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February 21, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning gang... we've got another hour of fantasy chattage coming up. Second cup of coffee in hand... so let's get right to it, shall we?

Brian (NYC)

Aoki or de Aza as last round keeper? de Aza is ranked higher everywhere I look, but Aoki quietly had a quality season, and his really strong Sept is still fresh in my memory...

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

I'd go with Aoki for this season. I can see in a dynasty why you'd want to lean perhaps more to the younger player, but for 2013, it's Aoki.

Ashley (MD)

After years of playing fantasy football I've taken the plunge and I'm playing in my first ever fantasy baseball league. I know it's a lot more intricate than football so what would you suggest as a good resource for a newbie that isn't too overwhelming?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Not to sound too much like a company man, but our ESPN Draft Kit will have tons of articles, with many tailored towards the novice...

Dan (Snow in Phoenix !!)

In a 10 team h2h keeper league please pick 3: Fielder(1), Wainwright(9), Santana(11), Craig(15), Machado(15). Already keeping Castro(19) and Cespedes(23).

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

I'll go with Prince, Craig and Wainwright. Machado price a bit too high for this year...

josh (hyattsville, md)

I'm the commissioner of a 12 team h2h fantasy baseball league with a wide range of skill levels from 6 noobs to 3 experts, what do you think of me making 4 3-team divisions with heavily uneven schedules to balance things out, handicap-wise?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I wouldn't cater to the inexperienced owners that much. Let them learn by losing if they're going to lose. And don't be of the belief that an inexperienced owner is doomed to failure either.

Bob (KC)

KC may have given away W.Myers, but I'm not letting him get away in my fantasy drafts - what's your opinion on how soon he arrives & his production for when he arrives?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I think he'll come along as soon as the "Super 2" date passes. Not going to put hi in my Top 300, but isn't too far down from that list...

Aaron (Toronto)

Wondering how you would change your draft strategy if there were no flex infield spots, and only 3 OF as starters?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

In theory, it would really change much because I still want the best overall team available and I've already factored positional scarcity into my ranks. You still want Cano early to avoid getting saddled with a 2B dud.

Manny (Houston)

Would it be crazy to draft Medlen ahead of the likes of Greinke and Haren?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Depends on the format, but I don't think it's crazy. Greinke to me, gets a boost in points leagues.

Keith (Mizzou)

How would you change your draft strategy if there are 14 teams in your league compared to 12?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

For one, you need to factor in more players at each position. For example, if you only need to worry about 10 catchers, you approach it differently than if you have to worry about getting "stuck" with C-14. But the general process is the same - you rank 'em and tier 'em and grab guys when a tier is emptying.

Frank (Cleveland)

I chose Cueto over D.Jennings as my final keeper - good/bad decision?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I don't think it's a bad decision by any means. For me, I always tend to go hitter over pitcher, but the gap between the raw value of both these players is fairly negligible.

Tyler (Iowa)

I am probably not going to contend this year in my Dynasty league (finished 10 of 12 last year). Is it better to keep Carlos Beltran and make a go at it or keep Profar? No round or year limits. Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I think part of the reason you might not win this year is that you're already operating from the mindset you can't. Either way, I'd take a shot with Profar over Beltran, but I think the move may be able to help you this season, too.

Brian (St. Louis)

Billy Hamilton up and fantasy relevant this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

No guarantee he comes up, but as soon as he does, I think the SB total alone makes him fantasy relevant.

Brint (Wichita)

Your thoughts on Dayan Viciedo as potential sleeper for power? Seems like he has big power potential and he's still quite young

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Barely in my top 50 at OF, but the potential for growth is certainly there. Needs a lot of work on BB/K rate.

Mike (NY)

Three year keeper: Justin Upton or David Wright? Other keepers are Mike Trout and Andrew McCutheon. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Upton, to me, is the better player - but with two OF already in tow - and amazing ones at that, I would not begrudge the decision to go with Wright.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Myers, Taveras, or Eaton for first pick in an annual dynasty draft?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Personally, I lean Eaton - but we're dealing with the unknown really...

Jeff (Wlatham, MA)

AJ, typically you give the most sound advice and don't fall into the hype machine. So, I ask, what are your expectations for young guys like Rizzo, Machado, and J.Montero this season? Is this the year they breakout? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Montero, to me, is the closest to being ready to making that leap into the top 10 at his position.

Will (SC)

I always see all the ESPN analysts with their own individual ranks. Is one of your guys', on average, more accurate or better to follow than another or the overall general rankings?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

I don't have an answer to that. What I can say is that we all approach the rankings process a bit differently, and that's why none of our lists is the same. To me, it all comes down to making your own decisions, then using these ranks as a gut check rather than gospel.

James (Chicago, Illinois)

If you don't get Cano, Kinsler, or Pedroia are you picking up a crappy 2B and banking Profar is up early?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

I don't know if "crappy" is the word I would use. I certainly have no problem waiting and taking an Altuve after many rounds have passed - and if I grab Profar as "a lottery ticket" as well, there's nothing wrong with that.

Jeff (MI)

Starting a keeper league this year...if i land first pick and stud SPs can rule the points by years end...would u go JV, Kershaw or no matter what its Trout/braun/miggy and so on?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

If we're talking weekly H2H, then I don't take Verlander until No. 10. Yes, pitchers will have more total points than hitters, but not in relation to each other - and that's the key.

steve (hou)

How good really of a fantasy asset is Altuve?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Again, it comes down to format a bit. I have him ranked No. 16 at 2B in points leagues - but if I were kicking off a dynasty roto draft, he's my top pick because of his age and the 10-30 potential this year. It's all a bit relative, though. Not saying Altuve > Cano for 2013, but in 2016?

Luke (Minneapolis)

I am in a 12 Team H2H league where over half the league used all the pickups to stream SP every week. Is is a SMART idea to grab a couple more SP, and a few more earlier for quality, to better combat this risk/reward strategy?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

This is my issue with many H2H leagues - the streaming. I prefer to play in leagues where you set the lineup on Monday and leave it for the week, with only changes allowed due to actual injury. But yes, the best way to combat streaming is to fill your bench with pitchers, thinning the pool of possible stream candidates.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Think Ackley improves this year? Rather take a chance on him or Kipnis?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

I do have Kipnis ranked higher, but given the fences being moved in Seattle, I'd probably rather wait a few rounds more and take the chance on Ackley.

Michael (Milwaukee)

More likely to produce this year in SEA, Smoak or Morales?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

I'd say it's Kendrys.

Nevel (Montana)

Is drafting relievers like Clippard, Jansen, Hernandez, Fieri a sound strategy? I know your dumping saves, but they have sleeper potential to move into the role while keeping all your ERA & WHIP down.

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

You know at ESPN, the mantra is "don't pay for saves" but RP who don't close out games don't move the needle enough to merit a roster spot. Going all in on the "next in line" guys certainly could work, and to me, is preferable to grabbing "bad closers" just to have saves, but I don't know if going all-in like that is worth it.

Joe (Santa Cruz)

Keep Decision: Harper (Rd 16) or Molina (Rd 17)

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Harper. No discussion needed.

josh (hyattsville, md)

RP who don't close out games move the needle plenty with Holds and K/9

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

That's a horse of a different color. You always need to tailor your draft list to the categories you're using. Unless I hear otherwise, I assume standard 5x5.

Vince (New Orleans)

AJ Griffin a valuable late round target? He is the one Oakland pitcher who had good numbers AWAY from Oakland.

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

I've got them ranked Milone > Parker > Griffin

Cindy (Utah)

If BB is a category in a league, would you worry about it on draft day or simply focus on the 5 main hitting spots?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

I don't think you ignore a category that is in your scoring system... I'd use OBP as my guide rather than obsessing over specific walk totals, though.


what is you opinion of using both avg and obp categories?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

I like the use of equal numbers of counting stats as you do ratio stats. That's why I like K/9 over K's for example, if you're using Wins, Saves and Holds. If you're simply adding it to add it though, I think you need a better reason.

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

AJ, what's the dumbest scoring category that you've seen? I played in a league once with assists and putouts for hitters.

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)


Hal (Tenn)

12 Team league. How many SP should I have by the 12 round on my fantasy roster?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

No two drafts are the same, so there shouldn't be a hard and fast rule on that... you take the best value each round, and let that be the guide to how many SP you take... For me, having 3 at that point is probably the average, I'd guess.

John Kyles (NYC)

Where do you have Anderson in the A's rotation ranking?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)


Manny (Houston)

How do you think Josh Hamilton performs this year? Top 10?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I'm expecting top-20 OF and will be pleasantly surprised by anything more.

Walter White (The Winnie)

Thoughts on Lincecum and Lester this year? They come at a bargain price, but will they rebound?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Higher on Timmy than Lester. His second half was not that bad last year. I have faith.

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

That's all the time I've got for now... big things on the horizon today at the Mothership... I am on Twitter (@ajmass) if I didn't get to your query. Until the next time, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.