Fantasy Baseball 2009 – Punting a Category

To start off, let me explain what punting a category even is to those of you who are unfamiliar with the term. Punting a category means to not even try to win said category, which most commonly in fantasy baseball involves saves. To punt the saves category, an owner will not even draft a closer and accept losing the category. It seems to be a strategy used much more frequently in roto leagues that are no larger than ten people.

So what is the advantage of intentionally losing a category? The idea is that by skipping drafting a closer, justmyfitness you are able to create a better starting pitching staff and hitting staff while the other managers scurry to find closers. Saves are one of the trickiest categories in fantasy baseball and the closer role is one that can change for teams on a week to week basis. This strategy has to be imposed either prior to drafting or very early in the baseball season. Also, it is a “high risk – high reward” strategy and is one that can sink a team early if done incorrectly.

Basically in order for the punting a category to succeed, the team needs to win or come in second in every other category to help offset the minimal points won in the said category.

For example, say my team is going to punt saves. I am in a 10 team, 5 by 5 mixed league and I choose to not draft any closers and rather stock up on high quality starters and then add some solid middle relieves at the end of the draft. I assemble a stable lineup with a balance of power and speed that I feel will be very competitive across the 5 hitting categories. I have accepted the fact I will only get 1 point from saves and have thus pushed my focus on to wins, Ks, WHIP and ERA. The middle relievers are crucial for it is tough to win the WHIP and ERA category with just starters alone.

The beautiful part about starting the year choosing to skip the saves category is that if you find your team is not hitting as you had hoped or your starters go down with injury, it is not too late to try and make up some ground and start competing in the saves department again. Closers in the MLB fluctuate a great deal and though some are stable in their roles, a huge number of them are not. A team may go through several different players in the closing role over the course of the year, so if you pay attention to the waiver wire and news on injuries and depth charts, it is not hard to collect saves well after draft day. Granted, you will not win the category, but might be able to make some points back to offset the other categories.

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