Niese helping ease the pain of Harvey highlights this week’s Week That Was.
Quick reminder that Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio with Rick Wolf and me is now on every Tuesday night from 10pm to midnight eastern time. Feel free to call in to comment on anything you like (or, heaven forbid, dislike) about the analysis and tips below or just to hear the Wolfman howl. Oh, and of course, we will recap NFL week 2, forecast week 3 and help those of you in your fantasy baseball title hunt take one step closer to fantasy nirvana.
Ok, now back to the business at hand . . . .
Jon Niese: Jon Niese pitched well Friday. Despite giving up 3 runs in 6 1/3 innings, he got a win and registered a 7/0 K/BB in the process. Niese has a 3.13 ERA and 44/10 K/BB since coming off the shelf mid-summer. Whether you are in a keeper league or in the playoff hunt in a re-draft league, Niese is a bargain to chase. Overshadowed by the Harvey hype, Wheeler hopes and focus on the future, Niese just continues to be good. In addition to his solid summer, the 26 year old Niese already has a 3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP season (2012) under his belt. With the FIP, BABIP, strand rate and velo all constant year over year, there is little reason (other than injury) to think Niese will be anything other than what he appears – an undervalued starter in reality and fantasy.
Adrian Beltre: Adrian Beltre raked again Friday going 3-4 with a run and RBI. Beltre, who is one of the most underappreciated talents in all of baseball, is hitting a gaudy .321 with 28 dingers and 86 RBI. By the time 2013 closes, Beltre will have registered his 4th straight year of at least 28 HR, 95 RBI and a .295 average. The obvious conclusion – this guy is a guy to own both this year and next. Plus, remember that with the Rangers in a pennant race, Beltre will continue to play every day – so no worry there. Buy!
David Hale: David Hale had a debut to remember Friday, striking out 9 over 5 shutout innings. This is a nice story but is Hale a guy you need to own? I would like to say yes but I cannot. His high minor league WHIPs and lower minor league strike out rates say that he is far from a sure thing to succeed in the show. Act accordingly
Brett Gardner: The injury bug continues to bite the Yankees like Cleveland midges. The latest - Brett Gardner was diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain and could well miss the rest of the regular season. If you own Gardner, the best you can hope for is some pinch running – hardly a prescription for roto success. Look elsewhere unless you are in a keeper league.
Colby Rasmus: Colby Rasmus came off the shelf and should see significant time over the last two weeks. Rasmus has quietly had a solid bounceback year, hitting .273 with 18 homers and 60 RBI. Still only 27 and having learned to at least be adequate v. LHP (.252 this year), Rasmus is on his way to being a very solid producer. Remember that next March (and for the 2d half of September if you are lucky enough to be in contention).
Oswaldo Arcia: Oswaldo Arcia went yard Thursday as part of a solid 2-4 outing. On the year, Arcia has shown he belongs, hitting .256 with 12 HR in 313 AB. At just 22 and only 128 AB above AAA in the minors, Arcia is not overmatched, is ready to step it up and should be a feature of the Twins OF in 2014. Keeper leaguers go get him.
Freddie Freeman: Freddie Freeman continues to prove he is a star. Thursday, the Atlanta 1B went 3-4 with 2 RBI. On the year, Freddie has a .309 average with 20 homers and 98 RBI. He went for less than 30 in NL LABR in March. That is the last sub 30 price tag he will see for quite some time. If you have him in a keeper league, good for you as he is only going to get better as he approaches prime age.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page. Schultz says: “The second wild card has turned into the biggest friend any roto-owner in the hunt for their league's title can have. With the Red Sox, Tigers, Braves and Dodgers comfortably ahead of their divisions, there are only five teams still in the hunt for a division championship (As, Rangers, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds). In past years, those would also be the final teams in contention for the post season. With the expanded wild card scenario, the Orioles, Indians, Yankees and Nationals are all playing meaningful baseball. Instead of a handful of teams trotting out their best lineups and playing hard, there are a smattering of clubs. I will leave it to the linguists to discern the difference between a handful and a smattering.
While Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Kemp aren't going to be rushed back during the regular season with any urgency, you can be sure that Brett Gardner, Allen Craig and Bryce Harper will give it their best shot. When setting out your lineups for the next couple weeks, if there's a choice between a starting player on a team playing relevant ball or on a team playing out the string, go for the former. On the other hand, should one of your average starters be facing the Marlins, Astros, White Sox, Twins or any of the other teams seeing what their rookies have to offer for 2014, they might be a wiser play than one of your above-average pitchers facing a tougher matchup. Normally such plays are tempting fate. With only a couple weeks left in the season, now's not the time for worrying whether your team looks pretty. In other words, F'in Ubaldo has never looked better than he has in September 2013.
This advice may not be all that incisive but this time of year, it helps to remember the simple things.”
Response: Who better to master the simple than Schultz? Seriously, it is always important to remember the basics and stay SMART!
Some fantasy football thoughts for the first week of the season and beyond: Do not overreact to week 1! Dez Bryant and Doug Martin are still studs. If “kid panic” is in your league, take him out for a beer and see if he cries in that beer about Miles Austin taking Dez’s touches and is willing to part with the all-world wideout. Hey, worth a try, right?