Head-to-Head Points League Strategy: Waiver Wire Week 13

Jun 06, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

I don't know about you, but I stream quite a bit. Too much really. It's the Kenny Rogers in me. Afterall, this is fantasy right? There's nothing really at stake other than maybe bragging rights and a few $$$ here and there. Personally, I find streaming to be fun and I would always rather go out swinging in a matchup rather than waiting back and hoping my opponent's staff doesn't best my own.

But, just because you stream, it doesn't mean you have to be crazy about it. I can't imagine any scenario in which I would stream a starter vs. the Rangers or Yankees, for example. I also don't see much reason to stream a starter vs. Stephen Strasburg or Justin Verlander because, while I don't necessarily expect a W from my streamer of choice, it would be nice if it was at least a possibility.

Basically, choosing a streamer comes down to three things: 1) the pitcher 2) the opponent 3) the stadium. Not that original of a concept, but all of those things can change on a year-to-year basis. For example, you probably wouldn't have wanted to stream vs. the Tampa Bay Rays much in 2011, but in 2012, the stats show that that might not be the worst matchup for a streamer in 2012. Therefore, I thought I would provide you with some of the best opponents and stadiums to stream in 2012:

Lowest runs scored:

1) San Diego 2) Pittsburgh 3) Washington 4) Chicago Cubs 5) Miami Marlins 6) Kansas City 7) Oakland 8) Minnesota 9) LA Angels 10) San Francisco

Most batter strike outs:

1) Houston 2) Milwaukee 3) San Diego 4) Washington 5) Oakland 6) Pittsburgh 7) Baltimore 8) Seattle 9) NY Mets 10) Tampa Bay

Lowest runs per stadium:

1) San Francisco 2) Seattle 3) Pittsburgh 4) NY Mets 5) San Diego 6) Philadelphia 7) Cleveland 8) LA Dodgers 9) Tampa Bay 10) Miami

Those 2012 stats suggest you should most definitely be streaming NL pitchers with seven of the 10 teams in each stat playing in the NL. I would also highly recommend streaming vs. any of the teams that appear in all three categories, assuming your streamer won't be facing that team's ace that night:

Best streaming opponents for 2012:

San Diego, Pittsburgh

Next best:

San Francisco, Washington, Miami, NY Mets, Oakland, Seattle, Tampa Bay

With that, go forth and stream! Good luck.

Week 13 Waiver Wire Advice Below:

All players in this post and pre/proceeding waiver wire posts are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues (I’ll do my best to call out some players owned in less than 10-20% of leagues as well, for you deep leaguers out there in Fake Teams land).

Catcher:

Martin Maldonado, Milwaukee Brewers – 3%

Word out of the Jonathon Lucroy camp is that his wife dropped a suitcase on his hand and it felt like a ton of bricks, largely due to the fact that the suitcase was literally full of a ton of bricks. You could spend the next few hours wondering why on Earth someone travels with a "ton of bricks" or you could add Martin Maldonado to your fantasy team. With Lucroy sidelined, Maldonado has started in eight of the last 10 Brew Crew games and has scored a solid 54 points in his 70 ABs up to now. Seven of Marteeen’s next 10 games are at Miller Park, if you are a fan of home runs and the points they accrue.

Derek Norris, Oakland A’s – 1%

Derek Norris doesn’t sleep, he waits. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, Derek Norris does. When Derek Norris does a push up he isn’t pushing himself up, he is pushing the Earth down. Derek Norris makes onions cry.

Others to consider:

Ryan Doumit, Minnesota Twins – 26%, Rod Barajas, Pittsburgh Pirates – 4%, John Buck, Miami Marlins – 3%

First base:

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins – 48%

The MVP days of Justin Morneau are no more, largely due to the fact that he can’t stay healthy and can’t hit LHP at all. Like at all. Morneau is hitting .088 vs. LHP this season with 2 HR compared to .304 vs. RHP with 8 HR. If you play in a daily league, platooning Morneau might be a sound strategy, but avoid him in weekly leagues like the plague. The aptly named "Morneau Can’t Hit LHP" plague.

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs – 23%

The Rizzo, not to be confused with RZA from Wu-Tang, has bee summoned. I’m not entirely sure how valuable he will be in points leagues as he apparently has a hole the size of Theo Epstein’s ego in his swing. But, with the hype that’s surrounded him as of late, you would be crazy not to take a chance on him.

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays – 21%

It’s the return of "The Adam Lind Show" in Toronto. Basically the premise of the show is that Lind is a mediocre first basemen who typically hits less than .250 while striking out over three times as much as he walks. Why should you watch it? Well, more so for the location (Rogers Centre) and supporting cast (Bautista, Encarnacion, Lawrie, Rasmus, etc.) than for Lind himself.

Luke Scott, Tampa Bay Rays – 16%

Back spasms be damned! Luke Scott is back*, sideburns and all. I’m not sure how ABs will be split with him and Godzilla, but Scott was off to a nice little start with 9 HR and 35 RBI as the Rays everyday DH and is worth a grab, IMO. Scott is also OF eligible.

*OK. He’s not technically back just yet. But sometime this week … sideburns and all.

Others to consider:

Ike Davis, New York Mets – 42%, Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners – 17%, John Mayberry, Philadelphia Phillies – 10%

Second base:

Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox – 19%

Geez, the guy hits a couple less home runs on week and everyone dumps him lickity split. Obviously people have been burned by Gordon Beckham one too many times and are quick to leave him before he has a chance to hurt them again, but truth of the matter is the Becks has 13 hits in his last 10 games with 5 BB and only 4 K. He now bats in front of Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis. What’s not to like?

Jeff Keppinger, Tampa Bay Rays – 2%

From the same post that brought you Marco Scutaro, Jamey Carroll and Darwin Barney recommendations, I proudly present to you, Jeff Keppinger. Boring? Oh, absolutely. But, with Matt Joyce on the DL, Ben Zobrist should see a lot of time in RF for the near future leaving 2B open for Keppinger. He doesn’t hurt you as he has only struck out six times all season and also has 3B eligibility. In his first game back from the DL, he went 5-5 with 3 RBI.

Eric Young Jr., Colorado Rockies – 1%

On Sunday Eric Young Jr. went 1-3 with his ninth SB in 69 ABs. Considering he only has 69 ABs, this is more of a rant than a recommendation. Why does COL simply refuse to give Eric Young Jr. any kind of real playing time? I’ve been asking this question for about three years now. Colorado hasn’t been playing for anything for a season and a half now, why not give him some ABs? Or trade him. Do something. It’s driving me crazy.

Others to consider:

Marco Scutaro, Colorado Rockies – 35%, Ryan Theriot, San Francisco Giants – 8%, Jamey Carroll, Minnesota Twins – 4%

Third base:

Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox – 62%

Please tell me you picked up Will Middlebrooks last week. If not, well, 62% is still a far way off from 100% even if it is breaking the rules of this post a wee bit.

Chris Johnson, Houston Astros – 22%

Let me check the calendar, and, yup … it’s time for the monthly Chris Johnson recommendation. Johnson has 10 hits in the Astros last 5 games including two doubles and a home run. To this point, he’s been 1,000 times better than Ryan Zimmerman, who is probably the most disappointing player in the MLB for fantasy purposes if you don’t count the 19 pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery since the start of the season, then again, at least they have the decency to be droppable.

Others to consider:

Ryan Roberts, Arizona Diamondbacks – 24%, Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies – 7%, Jerry Hairston Jr., LA Dodgers – 4%

Shortstop:

Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves – 5%

Remember when Andrelton Simmons was called up and everyone said he might be good for some stolen bases, but that’s about it? Well, he has no stolen bases yet. Good thing about that is that doesn’t matter at all in a points league. Points are points however they come. Thus far Simmons has only 8 K with 5 BB and has shown much more power than advertised with 2 HR and 10 RBI while batting .329 in 70 ABs.

Daniel Descalso, St. Louis Cardinals – 1%

Daniel Descalso has been a bit greedy with the 2B time share in St. Louis as he has now started at the position in six of the last seven games for the Cardinals. He has hits in all six of them, but only one being an XBH. He wouldn’t be my first choice if you are in need of SS help. Marco Scutaro would be my first choice. But you already know that. Descalso is eligible at 3B as well.

Jonathan Herrera, Colorado Rockies – 0%

Zing! Boom! Herrera! Just returned from the DL and has started for the Rockies every game since. So far he has four hits, 3 R, 1 RBI and 2 SB and should continue to see close-to-everyday ABs at 2B, 3B or SS while Tulo remains sidelined for the next two months. What a shock, huh? My bet is Tulo returns in mid August, plays in four or five more games before he aggravates something and the Rockies shut him down for the rest of ’12. My Tulo glass is half empty these days.

Others to consider:

Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays – 44%, Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds – 29%, Cliff Pennington, Oakland A’s – 4%

Outfield:

Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox – 35%

Since returning from the DL, Cody Ross has seven hits with two doubles and 3 HR. Considering the joke that the Red Sox outfield has become, I would expect Ross to be in the lineup almost every day until Crawford and Ellsbury return.

Rajai Davis, Toronto Blue Jays – 12%

It would be nice if Rajai Davis would strike out a little less and walk a little more as most of his worth lies in him being on first base. That being said, he has taken the LF job in Toronto and ran with it, literally and figuratively. Davis has scored 113 points in only 131 ABs which is a pretty ridiculous rate. Consider me befuddled as to why he is owned in only 12% of all leagues as I can’t imagine a format he isn’t valuable in at the moment.

Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers – 4%

Remember when Ichiro was good? Well, that’s kind of what Norichika Aoki is like now. OK. Not that good. But much better than 4% ownership good.

Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers – 1%

Leonys Martin has 12 points in 12 ABs! Now, I don’t want to read too much into a small sample size, but, I can only assume he will be a first round pick in 2013. With Craig Gentry out of commission for the next few games and Mitch Moreland on the DL, Martin should get enough playing time to let owners know whether to draft him before or after Ryan Braun next year.

Others to consider:

Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians – 29%, David Murphy, Texas Rangers – 10%, Seth Smith, Oakland A’s – 8%, Gregor Blanco, San Francisco Giants – 6%

Starting pitcher:

Jonathon Niese, New York Mets – 39%

You want to talk KBB? Alright, let’s talk KBB. Jonathon Niese has a 28/4 KBB over his last four starts with two being against the Yankees. Did I bench him in both those starts in one league? You betcha. I just can’t bring myself to start any pitcher vs. the Yankees. I can’t do it. I didn’t even start R.A. Diculous in one league on Sunday night (which kind of worked out). With all his NYY matchups in the rearview mirror, I can’t imagine any reason not to own or start Niese going forward.

Trevor Bauer, Arizona Diamondbacks – 32%

Move over Jack, there’s a new Bauer in town. Word out of AZ is that TB will premiere on Thursday night vs. the Atlanta Braves. I wouldn’t expect a Strasburgian debut, but it should be fun to see Bauer pitch and after all the hype I would say he is pretty much a must-own in all scoring formats.

Ross Detwiler, Washington Nationals – 19%

Pretty much anyone not named Wang is killing it on the Nationals staff this year. A quick glance tells me that Ross Detwiler is indeed not named Wang.

Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox – 17%

In his last three starts, Jose Quintana has allowed only one earned run. He also has a crazy 14/0 KBB. In his last two starts, he has pitched eight innings but hasn’t got a W. Maybe Kevin Youkilis will help with that.

Michael Fiers, Milwaukee Brewers – 4%

Michael Fiers went toe-to-toe with Quintana in his last start and was equally fantastic with 7 K and only 1 BB. In fact, in his 33 IP in 2012, Fiers has a 31/5 KBB which of course has the Brewers planning on removing him from the rotation for the likes of Marco Estrada. If that sounds insanely insane, that’s because it is. Welcome to Brewers fandom!

Others to consider:

Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays – 45%

I haven’t heard one good thing come out of the Sergio Santos camp. Meanwhile, Casey Janssen is 7/8 in save opportunities and seems to have a firm grip on the ninth inning. Now, if the Blue Jays could quit hitting like 7 HR a game he might get an opportunity every once in awhile.

Others to consider:

Any RP currently in consideration for save opportunities. Saves = Points!

Questions? Comments? Hit me up down below.

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