Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Deadline Approacheth

Is It Too Early?
With many fantasy trade deadlines fast approaching, my FBB cohort and I have been arguing a bit about whether it’s too early to worry about specific categories or not. I’m of the mindset that it’s still a little too early. A whole lot can happen in two months, and just because you’re 30 or 40 three-pointers behind the guy in front of you, or the same number of steals or blocks or whatever, it takes just one guy going down to completely change the makeup of a certain category. Particularly if that category is one of those that I just mentioned – steals, blocks, or threes.

Let’s do some number crunching, and let’s start by looking at blocks. Here are the leading shot blockers in the league (by totals) this year:

Duncan – 146
Ratliff – 136
Shaq – 135
Camby – 134
Brand – 120

Now, we are just about 66% of the way through the season. So assuming that these guys have blocked 66% of the shots that they are going to block so far, here’s what we can expect them to block from here on out:

Duncan – 73
Ratliff – 68
Shaq – 67
Camby – 67
Brand – 60

OK, now follow me here. Of those big five, two –Shaq and Camby – could very easily go down and miss the rest of the year at any given point. All of a sudden, that 50-block lead that the guy in front of you has doesn’t seem so big anymore. In one of my leagues right now, only 61 blocks separate the guy in first from the guy in seventh. In another, only 37 blocks separate first and fifth place. In categories that are so dominated by a few players, you can go through wild swings in the standings.

The point is, it’s a long season, and there are injuries, playing time shifts, all sorts of stuff yet to happen that can drastically change your place in the standings. Right now, as the deadline approaches, you should be more concerned with improving your team as a whole, not just concentrating on a certain category. Of course, if you talk to DM, he might tell you otherwise.

Taking the Risk
Unless you’re in a keeper league, if you’re sitting in the bottom half of the standings, it’s time to go for it all. Odds are you’ve still got a couple of dependable, if not thrilling, players on your team. The trick, as the deadline approaches, is to grab as many high-risk players as you possibly can. I mean, your goal isn’t to finish in 5th place, it’s to finish in first. And in order to do that, you need to set yourself up so that the miracle could, possibly, occur.

What players should you be looking to acquire? Guys like:

Peja Stojakovic, Shaq, Chris Webber, Baron Davis, Jamal Crawford, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Larry Hughes, Zack Randolph, Pau Gasol, Sam Dalembert.

You know, guys who have a high ceiling, but who have question marks. If you have guys who are solid but unspectacular, who can be depended on for decent stats, you might be able to trade them to one of the guys at the top of the standings who may be getting cold feet on his high-ceiling guys.

For Trading’s Sake

Finally, one thing that you won’t hear much, but is certainly true, is this: Don’t be afraid to make a trade just for the heck of it. Particularly if you’re stuck out of the running in your league, a trade is a great way to make fantasy fun again. It’s almost like having a new team! Remember, fantasy sports is all about winning money. I mean, um, all about having fun. So have money. I mean, fun.

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