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With the baseball season starting in the blink of seven-days-eyes, I figured it would be fitting since we all crunch drafts ’til the last possible moment.  Waiting until the end isn’t always a bad idea, you get the last news possible on injuries and job security.  Bad thing is that you lose some of the sleeper appeal.  By now, if you haven’t heard of a guy who could be closing, there is a great possibility that he doesn’t have a Sam Hill’s chance of closing.   Just facts.  These guys aren’t born yesterday and matriculate with a mastery of three pitches overnight.  The bullpen folk have one job and that is to make a save situation stay a save situation.  This holds true for holds guys, pun semi-intended.  So the list is basically where it should be until we start seeing some production from the lads.  The committee situations that exist in Milwaukee and possibly Philly will be that until someone gets the bulk of the load on his back.  Which sounds gross, but from a fantasy perspective, you want a full orgy of saves on your closer.  After all, quantity is the name of the game, that and continued success at it.  It is like everyone else’s job; you do good you stay.  You do poorly, you get pink slipped and sent to middle relief-dom.  So fingers crossed, or if you play the cuff odds, just simply uncross them and pray for the worst. Here is the last rankings of Closers and their hand-cuffs for the start of fantasy baseball version, 2.016…

  • The Yankees have an elite-type back after the suspension that Miller still stays in the roughage category.  30 days as the closer could still net him 10-12 saves and he could easily finish the year with 15/30 saves holds.
  • Cody Allen may be the first guy from the second tier I see making the leap to the next grouping.  He ended last year with 1 ER given up in his last 19 appearances spanning 25 innings.  His K-rate was over 13.  Great starting pitching and a under the radar type relief crew in front could make him a top-8 guy in no time.
  • The Rays situation is a complete committee to me, Farquahr and Colome will probably each get opportunities until one shows better effectiveness.  The best thing to look for is that for a career is that Farquhar gets LH out better than RH.  Colome is the opposite.
  • I am still not so sure that Vizcaino is the guy in Atlanta, Grilli appears to be back and only increases the level of prospect return by having him close for the first 45 games or so.  Just my thought.
  • The committee or the semblance of one in Philly has Bailey in the conversation for saves now that Hernandez has been slowed in spring.  I understand that saves are saves but, Bailey’s last save was June of 2013.   Hernandez’s was July of that same year. Hooray for the way back machine.
  • Will Smith is the guy you want in Milwaukee, Jeffress has barely thrown in spring and Smith is their best reliever period.

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Kenley Jansen – (Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher)

2. Wade Davis – (Joakim Soria, Kelvin Herrera)

3. Craig Kimbrel – (Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa)

4. Jeurys Familia – (Addison Reed, Antonio Bastardo)

5. Zach Britton – (Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens)

6. Trevor Rosenthal – (Kevin Siegrist,Jordan Walden, Seung Hwan Oh)

7. Ken Giles – (Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek)

8. Andrew Miller – (Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman- Susp)

 

Donkeycorns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

9. David Robertson – (Zach Putnam, Jake Petricka, Nate Jones)

10. Mark Melancon – (Tony Watson, Arquimedes Caminero, Jared Hughes)

11. Hector Rondon – (Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm)

12. Shawn Tolleson – (Keone Kela, Sam Dyson)

13. Cody Allen – (Bryan Shaw, Zach McAllister)

14. A.J. Ramos – (Mike Dunn, Bryan MorrisKyle Barraclough)

15.  Francisco Rodriguez – (Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson)

16. Jonathan Papelbon – (Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, Trevor Gott)

17. Huston Street – (Joe Smith, Mike Morin)

18. Glen Perkins – (Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May)

19. Drew Storen – (Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil)

Employed

These guys are the men that make the save market go round. They punch in, punch out. Have the job, no real threat to speak of, and are basically just there to collect great benny’s so they can take care of their crippled brother. Who is only really crippled because he is scared of the sun.

20. Jake McGee – (Jason Motte, Chad Qualls, Miguel Castro)

21. Steve Cishek – (Joaquin Benoit, Tony Zych)

22. Santiago Casilla – (Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland)

23. Brad Ziegler – (Tyler ClippardDaniel Hudson, Silvino Bracho)

24. Sean Doolittle – (John Axford, Ryan Madson)

25. Fernando Rodney – (Kevin Quackenbush, Jon Edwards)

Brain Freezes

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

26. Arodys Vizcaino – (Jason Grilli, Jim Johnson)

27. J.J. Hoover – (Jumbo Diaz, Zach Weiss)

28. David Hernandez – (Andrew Bailey,  Edward Mujica)

29. Danny Farquhar, Alex Colome – (Xavier Cedeno, Steve Geltz)

30. Will Smith – (Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress)

 

   
  1. Bill says:
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    Just in: Will Smith has some kind of knee injury that’s being checked out today.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bill: Thanks, gotta wait to see more news. Figures like they waited til I posted for news

  2. Mike says:
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    14 team keeper league with 3 rp spots. I’m usually a sagnof guy but I have Tolleson ($9) and Storen ($8) as potential keeps. My drop date for keepers is tomorrow and I just don’t know if I should keep them or throw them back in. Our budget is $260 and I’ve committed about $150 so far.

    Thanks for your advice!

    Mike

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bill: Thanks, gotta wait to see more news. Figures like they waited til I posted for [email protected]Mike: 17 bucks for 50 plus saves is a pretty good deal.

  3. The Grand Poppy says:
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    I have Rodney, but I hate having him. Just feels like waiting I’m waiting for that time of the month … every month. Given the news with Smith’s knee issue, would you drop Rodney for Jeffress?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @The Grand Poppy: dropping a closer to chase for a potential closer in a committee meh. Hold Rodney, I dont think the Fresh Prince of Save Aire is going to need an amputation

      • The Grand Poppy says:
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        @Smokey: Ha! Thanks …

  4. Pouss-Pouss says:
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    Who is Sam Hill, and what is his K/9?

  5. Zeus says:
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    Read a report that Tolleson is not safe and they may mix and match.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Zeus: I will believe it when I see Kela or Dyson get a save chance, sounds like motivation from a manager to me. But definitely something to monitor, I saw it this morning as well. Kinda weird to cut the legs of the guy who basically led MLB in saves in second half

      • Zeus says:
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        @Smokey: well they didn’t trust him in the playoffs. I think dyson leads the team in saves

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Zeus: good possibility but from the jump I see tolley being the guy with Kela being the man later if need be with a smattering of Dyson mixed in

  6. brettj72 says:
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    How close is this ranking to the order you would draft these guys if you drafted today? For example: would you draft Miller, Chapman, or Robertson first?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @brettj72: sexy eye patch…I would draft Robertson overall based on quanity of the job. Miller steals from Chappie and versa visa

  7. brettj72 says:
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    Thanks! So you would draft Chapman somewhere in the middle of the donkeycorn tier and Miller in the middle of the employed tier?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @brettj72: yea to start

  8. Eric Westlund says:
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    Hey Smokey, are you the Razzball writer I bet a sixer that Chris Hatcher would have more holds than Yimi Garcia this year?

      • Eric Westlund says:
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        @Smokey: Hatcher has dominated and I heard Yimi is an option candidate.

        You on twitter? (for future check-ins, smack talk, etc.)

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Eric Westlund: i’ll get in on any side if i’m given some sort of odds. yimi barely has hatcher covered in projected BPI’s from shandler, better 1st pitch K% and 14 -12 on SWGk%

          • Eric Westlund says:
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            @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: I’ll take Hatcher against both of you, even odds!

            The bet is total holds, so obviously it won’t be decided until the season is over. But the spirit of the bet, arguably, is who is the primary 8th inning set up man. Just saying. When Hatcher opens the season in that role, I’m gonna have some early bragging rights.

  9. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    great stuff,have my keeper auction draft tonight,thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: how did draft go?

  10. Darren says:
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    Would you trade Rodney for Boxburger if you had enough closers to wait out the injury?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Darren: sure, the lateral move plus wait time is worth it. I think Box gets the job back eventually and I am better then Fernando at this point (only slightly kidding)

  11. Brett says:
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    Smokey,

    I was wondering if you know of any good pitchers on ESPN who can get holds or saves that have SP eligibility? It’s a huge advantage to find these guys.

    Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Brett: Trevor May, Colome are names that are most prominent

  12. Alan says:
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    Man I traded Socrates for Jeffress and Knebel in dynasty, is it bad to wish ill on Will?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Alan: in your case you want a house to fall on him

  13. Nick says:
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    Hi smokey
    in my keeper league, i have KJansen and Allen, drafted Hector Rondon as 3rd closer, round 16!

    i was aiming to get Giles or Familya but they went 1 round before, and Miller, Papelbon, AJRamos, Bettances went all 1 round after !

    to complete the team i need holds, following your chart, i took Kevin Jepsen with 36 holds projected… but behind Perkins ranked #18 is it Worth it,
    like you said in your NSVH conundrum “better getting Ks and low era whip “?
    then Brett Cecil (22) is avb, Soria (28) as well

    usually i backup my closer with his setup man: so i can get both SV and H same day ! good strat?
    that means Shaw (24)for Allen
    “who is it for” for KJansen? Baez, Garcia (18) or Hatch (18)? all avb

    other of consideration could be: Grilli, Bundy, Bastardo, Bailey… or WillSmith

    so Cecil / Soria / Shaw or Jepsen ? for holds oh and i juste noticed Justin Wilson…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Nick: Love the Jepsen/Perkins pair… Jepsen is the immediate cuff and not an awful option as a holds guy. Love Shaw with the Allen ownership as shaw has 3 straight years of 70 appearances he is a quantity reliever which in your case is great. I would hold rostering Jepsen and if you have room for a second Shaw or Soria would be my next option.

  14. Wilson says:
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    So drop Soria if i need to make a room in a league with SV (without HD)? he has less chance to be a closer unless W Davis gets injury, right? Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Wilson: yea but he is going to give you good return for rates and if you own Wade he is a must cuff until you need a stream option starter

  15. Lt says:
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    In saves/holds leagues what’s your thoughts on purposely drafting committees of two thinking along the lines of well one will definetly get the save and the other hold? Taking both Rays in this thinking is much safer or has more value? Thanks for the help and if it’s a good call what other employed closers with a set up man creeping are nice parings?

  16. Turn Two says:
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    Torn LCL for Will. I was going to keep him over Jeffress. Damn. You see him grabbing hold of the closer role and keeping it, even when Smith comes back?
    I guess I’ll throw Smith back.. is he worth targeting for a buck or two at the end of the draft now that he’s damaged goods??
    NL Only keeper league.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Turn Two: By that time Jeffress will be settled in hard to say. As long as you have multiple dl spots why not

  17. Brade says:
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    Would be nice for each player’s team to be included in the list (now and in the future). Some of these guys don’t immediately ring a bell.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Brade: every team is listed only once and if use the player link it tells you team affiliate

      • Brade says:
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        @Smokey: Tru dat. I just figured it would be an easy update to make it more user-friendly. This site tends to be slow, so clicking a name each time to see the team can be frustrating.

  18. Brian says:
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    In my NL Only League, was just offered a $5 Brandon Crawford for my $11 Brad Ziegler.

    Pros: It’s an OPS league, so Crawford has more value and Crawford is one of only three SS I have projected for an OPS over .750 (C. Seager, Kang, Crawford); also, all the other decent SS (Russell, Kang, Seager) are being kept) / six extra dollars to play with an the auction

    Cons: I enter the auction with zero closers / I could potentially keep Trevor Story for $5

    Things to know: The closers who will be available at auction are Jansen, Rosenthal, Melancon, Rondon, Papelbon, McGee, Rodney, and Hernandez/Bailey

    Does having Story as a possible keeper change you how you feel about the potential trade? Do I make the trade? If so, should I still keep Story? Have I asked too many questions already? How do I make it stop?

    Thanks for your help, as always!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Brian: I would take Crawford. The vlosers available whilebeing more moneyy in draft are far mor valuable then Zig, I would keep story as well he is a good gamble in NL only

      • Brian says:
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        Trade accepted. Thanks!

  19. Biggie Smalls says:
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    League counts holds, saves K/9 BB/9, W, ERA, WHIP, QS

    Pick two: Ryan Madson, Chris Hatcher, Silvino Bracho, Felipe Rivero-Starting to believe he is going to be the second in line in washington, velocity is great and the slider is devastating.

    I have Storen, Miller, Giles, Kela, Vizcaino, Madson and Hatcher rostered 4SP, 3 RP and 4 P slots, but I try to keep all RP and P slots filled with relievers to boost the ratio stats and lock down holds and saves.

    Just curious if you think either of Silvino or Rivero are more valuable than Madson or Hatcher.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Biggie Smalls: Madson and Hatcher are my two but I could see you keeping Riviero as a flip flop with the hot hand in season for holds. I am starting to hear good hype on him as well.

      • Biggie Smalls says:
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        Bracho just has too many guys ahead of him to leap frog eh?

        Would you play hatcher ahead of yimi garcia and pedro baez too? I am not too familiar with the dodgers bullpen, it seems there are too many options there.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Biggie Smalls: Dodgers pen is a steal from each other scenario. Some say Hatcher I say Yimi and it could be Baez so the quantity isn’t there. bracho has the goods just needs the spotlight, unfortunately alot of arms in mix there

  20. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    20 team dynasty with relief appearances, holds, relief wins, K/9 and OBPA. already have tolleson/kela/giles/salas/hatcher. who’s best 2 out of robles/maurer/diekman/vincent/ollie perez/hochevar/f-rod (OAK)/petrica/j.miller (COL)?

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: player rater completely agrees that allen already is top 8 RP. esp in yahoo he simply isn’t drafted as such though. in holds rater he’s listed as 4th, and even when chapman gets back he’s 5th, right behind k-rob, right ahead of wade.

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: pomeranz in play here too, but it looks like he’s been moved way down in depthcharts after maurer moved to pen.

  21. Moscowitz says:
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    Hey Smokey,

    Knebel, Grimm, Strickland, lowe

    Pick two for Holds and Ratio help.

    Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Moscowitz: Strickland and Lowe

  22. jon says:
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    Hey Smokey,

    Siting on Chapman suspension for a month and need someone to bridge to him. I have Wade Davis, Jack McGee holding down 2 of 3 RP slots. Can you order the following for me in terms of who you like best for SVs in first 30 games?

    Motte (McGee handcuff?), Gregerson, Knebel, Strickland, Benoit, Quackenbush, Dyson/Kela.

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @jon: Not much early save potential there. Knebel, Benoit, Quackenbush, Strickland

  23. JoeG414 says:
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    Hello Smokey , just drafted in a 6×6 (no Holds) daily mixed roto. Closes went early and often .
    I have Cishek , Hoover, Colome. With Farquhar on the bench; Should I cut Farquhar for Sam Dyson , Motte , J.Smith or Knebel for Saves. Or pickup Strop or T.Watson ?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @JoeG414: You are a little slim in saves, you need Farq as the cuff for Colome until it gets sorted out as one is the better

  24. Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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    if you were drafting one closer in a dynasty who you’d go with, all of PHI, SD, TB, CIN, cishek and jeffress are around. i read somewhere that cishek for some asinine reason has good job security, even as benoit kicks ass compared to him. that make him or jeffress the get here?

  25. Kendrick Twerkins says:
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    You seem a little low on Santiago Casilla. He had a sub 3 Era last year and is on a pretty good team. Is it injury concern?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Kendrick Twerkins: maybe I am banking on eventuality too much, but don’t get me wrong I love Casilla as a player, just compared to others he is a bit below with arms a plenty behind him Strickland and Romo plus a ton of minor league guys Black Osich

  26. B says:
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    Hey, thanks for these articles.

    With the categories W,K,SV,HLD,ERA,WHIP, who do you prefer this season: D. Hudson or Zych? I have Hudson, but I also have Cishek so though Zych might be a good (second) handcuff behind Benoit. Is the handcuff enough to make the swap? Can Hudson eventually be the primary handcuff to Ziegler or is it Clippard’s to lose?

    Thanks in advance.

    • B says:
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      @B:

      Forgot to mention it’s a roto league.

      For more context I have Papelbon, Casilla, Doolittle, Cishek and Colomé, but may be trading Colomé and Doolittle as a package deal that would also give me Kelley (Papelbon’s handcuff). If that went through, then I’d have Hudson and Kelley as my holds guys. Since I’d be giving up two closers, I figured that it would be good to have two holds guys from the same team as two of my closers.

      With this in mind, and whether or not the trade goes through, does the swap make sense?

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @B: I’d hold Hudson

  27. AdamH says:
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    In a standard yahoo 12 team 5×5 snake roto, at what tier do you start looking at the setup guys as opposed to the closers? And who are the handful of top setup men your are drafting prospecting for saves?

    Thanks as always, you’re posts are invaluable!

  28. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    20 team dynasty with holds and relief appearances and relief wins and K/9. team is based around TEX (and glad i grabbed diekman earlier today as last RP, he went ahead of dyson, and even kela today).
    giles/tolleson/diekman/robles/kela/salas/hatcher. drop anybody for farq, recently dropped?

    2. also, in 12 teamer, it appears grilli already lost his job, stick with him or grab one of: jumbo, madson, romo, farq, quack, maurer, hino. i have allen/osuna/casilla/grilli
    saves only in this one.

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