Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.
That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.
Ok, so maybe I’m showing my immaturity here, but why didn’t pop stars crash my senior prom? Sure, at that point, I was very anti-pop music, way more into folk/classic rock/DMB/Outkast, but it would have made for a good story if, like, Jewel showed up. Ok maybe not.
But I’m sure some Aussie high schools were thrilled when Katy “popped into [a] school dance taking place in her hotel in Australia when she heard the DJ playing her hit single California Gurls.”
I swear this has some value – other than reminding me of my smoking hot prom date who I ditched for a less attractive girl who would put out.
In fact, it has fantasy value because it is about time to think about the play-offs in h2h leagues. Depending on your categories, you need to start prioritizing what you can win and the weaknesses of your opponents. If you are a lower seed in the play-offs, start building your roster for your likely match-up. If you know steals might be hotly contested, go out and grab a Jose Tabata or Michael Brantley or Rajai Davis. If saves might be close, speculate widely on the Mets situation. Meanwhile, if you think you have a good shot at wins/Ks, make sure you do by adding some pitchers (Marc Rzepczynski, Bud Norris, etc.).
In short, start to take stock of your team and what categories you need to secure. Also, know your league tie-breaker (usually it’s ERA). If you can secure that category, you only need to win four out of the remaining nine to win a week. Following this method a lower-seeded team can crash the fantasy play-offs and end up in the championship.
‘Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up
Michael Brantley – Brantley continues his surge to relevance (last seven days: .375 AVG, seven runs, two SBs). I’ve covered him a good deal because I like speedy players. He’ll be a good add for most leagues, especially those in needs of steals.
Ryan Raburn – Raburn has become a budget Swiss army knife of sorts for the Detroit Tigers. Now qualifying at first and second base and the outfield and batting behind Miguel Cabrera, Raburn is getting an opportunity to impact multiple fantasy line-ups. Over the last seven days, Raburn blasted four HRs and hit .360. He will not continue that HR binge, but could provide very cheap power numbers from the second base position. Think of him as a healthy version of Mark Ellis, or, if you prefer, a poor man’s Aaron Hill.
David Murphy – With injuries surrounding the Rangers outfield, Murphy is getting more and more at bats, which have translated to delicious home-cooking (over the last seven days (with five home games) he hit .389 with six RBIs and three SBs). He is a safe start at home going forward.
Luke Scott – Luke’s father must have been Eric Camden from Seventh Heaven, because Luke absolutely demolishes pitching in Camden’s yard (get it?). Come on, it was a way to link to Jessica Biel several times. Anyway, over the last seven days, Scott batted .333 and added two HRs. For his career, Scott owns a .293/.374/.575 line when he plays in Baltimore. He has 44 HRs in just 173 games started there. Not bad. Start him when he is at home.
Brooks Conrad – It’s hard to find a silver lining in Chipper going down for the year. I’ve been a fan for awhile, probably because of his real name. On the bright side, we get to see scrappy Brooks Conrad play more. Over the last seven days, Conrad batted .316 and added two HRs. He won’t provide much pop, but those of you in NL-only leagues should take notice and scoop him up.
Omar Infante – Speaking of the Braves and low-power utility men, Infante has been a very useful fantasy commodity of late (over the last seven days he posted a .360 AVG and scored five runs). He qualifies all over the diamond (everywhere but first and catcher) and should score some runs.
Logan Morrison – Morrison had an impressive stretch over the last seven days. He hit .400 and scored seven runs. An inaugural member of the David Wooderson All-Stars, Morrison has shown great plate discipline throughout his career and could post decent ratios and a bunch of runs as long as he remains in the majors.
Jim Thome – You know what you get with Thome, an average in the .260-.270 range, but serious power potential. In fact, he blasted two HRs over the last seven days and is seeing increasing playing time with Justin Morneau out indefinitely. Thome is playing his way into 10-team mixed-league relevance right now.
Russell Branyan – This, apparently, is the meat of Katy’s order, the place where cheap power flourishes. Over the last seven days, Branyan hit two HRs. While he wont add many runs or RBIs (he doesn’t get on base that often and the rest of his line-up is pretty bad), for those in need of HRs, he should be your first pick-up.
Wade LeBlanc – I admit that I wrote off LeBlanc long ago. He is making me eat my words. Over the last seven days, LeBlanc worked 12.2 IPs, secured two victories, and posted 15 Ks and a 2.13 ERA /1.03 WHIP. Those numbers match-up well with his season to-date (although the Ks are a little on the high side). So far, he is certainly benefiting from the Padres stalwart bull pen (83.3% strand rate), but that only means that his ERA could jump a bit (to the 4.20-4.40 range). He remains a pretty safe pitcher who should be owned in more than 11 percent of leagues.
Kevin Correia – Correia has had an inverse Oreo-cookie season, with the middle being cruddy and the outside being delicious. Over the last seven days, Correia went 12.1 IPs, struck-out 12 and posted a 2.92 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. There isn’t anything to suggest Correia isn’t the pitcher he has been this year, so kick the tires and light the fires. He’ll be a useful match-ups play down the stretch.
Marc Rzepczynski – The best Russian block export since Ivan Drago (none of this is accurate), Rzepczynski has torn up the competition since coming back to the Bigs this season (last seven days: one start, seven IPs, one win, six Ks, no runs and a 0.29 WHIP). He gets Oakland up next, so pick him up before the hordes realize.
Bud Norris – Let it be known that I love Bud Norris and his K-potential. Norris won Ks singlehandedly for teams over the last seven days (seven IPs, 14 Ks, a 2.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP). Up to this point, Norris had been criminally unlucky (.350 BAbip, 62.6 percent strand rate), yet has posted a ridiculously awesome 9.75 K/9 rate. If he is available (he is only 3 percent owned), I’d be adding him immediately.
Homer Bailey – The Reds rotation is about as curious as curious can be. There are a ton of arms floating out there with upside (Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood, etc.) which make it hard to see how the starts will be divvied up. Bailey, in his first start off the DL, did his best to muddy the waters (six IPs, a win, four Ks, no runs and a 0.50 WHIP).
Then you’re cold…then you’re no…then you’re out…then you’re down
Josh Beckett – It’s times like these that I’m happy I’ve never been a Josh Beckett fan (as a fantasy analyst – what he has done in the play-offs is very cool). Last week, in just one start, he posted a 10.80 ERA and 2.20 WHIP. Small sample size, say you? Well, he has pitched 76 IPs this year and has a 6.51 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. Sure there are some signs that he hasn’t had the luckiest of campaigns (.353 BAbip and 60.8% strand rate). But his Ks are down and his walks are up. Furthermore, he has a lousy ERA at home (4.60 in 342.2 IPs). Basically, I’d only trust him on the road against teams not named the Yankees or Rays. There is some reason for optimism that he isn’t this bad, but it’s fading with every horrible outing.
Vicente Padilla – Remember when I said Padilla was a match-ups play? Well, his last week was the reason why: two starts, 9.1 IPs, 11.57 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. He really isn’t as good as his numbers suggest (.256 BAbip), but he actually isn’t that much worse (3.96 ERA compared to 4.20 FIP). He is an upper echelon flotilla-play for the season.
Daisuke Matsuzaka – I find myself being a bigger Matsuzaka fan than most people. Sure his last seven days (12.1 IPs, 5.84 ERA and 1.46 WHIP) leave a horrible taste in your mouth, but at least he fanned 15 batters. At this point, I like him a lot more than someone like AJ Burnett. I think he can improve a bit and ends the season with a sub-4.00 ERA.
Chone Figgins – I am definitely a Figgins apologist (although only in OBP leagues). Still, there isn’t much defending I can do for a guy with a sub-.250 AVG. The 30 SBs are nice, but he scores no runs and doesn’t knock in any. His last week (.125 AVG) was indicative of his entire season. Unless you are focusing on SBs and ignoring power, there are better third or second base options out here.
Justin Upton – Man, it must be hot in the desert given how many times Upton fans (get it!?!?!?). He is three Ks away from last year’s total and well on his way to 190 Ks on the season. Anytime someone strikes out that much, his average will be volatile (to wit his last seven days: .043 AVG). Until he can keep his Ks in check (say around 125-145) he won’t be the talent that we all thought.
Lance Berkman – I don’t think Berkman ever thought he’d be dropped for someone like Bobby Parnell, but I did that in one league. There isn’t much to like about him since he joined the Yankees, especially his last seven days (.167 AVG). If you have a speculative play out there, given Berkman’s age and ailments, I think he is a very safe drop.
All stats as of noon, August 17.
FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Scott, Brantley, Murphy, Thome, Rzepczynski, LeBlanc and Correia and Norris make good ads. Keep your eye on Infante, Morrison, Branyan, Bailey, Raburn and Conrad. You are allowed to sort of give up on Lance Berkman and Chone Figgins.
h2h_Corner on Twitter