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Why Offseason Matters Matter

19 Jan

Rob Lowe tweeted that Peyton Manning is retiring.

Rob Lowe.

It may only be January, but the Colts have a lot of work ahead of them, whether Manning is back or not.

While this should not come as a shock that Manning may or may not be retiring given his current neck issues, this fact underscores why the offseason matters in fantasy sports, and that managing your team is a year-round affair.

In 2010, Ben Roethlisberger was facing a 6 game suspension for the beginning of the year. The allegations of his shenanigans were not criminal when all was said in done, but a slap on the wrist punishment by the NFL. Looking at the Steelers offense, I decided that Charlie Batch was going to be adequate but possibly not enough for the Steelers to put up points. His 56% completion rate in his years playing more that 8 games a season in Detroit showed me he could move the ball somewhat, but TDs were not going to be his forte. Getting the team down field was going to be a moderate success rate. 

On draft day, I planned ahead to take Jeff Reed, who opened the season with 3 Steeler victories and  a couple of good field goal games. Reed had been tendered a one year deal under the franchise tag in 2010, but knowing that  Big Ben would come back, I had to plan early to replace my temporary kicking “stud”.  Ben’s sentence was reduced to 4 games due to good behavior (plus a Steeler week 5 bye). I would be staring down the barrel of the waiver wire gun at week 5.

I picked up Josh Scobee who had a monster week 5 scoring 18 points.

Reed was released in November.

Keeping an eye on the big picture helped me make the most of what is normally a “throwaway” draft pick of a kicker.  A little preparation prevented me from a draft room “panic pick” of best available and replaced it with a smart strategy.

My biggest offseason concern in baseball in 2012 is  Ryan Braun. Question 1 has already been addressed: Bud Selig will be back.

If Selig’s contract was not extended in January through 2014, there would be a huge x-factor of who would come in and how they might address Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension. Now that Selig is reaffirmed, we have a better handle on how he’ll address the spin of the league MVP tarnishing the brand that is still trying to bury the ghosts of the steroid era of the 1990s.  A lot of those high-profile PED studs are up for the HOF now, including Barry Bonds next year. Selig’s ear has to be to the ground with such a potentially embarrassing situation as Braun’s on deck.  

Even if Braun has a reduced suspension after the pending appeal, the Brewers’ offense is dealing with re-signing or losing Prince Fielder. Fielder and Braun combined for 71 HRs, 231 RBIs, and usually bat in the 3-4 spots.

Reread that. You don’t think that could drastically affect, say, Nyjer Morgan’s 61 runs? This is a huge ripple effect, like a dishwasher thrown into a kiddie pool.

In evaluating the lead-up to my baseball drafts, I’ve got a lot to watch. Besides the obvious Fielder contract and Braun’s status, I’ve got to watch Spring training closely, the FA signing by the Brewers, and the minor leaguers who may get called up to spot fill for one or possibly both of these guys.

It may only be January, but as far as I’m concerned, the season work for me is in full swing.

So while I can’t realistically make solid decisions on Braun and Fielder until more information is out there, I’ve got the whole set of issues on my radar, as well as those ripple effects. 

I’m not going to ignore Rob Lowe. Just in case.


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