Fantasy sports: Wheel, deal at your own risk

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 11:25 p.m. CDT

Step away from the mouse. Now is not the time to sell high on Bryce Harper or Yu Darvish.

In fact, fantasy sports, on the whole, are like a delicate souffle. Opening up the oven for a peek or, worse yet, changing the recipe right after pushing the ramekin into the 375-degree chamber can be a chef … er … manager’s undoing.

Apologies for the food analogy. I’ve been trying to refine my role as Mr. Mom. Stupid pre-paternal instincts.

Where were we? Ah yes, over-managing is like over-feeding fish. It’s easy to do, and it’s the number one cause of death.

That fish analogy doing anything for you? No? OK, let’s go right at the issue, then.

In a previous column, I talked about getting by on effort. But there’s a difference between putting in 15 minutes daily to survey the fantasy landscape, and scooping up every bench player who drives in a couple of runs when he finally gets a start on a getaway day.

Warning: Playing fantasy baseball the smart way is hard. With games being played every day, the temptation to over-manage lurks around every Gatorade cooler. 

But you didn’t go through all that draft prep to blow up another position whenever you can convince someone to make a deal. You might think you’re fleecing them, but they’ve likely done their homework, too.

Note: If you identify a manager who either plays exclusively with their heart or – frankly – doesn’t do their homework, go forth. Fleece the heck out of them.

We’re just nerdy enough in our keeper league to cherish continuity. While jockeying with a team in the standings, I like to know which of the opposing team’s players would likely get a fantasy
bobblehead night.

Over the course of (a) season(s), you get to know the competition pretty doggone well. In fact, there’s one team – cleverly nicknamed Little Puma by its Cardinal-fan and Lance Berkman-apologist manager – I always know inside and out in our league, because I consider it my arch nemesis.

So to foster continuity, one of the prop bets in our league is that the team with the highest standings point to transaction ratio gets a few extra bucks for their frugal-yet-effective
management style.

All the way back to Harper and Darvish. Yes, you might be able to get Justin Verlander’s owner to bite on the Japanese hurler’s brush with perfection. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Darvish edges the Tigers starter on the player rater at season’s end. In fact,
I will be surprised if
Darvish doesn’t rack up more strikeouts.

All that said, if you’re the riverboat gamblin’ type, I’ll indulge you. This week, we unveil The Hot Corner. As discussed last week, you’ve got your chance to earn a spot in the SVM Dynasty League in the Pitch the Commish game. Also, I hope you’ll belly up to the bar and share your opinion on this week’s buzz question.

But germane to this
column is the Market
Survey, in which I
identify a “Buy low” and “Sell high” candidate. The former is a sleeping giant, in my humble opinion, the latter playing way over his head and should be swapped for all the magic beans one is
willing to offer in return.

Selling high is a lot easier at this junction, and my pick of the litter was made particularly easy by the perennially brittle Michael Morse hitting four home runs in as many games for his new team, the Mariners.

Buying low? Much trickier with a three-game sample size. One player I’m downright familiar
with, and whom I’ve already received an offer for in my NL-Only league, is Allen Craig. Solid and penned in as the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter, expect that .176 average to nearly double, especially when David Freese returns from the DL early next week. 

Spoiler alert: It would take a king’s ransom to pry Craig off my hands. But hey, if you offered me, say, Bryce Harper…

Let’s Get Some Chatter Going!

This week’s topic (your responses – if print-appropriate – will appear in next week’s Hot Corner)

Who finishes with more saves this season, Carlos Marmol or Kyuji Fujikawa?

Pitch the Commish

To christen The Hot Corner’s maiden voyage, the commish selects Aramis Ramirez, Brewers 3B. Pick from out of these four players and, if he rates higher, you’re in the SVM league next season:

Albert Pujols, Angels 1B

Starlin Castro, Cubs SS

Chris Davis, Orioles 1B/OF

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 3B

Market Survey

Buy low – Allen Craig, Cardinals 1B/OF: .176/.294/.471 through three games; .298/.510/.855 in his career

Sell high – Michael Morse, Mariners OF: 4 HR in 16 at-bats; missed 60 games because of injury in first 2 full-time seasons

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