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Roto Roundup: Justin Verlander, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Lindor and others

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Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Wednesday's roto action, including Justin Verlander, Nelson Cruz, Hector Olivera and others.

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Fantasy Football Rankings and more

The 2015 fantasy football season is only a few weeks away and our fantasy football writing team is busy updating their position rankings for standard and PPR leagues, and you can find them in the links below:

2015 Quarterback Rankings

2015 Running Back Rankings - Standard Leagues

2015 Wide Receiver Rankings - Standard Leagues

2015 Wide Receiver Rankings - PPR Leagues

Our Running Back rankings for PPR leagues publishes this morning at 7:30, while our Tight End rankings for PPR leagues publishes at 10am and Standard leagues at 12pm today, so make sure you come back and check them out later this morning.

With that said, here is a link to all of our early position rankings, sleepers, value picks, top rookies and more:

Fantasy Football 2015: Early position rankings, sleeper and busts for PPR Leagues

Roto Roundup

David O'Brien, Braves beat writer from the Atlanta Journal Constitution gave fantasy owners the update they did not want to hear yesterday regarding recently acquired Hector Olivera:

So, Olivera won't be called up until next Tuesday at the earliest, but once he is called up, he should be the Braves every day third baseman. The Braves traded both Juan Uribe and Chris Johnson to make room for him, so once he is ready, he should be able to help owners in the last month of the season.

Remember when I told you to drop Tigers starter Justin Verlander last year? Yeah? And I told you not to draft him this season? Well, he seems to be rounding into being the ace he was prior to the 2014 season. I don't know if Kate Upton has anything to do with his resurgence, but his fantasy owners aren't complaining. Last night, he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Angels, finishing with a complete game one-hitter. Verlander walked just 2 and struck out 9 in the Tigers 5-0 win. The dominating performance was just his second win of the season, but he lowered his ERA to 3.45, with a 1.07 WHIP and a 71-20 strikeout to walk rate in 86 innings over his 13 starts this season. Over his last seven starts, he has given up just 8 earned runs, with a 49-8 strikeout to walk rate in 50 innings of work. If he can keep this up through the end of the season, he could sneak into my top 50 starters heading into the 2016 season. He is available in about 21% of ESPN leagues right now, so grab him now before other owners in your league grab him.

Last season, Nelson Cruz was the only hitter in baseball to hit 40 home runs, and he is now one home run away from duplicating that feat this season. Yesterday, he went 3-4 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Mariners 8-2 win over the Athletics. Cruz is now hitting a surprising .321-.390-.615 with 39 home runs, 76 runs scored and 82 RBI, and is one pace hit 50 home runs and drive in over 100 runs once again. I doubt he hits 50 home runs, but he could approach 45 with another solid month. He has made a believer out of me heading into 2016, as the move from Camden Yards to Safeco Park has not impacted his power one bit. He is one of only two hitters in the game with a slugging percentage over .600 at this point. The other? Bryce Harper. Don't sleep on Cruz in 2016 thinking he will regress, as there are no signs of regression.

I drafted Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen with the first overall pick in my NL only redraft league draft back in late March, and with the way he started the season, I was kicking myself for not drafting Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt with the pick. Well, since his slow start in April, McCutchen has be his old self - one of the most reliable hitters in the game. That was part of the reason why I drafted him at 1.1, as I knew what I was getting when I drafted him. Last night, he went 2-5 with a home run and 4 RBI in the Pirates 7-2 win over the Marlins. On the season, Cutch is now hitting .300-.400-.521 with 20 home runs, 73 runs scored, 85 RBI and 6 stolen bases. He probably won't ever steal 20 bases again, but you should expect a .300-.400-.500 triple slash line with 20+ home runs, 85+ runs and 90+ RBI going forward, assuming good health. McCutchen is on pace for 26 home runs, 110 RBI and 95 runs scored, and the RBI total would be a career high.

Who would you rather have right now and in 2016: Xander Bogaerts or Francisco Lindor?

I think a case can be made that Lindor is the better fantasy shortstop right now and in 2016. I wrote about Lindor yesterday and couldn't help myself to write about him once again. On Tuesday, he went 3-4 and drove in 3 runs, and last night he was on base 3 more times and stole 3 bases in the Indians win over the Brewers. Here is a comparison of their season to date stats, keeping in mind that Bogaerts has been in the big leagues all season:

Lindor: .310-.349-.435, 7 HRs, 30 runs, 30 RBI, 6 SBs, 273 PAs

Bogaerts: .315-.345-.408, 4 HRs, 58 runs, 60 RBI, 7 SBs, 493 PAs

It would be a difficult decision, but Lindor would be my pick right now. What about you? Both could be ranked in my top 6-8 fantasy shortstops for 2016.

You have to love Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Last night he batted left fielder Kyle Schwarber leadoff. That goes against what many other managers in the game would do. Schwarber owns a .377 on base percentage, but is not fleet of foot, so he could clog the base paths once he gets on base. But, that said, you want to maximize the number of plate appearances your best hitters get on a game to game basis.

Remember the hot start that Padres outfielder Justin Upton had this season? He hit 12 home runs through the first two months of the season, but has just 10 since then, two of which came last night in the Padres 6-5 win over the Nationals. Upton is now hitting .258-.342-.459 with 22 home runs, 68 runs scored, 70 RBI and 18 stolen bases this season, but hit just .196 in June and .162 in July, so he can kill your fantasy team for months at a time. Something to consider on draft day in 2016. The season to date stats are solid with the exception of the batting average, but also consider that Matt Kemp has more RBI than Upton and he is having a down season at the plate.

Fantasy Rundown

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