OK, Fantasy gamers draft day is around the corner and you are likely still licking your wounds from last season, which piles on the anticipation even more. There’s a good chance you are blaming your pitching staff for your team’s over all failure, and are currently contemplating going with offense for as many consecutive picks to start the draft as humanly possible. So here’s the challenge: Don’t write off pitching this season, whether you are in a head to head or rotisserie league, simply pay attention, make better value picks and keep that line up balanced.
The top 10 fantasy pitchers are just as valuable to your line up as any hitter, and the drop off after the top 10 is significant. Make sure and grab a top 10 pitcher, regardless of who it is – Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer are all capable of anchoring your staff. Don’t overpay for Madison Bumgarner if you are in an auction draft especially if you think he’s going to piggy back his playoff performance with a season long stat line that is better than the 5 mentioned above.
Stay away from injury prone pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Harvey, CC Sabathia, Fernandez, and Brandon Beachy. Even though one of those guys is likely to bounce back and kill it this season, its too tough to call which one. So be conservative, look for value and target pitchers who have averaged 28 starts or more over the last 3 years. Guys like John Lester, Gio Gonzalez, James Shields and Zack Grienke have been pillars on their respective staffs. What makes a serviceable pitcher effective is that he doesn’t hurt your stat line by missing starts.
If you have to take risks, or are wanting to reach early on certain guys, take a look at Alex Wood, Justin Verlander and Mike Fiers. You can count on exceptional value from all three, and if you can land two of them with a top tier pitcher you’ll be off to the races.
Don’t forget relief pitchers. Saves is a category you can win if you want, but keeping with the theme of balance, make sure to nab a top 3 closer – it doesn’t matter which one. After that 4-20 are statistically negligible. Jonathon Broxton is going to be the best value as he has potentially the clearest path to keeping his job. Don’t draft more than 2-3 closers and be sure to hand cuff your picks. Closers will pop up all season long so be patient. Good luck gamers.