Eric Mack
Friday August 12th, 2011

Fool us once, shame on me. Fool us twice, shame on you. But don't be fooled again.

Let's loosely translate this to one of this fantasy writer's favorite ways to find someone who is going to outperform his draft position: Everything winds up being easier for players in new places in Year 2. It is just sometimes hard to trust that will be after a Year 1 that was just so disappointing.

Hello, Curtis Granderson. His mind-numbing numbers are flipping by like the Matrix.

We were fooled last year, likely missed this year and now have to debate his status as the No. 1 hitter in fantasy, which is where he sits right now amid this wicked hot streak.

He is the latest veteran star to find himself in his second year after a major change of scenery. It is an unheralded, if not unknown, phenomenon in fantasy baseball. And it happens every year -- or every other year, as it may be.

See, hype from offseason movement tends to inflate a player's fantasy value in drafts. Everyone -- well there were a slight few skeptics -- thought Granderson was going to be a monster in Yankee Stadium immediately.

It wasn't until Year 2 when we reaped the benefits.

Granderson has all the makings of being high-riser in 2010. He was leaving a pitcher's park for a hitter's park that has a short right-field porch that suits his left-handed stroke oh so perfectly. And that was a great Yankees lineup to be in, taking the pressure off.

Or so we thought.

Instead, Granderson was hyped up into the top 10 of fantasy outfielders and fizzled last year to the tune of .247 with just 24 homers, 67 RBI, 76 runs and a mere 12 steals.

Then, the stigma of being a fantasy bust the year prior, and continuing to look like an impatient free-swinger, one that just might never get it kicked in, dropped his value. He was barely a top 10 fantasy player on his own team this spring -- seriously.

Now, he is the No. 1 hitter in fantasy.

Granderson is benefiting from a serious roll right now, homering four times in three games. He has even outdistanced Jose Beastista and is on pace for .275-45-132-149-31, a ridiculous MVP-caliber campaign.

But, we should learn things from this, so we won't be fooled again:

1. Obviously, Granderson is good -- a top-five fantasy outfielder.

2. We shouldn't overrate the play of one year, because that didn't work out so well after '10. So, we still shouldn't pick him in Round 1.

3. Be wary of this upcoming offseason's movers and avoid paying the premium for them on draft day.

4. Let's track the last winter's movers that have struggled this year and buy into them for next.

Hello, Mr. Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke and Dan Uggla.

Heck, the streaking Uggla has finally gotten comfortable this year, scorching through a 31-game hitting streak. That will end soon, another slump will come before the end of the year and his fantasy owners will be left with that bitter taste in their mouths all over again.

That is precisely the time to take him, Crawford, Greinke and others in fantasy: when perception doesn't match reality.

It has been mostly a mediocre season by his standards, one plagued by some nicks and bruises, but Matt Holliday has done more in the first week-plus of August than he had in most months prior. Four homers, 10 RBI and eight runs made him the highest scoring hitter in fantasy. If he can get over his day-to-day question marks, he is going to be a star down the stretch for the patient fantasy owners that have banked on him being the second-half player he has proved to be in his career.

Past players of the week: 17. 1B Billy Butler, KC; 16. OF Cameron Maybin, SD; 15. OF Nick Markakis, BAL; 14. OF Jose Bautista, TOR; 13. 3B Aramis Ramirez, CHC; 12. SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; 11. SP Justin Verlander, Tigers; 10. 1B Prince Fielder, Brewers; 9. 1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals; 8. SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers; 7. SP Michael Pineda, Mariners; 6. OF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; 5. SP Francisco Liriano, Twins; 4. 2B Ben Zobrist, Rays; 3. SP James Shields, Rays; 2. SP Dan Haren, Angels; 1. SP Jered Weaver, Angels.

The most-added players:

1. SS Yuniesky Betancourt, MIL 2. 2B Jason Kipnis, CLE 3. 1B Jesus Guzman, SD 4. SP Ivan Nova, NYY 5. SP Brandon McCarthy, OAK

This is a collection of streaking players who are gaining steam in mixed leagues. Of these, Kipnis and Nova have the highest ceilings down the stretch. McCarthy is a nice sleeper, too. Betancourt and Guzman are likely to cool off.

The most-dropped players:

1. 1B Daniel Murphy, NYM 2. SP Juan Nicasio, COL 3. SP Alex Cobb, TB 4. SP Paul Maholm, PIT 5. OF Travis Snider, TOR

The top three are done for the season, but they could be decent late-round picks next spring if you play in a real deep keeper league. Snider was demoted for the scorching Brett Lawrie, but Snider will be back and be a factor in all leagues before the end of the season again. Maholm has cooled off and is more of a pitch-and-ditch type anyway,hence his declining ownership of late.

The most-scouted players:

1. 2B Kipnis, CLE 2. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, ARI 3. OF Michael Morse, WA 4. 1B Guzman, SD 5. OF Cameron Maybin, SD 6. SP Alvarez, TOR 7. SP Wolf, MIL 8. SP Nova, NYY 9. SP Luebke, SD 10. SP Javier Vazquez, FLA

Most of these players are hot right now, but the most surprising part of this list is the still-low ownership of Maybin. He is a must-start in all Rotisserie leagues and he shouldn't be available in 35 percent of fantasy. He is hitting .325 with a ridiculous 17 steals in 26 games after the All-Star break. You have to pick him up in all leagues.

Eric Mack rounds up the fantasy baseball movers, shakers and projected two-start pitchers every Friday the rest of the season at SI.com. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.

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