Neil’s Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: April 15th-21st


I love good old fashion roto fantasy baseball, but points based head-to-head leagues are my favorite.  I’m in 2 local leagues and am undefeated so far, which is awesome, but now I face my brother in both leagues in week 3.  What are the odds?  Don’t answer that smart ass, it was a rhetorical question.

But the problem is that my brother is the real fantasy expert.  Colin and I are in 6 leagues together, alright smart ass just because I cannot calculate simple probability equations doesn’t mean I can’t count.  But, the real issue is that as these leagues have progressed I’ve been stealing all his picks, because that is what happens when you try to outsmart and show up your older brother.

He is always out driving me on the links too and he only plays twice a year, plus I likely outweigh him by 60 pounds and spent the money for my wife’s Mother’s Day present on a flashy new Taylor Made Burner Driver last year.  He is even better at card tricks and juggling, I might just go by B.J. Upton from now on.  Backtracking, Gonos, am I even allowed to say ass?

So remember when I came clean about my degenerate addiction to fantasy baseball?  Well I’m not oblivious to the implications of my passion because this week things could get way to real.  I have been living large in fantasy baseball land successfully for about a month now and totally coasting through my everyday life, but I’m nervous about what this week will bring.


Did I tell you about the time that I missed my turn on the way to work because I was so lost in the epiphany that I was going to draft Bryce Harper that night?  Well if I did, it gets even worse because I made my U-Turn in KFC and didn’t even go through the drive-through and order up a Colonel’s Snackers Value Box Meal.  It isn’t because I didn’t have the money either, because I did!  It was because fake baseball has taken over my life and worst of all, the turn I missed isn’t even 2 minutes away from my house!

So back to these 2 leagues, where I’ve got Jay Bruce, my brother has Bryce Harper and guess what?  In the other league he has Bruce and I have Harper, and what if we both start Julio Teheran?  I can picture it now, Bryce Harper hits a home run and at the exact same time I go up by 6 points and down by 6 points, and I repeat, at the exact same time!  How is that even possible?  I bet CBS’ Fantasy Game Tracker will crash.

I can already visualize calling up my first year Philosophy Prof, whose class I dropped after the first assignment and don’t even remember his name anyway, saying “Hey Dr. To be or not to Be, explain this one …”  Or maybe I’m thinking of my high school Language Arts teacher, regardless, this is Colin’s fault for making such sneaky good fantasy baseball picks anyway.  If he’d just stuck to drafting off the Top 300 List like every one else in the room, I could have inhaled liquor drinks in peace.

Whatever, time to get this thing moving along, but first, how about Edinson Volquez Saturday night?  I have successfully kept him and Justin Smoak off every single team I own, but I just picked up Tony Cingrani everywhere I could, which is a clear indication of how it just never ends.  Cingrani is my new Volquez and I am loving it!  Here are your positional breakdowns, two-start pitching options and a list of potential streaming pitchers for each day next week.  Wish me luck this week fake baseball friends and we’ll catch you next week.


Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Bats



Pick – Salvador Perez: The Royals backstop is getting the bat going and the runs, RBIs and homers are sure to follow.  He is a great buy low candidate right now.

Sleeper – Francisco Cervelli: He has been playing well and if you need to plug in a catcher he is readily available I’m sure.

Bust – John Buck: The gig is up, sell high on John Buck, he’ll likely finish the season as an excellent fantasy catcher, but his value is at an all time high and his pace is unsustainable, like the beating I put on my liver.


First Base

Pick – Prince Fielder: One of the best hitters anyway, but the Veggie Bomber is dialed in and pounding the baseball.  He has 18 RBIs during his current 9 game hit streak.

Sleeper – Yonder Alonso: Quietly putting together a solid stretch, he wont keep pace with the top options, but Alonso is set for a breakout season.  He is currently riding a nice 6 game hitting streak too.

Bust – Chris Carter: While everyone else runs to grab Carter, save your roster spot because he cannot maintain a solid batting average.  He’ll hit his fair share of homers though, if you like that .225 batting average anchor. 


Second Base

Pick – Daniel Murphy: The Mets 2 bagger is always overlooked because he doesn’t pose the power/speed threat, but he hits for a solid average and his counting stats add up in bunches.

Sleeper – Neil Walker: A lot of owners were dropping Walker, but he is getting it back on track and is as consistent as they get among the middle to lower tiers of second basemen.

Bust – Danny Espinosa: The Nat is going to miss some time with a hand injury and just when he was about to get going.


Third Base

Pick – Manny Machado: The Orange Birds’ youngster is a budding fantasy superstar, ride his current hot streak. 

Sleeper – Conor Gillaspie: He is getting everyday at bats for the South Siders and although the ceiling isn’t that high, he is hitting .444 over his 28 at bats.

Bust – Will Middlebrooks: Just 2 hits since his monster 3 home run game against the Jays last Sunday.  It is no secret I don’t like this guy, he is over hyped because of a vocal fan base.  You’d think he just produced a Ron Santo 1964 season.



Pick – Starlin Castro: It is only a matter of time until the face of the Cubs becomes the top option at his position.  During his 7 game hitting streak he has 5 multi hit games and 2 bombs.

Sleeper – Everth Cabrera: He hit for a solid average in the minors and is off to a good start, we all know the speed is there.

Bust – Marwin Gonzalez: He isn’t going to make a difference offensively this season, pass, ignore, move on.



Pick – Alex Rios: Good year, bad year, who knows what is going on year, well those ups and downs are in the past, because Rios is raking again in 2013.

Pick – Andrew McCutchen: Cutch nabbed his 5th stolen base of the season today, hit his 2nd home run yesterday and it seems like he scores and drives them in daily.

Sleeper – Torii Hunter: There are very few players who have been better since last year’s All Star Break and he is in an even better lineup now.

Sleeper – Carl Crawford: He wont ever get back to his 2011 self, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a solid fantasy baseball contributor.

Bust – Dexter Fowler: He has never proved capable of putting together a solid stretch, so I’d be selling high if I owned him.

Bust – Jason Heyward: He is too good to bench, but I labeled Cano a bust last week and he had an awesome week, so I’m going for the same angle here.


Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Arms


Two-Start Pitchers

Time to take a peek at some guys that head to the mound twice this week.

Cliff Lee: Must start, he is awesome, but his matchups are tough.  The Reds and Cardinals can put crooked numbers up in a hurry

Jordan Zimmermann: His matchups are awesome and he is tough, when you watch him pitch it is a mystery that he doesn’t strikeout more batters.

Doug Fister: It is less than ideal to have two road starts, but matching up against Aaron Harang and Joe Blanton is as close to ideal as it gets.

Homer Bailey: Look for Bailey to bounce back and have a big week against the Phillies and Marlins, although, and oddly, he was better on the road last season.

Barry Zito: Catch a wave and slot him in for two favorable starts this week.  Giants haven’t lost a Zito start since August 2nd last year and he has been really average to good the whole time.

Josh Johnson: It can’t get any worse for Johnson and you’d have had to pay a premium to get him, so you absolutely cannot sit him and I like him this week.  I do not own him though, anywhere and in fact, I’ve never owned him, ever.

Lance Lynn: 2 tough road starts and facing off against the pesky peg legs and James MacDonald and then the Phillies and Cliff Lee, but he was awesome last time out.  Glad I don’t have to make this decision.


Streaming Options

It is a tricky game streaming pitchers and even more difficult when you’re trying to project for an entire week.

My Colleague at The Fake Baseball, Brien Bonneville, has a daily list of streaming pitching options and his Streaming Pitchers Primer is a must-read if you’re looking to employ this strategy. Streaming is a risky business, but when used properly can be an excellent advantage in this fake game we love. Let’s get at this week’s options:

April 15th – Joe Blanton: Chase the win, because the Angels are about to get it going offensively.

April 16th – Chris Capuano: This guy went on a tear last season and the Padres are even worse against lefties.

April 17th – Ross Detwiler: He shut down the Braves in his last start, so the Marlins should be a lock.

April 18th – Tony Cingrani: This is where Cueto’s start falls, but you might have to add him immediately.

April 19th – Hyun-Jin Ryu: He should be owned in all leagues, but if he isn’t available, I’d pass.

April 20th – Bronson Arroyo: Go for the W against the Marlins.

April 21st – Jake Westbrook: If you need Ks look elsewhere, but Westbrook has been solid and as good as anyone in real baseball.


I’m a Loyal Leafs, Cubs, and Cowboys fan for decades. I wear the C for The Fake Hockey, in addition to contributing to The Fake Baseball and The Fake Football in more of a Timmy Try Hard role.  You can also find my weekly fantasy baseball preview here at davidgonos.com and can reach me on Twitter @naparker77.

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