The break will begin on Monday morning, or maybe Tuesday in the unlikely event of a tiebreaker game. The break will be refreshing. No more box score tracking, no more FAAB bidding, no more lineup setting, no more trade talking and no more fantasy baseball thinking. The break will last at least a month, maybe six weeks until early mock draft season gets underway. But every year, before this break, I make a list. No, it won't be a list of players I will target in drafts the following spring. That list requires a great deal of thought and will have to wait until February. This list is easier. This list is a list of players who I owned in at least one league but will not be drafting again under any circumstances. Well, maybe under almost any circumstances. And it's important that I compile this list as soon as possible, before a long off-season causes me to forget about how frustrating it was to own some of these guys.
On that note, let's take a look at a handful of players who I have already included on this list.
Chris Archer - I'm not saying that Archer isn't a valuable fantasy asset. After all, he's proven to be very durable and provides a guaranteed 225-plus strikeouts as long as he remains durable. The problem is that he carries the price tag of a legitimate ace when in reality he's more like a strong SP2 in mixed leagues. I shelled out 26 bucks for Archer's services in Mixed Auction Tout Wars, believing that 2017 would be the year that the Rays righty makes the jump to top-10 SP status, at the very least. In return, I've been rewarded with a mediocre 4.18 ERA through 33 starts and a disastrous month of September (9.72 ERA, 2.10 WHIP in five starts). There was another $26 starting pitcher. His name is Corey Kluber, and it's no coincidence that he resides on runaway champ Jeff Zimmerman's roster. Oh well, at least I've learned my lesson with Archer.
Cole Hamels - There's something to be said about saying goodbye to a player a year too early rather than a year too late. I remember Lord Zola stating this in his preseason player profile for Hamels, and I really should have followed that approach. But Hamels has been so consistent over the years that I felt good about making him my No. 2 starter in Mixed Auction Tout Wars. Things haven't gone as planned, to put it mildly. Between an oblique strain that sidelined him for nearly two months, a drastically declining strikeout rate and overall inconsistency, I've already said my final goodbye to the veteran southpaw.
Matt Moore - At this point, it's hard to believe that just six months ago, Moore was a popular "sleeper" pick after posting a 3.63 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 15 starts following the All-Star break in 2016. In fact, I considered the 28-year-old lefty to be one of my better Tout Wars buys at the bargain price of $5. As it turns out, I could have simply left those five bucks at the auction table and I'd be better off. The fact that Moore's 4.86 ERA and 1.33 WHIP since the All-Star break represents a significant improvement over his first half performance (6.04 ERA, 1.69 WHIP) goes to show the degree to which he has struggled in his first full season with the Giants. Maybe a true breakout campaign is still in store for Moore, but if and when it does come, he won't be on any of my fantasy squads.
Matt Wieters - Here I was thinking that Wieters was a safe choice to finish the season as a top-12 fantasy catcher. A final line of 20 homers and 65-70 RBIs seemed like a reasonable expectation. Not quite. The former top prospect has been one of the biggest backstop disappointments of 2017, batting a paltry .225 with just 10 homers heading into the final weekend. Remember when some scouts described him as "Joe Mauer with power"? Now that was a long time ago. As for 2018, Wieters is no more than a No. 2 catcher in mixed leagues.
Ben Zobrist - In recent years, I've never been a fan of Zobrist from a fantasy perspective, especially in non-OBP leagues. His 20-HR seasons appeared to be over and he wasn't running much anymore. But, when I waited a bit too long to draft a second baseman in my NFBC Draft Champions league, I figured that Zobrist, who was coming off a productive 2016 campaign, was worth the mid-round investment. I figured wrong. What followed was one of the worst seasons of Zobrist's career, one that even included a DL stint. At 36 years of age, he's barely on the mixed league radar for next season. Draft him only as a last resort.
Zach Steinhorn is the 2016 Mixed Auction Tout Wars champion. Follow him on Twitter @ZachMLB