Phantasy Philes: Day-to-Day Strategies

For many fantasy owners, the real fun is in the draft. Good fantasy owners know that you can't just draft your team and then hope for the best. Just as there are strategies that go into drafting, there are strategies that go into running your team on a day-to-day basis. If you stay busy and push the right buttons, your chances of winning go way up.

Last time in the Philes, we went over some fantasy draft strategies. So in the interest of natural progression, I thought now would be a good time to go over some day-to-day management strategies for your various kinds of leagues. Some of these things may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many owners don't take the time to think about exactly how they're going to manage the team they just spent so much time researching and drafting. Grab a pen and paper, because class is in session.

First and foremost, you need to figure out what kind of league you're in. I can't tell you how many times I've had a league mate say, "wait, is this head to head or roto?" just after the draft ends. Sure, it's stupid and shouldn't be a question one has to ask, but if you are unsure, check it out so you don't end up with a roto team in a head to head league, or a bunch of strikeout pitchers in a league that doesn't count the Ks.

Let's say that your league is head to head. When it comes to pitching staffs in head to head leagues, you pretty much have two routes to go, you could either go with the spot start strategy, or what I call the "bullpen bliss" strategy. For those that don't know, the spot start strategy is where you have all starters, and everyday you drop them all (save maybe your one or two top guys), and pickup a batch of pitchers who will be making starts the next day. By doing this, you're almost guaranteed to win the categories of wins and strikeouts, with ERA and WHIP being wild cards dependent on which guys you spot start with. Having just two guaranteed categories may not sound all that great, but like the bullpen strategy (which we'll get to in a minute), by spot starting you'll have more quality on offense, since you either didn't draft or traded away the starters you wouldn't want to drop when not making an outing. The reason this is used in head to head leagues and not roto leagues is because most roto leagues have a maximum number of starts for the season, whereas head to head leagues have no such rule. But, if you're in a roto league without this rule, you may want to consider spot starting.

The bullpen strategy is basically the opposite of spot starting. Simply put, it's the head to head strategy for lazy people like myself, but it's also useful if you're in a league with a bunch of guys who are spot starting. In this pitching staff configuration, you have no starters at all, and instead stock up on saves and relievers who will give you good ERAs and WHIPs. With the right mix of guys, you can easily win saves every week, and ERA and WHIP most of the time, as long as one of your relievers doesn't have an implosion. The true beauty of this strategy though is that it takes almost no day-to-day work at all, since you'll have no starters to get in your active lineup. All you really have to do is stay on top of who's closing games around the league, and make sure you're getting as many saves as possible.

There really aren't many strategies for roto leagues since it's usually the well-balanced teams that do the best. Of course, there is always the category punting strategy that applies for every fantasy sport, where you forget about one category, usually a weak point for the given team, and focus on the others. For example, if you only have one or two base stealers, instead of trying to trade for more base stealers, you accept your fate of doing poorly in stolen bases and trade those guys away for more power or pitching or whatever.

One other thing you might want to try, and this goes for both roto and head to head, is maxing out on at bats. Again, it may sound simple but you'd be surprised how many fantasy owners leave their active hitters alone, and only use the bench guys when someone gets hurt. Rather than taking that passive approach, try spot starting your hitters. When Jim Thome has a day off, throw one of your bench guys in there who is playing a game for the extra RBI or stolen base. If you have guys on your bench that you wouldn't mind letting go, stream them, so you always have guys who are playing to fill in for your normal starters who aren't.

These are just a few strategies that I could think of, but that doesn't necessarily mean there aren't anymore (or that these will always work). I would recommend using these ideas as starting points and trying to come up with your own customized strategy that fits your team and it's strengths. If you come up with one you think is particularly good, feel free to let me in on the secret by sending an email to, and maybe we can use it in a future edition of the Philes. Until next time, I'm out like the Vet.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories