Each Friday, we are going to publish questions from our unofficial mailbag. We find that some of you email multiple members of the staff with the same question, while others hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have decided to share the knowledge, anonymously, with the populous, and allow you to ask additional questions in the comments for the fantasy staff to address.
Keeper league, Profar or Taveras? Does Profar’s position give him the edge or is Taveras's bat that special?
It's still Jurickson Profar for me, but they are both the elite of the elite as far as prospects are concerned. Oscar Taveras has the better bat and greater upside, but Profar has the middle-infield eligibility—and he's no slouch himself. Profar can become a true five-category contributor at one of fantasy's weakest positions. —Bret Sayre
The good news is you really can't go wrong here between Taveras and Profar. Even though Bret and Josh's rankings (which are a tremendous resource) have Profar over Taveras, I'd personally go the other way. I think Taveras has the more obvious path to playing time in St. Louis, and there's a greater chance he finds himself batting near the top of the order. You can't go wrong here though. —Paul Singman
I have been losing sleep over whether or not to keep Mike Olt on my fantasy AL-only roster. He is $7 out of the $260 cap we have. Right now he would be in my DH spot. Do you see him getting regular at bats in Texas? What is a safe bet for him numbers-wise? If he does get regular at-bats, will he be putting up good numbers even? I see his PECOTA projections, but the number of at-bats seems too high in my opinion. However, I would hate to drop him and then have him get regular at-bats and smash the ball like he is projected to do. Thanks for the help.
Personally, I would throw Olt back out and not lose any sleep over it. As you brought up, his playing time isn't guaranteed, although I do see him getting the call late in May/early June and accruing 300-350 plate appearances. Once up, he's still a batting-average liability, which puts on a damper on whatever power he'll offer. He will also bat at the back end of the Rangers lineup, limiting his run/RBI contributions. Olt is interesting for future years, but I'm not paying $7 for him in 2013. Good luck! —Paul Singman
I have a hard time seeing him getting enough playing time to warrant a $7 price tag in an AL-only. He may be the first guy up when Lance Berkman gets hurt, but he'd have to beat out Profar for that assignment as well. Plus, with his contact issues, there may be a longer adjustment period for him than higher-contact prospects. —Bret Sayre
My question is about roster construction and, more specifically, about using the bench. After playing in only mixed, snake, points leagues for several years, I'm now in a head-to-head, N- only, 6×6 (OPS and holds) league with no keepers. In the past I've used all my bench spots for starting pitchers, loading up on pitching starts for the week, figuring that if a position player goes down, I can find a decent free agent from the pool. I didn't want to waste a roster spot on a bench position player. Not so anymore. I'm wondering how you try to use your bench in a deeper league, balancing backups for positional players, with a deep stable of arms, capable of winning holds and saves, in addition to other categories? For reference, here's my roster of my recent auction draft with dollar values (note that some players, like Zack Cozart, got silly because of bidding wars between people with money left at the end of the draft). This was my first auction draft.
C Yadier Molina 14
1b Ike Davis 15
2b Aaron Hill 18
3b Todd Frazier 11
SS Ian Desmond 13
MI Zack Cozart 15
CI Yonder Alonso 3
OF Carl Crawford 6
OF Shin-Soo Choo 17
OF Jayson Werth 7
OF Norichika Aoki 14
U Alfonso Soriano 8
P Adam Wainwright 21
P Madison Bumgarner 16
P Johnny Cueto 17
P Jeff Samardzija 8
P Aroldis Chapman 16
P JJ Putz 11
P Luke Gregerson 5
P Bobby Parnell 5
BE Mike Adams 8
BE Wilton Lopez 1
BE David Hernandez 1
BE Carlos Quentin 9
BE Oscar Taveras 1
P.S.: Trevor Rosenthal is available as a free agent. Do you think he'd be more valuable in 2013 than some of those established holds guys?
Regarding bench construction, you should have a mix. You have excellent starters, so you don't really need to stack any of them on your bench, but I'd never go all hitting or all pitching. I'd probably want my best offensive guys covered, which you have done. Your outfield is your strength, and it's covered by having Quentin on the bench and then even Taveras when he comes up. I think you've built a strong team here. —Paul Sporer
We are going to be adding an expansion owner in my 12-team dynasty. What is the best way to do a dynasty expansion draft? I was thinking protecting five players per team and letting the rest be drafted. Once a player is drafted from your team, you can pull back someone else. That even close?
That's pretty fair right there. I was gonna say 5-6 for sure. Give folks a chance to protect their core. —Paul Sporer
I am in a league where saves and holds are one category. Would you draft saves first or wait and grab holds, and could you help with two or three strong holds guys?
I don't play in any holds leagues, but Paul believes holds are everywhere,e so there is no reason to reach for them. —Jason Collette
I'm picking fourth in a new 12-team keeper league, using Tristan's 6×6 (OBP and SLG). I've been taking Robinson Cano in mocks, but we use four outfield spots and I am worried about not having an elite guy to anchor my outfield. Would I be crazy for taking Andrew McCutchen and passing on Cano?
Nah, it wouldn't be crazy. There are a LOT of guys who are viable at 4. I took Stanton in one draft earlier in the winter. I think you could go any number of ways without it being "crazy.” Go with your gut there at fourth overall. —Paul Sporer
To what do you attribute Jordan Zimmermann's increased strikeout rate in the second half last year? Will he keep it up anywhere close to that and will the higher ERA and WHIP come with it? Guess I am looking at him over R.A. Dickey as a keeper (quality-start league) in case Dickey's strikeout rate plummets.
Zimmermann needs to learn to balance strikeouts grounders, as I wrote in the SP Guide. Check that out for a more detailed analysis. Zimmermann isn't one who seeks out strikeouts, so while the talent is there, the results will be sporadic.
I'm still okay with valuing Dickey higher despite my unquestioned love for Zimmermann. —Paul Sporer
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I believe it's just an after the fact narrative. Convince yourself of what you'd like, but the study seems pretty conclusive.
It's similar to the hot hand idea in basketball. Seems pretty clear it's just post hoc rationalization. Remove the feedback of whether the ball went in the hoop, and they weren't able to tell when they were hot.
Human brains don't deal well with randomness, so we ascribe a narrative.
In H2H leagues, I always end up with a bunch of low WHIP/ERA guys with low K totals. You can pick up those guys at the back of the draft and concentrate 8 or 9 of your first 10 picks on offense.