For this fantasy owner, Monday, September 5, 2005, is a day that will go down in infamy: It was the day on which I learned, like Darth Vader about the Dark Side, the overwhelming power of streaming starters. If you managed to steer your head-to-head team into the playoffs last season, perhaps you remember that as one of the season's most frustrating -- or enjoyable, depending on your perspective -- days as well.
To refresh your memory, Sept. 5 was a fine day to be a spot starter. On that day, three teams threw shutouts, 10 teams allowed two runs or fewer, and among those who managed quality starts were guys like Brandon Claussen, Brad Hennessey and Tomo Ohka, hardly household names in the world of fantasy baseball. Most importantly, it was Day 1 of the head-to-head postseason, at least in most leagues.
At the time, in my most competitive head-to-head league, I had entered the postseason with the No. 2 seed and the league's most overwhelmingly dominant offense, one that lapped the field by 62 home runs and featured names like Miguel Cabrera, Derrek Lee, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley and David Wright. My opponents had been using the words "petrified," "scared" and "terrified" to describe the thought of being possibly being matched up against that offense. My staff was a solid bunch, led by names like Josh Beckett, Todd Jones, Pedro Martinez and Andy Pettitte. I felt good about my chances, with one caveat.