I said in my last post I wanted to start off my articles with small discussions about this common game we play that bonds us. The people demanded, I deliver. Today, I want to talk about awareness. Being an aware fantasy manager. This means having some sense of what’s going on in your league, how the other managers are operating and how your general strategy compares.
Some of you, I’d bet, run your team like a horse wearing blinders during a race. While not always bad in horseracing, I would say this is decidedly a bad thing for a fantasy baseballer with title aspirations. This is because how you should optimally run your team is directly affected by how others are running theirs.
Right now, right this very instant, I encourage you to check out every roster in your league if you haven’t recently. At least the competitive ones. Indulge in a passing glance. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you will find interesting and in some way help you make better lineup decisions.
Maybe you’ll discover that a couple teams have said “F*ck it!” to all starters and are employing a stable of relievers instead. So that’s why their ERAs suck so much. Maybe you’ll learn that one team now has six closers and you might have a chance to acquire one on the cheap before half of them lose their jobs. Maybe you’ll find out that the arrogant douche in first has been streaming pitchers with good matchups and Matt Garza is more droppable than you realized. Might want to think about trying to disrupt his flow. If you didn’t learn anything, you’re league sounds boring and uncreative.
My point is,it’s useful be aware of these things. You might have told that girl that it’s not her, you just don’t have time for a relationship right now (it totally was her). But if you’re in a competitive daily fantasy league, no excuses, you have to find the time to stay aware. That is, if you want to win and break your streak of fourth place finishes sucka.
One last thing I want to touch on is a value of engaging in trade talks every now and then. Besides just making you a more fun and desirable league-mate to others, talking serious trade will force you to be more actively aware of how much you truly value the players on your team. This will ensure you are using all your roster spots optimally and allow you to be more confident when making rostering decisions. Kind of like playing squash to get your fill of cardio instead of straight-up running, trade negotiations are a good way to stay on top of things in a not so boring way.
If you’re still with me, let’s see what we can do to maximize our lineups this coming Thursday.
Thursday Game Stats
22 of 30 teams playing
First game: Giants @ Indians – 12:35 PM
Programming note: My picks have admittedly been a little too Hitter-Tron dependent the last couple articles. Anyone can go to the H-T page and add the highest guys ranked, but I believe you can do a little better than the Steamer ROS projections H-T uses by also taking into account batting lineup position and recent hot streaks (hence, this column). Look forward to a little more of my informed personal opinion infused into the selections in this LM and future editions. -PS
There are not too many teams with off days on Thursday, so most people probably only have a couple empty spots to fill. I just checked my RCL team and it’s got four players with off days. At the very least I’ll do this for my own purposes.
#8 Corey Dickerson (L) – Col – OF – vs ARI (Arroyo-R) – 8:40 PM – 35% owned
This should be your last warning from me or anyone to pick up Dickerson, even in 12 team mixers. In just 85 at-bats this year, he’s batted .340 with seven homers. Girls with breasts like that shouldn’t be miserable, and guys with stats like that shouldn’t be on your waiver wire. Dickerson benefitted this past week from filling in at DH in an AL ballpark, but even playing under the NL rules of engagement again, his bat will find his way into the Colorado lineup more often than not. Serious production ensues.
#236 Craig Gentry (R) – Oak – OF – @NYY (Tanaka-R) – 1:05 PM – 1% owned
Josh Reddick banged up his knee and is headed to the Disabled List, though his .214/.279/.339 slash line makes him a borderline Disgraceful List candidate. This opens the door for Kitten-face Gentry to start everyday in right for Those Shit-Ass A’s. Gentry owns a much more acceptable .270 average and nine steals in comparison. The A’s gave up a serious prospect in former 10th overall pick Michael Choice to acquire him, adding to my belief that a good showing in the coming weeks could win him the everyday job in right. Gentry doesn’t have a good matchup on Thursday against the AL’s top starter in Tanaka, but definitely add him today against Nuno and for the upcoming series against Baltimore. Side note: I’ll also be at a Yanks-A’s game on Tuesday night (thanks Ticket Oak!). F*#k scouting, I’ll just be drinkin’ beehs but maybe with a little extra focus on Gentry.
#105 Derek Jeter (R) – NYY – SS – vs OAK (Pomeranz-L) – 1:05 PM – 14% owned
The Captain?! Surely, you must be joking Mr. Singman. Nope, I’m Sirius Black serious. I don’t know, something about the way Pomeranz locates his fastball away a lot and Jeter excels at hitting those oppo makes me think he could hit a couple doubles or even a short porch banger this game. That’s a home run, by the way.
#57 Chris Young (R) – NYM – OF – @CHC (Wood-L) – 7:05 PM – 12% owned
With Eric Young Jr. and mah boy Lagares out for the Mets, Young should draw the start Thursday night against the lefty Wood. Young’s batting barely above the Mendoza Line, but offers enough category juice to be a decent fantasy play. Or you could eat some hay and lay by the bay. Whatta you say?
#117 Luis Valbuena (L) – CHC – 2B/3B – vs NYM (DeGrom-R) – 7:05 PM – 2% owned
For whatever reason, Valbuena is an easily overlooked player. Actually I can name plenty of reasons–he’s a 29 year old journeyman-type player on the Cubs who batted .218 last year and is currently splitting time with Mike Olt. Those are the negatives but there’s also positives worth pointing out. He’s shown good pop for an MI with 12 bombs last season, is hitting well this year with a 127 wRC+ (Sabermetrics points!). While Olt continues to strike out like you read about (he can’t, eyesight too poor), I think the PT scales will begin to tilt in Valbuena’s favor making him 14+ team mixed worthy.
Here are a few more options for your streaming pleasure:
#51 J.D. Martinez (R) – Det – OF
#65 Rougned Odor (L) – Tex – 2B
#69 Michael Choice (R) – Tex – OF
#88 Matt Joyce (L) – TBR – OF
#242 Ruben Tejada (R) – NYM – SS
Last Time & Season Results
Last Article: 15 AB, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .333 AVG
Overall (per game): .27 R, .07 HR, 0.4 RBI, 0 SB, .288 AVG
Another good performance by my picks and I got my first home run(!) courtesy of Michael Saunders. Willingham had a nice day going 2-for-2 with an RBI and also adding two walks for you OBP leaguers. Dyson at least entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement and picked up a hit in his lone at-bat. Still looking for the first elusive steal…Check back on Sunday!
Paul is a failed Little League top prospect who now writes about fantasy baseball at Razzball. Follow him on Twitter @PolarizedRanger.