by ja on 2/17/2009 9:43:18 AM
In fantasy sports there are three really exciting times of the year. The first is the draft. There is plenty to do to keep you busy researching your picks. The second is the playoffs (or the final weeks in Roto Leagues). There should not need to be an explanation about why the playoffs are exciting. The third is the "home stretch" just before the playoffs. This is when managers finalize their roster and get everything lined up for making their run at the championship. This article focuses on that home stretch and why it is so much fun in long-term contract fantasy sports leagues and Keeper leagues.
In yearly draft leagues the home stretch is only fun for those managers who are actually in the running. Everyone else is pretty much left out. The losing owners are already going to miss the playoffs, but while the regular season is still going why should managers not be able to enjoy it? In keeper leagues they can enjoy it even if they are losing. In keeper formats, and especially in long-term contract formats losing managers are still an integral part of the game during the home stretch.
In these fantasy sports leagues the future is a commodity. A manager who is currently losing can and should trade those expiring contracts to teams "on the brink" or even to those teams who are wanting to solidify their positioning. In exchange they can get players who may not be superstars YET, but who will be next year or maybe even two years out.
Imagine Team L (Losing) is out of the playoffs and Team W (Winning) is in 3rd place trying to make a run for the championship. Team W has some pretty good players that he could carry over to the next few years (eg. Derrick Rose, Beasley, etc). Team L has some guys that are putting up great numbers right now (Amare Stoudemire and Allen Iverson). Team L's contracts are both EXPIRING and their players cannot be kept. It is in Team W's best interest to trade with Team L. The trade likely puts Team W into contention for first place (which is what really matters when the opportunity presents itself... not tomorrow... not next year... win a championship now!). Team L should make the trade because they have no chance this year and it puts themselves in a better position for next year. At least they will get something for their expiring contracts.
Team L probably has a few good short-term contracts and in most leagues will find other owners scrambling to make trades for those players for a couple of reasons. They will fight over those players so that they can get better. But they will also fight over those players to keep some of the other teams from getting better. Now, for a few weeks, the worst teams are in the driver's seat AND with some smooth dealing will be able look forward to next season with hope. They might even be able to view the current season as a success. One more thing to love about "keeper" and long-term contract formats.
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