Welcome to the stretch run. If luck and skill were on your side this season, you are either in the playoffs or battling for every point you can get in pursuit of a championship. This column isn’t for those fortunate souls.  This one is fore everyone else. 

You can’t win. Your trade deadline is past. So, what do you do?

In a redraft league, you have two choices. One is to tank and finish as low as possible in pursuit of a higher draft pick. That route is easy. You shouldn’t need help. The more fun route is to keep trying to move up the standings. It isn’t just about pride. It is about enjoying the moment. 

The same is true in keeper leagues, but those offer more opportunities. The waiver wire is your friend. The temptation is to lose focus when your team is out of it, but you can miss opportunities that way. Sometimes teams ahead of you will cut potential keepers who don’t fit what they need for the final few weeks. Sometimes a late-season call-up will prove worthy of a spot. Face it. Your team has flaws. Maybe you can fix them. 

Unheralded players like Cole Ragans have emerged in recent weeks. Now he is likely owned in all serious leagues. (If he isn’t owned in your league, stop reading and pick him up right now.) Other players whom your competitors may have given up on are surging. Not long ago, Mitch Keller and Jesus Luzardo seemed to be falling apart. Their slumps were bad enough that they might have been dropped. Both have righted their ships, creating an opportunity for owners who are paying attention. 

You can also use this time to evaluate players already on your roster. Perhaps a player like Yainer Diaz looked like he was simply a nice addition for this season, but he is proving to be much more. His name could certainly be popping up on quite a few keeper lists. On the other hand, Zack Gelof has faded after his monster August. The underlying metrics support both Diaz’s rise and the correction in Gelof’s numbers. Maybe both are headed for the cut list. Maybe both can be keepers. Those are the things you should be evaluating the rest of the way. 

Also, if you keep trying, it is good for the integrity of your league. Remember that you invested in participating in this league. You aren’t getting that time back, so you might as well make the best of it no matter how your team is doing. 

If you are the sort who only reads these columns looking for player endorsements, consider the above to be my way of giving you that for Ragans, Keller, Luzardo, and Diaz.

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