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For those of us who prefer our fantasy baseball leagues to mirror our fantasy football leagues, there are weekly H2H formats.  Sure, H2H is a poorer measure of fantasy skill than rotisserie — weekly snapshots of baseball statistics are hardly indicative of a team’s overall value.  But the one-on-one element of H2H provides owners with weekly closure, and adds quite a bit to the competitive nature of the fantasy game.  Simply put, H2H is fun.  One way to stay ahead in these weekly formats is to maintain a flexible roster and stream two-start pitchers.  So every Saturday in-season, we’ll be providing a glimpse at the upcoming week’s two-start landscape.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  And for a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.  The Steam-o-Nator goes live April 8th.

MUST-STARTS

Clayton Kershaw (SF, PIT); Justin Verlander (MIN, NYY); Jered Weaver (@CIN, @TEX); Matt Cain (@LAD, STL); Felix Hernandez (@OAK, @CWS); David Price (BAL, CLE); Cole Hamels (@ATL, KC); R.A. Dickey (CLE, BOS); CC Sabathia (BOS, @DET); Stephen Strasburg (MIA, @CIN); Adam Wainwright (@ARZ, @SF); Johnny Cueto (LAA, WAS); Ian Kennedy (STL, @ MIL); James Shields (@CWS, @PHI); Yovani Gallardo (COL, ARZ); Chris Sale (KC, SEA); Jon Lester (@NYY, @TOR); Yu Darvish (@HOU, LAA)

  • It’s week 1, and clubs typically roll out their rotations from top to bottom to open the year.  So, naturally, this group of must-starts is going to be quite a bit deeper than usual.  There’s not much to say about this group other than the obvious:  start ‘em.  These are your #1’s and #2’s.  You paid a premium for these dudes in your drafts — no reason to leave them on the bench.

FIRST TIER

Jonathan Niese (SD, MIA); Matt Harrison (@HOU, LAA); A.J. Burnett (CHC, @LAD); Tim Hudson (PHI, CHC); Jarrod Parker (SEA, @HOU)

  • These tier one guys should also be started in all weekly formats for Week 1.  I imagine as the season wears on, we’ll find these names sneaking into the must-start category.  But this being the inaugural Two Startapalooza, I thought it’d be nice to explain the damn tiers for y’all, rather than cramming everyone into one must-start category.

SECOND TIER

Justin Masterson (@TOR, @TB); Bud Norris (TEX, OAK); Ricky Nolasco (@WAS, @NYM); Jason Hammel (@TB, MIN); Edinson Volquez (@NYM, @COL); Hisashi Iwakuma (@OAK, @CWS); Jeff Samardzija (@PIT, @ATL); Brett Anderson (SEA, @HOU)

  • This is probably the best tier two we’ll see all year.  I’m sure some folks would’ve preferred to see Samardzija one tier better, but I’m anticipating some regression this year out of him.  A couple nice starts in week 1 will have me reconsidering that sentiment, however.  Again, you can feel pretty comfortable using these guys in most weekly formats for week 1, which usually won’t be the case with this second tier going forward.  Shallow leaguers, however, might consider leaving one on the bench provided they’re already fully loaded with higher-end two-start options.  I also should note that guys like Norris, Nolasco, Masterson, Iwakuma, and Hammel are widely available from waivers.

THIRD TIER

Jhoulys Chacin (@MIL, SD); Vance Worley (DET, @BAL)

  • This wraps up the list.  You can find both Chacin and Worley on the wire in just about any format, but I’d try avoid these two in week 1, unless you’re in the deepest of mixed leagues, NL-Only, or AL-Only.  Keep in mind that as the two start talent becomes more varied as we move deeper into the season, we’ll add a final tier consisting of guys you don’t want to start, no matter the circumstance.  For now, though, this week 1 crop is conceivably usable from top to bottom.

From Around The Web

  1. stu gotts says:
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    With Tillman opening on the DL that opens up a roster spot for me and I could use some help with avg and pop…you like Brandon Moss or Tyler Colvin?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Colvin over Moss… both bring a little upside.

      • Fooch says:
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        @Scott Evans: Colvin to AAA.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Whoa I missed that nugget from yesterday. Thanks for the update. Kinda surprising, but he was garbage this spring. Still imagine he spends most the year in the bigs…

          • Fooch says:
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            @Scott Evans: I predict that Matthew Berry will predict that Tyler Colvin will hit 40hr at AAA.

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Ha! Can’t argue with that one… very sound prediction, Fooch.

  2. Raftman says:
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    This is my first year playing H2H and I’m in two leagues…a dynasty and a redraft (I’ve played ROTO for three years). Anyway, I’ve stacked my bench with pitchers (each has daily lineup changes) so I can stream them as much as possible. However, with H2H, would it behoove me to have some bats on the bench, also?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      With daily lineup changes it’s nice to keep a deep stable of good pitchers, so I like what you’ve done there. And unless you’re especially weak at any given position on offense, I don’t mind having a thin or nonexistent bench of hitters. Plugging in one or two bench bats on a Monday or a Thursday won’t help as much as having solid mid-tier starters to use all week long.

  3. gareth says:
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    Drop hellickson for hammel this week?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      This must be a shallow format? 10-team mixed? I’d prefer to drop a fringy bench bat for Hammel & hold Hellickson, if possible.

  4. Jake "The Snake" says:
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    Bautista & Wainwright for Braun? Which side do you guys like?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Disregarding the potential for suspension, I’d pull the trigger & take Braun. I’m a bit weary of spending so much on a guy who could end up missing a significant chunk of the year, though, so my advice is to hold. I know Grey feels otherwise on this… If you’re willing to take on that risk, go ahead. If Braun plays a full year, he’s my #1 in standard formats.

    • Whatever says:
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      Braun is one of the top 5 players in fantasy. And Bautista is coming off the wrist surgery. As long as you have some pitching depth, I would do this deal.

      • Whatever says:
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        @Whatever:

        Ahh, Scott makes a good point about possible suspension. But I think MLB will have a major battle with the union before they can suspend players.

      • Hawk says:
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        @Whatever:

        If the wrist was gonna hamper Bautista’s power, he probably wouldn’t have hit all those spring training homers. And I’m saying this as someone who doesn’t own him anywhere. I think Bautista and Wainwright is too much for Braun

  5. Long Time Listener First Time Caller says:
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    Is this a fair trade? It got vetoed in my league.

    Giancarlo Stanton + David Freese for B.J. Upton + Adrien Beltre

      • Long Time Listener First Time Caller says:
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        @Whatever: Nope.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      It’s very lopsided toward the Stanton side. Feel free to make a stink about it on the message board, but unless there was collusion between the owners, I’d let it pass & target the dumb guy yourself for future pickings…

      • Whatever says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        going off steamer projections:

        Stanton + Freese = 159 Runs, 60 HR, 185 RBI, 7 SB, .280 avg

        Beltre + Upton = 169 Runs, 50 HR, 169 RBI, 27 SB, .270 avg

        I see this as a Power for speed trade and it looks fine to me.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I hear ya, but Beltre is overvalued IMO. Stanton is head & shoulders above Beltre & Upton, so unless long time first time already has massive power coming from 1B, I think he’s better off finding steals on the wire. SAGNOF.

          • Whatever says:
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            @Scott Evans:

            I see nothing in Beltre’s 2012 profile that screams regression except for a 17% HR/FB percentage but even then he hit 36 HR last year and the projection for 27 this year is safe in my view. And BJ Upton does have good power for a steals guy so he is not just sagnof.

            And I am assuming that first time long time has assessed what he has elsewhere in his lineup. I was just commenting on the trade as presented.

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Age 34 kinda screams regression,but that’s no guarantee. I’m just saying why trade power for steals if he can hold the power & find the additional steals without spending?

          • Long Time Listener First Time Caller says:
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            @Scott Evans: Here’s my current lineup. 12 team head to head.

            C J.P. Arencibia
            1B Paul Goldschmidt
            2B Jose Altuve
            3B David Freese
            SS Starlin Castro
            OF Austin Jackson
            OF Justin Upton
            OF Giancarlo Stanton
            U Ike Davis

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Good squad. I don’t think this swap makes you better.

              • Long Time Listener First Time Caller says:
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                @Scott Evans: I just have little confidence in Freese’s ability to stay healthy and I’m worried that Stanton’s minor league teammates will limit his production value.

              • Whatever says:
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                @Scott Evans:

                I agree with Scott on this one after looking at your team. you have plenty of speed for now. Keep the power that you have.

  6. Paddyman says:
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    “Sure, H2H is a poorer measure of fantasy skill than rotisserie — weekly snapshots of baseball statistics are hardly indicative of a team’s overall value. ” Curious comment. Surely winning those matchups on a regular basis rather than losing them would be an indicator of a teams overall value? It’s not like each matchup lives in a vacuum of fantasy probability.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Was meant to illustrate how given a small weekly sample, a great squad can end up losing to an inferior squad. It creates more parody for sure. I see baseball as a big picture sport — though to gauge a teams success based on one week of #s. But perhaps, my word choice was flawed — folks who are good at h2h are indeed skilled fantasy players. Just a different type of skill.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        Though = tough … Typing on an iPad here.

        • Paddyman says:
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          @Scott Evans: More parity, I think you mean, would suggest that it would be more difficult then, right? Though, no matter what the format, much of the skill/luck comes down to the involvement and competitiveness of other owners. I’ve been playing h2h for a few years now and with 9 categories on both the hitting and pitching sides. it’s pretty darn tough to balance a team especially on the hitting side. Categories like k’s against and fielding pc make it really tricky. Punting catcher or any position for that matter is foolish. Someone like Wilin Rosario becomes much less of a desirable option when considering 9 cats. Streaming 2 start guys is also tricky as you must always drop or dedicate one slot as a streaming slot. Our league has a limit of 30 free transactions after which there is a 2 dollar fee for each add/drop. Makes it tricky to jump on buzz 2 start pitchers.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            Parity is what I meant, yes — whiskey hangovers aren’t great for brain functionality. And you’re absolutely correct in that the h2h game can be more nuanced. I go back to the poor phrasing on my part — a savvy h2h owner is indeed skilled. And I’m not hating on h2h here… I’ve been playing it for years & it’s loads of fun. But you don’t agree that it’s maddening to take 1st place team into the playoffs & proceed to lose versus a team that just got hot? That’s the major flaw for me…

            • Paddyman says:
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              @Scott Evans: I wouldn’t consider it a flaw. Just a different game. If anything, it lends to more competitive leagues since no one is really ever out of it. Roto can lead to multiple guys giving up early, which can really make for boring leagues as the early leaders get stronger due to lack of participation. Very frustrating for the middle tier teams who are trying to get back into it.

              • JoeC says:
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                @Paddyman: Nah. Agree with Scott. A team that has been great all year should not lose in the playoffs because of one bad week. That will never seem fair to me. Of course, that’s more like real life, right? :) But there’s a reason we call it “fantasy” baseball!

                But I do get what you’re saying about keeping people involved, which is why H2H is so popular a format in fantasy sports in general. It evens out the skill factor a bit and involves more luck, which means anybody really can win. In most roto leagues, there’re only a few teams that can conceivably win unless you get Dickey, Pierzynski and Trout off the waiver wire or something crazy like that.

            • Paddyman says:
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              @Scott Evans: I’d be interested to hear what you make of my team if you don’t mind. h2h, 3 year keeper, 12 teams. Hitting cats: hits, ops, runs, hr, rbi, sb, k’s, plate apps, fielding pc. Pitching cats: w, L, hrs against, era whip, pitching apps, k’s, innings pitched,saves.
              C Molina
              1B/OF Craig
              2b (ss)Rutledge,
              ss Reyes
              3b Beltre
              IF Ike Davis
              OF C Gomez
              OF A Jackson
              OF Ichiro
              Util Berkman
              DL Ortiz
              Bench Bonifacio, Gyorko,
              Starters: Bumgarner, Scherzer, Sale, Niese, Cobb, Ryu
              RP: Street, Wilhelmsen, Parnell.

              I’m a bit light on saves, and much depends on health of berks and ortiz. Of is not great. Need to trade 3rd year keepers Beltre and Reyes this year. Was thinking of trying to acquire a top OF. Who would you seek in return for them in a trade this year?

              • Scott Evans

                Scott Evans says:
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                Not bad. Given your transaction limitations, you could use a deeper staff in order to have more 2-sart options from week-to-week. Good balance on offense & barring injury, should have plenty of PAs to pad the counting cats. Fielding pct is a total wild card — never played in format that’s used it before…

              • Scott Evans

                Scott Evans says:
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                Sorry, glazed over your more specific question… Beltre & Reyes could fetch nice pieces if you find the right owner. I’d look for power/speed combo like Cutch or J-Up. Cargo or Ellsbury would work too… the real Cargo… not the one you already have

                • Paddyman says:
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                  @Scott Evans: I was gonna trade for Trout but I don’t think he’ll part with him. I like the J up or Mccutchen ideas. Thanks for your input. Fielding pc is a wildcard alright. I was tryin to get a new category instead of it. Thanks again for your comments and good luck w your teams!

    • Beardcrabs says:
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      @Paddyman: playoff system is a joke…

      • Paddyman says:
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        @Beardcrabs: Guess I’m outnumbered! In any case these 2 start posts are very helpful for both formats, so thanks Scott!

  7. A couple of questions. I’m in a 10 team H2H and have a good lineup that goes as follows:

    C- Rosario
    1B- Fielder
    2B- Seager
    3B- Longoria
    SS- Zobrist
    OF- Heyward
    OF- C. Gonzalez
    Of- Jackson
    UT- Middlebrooks
    UT- C. Gomez

    Bench: Reddick, Rutledge, Pierzynski
    DL: Hart

    SP- Cueto
    SP- Medlen
    SP- Scherzer
    SP- Moore
    SP- Parker
    SP- Harvey
    RP- Wilhelmson
    RP- Reed

    Bench: S. Miller, Teheran, Boggs, Veras
    DL: Beachy

    I’m considering dropping Pierzynski to pickup either Hammel, Fiers, Ryu or Iwakuma. Is it worth it to add another SP or does anyone out there actually believe in AJ repeating those HRs or even coming close? Also, should I drop AJ and roll the dice that Rosario doesn’t slump this season?

    Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      No need to carry two catchers in this format. Drop AJ & give yourself some depth/flexibility in pitching.

      • Bump Bailey's Ghost says:
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        @Scott Evans: Do you think Hammel’s the way to go then?

        • Whatever says:
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          @Bump Bailey’s Ghost:

          I would go with Hammel first, Iwakuma second, Ryu third. Fiers lost his spot in the rotation due to Lohse signing.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            I think Narveson is headed for the ‘pen & Fiers is the #5

          • @Whatever: Awesome. With the news that Fiers is back in the rotation, does that change anything?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Iwakuma, then Fiers, then Hammel… but they’re all really close.

  8. Ben says:
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    12 team H2H, what do you guys think of this team:

    C Posey
    1B Pujols
    2B Ackely(till Gyorko is eligible)
    SS Tulo
    3B Beltre
    OF Cespedes
    OF Choo
    OF C Gomez
    U Goldschmidt

    Pitching Staff:(start any 6)
    Dickey
    Sale
    Burnett
    Anibal
    J Parker
    Hammel
    AJ Griffin
    Romo
    Balfour
    Wilhemsen
    Boggs

    Thanks for your assessments. Keep up the good work, you do a hell of a job.

    Also, have you ever considered doing an article for ranking closers for each week based on matchups?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I like your squad. Love Choo & Cespedes. Some risk at the top of your staff with Sale & Dickey looking to repeat breakout success, but you have nice depth there with Parker & Griffin at the back-end.

      Good idea on the closers post. I’ll run it by Grey…

  9. Jacob says:
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    Should I take Votto and Greinke for Fielder and Matt Moore in a keeper league. I’m getting the Votto side

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Moore is a nice piece in a keeper, but I’d still pull the trigger & take Votto+Greinke

      • Jacob says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks! I read all the razzball post just a first time commenter

  10. David says:
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    In a deep 14 man league that also counts BB, OPS and XBH would you rather have Ruggiano, Moss, Hicks or Bradley JR?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Ruggiano, probably. Hicks brings best upside, but could also flame out early.

  11. anyone heard anything on Jonny Venters diagnosis since his trip to Dr. Freeze? Everything I’ve read says results are forthcoming this Wednesday…

    a) the fact he’s going to see him isn’t good
    b) the fact he’s thrown more innings than any reliever in baseball isn’t good either
    c) the fact that i knew (b), before i made him my 2nd MR off the board in a Holds League is driving me nuts.

    any news updates would be appreciated.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Haven’t seen anything new., but I’m qually concerned given the reasons you highlight. Except for the owning him part… no stake in him this year.

  12. mcBlunty says:
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    long term keeper league, 7 keepers one is required to be 25 and under, this year we have added an NA spot for minor leaguers, etc, who do you think is the better stash

    mke olt
    billy hamilton
    Gerrit Cole
    José Fernández
    trevor bauer

    thanks and keep up the great work

    • mcBlunty says:
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      @mcBlunty:
      also is Arod worth a dl spot stash? my current 3B is trevor plouffe but the rest of my team is solid

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Keep Cole. And no harm in stashing A-Rod. Can’t hurt ya from the DL…

  13. CheapTrout says:
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    I see that many of the commenters, myself included, have drafted Rutledge. One Sunday last season I was one at bat away from elimination in our H to H semis. I needed one category to advance and was down three RsBI (of course its RsBI). With all hope lost, the slumping Rutledge blasted a grand slam, and Merkle’s Boners were in the finals. A splendid moment. Good luck to everyone this year!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      H2H at it’s finest right there. Roto can rarely match that sort of excitement. And now you’re endeared to Rutlege forever…

  14. TheNewGuy says:
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    Thought you were a prospect writer only! Ha.

    I won’t ask ya what I was planning, will save that for another prospect post. But just answer me this, you prefer M Barnes over A Hansen for a minors team? I’ve already got a SS prospect in Profar.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m multi-talented. Prospects, two-start pitchers, financial accounting, pulled pork… the list goes on.

      Definitely prefer Barnes.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans: Ha cool, this gonna be a regular column then? Sounds like someones got a promotion!

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Yeah, this will be a regular post every Saturday. Look forward to seeing my baseball centaur a bit more often in 2013…

  15. dk says:
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    What about Hyun-Jin Ryu?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I was a little uncertain on Billingsley’s DL status, but it does look like he’ll start on the DL, so Ryu should be going twice week 1. Not quite official, but thanks for bringing this up. He’d fit into the second tier, if you’re curious…

  16. Buhner says:
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    I’m in a 12 team keeper without much hope of doing much this year. I have Mark Reynolds as my 3B. Is it worth stashing Olt until he comes up and then move Reynolds? He can’t do much worse can he?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      No he can’t, but Olt doesn’t have 3B eligibility in most formats & it doesn’t look like he’ll come up at third… A better stash might be Arenado who should be up in Colorado sometime in June.

  17. Comatose says:
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    Start one this week: Milone, McCarthy, Fiers, Ryu.

    Thanks as always.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Even though he’s not on my above list, looks like Ryu will throw twice. If the extra counting stats factor into your scoring, I’d definitely lean toward him. If it’s all ratios, though, I go Fiers.

      • Comatose says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks. Follow up: Adam Eaton just got dropped in my league with 2 DL slots. Do I drop one of these guys (don’t wanna drop a bench bat) and stash Eaton once he gets DL eligibility? In Yahoo, any idea if/when that would happen?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I think it’s as soon as the the D’Backs make it official, so probably tomorrow or monday. You could drop Milone for him.

  18. Drexel Hill Dragons says:
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    For a 2-week scoring period do you prefer:

    Estrada- vs. COL, @ CHC, @ STL

    or

    Minor- vs. CHC, @ MIA

    Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m thinking Minor is the safer option.

  19. Mike says:
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    Is Estrada not going twice? Read somewhere else they were going to waive the 5th pitcher this week.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      That’s another situation that’s not entirely clear… I’m hearing that Lohse will be ready for next weekend’s series against Arizona, so I think it’ll go Fiers, Lohse, Gallardo for Fri, Sat, Sun. No official word yet, though… at least not that I’ve seen.

  20. Slappy says:
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    ” Sure, H2H is a poorer measure of fantasy skill than rotisserie — weekly snapshots of baseball statistics are hardly indicative of a team’s overall value.”

    Except the weekly snapshots add up to a moving picture, kind of like the Saturday cartoons. And for the other sadly misinformed soul, on Yahoo at least, you can set the number of playoff teams at whatever you like, or you can have no playoffs at all. I myself have won my fair share of Yahoo H2H leagues without playoffs.

    By the way, streamers tend to lose ERA and WHIP on a weekly basis. Of course, you can end streaming entirely with the addition of K/BB and K/9 as scoring cats. They’ll lose ERA, WHIP, K/BB and K/9, and if they lose SV (and HLD) as well, that’ll be 5-6 to 2. Streaming is more or less throwing it against the wall and see if it sticks. Other obvious anti-streaming measure are, of course, limits on max weekly and max season total moves.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      2-start streaming is a strategy for those in points leagues, or in leagues with more counting categories than ratios. obviously it’s not wise to stream a guy from waivers in order to help your ratios. and yeah, there are a number of means to quell the 2-starter streaming strategy, but many leagues don’t bother & that’s why this post exists.

      and a moving picture of weekly snapshots is still just a bunch of weekly snapshots. baseball stats are more accurately measured over a larger sample than seven days. that’s all i’m saying.

      …and for the record, i love h2h.

  21. Matt says:
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    So where does Jaime Garcia fit in with Hammel & Iwakuma?

    • Matt says:
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      @Matt: On Tuesday

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I was under the impression that the Cardinals would not be skipping Shelby Miller, so their weekend rotation should go Lynn (fri), Miller (sat), Waino (sun) — if you have different info, please let me know!

Comments are closed.