Sometimes, it’s better not to be clever. A lot of the time I feel the fantasy ‘die-hards’ get caught up in out-thinking their opponents, and it can sometimes lead to sub-optimal decision making.
For the whole season, I’ve recommended weekend streaming options – the nature of streamers is that they’re owned in less than 50% of leagues, so there’s serious selection bias when looking at the results. With 29 recommendations, the streamers I suggested posted a 4.29 ERA and 4.15 FIP, with 12 wins (41%) and an average of 4.2 strikeouts in nearly six innings. These are, to ignore humility for a moment, pretty good numbers given the criteria for streamers.
They are not, however, excellent numbers, since starters league-wide have a 4.13 ERA and 4.05 FIP with 4.5 strikeouts in nearly six innings per start and wins in 35% of starts. That is, even ‘good’ streaming success adds league-average stats to your fantasy team.
But when it comes to daily leagues, you occasionally run into ownership/usage levels that indicate people are getting too clever, looking for good streaming options when excellent, though more expensive, ace options exist. Today is one such day – should we avoid Matt Harvey in a daily league because he comes with a heftier price tag?
The Daily Five
Matt Harvey – $20,379
No, you shouldn’t avoid him. You could just as easily slot Yu Darvish in here, facing the punchless Kansas City Royals at a similar price, but the logic is the same: in daily leagues, elite performances rule, and because pitcher match-ups are easier to navigate logically, it makes sense to invest more heavily here. (I know there is significant game-to-game volatility for pitcher, too, but I prefer to invest heavily on the mound in dailies.) Harvey gets the anemic Marlins offense and he’s really freakin good against any offense.
Paul Maholm – $11,549
Maholm draws the Harper-less Nationals, the league’s worst offense against left-handed pitchers. At half the price tag of Harvey/Darvish, you can accept a little less strikeout upside for realtively assured ratios. Malholm’s ERA is backed up nicely by his peripherals and he’s not getting luckt in any sense, really. He is who he’s been for six straight years now, which is a good arm who can take advantage of a solid match-up.
Ryan Howard – $6,093
Look, Howard isn’t who he once was. A second straight year with a sub-.300 OBP is horrifying, and a homer every 25 at bats isn’t going to cover that up. But he can still walk into a mistake, which is Mike Fiers’ specialty this year. With 85-degree temperature and a 17 MPH wind expected to be blowing out towards centerfield, Howard sets up well for a dinger. And dingers rule all in daily leagues.
Prince Fielder – $9,919
Sorry to double down on first baseman, but most dailies will allow a DH, anyway. Fielder has a nice set up with a hot Baltimore game (88 degrees) and a strong centerfield wind (16 MPH). He also faces Kevin Gausman who, while he has visibly terrific stuff, hasn’t been able to put it together on a major league mound yet. Fielder should be able to take advantage. (And if you didn’t want to buy-high on Harvey, Miguel Cabrera is a fine place to spend your excess cash.)
Ben Revere – $4,456
Tried to sneak a cheap option in here since some of the others are heavier on the budget. Revere also gets the benefit of facing Fiers in a great weather set-up, but perhaps more importantly is his potential to steal a bag in this one (I always try to slide one of these guys in my Daily Five). Revere is very fast, and Jonathan Lucroy has allowed nearly 80 stolen bases each of the past two seasons. If Martin Maldonado gets the nod in a day game after a mid-day game, it’s not of grave concern – Maldonado was good controlling the run game last year but has essentially been a free pass in the early going this year. Hope for Lucroy, though.
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