Closing Down

After years of playing ESPN Fantasy Baseball, I have collaborated a series of “winning” strategies into one that has won five championships and trips to playoffs in all the others: FORGET CLOSERS. You may have heard it somewhere before, but it’s become evident to me that the majority of ESPN Fantasy users have not.

When draft day came this year, it humored me to see other owners draft Brian Wilson and Jonathan Broxton in the 7th round because they’re¬†projected to be the best closers in the game. I happily grabbed Jared Weaver two picks after Wilson and thought to myself, “I wonder how many HUNDRED more points Jared will get then The Beard this year?” So far Weaver is second in overall points to Roy Halladay with 205 and Wilson just broke 100 this week. As the draft got into the later rounds, an owner trying to analyze my team messaged me saying, “Your going to suck this year bro, you have no closers, and no one’s left on the board….” I didn’t write back, and needed no response as I take my all SP pitching staff and 5-1 record into week 7. Its been pretty simple: the equation of IP/K’s/ERA/WHIP of starting pitchers adds up to a whole lot more points than relievers.

It pains me to spoon feed my strategy to the world, but it takes more than a simple strategy to win. Lineup execution, free agent swiping, and start projections are all necessary to achieve fantasy greatness.

All this being said, my Yahoo leagues are struggling in the very same category: closing pitching. In all Yahoo leagues, having solid closers is crucial to your success because of the categorical way of scoring. Solid, consistent closing performance brings your ERA/WHIP down for the week, adds a few strikeouts, and gets you your saves. This young season has definitely thrown me a curveball with 6 highly productive closers going to the DL:

1. Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies (shoulder)
2. David Aardsma, Seattle Mariners (hip surgery)
3. Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (elbow)
4. Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics (forearm tightness)
5. Jose Contreras, Philadelphia Phillies (elbow)
6. Brandon Lyon, Houston Astros (shoulder)

Not only have these 6 been useless, but Fernando Rodney, Ryan Franklin, and Joe Nathan have found themselves riding pine and being replaced. For my readers that may be having the same problem, these backups turned waiver wire steals will help you out:

1. Sergio Santos RP Chicago White Sox

2. Vicente Padilla SP/RP Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Ryan Madson RP Philadelphia Phillies

4. Mark Melancon RP Houston Astros

5. Frank Francisco RP Toronto Blue Jays

6. Brian Fuentes RP Oakland Athletics

7. Eduardo Sanchez RP St. Louis Cardinals

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