In 1988, the first year I played fantasy ball, in an AL only format, one of the owners during our first draft--and it was a new league for all of us--blew most of his money the first 20 minutes.
So, by the end of the auction, he was filling his roster with filler dreck like Pat Sheridan and Ron Kittle, ok players who were on the downside of their respective careers. They were $1 pickups, and I remember thinking, "there goes money left on the table."
Well, that guy won, largely because Sheridan and Kittle did well enough to earn a profit, an after that first season (I did finish third), I learned two valuable lessons.
- Never dismiss another's roster as you never know how a team will do, no matter how good or bad the team looks on paper.
- Never dismiss $1 players, in fact the player who can come up with the best combination of cheap players is likely to win.
The next year I actually did win that league, and I won on guys like Mike Gallego for a buck.
So, over the years, one of my real strengths, and I believe the essence of my fantasy success, is in doing a good job of identifying those throw-away players towards the end of the draft for a few bucks here and there.
Last year, for example, it was Carl Pavano and Ryan Sweeney for a couple of bucks who did as much to help my Tout team, as did CC Sabathia ($28) and Chone Figgins ($24), in fact Pavano and Sweeney turned better profits than their counterparts, so in a way, they did contribute more.
So, this year I really did the same basic thing, in fact I got Figgins ($23) and Jason Kubel (also $23, who also was on my team last year) augmenting with Pat Burrell ($2), Eric Byrnes ($5), and of course, the guy who whacked 77 homers for the Athletics the past three years, Jack Cust ($14).
At one point this season, my point total was a palindrome of last year, when I had 39 points. Since then I have lost 14 more, so that going into this morning (that would be Friday, the 21st) I had 24.5 of them.
So, the question is, how fine is that line, between picking Pavano from the scrapheap of the dead and it worked, and pick Burrell, off the same heap a year later and the failure is epic?
As I have noted to my friends of late, who have heard the genesis of this column, it is a such a fine line between success and failure. That is what drives me crazy, but as clearly as anything else, that is also what keeps me coming back.