trading, pleading, and begging, I find myself in the midst of the pennant race in the Albany National Rotisserie League, one of the oldest in the country.

Ours is in a National League-only keeper league, meaning competing teams trade their bargain-priced players, minor leaguers and draft picks to non-contending teams for their overpriced stars.

Because of this process (known as selling out), it is virtually impossible to compete two years in a row – in fact, no one has done it in 13 years. By that measure, our season is already a success. My team, the Scarlet Fire, won four years ago, finished second two years ago, and is back in the today. The standings are: The Orange Pac 79, The Bandits 73, The Fire 72.

It's all about the trades. I've done well rebuilding my offense. My additions were Carlos Delgado, .270 with seven homers and 21 ribbies since the trade; Raf Furcal, .307 with seven steals; Pedro Feliz, only .238 but five homes and 16 ribbies in 80 at bats. Jimmy Rollins, .323 with seven homers and seven stolen bases, and Luis Gonzalez, .282 with five homers and 17 ribbies.

My best trade was made earlier in the season: Jason Marquis and Moises Alou for Joe Borowski and Dave Roberts. My opponents thought they were getting the best of the deal, but Marquis his pitched like Jason Robards and Moises has looked older than Moses. Borowski, meanwhile is 31-34 converting saves and Roberts has hit .319 for me with 23 stole bases.

While I was addressing my offensive weaknesses, The Pac concentrated on upgrading its pitching. Brad, the owner, traded young sluggers like Chase Utley and Brian McCann and got back Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy, and Brandon Webb, four of the top right-handers in the league.

I need my core pitchers to step up. John Smoltz has been good, but Ben Sheets, Brett Myers, Dontrelle Willis and Tom Glavine have all put up disappointing numbers. I tried to bolster my staff by picking up veterans like Jon Lieber, Steve Trachsel, and Tomo Ohko, but so far those guys have been getting hit pretty hard.

I'm facing an uphill climb, but I still have hope. Peavey has been up and down all year, and he was hit hard last outing. Webb has some arm problems and seems to be struggling a bit. Willis and Myers, meanwhile, seem like they are back in form and Glavine, who had a circulation problem, is on the mend.

I need for The Pac to struggle, and I need to take advantage of it. It's funny, but Fantasy and Rotisserie baseball mirror the real life sport: pitching wins pennants.

FANTASY FOOTBALL: One week to go. If you are in multiple drafts, take this advice: don't draft the same players in every draft. Most of us usually make this mistake without even knowing it. We decide a player is going to have a breakout season — I like Domanack Davis, at least I did before he got hurt — and I grabbed him as my second running back in my Yahoo draft. Next time around, though, even if he is still available, I might opt for a guy like say, Steven Jackson, who is rated as high or higher by most prognosticators. The reason is simple: none of us really know what's going to happen. Unless you are really positive someone is going to have a great season, hedge your bets. To me, winning at least one league a season is the goal, and the best way to do that is not to stockpile the same players over and over again.

TIP: So far, Peyton Manning is the only quarterback to go in the first two rounds. Even Carson Palmer has dropped to the fourth or fifth round. If you don't get Manning, my advice is to wait until rounds seven or eight and grab two quarterbacks. You'll be surprised at who will be available: Brett Favre, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, were all there in my ESPN draft. Any one of these guys is capable of throwing for 3500 yards and 20 or more scores – Manning only had 3700 and 28 TDs last season. Why draft a QB lower when you can fill in your roster with a first rate tight end, a good defense, and a reliable second receiver?

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