Fantasy Baseball

Field of Streams: Week 3 Starting Pitcher Streamers

By Will Emerson (@WillieMoe)

That’s right folks, the wait is over! Field of Streams is finally here! Need to know who to stream in the upcoming week? Well, boom, I got you covered! Below you will find some pitchers who could be possible stream dreams in the upcoming week, but I will tell you whether or not I think they are worth a shot.

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Hot Corner Hurting: Beltre and Zimmerman Down

By Jonathan Vandersluis (@Jonathan_TTF)

As you’re reading this, the news of Adrian Beltre‘s quadriceps injury and Ryan Zimmerman‘s thumb injury is likely old hat. Beltre has already been out since April 9th and will likely be placed on the DL shortly, and Zimmerman was quickly placed on the DL this morning and should be sidelined 4-6 weeks as he lets his thumb heal. As fantasy baseball, owners this leaves us in a bit of a pickle. Third base was already a little shallow after break out star Manny Machado still hasn’t been able to return from his knee injury at the end of last season and Will Middlebrooks is also nursing a calf injury. But now, the Beltre and Zimmerman injuries leave a gaping hole at the position.

Beltre was the 2nd third basemen off the board in most drafts, largely considered one of the safest offensive players in the game after 4 straight seasons with at least 28 HRs, 82 runs and 92 RBI with a .296 average. That is particularly impressive when you consider that one of those seasons he only played in 124 games. Due to the Rangers hesitation to place Beltre on the DL, it seems like he will be returning sooner than later so at least the news isn’t all bad for him. I fully expect him to still have another 30 HR season and finish with an average in the .300 range once again.

The 7th third basemen off the board in 2014 drafts, Ryan Zimmerman, is a much more of a concern to me. The thumb injury will likely keep him out until close to June, but he’s already battled shoulder issues and has built up quite the reputation for not being able to stay healthy. For his career, Zimmerman has averaged less than 140 games over his 8 full seasons, something that has been getting worse over the last four. He has averaged only 134 games since 2010 and hasn’t played more than 147 games in any of the four. At this point, owners need to wait out the injury, as trying to sell him now would return pennies on the dollar of his 7th round ADP, but as soon as Zimmerman gets healthy, I’d be selling. That .900 OPS player that was a fantasy stud in 2009 and 2010 is gone and as the injuries continue, the numbers will continue to decline.

So what are us fantasy baseball owners to do while many of us are missing our top third basemen?

Zimmerman’s replacement at 3B and budding star Anthony Rendon is owned in 100% of ESPN leagues so he won’t be discussed here, but if he’s available he should be the #1 pickup. However, there are lots of other good options to be picked up. Keep in mind that replacing top 10 3B is not an easy task. Most of the guys mentioned will not sustain value for the whole time you will need a replacement (particularly in Zimmerman’s case). So make sure you are watching their numbers and getting ready to pounce on someone else when their times come to an end.

That being said, here are my top suggestions in order of preference (ownerships listed is from ESPN leagues):

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Diamonds in the Rough – Week 2 Pickups

By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)

Early in the season, it’s really important to identify the true breakouts from the hot streaks. The guys I’ve identified here have shown some reason to believe that their hot starts are more than just an aberration, and they could produce throughout the season. In this article, I highlight two hitters who warrant consideration in leagues of all sizes, a young starter picking up where he left off in 2013, and a catcher shaking off a horrendous 2013 season.

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Casey at the Bat: Can Marlins’ McGehee be Mighty?

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

Without asking Google or Siri, can you tell me who was leading MLB in RBI entering play on Saturday? Okay, so the headline of this article probably gave it away. It was Casey McGehee.

And even though McGehee has since been passed by the desert-lovin’ Mark Trumbo, teammate Giancarlo Stanton and fellow feel good story Chris Colabello, it’s still clear the Miami 3B has posted an opening week stat line worth our attention.

.375 AVG, 1.092 OPS, 2 R, 10 RBI in 24 AB entering Tuesday’s action.

So the real question is – is McGehee’s hot start legit?

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Diamond in the Rough – Week 1 Pickups

By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)

The task of any good fantasy baseball player, at least early in the season, is to identify which players off to a hot start are true breakout candidates. It seems like every season at least one player gets incredibly hot to start the season only to quickly fizzle out. Anyone remember Chris Shelton’s torrid start to the 2006 season? He hit 10 home runs in the month of April only to hit 6 the rest of the way. This is not to suggest that all hot starts should be ignored, as guys such as Jean Segura last season can back up their fast starts with solid production on the season. This is the first installment in a weekly waiver wire article where I’ll recommend a few guys owned in fewer than 50% of leagues who would make good additions to your squad.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball Predictions

By Jonathan Vandersluis (@Jonathan_TTF)

It’s finally spring time, and with spring brings baseball! As we are starting up the MLB season, the TopTeamFantasy team got together and made some predictions. The participating members are Adam Cook (@Fantasy_Schnerd), AJ Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ), Jimmy Burger (@Jimmy_Burger21), Joe Redemann (@JayArr_FF), myself (@Jonathan_TTF) and Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer). For more information about any one of them feel free to check out our About Us page. Feel free to follow them all and let them know what you think they got right and where they are totally out to lunch!

At the end of the year, we can take a look back and determine who is TopTeamFantasy’s best analyst! Now let’s get to it!

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Mock Draft Breakdown: March 27

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

I’m going to make this as simple as possible – if you’re not doing mock drafts you’re probably not winning your league. Sure there’s a mathematical chance that you can luck your way to victory, but your odds go down considerably if you enter your draft room unprepared.

All the cheat sheets, draft guides, tweets from beat reporters and fantasy scribes can’t make up for the simulated preparation that results from doing mocks. Until you get in a draft room with other owners trying to construct a winning team you just can’t accurately predict what a player is worth and where you need to take the guys you want. I realize if you’re reading this article on a small fantasy website you’re probably a diehard who does mocks from the dinner table between bites of spaghetti, but I feel the need to underscore the importance of the practice just a little bit. I’ve personally done at least a dozen mock drafts and will probably do a few more before the season starts.

I’m sure a number of leagues will probably be drafting today or tomorrow in advance of Sunday’s and Monday’s action, so I thought I’d share my results from my latest mock (done Thursday, March 27) along with some brief notes on the players taken and my rationale.

Just to level set, this was a 12-team Yahoo snake draft for a standard rotisserie 5X5 league. It was 23 rounds with the following roster construction: C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OF/OF/OF/Util/Util/SP/SP/RP/RP/P/P/P/P/BN/BN/BN/BN/BN/DL.

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Breakout Bets: Khristaken Identity

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

Championship caliber fantasy teams aren’t created equal. There is no sure fire, fail proof method for constructing a winner. Experienced owners who’ve tasted the sweetness of victory on more than one occasion will tell you it takes a savvy blend of shrewd waiver claims, cunning (sometimes ruthless) trades, diligent roster management and more than a little good luck to come out on top. They’ll also tell you it starts with the draft, and that while the foundation of your team is your early round studs the difference makers are those ascendant stars you snap up for nothing as the draft winds down.

A quick glance at a typical 2013 championship roster would likely include at least one of the following players: Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, Jean Segura, Chris Davis, Glen Perkins, Hisashi Iwakuma, Everth Cabrera, Jose Fernandez and Josh Donaldson. All these guys went in the middle to late rounds (or weren’t drafted at all) yet each finished the season near the top of the fantasy rankings at their respective positions and far outperformed their average draft status.

You need guys like these on your roster, and I’m going to help you find them.

This article is the fifth in a series of quick profiles on players I expect to breakout far beyond their initial 2014 rankings. Previously we examined Yan Gomes, Brian Dozier, Jim Henderson and Yordano Ventura, and up next is…

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The Not So Dirty Dozen: 12 Big Names Bound to Bounce Back

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

It’s a tradition almost as old as the game itself – one magnified over the past 30 years by the advent of rotisserie/fantasy baseball.

I’m talking about the sudden and precipitous collapse of high profile players from one year to the next. In any given season you can take a look at the preseason top 150 and assume 20 percent – or about 30 players – are going to fail to meet expectations. Many times the decline is the result of injuries while other instances can simply be chalked up to an off year. Then there are those guys who are beginning the slow (or sometimes rapid) dissent into the twilight of their career. And while there are key performance indicators that can help you identify – and ultimately avoid – some of these types of players on draft day, it’s almost impossible to precisely predict who’s going to fall off and when. That’s why Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun all went in the 1st round a year ago – nobody could have seen their disastrous 2014s coming.

And while guys like these can inflict all manners of torment upon their owners during their brutal seasons, the fun begins when the calendar rolls over to the subsequent spring. That’s when we get to examine all of the players who went belly up the previous campaign and size up who’s primed for a rebound and who’s permanently flamed out. If you can isolate those guys who’ve gotten healthy or appear to have solved their performance issues during the spring then you can often find yourself a serious bargain come draft day.

So with that in mind here’s a list of 12 big name players who were once considered elite fantasy options at their respective positions – most as recently as last season – who I think are poised to bounce back in a big way for 2014. Because if it can happen for Hanley Ramirez, it can happen for these guys, too.

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Feeling AdVENTURAous?

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

Championship caliber fantasy teams aren’t created equal. There is no sure fire, fail proof method for constructing a winner. Experienced owners who’ve tasted the sweetness of victory on more than one occasion will tell you it takes a savvy blend of shrewd waiver claims, cunning (sometimes ruthless) trades, diligent roster management and more than a little good luck to come out on top. They’ll also tell you it starts with the draft, and that while the foundation of your team is your early round studs the difference makers are those ascendant stars you snap up for nothing as the draft winds down.

A quick glance at a typical 2013 championship roster would likely include at least one of the following players: Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, Jean Segura, Chris Davis, Glen Perkins, Hisashi Iwakuma, Everth Cabrera, Jose Fernandez and Josh Donaldson. All these guys went in the middle to late rounds (or weren’t drafted at all) yet each finished the season near the top of the fantasy rankings at their respective positions and far outperformed their average draft status.

You need guys like these on your roster, and I’m going to help you find them.

This article is the fourth in a series of quick profiles on players I expect to breakout far beyond their initial 2014 rankings. Previously we examined Yan Gomes, Brian Dozier and Jim Henderson, and up next is…

Continue reading

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