Late Season Roto Strategy: Streaming Hitters

Garrett Ellwood

Don't leave valuable roto points on the table. Stream hitters to get the most out of your counting stats.

I play in a local league that was founded for the purposes of fantasy football. The first season was so entertaining; I was able to convince the majority of them to start up a baseball league. The football playoffs largely contributed to the thrill factor for most of the managers in our league. Little did they know that the whole exercise was essentially a dice roll as the #5 seed, who went 7-7 in the regular season, went on to win the championship and the prize money. As the regular season champ, I had my frustrations but kept them in knowing full well that this was the nature of fantasy football. I knew baseball to be different, so in an attempt to avoid a similar situation, I demanded we play in a rotisserie league. This was met with staunch resistance.

"The standings are set in stone by June"

"August and September mean nothing"

and my favorite, "but you never have to beat someone mano a mano, so how can you declare a champ?"

These were just the opening statements of the prosecutors. It ended up being a drawn out trial, resulting in a H2H scoring format.

Cool story, bro.

I shared this tale with you because my league mates held a fairly common belief amongst fantasy players, one that is inherently false. In rotisserie leagues, the second half of the season is just as important as the first, and the standings fluctuate just as often as in H2H leagues. It just happens many times on a daily level as opposed to once on a weekly level. I could go into a longer rant about why this is so, but I want to get to the good stuff - how does rotisserie strategy change in the latter months of the season? A typical point of contention is how to manage pitchers and looming innings limit. Innings management however, is only half the battle.

Max Games Played by hitters is an often-overlooked restriction that offers an opportunity to steal a few points in the final standings. Because it is conventional wisdom (and very much best practice) to draft only 1 starter at each offensive position, managers are not very concerned in rotating in backups when their starters have off days or miss a day because of injury/rest/etc. If you are leaving Games Played on the table, you are leaving valuable counting stats that could make a big difference in the standings.

This is where my strategy of streaming hitters comes into play. If you are anywhere between 5 to 10 games behind the projected pace of Games Played for a given offensive position, you should be plugging in a hitter of that position every single day your starter is off. It shouldn't be difficult to find the roster space to maneuver this strategy, as you already know it will only be needed on Mondays and Thursdays (and the occasional off-day on Sunday).

The question now becomes, "Who do I stream?" Focus only on players who have the odds stacked in their favor for that day. I'm talking about playing the Lefty/Righty splits. Players who have splits heavily in their favor are the ideal streaming candidates. Let's take a look, by position, at some of the best hitters to stream for the remainder of the season. I decided to base the list heavily off of each player's triple slash line. The number of plate appearances against a specific handedness varies drastically from team to team and player to player. The triple slash allows you to compare across various sample sizes and gives arguably the best snapshot of a player's success rates. All players have a wRC+ above 100 (above average) for players hitting against the same handedness. Yahoo! ownership levels in parentheses. I tried to focus only on players with less than 25% ownership levels, but couldn't always find a player who fit the bill.

Catchers

C - Derek Norris (1%) - .286/.385/.563 vs LHP (130 PAs)

C - Chris Iannetta (4%) - .244/.382/.395 vs LHP (110 PAs)

Firstbase

1B - Kyle Blanks (4%) - .299/.378/494 vs LHP (98 PAs)***

1B - Adam Lind (31%) - .292/.367/.514 vs RHP (294 PAs)

***Blanks is currently injured but should be back in another week or two.

Secondbase

2B - Neil Walker (39%) - .267/.371/.450 vs RHP (280 PAs)

2B - Mark DeRosa (0%) - .266/.352/.489 vs LHP (108 PAs)***

2B - Mark Ellis (9%) - .301/.353/.462 vs LHP (104 PAs)

***DeRosa was claimed off waivers last night. Hopefully finds a spot with some PT opportunity.

Thirdbase

3B - Matt Tuiasosopo (1%) - .263/.398/.488 vs LHP (98 PAs)

3B - Juan Francisco (12%) - .252/.322/.474 vs RHP (261 PAs)

Shortstop

SS - Brandon Crawford (26%) - .303/.366/.465 vs RHP (268 PAs)

SS - Yunel Escobar (12%) - .291/.357/.453 vs LHP (130 PAs)

Outfield

OF - Cody Ross (19%) - .398/.432/.593 vs LHP (118 PAs)

OF - Brandon Barnes (1%) - .318/.388/.500 vs LHP (99 PAs)

OF - Nate Schierholtz (21%) - .287/.332/.548 vs RHP (292 PAs)

OF - Matt Joyce (16%) - .251/.352/.443 vs RHP (298 PAs)

OF - Chris Denorfia (4%) - .281/.349/.541 vs LHP (149 PAs)

Plug and play these guys for the remainder of the year and add a few counting stats to your grand totals. It could make all the difference.

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