Constant Vigilance Is How You Win Your Fantasy Baseball League

By Sam McPherson

It’s almost mid-May, and the euphoria from fantasy baseball draft day has long faded. The excitement from snagging the hometown team’s best player in the first round has morphed into sadness as that player isn’t producing the kind of stats he did last year. The realization that fantasy baseball season lasts six months is slowing creeping into the mind of every team owner.

Most fantasy baseball team owners experience a lull in their interest levels during the long season, and that lull can be costly: A player may be injured and not playing, but he’s still in the active lineup every day, for example. Even neglecting your fantasy team for a few days in some leagues can cost you the season’s championship.

Real baseball is like that, too: Games lost in April and May come back to haunt teams in August and September when they miss the postseason by the smallest margins. Likewise, stats lost in the early part of the season come back to hurt your fantasy team in August and September when a few extra home runs or stolen bases might have won the league.

As the doldrums start to close in on you and your fantasy baseball team, fight them off by looking for new players to add to your roster or bench every day. It will energize you and quite possibly make your team better as most players settle into permanent grooves about this time of season.

Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now

1. Chris Carter, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers: Carter always has had serious power, but in 2016, it looks like he’s learned to hit for average, too. After averaging 30 HRs a year for three years in Houston while hitting .218, Carter has upped his average to .288 this season with the Brewers while maintaining his power. Snatch him in your league if you can.

2. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers: The once-heralded prospect finally has come into his own this season. Castellanos is only 24, but he’s hitting .376 right now. Don’t expect that to last, but since he went undrafted in most leagues, this could be your chance to grab him still. He’s also walking more and hitting for more power than ever before. Castellanos has arrived.

3. Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: Through 19 careers starts now dating back to last season, Nola has posted an 8-4 record and a 3.37 ERA on a pretty mediocre team. He’s one reason the Phillies aren’t as bad as experts expected them to be in 2016, and he doesn’t turn 23 for another month yet. Get on his back now and ride the stats to a championship.

4. Rich Hill, SP, Oakland Athletics: He had started only four MLB games since 2009 before this season began, so a lot of owners didn’t draft him. However, Hill is proving to be the ace of the Oakland staff in 2016: four wins, 2.39 ERA and 46 strikeouts in just 37 2/3 innings. With his injury history, this may not last, but why not use him while you can?

Players to Sit/Drop This Week

1. Garrett Richards, SP, Los Angeles Angels: He’s going to have elbow surgery and miss the rest of the season. After posting 28 wins in 2014 and 2015 combined, Richards was a starting pitcher chosen early in many drafts this year. Now, he may not pitch again in the majors until 2018.

2. Justin Turner, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers: After hitting 23 HRs and driving 103 runs in 235 games with the Dodgers in 2014-15 combined, Turner looked like a breakout candidate at his position for 2016. It hasn’t happened yet, and Turner isn’t hitting much of anything for the Dodgers this year. Bench him for now, if you have the roster space.

3. Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: Before his Tommy John surgery, Moore was an All-Star pitcher. His 2013 numbers (17-4, 3.29 ERA) proved it. But since he’s come back from the injury, he hasn’t been the same guy at all. In almost 100 innings since his return, Moore’s coughed up 108 hits, 15 HRs and a 5.26 ERA. Let some other owner take a chance on him.

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees: He has tons of power, as we know, but he’s not hitting well this year yet (.216 batting average and just 11 RBI). Perhaps you can stash him on your bench and hope he gets hot in the summertime, but it just depends on your patience level and roster management. There are better hitters out there right now at the position.

Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and fantasy sports for CBS, AXS and Examiner. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach.

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