Fantasy baseball Weekly Planner: The first half No-Star team
If a fantasy team hasn't worked out ideally in the first half, there's not much an owner can do but lament misfortunes. You could try to clean house, but doing so would just compound your problems.
Instead, sit tight, cross your fingers and merely laugh at these bums to keep yourself from crying. This SI.com Weekly Planner unveils the 2013 No-Stars Fantasy team of the first half. If you're at the bottom of the standings, you are likely blaming one of these duds, er, dudes.
1B Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels -- Yours truly is with you on this one, as I have the misfortune of owning this guy in Tout Wars. Pujols hasn't been any better during Year 2 in his new home. His plantar fasciitis continues to keep him from being 100 percent, which he might never be again.
2B Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks -- Hill hasn't been bad in the few games he has played, but a broken hand ruined his first half. Unlike many others on this list, you should feel optimistic about him rewarding your patience over the next three months.
3B Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays -- After a great few months at the end of 2011, Lawrie has looked nothing like the talent he was billed to be. He begins a rehab assignment Wednesday, and fantasy owners are likely hoping he stays down there for a while. Waiting for his breakthrough has sunk them for the past few years.
SS Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs -- This year was supposed to be Castro's introduction to the baseball elite. Instead, his fantasy owners are longing for the production of his age 20-21 years. Castro did have a string of multi-hit games this weekend, so perhaps he is due for a huge hot streak.
C Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers -- Because of the sluggers he hits behind, Martinez does have 40 RBI, but his production is hardly fantasy-worthy at catcher, much less DH, right now. Maybe these three months were just a product of kicking off the cobwebs after sitting out all of last season.
OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers -- He returned from the DL this week to some decent production, but questions about his offseason shoulder issue sapping his power are legit. A power tear might not come this season for him.
OF Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels -- His owners aren't doing back flips amid his six-game hitting streak, but with his woes and oft-injured status, we should be happy Hamilton just played six consecutive contests.
OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves -- Heyward has looked more like himself of late, so you should be confident he will eventually prove to be mixed-league worthy. You are going to have to wait for next year for him to truly reach his elite potential, though, in fantasy.
SP David Price, Tampa Bay Rays -- He is returning from his extended DL stint, due to a triceps issue, on Tuesday. You have to figure Price cannot possibly be as ineffective as he was in his nine early-season starts. He's just too good.
SP R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays -- Are you a data head? You likely loved Dickey going into this year, because he was incredible on paper. Unfortunately, he has proven incredibly hittable on the mound. Knuckleballers usually are. Last year's data, sadly, was an anomaly.
RP Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays -- Another data-head favorite from a year ago. You should have looked at the numbers before 2012. The closer you are getting this year is the Rodney you have gotten every year of his career but the last. Look on the bright side: At least he still holds the closer's role!
Are more first-half pariahs you want to put on the SI.com fantasy chopping block? Let's us hear about them. If you send a good enough sob story, we might be inclined to print it, so we all can laugh with you, or at you. Fantasy, after all, shouldn't be taken too seriously, right? Right?!
SS Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Ramirez has finally proven to be healthy and productive for fantasy owners. You cannot forget about him being a potential mixed-league star, after all. Ramirez is picking up the shortstop slack for Troy Tulowitzki and just might be the best shortstop in fantasy again. Get and keep him active in all leagues.
SP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers -- A pair of starts from the widely-regarded No. 1 pitcher in fantasy was supposed to give Verlander's owners a boost. Instead, it just left them more frustrated with their investment. Here's yet another example of why you cannot bank on high-end pitching, particularly in rotisserie leagues. Verlander is having a down year by his lofty standards, but you cannot trade him. Consider him a buy-low candidate if anyone is selling. His track record should win out in the second half.
SP Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves -- With Brandon Beachy (elbow) still hoping to return in the second half, Teheran is doing everything in his power to make sure he is not the odd man out of the Braves' rotation. Teheran struck out 10 in his last start and is pitching more like a five-year veteran than a rookie in his first full season in the majors. He is a must-start ace against the lowly Marlins this week.
SP Martin Perez, Texas Rangers -- We wrote over a week ago how Perez was going to outperform rookie Zack Wheeler for fantasy owners. How do you like him now? Perez has turned in back-to-back quality start victories and is still available in over three-quarters of fantasy leagues. The Rangers are a contender that can make him a winner. Add him in all formats where you need an arm. He is ready to enjoy the fantasy breakthrough prospect hounds hoped would have come years ago.
1. SP Taylor Jordan, Washington Nationals -- He is not a top prospect, but his numbers were good and he does have a solid opportunity with a contender that should get hot. Jordan is more of an NL-only play until he shows owners something, though.
2. OF Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers -- A two-homer game opened eyes, along with a 14-game hitting streak, but Martin is a must-have in all rotisserie leagues because of his 30-plus steals potential.
3. OF Raul Ibanez, Seattle Mariners -- A homer streak in June put him back in mixed-league consideration, but he is more likely to be on the Mariners' bench than in your fantasy lineup down the stretch. Use him while he's hot, but don't expect mixed-league worthy production over the long haul.
4. RP Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox -- He was racking up strikeouts and saves in bunches before giving up a game-tying homer Sunday. Still, he is a must-start closer in all fantasy leagues right now, which belies his mere 55 percent ownership.
5. SS, 3B Jose Iglesias, Boston Red Sox -- He was supposed to be an all-field, no-hit shortstop, but Iglesias' hot bat makes it impossible to take him out of the lineup. He is going to cool off, though, and won't hit homers or steal bases. This is a not a bandwagon worth jumping on in mixed leagues.
1. 1B Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees -- You knew this was a possibility when that wrist injury first cropped up. Season-ending surgery makes him a career risk, too. He is going to be a late-rounder in drafts next March.
2. SP Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics -- He lost his rotation spot and was sent to the minors, so only consider holding on to him in deeper AL-only formats where you have ample reserve space.
3. SP Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers -- Once Porcello pulls you in, he goes and throws up back-to-back stinkers. He is difficult to trust in mixed leagues. You might prefer someone more consistent, even if he isn't potentially as good. Porcello just really turns in poor starts from time to time.
4. OF Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers -- You have to wonder if his attempt to try to get back on the field in April led to his setback and another knee surgery. Regardless, cut him in all leagues and consider him no more than a late-round flier next year.
5. OF Angel Pagan, San Francisco -- He was just getting hot when a hamstring tear that required surgery popped up. This effectively ends Pagan's fantasy season.
Most viewed (Rotoworld):
1. OF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers -- What is a week without Puig on the highlight reel? Clearly you nor the Dodgers can take him out of the lineup.
2. OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals -- He should be activated Monday and is intriguing enough to start in all fantasy leagues right away. After initially trying to play through his banged-up knee, he has given it ample rest.
3. OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Kemp has shown signs up coming out of his slump, but his power coming off of a shoulder problem is still a concern. Your best bet might be getting something for him right now.
4. RP J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks -- He should regain the closer's role over the struggling Heath Bell, but start Putz right away in mixed formats at your own risk.
5. 3B Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees -- Is it just me, or does it sound like A-Rod wants to play but the Yankees don't want him to? You have to wonder if the Yankees are crossing their fingers that they can get this hip injury to end his career. Regardless, A-Rod will play if he is so inclined. Keep him stashed.
Most traded (CBSSports.com):
1. SP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers -- He hasn't been what you paid for, but it will do no good selling low on him now. HOLD
2. SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies -- They are moving him back a couple days to get his mind right amid his struggles. Hamels is still due for an extended hot streak, barring injury. He is as good of a buy-low as there is among pitchers at midseason. BUY
3. OF Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels -- The hits are starting to fall. Your patience will be rewarded. BUY
4. SP Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox -- Lester has won back-to-back starts, but is now dealing with a hip issue. It is not a good time to move him either way. HOLD
5. SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Four quality starts and four victories. In non-keeper leagues, you are playing with the house's money now. See if you can flip him for a veteran starter or a solid bat. SELL
If you play in a daily fantasy league, here are the players that yours truly will be going with for Monday's games. If you want to challenge me, hit me up on Twitter @EricMackFantasy:
SP -- Jose Fernandez
SP -- Matt Moore
C -- Ryan Doumit
1B -- Justin Morneau
2B -- Rickie Weeks
3B -- Pablo Sandoval
SS -- Didi Gregorious
OF -- Giancarlo Stanton
OF -- Ben Zobrist
OF -- Josh Willingham
DH -- Robinson Cano