Matt Stroup

Waiver Wired

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Sounds like Cusp

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Given that this is a fantasy sports site, and given that most of us are star multi-sport GM's (at least in our own minds), I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I had my first fantasy football draft of 2009 last night. I would also be remiss if I didn't briefly mention my roster (it's more or less a standard setup, but we do start two QB's and award 0.25 points per reception):

Starting Lineup

QB: Drew Brees
QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Steve Slaton
RB: Darren McFadden (hate that I'm gonna start him Week 1 but can't resist)
WR: Anquan Boldin
WR: Chad Ochocinco
WR: Donnie Avery
TE: Kellen Winslow
K: Didn't draft one – no reason to waste a roster spot on one yet
DEF: Cowboys

Bench: Kevin Smith, Kyle Orton, Felix Jones, Chris Wells, Chris Henry, Josh Morgan, Glen Coffee, Davone Bess, James Davis

Three brief thoughts about this squad:

1) I'm terrified that the productivity of my top two WR's is hinging on the health of one extremely brittle quarterback and another who had a red flag stapled to his elbow all last year.

2) I have a terrible feeling that my decision to draft Kyle Orton over Ray Rice is going to cause me to pull out all but about two of my teeth with a pair of pliers (partially because I have already pulled out six teeth in the 14 or so hours since my draft transpired). In my defense, starting QB's who put up decent stats (as I think Orton will) are drastically more valuable when you start two of them, and I already had plenty of good backs, but still – given all the love that Rice is getting around these parts, I already hate myself for failing to draft him. (And, there goes my left incisor.)

3) The regular season cannot possibly start soon enough.

With that said, I remain extremely dedicated to combing the waiver wire with the utmost vigor as we scratch and claw like Jolt Cola-infused hyenas in an effort to gain every point imaginable in our respective baseball leagues. So, let us begin:


Chris Davis, 1B/3B, TEX (Yahoo: 36 percent owned; ESPN: 64 percent)

He dropped a gigantic incendiary grenade on your batting average and/or OBP during his first stint in the majors this season, but the 23-year-old hit .327 after being sent down to the minors and can easily hit at a .260-.270 clip while providing ample power the rest of the way. It looks like he's already been reacquired in a lot of leagues, but make sure he's not still hovering on waivers in yours.

John Smoltz, SP, STL (Yahoo: 35 percent owned; ESPN: 15 percent)

Yes, it was the Padres, but Smoltz still looked stellar in his return to the NL last Sunday (five innings, three hits, no runs, no walks, nine K's) and should continue to post solid numbers the rest of the way. The fact is, he had never completely lost his stuff despite some struggles in Boston, and rather than harp on his ERA (7.40) and WHIP (1.58), I'm looking at his 42/9 K/BB in 45 innings as a strong sign that he can pull a Ricky Nolasco and get his season fully turned around. I wouldn't hesitate to add Smoltz in any format, and there's nothing wrong with the matchup against Washington on Friday.

For exclusive second half projections, player rankings and more, check out Rotoworld's Late-Season Report.

Jack Cust, OF, OAK (Yahoo: 17 percent owned; ESPN: 20 percent)

I've mentioned him approximately 64 times in this column in 2009, but this time I'm serious (actually, I was serious all the other times, but Cust kept letting me down). In any case, Dr. Uppercut has settled into a very strong groove of late, hitting .522 (12-for-23) with four homers, seven RBI and a .607 OBP in his last seven games. I've been waiting for the big power surge all year long, and with 20 homers now, I would not be remotely surprised to see Cust surpass 30 for the second straight season. Get on board for the stretch run.

Julio Borbon, OF, TEX (Yahoo: 10 percent owned; ESPN: 6 percent)

Now that the Rangers have cleared a lineup spot for Borbon against right-handers by sending Hank Blalock to the bench, it's time to add this rather swift individual if you're chasing speed. Borbon has begun his career hitting .415 (17-for-41) with a homer, 12 runs, eight RBI and nine steals. The 23-year-old obviously won't stay this hot, but he was hitting .307 with 25 steals at Triple-A this season, and the speed and spot atop a potent order make him well worth your consideration.

Pat Burrell, OF, TB (Yahoo: 26 percent owned; ESPN: 51 percent)

It has been a decidedly forgettable season for Pat the Bat (his current 741 OPS would be the second-lowest of his 10-year career), but he has shown signs of life lately. In addition to drilling five homers with 12 RBI this month, Burrell has six multi-hit games in his last nine, hitting .400 (14-for-35) during that stretch. And in the course of writing that, I convinced myself to add him in a mixed league (for the record, I dropped Kyle Blanks, whom I still like, but less so when he's slowed by trouble with the dreaded plantar fascia).

Ryan Roberts, 2B/3B/OF, ARI (Yahoo: 3 percent owned; ESPN: 2 percent)

It has been a dreadful wasteland of a season in Arizona, but there are still positives that can come of such a situation, with Roberts – a 28-year-old getting his first extended big league look – being a prime example. In 206 at-bats this season, Roberts (who has been hitting at the top of the Arizona order lately) has six homers, six steals and an 833 OPS, and has raised his season average from .263 to .296 while hitting four of those bombs this month. And on another positive note, he's showing signs that the hot streak could continue by hitting .563 (9-for-16) with a homer, four RBI and a steal in his last four games.

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Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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