Fantasy Baseball: Keeper / Dynasty League Strategy

Dr. Roto discusses Fantasy Baseball dynasty strategy, trades and ethics after a lopsided trade almost went through in one of his leagues.

Daily Dr. Roto—May 4, 2018

Making a Dump

For those of you in dynasty or keeper leagues, part of the allure of playing is that you get to feel like you are a General Manager of a baseball team. You get to draft players, watch them, cut them, and of course, trade them. If you play in one of these leagues, you are most likely in it for the long haul, hoping to build a good enough team to win multiple Fantasy Championships.

However, not all teams are destined to come in the money. For those teams who find themselves at the bottom of the standings after a month or so of the season the question comes up–when is it time to dump your current team to retool for the following season?

I would implore all owners to avoid dumping until at least June 1st. While I respect the fact that people want the competitive advantage to make the first dump deal, it is normally too early to look at the statistics after the first month of the season and decide that you cannot come in the money. Moreover, when trades like these are made too early it can also affect the outcome of a league.

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Recently there was a trade that almost went through in my home league. The deal was Noah Syndergaard and Jorge Alfaro for Vladmir Guerrero, Kyle Tucker, and Brendan Rodgers.

While there was absolutely no collusion in this deal, the commissioner of my league decided (correctly) to disallow this trade based on the best interests of the league. And for what it is worth, I completely agree. It’s not that I object to this deal. I object to this deal being made on May 3rd. If this deal was made in July, I think I could have lived with it, but doing it so early in the season could really affect the outcome of the league. Effectively, the team getting Thor would be getting him for nothing.

So, I guess the question that needs to be asked is—what is a good dump trade? Well, to me a good dump trade is a deal that gives the team competing for this year player(s) who can help him win, while trading good players(s) to the other team who can help that team win in the future. What teams must be careful of is making a deal that is not too egregious as to affect the sensibility of the league.

When teams who are not competing make unfair trades with league owners it hurts all teams in a league. Therefore, it is critical to have rules in place that make it difficult for teams to make trades that are too lopsided. Moreover, it is incumbent on the teams in the league to be thoughtful of the rest of the league when making trades. If the trade is good for you, but bad for the league, should that deal really be made? Our conscience must be our guide. I realize that everyone wants the glory of a championship and the check that comes along with it, but is it worth ruining a league to make a lopsided deal?

For what it is worth, I think I like the high stakes league format best. High stakes leagues do not allow trading of any kind during the season. Teams draft their players prior to the season and can only make waiver wire moves to improve their rosters. This focuses players on having to use their skills and not their salesmanship to win league titles. Thus, when you win a high stakes league, you know that you’ve done it fairly and ethically. Can those of you who win by making unfair trades in dynasty leagues say the same thing?

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