How To End A Fantasy Season

Way back in March I live-tweeted the auction for my home AL-only league (12 teams, 5x5 ultra roto), so maybe it's only fitting that I close the season doing the same thing. You see, I headed into that auction expecting to compete for the title. I came out of that auction expecting to compete for the title. And I made big trades and free agent buys expecting to compete for the title.

With one day left in the regular season though, I didn't expect things to be so, umm, competitive.

Here's the situation: I spent most of the second half in first place, but in the dying weeks of the season another club made a late surge thanks to very good use of our salary cap rules (we have a $360 in-season cap on the active roster that gets replaced with a luxury tax rule in September, so he stockpiled expensive talent on his bench and then unleashed the hounds on September 1st. I did the same thing, of course, but my expensive talent includes guys like Melky Cabrera and Howie Kendrick who spent most or all of the month hurt. Oops.) On Friday, thanks to Chris Sale's ugly start, the other team slipped past me into first (did I mention I traded Carlos Correa at our deadline to get Sale, since my pitching staff at the time was all kinds of banged up?). Last night, thanks to Andy Pettitte's incredible final start complete game win, I re-claimed a half-point lead in the standings (did I mention Pettitte was basically a throw-in on a mid-season trade I made to land Kendrick and Melky?).

Which brings us to today, Sunday, the final day of the regular season.

I could conceivably grab a point in batting average (I'm 0.0001 out of fourth in the category) and/or a half or full point in steals (I'm one SB back of third) and with a huge day I could even snag a point in RBI (I'm seven back of first place) with no real danger of any hitting losses. My rival is three runs back of second place which could net them a point, and is tied for seventh in steals which could gain or lose them half a point. Otherwise the hitting categories are pretty static. The pitching categories, on the other hand... gaaaaaaaah.

I'm tied with my direct rival in wins. I'm also 0.0008 ahead of them in ERA, as well as 12 K's ahead of them. None of that would be a big deal if neither of us had anybody scheduled to take the mound though, so let's take a peek at the Projected Starters page and, oh. He's got Justin Verlander facing the woeful Marlins at 1:10 pm EST. I've got Yu Darvish toeing the rubber against the Angels at 3:05. And, in the main event, my Matt Moore faces his Todd Redmond at 1:10 in Toronto.

Oh, and I could also gain or lose WHIP points depending on how things go (I'm 0.0006 back of third, but just 0.0124 ahead of sixth.) And there's a tiny chance I could gain a save on second place in that category and steal half a point.

If it weren't for the direct competition in wins, ERA and K's I'd be tempted to sit both my starters, or at least Moore, to try and protect myself in WHIP and ERA and just take my chances on gains elsewhere to clinch the title. But with the way things have shaken out I pretty much have to dance with who brung me, see what happens and root for Giancarlo Stanton and a bunch of Triple-A hitters to smack around one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, or at least for Moore not to walk every batter he sees. No sweat, right?

I'll be live-tweeting my afternoon of channel-flipping and freaking out at @AntonSirius. Football will not exist in this dojo at least until Darvish takes the hill, and probably not even then.

Welcome to the most ridiculous fantasy pennant race I've even been a part of in the 25 or so years I've been playing roto.


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