I interrupt this usually esoteric discussion of relatively advanced fantasy baseball strategy to issue a very simple, practical reminder. Make use of your DL spots.
I always find it surprising how many otherwise savvy fantasy players neglect to expand their rosters by utilizing the disabled list. Your DL spots are roster spots. Quite simply, they represent the capability to claim control of potentially valuable assets.
I’m often a proponent of drafting players who are on the DL late in drafts. The price of such a move is usually quite cheap, as all you are sacrificing is the difference between one of your last picks – a player likely close to replacement value – for your pick of replacement player. For those in leagues that do not use FAAB, once the season begins, the price of obtaining a player on the DL goes from cheap to free.
Many owners may already be dropping and adding, tweaking their rosters and chasing this year’s frogs turned princes. Well, before you drop Luke Gregerson to pick up Jordan Walden (if this comes as a surprise to you, make sure you stay in tune with Paul Singman on Closer Watch), scour the waiver wire for lottery tickets. Is Johan Santana, Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, or Chase Utley floating amongst the free agents? How about Grady Sizemore, Johnny Cueto, Domonic Brown, or Brad Lidge?
When you drop your next player, before picking up his replacement, pick up the best DL-ed player and stash him on your DL. Then proceed to pick up your dropped player’s active replacement. Are you in a keeper league where Stephen Strasburg is not owned? Pick him up, maybe you won’t need the room on your DL and will be able to hold him all year so that you control him as a potential keeper.
Many of these players will not ultimately pay dividends, but some will, and they’re free. If one of your regular players gets hurt and his DL stint is projected to be brief, then drop one of your stashed assets and make room for the player most likely to help you the most and in the nearest future.
Rostering disabled players is really about making the most out of your roster spots and keeping potentially valuable assets away from others. Sometimes an injured player will become valuable simply for healing. It is quite likely that if Chase Utley or Johan Santana return this season, they will hit peak value on the day they debut. You may not be optimistic about their prospects for performing to their established levels, but somebody in your league will be. Injured players are potential assets, potential depth, and potential trade chips, and, I repeat, they’re usually extremely cheap or free.
If your league allowed you to hold the rights to a few minor league players, you wouldn’t forfeit that privilege, would you? Even though it isn’t particularly probable that any single one of those players will come up and make a huge impact on your team, you’d be a fool to not to sign up for your lottery tickets.
Personally, I don’t play the actual lottery. Even with the potential payout, the odds are just too steep for me to find it sensible. Many people do find it a worthwhile gamble though and I don’t really blame them either. This means, if you have the DL space, it may even be worth throwing a few bucks at an injured player in a league with FAAB. But, one thing I do know, is that if somebody gave me a free lotto ticket, I’d thank him/her, put it in my pocket, and the check the numbers the next day.