The cost of indecisiveness

Consider this: Fantasy teams that make more moves during the season tend to finish higher overall in the standings. Admittedly I don’t have the data from fantasy leagues on a team’s moves made compared to the final standings to prove it true, but I would bet a lot of money that the two correlate positively fairly strongly.

One could interpret this fact to mean that the moves themselves led to winning, but I would consider that a misinterpretation. Instead I’d argue that a team’s moves made indicate which owners followed the league most intensely and it is that intense following that breeds winning.

This means that making moves purely for the sake of making them will not increase your chances of winning. However, it is important to make moves throughout the season in response to changes in playing time or even the exceptionally hot or cold starts that some players experience in the beginning of a season. In other words, do not remain too prideful of the players you drafted—especially your later-round picks—because chances are a player will emerge early in the season who is worth owning over one of the players on your team.

I am not suggesting you give up on your drafted players at the first hints of struggling or jump blindly onto the bandwagon of a hot starter with a poor underlying skill set. The most important thing to do is evaluate every situation independently because every player is different.

On an individual basis every move you make should be made with the common goal to make your team better. If Player A in free agency is better than Player B on your team, add A and drop B. It sounds simple enough in theory, but when it comes down to deciding on whether to add a player or not in reality, things can get murky.

And when things get murky, people get indecisive.

I’m sure everyone reading this knows the bad feeling you get after seeing someone else add a player you were considering adding. And god forbid that player plays well for the other team, it is hard not to get a headache after checking the box scores on a nightly basis.

Indecisiveness, though, is not necessarily a bad thing. If you researched the players thoroughly—both the one you are considering adding and the one you are possibly dropping—and decide that you need to see a few more at-bats before making a decision, then there is nothing to regret.

However, if you check the stats of the possible pickup a little more closely and take him more seriously only after he was added by someone else, then the indecisiveness is the result of laziness and a lack of confidence on your part. In a highly competitive league where free agency is combed through like a beach filled with metal detector-wielding scavengers, winning the league is probably impossible with such indecisiveness. With a good draft you can place reasonably high, but the winner without a doubt will have combined a solid draft with effective use of free agents and maybe a few trades.

So, do your research on free agents and don’t let indecisiveness make you apathetic and leave your season filled with regrets.

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  1. MIchael said...

    Sometimes the best offense is the best defense. I would rather pick up a hot player and sit him on my bench then another manager picking him up and playing him.

  2. phil said...

    my quandary is always which pitchers to add/drop.  There’s always so many I want, and I’m worried other players will take them.  That and Jose Reyes…can’t just drop him, but man…

  3. Howard said...

    When I read the title I thought this article was going to focus more on indecisiveness when it comes to trades.  I find that’s when owners get more paralyzed to pull the trigger b/c they are so afraid of giving something up, or the player the get turning cold etc…

  4. Mark said...

    I find it interesting how you state in the first paragraph that you do not have the data to prove your assumption to be true, and then in the first sentence of the second paragraph you immediately refer to your assumption as a “fact.”  So, basically, this entire article is unsupported fluff?  Please get the data, and please stop impersonating a baseball analyst.  Thank you.

  5. Mark said...

    I appreciate the responses stated so far.  And I agree that it was not necessary for me to make a comment about “impersonating a baseball analyst.”  That was a cheap shot on my part, and I apologize. Also, I understand the difficulty in acquiring such data.  However, please do not label me as a “troll.”  If my first point is legitimate, then I should not hastily be lumped in with those who dump comments of no value.  While I enjoyed the article, I wanted to point out to a fellow writer a mis-step that could affect future writings.  Am I wrong for pointing out that a claim of fact should provide support?  Again, no offense to anyone.  I am just raising what I believe to be an important point.  Thanks again.

  6. Randy said...

    I don’t think they “correlate positively fairly strongly.”

    There are two components that make up activity:

    Moves (trades and add/drops)

    Lineup changes (bench players vs. starters)

    Your assertion assumes the moves being made are causing the team to perform better. In fact, in some of my leagues players are dropping the better players for a player that has performed better so far (and we all know that past performance in small samples does not predict future performance).

    Also, I’ve found this to be quite the opposite in my keeper league.

  7. Derek Ambrosino said...


    The question is how much production you can get per slot. So, while nobody should be dropping Jose Reyes, there’s no guarantee that Adam Laroche won’t actually outproduce Pablo Sandoval. (I own Sandoval and would not even think of dropping him, but the point remains.)

    Bench/start decisions aren’t counted in “moves,” so I don’t think Paul was even addressing those decisions – though they certainly should be considered in the scope of overall “activity.”

    My main point is that it is possible to patch together several hot streaks by lesser players to outproduce a single higher overall quality player. Does it happen all the time? No. Do owners sometimes act overzealously in this regard? Sure. But, the point is that this is one of many possible ways to succeed, but it requires making numerous moves.

  8. Paul Singman said...

    Randy, of course it makes that assumption and also of course sometimes an add/drop move will backfire. Maybe in your experience it’s been different, but in mine add/drops tend to be beneficial for a team (whether it be adding a new closer or some player who just won over more PT).

    It’s not so much the more moves the better, but more moves does signify attentiveness, which is half the battle for a lot of fantasy players. In a competitive league this will be less true so if your league has reached that level of competitiveness, you should feel lucky to be a part of it.

  9. Derek Ambrosino said...

    Hey, Mark, first why don’t you please stop impersonating a troll.

    Your initial point is legitimate; your editorializing is neither necessary, amusing, nor clever.

    Anecdotally, I tend to agree with Paul’s premise. Racking up a lot of moves often implies two traits that are not mutually exclusive. This owner is likely plugged in to following the game and/or willing to take chances.

    In my main league, the same owner leads the league is moves every year. Historically, he has been very successful, but also has been prone to having very poor seasons. He’s aggressive and willing to take chances, but sometimes they don’t work out well. So, my hypothesis would be that, presuming the owner is generally savvy, the hyperactive owner is subject to greater variance in performance than the more conservative owner of fairly comparable competence.

  10. Paul Singman said...

    @Michael—Ideally of course you would like to be able to stash the guy on your bench, but when the player you’d be dropping might be of potential value to other teams, well, you have a tough decision to make.

    @phil—Haha, I feel for you with Reyes. Maybe you should up your standards with SP. When in doubt, go with strikeouts (and easy opponents).

    @Howard—People freeze when deciding on trades but I would say it is almost never for a lack of research; most people research the players in the trade down to their mother’s maiden name. My point in this article was to highlight that many people are lazy in researching free agents and how much it hurts their chances of winning.

  11. Paul Singman said...

    Mark, I would love to gather and analyze the data to turn my educated assumption into a fact but unless you are the owner of Yahoo, ESPN, or CBS and can give me the data, it is impossible to prove. Should I maybe have not referred to it as a fact? I suppose if I was worried about irritating irascible people.

    Looking past that minor point, my main point in the article (which I state plainly above in my response to Howard) is not affected by whether or not moves made and success correlate, so I’m not sure how it undermines the rest of the article.

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