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March 6, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (11:01 AM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session. I am Eric. Today we'll be discussing fantasy baseball, though if I see a football question we can certainly answer that as well. I spent a few days in Arizona this past weekend; loved it! Baseball's the best. Thanks for showing up and let's get to answering your questions...

Ryno (P-ford Meeeeechigan)

Hey EK, got a draft coming up and both Cano and Braun are in my pre-auction budget. Should I exercise extreme caution and focus elsewhere or do you feel I'd be safe proceeding to spend big bucks on them?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

I see no risk with these fellows, so go for it. In fact, I acquired Braun for $40 in the LABR-NL auction on Sunday, so clearly I wasn't concerned. Whatever works for you... some people don't like to spend, instead being more balanced.

Bryan (nyc)

In leagues where holds are a category unto themselves, why does everyone still draft closers ahead of "8th inning guys"?

Eric Karabell
  (11:04 AM)

Beats me. I wouldn't! I was in a league that counted holds and saves together a few years ago and I would wait until the final rounds and just select top setup men... that year Daniel Bard, for example, was more valuable than just about any closer...

Yanni (Linden, NJ)

I have to keep one of these 3 guys: Granderson, Ellsbury, Carlos Santana. H2H but 5x5 categories

Eric Karabell
  (11:05 AM)

I would keep Ellsbury. While he could certainly miss games, we know Granderson is out until at least mid-May, and even when he returns, he's riskier than normal. Plus, I rarely draft a player I'm sure won't even hit .250. And catchers... you can wait. Ellsbury should be a 15-homer, 40-steal guy..

Sam (akron)

Eric, I'm so flummoxed!!!! I don't know whether to keep Profar for $8 in a keeper league. My other choices are Heyward for $35, Kimbrel for $27 or Kipnis for $21. I'm absolutely playing for this year, but perhaps I should keep Profar and look to trade him when he comes up?

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

I'd probably keep Kipnis there. I like Profar a lot, but it's far from assured that he gets even half a season of at-bats in 2013. Kipnis is a top-5 second baseman, and that's a decent price. The prices for Heyward and Kimbrel are a bit inflated though. Profar's price is fine for the future, but for this year...

Jack (White plains)

Eric, Ryno is asking about Cano because of the PED rumors of those two players, what are your thoughts on the four guys being rumored as failing the test?

Eric Karabell
  (11:07 AM)

I couldn't have fewer concerns about Braun and Cano. Non-issue for me and most others.

Adam (NC)

Good mid-morning EK,you talk about drafting stats, not position scarcity. So what do I do with SS and 2B?

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

Nothing. Take best availables in draft or auction, and if they happen to be middle infield eligible, awesome. I would not reach too far for the positions that aren't as strong as others. Never do. It's about constructing an entire offense, and if you've got a great one but have to deal with Brendan Ryan at middle infield, so be it. All that matters are the team numbers and you can always upgrade.

Craig (St. Paul, MN)

I can keep three in a standard 10 team points league. Definitely going Wright in the 3rd round and Bumgarner in the 10th, but am torn on Bourn in the 8th or Cueto in the 16th. Usually I'd go with the hitter, but Cueto is such a steal that late. Would you still go hitter?

Eric Karabell
  (11:09 AM)

Not a big fan of Bourn in that round, but yeah, I'd still go with him. At least you know he'll steal many bases. Cueto is a bargain there but you can draft 20 guys like Cueto.

Pat (New York)

Which Brewer outfielder is more likely to repeat their success of a year ago: Aoki or Gomez?

Eric Karabell
  (11:09 AM)

I say Aoki. I don't really trust the power Gomez flashed, and I do not like taking players that can't hit for average.

John (Philly)

Who are some good DL stashes? Would you prefer Beachy or Pineda?

Eric Karabell
  (11:10 AM)

No question, it's Beachy. He might miss half the season, but it's an elbow. Shoulders are trickier and Pineda scares me.

Greg (Maryland)

Anything to worry about with S Santos arm injury? Hurt his chances of dethroning Jansen?

Eric Karabell
  (11:10 AM)

I doubt he was taking over the closer role anyway, but yeah, not helping. Wouldn't shock me if the Jays, spending as they are, signed Valverde or Wilson anyway.

Pat (New York)

What do you project for Andrelton Simmons - do you think he could be a good late round option if you punt shortstop?

Eric Karabell
  (11:12 AM)

Why is that punting? The guy could lead off, score a lot of runs, hit close to double digit homers and steal some bases. I don't view that as punting, and I'd be fine waiting until late if the rest of my offense is strong. The goal is NOT to have OK offensive options across the board but not enough to win any of the hitter stats; it's to win all the categories, and sometimes that's easier done with stars and scrubs (And Simmons is not a scrub)

Pat (New York)

In a 12 team mixed league, where Prado is eligible at 2B/SS - in what round approximately would you start to target him?

Eric Karabell
  (11:13 AM)

I like what he contributes, but honestly, I don't move him up much just because he can play middle infield. Maybe a round. Check round 15 and there's a lack of offense at any position, including corners and outfield...

AG (MA)

Keep Stanton for a 3rd rounder or Wright for an 8th rounder? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (11:14 AM)

Wright. I have each of these guys early in round 2, so the difference in pick lost is key here.

Adam (NC)

you have made my day EK. Stanton over Tulo it is!Knowing offense before pitching, if the big 3 pitchers are gone (Stras, V, Kershaw), when are you taking your first pitcher

Eric Karabell
  (11:15 AM)

Every draft is different, so I can't say I ever head into a draft saying "it will be round 4" or whatever. React to what the draft allows, what the market bears. And I actually have Tulo ranked better than Stanton.

Rob (Philly)

Will the Royals bump Hosmer to OF during interleague games?

Eric Karabell
  (11:15 AM)

Perhaps, but I doubt he'll add eligibility there. He's gonna hit so well it won't matter.

Jim (Kansas)

Would you trade King Felix/Rymer Liriano/Nate Karns for Manny Machado/Jeremy Hellickson/Jorge Soler in a dynasty 5x5 roto league? Team built for '14 but having a hard time saying goodbye to the king

Eric Karabell
  (11:16 AM)

I sure would. I think Machado is a future top-10 fantasy stud.

Samson (The Beach)

EK, whose value changes most dramatically in a 6x6 league with OBP and Ks?

Eric Karabell
  (11:18 AM)

Well, K's are already a category for pitchers, so not sure what you mean. If your league didn't have K's then guys with many K's but higher peripherals like Lincecum, Morrow are better. But for hitters if you add OBP, then Adam Dunn and Carlos Pena become reasonable, especially if you cut out batting average.

Dan (MA)

I am have plenty of steals with Trout and Reyes, so should I also keep Aramis Ramirez or Ellsbury?

Eric Karabell
  (11:19 AM)

Case can be made, but let me say I'd keep the best player and if you find you have so many steals that you can trade then do so. I'd keep Ellsbury over Aramis because if both are healthy then he's more valuable. I'd deal with filling third base and power later... plus, Aramis is hurt right now, it might lead into April.

Brian (NY)

Why are you high on Rutledge? 9 BB's in 277 ABs.

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

I'm not high on him, actually. He's someone that could hit for power and run enough but I have doubts he's really a good player. Then again, the Rockies might not even care if his OBP is .305. They might not notice!

Adam (NC)

How does injury concern change in a H2H league (i.e., playoffs)Would you bump up Longoria at all?

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

Not really. Certainly he's riskier than other studs for injury, so if anything I'd bump him back...but I wouldn't worry about it. Plenty of players are hurt or worse yet because you can't sit them, just fatigued and we don't know it.

Dale (Atlanta)

Hey EK, I can either keep Verlander or Wieters and Aramis Ramirez. Conventional wisdom usually says keep the hitters, but you gotta keep JV, right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:22 AM)

Yeah, I keep Verlander there over a catcher that can't hit for average and an old third baseman.

Johnny (Billerica, MA)

I have Robinson Cano in a Keeper League, what do you think is good value if I am looking to trade him? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

Basically Trout, Braun or Cabrera, plus McCutchen or Kemp. That's about it in a 1-for-1.

Jay (Madison)

What would have to be the situation for you to draft a pitcher in round 1 of a H-2-H points league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

All the hitters were kept. Or it's a 5x0 league with no hitters.

Brian (NY)

Thoughts on SEA hitters this season like Montero, Morales, Ackely w/ moved in fence and more lineup protection?

Eric Karabell
  (11:25 AM)

Lineup protection is a myth. Means nothing. Ackley will eventually emerge but it won't be because Mike Morse is now in the Seattle lineup, trust me. I think guys with power will hit no matter the ballpark, like Montero. But fence adjustments don't turn guys like Ackley into Robby Cano, so don't overrate it.

Bill (Boston)

Expectations for Adam Eaton this year? .290, 15, 70, 30 too much to ask?

Eric Karabell
  (11:25 AM)

I'd say more like 10 home runs, but yeah, he's legit. Talked to him Sunday and I think he knows he's gonna be good.

Craig (Bronx)

AL only 10 team 4x4. 260 Auction. Which 2 offer the best value? Napoli (16) Machado (4) Zobrist (27) Crisp (17) Alexi Ramirez (14)Dirks (2) Quntana (4) Scherzer (24). Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

Machado is obvious. Everyone else is overpriced, except Dirks, who really isn't great. Scherzer without the K's is hardly special. I'd prob go with Machado and Dirks and bring lots of money to the auction where you can get guys like Zobrist for cheaper.

Derek (Seattle)

Speaking of Seattle, they have been tearing the cover off the ball this spring. Is there any hope there or is all just a tease? Lol

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

It really couldn't matter less what they're doing in early March. History shows it.

Bickford Bacon (Boston)

If you had to pick either SS or 3B to go cheapo on this year, which one is it? I was thinking 3B, and maybe going with some Youk/Frazier type platoon with late draft picks.

Eric Karabell
  (11:28 AM)

Why would you pick any position to go cheapo? Again, it's like a puzzle, putting together an offense... see what's available in the draft and adjust on the fly. Don't go into a draft saying you won't get a good third baseman.

Rob (Philly)

What catcher leads baseball in homers? Not that he'd be a contender, but V-Mart included.

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

I think it's Santana, personally. Martinez is not a home run hitter... might hit half as many as Santana.

Rob (Philly)

Smoak or Belt in 2013...who ya got?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

That's easy. Belt is going to be terrific. Smoak probably gets dumped on a team like the Pirates in July.

david (pa)

Why are you and everyone else so high on Wright? Third base is as deep as ever.

Eric Karabell
  (11:30 AM)

Stop with the deep/scarce positions. Not true. And Wright is a top-20 hitter, regardless of position. Check out round 15 and the third basemen available and you won't think the position is as deep as ever when you're stuck with Chris Johnson.

Bill (Ohio)

I see you are really high on Darvish this season as well as I am. Is it too much to give up Wainwright and Shields to get him? Currently have Verlander as my ace. If I traded those 2 to get Darvish I would either have to keep G Holland or Bundy. Thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (11:31 AM)

I like Wainwright, too, so that seems like a lot to give up, but if you're making room for keeper purposes I see the point. Verlander/Darvish is a devastating 1-2. And assuming you draft well you can do worse than keeping Bundy. He'll eventually be a monster.

John (Philly)

450 ABs for Belt - over/under? Projection line .290/20/86/10 about right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:32 AM)

Over on the at-bats, and I think those numbers are reachable, but to be safe I've got more like .275-15-80-12.

Andrew (SF)

In an OBP league, Votto over Albert & Prince, yes?

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

Yes, absolutely. I ranked Votto in round 2, which some people think is ridiculous, but he's got one 30-homer season. If you add OBP the guy is top-5 overall...

Cas (Orlando)

Is Freddie Freeman a legit option for 1B?

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

Went for $25 in the LABR-NL auction, so yeah, I'd say so.

CJ (Michigan)

Yo yo, EK!! I normally wait and wait and wait on closers, but this year I'm in a 20 team league. Should I change my strategy and start taking closers (and holds guys for that matter) earlier since it's such a deep league??

Eric Karabell
  (11:35 AM)

I only do that if the pool of reasonable options dries up. See what the market bears. Participated in a mock draft yesterday and was the last guy to take closers, and still got 3 that I liked. It's supply vs. demand, always.

Karl (Grand LeBlanc, MI)

Who has a higher chance to maintain their '12 season; Yadier Molina or RA Dickey?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

I'd say Molina, legit power and he likes to run and he's durable and not switching leagues... but really I am confident in both.

Brian (NY)

Are you targeting Garza on the cheap now or staying away?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

In general I want nothing to do with him. I fear this isn't merely an April thing. In a deeper league I'd take him late, but even then... got a bad feeling on him.

Dan (Cambridge, MD)

I missed out on all the closers. Who are some guys your targeting that could end up closing in a few weeks or months?

Eric Karabell
  (11:37 AM)

Well, rumor is Marmol could be dealt any day now, so Fujikawa. And Parnell could easily keep the job in NY. I still think Melancon gets some saves in Pitt, too.

Bill (Ohio)

When do you see Bundy being called up this season? Projections?

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

I personally think the Orioles have to be patient, and will be when they are not contending in July. So I'd say 4 or 5 starts in September. Sorry, probably not what you were hoping I would say, but the guy is 20.

mike (los angeles)

Having a hard time deciding between the ever-faithful Konerko & young pup Hosmer, keeping just for 2013. Hosmer is $1 more.

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

Like 'em both but no contest, the young guy.

Brian (PA)

I drafted Garza. Would you drop him for Cahill, Cobb, Maholm, or Wandy?

Eric Karabell
  (11:39 AM)

With little difference in a few of those guys, it tells me there's depth in your league. The season doesn't start for more than 3 weeks so I would just wait and see what's most attractive then. We should know more about Garza by then, too. But in general, yeah, I'd drop him eventually...

Samson (The Beach)

Re: Ks, I was referring to offensive Ks.

Eric Karabell
  (11:39 AM)

Well then you don't want Adam Dunn.

eric (philly)

who play s2nd for the cardinals

Eric Karabell
  (11:42 AM)

The Cardinals are, in a way, proof that it doesn't matter if every spot on your team/lineup is great. They are just fine going with Kozma/Descalso up the middle because they know the big bats will hit. It's like a fantasy team. Of course we can do better than Kozma/Descalso, but it's why I don't take Ian Kinsler in round 2. Take a better option. To answer your query, I think Wong should be the guy, but I really doubt he makes the team. They'll prob try to make Capenter play there... but it will be Kozma/Descalso with Cedeno at SS mostly. And that's fine. They'll still make the playoffs.

Andrew (SF)

This year I'm suscribing to the idea that you can't win your league with your 1st round pick, but you can lose it. With that said, I have been/still am drawn towards Tulo, especially since my league requires a SS, 2B, and additional Middle Infielder. Are you scared, or is he good value for the late 1st/early 2nd?

Eric Karabell
  (11:43 AM)

For years I subscribed to that, but no longer. I've had drafts in which my first pick did nothing and still won. It's about the entirety of the team. I have Tulo in round 1, but not because I believe middle infield is scarce. It's not. There's enough out there. All the positions lack deep league depth. Tulo is great second round value to me.

Todd (Ohio)

You preach keep hitting over pitching. I have to let 1 go in a AL Only league. Price24, Moore13, VMart5, Jones17, Bautista17, Longoria25, Butler22, have to let Moore go with these hitters, correct?

Eric Karabell
  (11:44 AM)

I'd prob let go of VMart, even at that price, but in general yes, go with bats. Moore is just really really good though.

Rob (Philly)

Who gets the most saves for Detroit this year?

Eric Karabell
  (11:45 AM)

Probably Rondon. Lots of panic already in Detroit (apologies to David Bowie) but it's March 6. He's got nearly a month to fix whatever is wrong. This is a really long spring training so don't get too caught up in rumors. If Rondon is demoted, I would go with Albuerqueque/Coke, but who knows what Leyland is thinking.

Cas (Orlando)

So Moore's rough spring thus far isn't concerning?

Eric Karabell
  (11:45 AM)

No. If we worried about every pitcher's numbers... I mean, did you see Hamels yesterday? Does. Not. Matter.

Jake (Oklahoma)

I inexplicably like Ian Kennedy and want to keep him in a 12 team H2H league where we keep 8. Can you talk to me off the edge?

Eric Karabell
  (11:46 AM)

Couldn't possibly do so without knowing what else you've got. I've kept pitchers before because I didn't have suitable hitters.

Vic (NH)

Ever consider loading up on starting pitching during the draft and relying on free agency and trading to acquire closers in a 12 team 5x5 mixed league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:47 AM)

Sure. Closers are always changing... more than a third of opening day closers last year lost their roles. Some would say that means acquire a top-shelf guy... but some of them lost it too.

Max and Jacob (Murrieta)

Rank the Angels outfield from a fantasy perspective

Eric Karabell
  (11:48 AM)

1. Trout.2. Trout.3. Trout.4. Hamilton.5. Trumbo6. Bourjos.25. Wells.

Jake (Oklahoma)

It's between Kennedy and Profar

Eric Karabell
  (11:48 AM)

I would keep Profar and be patient even if he's demoted. That's a mistake many owners make; they keep the right guy and then on April 10th they panic and drop him for Mike Pelfrey. Don't be that guy. It's a loooooooong season.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Ricky Romero-rebound candidate?

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

Absolutely would go with him late in an AL-only.

mike (los angeles)

Will David Robertson have fantasy relevance this year or ever, Soriano is gone & Mo can only hold on for so much longer?!

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

Is next in line for saves, and should get some chances this season. Rivera isn't a lock... serious injury. And in 2014...we would assume it's Robertson closing.

Petey (Pablo)

EK, help me out with this group of SPs in the 30-40 range: Lester, JJ, CJ Wilson, Haren, Peavy. Who are you highest on?

Eric Karabell
  (11:50 AM)

I still like Haren there... moving to NL, will fan many pitchers, and even if he misses a few starts, the WHIP will be low.

Brian (Boston, MA)

Who should I keep in a points league? Buster Posey or Cole Hamels

Eric Karabell
  (11:51 AM)

I wouldn't take Posey in the top 20 of a standard league, but I wouldn't take Hamels there either. Go with Posey.

Cas (Orlando)

Does Longoria's health scare you off of him?

Eric Karabell
  (11:51 AM)

It does not.

Jerry (Portland)

Is this the year we see Jay Bruce blossom into a top tier OF?

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

He's already there. He can't be a first-rounder without stealing bases and hitting for average, and I don't see those things changing. But pretty solid in the 4th or 5th.

Art Pennypacker (NJ)

Which side of this trade would you rather have in a keeper league: Greinke/Myers or Lawrie/Bauer

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

Greinke side. There's no assurance Bauer blossoms. And you're not worried about 2018 today.

Chris (Texas)

Got the dreaded 4th pick in my draft!! Who do I take, the "reliable" Cano or upside with Kemp? Or pay one of the top three guys to not pick one of the top three guys...

Eric Karabell
  (11:53 AM)

It's not dreaded! Top 3 would be better, but nothing wrong with No. 4. I'd actually go Cano now. Upside is a crazy word... if Cano does the same thing every year and lacks "upside" is that bad?

Adam (NC)

Lots of talk about Jeff Luhnow turning aroung the Astros. They will lose 100 games again this year. How long do I need to wait.

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

If I were an Astros fan I would feel really good about the long-term future. I would. Certainly better than the team I root for, where everyone is old and decaying and the GM thinks - real quote here - that Delmon Young "used to be a plus defender in right field"...that made me laugh out loud. Amazing. Astros will lose 100... and perhaps in 2014 too...but eventually, it will be fixed.

Mike (NYC)

What do you see from Hunter Pence this year? Is he going to continue the slide that started when he was traded to SF?

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

No. He will bounce back to some degree. Sleeper this year being overlooked because of one tough batting average half of season. He can hit in SF.

Derek (Seattle)

How many leagues do you play in each year?

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Enough that I root for my fave team first, then worry about fantasy later. And really, I don't have that many teams I will care about. Less than 10.

Mike (NYC)

Jayson Stark just reported that signs point to Bryce Harper batting 3rd for Washington. Who bats 2nd and 4th in that scenario?

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

I think Harper wins NL MVP this year. I do. So I applaud the Nationals. The guy is ready. Doesn't matter who hits 2/4, but I'd go Werth 2, since Span is 1st and he and Harper bat lefty, and Zimmerman cleanup. Terrific lineup, best team in baseball, and that's from a Phillies fan. Gotta be and always am honest...

Andy (MT)

EK, in a dynasty league with Teix as starter with no real depth on my bench. Any young 1B you'd target? Thoughts on Matt Adams?

Eric Karabell
  (12:00 PM)

I'd get Adams now... if Craig misses time, it's Adams playing. But I don't assume Craig misses time. And really, Teixeira should be fine for April... it's a month away!

Ben (Boston)

Why do you think Austin Jackson is so popular this year? In the AL LABR he went for $27 by your buddy cockroft! I'm lost on his inflated value. Any insight?

Eric Karabell
  (12:00 PM)

Jackson says he will run more this year. Certainly has the speed to do so.

Adam (NYC)

Shane Victorino really floundered in LA last year after being traded. How much will be bounce back this year on the Red Sox? What line do you expect?

Eric Karabell
  (12:01 PM)

Same as Pence. People writing them off way too soon. Guy steals 39 bases and nobody wants him...Victorino is in my top 100. Great place to hit in Fenway... .270-15-60-30.

Eric Karabell
  (12:02 PM)

OK, that is all the time we've got for this fine day, so I thank you for checking in and for your interest. We couldn't have these awesome jobs that we love without you, and we appreciate your attention. Baseball is the best. Have a great day and good luck prepping for your drafts. I will be back chatting next Wednesday at 11 am ET...Adios!