Fantasy Baseball 2013 Head-to-Head Points League Rankings: Relievers

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Kantecki ranks his top 20 relievers in head-to-head points leagues.

In my final installment of 2013 head-to-head points leagues rankings, I present you with the top 20 relievers. More than ever this year, I think the position is super risky. From the list of 20 you're about to see, there's only one closer I consider "elite" (hint: he's No. 1 on my list), and less than a handful I consider close-to-elite. While you're probably more likely to find a top 10 closer in the front half, a few of the guys from the bottom half will surprise and become top 10 options.

Last year, I had the misfortune of drafting Ryan Madson (season-ending Tommy John surgery), Huston Street (pitched 9.2 innings in April and May), and Sergio Santos (pitched a total of 5 innings all year). All in the same draft! I salvaged my crummy closer luck by picking up Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano, Addison Reed and trading for Joe Nathan. In the end, I led the league with 160 saves. Closers rule!

My simple advice: don't punt saves, don't chase saves, but always look for saves.

As a reminder, scoring for pitchers in points leagues breaks down like this: one point for each recorded out and strikeout, minus-one point for every walk and hit, minus-two points for every earned run, five points for a win or save, and five points for a loss.

Here are my top 25 relievers for 2013 head-to-head points leagues:

Rank

Player

Team

2012 Points

1

Craig Kimbrel

Braves

469

2

Jason Motte

Cardinals

397

3

Jonathan Papelbon

Phillies

375

4

Joe Nathan

Rangers

338

5

Rafael Soriano

Nationals

374

6

Mariano Rivera

Yankees

46

7

Fernando Rodney

Rays

472

8

J.J. Putz

Diamondbacks

278

9

Addison Reed

White Sox

236

10

Jim Johnson

Orioles

399

11

Joel Hanrahan

Red Sox

329

12

John Axford

Brewers

289

13

Tom Wilhelmsen

Mariners

343

14

Rafael Betancourt

Rockies

269

15

Ernesto Frieri

Angels

327

16

Greg Holland

Royals

251

17

Chris Perez

Indians

296

18

Sergio Romo

Giants

240

19

Glen Perkins

Twins

266

20

Jonathan Broxton

Reds

244

Kimbrel is the only "elite" closer left. He racked up a ridiculous 162 Ks in 62.2 innings in 2012, picking up 42 saves along the way...Motte also saved 42 games last year, with 10.75 K/9 and a 2.88 xFIP. I think he's the next safest thing at closer...Papelbon looks fine in Philadelphia. His SwStr% dropped, but he still had 11.83 K/9...Nathan picked up 37 saves with 10.91 K/9. He's reliable Joe again...Soriano couldn't have found a better home. I see him repeating his 2012 season in Washington...Rivera is one of the all-time greats. Draft with confidence... Rodney led all RPs with a 0.60 ERA (2.67 xFIP) in 2012, and he was second in saves (48). Don't be the guy who drafts him high...Putz isn't the most durable guy, but he has some of the best stuff among NL closers...Reed wasn't great in 2012 (4.75 ERA; 4.09 xFIP), but he has huge strikeout potential...Johnson led the league with 51 saves last year, but he doesn't have typical closer stuff (5.37 K/9 in 2012)...Hanrahan makes the switch to the AL in a move I can see damaging his value. His 5.43 BB/9 in 2012 was his worst since 2007...Axford gave up 10 home runs in 69.1 innings last year, on top of 5.06 BB/9. Between Axford and Hanrahan, I'm being very cautious...Wilhelmsen pitched well down the stretch in 2012, picking up 29 saves. He has competition coming, but he's fine for this year...Betancourt is someone I expect to be traded midseason. His K/9 dropped from 10.54 to 8.90 last year, but he's solid...Frieri should be the Angels closer on Opening Day, and I expect him to keep it. His 13.36 K/9 was fifth best among RPs last year...Holland is the highest ranked pitcher with the greatest likelihood of losing his job, but I also see a scenario where he finishes top 10...Perez improved across the board in 2012, but I think he over performed. He's hard to trust...Romo is better suited for a setup role. I think the Giants will go with a bullpen-by-committee approach by midseason...Perkins is a steal if you can get him around No. 20. Don't believe me? Go here...Broxton isn't even the second best closer option on his own team, but he has the gig, so he's worth the pick.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @akantecki.

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