I’ve read a few pieces recently about how stolen bases are down across MLB. As long as steals are a category they will have value, and if steals are indeed down compared to previous years, then they just become that much more valuable. The guy who is currently second in all of baseball in steals, Juan Pierre, is still owned in less than half of the leagues out there. This is kind of confusing to me. If we hit the wire to grab a guy who is in line for saves, or we’ll stream a pitcher hoping for a win, shouldn’t we grab Juan Pierre?

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A forearm injury to Todd Helton has reshuffled the Rockies lineup and has opened the door to more playing time for Eric Young Jr. Our friend EY2 could be the poster boy for SAGNOF and fantasy owners have the opportunity to cash in on his increase in playing time, even if it is only temporary. Grey told you to BUY him in this past week’s Buy/Sell. Let’s take a closer look at the Rockies outfielder and how his speed can help your squad for at least the next week or two.

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We’ve all been told to be patient with our fantasy stars in the early going. As a Giancarlo Stanton owner, I was rewarded for my patience as Stanton finally did what I have been waiting for him to do since draft day… he stole his first base (against the Reds, too). Snarkiness aside, let’s look at one of Stanton’s teammates, Juan Pierre, who is probably sitting on your waiver wire as we speak.

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There are always guys that you can grab for some extra speed if you need it, and this week we’ll look at a few more players who are not widely owned but who may be able to contribute some steals to your lineup. After batting .000 last week with my picks of Michael Saunders and Aaron Hicks, we’ll dig a little deeper in the waiver wire pile for some speed. Hicks can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn, and Saunders, who was off to a great start, decided to play chicken with the right field wall and is now sidelined for about a month. Let’s take a look at this week’s speedsters and let’s hope for some better luck…

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Each week I’ll be looking at some favorable match-ups to help you grab a few extra steals for your fantasy team. Whether you are in a weekly or daily league, looking at weak defensive catchers and strong/aggressive base running teams may help you make decisions as to which players you should start or sit in your hunt for an edge in the stolen base category. Since the 2013 season is only a week old, I’ll use some data from 2012 to get started and give you an idea of what we will be looking for. Just realize that these are only two dimensions that can affect stolen base totals.

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Maybe I’m getting greedy, but Lance Berkman looks like somebody that could have not just one but two bounce back seasons in his career. The first came in 2011 when he won Comeback Player of the Year. 2012 saw him succumb to injuries, however, and many were left wondering if he would even play again. I think that Big Puma has another big bounce back in him for 2013.

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Trying to find reliable relievers, especially closers, is like trying to catch squirrels with a hula hoop. Nobody wants to overpay or worse yet end up with a dud who kills your ratios and is always in danger of losing the gig. I’ll be rooting around on the waiver wire or in the final rounds of the draft this year for my saves so I’m not going to be the one to tell you to draft closers early or even at all. This is more about identifying three relievers who will be undervalued this year due to an injury or poor performance in 2012, but who will help fantasy teams either in saves, solid ratios, or strikeout numbers. We’ll start out with a no-brainer and work our way down to a sleeper.

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Like a lot of fantasy players, I’ll be waiting on drafting a catcher again this year. Catchers and closers are usually where I want to spend my last few picks or dollars, so I need to squeeze as much value out of them as I possibly can, hoping to hit big on a player that could just as likely end up on the wire in a month. There are a number of catchers who fall in this category, but among them is an interesting bounce back candidate in Tigers backstop Alex Avila.

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If there was a bounce back “team” this season it would be the Fightin’ Phils. They have more guys who underperformed or battled injuries in 2012 than you can shake a stick at. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and new addition Michael Young come to mind. But the one guy whose bounce back season could be the key to winning for both the Phillies and your fantasy roster is Roy Halladay.

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