At this time of year, when looking at your standings reports with a little more angst than in May, it is critical to make sound strategic maneuvers for the stretch drive. With multiple scenarios, concerns and options swirling around in your head, it is critical to keep a few key points mind:
1. Set a realistic goal: Before considering late-season adjustments to your roster, determine your objective for the rest of the year. Yes, it is everyone's objective to finish first, but for a good number of teams that idea vanished weeks ago. If you are still in the hunt, then by all means play to win. But if you find yourself in eighth place out of 12 teams, and 22 points out first, then it might be time to set a different target. Aim for fourth place (or your last money spot), aim to finish above your archrival or simply aim to get out of the cellar. But definitely set a target, and make it one that will not require supernatural assistance.
2. Make standings-efficient trades: Most leagues have standings that are mostly stratified at this point in the year. A couple of categories are pretty stagnant, and it has become clear that one or two other categories hold the key to the championship. In terms of your individual position, the same basic facts are true. There are some categories in which your position is safe, and others in which there are potential gains or losses to be had. This is the time to redistribute your resources for maximum benefit in the standings. If you have one closer, and you are 10 saves from moving in either direction in the category, it is absolutely time to sell your closers to someone who can still move in the category.