Look at me, mom, I did it, I really did it. Wow! What a long road it’s been to get here. I’ve finally reached the mountaintop, the pinnacle, if you will, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all the love and support I’ve received along the way. I have so many people to thank that helped get me to this point.  Sorry, about that… I was practicing what I would use as an acceptance speech at the Oscars. You mean to tell me that was last Sunday? And I wasn’t nominated for anything? Well, shizz. Maybe Ryan Braun can use this for his speech when he wins another MVP award without the help of PEDs. Wait, he probably used them in 2011 when he first won the MVP? I guess it just depends who you ask. Go ask Matt Kemp what he thinks, I dare you. Better yet, I double dog dare you! Au shizz, now you have to!

Anyway,  it looks like I’m the new guy to take over as your aficionado (in case you are wondering, the answer is no, I’m not really sure what that word means, I just enjoy saying it) for everything Points Leagues. As usual, the following caveat applies to these points leagues posts: the information mentioned here should be of use to you in other leagues as well, because a great player in points leagues will probably be a great player in other leagues and vice versa. Each week I plan to provide you with one hitter and one pitcher of consequence to you, whether it be as a target or a schmohawk. And, away we go…

As you can tell by the title and opening of this thing, Ryan Braun is the first guy up. Even though I, or really anyone else, can’t stand the guy as a person (Ian Kinsler might even go so far as to call him a sleazeball, which would then probably “be taken out of context”), he has always been a stud in fantasy. And not just the kind in your wife’s head, but also in our favorite kind of fantasy, baseball. I know a lot of detractors will question how much of his production was inflated due to using PEDs. While this is a legitimate question, we do know that PEDs can’t make a bad player suddenly good, just ask Jordanny Valdespin, Kevin Frandsen, and Omar Quintanilla. Who? Exactly. I’m not saying this to totally discount the PED effect, but it probably isn’t as big as some people make it out to be. I told you all of that to tell you this: it looks like sweet little Brauny boy may be able to be bought at a slight discount on draft day. Currently, his ADP sits around 17th overall in ESPN leagues. To me, that is considered too low. From 2008-2012, taking out last year (given his 65 game suspension), Braun averaged 154 games, 33 HRs, over 100 RBIs, over 100 runs, and 22 stolen bases per year; all while hitting over .300. Now I don’t expect him replicate each of this numbers this year; however, I do think he will end up relatively close to those numbers, with his main dip coming in dingers. He’s a guy that I would definitely consider inside the top 10, as each player after the top 4 has question marks; whether it be durability concerns (Cargo), coming off of break-out year (Crush Davis), moving to a less friendly hitting environment (Cano), or being a pitcher (sorry Clayton). Of the players going between 5-15 overall, for my money, Braun offers arguably the most upside and perhaps the least risk. Listen, I get it, I dislike Braun as much as the next guy, but I like winning, I go as far as to say I love it, and we are talking about a player who was arguably the top fantasy asset from 2008-2012.

As for pitching strategy in points leagues, my goal is to maximize innings pitched, first and foremost. This very topic was comprehensively covered for standard leagues by our own Rudy Gamble last week and the same conclusions can be applied to points leagues as well. To quote Rudy’s #1 conclusion: “Maximizing a team’s IP is the #1 most effective way to improve your fantasy team’s pitching success…” In order to do this in points leagues, I try to target starters who I know will take the ball every 5th day and pitch at least into the 7th inning for any given start. This is especially important in leagues which have a cap set for games started. This leads to one of my favorite lower cost SP options out there: CJ Wilson. I know, I know, he will probably never be considered a fantasy ace and, frankly, I don’t really care. What I do care about is that since 2010 (when he became a full time starter), he is in the top 10 in Major League Baseball in Wins, tied for 1st in Games Started, and 9th in Innings Pitched, all while compiling a 3.37 ERA. Wins and Innings Pitched are key scoring categories in points leagues.  And if you delve into more advanced stats, CJ’s results have been just as good. His HR/9 rate is tied for 7th with King Felix and his HR/FB rate is 9th in league over that time. His FIP is also right in line with his ERA, showing his skills are real. Looking at his fantasy numbers from last year, CJ finished as the 10th highest SP in Yahoo’s standard points format and 19th in ESPN standard points formats. Wilson can be bought at a value in drafts thus far, coming off the boards as the 44th SP and 172nd overall. This puts him behind other SPs like Doug Fister (who is much better in real life than fantasy), C.C. (coming off a rough year due to control and velocity problems), Andrew Cashner (who is fantastic when healthy, but that is a serious question mark), and many other guys. I would consider CJ in a points league, or possibly any league, before each of those guys listed and he is being drafted more than 3 rounds after some of those pitchers. That, to me, screams value.

That about does it for the points league stuff this week. I’ll be back next week with a couple new players to keep an eye on, just as long as they don’t get rid of me before then.

  1. The Guru

    The Guru says:

    Welcome in, Josh. I tip my turban in your general direction. See you later in the Razzball lounge for wings and beer. What? No one gave you the key to the lounge? Never mind.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @The Guru: Thanks Guru. Maybe eventually I’ll pay my dues and they’ll give me a key. If not, I won’t be too disappointed as I’m not exactly sure how close I really want to get to that dirty turban of yours.

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:

      @The Guru: I didn’t get the keys either. I smell conspiracy.

  2. chris L says:

    Just wanted a second opinion:
    Keeper league round 5: 5×5 league who would you take of the following still available?
    Jose Reyes
    Alex Rios
    Ryan Zimmerman
    Allen Craig
    Manny Machado
    Matt Carpenter
    Ben Zobrist
    Matt Kemp
    Ian Kinsler
    Carlos Santana
    Pedro Alvarez
    Jose Abreu
    Justin Verlander
    Jordan Zimmerman
    Gio Gonzalez
    Anibal Sanchez…
    Please Pick 1 for a keeper league…Thank you again for your time

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @chris L: That’s a tough call, but I think I go Rios. I don’t see the risk with him that I do with every other player on the list to go along with similar upside.

      • chris L says:

        @Josh O.: Anthony Rizzo is also on the list.
        Thank you again for your help.

        • Josh O.

          Josh O. says:

          @chris L: Still Rios. Rizzo will bounceback, but 1B is pretty deep and really, OF isn’t as deep as we generally think.

            • Chris L says:

              @Chris L: : rios was just a nabbed the round before me. Second best option?

              • Josh O.

                Josh O. says:

                @Chris L: Reyes

  3. Sky

    Sky says:

    JOSH! Solid work my friend. Looking forward to the flava you bring to the table. But if its about points leagues, I don’t play in any soooo…you’re probably just going to get weird youtube vids from me down here moving forward. It’s my way of showing love.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Sky: Thanks, my man. Glad to now be in the biz. Or do they really call it that? I don’t know, but I’m glad to be here. And you can never go wrong with weird youtube vids. EVER

      • Sky

        Sky says:

        Ha, you’ve unlocked Pandora’s box my friend…

  4. Grey

    Grey says:

    Welcome to the baseball side!

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Grey: Thanks Grey!

  5. Jay

    Jay says:

    Yup, great stuff Josh. You ever neglect your football stuff… I’ll kick your shins forcefully.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Jay: So you’re an internet tough guy now, Jay?

      • Dead Head says:

        @Josh O.: watch out, he knows karate.

        How much would you be willing to go for Wilson in an auction? Standard ESPN Roto 5×5. I know this is points league but figured I’d ask just incase ..

        • Josh O.

          Josh O. says:

          @Dead Head: I’d go up to maybe $10-$12 for him in a points league. If Fister goes before CJ, I’d pay similar to whatever Fister went for. Maybe $1-$2 more.

  6. ithrowplastic says:

    10 team h2h points league where I can keep 6. I can only start 11 games a scoring period. Won the league last year so I have a big target on my back this yr.

    Who you keeping?

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @ithrowplastic: Let’s see…. Trout, Goldy, Tulo, Darvish, Scherzer. If you have a MI spot, Desmond. If not, probably Holliday. He’s so consistent. Puig is kind of a wild card at this point. I like Pedroia, a lot. But he is probably one of those guys who is much more valuable in real life than in fantasy. Doesn’t provide outstanding counting stats in the HR/SB department, which you could match later on in the draft.

      • ithrowplastic says:

        @Josh O.:
        Thanks Josh….and welcome. Nice to see more pts league posts on here.

  7. The Guillentine says:

    For my points league, I use value based drafting using steamer projections from fangraphs. I don’t use Rudy’s cuz I haven’t looked hard for an export button for his steamer projections. Anyways, according to VBD, he is the 155th best option. Ahead of Bailey, Weaver, Moore, and some others. Never would have looked for him had I not read this article. May be well worth the hopefully low investment. Great article!

    • Homer at the Bat says:

      @The Guillentine: You’re right – Rudy’s playing time overlay on the Steamer projections doesn’t have an export button. But, there’s no pagination – just copy and paste the data into an excel file. You’ll need to do it in two batches (one for hitters, one for pitchers), but I was able to it – including rewriting the column headers and writing formulae to calculate projected points totals based on my league’s scoring system – in a total of roughly 10-15 minutes. Well worth the time and effort.

      • Mike says:

        @Homer at the Bat:
        Hey – Hope you can help, I play in a weekly points based, AL & NL only leagues, and the H2H Points Calculator doesn’t have all of the categories specific to my leagues, i.e. Holds-3pts, QS-4pts, TB (but think this is covered with 1B, 2B, etc) and the two very difficult categories to get into projections, Batting Avg – 24pts if batter hits 576-600, 23pts – 551-575, 22pts 526-550, etc. and ERA – 24pts .000-.499, 22pts .500-.999, 20pts 1.00-1.49, etc. Is there a way to export the data in Excel and change the formulas to reflect Total Points for hitters and pitchers in my leagues?

        Thank you very much for any suggestions.


  8. Andrew says:

    So, I’m in a twelve team keeper Points league, with 11 keepers this year. So far I have decided on the following keepers:

    C – B. Posey
    1b – F. Freeman
    OF – Y. Cespedes
    OF – R. Braun
    OF – B. Harper
    SS – S. Castro
    SP – J. Verlander
    SP – King Felix
    SP – Jose Fernandez
    SP – M. Bumgarner

    I have one more keeper slot to fill and the rest of the potential viable keepers on my roster looks like this:
    3b – P. Alverez
    3b – P. Sandoval
    Of – Dom. Brown
    2b – B. Dozier
    Of – Billy Hamilton
    SP – Clay Bucholz
    SP – A. Cobb
    SP – J. Samardzija
    SP – A. Cashner
    SP – T. Cingrani

    Have you any thoughts or advice on who should be my final keeper? I am leaning towards Sandoval and maybe swapping out Castro for Cobb?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Andrew: I typically lean hitters with keepers. But I really like Cobb, alot more than any of the hitters left. If your league awards big points for dingers, Alvarez may be my guy though. And I think I would stick with Castro, personally. The upside is still there. Let’s remember how young this guy is.

  9. Rags says:

    This is my first time in a H2H Points league with 8 starts/wk limit and a five person bench. How would you divide your pitching staff/bench?

    6 Starters, 3 RP, 2 bench streaming SP and 1 bench RP sound about right? That leaves two spots on the bench for hitters. More pitchers? Fewer?

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Rags: I always favor having more pitchers on my bench than hitters, in order to maximize IP. If you could find a few RP who also have SP eligibility, that’s a great place to go with your bench P spots. If you could manage 1 bench player who is very versatile (think Martin Prado), you could conceivably go pitchers for the other 4 spots.

      • Rags says:

        @Josh O.: We don’t have RP/SP distinctions, can be whatever we want. I actually do have Prado and Swisher but both of those guys would be starting in my league. If that’s enough, you’d go 8 SP, 5 RP?

        • Josh O.

          Josh O. says:

          @Rags: That’s aggressive, but I like it. Maybe 7 SP and 6 RP. Most of the time you’ll have at least 1 2 start pitcher for that week. And the weeks you don’t, you can just stream.

  10. Yager says:

    Thought I would use the comment section to campaign for my RCL. Still eight spots open and the draft is scheduled in less than 24 hours! I know you could all use one more league, so get on it….. or sit on it. Au shizz! Just got wierd.

  11. Cafuné

    Maxi says:

    Great post and I had been waiting for someone to comment on Braun…I’m actually not in a points league but I am in a 12 team keeper league and have the first overall pick tomorrow (snake draft)

    The top players still available (according to Y!) are Cano, Braun, Beltre, Tulo and Fielder, and I have to decide between one of them.

    I had Braun the last two years as my #1 pick, and won the fantasy championship in 2012, but last year, well you know how that went…I dropped him and somehow he is staring me right in the face again.

    I really can’t stand the Mariners (A’s fan) and Tulo is certainly a riskier option than Braun…if the only downside is less HRs, I think Braun might be the best pick. do you concur?


    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Maxi: Yep. Braun’s my guy there.

  12. Tehol Beddict says:

    we got to change this picture doe

    • Yager says:

      That is the classic, just broke up with my bitch of an ex, only have pics of me and her, so I will cut that succubus out, and post it to a dating website pic. Using Razzball as a dating website Josh? Not sure he will get traction with the four girl readers, or the Coug, but you can’t hate on a guy for [email protected]Tehol Beddict:

      • Josh O.

        Josh O. says:

        @Yager: Looks like I picked the wrong blog to write for :( But in all seriousness, I was short on time, lacking pictures, and am not the most tech-savvy guy out there. Found a decent picture and the ball and chain didn’t want her face plastered all over this site so I tried to make it work.
        I’ve been trying to come up with something.

  13. Schlurricane

    Ryan says:

    Stoked to have points leagues get a little more juice. Glad you’re on board Josh!

    10 team, 10 keeper points league. 14 starts per week. R, RBI and Ks define hitters. IP and W define pitchers.

    For my last keeper Zach Wheeler or CC Sabathia?

    Au Shizz

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Ryan: Wheeler. I’m out on C.C. Was topping at around 87 the other day in his ST start. No bueno.

  14. Paul says:

    I’m in a 10-team salary cap ($1000) dynasty league and am wondering if I could get some input on my roster and advice on what to do heading into my free agency auction.

    Categories are:
    H/AB, R, RBI, BB, SB, OBP, SLG
    IP, H, ER, BB, K, W, SV, ERA, WHIP

    This is my team right now pre-auction (40-man roster):

    C: Yadier Molina: $59 over 4 years
    1B: Mike Napoli: $1 over 1 years (RFA)
    2B: Brandon Phillips: $59 over 3 years (option after 1)
    SS: Ian Desmond: $63 over 3 years (option after 1)
    3B: Chase Headley: $75 over 4 years (option after 2)
    1B/3B: Ike Davis: $38 over 2 years
    2B/SS: Jurickson Profar: $10 over 2 followed by 3 years of arbitration
    OF: Matt Kemp: $139 over 4 years (option after 2)
    OF: Jay Bruce: $86 over 3 years
    OF: Shin-Soo Choo: $50 over 1 years (RFA)
    OF: Michael Bourn: $31 over 1 years
    UTIL: David Ortiz: $20 over 1 years (RFA)
    BE: Nick Castellanos: $10 over 3 years followed by 3 years of arbitration
    BE: Andre Ethier: $22 over 1 years
    BE: Alcides Escobar: $13 over 2 years
    BE: Jed Lowrie: $10 over 1 years (RFA)

    SP: Matt Cain: $85 over 4 years (option after 1)
    SP: Zack Greinke: $75 over 4 years (option after 2)
    SP: Cole Hamels: $74 over 4 years (option after 2)
    RP: Carlos Martinez: $10 for 3 years followed by 3 years of arbitration

    Minor Leagues:
    Kris Bryant, George Springer, Clint Frazier, David Dahl, Noah Syndergaard, Lucas Giolito, Kevin Gausman, Julio Urias (these players are assigned 10-10-10-arb-arb-arb contracts when called up)—I managed to collect a lot of picks for this draft over the offseason by selling off short-term assets.
    I also have the following picks coming up in the next two years:
    2014: 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5
    2015: 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Players available for our free agency draft:
    Top Position Players: Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran, Jayson Werth Michael Cuddyer, Dominic Brown, Carl Crawford, Shane Victorino, Alex Rios, Khris Davis, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, Wilson Ramos, Jason Castro, Evan Gattis, Chase Utley, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon, Jean Segura, Jonathan Villar, Derek Jeter, Matt Adams, Jose Abreu, Chris Carter

    Top Pitchers: Anibal Sanchez, Matt Garza, Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Masterson, Doug Fister, Patrick Corbin, Danny Salazar, Masahiro Tanaka, Grant Balfour, Jonathan Papelbon, Casey Janssen, Jim Johnson, Neftali Feliz, Steve Cishek, Jim Henderson, Trevor Rosenthal

    As of right now, my roster stands at $930/$1000.
    My FA target list includes Brown, Rendon, Villar, Beltran, Werth, Crawford, Abreu, Altuve, Adams, and ratio guys to fill out the RP slots. Although I did trade closers last year for first round picks, so that could be a viable strategy.

    Basically, I am looking for advice on the following questions:
    1. What categories/players should I look to target in our free agency auction?
    2. What players should I look to move?
    3. Should I sell off some of my prospects to improve certain positions; if so, whom?
    4. Any other advice you may have.

    I really appreciate the help, and I know this is a laundry list of details, but I promise to return the help by answering your questions! Feel free to ask in this comment thread, while not a Razzball author I have some good insights! (total fantasy baseball nerd)

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Paul: Wow that’s a lot. Generally, I’m not a fan of your IF aside from Desmond. I do like the construction of your OF, for the most part. Kemp is obviously a risk but Ethier helps with that.

      I would look to move Yadier if possible. He doesn’t offer a lot other than hits and doesn’t walk all that much. Isn’t a top 5 catcher, IMO. If you move Yadi, I’d look at Wilson Ramos. I like him a lot going into this year. Some other FAs I like are Aaron Hill, Jean Segura (probably will be too expensive for you), and Jose Abreu.

      I like your collection of prospects, all of them having high upside. If you were to sell any off to help compete this year, I’d look at moving Frazier, Urias, and/or Dahl, as they are probably the furthest away except for Giolito but I’m probably not moving him for much of anything.

  15. Spammer Jay says:

    New to a 14 team points league this year. I’ve noticed that for pitching finding the RP that is an SP is one of the keys. But what about in hitting? What market inefficiencies can i look for?

    Further, I have the 2nd pick in this league and the following keepers to start with:

    Goldy, Strasburg, Sale, Cobb.

    Prety much all the tops are off the board except Fielder. I should be drafting the best available OF with my first pick, right? (Jones).


    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Spammer Jay: Positional versatility is key. Finding guys who can play multiple positions allows you to keep a smaller bench for hitters and maximize the # of pitchers.

      If Trout and Miggy are off the board, you have to go with Goldy. He’s a star.

  16. Mike

    Mike says:

    Great post Josh :)

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Mike: Thanks Mike! Glad to be here!

  17. Thomas says:

    Great article Josh. Needed the reassurance with braun. I’m in a keeper league points have to .keep 2 out of. Braun. Kipnis Justin Upton and Sale. Braun is my obvious choice .interested. to .hear your opinion on the other.. thanks

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Thomas: Kipnis

  18. Lville Jim says:

    What do you think of this deal, I traded Mauer for Arenado in a dynasty all keepers points league. I won’t be ultra competitive this season and have had a black hole at 3b for a few years now, plus I have Sal Perez.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Lville Jim: I like it. Arenado should hit for more power as he matures. Like the Coors effect. Mauer feels a lot like an empty batting average to me.

  19. Anthony says:

    Hey man in a 12 team h2h league would you rather have Darvish and Prado or Choo and Gray? Thanks!!

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Anthony: Choo and Gray

  20. fausto says:

    HELP ANYONE PLEASE!!! First time in a keeper league. I literally just inherited this team as of last night. Max salary is $270, 10 team roto. Trying to decide on keepers. Here are my options..draft is tomorrow @ 1pm. THanks in advance.
    – Jay Bruce ($28)
    – Edwin Encarnacion ($27)
    – Adrian Gonzalez ($28)
    – Ian Kinsler ($30)
    – Kendrys Morales ($5)
    – Dustin Pedroia ($30)
    – Carlos Santana ($17)
    – Alfonso Soriano ($7)
    – Grant Balfour ($10)
    – Cole Hamels ($28)
    – LaTroy Hawkins ($5)
    – Mike Leake ($5)
    – Jonathan Papelbon ($12)
    – Sergio Romo ($10)
    – Rafeal Soriano ($12)
    – Chris Tillman ($4)

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @fausto: I know its late.. But hope you kept some combination of Bruce, EE and Santana.

  21. Jim says:

    First time keeper league. Any suggestion for a H2h 10 team point league with 2 keepers.
    Darvish (6th round)
    Wainwright (7th round)
    Ortiz (14th round)
    Donaldson, Myers, Segura (picked up as FA so would forfeit my 23-24 pick)

    I feel like Id get the most value by keeping the FA and forfeiting my last picks, but I won everything last year thanks to Darvish and Wainwright.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Jim: Myers and Segura

  22. Jayson says:

    Hey there- I’m starting up a fantasy bb league on ESPN , it will be H2H points. But setting up the roster, how many starting pitchers would you recommend – I have it set as 3., relief pitchers I have set at 1 but didn’t know if 2 is better, pitcher starters I have 9 is that too high or put zero there & just go / starting pitcher & reliver?

    What’s a good number for a bench? I have it set at 5 , too high / also one Disabled list slot, was actually thinking of going up to two DL’s & reducing bench because it’s a long season, you can easily have a starting pitcher/ position player both injured at the same time.

    As for rest of the roster it goes:

    Catcher : 1 starter

    1st base : 1 starter

    2nd base: 1 starter

    3rd base: 1 starter

    SS: 1 starter

    Infielder slot: 1 starter

    Outfield: 3 starters (just OF slots instead of LF, CF, RF)

    DH: 1 starter

    Utility: 1 starter

    Thanks for your help

  23. Ryan says:

    Keep 5

    20 teams no bench 50$ budget

    R Braun 3.50
    J Bautista 4.50
    W Veneble 3.50
    B Butler 5.00
    C Headley 4.50
    E Andrus 5.00
    W Ramos [wash] 3.50
    A Lind 3.50
    S Castro [chic] 3.50

    CJ Wilson 3.50
    Lance Lynn 3.50
    Matt Garza 3.50
    K Uehara 3.50

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @Ryan: Braun, Bautista, Andrus, Ramos, CJ

  24. YouKnowMeAldo says:

    Hi Josh, I just joined an ESPN points league with the scoring settings below. I’m inexperienced in points leagues and I’m not sure if these settings are typical or odd. Do you have any big-picture thoughts on how to draft / build a team in this format? Does it seem like there are a lot of landmines for starting pitchers? Any advice is appreciated.

    Batting: Total Bases (TB) 1; Walks (BB) 1; Runs Scored (R) 1; Runs Batted In (RBI) 1; Stolen Bases (SB) 1; Strikeouts (K) -1;

    Pitching: Innings Pitched (IP) 3; Earned Runs (ER) -2; Wins (W) 5; Losses (L) -5; Saves (SV) 5; Strikeouts (K) 1; Hits Allowed (H) -1; Walks Issued (BB) -1.

    • Josh O.

      Josh O. says:

      @YouKnowMeAldo: The key for this format is having good starting pitchers on good teams. Your league will be won or lost based on the pitching staff. I believe Clayton scored over 100 more points than the next highest scorer in that format last year.

      • YouKnowMeAldo says:

        @Josh O.: Thanks, Josh.

Comments are closed.