Head-to-Head Risers and Fallers for Week 11

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Kantecki identifies three risers and three fallers in head-to-head points leagues, including Carlos Quentin, Ryan Doumit and Grant Balfour.

Risers

Carlos Quentin

The much maligned Padres outfielder may never be owned by anyone in the Zack Greinke fan club, but Quentin -- still available in 78% of Yahoo! leagues -- is proving his worth in points leagues since his slap on the wrist suspension a month ago. With 106 points in the Official Fake Teams Head-to-Head Points League, Quentin has proven more worthy than Josh Hamilton, Austin Jackson and Michael Morse. And he's done so with less playing time -- excluding the injured Jackson -- with a .264/.366/.493 slash line to go along with seven home runs, 24 runs and 21 RBI in 46 games. The key for Quentin has always been his health (or lack thereof), as he's only logged two seasons of more than 500 plate appearances. His power is real, and as long as he's penciled into the everyday lineup, Quentin can be a key contributor for San Diego's offense and for your fantasy team. Over the last 30 days, Quentin is hitting .342 with a 1.019 OPS, including four home runs and 11 RBI. Remember: this is a guy who hit 24 home runs as recently as 2011, and 26 as recently as 2010. The rest of the way, he could knock 15 more out of the park.

Ryan Doumit

Despite a .234 batting average, Doumit is the eighth ranked catcher in points leagues. How do you ask? Well, for one, the competition at catcher isn't so great -- the Orioles' Matt Wieters, for example, is sixth with a .239 batting average -- but Minnesota's designated hitter/catcher is one of the few backstops not getting dinged by a huge strikeout total, as only Yadier Molina, Jonathon Lucroy, Buster Posey and Wieters have a better strikeout rate than Doumit's current 17.1% mark. Just last year, Doumit hit 18 home runs with 56 runs and 75 RBI, and his current numbers put him on pace for just under that. ZiPs projects Doumit to hit nine home runs to go along with 28 runs and 33 RBI the rest of the way, which would put him at 17 home runs, 51 runs and 70 RBI for the year. If you're hurting at catcher, Doumit is an advisable option. His ceiling isn't great, but his floor is stable. Still available in 48% of Yahoo! leagues, Doumit is worth the add for anyone who relied on Miguel Montero or A.J. Pierzynski to carry their team at catcher.

Grant Balfour

I wasn't a Balfour believer heading into 2013, as I thought Ryan Cook would wrestle the closing gig from the injured pitcher in spring training, but he has since convinced me to reverse course. The No. 13 relief pitcher on the ESPN Player Rater (No. 11 if you discount relief-eligible starters), Balfour has put together one of his better seasons in recent memory. He's a perfect 15-for-15 in save chances with a miniscule 1.37 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, and while his walks have trended in the wrong direction of late, a 25.5% strikeout rate -- his best rate in five years -- has bumped Balfour into the upper half of big league closers. While Cook does have better numbers overall, the Oakland situation reminds me a lot of the one in St. Louis. While everyone clamors for the talented Trevor Rosenthal to take over for Edward Mujica, Mujica has solidified his role as the Cardinals' ninth-inning man. Balfour, too, should hold onto the job barring an injury. If you're looking to acquire saves, try to sell his 3.75 FIP and 3.73 xFIP to his current owner.

Fallers

Michael Bourn

Granted, Bourn has missed a good deal of the season with injuries, but I'm always cautious not to overdraft a guy whose strongest attribute is his speed. Emilio Bonifacio burned me last year, and I'm sure those of you who spent a high draft pick on Bourn this year are already second guessing your decision to hijack steals. I know he's been great over the past five years -- averaging 51 steals per year -- but Bourn has already been caught four times in 13 steal attempts. His walk rate is a career worst 5.3%, and his strikeout rate has risen to 24.9%, also a career worst. I no longer see Bourn as a lock for 80 runs, and he might even struggle to reach 70 at his current pace (he has 22 in 39 games with 100 to go). Points leagues and heavy stealers usually don't mix, and Bourn isn't the exception. In standard leagues, sure, I would recommend Bourn as a trade target for those in need of speed, but don't bother looking his way in points leagues.

Miguel Montero

Montero has to be one of the most disappointing players to date, and certainly the most disappointing catcher. With a career worst .207/.293/.288 line and only three home runs through 55 games, Montero -- still owned 56% of Yahoo! leagues -- is no longer a reliable option behind the dish despite averaging 16 home runs, 65 runs and 85 RBI from 2011-2012. If you're an owner still holding out hope for a Montero turnaround, I suggest you start looking at other options yesterday. His strikeout and walk rates aren't terribly different from last year, but Montero's line drive and ground ball rates are on the rise, which is a death sentence for a slow-footed catcher. His swing rates are up across the board, and his ISO, which was .187 in 2011 and .152 in 2012, is .081 in 2013. Maybe there's an injury that Montero's hiding, but there's nothing good to see here. Nothing in his batted ball profile suggests Montero will get this thing figured out anytime soon.

Rafael Betancourt

Maybe this is an easy one because Betancourt is hurt, but even before his groin injury, the Rockies' veteran closer wasn't the same guy we were accustomed to seeing in years past. Now sidelined until the end of June, Betancourt's future as closer in Colorado or in any other city should the Rockies end up trading him is up in the (thin) air. What made Betancourt so valuable in Colorado were his relatively low home run totals and low walk rates. Yes, he also struck out nine batters per nine annually, but his walk rates of 3.2%, 3.4% and 5.1% from 2010-2012 was what made him really special -- you could rely on Betancourt being a solid contributor to your K's, ERA and WHIP categories and you didn't have to fear a closer meltdown because it rarely happened. This year, Betancourt's strikeout rate is up to 26.5%, but his walk rate is a very un-Betancourt-like 10.8%. A lot of that is injury related, but he was walking hitters early in the year as well as recently. Rex Brothers, he of a 0.31 ERA, is the man to own in Colorado for the foreseeable future. He has his control problems, too, but he's the future, while Betancourt, at age 38, is on the way out.

Alex Kantecki is a fantasy baseball writer for Fake Teams. He also writes the "Closer Chronicle" for Vigilante Baseball every Thursday, ranking and tiering all 30 MLB closers. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @rotodealer.

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