Playing Hardball: Hope You Followed Our Advice

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Featuring picks and comments by Rob Dudek
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It was an enjoyable walk down DraftStreet on Wednesday. Clay Buchholz was my best bet and Hiram Burgos my longshot pitcher. Using both of them and Lance Lynn produced 28.45 points for $33,501 in salary. While I didn’t have Mike Napoli (21.25) and Mike Trout (10.75) was my only hitter above 7.25 points, all the bats contributed something and I won a 330-man GPP. In addition to the $135 top prize, my other two lineups finished sixth ($25) and 23rd ($5) for a $165 return on my six bucks.

The win illustrates two principles: be consistent and diversify. Entering the maximum three teams where permitted pays off in the long run. Last night I used Jeremy Hellickson instead of Lynn in one variation, and tried the RP gambit with Andrew Bailey in another. If I’d entered just one team, it might have been the latter and a great night would have been a $1.00 loss instead.

Consistency doesn’t mean playing every day — not that there’s anything wrong with that — it means ignoring the feelings that one day’s lineup is “better” than most. Stick to your usual amount (mine is $2 per team) because big wins will come when you least expect them.

We are taking the next few days off in this space. Rob Dudek is preparing for Monday’s launch of his new site called Sports Leagues Daily and I’ll be enjoying my first mini-vacation since we began our daily NBA fantasy coverage back in September. See you again soon!

Thursday is relatively quiet in the Show. There are only nine games, two in the afternoon. That means the smallest player pool in a while. You can wait for the 7:05 leagues but there are others closing at 2:10, featuring players from the Cubs (hosting San Diego) and Royals (at home to the Rays). In both cases, the home team is a solid choice against a less-than-stellar opposing pitcher.

It’s free to join DraftStreet and you can start in free leagues. Then make a deposit — use the code SHHOOP to get a 30% bonus — and choose your level of play, from $2 entry fees up to $420. Good luck!

Best Bets (Pitchers)

Kyle KendrickKyle Kendrick ($14,178) hurled a complete-game 3-hit shutout against the Mets last time and gets the light-hitting Marlins tonight. He’s a solid anchor for your staff at a fair price.

You’ll need to enter an early league to use Ervin Santana ($13,296) who has been excellent in his first five starts for Kansas City — 3-1, a 2.00 ERA, 31 K and just 5 BB, going at least seven innings in four straight. While Tampa hit three homers and scored eight runs last night, this is getaway day against a much better pitcher.

The other afternoon SP to consider is Travis Wood ($12,461) after five straight quality starts. The little lefty with the big breaking pitch should get some run support and contain the Padres, though a weather check is always advised at Wrigley. If the wind is blowing out to left, both starters might be in trouble.

Even against the Rangers in Texas, Jake Peavy ($13,415) is capable of racking up points. Especially if his teammates figure out rookie Justin Grimm ($11,798) that’s a good price.

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