Fantasy Clicks: Nothing beats a Royal flush

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BY JAY CLEMONS Recent Fantasy Clicks 04-19-10: Nothing Beats A Royal Flush 04-16-10: Oh, The Cantu-Man Can 04-14-10: Santonio's Fly-By-Night Move to N.Y. 04-12-10: Something Wild In The D 04-09-10: The Tao Of Jose Reyes 04-07-10: Donovan's D.C. Cab ... To Landover 04-05-10: Welcome To Opening Night Revelations 04-02-10: Nothing Beats A Real Fantasy Draft 03-31-10: One More Mock For The Road 03-26-10: A Fantasy-Fueled NFL Draft Breakdown 03-22-10: Fantasyland Prose & Cons: Mauer Power 03-19-10: The NL-Only Fantasy Spectacular 03-15-10: The AL-Only Fantasy Spectacular 03-12-10: Post-free agency adjustments in fantasy 03-10-10: In Case Of Emergency: Twins' Closer 03-08-10: Fantasy Preview Breakdown, Part III 03-03-10: Fantasy Preview Breakdown, Part II 03-01-10: NFL Combine Revelations 02-26-10: A Fantasy Preview Breakdown 02-24-10: Green Flag Goodness: Hitters 02-17-10: Green Flag Goodness: Pitchers 02-15-10: Red Flag Alerts: Pitchers 1-27-10: Red Flag Alerts: Infielders 1-25-10: Championship Sunday Revelations 1-22-10: Playing A Championship Sunday Hunch 1-20-10: Early Mock Draft Madness 1-18-10: Divisional Playoff Revelations 1-15-10: Divisional Playoff Round Clicks 1-13-10: Back In The Baseball Business 1-11-10: Wild Card Revelations 1-06-10: Fantasy Clicks Year-End Spectacular 1-04-10: Wild Card Round Clicks 12-28-09: Week 16 Revelations/Week 17 Clicks 12-23-09: All You Need To Know For Week 16 12-21-09: Week 15 Revelations 12-18-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 15) 12-16-09: Dontcha Hate When That Happens? 12-13-09: Week 14 Revelations 12-11-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 14) 12-09-09: Fantasy Playoff Rules To Live By 12-07-09: Week 13 Revelations 12-04-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 13) 12-02-09: The Believers Of Calvinism 11-30-09: Week 12 Revelations 11-27-09: Turkey Day Revelations 11-25-09: All Hail The Perfect Showdown 11-23-09: Week 11 Revelations 11-20-09: Thursday Night Revelations, Week 11 11-18-09: Trade Deadline Rules To Live By 11-16-09: Week 10 Revelations 11-13-09: Thursday Night Revelations, Week 10 11-11-09: The Ballad Of Alex Smith 11-09-09: Week 9 Revelations 11-06-09: The Daffy Dichotomy Of DeAngelo 11-04-09: A Pre-Flight Trade Checklist 11-02-09: Week 8 Revelations 10-30-09: Meet The Avoidables 10-28-09: Rodgers vs. Favre -- A Lambeau Reunion 10-26-09: Week 7 Revelations 10-23-09: Fright ... For Old D.C. 10-21-09: Shoot For The Moon With Brady 10-18-09: Week 6 Revelations 10-16-09: The Pittsburgh Shell Game 10-14-09: The Tailback Honeymoon's Over 9-28-09: Week 3 Revelations

Nothing Beats A Royal Flush

Billy Butler: Leon Halip/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 -- Royals vs. Twins -- was the only game with high scoring and star power to boot ... which is why we chose to overlook the Brewers' 10-run first inning against the Nationals (a franchise record -- sorry, Craig Counsell):

Kansas City 10, Minnesota 5
What I Liked: Lineup linchpins Billy Butler and Jose Guillen had the exact same line on Sunday -- 3-for-5, one run, one RBI and one strikeout. Oh sure, they didn't carry Kansas City to victory on this day, but their rock-solid production is precisely what fantasy owners crave for 100-plus games. Guillen, incidentally, has five homers in the last seven days and easily landed the highest free-agent auction bid in the & Friends league this week: $24 (and worth every penny right now).

What I Liked, Part II: Denard Span (two hits, one run) is another example of good players yielding steady daily returns for fantasy owners, even when they had little impact on the final score. In just two weeks, Span has four steals, which should irritate the so-called experts who inexplicably vaulted Juan Pierre (batting .186 with three steals in '10) ahead of speedy outfielders Span, Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan and Rajai Davis in late March ... on ESPN's last-minute declaration that Pierre would collect 70 steals with the suddenly gung-ho-on-the-basepaths White Sox. Pish-posh!

What I Loved: Is it just me ... or does it seem like Minnesota's Joe Mauer has tallied three hits in every game at Target Field to date? For good measure, he also scored a run off Kansas City's Luke Hochevar, breaking a tie with Brian McCann amongst catchers in that category (9 runs). For what it's worth, Mauer ranks either first or second in hits, runs or RBIs among all backstops; and he's currently batting .378, which should warrant a silver slugger title by season's end. Wow!

What I Loved, Part II: Four paragraphs into today's feature, and we finally get to the undeniable star of the day: Alberto Callaspo ... and his three hits, two runs, six RBIs and two long homers off Carl Pavano and Jesse Crain. Callaspo (3 HRs, .263 average this season) is your classic hot-and-cold talent in fantasyland, indicating that fantasy owners ought to move heaven and earth to acquire him off waivers -- just in case he's ready to go loco through mid-May.

What I Loathed: Speaking of Pavano -- and hot-and-cold fantasy commodities -- the Minnesota pitcher couldn't have had a worse outing on a picturesque weather day: 11 hits, seven runs allowed, with just two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Even before Sunday's mini-meltdown, Pavano only has sustainable value in AL-only leagues; and with 12-team mixed leagues, he's just another eminently replaceable guy who'll be there on waivers next week, if you need him.

What Made Me Indifferent: Yes, Hochevar earned the win and allowed only three runs; but what's up with the five walks and four puny strikeouts? If anything, Hochevar's hook has everything to do with the almighty K ... and nothing to do with slow and steady wins the race.

What Made Me Say 'Yikes': Justin Morneau drew three walks on the day, and yet still found time to strike out thrice and leave five Twinkies on base. Ugh!

Why My Man-Crushes Are Getting Out Of Control: On Sunday afternoon, I turned down a 1-for-1 mixed-league deal, potentially surrendering Alex Gordon for Ryan Sweeney ... for no other reason than blind loyalty to Gordon. On the season, Sweeney is hitting .319 with nine RBIs; and oh yeah, he just might be the next incarnation of Carlos Gonzalez (which makes sense, since Sweeney and Gonzo routinely grappled for spots in the A's outfield a few years ago). Gordon, on the other hand, has just returned from a long stint on the DL and could easily return there in a matter of weeks (if not days).

Yes, it appears that I'm an idiot.

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These potentially gold pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 3 (April 19-25):
Tommy Hanson, Braves
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
John Lackey, Red Sox
Matt Cain, Giants
David Price, Rays
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
John Danks, White Sox
Jorge de la Rosa, Rockies
Javier Vazquez, Yankees
Kevin Slowey, Twins
Rick Porcello, Tigers
Brad Penny, Cardinals
Randy Wells, Cubs
Scott Kazmir, Angels
Justin Masterson, Indians
Joel Pineiro, Angels
Jeff Niemann, Rays
Brett Myers, Astros
Mike Pelfrey, Mets
Colby Lewis, Rangers
Homer Bailey, Reds
Chris Volstad, Marlins
Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
Clayton Richard, Padres
Tim Wakefield, Red Sox
Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays
Aaron Cook, Rockies
Dave Bush, Brewers
Brian Bannister, Royals
Jonathan Niese, Mets
Dontrelle Willis, Tigers
Doug Fister, Mariners
Brad Bergesen, Orioles
Scott Olsen, Nationals
Craig Stammen, Nationals
Charlie Morton, Pirates
Kyle Kendrick, Phillies

Are You Ready For Wednesday?

Taking a break from baseball for a moment ... this is a reminder that we'll be hitting the release of the NFL's 2010 schedule hard in Wednesday's football Clicks. We'll even make room for some early, early Week 1 projections, a Round 1-5 mock draft (12 teams) ... and yet another plea for the Rams to wake up and smell the Sam Bradford coffee before Thursday night! (To clarify, we won't be poking any more holes in Bradford's talent balloon -- lord knows we've performed that duty for all of April; instead, we'll be chiding the St. Louis executives for never using the pre-draft hammer with Bradford's team of shark-like agents). Should be fun.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare quite well against average-to-subpar pitching in Week 3 (April 19-25):
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (vs. Rangers, vs. Orioles)
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Victor Martinez, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, Red Sox
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Ryan Braun, Brewers (@ Pirates, vs. Cubs)
Prince Fielder, Brewers
Casey McGehee, Brewers
Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Alcides Escobar, Brewers
Corey Hart, Brewers
Joe Mauer, Twins (vs. Indians, @ Royals)
Justin Morneau, Twins
Denard Span, Twins
Jason Kubel, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Delmon Young, Twins

There's Trouble Ahead

On the flip side ... here's a list of hitters who are likely headed for slow starts in Week 3 (April 19-25), 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:

Brandon Phillips, Reds (vs. Dodgers, vs. Padres)
Joey Votto, Reds
Jay Bruce, Reds
Scott Rolen, Reds
Drew Stubbs, Reds
Ramon Hernandez, Reds
Orlando Cabrera, Reds
Kyle Blanks, Padres (vs. Giants, @ Reds)
Chase Headley, Padres
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
Everth Cabrera, Padres
Will Venable, Padres
David Eckstein, Padres
Adam Jones, Orioles (@ Mariners, @ Red Sox)
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Matt Wieters, Orioles
Luke Scott, Orioles
Garrett Atkins, Orioles
Miguel Tejada, Orioles

April Glowers Might Bring May Flowers

Mark Teixeira: J. Meric/Getty Images

Here's a virtual all-star team of colossal fantasy failures for the month of April. For the most part, we're anticipating that most (or all) of these name-brand players will nicely rebound come May:

C Kurt Suzuki, Athletics (.195 BA, 2 runs, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 steals)
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees (.100 BA, 5 runs, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs, 0 steals)
2B Kazuo Matsui, Astros (.095 BA, 0 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 0 steals)
SS Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (.179 BA, 3 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 0 steals)
3B Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (.182 BA, 7 runs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 steal)
UTIL Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays (.085 BA, 4 runs, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs)
OF Carlos Lee, Astros (.116 BA, 3 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 0 steals)
OF Adam Jones, Orioles (.231 BA, 4 runs, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 0 steals)
OF Chris Coghlan, Marlins (.119 BA, 2 runs, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 2 steals)
OF Hunter Pence, Astros (.122 BA, 3 runs, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 0 steals)
OF Travis Snider, Blue Jays (.118 BA, 4 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 steal)
SP Aaron Harang, Reds (14 ER in 16 innings, 13/4 K-BB ratio, 7.88 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
SP Vicente Padilla, Dodgers (14 ER in 15.2 innings, 15/6 K-BB, 8.04 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (14 ER in 13.1 innings, 17/7 K-BB, 9.45 ERA, 2.03 WHIP)
RP Trevor Hoffman, Brewers (5 IP, 3 saves, 3/1 K-BB, 1 win, 12.60 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)
RP Mike Gonzalez, Orioles (2 IP, 1 save, 3/4 K-BB, 0 wins, 18.00 ERA, 4.50 WHIP)

DirecTV Looks Can Be Deceiving

Regarding the above All-April duds ... as god as my witness, I have seen six of Jose Bautista's eight hits this season -- in only 12-15 at-bats, courtesy of the MLB Extra Innings package. Why am I mentioning this? Well, before I sat down to research the April duds squad, position-by-postion, I had just assumed that Bautista was having a good-to-serviceable season as Toronto's 3B/OF; instead, he's having a worse start than fellow Jay Travis Snider (yikes!).

For once, we have found a flaw in the time-tested Eye Test, which calls for fantasy owners to invest time in watching every team at least 2-3 times a week ... instead of relying on computer-based statistics to rule the world. Thanks, Jose!

Analyze This

It's always nice to tap into the geniuses at Accuscore when faced with a Player A vs. Player B quandary ... or in this case, a Player A/B/C/D vs. Player E/F/G/H dilly of a pickle:

Team A gets ... Jeff Clement/Garrett Jones/Chad Billingsley/Ben Sheets
Clement (Accuscore yearly estimates -- April 19-Oct. 1)
18.3 HRs, 56.1 runs, 66.4 RBIs, .246 batting average, 2 steals

Jones (Accuscore yearly estimates)
30.6 HRs, 67.6 runs, 76.3 RBIs, .280 batting average, 15.3 steals

Billingsley (Accuscore yearly estimates)
13.2 wins, 3.82 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 160.1 strikeouts

Sheets (Accuscore yearly estimates)
10 wins, 3.57 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 83.9 strikeouts

Team B gets ... Scott Feldman/Matt Capps/Scott Podsednik/Miguel Olivo
Feldman (Accuscore yearly estimates -- April 19-Oct. 1)
11 wins, 4.20 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 98.5 strikeouts

Capps (Accuscore yearly estimates)
35.1 saves, 1.4 wins, 5.14 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 39.6 strikeouts

Podsednik (Accuscore yearly estimates)
6.7 HRs, 80.4 runs, 53.8 RBIs, .323 batting average, 40.7 steals

Olivo (Accuscore yearly estimates)
15.5 HRs, 34.7 runs, 40.7 RBIs, .260 batting aveage, 4.1 steals

Verdict: You don't necessarily need Accuscore's projections to know that Team A wins this deal by a landslide. In fact, a 12-year-old Texas Rangers fan who has Scott Feldman's Fathead likeness on his bedroom wall knows that Team B is getting fleeced in this 8-man, ahem, blockbuster. Seriously, does Team B value saves and Scott Podsednik so much that it's willing to part with the best starting pitcher (Billz), the best power-speed guy (G-Jones), the better catcher-eligible talent (Clement) and a decent throw-in (Sheets)? Wow. As commissioner of the Sons Of & Friends league, I've always believed in letting owners police themselves when it comes to trades ... but this might be the exception that validates the need for vetoes.

Who Is This Guy?

I'm not sure what more Casey McGehee must accomplish to prove his worth as a viable major leaguer and borderline superb fantasy stud. In the last two seasons with Milwaukee -- spanning 128 games -- the second-year standout has 125 hits, 67 runs, 20 HRs, 76 RBIs, a .334 batting average, .391 OBP and a slugging rate over .600. If that's not enough, he also has 2B/3B eligibility and virtually no competition at third base in 2010 (thanks to Mat Gamel's injury).

And yet, just two weeks ago, the savviest of fantasy owner could've gotten him for the trade equivalent of a bag of balls ... or even these magic beans.

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
Marlins | Braves | Mets | Phillies | Nationals

Reds | Pirates | Cubs | Brewers | Cardinals | Astros

Dodgers | Diamondbacks | Padres | Rockies | Giants

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

White Sox | Tigers | Indians | Royals | Twins

Rangers | Angels | Athletics | Mariners

Stock Report

In case you care, here's an update for the much-talked-about AND highly volatile & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 15-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:

1. Han(ley) Shot First (Cory McCartney) -- 98 points (hoops-league winner takes baseball lead)
2. Tulo's Dirtbags (Scott Wraight) -- 97 points (rare to see a juggernaut with no category wins)
3. TEAM COCO Crisp (Micah Hart) -- 93 points (believe it or not, he doesn't want A-Rod)
4. The Juice Is Loose (Jay Clemons) -- 91.5 points (added Dice-K/Millwood to the best rotation)
5. Albert's On The Big Mac Diet (Andrew Lamb) -- 88.5 points (BA aside, no real weakness)
6. The Youkileles (Lonny Krasnow) -- 84 points (could've had Matt Garza ... for I-Stew)
7. Cabrera's Cannibals (David Komer) -- 78 points (jinx alert: Komer bragging about 1st place)
7a. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 78 points (spent mucho FAAB $$ on Guillen/Velez)
9. Bronx Bulldogs (Charlie Kight) -- 75.5 points (take a picture -- the Kight Bros. are together)
10. From First To Worst (Jon Machota) -- 74 points (a Bourn/Lincecum away from respectability)
11. Milwaukee Schlitz (Jeff Lewis) -- 73 points (turned down free shot at Corey Hart)
12. Crotch Bats (Jeff Ritter) -- 71 points (too preoccupied with and the women of NYC)
12a. Kershawshank Redemption (Danny Lampson) -- 71 points (no longer mired in the cellar)
14. Lenny Loves Twizzlers (Drew Packham) -- 65.5 points (sucking wind in runs, steals, batting)
15. Ruxin's Rabbits (Brandon Marcus) -- 62 points (Mark Teixeira/Carlos Lee have enhanced his Waterloo experience -- surely he'll get better when the calendar hits May)

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