Fantasy 411 Q&A: Feb. 25, 2009

I keep forgetting to tell you guys about some things cooking in the fantasy world. is doing a pretty good job on their site with helping you get ready for draft day. They have done some mock auctions in non mixed and have a bunch of articles so check it out. Cory and I are not endorsing all of their strategy stories but it never hurts to hear both sides. 


Jeff Erickson of Rotowire is back on the airwaves. You can now find him Monday thru Friday. Here is a copy and paste of the newsletter.

To all current and former members:

We wanted to let you know that RotoWire’s “Fantasy Focus” daily audio baseball show, hosted by Jeff Erickson, is moving to and from XM Radio.

Fantasy Focus will be broadcast live on at noon ET each Monday through Friday (at ). It will later be available by podcast at, and iTunes. It’s totally free to listen to live or podcast for later use.

Erickson’s slate of guests next week includes: Jason Grey from, Scott Pianowski from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, injury guru Will Carroll and minor league expert John Sickels. Similar to the XM format, Erickson will be taking listener calls plus answering live questions in an online chat room.

“Fantasy Focus” ran on XM Radio’s Home Plate 175 channel from 2005 to 2008. Host Jeff Erickson is the two-time winner of the Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. His lengthy experience in the industry (since 1997) brings in many high-profile guests on the show. Find Erickson’s writing on RotoWire at his weekly Rounding Third column.

The “RotoWire Fantasy Sports Hour” hosted by Chris Liss is not available via podcast at the moment. We plan to debut that show on later this spring.


Featured Question of the Day:

Mike. What are your expectations of Travis Hafner this season? I know some people are down on him because he had 2 bad seasons, but I think Pronk can have a nice rebound season in 2009. What do you  think Mike?


Kenny in Ohio




I think the whole Indians lineup is due for a rebirth. With a stud like Sizemore, Peralta having a nice year and Choo and Francisco ready to make their way onto the scene Hafner can now focus on hitting and not carrying the lineup. If he doesn’t have a good 09′ he is pretty much done so knowing his work ethic and pride I think he is in line for a solid if not spectacular season. The only thing I don’t like about Hafner is his lack of flexibility in your lineup. After Big Papi’s injury plagued 08′ I am so down on DH only guys I can’t even think straight. Hafner is going pretty late in drafts so I see good returns but it’s still a buyer beware.








What are your expectations of Josh Fields this year now that Crede has moved on?

Hey guys, my 12 team, 5×5 mixed keeper league just voted to add an extra utility and flex pitching spot to the active roster. We keep 7, and my plan was to keep 7 bats and no pitchers. Should I rethink this now in light of the change? Any other strategy differences you can think of because of the new spots?

Hey guys-

10 team, mixed, H2H keeper league. We keep one hitter and one pitcher. I had been thinking about keeping Nathan (10th rounder).

However, I tend to lean on the side of drafting a big offense first and then going after the “Cory SPs” with high KO rates and low WHIPs.
So in our keeper league, the Santana’s, Tiny Tims, CCs, Halladays will already be off the board, so should I stay with Joe Nathan, or keep a Ricky Nolasco or Randy Johnson and lose my last pick (18th rd).

Thanks for your insight as always!

Hello All,
Just trying to break my team down to five keepers. As of now, I have decided to keep Braun, Teixeira, Longoria, and Beltran. I am currently caught up on choosing Morneau or Ellsbury.
In a straight draft, Morneau goes ahead of Ellsbury, but Ellsbury speed is too hard to pass up.
I have a feeling you will recommend a 2 for 1 trade, and if so, what sort of player could I reasonably acquire?
Thanks for all the help over the years.

Scott, for the most part, I don’t think your strategy should change. The only exception would be that you may be less hesitant to draft a DH-Only guy like Papi since there’s an additional open spot to play with. But keeper-wise, this won’t make much of a difference.


Shane, stick with Nathan and worry about your SPs later. While 18th round is great value for Nolasco, Nathan for a 10 is ridiculously good. Even if you need to use a 9th or 11th round pick on Nolasco, it’ll still be worth it.


Hey there!!!

10 Team, 5×5, mixed, Roto. Keep 10 without restriction.

Based on your advice (Cory), I traded Alexei Ramirez and Edninson Volquez for Carlos Beltran. I thought I would need to give up Papelbon or Halladay but the
other owner bit on young, upside Volquez.

Now, I need help with my last Keeper.

Here’s my current Keeper list:




I need to choose from the following:


Who should be the last keeper?

Hey guys, I am in a weekly, 12-team, 5×5, head-to-head, mixed league with a rolling waiver system. We have put more emphasis on relievers this year, requiring each team to roster 3. We also roster 4 SP, 2 P, 5 BN and 2 DL spots. Assuming all the closers are drafted first, do you feel I should look at guys with questionable stuff who are next in line to close or vulture saves, or should I concentrate on low ERA/WHIP, high K middle relievers? I am confident I will be able to snag some free agent closers during the season and the middle relievers could help with 3 other categories in the meantime. However, I don’t want to lose too many games early on by not getting enough saves. They may not be mutually exclusive either, so are there some 4 category value picks you would recommend? Thank you. – Jake

Neill, while Ellsbury may be the better fit considering the rest of your keeper list, I’d go Morneau. He’ll be taken before Jacoby in almost every draft and I think you’ll be able to get Ellsbury back while Morneau will definitely get scooped up early in the regular draft. If you can pull off the trade, all the better. Could Morneau and Ellsbury net you an elite OF who runs, like a B.J. Upton or an Alfonso Soriano?


Quick question about a H2H weekly snake non-keeper draft strategy, unfortunately you are going to need a little back story. Pitching points are given in the following fashion
W +10 / CG +5 / Shutout +5 / S +8 / IP +1 / K +1 / Blown Save -4 / ER -1
Each team starts 5 SP and only 1 RP each week.

I don’t agree with how these points breakdown but I got into the league at the last minute last year and didn’t review the rules that closely before the draft b/c I was told it was “normal” h2h scoring. Also I wasn’t planning on participating again this year but I won last year so I feel obligated after taking everyone’s money.
A big contribution of my points came from K-Rod last year – Drafted him in the 5th, I had the number 12 wheel pick. This year they want to drop the Save points from 8 to 6, which puts even more emphasis on SP and diminishes a Closer’s value even more.
If this point change goes through where should a top tier closer be taken 7 or 8 round instead of 5 or 6? Even later?
Sorry for the long post hope it wasn’t too confusing.
–Nate in Springfield


Now or never for my boy Josh. I think he has definite sleeper value but it won’t be a walk in the park. Draft him as a CO or pick him up when season starts. He’s hit 23 HR in bigs before. Low risk high reward is how I’m calling it.


Scott G,

Keep a closer if you can if he is better then your worst bat.



Go Nathan. RJ is still an injury risk even though I like him this year and Nolasco should be a target but not at expense of Nathan.



E-mail your league and say I have 6 quality guys and I’m looking to make a 2 for 1 and will take the best offer. As great as your list is there still isnt a top 5 pick in there. That would be my goal. A-rod, Hanley, Wright, Reyes, Albert or Sizemore. If no trade goes down this is a tough question. Morneau would be your CO or UT and your right about Ellsbury. However you have tons of power that speed is looking awfully nice to couple with beltran etc…



Oh my God do I love that trade you made. You are playing with house money for your 10th keeper so I go Furcal. Highest upside on the list and plays SS. Pretty easy call if you ask me either way. Good work.



Go high K hedges. Zumaya, Bruney, Shields, Arredondo, Marte, Balfour, there are quite a few more.



Yes and no. Yes b/c the save is now only 6 but no b/c the blown save is 4. Split the difference but get a stud, if you have to start the run I am always fine with that especially with these odd points system. That is amazing what a CG SHO with a bunch of K’s gets you. Did you have CC or Halladay?


Actually the only starters that I kept from draft day to the end of the season was Matt Cain and Volquez believe it or not. Since it is a weekly I picked up 2 start pitchers pretty consistently in my other 3 SP slots once we hit mid-June. It is amazing that not many others employed the same strategy. High K guys in good situations were plentiful most weeks.
— Nate in Springfield

Hey guys, I’ll try this question again.
I just signed up for a deeeeep H2H 20 team 40 man roster dynasty league.
I have never drafted in such a monster league (most until now has been 14 teams 25 man roster).
Do you guys have any tips on how to draft in such a league? Or do the old rules still aply here?
Thanks, Tzvi in Israel.

Hey Guys,

I am in a 12 team, mixed, 5×5 keeper league and I have to keep 5 players for my upcoming draft.

We have a 23 man roster:
1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI,
2 Catchers & Utility,
5 Outfielders,
9 Pitchers & 5 bench spots,
2 DL

Which 5 would you keep from the list below?

Francisco Rodriguez
JJ Putz
Javier Vazquez
Russell Martin
Geovany Soto
Albert Pujols
Aubrey Huff
Derrek Lee
Manny Ramirez
Yunel Escobar
Raul Ibanez
Aaron Cook

Thanks for your help,

Awesome double up on the catchers, just had to comment.

Jeff, this one is easy. Manny, Pujols, K-Rod, and the two catchers. No one else on this list sniffs the top five rounds in a standard draft.


Tzvi, I’m going to let Mike and Cory chime in on this but one difference is I think you have to put a little more emphasis on starting pitching (and closers for that matter) than you normally would. Pitching and ditching is virtually impossible here unless you feel comfortable starting Carlos Silva in Boston, and scouring the waiver wire for saves is awfully difficult in this format. Draft two closers who have some semblance of job security and you’re good to go.


Hey guys,
I have a keeper question 10 team roto league.
I need to keep 4 hitters and 3 pitchers out of this group, there is no penalty for keeping anyone and I can keep them as long as I want.
The hitters are: (4)
Jose Reyes,
Prince Fielder,
Matt Holiday,
Alfonso Soriano,
Lance Berkman,
Joe Mauer,
Aramis Ramierz
My Pitchers are: (3)
Felix Hernandez,
Joba Chamberlin,
Zach Grienke,
David Price,
Jonathen Broxten,
Heath Bell

Thanks for the help guys….I have been following the 411 for 6 years now and you guys do an awesome job.

entered a 1st year dynasty league,never been in one.any advice about drafting or anything else in playing in a dynasty league? it’s standard yahoo 5×5 h2h league.

I am in the process of finalizing my keeper list for my 12 team mixed auction league. I have Orlando Hudson at $3. I am worried about the wrist and the move from Chase Field to Dodger Stadium and wonder if it would be better to have the roster spot…or is $3 worth the risk due to his past production? I am pretty week at the MI position and do not yet know who will be available at the draft this year.

kampy, my hitters would be Reyes, Soriano, Mauer, and Holliday. A good argument can be made for Fielder or even Berkman, but since you’re allowed to keep these players forever, I’m going to knock off the 33 year old Berkman. Holliday gets the edge over Fielder due to his across the board contributions. Another positive with regards to Holliday is that he won’t be in Oakland beyond this year, so his perceived value and production should rise after ’09.

As for the pitchers, Felix and Price are definites while Greinke/Joba is a close call. Joba could very well turn out to be a dominant SP, but right now, I have to lean towards Greinke. There’s just too much uncertainty surrounding Joba’s role going forward. We know he can thrive in the pen, but can he go through a full season as a starter? Remember, he only made 12 starts last year before missing time due to injury.


I’ve got to pick 5 out of this bunch in a Mafia League

Eric Byrnes
Chipper Jones
Jay Bruce
Aramis Ramirez
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Jason Giambi
Johnny Damon
Delmon Young
Joba Chamberlain
CC Sabathia
Lastings Milledge

I was thinking Bruce, Ramirez, Cano, Joba and CC, but I don’t have to keep five. The thinking is that these five are in the top 60. This is where I have trouble.


Technical Advisor
Commissioner League 4
Fantasy Baseball Mafia

hey everyone!!
i’ll blog this again because i’m praying from my old homeboy from Merrick StrongIsland to chime in:

the key here is the league format:
12 team mixed 7×7 with the extra cats obp, slugging, BAA, and K/BB.
on offense, power guys like howard are elevated because avg and SB’s are only 2 out of 7 cats. howard hase niiice obp and slugging to go with obvious runs, RBI’s and HR.

which would you rather?
1. howard
2. tex
3. aram
4. rios
8. beckett


1. tex
2. draft
3. aram
4. rios
5. abreu
11- james shields

mind you, howard or tex do not have to be drafted in the first, but the fab five (hanley, A-rod, pujols, reyes, wright) as well as braun, cabrera and sizemore are already taken.

you guys all rule-

pete in jordan

One more question for today if thats OK.
In every single mockdraft I have done so far Mark DeRosa has fallen to the extreme late rounds. do you guys consider him to be a sleeper?
I can’t understand why he is so underated. he may not hit 21 home runs again but I would still veiw him as a top 10 2b. what do you think of him this year and is it smart to target him in my drafts?

Hey all, sorry I haven’t been on the blog much the last couple of days… my “real job” has gotten in the way, but Siano and Zach have done the yeoman’s work! Anyway, here are a few comments on some of the above, working backwards…

* Jeter86, not a sleeper in the pure sense, but yeah, potentially undervalued for a guy who could hit 12-15 homers (if not more) with 2B/3B/OF eligibility. I think he’s slipping in drafts since he’s viewed as a late bloomer and is moving to the tougher league, but he’s definitely a good value in the late teens or later.

* Pete, I prefer option #2. You get Tex so the need for Howard is not as great, and you get Shields for a cheap pick in league where the format emphasizes his value. Plus you get better roster balance and a 2nd round pick. All that for Ryan Howard? Yeah, I make that tradeoff.

* Jay, in a scratch draft, A-Ram and CC are the only two guys who will go in the top five rounds, so they are your only slam-dunk keepers. The next two would probably be Chipper and Damon but who comes after that? Probably Joba or Bruce, who both get a bump since it’s a keeper league. Maybe Milledge, although he’d be a reach. Bottom line is you need to work for a trade here to upgrade because this isn’t a good enough keeper list for a mixed league.




* Chris, I don’t mind O-Dawg for $3… as Mike and I discussed on Tuesday’s podcast, he should be good for a strong AVG, 10-12 homers and steals, and decent run/RBI numbers depending on where he hits in the lineup. But he’s no superstar, so this is a case where you have to weigh his consistently good production vs. “roster spots have value.” Who will be out there who might be more worthwhile that you think you can get for a good price? The available market should make the call for you here… if it’s deep, you might want to gamble and let him go, but if not he’s a very reasonable keeper at that price.

* Tzvi, as Zach said, you have to have more SP depth in leagues like this because the waiver wire is just awful. And I think it’s important to emphasize certainty and predictability, even if that means sacrificing some “upside” players. That is, I’d rather have Adam Dunn than Chris Davis in this format.

* Zebra, awesome trade, kudos to you! I agree with Siano that Furcal is probably the chalk pick here, but since you already have Reyes and Figgins, I might take a shot on Werth or even Dye. Not to scoop the preview show, but Werth could be very undervalued this year… if healthy he could hit 25+ homers with double-digit steals, while Dye looks like a very consistent 35+ homer source with a decent AVG. Plus both are in great hitters’ parks.



Guys, I had some questions regarding guys off-the-radar. I know it’s only the first day of spring training games, but do you think guys like Hank Blalock, Angel Pagan, Jordan Schafer, Schierholtz, Ishikawa, and Freddy Sanchez are in for surprisingly impactful seasons? Blalock could finally be completely healthy, Sanchez is due for a rebound after last season, Pagan may finally get the chance to be a full-time stud, and the others just look really good as far as upside. Hope you can help me out.

Looking through the composite projections for OF’s, there seem to be a long list in the late rounds that have very similar numbers. Can you guys help me by ranking these, or just pulling out your favourites: DeRosa, Drew, Kubel, DeJesus, Choo, Matsui, Rowand.
Long list I know, but it just highlights how flat this tier is.

Malik, of the guys you mentioned the only one I hold in any regard for this season is Blalock, and I know Siano doesn’t necessarily agree with me on that. Ishikawa and Sanchez might be worth late-round fliers but I’m not giving too much thought to the other ugys in non-keeper leagues.

Kevin, there is plenty to like about all of those guys you mentioned. DeRosa offers 3-position eligibility and some pop (see above), Kubel could hit .290 with 20-25 HR’s, Choo could do something similar and provide some speed, Drew has major upside as well as risk (as we already know), DeJesus is a solid across-the-board contributor, etc.

If all of those guys were available to me in the last round as my last OF, I would probably take DeRosa, Kubel or Choo.


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