When being safe is the wrong strategy

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One of the keys to being a championship-winning fantasy baseball manager is the ability to be proactive without hesitation. Not only does that mean you have to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate breakouts, surges and slumps, but also you can’t be afraid of trading a player.

If asked why they don’t like to trade top players, most fantasy owners will cite the fear of that player producing at a high level for someone else. That means they’re playing scared and could miss out on opportunities to trade players away at peak value.

Take a look at the person in your league who has the White Sox’s Yermin Mercedes sitting on their roster. How is that working out for them right now? The 28-year-old South Side Savior finished April batting .415 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, and fantasy owners were either too busy singing his praises or too afraid to lose out on additional production that they failed to cash in on his surprising value. Heading into this weekend, he’s hitting just .212 with two home runs and 16 RBIs since the calendar flipped to May, making him nearly impossible to trade.

Yermin Mercedes
Yermin Mercedes

Mercedes might be an extreme case, but he isn’t alone, and it is up to you to anticipate the drop-offs and capitalize on the value while you can.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has been a fantastic asset, but is the 34-year-old really going to maintain this level of production? Or how about Rangers’ outfielder Adolis Garcia? His overall numbers look fantastic, but after a successful May, his peripherals are starting to regress. If you trade him now, you’re getting a return on peak value. If you wait and those numbers decline even more, your returns diminish.

You also need to be conscious of which players are likely to be traded by their real-life MLB teams at the July 31 deadline. You may be excited to finally have Trevor Story back in your lineup, as the Colorado shortstop’s power and speed combo can be a game-changer in fantasy. The Rockies are going to start their fire-sale soon, however, and Story is likely to be moved. He is a career .303 hitter with a .978 OPS at home in Coors Field, but on the road, he is batting just .248 with just a .755 OPS. If you’re competing for your league title, you may want to trade him now while you can.

Foresight and gumption: They are key components to winning fantasy championships. Your knowledge and analysis have carried you this far. It’s time now to put them all together and take home that title.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.

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