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April 23, 2012 posted by Dave Shovein

NFBC: Proper Utilization of Bench Spots

NFBC: Proper Utilization of Bench Spots
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Daniel Hudson, AZ

How long should you hang onto your injured players or minor league prospects?

One of the most difficult aspects for a manger in the NFBC to get a proper handle on is how to most effectively utilize his seven bench spots. With 30-man rosters, and no DL slots for injured players, how you structure these valuable spots is extremely important and could be the difference between winning or losing your league.

In a perfect world, one without any injuries, here’s an ideal way to structure your bench. You’d like to have three position players who are getting regular to semi-regular at-bats for their respective teams. Again, if things fall perfectly, you’d like to have a corner infielder, middle infielder and reserve outfielder. This gives you a great opportunity to take advantage of midweek lineup changes for hitters on Friday and maximize at-bats should any hitter get banged up during the week or if someone isn’t scheduled to play.

You should have at least two starting pitchers, and probably three, to be able to take advantage of favorable matchups and double start opportunities. The last spot could be reserved for a closer in waiting, should your team have issues in saves, or to a hot-shot minor league prospect that you are waiting on.

Where it gets tricky, is when players hit the disabled list. Take my own Main Event team for example: Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Hudson are now on the DL, and obviously can’t be dropped. This leaves me with only five bench spots for the next couple of weeks. Greg Holland was drafted, and had been carried to this point as a potential closer in waiting, though with him also heading to the DL, that’s a luxury that is no longer afforded to me.

While carrying these two dead spots on my roster, my plan in this situation is to churn the waiver wire each period to fill my holes for that particular week. For example, heading into this past bidding period, my bench consisted of Ellsbury, Hudson, Holland, Jesus Guzman, Andy Dirks, James Loney and Carlos Zambrano.

In an attempt to fill Daniel Hudson’s spot this week, Kyle Kendrick was added through FAAB for his potential double starts. He’s not a long term solution, but provides an immediate impact this week. Jesus Guzman holds no long term value with Carlos Quentin coming back soon, so he was dropped in favor of Alex Gonzalez to provide me another option at middle infielder and add some potential pop.

With Andy Dirks a little banged up, and Seth Smith playing decently as my fifth outfielder, Dirks wasn’t going to crack my lineup this week. Rather than hold him in case an outfielder was injured this period, Joe Wieland was scooped up for his double starts at home for the following week.

Heading into the next free agent bidding period, I already know that Kyle Kendrick and Clayton Richard are likely drops, and I can use those spots to fill in anyone who can upgrade my lineup for next week.

The moral of the story here, is that if you are short on the bench due to injuries, you have to be able to get the most out of each potential roster spot. While holding to DL players, my team doesn’t have the luxury of gambling on a minor leaguer hoping for a call-up, or grabbing an elite setup man hoping he falls into a few save chances.

Over the long, hard grind of the NFBC season, you need to scrape as much possible production out of each of your 30 roster spots in order to compete. If you’re sitting with four or five players on the DL, you may be forced to make some very difficult decisions early on in the season, as to whether to accept lesser production in the short term.

Questions, comments or concerns? Leave them in the comments here, or find me on twitter @DaveShovein

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