Fantasy baseball Weekly Planner: Upgrade with a Memorial Day sale
There is a belief in baseball that you know what kind of team you have by Memorial Day. The weekly fluctuations have sorted themselves out, injuries and slumps have been absorbed and the standings on Memorial Day roughly reflect reality.
This means if you are not in a real position to contend in your fantasy league, it is time to make an aggressive move. Don't confuse aggressive with stupid, however.
The trick is how you do this. Here are a few ways to try:
1. Deal for a slow-starting star
Early-round picks earned their premium draft-day selection for myriad reasons. Those same reasons are why you want a healthy yet slumping star on your roster from here on out. Here are some 2013 early-round picks who are bound to get hot in the coming weeks:
• OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
• OF Josh Hamilton, L.A. Angels of Anaheim
• SP David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
• OF Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics
• SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
• SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
2. Trade pitching for hitting
Some of your hot-starting pitchers look like world-beaters right now. But fast-starting pitchers, particularly young ones, notoriously slow down in the second half.
If you have the following guys, try trading one to get one of the hitters above.
• SP Matt Harvey, New York Mets
• SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
• SP Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
• RP Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
• SP Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
3. Take a flier on an injured commodity
If you are wary of giving up anything in a swap, it's time to go picking through the trash. One of the least dangerous ways to do this is to take a chance on an injured player. There are some prominent players currently on the disabled list who can give you a shot in the arm once they return.
• SP Brandon Beachy (elbow), Atlanta Braves
• C Yasmani Grandal (suspension), San Diego Padres
• SP Daniel Hudson (elbow), Arizona Diamondbacks
• SP Michael Pineda (shoulder), New York Yankees
• OF Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), Miami Marlins
• SP Jered Weaver (elbow), L.A. Angels of Anaheim
• SS Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Los Angeles Dodgers
• 1B Mark Teixeira (wrist), New York Yankees
A lot of these moves look a little desperate right now, but how far are you from the top of your standings? If the answer is "far," you have nothing to lose.
Now for the rest of the SI.com's fantasy baseball Weekly Planner:
SP Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh Pirates -- His next start against the Tigers is a tough matchup, but this run he's on makes him a must-own in all leagues, even if you are not starting him this week. His walk total (25 in 58.2 innings) makes this pace a bit tough to keep maintain, but Locke has long projected to be a solid mixed-league starter. You should grab him now.
OF Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds -- Despite an awful week where he went 1 for 19 (.053) with nine strikeouts, the free-agent-to-be is still enjoying a big year in his first season with the Reds. He has earned a pass and is fine to keep active in all leagues.
SP Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals -- The 19th overall pick of last June's draft has made a meteoric rise to fantasy relevance. He is reportedly a candidate to join the Cardinals' rotation after fellow rookie John Gast went down with a shoulder issue. He was scratched from his Sunday start in Triple-A, where he was 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA and a .187 batting average against.
With Chris Carpenter (shoulder) recently slowed down in his throwing program, Jaime Garcia (shoulder) out for the season and Jake Westbrook (shoulder) needing another opinion from Dr. James Andrews, who rarely delivers good news, Wacha is getting a huge opportunity. Take a chance on him in any fantasy league in which you need an arm. He will be slowed down once he passes a total of 150 innings in his first season as a pro, but his high ceiling makes him a potential impact starting pitcher immediately.
3B Matt Dominguez, Houston Astros -- Many are saying his high prospect status was more related to his glove than his bat, but that sure doesn't look like the case right now. Dominguez has caught fire with four homers (7 for 15), six RBI and four runs in four games between May 20-25. Owned in just 17 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Dominguez has alternated good weeks with quiet ones. Even with the streakiness, he is on pace for 23 homers and 79 RBI. Those numbers make him good enough to use in mixed leagues, especially when he is going well. This could wind up being a breakthrough year for the 23-year-old.
1. SP Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles -- His debut was lackluster, but his stuff surely is not. He topped out at 99 mph and has shown impeccable command as a pro, after being selected fourth overall last June. He's an add in all leagues on potential, even if he will adhere to an innings limit.
2. SP Jerome Williams, L.A. Angels of Anaheim -- He is the new Ryan Vogelsong, a long-lost Giants pitching prospect who finally found himself in his 30s. He warrants an addition in all leagues.
3. OF Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians -- He doesn't contribute in homers or steals like he was supposed to, but he is on a wild tear right now that warrants him being a mixed-league fill-in.
4. SP Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds -- He was the Bargain Bin entry last week. and is one of this week's most-added. He deserves to be owned in a lot more than 43 percent of fantasy leagues.
5. SP Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics -- He had been terrible since his season debut, until that last outing, a gem against the Rangers. He certainly has potential to help mixed-league owners, so go for it now.
1. SP Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals -- Surgery on your labrum and rotator cuff can be just as career-threatening as it is season-ending. He's not even a useful stash in keeper leagues.
2. 2B Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies -- Too many overrated him going into the season after a few solid months last year. He isn't worth owning in most mixed leagues now that he is back in the minors.
3. SP Scott Kazmir, Cleveland Indians -- He looked like he was all the way back, but recent results show he's just as shaky as he has been since his Rays days. He is too risky to trust in mixed leagues.
4. RP Carlos Villanueva, Chicago Cubs -- He's back in the bullpen, which is frankly where he belongs. He doesn't belong on any fantasy rosters either.
5. RP Hector Santiago, Chicago White Sox -- With John Danks' return, the White Sox decided to keep Dylan Axelrod in the rotation over Santiago, who has more experience as a reliever. Odds are Santiago gets more starts this season, but he's not worth holding in mixed formats right now.
Most viewed (Rotoworld):
1. SP Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles -- His stuff makes him a must-own, even if his debut was disappointing.
2. 3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers -- His homer run ended this weekend, but his ascent to the No. 1 spot in fantasy should last a long time.
3. C Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians -- His recent hot streak and catcher eligibility make him a viable addition in mixed leagues right now, particularly if you need help at the thin position. He can get starts at first base, catcher and designated hitter for as long as he stays hot. His bat looks legit.
4. OF Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks -- Elbow issues will sideline him for about another month. He figures to need another rehab assignment, which could be lengthy. He doesn't warrant a roster spot in mixed leagues without DL spots.
5. 2B Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers -- He is splitting time at second base now, so it doesn't look like he will be a candidate to stick around once Ian Kinsler (intercostal strain) returns.
Most traded (CBSSports.com):
1. OF Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodgers -- As mediocre as his numbers are, he hasn't hit rock bottom. This gives him a very good chance at going on a ridiculous tear. Don't grow impatient. BUY
2. OF Josh Hamilton, L.A. Angels of Anaheim -- His May correction hasn't been as dramatic as you might have liked, but he still has plenty of room and time to get scorching hot. HOLD
3. SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies -- His 1-7 record going into Sunday was inexplicable, so you have to assume it is going to turn around. The Phillies' offense is going to get hot in the summer. BUY
4. SP David Price, Tampa Bay Rays -- He is still a few more turns away from returning as the Rays play it safe. His poor start coming off a Cy Young win makes it a bad time to sell. HOLD
5. SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants -- Save for a couple of bad starts, Cain has mostly been a quality starter for the past month. Outside of head-to-head points leagues that reward a point per inning or per out, trading pitching for top-level hitting is a good move in fantasy. SELL
Taking a flier on the red-hot Jeff Locke -- I might regret this, especially with Kevin Gregg on my roster, but I am going to cut setup man Kyuji Fujikawa for Locke.
Grabbing another straw at catcher -- Having missed the boat on huge weeks by Jason Castro and Erik Kratz by making an ill-advised trade for Kurt Suzuki, I'm going to take a shot on the scorching Yan Gomes. Suzuki is headed for the waiver wire.
1. C Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
2. C Jason Castro, Houston Astros
3. C Erik Kratz, Philadelphia Phillies
If you play in those daily fantasy leagues, here are the players by position that yours truly will be going with for Monday's games. If you want to challenge me, hit me up on Twitter @EricMackFantasy:
SP -- Zack Greinke
SP -- Madison Bumgarner
C -- Victor Martinez
1B -- Kendrys Morales
2B -- Jedd Gyorko
3B -- Evan Longoria
SS -- Starlin Castro
OF -- Josh Hamilton
OF -- Jason Heyward
OF -- Jay Bruce