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Fantasy Baseball: Throwing In the Towel

We're all the best. We're all experts.

So when we talk about a losing fantasy season, it's not our fault. Injuries hit us--injuries to guys no one could forsee. Or we killed it in the roto categories, but head to head we barely fell short...every, single week.

How is it our fault when Josh Beckett was the one who ruined our season? Or Adam Lind? Or Carlos Lee? How about dreamy keeper Gordon Beckham.

If I'm describing your season, have no regrets. We've all been there. Hey, I'm there in a couple leagues as I write this.

But there's something else we all do because we're the best. We know when to throw in the towel. I'm talking about keeper leagues of course, because in those single season leagues we're still trying our darndest to at least make it into the, uh...peanuts.

But in keeper leagues, as the trade deadline approaches (ESPN standard puts it at high noon tomorrow) we know that there is a price to pay for being the proverbial LaDainian Tomlinson (hanging on too long). It can cost you next year. And if there's one thing worse than getting beat this year--it's getting beat this year and next year.

So while you half-heartedly send that spiteful e-mail to the contenders of your league telling them that your entire roster is available (I'll give you Roy Halladay and Ryan Braun for Martin Prado) for their keepers, know that in March you'll be glad you did it.

Every league has its own variety of keeper rules. I'm talking about leagues that allow you to keep players at a price, based on their draft position or auction price. Some leagues let you keep a guy in the round he was drafted. Others let you keep them at $3 more than you paid last year. If your league is one of these types (quick side note: leagues that just have you keep your five best players or whatever really aren't living up the keeper league ideal. That defeats the purpose of having something to play/trade for if you're out of it) then this is for you.  When you're in this sort of league you're looking for value--straight up. The difference between what you'll pay and what you would have had to pay if you weren't keeping the guy.

So here are a few names, sorted by position, to target if you're a seller at this year's fantasy deadline. Prices used are from ESPN's average player cost in 10-team standard leagues.

  • Ubaldo Jimenez. 2010 cost: $10.3. 2011 estimate: $26
  • Jered Weaver. 2010 cost: $5.9. 2011 estimate: $17
  • Mat Latos. 2010 cost: $1.8. 2011 estimate: $17
  • David Price. 2010 cost: $4.2. 2011 estimate: $16
  • Francisco Liriano. 2010 cost: $3.0. 2011 estimate: $13
  • Clay Buchholz. 2010 cost: $3.9. 2011 estimate: $11
  • Buster Posey. 2010 cost: $0.0. 2011 estimate: $11
  • Carlos Santana. 2010 cost: $0.0. 2011 estimate: $11
  • Nick Swisher. 2010 cost: $2.0. 2011 estimate: $15
  • Robinson Cano. 2010 cost: $19.0. 2011 estimate: $30
  • Martin Prado. 2010 cost: $3.3. 2011 estimate: $19
  • Rickie Weeks. 2010 cost: $2.4. 2011 estimate: $17
  • Adrian Beltre. 2010 cost: $7.0. 2011 estimate: $17
  • Jose Bautista. 2010 cost: $0.0. 2011 estimate: $11 
  • Rafael Furcal. 2010 cost: $4.0. 2011 estimate: $15 
  • Josh Hamilton. 2010 cost: $11.0. 2011 estimate: $24
  • Carlos Gonzalez. 2010 cost: $7.3. 2011 estimate: $29
  • Alex Rios. 2010 cost: $8.3. 2011 estimate: $20
  • Delmon Young. 2010 cost: $1.8. 2011 estimate: $16
  • Brett Gardner. 2010 cost: $1.8. 2011 estimate: $14
  • Vladimir Guerrero. 2010 cost: $5.2. 2011 estimate: $17

So there you have 'em. Your targets. And note that in this situation it's not so much about how much you like these players, or how you think they'll do next year. If you can get Delmon Young at $2 and you think he'll go next year for $16--take it, regardless of whether you think he'll be terrible again. Just take the value you get for him and flip him after the draft.

It's not about the people, it's just about the money.