Neil’s Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: April 8th-14th


Last week I was going all 1990 on you and that was fun and all, but 2013 is here and Bryce Harper is now the best Fantasy Baseball player ever.  Sorry Mr. Ryne Sandberg.

Twenty-one months ago I drafted Harper in a shallow 20 team Roto 6 player keeper league. Can a 20-team league even be shallow? Ten hitters and 5 pitchers without a bench seems shallow to me, but 20 teams makes it deep. No wonder I was in the basement at the mid-season draft in 2011, which is also the only time to add or drop a player after the initial draft.

So I took Edinson Volquez with my first pick to remain awful because I was looking ahead to a top pick in 2012 and hoping Volquez would magically morph back to his 2008 self.

Remember last week when I proclaimed that my Fantasy Baseball career has been downhill since 1990?  Well, I am off the Volquez now and I know that you hear all the time that guys claim to go clean, but I won’t even stream him in fear of a prolonged relapse.

I am not even going to get into my Justin Smoak‘ing addiction, except that I owned him in this league before 2010.  He was in the minors the whole time, and remember that no bench thing, what was I thinking?  But back to Bryce, I didn’t even care that he was likely an entire year away from MLB action, which is obvious as a former minor-league Smoak owner, because I was still in full on rebuild mode for a third consecutive midseason draft.

I was so pumped about adding Harper that I proceeded to drop him with my third-round pick for Shin-Soo Choo, who was dropped in the 2nd round because he was injured in 2011.  That is my Bryce Harper story — he was mine for roughly half an hour, a single beer or two, and exactly one year from my drafting and dropping of the greatest Fantasy Baseball player ever, he was the first overall selection at the league’s 2012 midseason draft.

I’d feel stupid if my continual tanking didn’t eventually land me a runner-up finish last season and a solid base to build around for the foreseeable future, but it is a future without Bryce Harper. All the Goldschmidts and McCutchens in the world aren’t like a Harper.

That was a future I couldn’t bare, so this year I’ve got a couple Bryce Harper shares in leagues where he might help pay my power bill, or buy me a keg.  The most likely scenario though is me handing over any winnings that aren’t immediately reinvested in football leagues and pools to my wife, long gone are the days of the new Panasonic TV and having draught beer on tap.  My wife is the best Fantasy Baseball wife ever though, “Are you sure you don’t have another draft or something tonight?”  Although, I have friends who avoid my place on Sundays because she knows more about football than they do — their words, not mine.

Oddly enough, Volquez faces the Rockies in Coors Field today, the thought just blew up my internal Stream-o-Meter and I just checked all my leagues for Smoak’s availability.

This is getting out of control, does My Strange Addiction have qualified personnel to deal with Edinson Volquez’ism?  I’m getting the sweats and feel like the scene in Cash, by Johnny Cash, which is the best book ever, according to Rob from High Fidelity.  That Rob guy with chicks is like me with fantasy baseball and we’ll leave it at that, because I haven’t seen the movie in a few years, although, I bet I still have my brother’s copy.bartman.familyguy

Week 1 was all Paul Assemaucher, Will Farrell and Harry Caray and now we’ve got Johnny Cash, Bryce Harper and Edinson Volquez and my similarities to a character in a movie/book I can’t even really remember.

I wonder if there is an over/under line on which week Gonos pulls the plug on my weekly preview?  Better get to business before I venture off into my thoughts on Alex Gonzalez’s defensive abilities circa October 13th, 2003.

Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Bats



Pick – J.P. Arencibia: The Jays backstop is mashing and could be in the midst of stringing together a few large weeks, in fact this may be the start to a huge season.

Sleeper – Chris Iannetta: The Power has always been there, but he should continue to see quality pitches with the talent ahead of him in the order.

Bust – Jonathan Lucroy: The Brewers are already banged up and that hurts his value, because he is more of a complimentry player opposed to an offensive catalyst.


First Base

Pick – Chris Davis: I know, big surprise, but he is only 27 and may finally live up to the hype surrounding him when he was just entering the league.

Sleeper – Kevin Youkilis: It is tough to buy into the Yankees, however, Youk has a lot to prove and has also started the season off strong.

Bust – Adam LaRoche: He is having back issues and hasn’t played for a stretch, when he did play earlier this week he didn’t do anything.  Wait it out though, he is solid.


Second Base

Pick – Ben Zobrist: The Rays everywhere man can get into funks, but he is off to a good start and always pushes 20/20.

Sleeper – Mark Ellis: Slotted in the 2 two hole amongst the team’s best hitters is a bonus, so Ellis holds reasonable value.

Bust – Robinson Cano: You don’t bench your first round pick, but he is a historically slow starter and slumping right now.


Third Base

Pick – Todd Fraizer: He is locked in and has already stole a base.  The hot start combined with his positional eligibility and you’ve got a potential fantasy star.

Sleeper – Alberto Callaspo: The Angels host Oakland and Houston to finish the week and it looks like their lineup is about to heat up.

Bust – Pedro Alverez: He is in a funk, with only 2 hits and 7 strikeouts.  I’m not going to rhyme this week, or make up any of my own words, just avoid Alverez until he gets hot.



Pick – Jed Lowrie: The somewhat journeyman has never had an issue with being a productive hitter, it has been the injuries that have slowed him down.  Lowrie is on a tear right now.

Sleeper – Jean Segura: The Brewers lineup is looking a little thin, but Segura put together a nice first week of the season anyway.

Bust – Andrelton Simmonds: There is talk he’ll be out of today’s lineup and then there is the potential for lingering issues, but he also hasn’t got off to a great start and could lose his lineup spot.



Pick – Adam Jones: I’m a huge non-fan, so here you go Adam Jones, you resiliently awesome baseball player, with a gorgeous swing and dreamy 3 year averages.

Pick – Justin Upton: Beastly younger brother is launching baseballs, too bad no one has been on base.  Upton is dialed in for his best season yet, which is way better than anything Adam Jones can do.  That didn’t last long.

Sleeper – B.J. Upton: It was a newsworthy slow start for the older brother, but he lead off last night and snapped out of his slump.  With Simmonds’ health in question look for B.J. to stay atop the Braves lineup.

Sleeper – Jason Kubel: The Diamondbacks host the Pirates and Dodgers and Kubel hit 18 of 30 bombs in the desert last year.  Beware, however, of potential lingering left leg soreness.  See what I did there?

Bust – Giancarlo Stanton: There is no reason to pitch to him, which is unfortunate because he could have the best pure power in baseball.

Bust – Carlos Gomez: I own this punk everywhere and he is doing diddly.  Get on base, steal one, hit one over the fence, something please and soon.


Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Arms


Two-Start Pitchers

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

Madison Bumgarner: Must start, he is awesome and faces the lowly Cubs in his second start.

C.J. Wilson: The Lefty has 2 home starts, which is always nice and although, the Reds batted him around a bit, they’re batting everyone around.

Hiroki Kuroda: The Yankees are struggling, but even the worst ball teams of all time find ways to win games.  He is a safe option and you have to roll him out there.

Mat Latos: The biggest concern with Latos is Dusty Baker leaving him on the bump too long.  He looked awesome against the Angels until he went back out for the 7th.

Tim Lincecum: He has a favorable schedule and despite walking 7 batters in his first outing he didn’t surrender an earned run.  Go for it, you didn’t draft him to sit on your bench.  I didn’t draft him at all though.

Trevor Cahill: I am a big Cahill believer, he is still learning his craft and improving his ability to miss bats.  He induces ground balls, the DBacks are solid and he has two good matchups.  Go Cahill!

Alexi Ogando: He made the Astros look foolish, which was a good sign, but this week will be a real test.  I watched the majority of his first start and his stuff is legit.

Paul Maholm: The Jekyll and Hyde of this weeks options.  Marlins awesome – Nationals not awesome.  Maholm should be fine, but expecting 2 wins might be a stretch.

Andy Pettite: Why not march the veteran out there, he hasn’t pitched bad like ever, dude.

Marco Estrada: The Brewers are injured and two road inter-division starts certainly aren’t ideal, especially when one comes in St. Louis.  If I owned him, I’d look elsewhere.


Streaming Options

It is a tricky game streaming pitchers and even more difficult when you’re trying to project for an entire week.  Last week’s results weren’t overly great, however, if you have constructed your team around streaming you shouldn’t have been hurt too badly by the heightened ratios.  Excluding Jorge De La Rosa, last week’s pitchers only grabbed a single win, but stuck out 23 batters over 29.1 innings and did it all to the tune of a 4.30 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.  Hardly stellar numbers, but those extra strikeouts and win alongside 3 solid starters and good relievers should have you in good standing in pitching categories in H2H Leagues.

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 8th – Trevor Cahill: He should be owned in all leagues, but check to see if he is kicking around as the D-Backs host the Pirates.

April 9th – Brandon Maurer: His first start was ugly, which makes it risky, but he is facing the Astros at home.

April 10th – Barry Zito: After an efficient first start, look for Zito to keep it going against the Rockies in San Fran.

April 11th – Jason Vargas: The Ks might not be there, but Vargas has been respectable for the better part of three years now.

April 12th – Mike Leake: The Reds big bats should back him to a victory against the Pirates.

April 13th – Pass: There may be an option if you’re over-the-top desperate, but a lot of the top arms are in action too.

April 14th – Nick Tapesch: Chase the W with the Rangers over the Mariners on the road, but track Tapesch’s start on Tuesday the 9th too.


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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