Fantasy Clicks
BY JAY CLEMONS
Phantastic Fantasy Fun In Philly
Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

In an effort to make Fantasy Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most intriguing MLB game in an NFL-style Fantasy Revelations. This week's choice -- Mets @ Phillies -- was the sexy, high-flying choice over the unimpeachable excellence of pitching studs Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke:

Philadelphia 11, N.Y. Mets 5
What I Liked: Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley -- arguably the Phillies' best offensive quintet (sorry, Raul Ibanez) -- accounted for 12 of their 15 hits on Sunday night. In a nutshell, that's the kind of fantasy goodness owners have come to expect from big players in primetime ... and perhaps more importantly, at the end of a head-to-head fantasy cycle.

What I Liked, Part II: The above Philly Five left only two men on base Sunday. Zeut alors!

What I Loathed: Johan Santana could not have had a worse fantasy experience, allowing 10 earned runs and four dingers in three-plus innings (with only one strikeout). If that wasn't bad enough, he also surrendered a bases-loaded walk to 47-year-old Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer. To date, Johan has had four excellent outings and two clunkers, which isn't a bad ratio for a No. 2 fantasyland pitcher. In other words, feel free to work the phones/emails/fax/iPads this week, in hopes of securing a buy-low trade for Santana. He's worth the risk ... 66 percent of the time.

What Made Me Indifferent: The optimist looks at Jose Reyes and feels emboldened by the fact he's already stealing bases at a respectable pace, despite starting the season on the disabled list. The pessimist mulls over Reyes' 5-for-31 hitting nadir in his last seven games and wonders aloud: Is this how it ends? The occasional good deed, followed by a prolonged period of fantasy frustration?

What Made Me Indifferent, Part II: Last I checked, Jamie Moyer isn't owned in any one of my 10 fantasy leagues; so why should it matter that he yielded two homers and five earned runs against the Mets? Well, if anything, Moyer (now 3-2) seems like a decent lock for 11 victories.

What I Loved: The ESPN audience was treated to six homers on Sunday, beginning with Polanco, Utley, Howard and Victorino for Philly ... and Rod Barajas and David Wright for the Mets. Wright blasted his three-run homer in the first inninng, nicely setting the tone for one of the year's best shootouts.

What I Loved, Part II: Speaking of Victorino, his grand slam capped Philly's nine-run 4th inning; and for a few fleeting moments, it enabled fantasy owners to forget about the .235 batting average ... or three meager steals ... or that he currently ranks as ESPN.com's 45th-best fantasy outfielder -- behind such luminaries as David DeJesus, Jose Bautista and Will Venable. Yikes!

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These potentially gold pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 5 (May 3-9):
Jon Lester, Red Sox
James Shields, Rays
Roy Oswalt, Astros
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Ryan Dempster, Cubs
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Max Scherzer, Tigers
Ricky Romero, Blue Jays
Jake Peavy, White Sox
Scott Baker, Twins
Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
Ervin Santana, Angels
Gavin Floyd, White Sox
Mike Leake, Reds
Scott Feldman, Rangers
Livan Hernandez, Nationals
Kevin Correia, Padres
Brian Matusz, Orioles
Dallas Braden, Athletics
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
Rich Harden, Rangers
Jason Vargas, Mariners
Gil Meche, Royals
Felipe Paulino, Astros
Kenshin Kawakami, Braves
Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles
Paul Maholm, Pirates
Nick Blackburn, Twins
Luke Hochevar, Royals
Brett Cecil, Blue Jays
Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Joe Blanton, Phillies
Mitch Talbot, Indians
Joe Saunders, Angels

We Don't Believe In Jinxes ...

... Otherwise, we would've steered clear of mentioning Paul Konerko's MLB-leading 11 homers after four weeks with the White Sox, putting the 34-year-old slugger on track for 77 homers -- 36 more than his career high in 2004. To be frank, no one in the free world (even Konerko family members) expects him to break Barry Bonds' single-season, ahem, record of 73 this year; heck, even 55 likely stands as a Brady Anderson-esque pipe dream. But there's absolutely no reason Konerko won't finish somewhere between 35 and 41 dingers, his standard output from 2004-07.

Put it all together ... and maybe, just maybe, Konerko isn't a sell-high guy in fantasyland.

Running A Little Hot

On the flip side, here are some realistic trade scenarios involving Konerko:
1-for-1
*Konerko for Dustin Pedroia
*Konerko for Colby Rasmus
*Konerko for Andrew McCutchen
*Konerko for Chase Headley

2-for-2
*Konerko/Yovani Gallardo for Chase Utley/Ricky Nolasco
*Konerko/Adam Wainwright for Derrek Lee/Tim Lincecum
*Konerko/Jonathan Broxton for Ryan Zimmerman/Clayton Kershaw
*Konerko/Evan Longoria for Albert Pujols/Michael Young

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare well against average-to-subpar pitching in Week 5 (May 3-9):
Michael Young, Rangers (@ Athletics, vs. Royals)
Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Julio Borbon, Rangers
Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers
Justin Smoak, Rangers
Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (@ Astros, vs. Brewers)
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks
Adam LaRoche, Diamondbacks
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (vs. Orioles, @ Red Sox)
Derek Jeter, Yankees
Jorge Posada, Yankees
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Brett Gardner, Yankees
Robinson Cano, Yankees

Trouble Ahead

On the flip side ... here's a list of hitters who are likely headed for slow starts in Week 5 (May 3-9), due to poor pitching matchups. I'm not saying "Don't start 'em" ... just be wary of these guys, who'll face at least four high-quality hurlers during this period:

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (vs. Angels, vs. Yankees)
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Victor Martinez, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, Red Sox
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners (vs. Rays, vs. Angels)
Chone Figgins, Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Jose Lopez, Mariners
Milton Bradley, Mariners
Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariners
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals (vs. Braves, vs. Marlins)
Adam Dunn, Nationals
Adam Kennedy, Nationals
Ian Desmond, Nationals
Pudge Rodriguez, Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, Nationals
David Wright, Mets (@ Reds, vs. Giants)
Jose Reyes, Mets
Jason Bay, Mets
Gary Matthews, Jr., Mets
Ike Davis, Mets
Jeff Francoeur, Mets

The Missing Links

Need a helping hand with your fantasy baseball research? Well, here are the Web sites I check every morning (and night) -- all in the name of 24/7 roster improvements:

**Baseball America
**Baseball America's 2010 Top Prospects
**Rotowire Player Search Database (great for targeting prospects)
**MinorLeagueBaseball.com's Stats page
**MLB.com's Fantasy Page
**Baseball-Reference
**Baseball Prospectus
**Accuscore.com
**Retrosheet
**The Hardball Times
**Dallas Morning News' Rangers blog (co-writers Richard Durrett, Jeff Wilson)
**Seattle Times' Mariners blog (Geoff Baker, author)

Total Bases Recall
Robinson Cano: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

For the loyal Clicks readers of fantasy football, you've heard me prattle on a thousand times about the importance of Targets -- the number of times a receiver is thrown to -- and how it's a fail-safe method for evaluating receivers. Well, I am equally passionate (fanatical?) about Total Bases in fantasy baseball. By my way of thinking, TB is the perfect convergence of coveting power hitters and on-base machines who make a living from doubles. It's also a stellar indicator of future success. Here are the top 25 leaders (with ties) in total bases (through May 2):

1. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 71
2. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays -- 69
3. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays -- 65
4. Paul Konerko, White Sox -- 64
5. Andre Ethier, Dodgers -- 62
6. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 61
7. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- 61
8. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 61
9. Marlon Byrd, Cubs -- 60
10. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 59
11. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 57
12. Jose Guillen, Royals -- 57
13. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 57
14. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 57
15. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- 57
16. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 55
17. Austin Jackson, Tigers -- 54
18. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 54
19. Derek Jeter, Yankees -- 52
20. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 51
21. Ty Wigginton, Orioles -- 51
22. Bobby Abreu, Angels -- 50
23. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 50
24. Pablo Sandoval, Giants -- 50
25. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 49
26. David DeJesus, Royals -- 49
27. Kendry Morales, Angels -- 49
28. Dan Uggla, Marlins -- 49
29. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 49

Taking A Break ... Talking 'Furry Vengeance'

The following mini-rant really has nothing to do with fantasy baseball; and yet, here we are. Going back to 2008, imagine film actors Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser having this discussion in-between takes of Extraordinary Measures, an emotionally taxing flick about two parents (Fraser/Keri Russell) moving heaven and earth to solicit the help of a research scientist (Ford) to find a cure for their children's rare genetic disorders:

Fraser: Harrison, I just want to say, it's really great working with you. I've been a big fan of yours for years -- which is probably something you hear all the time.

Ford: No, kid, it's my pleasure. Thank you. Great script. Great director. Good cast ... we can't miss.

Fraser: Very true.

Ford: So, what are you working on after this movie? I mean, you've had great success with indies and franchises, like The Mummy. And your guest role on Scrubs might've been one of the best three-episode turns in TV history. What's on deck?

Fraser: Oh, I'm going to take a little break before diving into Furry Vengeance, which comes out as a potential summer blockbuster in May of 2010. I play a real estate developer whose new housing subdivision faces a unique group of protesters, local woodland creatures who don't want their homes disturbed. It's a comedy.

Ford: You mean, like a Pixar comedy, with animation? You're the voice-over guy, right?

Fraser: No, it's live-action ... just a lot of give-and-take between me and the raccoons. I don't want to spoil the ending, but let's just say me and the woodland creatures don't really get along. It's quite the journey!

Ford (taken aback and slightly embarrassed): I see. Interesting.

Analyze This

To the delight of many, there is never a slowdown period with trades in the SI.com & Friends league. Whether it's BIG ones involving Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, or little ones involving Brandon Wood and Aaron Harang, there's always something going down between the graveyard-shift hours of 2-6 a.m. ... which, in turn, gives us an excuse to let the mathematical geniuses at Accuscore be the knee-jerk judge and jury:

Team A gets ... Max Scherzer/Nick Johnson
Johnson (Accuscore yearly estimates -- May 3-Oct. 1)
5.9 HRs, 52.8 runs, 42.6 RBIs, .262 batting average, 1.2 steals
Scherzer (Accuscore yearly estimates)
9.5 wins, 4.19 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 150.1 strikeouts

Team B gets ... James Loney/Mike Adams
Loney (Accuscore yearly estimates -- May 3-Oct. 1)
9.5 HRs, 66.2 runs, 71.4 RBIs, .292 batting average, 9.8 steals
Adams (Accuscore yearly estimates)
3.4 wins, 2.2 saves, 2.05 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 60.9 strikeouts

Verdict: At first glance, this seems like a blowout in favor of Team A (Scherzer/Johnson), but Team B is clearly getting the best player of the foursome (Loney); and when you consider that our 15-team league has a 200-start cap for pitchers -- AND that Adams could become the Padres' closer if/when Heath Bell gets traded in July -- I'd rather have the Loney side of the swap. Of course, I would be somewhat shocked if Scherzer couldn't beat the tepid expectation of a 1.37 WHIP from this point forward.

Analyze That

While we still have the Accuscore Predictatron 5000 cranking, let's review a 1-for-1 megaswap where I landed Ian Stewart for Rays pitching whiz Matt Garza:

Team A gets ... Garza
Garza (Accuscore yearly estimates)
14.4 wins, 3.53 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 170.8 strikeouts

My club receives ... Stewart
Stewart (Accuscore yearly estimates -- May 3-Oct. 1)
20.2 HRs, 65.4 runs, 57.7 RBIs, .244 batting average, 6.9 steals

Verdict: I must be crazy to jettison a pitcher who's allowed 1 or less run in four April starts and currently boasts a 34/13 K-BB ratio; but at the same time, Garza rarely gets through an outing with 2 or less walks and/or 6 or less hits ... so it's NOT like I'm getting rid of the next AL Cy Young, right? Besides, Stewart still has 20/20 potential (depsite what Accuscore says), and I enjoy living by the creed of, You can never have enough power-hitting infielders with 2B/3B eligibility!

Depth Of Knowledge

For AL- and NL-only leagues, there is no greater draft-day resource than the official (and up-to-date) depth charts for each MLB club. In no particular order...

National League
East
Marlins | Braves | Mets | Phillies | Nationals

Central
Reds | Pirates | Cubs | Brewers | Cardinals | Astros

West
Dodgers | Diamondbacks | Padres | Rockies | Giants

American League
East
Red Sox | Orioles | Rays | Yankees | Blue Jays

Central
White Sox | Tigers | Indians | Royals | Twins

West
Rangers | Angels | Athletics | Mariners

Stock Report

In case you care, here's a weekly update for the much-discussed AND highly volatile SI.com & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 15-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:
1. From First To Worst (Jon Machota) -- 108 points (should tweak his juxtapositioned team name)
2. Pinstripes Are Slimming (Jay Clemons) -- 98.5 points (briefly flirted with 100 points Saturday)
3. Dominican Lous (Cory McCartney) -- 97 points (how can you lose with A-Rod/Hanley?)
3a. TEAM COCO Crisp (Micah Hart) -- 97 points (dumped Rick Porcello Sunday ... wow!)
5. The Youkileles (Lonny Krasnow) -- 89 points (proud owner of Matt Garza and scary offense)
6. Ruxin's Rabbits (Brandon Marcus) -- 87 points (last week's points leader falls into second tier)
7. Bronx Bulldogs (Charlie Kight) -- 86 points (can he survive without a No. 2 stud pitcher?)
8. Kershawshank Redemption (Danny Lampson) -- 82.5 points (Mr. Thespian needs saves bad)
9. Tulo's Dirtbags (Scott Wraight) -- 80.5 points (greatest middle infield in fantasy history)
9a. Albert's On The Big Mac Diet (Andrew Lamb) -- 76.5 points (Carlos Santana, trade chip?)
11. Being Kenny Powers (Bob Kight) -- 67.5 points (3 trades + 12 moves = no team chemistry)
12. Crotch Bats (Jeff Ritter) -- 66.5 points (still too busy working women of NYC to care)
13. Milwaukee Schlitz (Jeff Lewis) -- 57.5 points (can Austin Kearns be a savior?)
14. Cabrera's Cannibals (David Komer) -- 56.5 points (counting the hours/minutes till football)
15. Lenny Loves Twizzlers (Drew Packham) -- 50 points (it bears repeating: the foundation for a comeback's there -- it might go even faster if he got 3-4 studs back, via trade, for either Chase Utley or Dan Haren)

Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?
Your name:
Your E-mail Address:
Your Hometown:
Paste URL below:
SEND IT

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.