Ahead of the Curve: Don't Overthink It, You're Almost Home

Do you trust this face?

Tomorrow is September 1st. That means we're finally in home stretch of the season. All of the draft preparation in March, the free agent scouring, the trade proposals, the counter proposals, the research and the tough roster decisions have brought you here. If you're in contention, the next month will be filled with incessant box score checking, complaining about your league's playoff system and heart palpitations. Hopefully it ends with victory. If you're not in contention, good luck with your fantasy football draft!

The reality is that you've already done most of the damage you're going to do with your team in a rotisserie league. There aren't very many decisions you can make from here on out that will have a huge impact on your team's performance or standing. You can either find this comforting or disarming, but it's more or less out of your control now. If you're in a head-to-head league, there are more decisions made this month that will affect the outcome of your team -- but to an extent, it's also more or less out of your hands. Head-to-head playoffs are strange, crazy things happen. Crazy things that you can't predict over the course of the season. All it takes is one week for Ryan Braun to go 2-27 with 0 HR and 0 SB and David Freese to hit .520 with 5 HR to skew the balance of power. Just take a deep breath and hope you survive.

And pay attention to these upcoming schedules after the jump...

THE POTENTIAL OUTPERFORMERS

Matt Harrison (@KC, @TB, SEA, @SEA, OAK, @OAK)

Yes, Harrison just got lit up at home against the Rays, but when you pitch in Texas and the only remaining starts you have at the launching pad known as Arlington are against division foes Seattle and Oakland, you've got a leg up. Harrison has been better than most anticipated this year, and I believe he'll have a strong finish.

Homer Bailey (@HOU, HOU, PIT, @CHC, MLW, @PIT)

Nothing surprises me with Homer Bailey anymore. He'll look dominant in a bad matchup and then come back and be terrible in a great matchup. All you can ask is that a guy like Bailey is put in the best position to carry you home, and these matchups are the one of the best sets of collective matchups in baseball. If the good Homer Bailey shows up, he could really make a huge difference in leagues down the stretch.

Josh Beckett (ARZ, @SF, STL, @WSH, @SD, COL)

Of anyone in baseball, Beckett may get the most press per win above replacement. Seriously, think about all of the times you've seen article after article written about the guy, and he's been worth 7.6 wins over the last three season. That's the same WAR Mike Trout has put up this season (in four months). But with that said, Beckett hasn't seen a stretch of games like this in a long time - and

Ryan Dempster (@CLE, @KC, CLE, SEA, @SEA, OAK, @OAK)

Yes, this is why I targeted Ryan Dempster in trades as the deadlines approached in my most important leagues.

Wandy Rodriguez (HOU, CHC, @CHC, MLW, @NYM)

PNC Park in Pittsburgh is a great place for a left-handed pitcher to work. It may not quite be the Google of workplaces (being a righty in PETCO and a lefty in Safeco still sit at the top of the ranks), but it's worth paying attention to. Rodriguez finally had his first good outing since the trade, pitching six shutout innings on Wednesday, but there may be more to come. Especially with the monster two-start status he gets next week.

Other Potential Outperformers:

Pat Corbin (@SF, @SD, SF, @COL, @SF)
Kris Medlen (COL, @NYM, WSH, @MIA, MIA, @PIT)
Dylan Axelrod (MIN, KC, @MIN, @KC, CLE)
Bronson Arroyo (@HOU, HOU, @MIA, @CHC, MLW)
Alex White (SD, @ATL, @PHI, @SD, @SF)
Rick Porcello (CLE, @CHW, @CLE, MIN, KC, @KC)
Anibal Sanchez (CLE, @LAA, @CHW, @CLE, OAK, KC, @MIN)
Luke Hochevar (MIN, TEX, @MIN, CHW, CLE, @CLE)
Dan Haren (@SEA, @OAK, OAK, @KC, CHW, @TEX, @SEA)
Zack Greinke (@OAK, OAK, @KC, CHW, SEA, @SEA)
Marco Estrada (PIT, @MIA, ATL, @PIT, @WSH, HOU, SD)
Liam Hendriks (@KC, CLE, KC, @CLE)
Jaime Garcia (NYM, @SD, @LAD, @CHC, @HOU)
Kyle Lohse (@WSH, MLW, @SD, HOU, @CHC, WSH)

THE POTENTIAL UNDERPERFORMERS

Brandon McCarthy (BOS, LAA, @LAA, BAL, @NYY, @TEX, TEX)

I like McCarthy, especially on Twitter, but this is just a brutal stretch here. And that's with four of these starts coming at home.

Bud Norris (CIN, @CIN, PHI, @STL, STL, @MLW)

It's tough enough to be a starter on the Astros, but Norris has the added element of taking on this string of opponents. It's not just good offenses, hitters' parks and poor chances at wins - it's all three.

Ricky Romero (TB, @BOS, BOS, @NYY, @BAL, NYY)

There's really not much else you can say about Ricky Romero at this point besides "I hope you've already cut him," or "at least you don't have MLB TV so you don't have to watch him."

Other Potential Underperformers:

Ubaldo Jimenez (TEX, @DET, @TEX, DET)
Jeremy Guthrie (TEX, @CHW, LAA, CLE, @DET, DET)
Clayton Richard (@COL, @LAD, STL, @ARZ, @SF)
Blake Beavan (BOS, @TOR, @TEX, TEX)

#STREAMEROFTHEDAY UPDATE

As you may know, I post a streamer of the day owned in less than 10% of leagues on a daily basis at @dynastyguru on Twitter. And as a staple of this column, I'm going to review my picks as the season goes on. Here are the final numbers for the past seven days of #streameroftheday picks:

5 wins, 2.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 41 K's in 41 2/3 innings.

And the details:

Date Pitcher Opp IP ER H BB K ERA WHIP Dec
24-Aug Kyle Kendrick WSH 6 2/3 2 4 2 3 2.70 0.90 W
25-Aug Jeff Karstens MIL 7 0 7 0 4 - 1.00 W
26-Aug Jhoulys Chacin CHC 5 1 5 2 3 1.80 1.40 L
27-Aug Marco Estrada CHC 5 0 6 3 8 - 1.80 W
28-Aug Zach McAllister OAK 4 1/3 5 9 5 8 10.38 3.23 L
29-Aug Travis Blackley CLE 5 2/3 2 3 2 5 3.18 0.88 W
30-Aug Zach Britton CHW 8 1 7 0 10 1.13 0.88 W

I knew the super streak would come to an end at some point, and it happened with McAllister. Oh well, even with his bomb, it was still another great week for everything except for WHIP. Some usual suspects in there (Estrada/Karstens), a blast from the past (Blackley) and a newcomer who I'm still high on long-term (Britton). Stick with me, kid, we'll go far. Here's my updated track record since the All-Star Break:

27 wins (in 48 starts) with a 2.73 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 221 K in 293 1/3 IP.

What are you waiting for? Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.

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