Head-to-Head Points League Strategy: Waiver Wire Week 16

July 3, 2012; Cleveland, OH USA: Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE

I remember reading an article from Mathew Berry on ESPN.COM prior to the start of last year's fantasy football season where Berry wrote that something like 70% of 2010 ESPN League Championship teams had Michael Vick on their roster.

If you remember, Kevin Kolb was the designated starting QB for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010 before getting injured in Week 1. Prior to Week 2, fantasy owners all scrambled to the waiver wire to add Mike Vick and those who won their claims were rewarded quite handsomely. Vick took over the reigns in Week 2 and never looked back as he went on to post one of the greatest fantasy football seasons of all time.

Why am I talking so much about the NFL, Mike Vick and the 2010 season in this fantasy baseball post? Because that story reminds me exactly of Mike Trout and what we are seeing in the 2012 fantasy baseball season. It might be up for some debate considering the seasons Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen and a couple of other hitters are having, but I am ready to argue that Mike Trout has been the best fantasy baseball player since his callup at almost no cost to his owners

Of the four leagues I participate in, Trout was drafted in only one and dropped prior to his callup in that league. So, all four teams that own him in those leagues simply claimed him off of free agency at no cost. Right now, I own him in two leagues, one of which I am in 1st Place by a healthy margin (I'm in last in the other ... largely due to injuries and inattentiveness). In another league the owner with Trout is in 1st Place and in another league the Trout owner is in 2nd Place. So, the team with Trout is winning in 50% of my leagues and is in at least 2nd Place in 75% of them.

There will be months and months to discuss draft strategy in both fantasy football and fantasy baseball, but the morale of both the Vick and Trout stories is that you don't usually win your league on draft day, but by watching the games, following the news and making the right waiver claims and trades at the right time.

Out of curiosity, what place is the team that owns Mike Trout in in your league? Post below in the comments or answer the attached poll and let's see if 70% of Trout owners are within the Top 3 in their leagues. I bet they are.

Week 16 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:

Ryan Doumit, Minnesota Twins – 29%

Jesus Montero has been quite the disappointment this season. So much so that I have benched him in favor of Ryan Doumit in the Fake Teams H2H Points League. It might be the only thing I’ve done right in that league all year. Doumit is currently the 9th highest scoring catcher and should be owned in most formats due to his almost everyday ABs and multi-position eligibility.

Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies – 29%

I think it is more likely Ramon Hernandez is traded upon return from injury than it is that he takes away significant playing time from Wilin Rosario. Despite striking out like crazy, Rosario has the 12th most points at the position which, according to my math, makes him stater-worthy in 12 team leagues or higher.

Others to consider:

Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals – 34%, Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers – 27%, Lou Marson, Cleveland Indians – 0%

First base:

Carlos Lee, Miami Marlins – 46%

On one hand, Carlos Lee joins a lineup he is more likely to score and drive in runs in. On the other hand, he will play half his games in the cavernous neon monstrosity that is Marlins Park. Whatevs, I still like him.

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays – 28%

I really wish I owned more Blue Jays this season. Lots of value for little cost coming from over the boarder in 2012. After a horrible start to the year that led to a demotion, Adam Lind has been on a tear as of late with 13 hits in his last 10 games, along with 10 RBI.

Chris Carter, Oakland A’s – 2%

When he isn’t busy being snubbed by the NFL Hall of Fame or writing scripts for the X-Files, Chris Carter can be found bashing balls out of the park in Oakland. Carter has scored 42 points in only 26 ABs thanks in large part to 5 HR. Odds are he will cool off, but in the meantime, he looks to be a very cheap source of power points.

Random observation: David Ortiz is the highest scoring 1B this season. Raise your hand if you guessed that in the offseason? … I’ll assume no one has their hand raised.

Others to consider:

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants – 22%, Brandon Moss, Oakland A’s – 8%, Casey Kotchman, Cleveland Indians – 3%

Second base:


Alexi Amarista, San Diego Padres – 10%

Not surprisingly, Alexi Amarista’s power surge short-circuited upon returning home from Colorado and Arizona, but his BA has continued to rise. His HR points could soon be replaced by SB points as he continues to see everyday ABs atop a young Padres lineup.

Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs – 6%

It might be hard to believe, but Darwin Barney is the 15th highest scoring second baseman in 2012 with only 4 HR and 6 SB. This is in large part due to the fact that a lot of touted second basemen are having pretty bad seasons and also due to the fact that Barney has only 29 strikeouts in over 300 ABs.

Others to consider:


Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox – 14%, Elliot Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays – 10%, Jerry Hairston Jr., LA Dodgers – 3%

Third base:

Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves – 33%

I understand the constant injury concerns associated with Chipper Jones and his age, but that being said, the guy was an All-Star. I’m not going to look it up or anything, but he has to be the least owned All-Star at only 33%. Look at his stats. They are All-Star worthy and more than ownable. Three or four games from Jones in a week might be better than the five or six you are getting from your current 3B, CI or UTL. In case you were wondering, as I write this, Chipper has more points than Pablo Sandoval in 20 less ABs. Sandoval was the starting third baseman for the NL in the All-Star game.

Scott Moore, Houston Astros – 1%

Lately Scott Moore has been batting third for the Astros. That’s the equivalent of getting one start a week and batting 7th for the Texas Rangers, but, with that being said, Moore has 3 HR in only 43 ABs and should continue to see lots of playing time since by rule someone has to be on the field for the Astros.

Others to consider:

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds – 5%, Jerry Hairston Jr., LA Dodgers – 3%, Jeff Keppinger, Tampa Bay Rays – 2%

Shortstop:

Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays – 43%

Love them Blue Jays! With Tulo and Lowrie on the shelf, Yunel Escobar qualifies as the 12th best active shortstop in the MLB.

Erick Aybar, LAA Angels – 40%

So, to star the year I thought players like Mark Ellis, Marco Scutaro and Brennan Boesch had the Holy Grail of lineup spots. Well, that is until Erick Aybar’s recent lineup spot came along. Hitting after Mike Trout and in front of Albert Pujols? Geeeeeez!

Ruben Tejada, New York Mets – 15%

The Irish Sandwich has 16 hits in his past 10 games and has been batting leadoff for the Metropolitans as of late. Home runs? Stolen bases? Fuhhhh getttta ‘bout it! Points? You betcha.

Others to consider:

Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers – 45%, Elliot Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays – 10%, Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros – 0%

Outfield:

Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins – 25%

With Giancarlo Stanton on the shelf, Justin Ruggiano has made the most of his recent playing time with 93 points in only 90 ABs thanks to 6 HR and 6 SB and solid runs and RBI. Expect Ruggiano to continue batting somewhere in the middle of the lineup unless he returns to being, well, Justin Ruggiano aka The Dude None of Us Had Ever Heard of Until Like Three Weeks Ago.

Juan Pierre, Philadelphia Phillies – 24%

Word is Juan Pierre could be on the move at the deadline. The most exciting word is that he could be on the move to Cincinnati where he would likely bat in front of Joey Votto. He deserves to be owned no matter where he plays, but yeah, Cincy would be pretty sweet for him.

Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers – 17%

Ryan Braun is having another MVP caliber season. He won’t win the MVP unless he hits another 75 HR in the second half, but, if he even hits like 15 more, Aoki figures to be on base for quite a few of them as he has had quite a bit of success batting leadoff for the Brew Crew. In fact, he has scored more points than Mr. Manchild (Bryce Harper) in 20 less ABs. To continue my Braun rant, what do you think it would have taken for Braun to win the All-Star MVP? I’m gonna guess he would’ve had to have been the first hitter in the history of baseball to hit for the cycle in only 3 ABs. That or hit a leadoff Grand Slam (stole that line from Jon Hamm).

Others to consider:

Torii Hunter, LAA Angels – 49%, Denard Span, Minnesota Twins – 16%, Rajai Davis, Toronto Blue Jays – 13%

Starting pitcher:

Ben Sheets, Atlanta Braves – 22%

So, if I had to bet, I would say Ben Sheets is on the DL with a torn something or other in about three weeks. In the meantime, he can pitch with the best of them when healthy and had a nice debut allowing only 2 hits and 1 BB in 6 innings on Sunday.

Clayton Richard, San Diego Padres – 22%

In past seasons you only wanted to start Clayton Richard at Petco, but this season, he actually isn’t all that bad on the road with an ERA under 4.00. His WHIP is sitting at .118 and his 2.5 KBB is fairly solid. Sure, 6 W ain’t many. But, it’s more than Cliff Lee.

Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds – 15%

In 51 innings at home, Homer Bailey has a 5.12 ERA and a 2-4 record. In 61 innings on the road, he has a 2.93 ERA and 6-2 record. Needless to say, Homer is no Homer… but he is certainly worth stashing for two-start weeks on the road.

Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds – 14%

Over the course of his last 5 starts, Mike Leake hasn’t once allowed more than 2 ER and has a 21/3 KBB in that time. Despite all that, he has only managed one victory but I like the odds of his Ws increasing should this success continue.

Others to consider:

Jason Vargas, Seattle Mariners – 42%, Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles – 29%, Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals – 25%, Aaron Harang, LA Dodgers – 18%

Relief pitcher:

Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins – 21%

Ozzie Guillen is going with a closer committee at the moment and thus far Steve Cishek has converted the only save opportunity since the All-Star break. If I know anything about closer committees, it’s that they in no way shape or form resemble a committee and Cishek will probably get the next five or six save opportunities before Heath Bell takes over again.

Others to consider:


Relief pitchers on Houston, Kansas City and San Diego. There is a good chance Brett Myers, Jonathon Broxton and Huston Street will all be traded at or before the approaching deadline. Monitor the situation closely or just check in here at Fake Teams for all your fantasy baseball info needs.

Questions or comments? Hit me up down below.

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