Roto Arcade: To the Max
By Andy Behrens
August 9, 2007
Let's say you're attending a party where everyone has been given five drink tickets. At basically all stages in your adult life, you'll attend events where this happens. You'll get drink tickets at college parties, weddings, high school reunions, bachelor parties, fundraisers – it happens anywhere that adults are encouraged to behave like Fred Smoot on a boat.
So let's say you've been handed five drink tickets. How many beverages are you going to consume?
For most of us, the answer is clear: at least five. It's almost shameful to have unused tickets at the end of the night.
In roto leagues, you need to think of games and inning maximums as if they were drink tickets. Except that you can't steal them from your date. The fundamental idea is the same, though. Games and innings are not to be wasted.
There are eight weeks remaining in the roto season. Click on the "Maximum Games & Innings" link beneath your roster and identify the positions at which you're well off the pace. In deep-benched leagues, it shouldn't be too difficult to catch up. If you let games and innings go unused, you're just leaving counting stats – R, HR, RBI, SB, W, SV, K – on the table. That's a losing approach.
In order to make up ground, you'll obviously need to take advantage of double-headers and travel days. This means you're going to have to add and drop players. Many fantasy owners seem to think that no player on their roster is droppable, of course. That's really a debilitating weakness. If you're trying to add points in the roto standings and you have games and innings to use, then any replacement-level player is … well, they're replaceable. If they don't have a game tomorrow, they're a liability. Drop them for someone who does.
We've discussed this idea of replacement-level fantasy talent several times this season, most recently on Monday with regard to Justin Upton. In a mixed league, there will be useful players in the free agent pool all the time.
So if you're in the middle of the pack in R and RBI in a public league, and you're 18 games off the games max at OF, which of these options do you think will be more valuable: owning Casey Blake for the remainder of the season, or owning the best available free agent outfielder every day, whether it's Blake or another player?
I'd take the latter option. It's not really a difficult choice, either. Think of the free agent pool as your fantasy team's farm system. You can call those guys up whenever it's necessary. If you're way behind the pace in games and innings, it's probably necessary right now.
By the way, before anyone clobbers me for failing to reach the games limits in the Yahoo! Friends & Family League, please notice the settings. We only have three bench spots. It isn't reasonable to hit every game maximum. I'm entrenched in the offensive standings, yet I can still add points in the pitching categories. Thus, at the moment, all of my bench spots are occupied by ownable pitchers. And I keep guessing wrong on when to start and sit James Shields.
"I'll tell you one thing: I'm going to hit a lot better from now on."
How awesome is that? That was one of Barry Bonds' more thrilling post-game comments after hitting career home run number 756. Then he hit number 757 the following day. He's looking like he'll be much more useful over the balance of the season than most of us had guessed. Naturally, he's on the bench today.
You have to love that "Top Batters" feature in the Yahoo! box score. The Giants' top batter on August 7, the night of Barry's record-breaking home run, was, in fact, Bengie Molina. Who among us will ever forget his 2-for-4, 3 RBI performance?
Alexi Casilla stole a base Thursday. He's leading off for the Twins, too. Jason Bartlett is batting second. Both the 0.2 percent-owned Casilla and the 11 percent-owned Bartlett are reasonable middle infield adds for owners chasing steals.
Pedro Martinez' first rehab start for Single-A was a bit ugly. Three innings, six hits, five runs, two homers. It's a scary stat line until you get to the five strikeouts and zero walks. There's a well-done piece on the Mets' website that describes the outing. Here are the choice quotes from Pedro: "Results don't matter right now" and "My arm and my body are recovering good" and "I was very stubborn in trying to establish (my sinker)."
You can assume that Pedro wasn't really pitching to the game situation or the hitter so much as he was trying to test himself. He's not all that concerned with the fortunes of the St. Lucie Mets. And he did strike out five. "I'm bored," he said. "I don't want to be here in Florida anymore." He actually sounds fairly confident, despite the numbers. This is still a player worth owning for the head-to-head playoffs, when New York faces Washington six times. He's 73 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
Stream-worthy starters for Friday include Dave Bush (52 percent owned) at Houston, Shaun Marcum (55) at Kansas City, Phil Hughes (36) at Cleveland, Scott Baker (6) at LA of A, Aaron Cook (11) versus Chicago, and Brandon McCarthy (1) versus Tampa Bay.
Rick Ankiel has performed a full reverse Kieschnick! The Cardinals have called him up from Memphis, where he was hitting .267/.314/.568. That .267/.314 part doesn't seem so hot for a 28-year-old at Triple-A, but the .568 is pretty impressive. Ankiel had 32 home runs in 389 at bats. I'm powerless to stop many of you from claiming him. He's at least a fun NL-only add.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Thursday, Aug 9, 2007 6:04 pm, EDT