Live Longshots (Pitchers)
Dylan Axelrod ($2,757) is no sure thing to shut down the potent Nationals lineup and rain is another possible obstacle, but you may never get a better price on a capable SP. He would have cost more like $10,000 on Friday after a solid opening start — one unearned run in 5.2 IP vs. the Mariners and King Felix — but has been moved ahead one day. At that extreme bargain salary, I’ll be using him as my third pitcher instead of a closer.
Unless you want to take a chance on Jason Marquis ($7,930) against Greinke, there are no other cheap SP to recommend. I picked up Texas rookie Justin Grimm as a streamer in traditional leagues, but he didn’t crack the DraftStreet player pool.
Live Longshots (Hitters)
Red Sox C Jared Saltalamacchia ($6,562) “had a breakout game in the Fenway rain last night and Chris Tillman will give him a similar look to Arrieta.” Again, this is a weather-permitting pick with some risk attached.
Whenever the price of a good young hitter drops below $6,000, Rob takes notice. “Dayan Viciedo has the potential to be the second-best Cuban bat in the big leagues, after Yoenis Cespedes.” At a mere $5,413 against Dan Haren, whose first start was mediocre, I like The Tank too.
Players to Avoid
Generally, I think Jose Quintana ($8,505) is an underrated lefty. Do not use him today! He was listed as the Thursday SP but has been bumped to Friday, a potentially easier matchup after that rough first outing.
Stay very far away from Chris Tillman ($9,243) “who is returning from an injury, will be dealing with rain-related issues and must battle the Red Sox lineup in Fenway.”
Vernon Wells ($9,011) has had some surprising early success. Don’t be fooled, says our colleague, and look elsewhere. “A long way past being a top notch OF, Vernon is priced like a slugger in his prime.”
Hitters: 1 point for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run. A walk (.75) isn’t quite as good as a hit, but you also get .75 for getting hit by a pitch or a sacrifice. Stolen bases are worth 2 points, runs and RBI 1.5 apiece. You lose points for each strikeout or grounding into a double play (-.75) and getting caught stealing is -1.
Pitchers: Starters can earn the most points. A win is worth 1.5, a complete game 1, each IP is worth .9 and each strikeout .7 — the five “negative” categories are walks, hits and HBP (-.25 each), earned runs (-.75) and losses (-.75). Relievers get 3 points for a SV and lose .75 for a blown save. (For pitchers in weekly leagues, the points are different; the value of many categories is doubled.)