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March 12, 2:35 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (2:57 PM)

Good afternoon. The bubble has already burst for the Cuse, and it looks like Friars will do their best to do the same for 'Neers. March Madness is in full effect. Let's get some Q's on that, as well as fantasy baseball. Make it work, people!

Mr Linguo

Can you discuss players with only DH eligibility? Does it really matter if your UTIL spot is always filled by a DH? Ortiz's power is similar to Howard, etc, but is going many picks later. Is that wrong?

AJ Mass
  (3:00 PM)

1) I think Howard has more power, but it's not by a huge margin. 2) It's all about options. If I pick Howard I have three slots I can play him in (1B, CO or UT) With Ortiz, it's UT or nothing. That may not matter, but it could, especially if you end up with some bench players you'd love to get into the lineup, but have nowhere to move Ortiz to do so.

John (Charlottesville)

I've been seeing Hafner going anywhere from the 3rd round to the 6th round in 12 team mixed drafts. Where do you like him?

AJ Mass
  (3:02 PM)

Same story... with DH only status, he's got to drop a bit. I'd go far more towards 6th than 3rd. No speed and little positional flexibility.

Eric, Pa

What do you expect from Overbay this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:03 PM)

A healed hand - 15 HR? .275 tops. Do not overpay for him. What a wacky punster, I.

Brian (NYC)

AJ - in the new ESPN Mag fantasy issue, a few writers advocate not taking "steady veterans," and instead going with the risk/reward theory. I don't buy it. Last year, I tried it with guys like Stephen Drew, Barfield, and A.Gordon and I finished last.

AJ Mass
  (3:04 PM)

You did read the part where we called these strategies "living dangerously" right?

Seth (Lansing, Michigan)

Love your work. How do the rankings change for a league that includes the normal 5 offensive categories and also Hits, Walks, Extra Base Hits and OPS? More power? and how do the pitcher ranks change with the normal 5 categories and IP, L, K/9, CG? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (3:07 PM)

Why, why, why? Too many categories. It certainly makes steals less important. And if you have K's, why K/9 as well. IP and CG? It's just too much!

Scott (White Plains, NY)

Where have you dropped Pujols to in your rankings given the huge injury risk he poses? How much would you be willing to pay for him at auction in a standard $260 non-keeper league?

AJ Mass
  (3:10 PM)

I haven't dropped Pujols at all. I had him as a 4th Rounder before all the news broke. I thought his numbers were declining, and at least now, people believe me because there's an obvious reason. Auction-wise? I might pay $20-$25, but only if other options have already been selected. If he's first name off the board, I let others fight it out.

John (Seattle)

Thoughts on taking Rollins and Phillips with your first two picks? Any downside or risk there?

AJ Mass
  (3:11 PM)

I have Rollins as my #2 overall. And I love Phillips. Plenty of risk if Dusty doesn't let him run. But I've started several mock drafts with that combo and I think I've come out OK.

Eric, PA

In a Roto leage with only W, Saves, ERA and WHIP - if you can't get saves do to keepers, what is the best strategy, stockpile top setup men or as good as possible starters?

AJ Mass
  (3:14 PM)

You CAN get saves, even due to keepers. Read any of Matthew Berry's articles on the subject. When drafting late, picking up the Tony Pena, Brad Hennessy, BJ Ryan, Pat Neshek and Bobby Howry types should give you decent pitching, and a shot at saves.

Jacob (Detroit)

Why do you think victorino is so low?

AJ Mass
  (3:16 PM)

A lot of outfield options available and Shane gets lost because Phils have so many "glamorous" picks - JRoll, Utley, Howard, Hamels... it's easy to dismiss him thinking that cow's all milked - but it's a mistake.

Jacob (Detroit)

In your speed article, would you ever trade the speed for pitching

AJ Mass
  (3:18 PM)

Absolutely. My speed article showed how two small, seemingly insignificant trades can have a huge impact on the standings. I'm going to make deals using that strategy, and I'll try and get back whatever I'm lacking... whether it's saves or WHIP or HR or RBI.

Mike (CO)

I love the Tim Gunn reference in your intro for the chat. I am glad Christian won. Anyways, Okay so I have the 8th pick in my 10 team standard league. I am worried that the 3 SS's, ARod, Wright, Braun and Holliday will all be gone. I was thinking about doing something I have never done before; taking TWO pitchers with my first two picks. I was thinking getting Santana and Peavy would almost lock up ERA, WHIP and K's for me as long as I don't get a Scott Olsen type and that with my next four picks I could probably end up with Aramis, Markakis, Hart, Dunn, Atkins, Lee...or players along those lines, and then fill out my offense with till each spot is filled and then round out my pitching staff. Thoughts? I have never done anything like that before and think it could be fun. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (3:21 PM)

Yowsa! A lot of question here. Nothing wrong with trying a "reverse LIMA" kind of strategy. Just be ready to trade one of those aces if your offense ends up way too short. I don't mind taking risks.

Mike (Dallas)

AJ, who should we be targeting as the Gallardo and Lincecum of 2008. More specifically, guys with high K rates who can make an impact this year.

AJ Mass
  (3:24 PM)

Maybe Chad Billingsley, Joba if he gets into the rotation, and Brandon Morrow.

jim pgh

I did that last year with santana and carpenter big mistake. carp got hurt and i struggled offensively. i would notdo that

AJ Mass
  (3:25 PM)

Injuries happen. An early Beckett/Gallardo draft looked pretty good then... not as good now. But just as easily, A-Rod could get hurt... although, granted, it is harder to recover when you lose a top notch pitcher.

Brian (Chicago)

Pujol's is what...28? You really think he is already in decline? That's why fantasy experts can't be considered to have real sports knowledge. He was injured last year, he's not in a career decline.

AJ Mass
  (3:29 PM)

Inuries to let's see - an oblique, a knee, a hamstring, a calf, an elbow - stolen bases non-existent, run production at lowest point of career. He's a very old 28. Having said that, did I say he's a 20th round throwaway pick? Not at all. 4th Round is not an insult. We're still talking Top 40... but to ignore the fact that there's a huge downside is not seeing the reality of the situation.

dan(Minn)

I am in a 12 team H2H-points based keeper league where we keep 5 players a piece. Our keepers have already been decided and now we have a draft to fill the rest of our rosters. Delmon Young was left unprotected. Where would you look to draft him in this format? Thank you.

AJ Mass
  (3:31 PM)

Delmon's a 10th round pick in a regular format, so with 5 guys kept, I guess that makes him a 5th rounder to you.

Cubs Fans

Pujols is 28? Sure, and Jose Contreras is only 36...

AJ Mass
  (3:32 PM)

LOL. At least we're pretty sure Albert is using his own ID, unlike some Arizona closer candidates.

Adam (Chicago)

What do you make of Eric Byrnes? I don't think he will duplicate last year but am not sure how far off he will be.

AJ Mass
  (3:33 PM)

50 steals is a lot to ask him to repeat. However even if he drops to 30, with 20 HR's that still makes him a very appealing player to own.

Brad (Philly)

AJ, would you trade Beckett for Morneau? It's a 12-team, 5x5, all-MLB, H2H keeper league. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (3:36 PM)

Don't love Morneau because he doesn't give you steals at all. It makes the deal a 4-cat for 4-cat, and even with the injury, I think I'll stay firm on Beckett for now. If it were for Berkman, I'd feel a little better about it. Still might not do it, but it would make more sense to me.

Rebecca (St Louis)

Pujols just hit his 4th homer this spring. It looks like that injury is really affecting him!

AJ Mass
  (3:37 PM)

Talk to me after his first series in 40 degree temperatures.

Marc (IN)

Rumors are coming out about a Coco Crisp/Angel Pagan trade sending Coco to the Mets. Does Crisp get the PT to make him a fantasy starter if it goes down?

AJ Mass
  (3:40 PM)

Haven't heard those rumors, but Crisp is a solid pickup for wherever he ends up... with all the Mets injuries, he's bound to get enough PT there to warrant putting him in your lineup. But I don't think this deal gets done.

Jay (Sterling, MA)

What do you expect from Abreau? Where has be been going in your drafts?

AJ Mass
  (3:42 PM)

Abreu has been going Rounds 5-6. He still is good for 20-20. He's one of those picks you don't feel too confident about making, but you do it anyway.

Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)

I just picked myself up off the floor after laughing pretty hard. Now I can understand someone dropping Pujols based on injury concerns, but I?d sure like to see the 30 players you have listed in front of him assuming a healthy Pujols. That is pure craziness, but now I am really curious to see that list.

AJ Mass
  (3:46 PM)

A) Once you decide you're drafting Howard and Fielder ahead of Pujols, he drops way down on your draft list. B) Pujols won't get you steals, and a 20-20 guy is more valuable to me than a 35-0 guy. C) Especially in a lineup where he's bound to get pitched around left and right, limiting his already lowered run production expectations.

Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)

Wasn't ARod's career on the down turn after his 2006 year? Talk about short-term memory. You're officially a joke.

AJ Mass
  (3:50 PM)

You never heard me say A-Rod's career was on a downturn after his 2006 year. But in regards to Albert, I do not apologize for expressing my opinion, and then sticking to it. A joke would be someone who would deny having said it in the first place if Pujols has a 50HR season. That's not me. But I'm sure you and I will have this discussion again in October, won't we?

Howard

Braun a crazy choice at number 2 overall? Everyone has questions after Arod. Is he not the best combination of elite power and speed? Also in a great lineup spot...

AJ Mass
  (3:52 PM)

Not a crazy pick, but in general, players who move to new positions for the first time in their careers have a slight decrease in offensive productivity. I'd rather take one of the 3 SS's at #2.

Ed (Maryland)

I have beening reading that Feliz could be a real sleeper this year. Would you take him ahead of say, Lamb, Kouz, Crede or Tracy. Second what about McPherson making a fantasy contribution? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:54 PM)

Could Dallas end up in Florida? Yeah, but not to start the year. Not holding my breath there. I'd take Kouz over Feliz, but playing in Philly certainly raises his stock.

Jared (NY)

I dare you to answer one question without mentioning stolen bases...

AJ Mass
  (3:55 PM)

Fish.

steve, LA

what are you supposed to say to the guy in your league who isn't just the first one to take a closer, but takes one way too early?

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

Fish... Actually, I would say "Nice Pick!" and let him continue to draft the wrong guy each round. One less team to worry about.

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

Time for one more, gang...

Chris (Saratoga, NY)

Lightning Round! Pick one: Adam Jones, Melky, Randy Winn or JD Drew?

AJ Mass
  (3:58 PM)

Keeper league, I'd take a chance on Jones. If not, I'll go with Winn. Giants might not score a lot, but they'll get some runs, plus there's all that fish Winn will catch. (Wink wink)

AJ Mass
  (3:59 PM)

Folks, thank for the questions. Always up for a lively debate. Next week will be a NCAA Tournament-focused chat, so have your Bracket Q's at the ready, and we'll pick up this discussion in two weeks... Have a great day! Fish!