Week 21 Fantasy Baseball recap

one week to go

The intro...

So we're finally here, one more week until the end of the regular season! With the six playoff teams pretty much set (Aaron just needs to win 1 stat next week to clinch the last spot), this past week and next week are all about determining seeds for the first-round matchups. Jesse and I have first-round byes clinched, but injuries and slumps have left our top two teams looking awfully vulnerable lately, so we're happy to have earned that week off.

These last couple weeks are also about preparing our rosters for the playoffs...some of us said goodbye to guys that have been thorns in our sides all year (Yoenis, Lincecum, CC Sabathia, Starlin Castro to name a few), with others bringing on promising young bucks (oh hai Tai Walker).

As for the matchups themselves? They weren't too bad...Niko and Eliot had a close battle that could be a playoff preview, while Aaron won thanks to Sean's dereliction, I lost by less than I should have thanks to Oscar's dereliction, and Jesse's dereliction enabled Pete to beat the everliving shit out of him.


Alright, let's get to it!

Eliot vs. Niko

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Benchings bar Bays from further Swanson smashing

This league has been kind of sleepy lately with everyone waiting for the playoffs to start, but this matchup was an exception, a close battle that featured an agreeable amount of shit-talking as well. Of course, with Eliot involved, Yasiel Puig played a central role in the spiciness. Puig got benched after being a slacker in the field during Wednesday's game, and maybe that was the kick in the ass he needed. After slumping recently, he went bonkers with a .458 average and two HR's this week. It wasn't all roses for the Puigs though...they would have won the RBI stat if they didn't bench Aramis Ramirez on Tuesday, when he went 4-for-5 with a homer and the 4 ribbies that would have made the difference in the stat. Ouch. Miggy Cabrera is also out again with another injury, so that will be something to definitely keep an eye on come playoff time. The Nancies were thoroughly outclassed in average, but had enough power to push past the Puigs by the end of the week, led by their three outfielders who had two homers each (Stanton, Choo and Werth).

Eliot also had a benching bite him in the ass on the pitching side. He sat Jered Weaver again (after doing so last Sunday too) and he got a win, which of course would have won that stat. Luckily for the Puigs, the Nancies struggled mightily on the mound to start the week. A day after Niko talked up his boy King Felix, he dropped a massive turd on the Nancies via a nine-run outing Wednesday. Niko also got Fistered for seven runs and 13 hits by Oakland on the same day, leading to some ugly early numbers for the Swanson staff. I've learned from his comments (and roster moves) that Niko is a total Mariners homer, and he picked up Seattle's top prospect Taijuan Walker for a promising start on Friday, one unearned run in five innings. We'll see if he's a guy worth holding onto during the playoffs. The top guy for Niko though continues to be Zack Greinke, who had two wins, a 1.72 ERA and is even being a beast in the batter's box. It's too bad you can't put those hitting stats toward your team. Yet Eliot was able to hang on for the overall win thanks to his own stud, James Shield who was even better with two wins and a 0.63 ERA. Wow. The win puts Eliot in the driver's seat for the #3 seed, but Niko still has a chance to get it back.

Jesse vs. Pete

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Jesse dumps Yoenis, suffers bad loss. COINCIDENCE???

First things first...JESSE DROPPED YOENIS. WHILE PLAYING AGAINST SHOW ME YOENIS. Now Cespedes been sitting on the waiver wire for a couple days...Pete, why haven't you picked him up?? Oh yeah, he's hitting like .220. That just won't do for Pete, who showed EVERYONE his Yoenis by hitting .400 with six homers in just the first three days of the week. Wow. Of course he had to regress to the mean by the end of the week, but still ended up with quite sexy numbers. For Jesse, Hunter Pence had a pretty good week, particularly Tuesday when he hit the longest HR so far this year in the bigs. But apart from that and a nice 4-SB week from Alexei Ramirez, the Tacos weren't really about shit this week on offense.

On the pitching side, let's pour out a 40 for the rough end to Matt Harvey's fantasy season. After dominating the league this year, Harvey now joins a list of young guys who pitched a lot of innings and got a lot of K's who ended up with elbow issues. It's an undoubtedly big blow to Jesse's title hopes, so we'll see if he can recover. I think Harvey himself will recover just fine...he's dating a supermodel. The Taco pitchers definitely missed their ace, as they couldn't keep up with the Yoenises. Pete got off to a hot start with a sub-2.00 ERA for most of the week, while Jesse was asleep at the wheel, sitting Zimmermann on Friday when he was down in all the pitching stats and doing the same with Anibal Sanchez on Saturday and Verlander on Sunday. I was with Jesse on Saturday (kicked his ass in tennis again) and he didn't really have a good excuse...he's just not paying full attention again until the postseason like most of us. Pete had a nice 12 K win from Chris Sale and enough other goodness to win most pitching stats. This could be another playoff preview, and Jesse's jolly bunch have to hope it goes better than this spanking. Maybe you should check your lineup once in a while?

Dan vs. Oscar

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Remiss Roiders still slaughter pitiful Piggies

This was looking UGLY early on. Oscar went ahead quickly in the offensive stats, including putting up a crazy 11 runs in one day on Wednesday. The run category may have had the biggest blowout that I've seen this year, and average wasn't even close either. My offense needs some MAJOR help right now. I haven't hit above .260 in a week since Week 13! It doesn't help that ALL MY DAMN OUTFIELDERS have gotten injured. Even Dexter Fowler, a replacement for another injured guy, got injured himself this week. Blurg. Oscar didn't even have one crazy standout in his big numbers, just impressive roiding across the board.

Luckily for me, Oscar pays zero attention to the league anymore (if he ever did in the first place), allowing me to stream some pitchers to come back in the pitching stats. I've been picking some good-ass streamers lately, and hit the jackpot again with Ricky Nolasco throwing eight scoreless with 11 K's on Wednesday. Unfortunately, all that sexiness was erased by the worst start of Adam Wainwright's career (9 runs in 2 innings!). Oscar didn't even have particularly good numbers besides piling up a bunch of saves between Balfour and Rafael Soriano. You know what, I doubt he reads this since he doesn't even look at his team, so let's just move on.

Aaron vs. Sean

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Gaudin goes goodbye :(

Sean's team has kind of come on strong here at the end despite him hardly looking at his roster, and he gave Aaron all sorts of trouble this week. Speaking of trouble from coming on too strong, he finally cut bait with Chad Gaudin! That's too bad. The Gropers did have some good pitching this week (scoreless outings and wins from both Homer Bailey and Kris Medlen), and could have easily won the win and strikeout stats if he had simply streamed a couple of pitchers. But alas, he did nothing, allowing Aaron to come back. The Shits had pitching that was pure, well...shit. A 5.62 ERA that was capped off perfectly by Joaquin Benoit giving up 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning, good for a hilarious 108 ERA today. Benoit did at least manage a vulture win earlier in the week, helping Aaron to tie that stat. Francisco Liriano continues to be one of Aaron's few consistent pitchers and had another sterling start this week with a shutout win.

Sean's hitting was also pretty feisty this week with a .300 average, but he was a bit unlucky to not have that translate into more runs and RBI. The difference for Aaron was Alfonso Soriano, who has raked for the Yankees since he got traded there. He's streaky as hell though, so I doubt he keeps it up by the time we reach our playoffs. Adrian Gonzalez added two homers on Friday, while Ian Desmond had a pretty damn sexy weekly stat line (5/1/6/2/.480). Martin Prado and Victor Martinez continued raking for the Gropers, both hitting higher than .430 this week. Unfortunately, like most weeks for poor Sean, it just wasn't good enough. :(

Predictions

Final week of the regular season!

NIKO VS. PETE (season series: 2-1 Niko)
This matchup has the most playoff seeding implications since both of these guys are in the 3 through 6 group. Pete has righted the ship ever since these two teams' fateful last matchup in Week 15, when the Yoenises pulled the boner of boners and sat Lincecum during his no-hitter. I think he'll do just enough to pull out a win this week. Prediction: Pete, 5-4.

ELIOT VS. SEAN (season series: 2-0-1 Eliot)
Sean's offense has been a lot better lately, but I think his run of good fortune ends in a big way here. The Bays have been on fire lately, going 6-1-1 against the rest of the league in the last eight weeks. and shouldn't have much trouble against the Gropers. Prediction: Eliot, 8-1.

DAN VS. AARON (season series: 2-1 Dan)
I have absolutely nothing to play for this week and will likely be paying more attention to my fantasy football teams with that season finally starting. Aaron is still fighting to clinch the last playoff seed, so let's give this one to him. Prediction: Aaron, 7-3.

JESSE VS. OSCAR (season series: 3-0 Jesse)
These guys hardly bother looking at their teams these days, so let's just call it a tie and move on, no one cares. Prediction: Tie, 5-5.

Last Harbinger of Your Wasted Time

Fantasy football draft recaps

This week these little Piggies were all about the pigskin, participating in three drafts, starting with the one including half of this league. Jesse, an admitted NFL noob, picked a not-horrible team, although his late-round Duck pickup of Lamichael James is already looking bad since James is out for a while with a sprained MCL. Aaron's team is alright but doesn't have anyone I'm all that crazy about. Oscar no-showed for the draft (shocking, I know) and his team looks pretty god-awful. I'm pretty happy about my team, which benefited from the first pick and got Peterson, then followed that up with Cam Newton, Jimmy Graham and some other guys I'm high on this year. Not bad for a 14-team draft.

The other two leagues I'm in were with Pete and some other friends. Yahoo gave Pete's teams among their worst draft grades in each league, so one can only hope that the computers are right.

Speaking of Pete...I'm not sure why, but he never sent me an embarrassing picture to put on my Facebook page to settle our bet from last week. I was expecting it Sunday night or Monday, but it never came. With every passing day, I tried to avoid talking to him like guys avoid talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter because I didn't want to spoil it. Well now it's late Sunday night and the window to settle the bet has closed, so I can finally exhale. Whether he decided to take pity on a friend and give him a reprieve or just pulled another derelict boner move as is his wont, maybe we'll never know. It did get me to shut up for a whole week, so that's probably a win for Pete anyways.

Alright, see you dudes next week,

Dan