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RotoAuthority League Update: Wait, Verlander Was Dropped?

The RotoAuthority League is a highly competitive 12-team fantasy baseball league run by Tim Dierkes. The settings consist of standard 5 X 5 Rotisserie scoring and 23-man lineups along with 3 bench spots. In an effort to keep owners interested as well as to infuse new blood into the league, the teams that finish below 8th place are kicked out of the league each year. The author of this column just hopes he’s not one of them.

The Race for First Place

1. Yu at the Animal Zoo 103

2. Smell the Glove 102

This race continues to be a joy to watch on a daily basis. While Smell the Glove began the week in first place, Yu at the Animal Zoo took over the lead on Thursday. It's interesting that these owners have taken widely divergent strategies in utilizing the waiver wire. The owner for Yu at the Animal Zoo made about 20 pickups over the past week, constantly grabbing spot starters as well as hitters with some pop. Meanwhile, Manager Tim Dierkes of Smell the Glove picked up... well, nobody. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, as there's something to be said for going with the players that got you there when making a championship run.

As someone who keeps track of every move in all my leagues, I always find the last few weeks of the RotoAuthority League to be a fascinating case study in psychology. There are two types of owners during the stretch run. On the one hand, you have the owners who still want to assemble the best roster of players possible, even if some of the players may slumping. Sure, owners may have specific categories in mind, but this group of owners could care less about how a player has performed recently. On the other hand, there are owners who seem to have one question in mind when evaluating the players on their rosters: what have you done for me lately? Any experienced fantasy baseball player knows that rash decision-making like this would be a recipe for disaster in April, as hot streaks are not necessarily predictive. While I certainly don't fall into this category, sometimes I can't really blame owners who opt for this route. It sure feels like there are non-elite players every year who catch fire in September and decide fantasy leagues in the process; however, this is probably just anecdotal.

The Race for Third Place

3. Gramma Nutt Crushers 81

4. Brewsterville Bruins 70

You'll notive that I've altered this tier to include just two teams. While some other squads that I chose to place in the final group may still have an outside shot at third place, I feel it's slightly more likely they end up in the bottom four. The Gramma Nutt Crushers hovered about five points ahead of the Brewsterville Bruins for most of the past week but then increased their lead over the weekend. Oddly enough, each of these two teams has been relatively quiet on the waiver wire. The Brewsterville Bruins made just three pickups this past week while the Gramma Nutt Crushers didn't make a single acquisition. The one move that stood out to me was that the Bruins lost patience in Starlin Castro and finally cut him. Castro has been simply miserable all season long, and the fact that he's going to finish outside the top 20 at the thin shortstop position has to make him one of the top fantasy disappointments this year. 

The Race to Avoid the Bottom Four

5. Philly Cheez 63.5

6. Say It Ain't So Cano 61

7. E-Z Sliders 60

7. A Century of Misery 60

9. Men With Wood 56.5

10. UP 50

11. Reedy 49.5

12. Forty 2 Twenty 4 23.5

The daily nail-biting continues for those of near the bottom of the standings. We're really starting to see some interesting late-season strategies among this group. Like I've been doing as Manager of A Century of Misery, the owners of Say It Ain't So Cano and Forty 2 Twenty 4 have been picking up spot starters just about every morning. More so than any other owner, though, UP has taken the most unique approach to avoiding the bottom four. If you take a look at this owner's pitching staff right now, you'll find a grand total of just three pitchers, and one of them is the injured Jason Grilli! Yes, UP is currently rolling with Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, and two dozen hitters. The transaction that certainly caught every other owner's eye was the release of Justin Verlander on Thursday. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. While we don't usually see such extreme moves like that until the final week, it actually does make sense for UP to do this, as no other team has accrued more innings pitched. 

Standings as of Sunday, September 1st.

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