By now, we were supposed to be talking about what was happening on the field. We were supposed to be over-reacting to this year’s Matt Davidson (3 HRs on Opening Day 2018), but alas, nothing is right in the world. In an effort to push on, we’ll continue to do draft research until the game we love returns to the field.

Since second base falls off into the abyss, we’ll take a look at the top four off the board – Jose Altuve, Ozzie Albies, Gleyber Torres, and Ketel Marte. We’ll go through the pros and cons of each with our focus being on H2H Categories leagues. After checking out my opinion, let’s keep the debate going in the comments section!

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Over these next two weeks, we’ll be focusing on late-round category targets. This week we’ll touch on hitting categories and follow it up next week with pitching categories. While these will be geared towards the standard 5×5 categories, feel free to leave a comment if you have a more specialized category.

For this exercise, I limited my player pool to hitters projected to get at least 350 plate appearances (with a handful of exceptions). I tried to stick with players being drafted beyond pick 175, but in my mind, the later a player’s going, the better. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

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Last week in H2H Categories Strategy we discussed the merits of punting. This week, I want to talk about what I look for in hitters once we get past the early rounds – consistency. Since we play a game that resets every week, we want to roster players that will fluctuate less. Hot and cold streaks will happen even with the best players, but there are certain qualities we can look for in hitters that should minimize our risk.

Growing up, my dad was the coach of my little league team. He would tell us, get on base and good things will happen. While it seems really simplistic, I still follow my dad’s advice when I’m looking for consistent hitters – high contact rates and a low K-BB%. Basically, we’re looking for players with good plate skills. These might not be the sexiest names in the draft, but grabbing a handful of these players in the mid to late rounds will provide your team with an ample floor. Without further ado, let’s get to the list:

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Head-to-head fantasy baseball encompasses some of my favorite parts of fantasy – rivalries, strategies, and ties. Okay, maybe not that last one, but overall, it’s my favorite format to play. Like in roto leagues, you’re focused on compiling stats in your scoring categories (homers, runs, steals, strikeouts, etc.), but your matchup resets each week and you’re on to the next opponent.

Punting is one of my favorite strategies in H2H Categories, mostly because it allows me to not pay a premium for saves or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a) punting both or, b) fully punting either, but I do recommend a version of punting that I feel gives you an advantage over your opponents.

Here’s our disclaimer – This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your league and your in-season management ability. If you’re an owner who is excellent at scooping up new closers, then punting saves is a reasonable strategy to explore. These strategies are also not meant to be half-assed. If you’re leaving your draft knowing you need to find steals on the wire, take the time to find those steals. Now that you’ve been warned, enter the punting dungeon……if you dare.

 

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By now, most of the H2H leagues have come to a conclusion. Congrats if you were able to walk away a champion, enjoy the bragging rights. If you weren’t so fortunate, better luck next year. There are still some leagues finishing up with their championship this week, so this post is geared for them. Hopefully I can help you pick up some streamers to edge out the pitching categories. And if not, at least you have someone else to blame. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my posts this season, I appreciate all the support and feedback!

So here we are, one last week to make a push to bring home the hardware. Similar to last week, I have included my favorite streamer for each day of the remainder of the matchup. All of these pitchers are owned in 30% or less of ESPN leagues.

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If you are reading this, it most likely means you made it through another matchup and are in the semi-finals or championship. No time to celebrate though, as we must focus on bringing home the hardware. A wise man once said streaming pitchers is like playing with fire. If that is the case, streaming pitchers in the playoffs is like playing with fire in a suit soaked in gasoline and gunpowder. But you gotta risk it for the biscuit!

Below are my favorite streamers for each remaining day of the week that are 40% owned or less on ESPN:

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It doesn’t get much better than this folks. While everyone else is looking forward to fantasy football around the corner, the real fantasy all-stars are trying to grind out a fantasy baseball championship. For better or worse, your entire season comes down to a few critical matchups. That’s right, playoff Manaea is in full swing!

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With one week left in the regular season for most H2H leagues (20 regular season matchups) you most likely know if you will be making a championship push in the playoffs, or if you came up short. If you are still reading these at this point in the year, I’m assuming your team is still alive. So let’s make one last push this week if you are on the bubble, or let’s starting thinking about next week if you have a spot secured.

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It’s only appropriate to start with the man this article Happ-ens to be named after. In his 16 games since being called up by the Cubs, Ian Happ (OF/3B, 9.8% owned in ESPN) has slashed .300/.391/.650. He has recorded 4 homers and 2 doubles while scoring 9 runs and knocking in 11. Perhaps most importantly, Happ has struck out just 10 times through his 46 PA. That comes out to a 21.7% K rate, so the “just” may seem a little generous. Which it is. But when you consider he struck out in 36.1% of his 462 PA last season, the 21.7% seems much more bearable.

Time will tell if his strikeouts will creep back up as he records more at-bats, but Happ is someone worth taking a shot on. Though he has always been known for striking out at a high rate, he also has continued to walk at a very healthy rate. His 13% walk rate is right in line with his 12.5% mark, and he gets a slight boost in OBP leagues. Though a limited sample size and impossible to remain so high, Happ’s .350 ISO, .425 wOBA, and 164 wRC+ are certainly encouraging. He hits in one of baseball’s best lineups, so there should be plenty of opportunities to generate runs for Happ. He could be a great addition to fantasy squads looking to add a bat down the stretch.

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What a year it has been for rookies. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing some absolute studs make their much anticipated MLB debuts thus season. This is truly one of the special rookie classes, and they have not disappointed. In a star-studded year, there have been several rookies that have flown under the radar. Below […]

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