Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: August 12, 2014

I’ve never been one to dive into celebrity culture, but I will say the passing of Robin Williams rattled me. I will miss him.

On today’s agenda:
1. Justin Verlander‘s shoulder
2. Drew Smyly cruises
3. The return of Joe Mauer
4. Manny Machado‘s knee sprain
5. The daily five

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Justin Verlander’s shoulder
After lasting just one inning yesterday afternoon, Verlander was pulled from his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s being called right shoulder soreness right now, though we still don’t have much information to go on. According to Verlander himself, his shoulder soreness has “been lingering for awhile.” Whether or not the injury is primary cause of his down season this year remains to be seen, although it wouldn’t surprise me. He is set for an MRI today and we should know more then.

Drew Smyly cruises
Former Detroit Tiger Smyly dissected the Texas Rangers lineup yesterday over the course of 7.2 innings. He allowed three walks and three hits while striking out nine on the day. Smyly wasn’t particularly efficient as he worked up a pitch count of 116, however he did manage to post 13 swinging strikes en route to his second highest single game strikeout tally of the year. I still worry about right-handed hitters against him — their .385 wOBA is basically the same mark as Anthony Rizzo‘s .384 mark — although Smyly did work his cutter in some yesterday. Brooks Baseball has him throwing 17 cutters yesterday (yet only three changeups) which jibs with his 13.8% cutter usage for the season. Smyly is gathering whiffs and is getting enough strikeouts to be effective. I previously rated him as a stream candidate but I’m kicking up a notch to spot starter. He is available in 40% of CBS leagues, 60% of ESPN formats and 75% of Yahoo! leagues.

The return of Joe Mauer
In his first major league game since the first of July, Mauer went 2-for-4 with a walk, including what turned out to be the game winning hit. Prior to his stint on the disabled list due to a strained oblique, Mauer was struggling at the plate, hitting an uncharacteristic .271/.342/.353 line. Let us hope he can put the injury in his review mirror and get back to hitting like the Mauer we drafted back in March. Unless he goes absolutely bonkers in the last seven weeks of season there is no way he’ll justify his average draft position however he still can be one of the best hitting catchers in baseball the rest of the way. I’m crossing my fingers.

Manny Machado’s knee sprain
Last night the Baltimore Orioles starting third baseman suffered a knee sprain after swinging at a pitch. Machado swung, made contact and then immediately collapsed, clutching his knee in pain. An X-ray has already come back negative however he is slated for an MRI at 10 am today. If there an upside to this it is the fact that the injury was not on the same knee that cost Machado the final week of the season last year and all of April this year. Until we know the extent of the injury no timetable can really be made for his recovery. Here is to hoping he won’t miss significant time, not for fantasy reasons, but because he is a fun player to watch.

If the O’s place him on the disabled list you’ll have to act fast to find a suitable replacement. We’re at the point in the season where a potential injury of this magnitude could swing championships. A player to keep an eye on is Emilio Bonifacio. He is eligible at third base — at least in my home league as his five starts there last season carried over — second base and in the outfield. Bonifacio should grab some steals while helping make up for some of the lost batting average just don’t expect much power from him. He is available in 67% of Yahoo! and ESPN formats and 56% of CBS leagues.

In the event of Bonifacio not being available or eligible, give Conor Gillaspie a spin. His .360 BABIP will come back down to earth and even when it does both ZiPS and Steamer like him to hit .260 or better. One can pick up Gillaspie in 58% of CBS formats as well as 80% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. For those of you looking for power help there is Juan Francisco, or you could wait and see if the Chicago Cubs call up Kris Bryant. Both power hitters are free to grab in over 50% of the three major fantasy sites.

 The daily five
Starting pitcher: Adam Wainwright — $9,500
Picking Wain-o seems kind of like cheating. That being said, when he’s facing the Miami Marlins and their 20th ranked 90 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers I can’t not pick him.

Starting pitcher: Wily Peralta
Peralta looks to continue his good season with a start against the Chicago Cubs. I don’t need to tell you the Northsiders are in a tie for dead last in baseball when facing a righty, but I did anyways.

Infielder: Stephen Vogt — $3,400
The left-handed hitting Vogt will hold the platoon advantage over Jeremy Guthrie.

Outfielder: Kole Calhoun — $3,500
I swear Calhoun is like the Pringles of daily fantasy for me: one I’ve bought I just can’t stop. His performance against right-handed pitchers, like Jerome Williams, to date has been an impressive 137 wRC+.

Other hitter: Mike Trout — $5,400
If picking Wainwright felt like cheating then this feels like high treason or something. Trout is great, Williams isn’t.

Remaining budget: $20,700

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Mike Wimmer
Mike Wimmer

As a CarGo owner, I am searching for his possible replacement. I havent decided if I am going to drop him yet, I might wait a week or so and see if any reports come out in regards to him improving or possibly getting shut down for the rest of the year. Who do you like the most as possible replacements between Fowler, Oscar Tavares, Desmond Jennings or JD Martinez? I could also go with someone like Adam Lind in my UTIL spot. Thanks in advance.