The Cheapest Way To Make Up Statistical Ground

We’ve come to the point in the season where fantasy competitors begin taking a hard look at the standings and their rosters in an attempt to figure out how to make up ground.

Often, a competitor might see his or her struggles in a particular category, and with advancement in mind, begin thinking of players who are statistical superstars. Figuring out the players who are strongest in a particular category is one way towards making up statistical ground —  but not the only way. In fact, there’s something to be said for identifying one’s weakest players in  the category in question — and then looking to replace them with merely average ones.

Why?

League leaders in categories like HRs get a lot of attention. (Hello, Jose Bautista!) And if you want to trade for them, prepare to open up your wallets. It’ll be costly and likely open up other deficiencies for your team.

One of the overlooked aspects of a statistical chase, however, is that certain players deliver negative value. These players are like megaton weights chained to the ankles of one’s statistical drive.

For example, in most leagues at the moment, there are currently 12 players who qualify as second-basemen with seven or more HRs. Those who drafted Brian Roberts, who only has three HRs so far, are getting negative value in power from their second baseman.

This team might be suffering in HRs and begin thinking about a trade. The smart move, though, might not be to pay top dollar by trading for a Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, or Mark Teixeira, but rather to erase the negative.

Think about it.

The team with Mark Teixeira/Brian Roberts isn’t getting any more HRs from this combo than the team with Paul Konerko/Neil Walker. Neither Konerko nor Walker are doing anything above the norm at their respective positions, but by keeping pace, they aren’t hurting either. A guy like Roberts, meanwhile, drags down the value of the collective.

If Walker isn’t attainable for the team looking to upgrade on Roberts’ power, there are other options: Howie Kendrick has 7 HRs and is coming back from the disabled list this week. Or check out guys like Ryan Roberts (8 HRs) or Allen Craig (4 HRs in 102 ABs and now getting regular PT), who are both just a couple games from qualifying at the second-base position. Not only would Kendrick, Roberts, and Craig offer power advancement over a guy like Brian Roberts, but they are adequate enough to represent positive value in the other categories too.

We’re not trying to pick on Roberts, of course. Almost every team has weaknesses that can be salved. Understanding negative value is the key here. In sum, remember basic calculus from your school days: Subtracting a negative equates to an addition.

–Eriq Gardner

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1 Comment

You’ve got to be kidding, have you guys just woke up ? Walker was a keeper in most of my leagues staring this year…

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