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August 24, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning one and all. We're back again for an hour of fantasy chattage. It is the fantasy baseball chat, but obviously, with the NFL in full preseason mode, we'll be handling some of those questions as well. So what's it going to be Mr. Damon? Second cup of coffee for you? Let's get it started...

Andrew (Atlanta)

Luke Scott or James Loney the rest of the way?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Back to back in my rankings right now, but I'll go with Scott.

James (Ohio)

Better OF option for the playoffs: Crisp, Matsui, Jay, or Ibanez??

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

If you think Jay can keep it up, then be my guest... but Ibanez would be my choice.

James (Ohio)

Need to dump somone when Kinsler is activated (assuming it ever happens)....do I drop Castro or Beckham?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I'm guessing another two weeks on Ian. As long as it isn't a keeper, I'd send Gordon packing in this one.

Steve O'Mac (Raleigh, NC)

Hey AJ,How much are you willing to sacrifice for a championship in a keeper league? For example, you're in first by a nose and Albert Pujols goes down. Do you cut him, add a first baseman, and attempt to win, or save him for next year? This is a theoretical situation, so we'll say he is the only player available to be cut. How hardcore are you?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Play for today - you may never be so close to a title again.

Jack (Waltham, MA)

Hunter Pence or BJ Upton from here on out?

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Pence for me... Upton will be pitched far more carefully.

Al (St Louis)

AJ, What is your take on all these teams putting innings limits on their young starters? The Nats could not have been more careful with Strasburg but it still goes on the DL twice this season. He was supposed to have the perfect delivery so as to not get hurt. Perhaps a pitcher is what he is and no over-protectiveness will help protect him.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

Do I want to see teams leave rookies out there for eight innings in a 8-0 loss if they're 20 games back? No. Do I want to see them pull their pitchers after 100 pitches just because? No. If you NEVER let pitchers stretch out their arms and finish games, who is to say they don't over-exert themselves (say, figuring they have only one inning left anyway)and get hurt as a result?

Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)

Sticking with the OF theme: Rasmus or Heyward the rest of the way? They were back-to-back last week, so I'm guessing that Heyward's now ahead?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Still think they are essentially the same player for the rest of this season. I'd lean a touch to Rasmus, but we're splitting very narrow hairs.

Steve (ND)

Got the answers? I've always wondered, why doe's a hitter get credit for an RBI on a fielders choice, but not on a GIDP with no outs? Isn't that also a fielders choice? Shouldn't a hit by a pitch count against a pitchers WHIP? Shouldn't a batter get credited for an RBI when a runner scores from third on a wild pitch or passed ball?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Steve, it's "just because" -- walks used to count as hits way back in the day, then the powers that be changed it. Though, I do not think the RBI should go to the batter on a WP... but then again, I also think pitchers should get charged with earned runs if they commit an error themselves.

Mike (SD)

AJ, I need some help with our trade deadline fast approaching. I'm in first place currently in a keeper league and have the opportunity to make a deal. Parts of the deal help me solidify some pitching for this year, but it's the other part I don't know about yet -- I deal CarGo and get J. Upton. How much difference between those guys for both this year and beyond?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

I think CarGo can be a top 10 player going forward, and I'd be loathe to trade him... but Upton is a top-30 guy himself, so it's not that far a drop... if it helps you this year, you do it.

Zach (Washington DC)

How do these speed guys rank from here in: Brett Gardner, Rajai Davis, Michael Bourn, Neyjer Morgan.

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

I like Bourn, then Gardner, then Davis.

Joe (Montana)

AJ, picked up Ellsbury to stash as a keeper for next year (16 team, 5x5). Good move?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Why not? Assuming he's healthy -- and no reason to think he won't be -- he's a solid keeper, especially in a league that deep.

Jordan (Peoria)

Football question with draft tonight...Which pair do you like better, Fitz/Best or Bowe/Matthews

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Although the injury is a bit nerve-inducing, I'd prefer Fitz/Best. I've never loved Bowe, and the rookies are always unpredictable until the real games start.

Greg ((Yorkville))

Speaking of rules, what the heck is fielders indifference? How many weeks I could have taken the SB category if the guy actually got credit for the base he just stole?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

It does feel a bit arbitrary, since the player did "steal the base" - but if the runner isn't being held and nobody covers the base because with the score 7-0 in the 9th, the defense could care less if you score, there's no SB. Sorry Greg.

Scott (Bama)

AJ, Deep 5x5 question here: What are your thoughts on R. Raburn? Worth adding or just waiver fodder?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

Because he qualifies at 2B, given the number of injuries at that position, he's got value... but that's the only reason.

BK (Poughkeepsie, NY)

Best back-of-the-end starter for rest of season: Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Travis Wood, Gio Gonzalez, Jhoulys Chacin?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

I like Garland, just ahead of Gio.

Steve (NJ)

Better Nolasco replacement: Bud Norris or Mike Minor?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Minor, but keep in mind, he's going to be on a leash.

d (htown)

fball*** what can we expect from carolina RB - about 60-40 split favoring deangelo but w/ stewart getting more goalline? i'm expecting similar #s to last yr

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

I agree, but also keep in mind that with many other teams moving towards a time share, those "numbers from last year" will actually end up more valuable than they were last year.

Tyler (VT)

Running backs: Who would you rather have, Wells, Forte, or Pierre Thomas?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Given how brutal the Cards look with Leinart, I'll go with Thomas. Though, if I ended up with that trio, I wouldn't exactly be upset.

Dan (NYC)

i should just drop nolasco now right? he can't possibly pitch and be effective.

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

I can't imagine he's going to pitch, nor do I understand why the Marlins would let him at this point... and yet... I certainly won't be keeping him active.

Hans (Texas)

Strategy question. I have Aramis Ramirez and Scott Rolen and am considering dropping one to fill my vacant catcher spot. Would you drop either for John Buck or Jorge Posada, or leave the catcher spot open and play Ramirez or Rolen based on matchups?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Playing the "guessing game" is a surefire way to fail. I'd cut Aramis and sign Posada and not take an automatic zero.

Jack (Chicago)

After watching the quickness of Matt Forte and slow-footed Chester Taylor thus far in the preseason, have fantasy experts been wrong about the value of each back?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

Thus far, apparently. But I think neither has any value if Cutler gets sacked 10 times a game. The O-line has to perform better... or else it won't matter what we think.

Paul (Ill)

Which pitcher do you like down the stretch: jaime garcia, gio gonzalez, or anibal sanchez

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Garcia of the three, hoping that the Cards let him pitch.

Mike (Gilbert, AZ)

FFB. Whats your thoughts on picking up players who are "IR" eligible just to stash them away for later in the year. For example, Nelson the Bills TE isnt hurt, but he is IR eligible due to his suspension. Is it worth it to stash a middle of the road TE?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Know your league's rules. If you can get an extra roster spot and therefore an extra option, then why wouldn't you?

Luke ((Chicago))

Which side do you prefer, keeper league, Beckett and Romero or Kershaw?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Pitchers are like lottery tickets - you never know from year to year. Therefore, I'd rather have two tickets than one.

John (MA)

What do the numbers in the Player Rater actually mean? Are they explained anywhere?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

Essentially, it's a weighted average against the rest of the league at each category. You have more in that category, you get more "ratings points".

Dan (Texas)

AJ, do I cut ties with aaron hill for either stewart, kendrick or o-dog?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I move him for Kendrick.

Nick (Atlanta)

Drafted this past weekend and got 3 elite WR and a ton of RB depth. got stuck with Kolb at QB. should I be worried? He hasn't looked great in preseason.

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

In general, don't worry about preseason performance - especially from a player who isn't in a position battle like Kolb. Besides, if you have as much depth as you say at other positions, you may well be able to trade if Kolb doesn't pan out once the games count.

Scott (Boston, MA)

do you change the value of your Def/ST and TE's in bigger leagues? I'm a lot less comfortable waiting till the 2nd to last round in a 14-team league for a Def than a 10-team league.

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I don't see why you would be. If you've tiered the possible defenses/TEs you want then you make the pick when your tier starts to vanish. The league's draft will tell you when to make the selection. Don't go in with a round by round plan.

Dave (PA)

ESPN does a daily notes for the current day. SInce you have to pick players up a day before you can play them, doesn't it make sense to do the notes a day in advance?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

Where've you been, Dave? Daily Notes are always up a day before... we just keep them up for the current day as well.

Steve (MA)

Close playoff race....should I drop Stephen Drew for Ryan Theriot?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

I still like Drew a little more.

Jimmy (DC)

Stanton or Matsui the rest of the season?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Give me Godzilla.

Tim ((DC))

How do you think Colby Lewis does tonight vs the Twins. He makes me nervous.

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Any given night, you know? Baseball is always hard to slice down to the single matchup. Overall, I think Lewis is a No. 3-4 starter.

Chad (Iowa)

What are your thoughts on Manny if he's traded to a contender. Could he produce for the remainder of the season, like he did when he was traded to L.A. When he's motivated he can still hit.

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

Exactly... he's playing for a deal, so he could well "turn it on" again. Frustrating? You bet, but that's Manny.

Scott (Ann Arbor)

I'm in a daily league, and I'm wondering how seriously you take BVP stats. Holliday is 1/14 vs. Maholm today, and Tex is 0/13 in one of his upcoming matchups. Those numbers scream "sit them," but on the other hand it's Holliday and Tex.

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

That's how we make those suggestions in Daily Notes... we present those BvP stats to you based on small sample sizes. While they do have some merit - since hitting can be very mental - and may indicate a bad game on the horizon, I still think you always start your best. Overall, you're better off.

Steve (San Jose)

Is it time to shop Strasburg around in a keeper league if it helps you with a playoff push this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Once again, Steve, you always play for today.

Leo (Inception)

Ryan Mathews will be a top 3 RB this year

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Keep spinning that top, Leo.

Vince (Philadelphia)

AJ, with the Rice injury and his history with Favre, is Javon Walker worth a late round pick?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

I find most last round picks end up being cut eventually anyway, so certainly you can take a chance on a guy like Walker - the worst that can happen is you waive him if it doesn't work out.

Jake (VA Beach)

Has Weiters moved ahead of Napoli at this point?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Not in my mind. Napoli playing more at 1B actually keeps him fresher.

Zeus (Clouds)

Short of the obvious one, can you rank the Mets' starters for the rest of the season?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Niese, Pelfrey, Dickey.

Rich (Weymouth,MA)

My top 3 RB's are Spiller, Best and Bradshaw. 12 team PPR(1/2), first 4 rounds loaded up on WR(moss,austin,white) and QB Rivers, will i regret this move?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I think fantasy football has changed over the past few years, as the NFL has changed. You don't need to go RB/RB anymore, and with RB's it's quantity that counts. You have 2 1/2 starters at RB there. You should be OK.

Rick (Irvine)

More on Farve and Rice, how high do you think that vaults Harvin/Berrian?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Harvin's headaches are a real concern. Berrian is really the only WR I'd trust at all in Minnesota, but without a companion, he may well struggle.

Zack (CT)

It looked like Cincy was getting tons of penetration in their game against Philly in the first half, especially when the Eagles were back up against the goal line- Was that a good Bengals line, bad Eagles line, or a little of both?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

A little of both, but leaning more towards Eagles = bad.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's the final whistle, gang! Thanks for your Q's. We've got two more mock drafts coming up on ESPN.com for fantasy football fans this week... so stay tuned! Until next week: Be seeing you!