Tout Table: Choosing Bats Down the Stretch

As a follow up to the last Tout Table on Pitching, the Touts were asked:

How do you go about deciding what hitters to have active and is the process any different now than it was earlier in the season?

Brent Hershey (Baseball HQ, @BrentHQ): I start reading the tea leaves from an MLB-team playing time perspective more than earlier in the season. Much more consideration this time of year to which MLB squads are in the playoff hunt, and which ones are not, and how that affects MLB playing time. It’s not the only example, but many gains to be had from ID’ing out-of-the-race teams and looking for which positions they are holding early 2022 auditions for. Rangers outfielders; Nationals infielders, etc. And note that the players getting longer looks might not always be prospects.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): I think the biggest difference relates to playing the scoreboard. We know exactly where we have leads and deficits in the standings and should be able to calculate which of those can change. Generally (though not always), I’ll use more volatile players over safe choices if I need to overcome specific deficits. An example of that would look something like using Hunter Renfroe over Bryan Reynolds if I know I need to max out power. Conversely, if I’m preserving leads, I’ll check the standings often and plan accordingly – you never know when a rival is going to catch a huge performance and change your plans.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): Playing time decisions are pretty periodic in nature, so the best bet is to look at your players’ teams **at the moment** to decide who might play and who might not. In general, it might be true that teams in playoff contention are less enthusiastic about bringing in new young talent, and that teams out of the running will want to “see what they have” for next year and/or want to protect their veterans from adding wear and tear in a lost cause. But while those factors are generally probably true, they are rules that are bound to have a ton of exceptions because of specific circumstances. So in a weekly-moves league, sit down on Sunday (or whenever) and go through your player’s teams and see if there are any extenuating circumstances that supercede the general rules.

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): As we come to the end of the season my attention shifts from bulk at bats to plate appearances that are going to help. Depending on the standings this can mean benching homer hitters with bad averages, or playing them. Depends on how the categories break. The goal is to maximize where one can without giving the points away elsewhere. Also, weekly pitching matchups indicate whose chances are better or worse, though that isn’t so much an edge that you won’t get burned at times.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): In all fairness, it’s probably too late to make a move. Altering the roster’s makeup should have happened around the All-Star break to make progress in certain categories. The only players I may target a little more are regulars on contending teams. The team is hoping to make the playoffs, so they’ll play their best hitters

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): My primary process is still looking at the Razzball weekly hitter values and picking the best possible starting 14. These 14 are likely to also have the most projected PAs. If there are some coin flip decisions, I’m more likely this time of year to use the Roto standings to pick the best option (especially for SB-centric players).

Jock Thompson (Baseball HQ, @JOCKatHQ): At the beginning of the season, it’s mostly about playing time and my general valuation of the hitter, opposing SPs maybe a little. Now it’s immediate playing time,immediate schedule friendliness (opposition pitching staff) and how hot/cold the hitter might be.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): I pay more attention to hitters by 7 day, 14 day, and 30 day statistics versus what they have done on the season. I also try to spot the hitters that are trending in the right direction and not fading down the stretch. That can be masked in their overall stats, versus a smaller sample size in reverse chronological order.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Schedule is a major concern, 7 games is better than 5! I’m realistically looking at the categories I can improve in, and trying to use players who should produce what I need. Somehow I’m overloaded in stolen bases and need RBI. I also look at the upcoming pitchers and try to stay away from the aces, and still try to get guys in going to Colorado,

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): In leagues where counting statistics provide an opportunity for points gained, getting as many at-bats possible and targeting team needs remains tantamount down the stretch. Bradley Zimmer getting a combo meal on Wednesday helps in two categories. Discerning the best match-ups each Monday and Friday based on opponent along with if a hitter resides in a platoon makes a difference with five weeks remaning.

Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, @BretSayreBP): In my opinion, there’s a lot of overthinking about lineup construction when it comes to the end of the season. I’m going with my best hitters regardless of who they match up with, but in the case of a tiebreaker situation, I will look for players who are facing teams that are out of the playoff hunt. Additionally, making sure you’re on top of playing time tendencies in August/September is important because when we get to the end of the season, counting stats matter more than rate stats.

Toby Guevin (BatFlipCrazy Podcast, @batflipcrazy): I look at the upcoming schedule, especially any difference in number of games playes, as well as opposition. This time of year it’s important to know as much as possible about how teams construct their lineup, so you know about likely platoons and how many games each player is likely to get. With any very close calls, I also look at projections for that week/half week to see what they say and whether I think they’re based on the right playing time.

Eric Cross (Fantrax, @EricCross04): It’s all about maximizing games and prioritizing which hitters have performed well of late. Stop hoping for Player X to turn it around and play the hitters that are currently performing well and/or have a favorable upcoming schedule.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): With injuries having decimated many fantasy teams’ hitting lineups, I’d be surprised if most owners will need to deliberate as much re which hitters to start as which pitchers to start. That said, if you’re deciding between two hitters of similar talent levels, I’d base my decision on a combination of (1) the number of games their team will be playing for the upcoming week, (2) the handed-ness of the starting pitchers their team will be facing for the upcoming week (esp. if the player is in a platoon), and (3) categorical needs.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): Not really a lot of change to the process. Trying to maximize PAs and if I have a category that I must take over others, I aim to do that. September is often a weird month for teams who are out of contention, as others have pointed out.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): I’ll echo everyone pretty much everyone else at the Table. You have to maximize those PAs and IPs. Those zeros can kill your chance at the raising that championship flag this year.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): I’ll get a little more specific. Matchups are paramount with fringe players, especially when looking at platoon matchups. One of the dangers come September is looking at the probable pitching list and planning accordingly. The problem is pitching plans change on a whim, so be especially careful when using a player mostly on matchup since that could flip on a manager’s whim. I hate to be the bad guy here, but similar to what I said last week, playing the hot bats isn’t prudent. Back to platoons and playing time — another thing to monitor is how players are being managed down the stretch as often, they’ll be lifted for a pinch-hitter, though with limited roster expansion (just two slots), this is less worrisome.

Tout Wars FAB Report: August 29

It was a relatively quiet week, with the exception of the AL only brethren as they were quite busy.

This also marks the end of the H2H regular season. Congrats to Ariel Cohen, Ralph Lifshitz, Nick Pollack, Greg Jewett, Frank Stampfl and Clay Link for making the playoffs.

To see the rosters, standings and entire set of moves for any of the Tout Leagues, click on the headers below.

American League

CKluber, NYYJeff Erickson 103
GOtto, TexChris Liss 101
CArcher, TBMike Podhorzer 32
BSinger, KCMike Podhorzer 28
KGraveman, HouChris Liss 10
YGarcia, HouPatrick Davitt 9
RTepera, CWSPatrick Davitt 9
JMayfield, LAARyan Bloomfield 8
TAlexander, DetDoug Dennis 7
MManning, DetRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 7
KGutierrez, BalRyan Bloomfield 5
JAlcala, MinPatrick Davitt 5
AHedges, CleChris Liss 5
GStubbs, HouJason Collette 2
THearn, TexRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 1
CHolmes, NYYRob Leibowitz 1
PNaughton, LAAMike Gianella 0
NGordon, MinMike Gianella 0
JLatz, TexMike Gianella 0
JLagares, LAARick Wolf/Glenn Colton 0
JBauers, SeaRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 0
AAlbers, MinMike Gianella 0

National League

KRuiz, WasFred Zinkie 60
JMcCarthy, AriTodd Zola 57
KKim, StLTristan H. Cockcroft 45
AYoung, AriPhil Hertz 23
CEstevez, ColGrey Albright 12
AAshby, MilGrey Albright 7
AAlford, PitGrey Albright 7
TBarrera, WasBrian Walton 2
MCarpenter, StLTristan H. Cockcroft 1
RRuiz, ColTristan H. Cockcroft 1

Mixed Salary Cap

ECabrera, MiaIan Kahn 70
AOttavino, BosScott Swanay 44
JSanchez, MiaZach Steinhorn 28
GOtto, TexZach Steinhorn 23
RLopez, CWSBrent Hershey 22
PGosselin, LAABrent Hershey 15
NSolak, TexScott Swanay 14
MPina, MilBrent Hershey 3

Mixed Draft

CEstevez, ColSeth Trachtman 50
ECabrera, MiaAdam Ronis 28
CDickerson, TorPerry Van Hook 23
DPeters, TexRudy Gamble 18
AOttavino, BosAdam Ronis 17
JTrevino, TexRay Murphy 14
BDalbec, BosAdam Ronis 12
GOtto, TexShelly Verougstraete 12
JProfar, SDSeth Trachtman 11
DRasmussen, TBPerry Van Hook 11
GWhitlock, BosRay Murphy 10
MChavis, PitPerry Van Hook 7
BMarsh, LAAShelly Verougstraete 3
AMinter, AtlShelly Verougstraete 0

Head to Head

GOtto, TexFrank Stampfl 27
IHapp, ChCGreg Jewett 27
JAlfaro, MiaGreg Jewett 18
CJoe, ColFrank Stampfl 17
AIbanez, TexNick Pollack 14
KRuiz, WasClay Link 11
RLopez, CWSGreg Jewett 9
EHaase, DetAriel Cohen 8
MMoore, PhiAriel Cohen 4
DRasmussen, TBClay Link 2
GWhitlock, BosGreg Jewett 1

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

IHapp, ChCDoug Anderson 27
ECabrera, MiaRon Shandler 27
AHouser, MilAndy Behrens 26
BDalbec, BosDoug Anderson 19
BOber, MinJeff Boggis 16
BMarsh, LAARay Flowers 12
LJackson, AtlJennifer Piacenti 11
EOlivares, KCRay Flowers 9
CWalker, AriRay Flowers 8
ESosa, StLBrian Entrekin 4
FSchwindel, ChCBrian Entrekin 4
GOtto, TexBrian Entrekin 3
JMeyers, HouBrian Entrekin 2
TMatzek, AtlDoug Anderson 1

Tout Table: Choosing Pitchers Down the Stretch

Setting your active lineup is always important. However, with Labor Day fast upon us, there is less time to make up for choices not working as planned. With that in mind, the Touts were asked:

With the understanding moves at this time of the season are driven by team needs, what other factors do you look at when deciding who to use as your pitchers in a given week? 

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): I try not to overthink it. If the pitcher was viable for first 90% of the season, they are fine to start at the end. The only time I’d consider changing that take is if the team comes out and says something different.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): I would look at opponent; ballpark; and win (or save) percentage. Strikeouts are only a consideration now if that column can give me more points.

Clay Link (Rotowire, @claywlink): I’ll look at my standing in individual pitching categories, and if it makes sense to pivot away from one or two, I may do that. But typically I’m just trying to put forth my best possible lineup and most of the time that “best” lineup is pretty obvious between injuries/poor matchups, etc.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Matchups are still king for me and even though the sample size is small, especially for offenses facing lefthanders, I’ll pay more heed to what opponents have done since the trade deadline to get a better feel for the lineup potential after deadline deals. We also have more data on the pitchers and even though I don’t rely on stabilization points since their usage is faulty, I will look for tangible skills changes and try to find what is driving it (in either direction) to get an idea if the pitcher is different than what his season-long numbers suggest. Spin rate is a tricky indicator, but I’ll use that, velo, pitch arsenal and pitch mix and look for any in-season changes.

Jon Hegglund (Baseball Prospectus, @JonHegglund): Depends on the category needs, but I’m really all about the starters that have at least a chance to get to five innings. With starter length, and hence starter wins, at historic lows, I have no use for marginal guys if they’re going to be tandem starters or the opener of a more-or-less bullpen game–even if the ratios and Ks can be tempting. I suppose I’m also looking at team context in terms of win potential–for the back of my rotation I would prefer a Nestor Cortes type over, say, a Merrill Kelly type.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I wish I could be like Jeff and not overthink it, because when I do, I am usually too clever by half. I think you should use the best pitchers you have and if you are too afraid of harming ERA/WHIP because of a given matchup, then ok, don’t use them, but that was true in May, too. Maybe too simple, but if this has gotten you this far, why change it to something less optimal now?

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): I’m sure this will be a standard refrain – pick on weak offenses. Using large samples (i.e. the full season) is always a good idea, but keep an eye out for changing circumstances. For instance, the Cubs now have a bunch of fly ball hitting, all-or-nothing sluggers so be careful using any pitch-to-contact types against them – especially when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley. Otherwise, you’re probably picking on their high strikeout rate every day. Off in another direction, there’s usually a veteran or three who struggled earlier in the year and will finish strong. J.A. Happ might be trending that direction. Conversely, watch out for young guys who turn up exhausted in September.

Michael Beller (The Athletic, @MBeller): I’m going to double down on what Jeff Zimmerman said. Don’t get too cute with things just because it’s the end of the season. If we were good enough to reliably predict pitcher performance to the extent that we’d be comfortable with Pitcher X from April through August, but no longer comfortable with him in certain spots in September, we’d all be living in beachside mansions in Malibu. If you trusted a guy two weeks ago and there isn’t an obvious reason to not trust him now (injury, multiple bad performances that appear to be a pattern, etc.), you should trust him today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the season.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): Like everyone else: Stick with your generally good guys, play matchups (platoon, opponent strength, park, etc.) or tarot cards or goat entrails on the rest.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): In a couple of my leagues where I will not gain or lose points in the saves category, I’ve benched and dropped closers for additional starting pitchers , focusing on two start pitchers to maximize strike outs.

Toby Guevin (BatFlipCrazy Podcast, @batflipcrazy): With starting pitchers it’s schedule (opponent, home/away) and I try to identify any skills changes (velocity, pitch mix) that might explain why they’ve gotten better or worse. I also look at weekly projections via Razzball. For relievers, I look at numbers of games and opponent if they are borderline. Closers are generally in all the time.

Jim Bowden (Fantasy Alarm, @JimBowdenGM): Hottest pitchers last 3 starts vs weakest offenses

Peter Kreutzer (Ask Rotoman, Fantasy Baseball Guide, @kroyte): Totally driven by the standings situation. If I need wins and strikeouts, load up on starts and hope I get luck with ERA and WHIP. If I’m protecting ERA and WHIP, load up on relievers and hope I get lucky with wins. Making up ground at this point is all about putting as many pieces in place and hope your guys get hot. Traditional roster expansion in September often created opportunities for pitchers to face mostly Triple-A quality lineups. This year rosters expand to just 28, so that should be less of a factor, but something to keep an eye on if you set daily lineups.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): It all revolves around where I can realistically gain ground without jeopardizing my current lead in other pitching categories. If it is WHIP or ERA then middle relievers are in the mix, if wins are what I need, then starting pitchers that have favorable matchups are in store. If it is saves, then that is where I have to be smart and find setup men that may get an occasional save.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Matchups for starting pitchers – taking into consideration both the offensive prowess (or lack thereof) of the opposing lineup, and the opposing starting pitcher. The latter is obviously less important if I’m not chasing Wins, but even if you aren’t, there’s a greater chance your starting pitcher playing in an NL park will be lifted if his team’s behind in the game, which could cost him an inning or two. For Middle Relievers, I try to assess both the likelihood of a Win and their expected impact on Ks and ratios. For Closers I’m less likely to play matchups simply because my decision whether to include them in my lineup for a given week is dictated primarily by whether I’m prioritizing Saves or not.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): I’m paying much more attention to starting pitcher matchups than I typically do at this time of year. Since I’m in a tight race in all three counting stat pitching categories I look for sound reasons to sit starting pitchers and keep all my closers and middle relievers in there. I’m pretty stable in the ratio categories, so I can pretty much pitch whoever I want and not worry much. We’re also in this odd situation in which saves are almost easier to come by than wins. I’ve pretty much decided that September will likely see me use those closers and middle relievers much more often than my starters (several of whom are clearly mediocre anyway). I also expect we’ll see an even higher percentage of the wins going to those middle relievers in September. Innings will be spread out amongst the whole staff on most of the teams whether they’re contenders or not.

Jeff Erickson (Rotowire, @Jeff_Erickson): I look at all the decisions I’ve made in Tout this season, think about the reasoning I made in that league, and then do exactly the opposite in my other leagues.

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): Match-ups, especially in leagues with ratio categories closely bunched. Reading about reduced workloads, innings limits on the horizon. It takes due diligence over this marathon of a season, but it may pay off in the end. Targeting pitchers like Collin McHugh, Codi Heuer and other relievers capable of logging multiple inning outings with win potential prove beneficial down the stretch.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): I’m going to echo what many other Touts have said. Don’t get cute. Also, if your ‘stud’ pitcher had an unexpected bad outing, pull up the quick wrap-up video on MLB. For example, Zack Wheeler was cruising through eight innings against the Rays. The manager put him back out their in the ninth and then gave up 5 earned runs. If he would have only threw 8 innings, the start would have looked 100% better.

Michael A. Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): I am looking at matchups for starting pitchers, specifically for teams that are in or out of contention. At this point in the season, teams that are out of playoff contention are more likely going to give chances to younger, unproven hitters which makes a matchup more appetizing. I am also looking for any pitchers that are against the Mets because they couldn’t hit water if they fell off a bridge. Saves are always more volatile, so I would only prioritize closers on teams that have something to play for over the final month.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Oh yeah, one more thing. While batting streaks are largely non-predictive, pitchers genuinely throwing well tend to continue throwing well. Of course, it eventually ends, but the odds are better then 50% for a pitcher in a groove to stay in the groove. While this is important to understand all season, there is more data now to analyze the skills and delineate from the happenstance.

Note: We’ll answer the same question for batters on Monday.

Tout Daily Championship Tournament

The first of eight Tout Wars champions will be crowned next week as the three-day Tout Daily Championship Tournament commences on Tuesday evening. Sixteen entries were awarded over the 20-week regular season. The year was divided into five four-week periods with the top-three in each period earning a Golden Ticket. The 16th went to Derek Carty as the points leaders over the entire competition.

The three-day tourney is played in modified survivor form. The top-eight scores from Day 1 advance to Day 2. The points from Day 1 and Day 2 are combined and the top-four totals play in Day 3 with the three-day total leader being crowned Tout Daily champ.

Two Touts have multiple tickets: Carty and Scott Pianowski. If either have multiple lineups advancing to Day 2, they’re required to designate which Day 2 roster is tied to which Day 1 roster.

Here are the combatants:

Andy Behrens
Brian Entrekin
Charlie Wiegert
Dan Strafford
Derek Carty (4 entries)
Howard Bender
Jeff Boggis
Jeff Erickson
Ray Murphy
Ryan Bloomfield
Scott Pianowski (2 entries)
Tristan Cockcroft

Good luck everyone!

Tout Table: Advice for the Stretch Run

We have just under one fourth of the season left. Here are the responses to this week’s question:

What general pearls of wisdom do you have to offer as we head down the stretch?

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Continue to examine BoxScores Daily, In order to keep up with MLB, as Football emerges

Scott Engel (Rotoballer, @scotteTheKing): Do not hesitate to ride hot streaks off the waiver wire and stream fringe types who are performing well, then do away with them. Streaming at some of your weaker lineup spots can pay off, especially in daily lineup formats.

Jim Bowden (Fantasy Alarm, @JimBowdenGM): Keep grinding…don’t let up,,,,,watch closely for trends…starting pitchers innings are piling up innings some are going to start to decline fast..fresher arms will start to trend upwards….

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): Don’t give up now! So many people start focusing on Fantasy Football at this time that you have less competition on the waiver wire. Play hot streaks because there isn’t much time left and be sure to focus on the categories where you are lacking. Chase those roto points or do whatever to win those head to head matchups!

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): In most leagues, half of managers basically throw in the towel at this stage of the season since they know they can’t place. Figure out what points you can steal from bottom-half teams and keep plugging away.

Nick Pollack (Pitcher List, @PitcherList): Make sure to stay on top of trends. We see players constantly have their best month of the season in September (1/6 chance!), which means you can get a huge step up on many in your league who have already moved on. Pitchers take new approaches, batters go on hot streaks, forget your May/June assessments of players for the year – things can change quickly.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): If your league rules allow MiLB pickups beofore promotion, keep a close eye on the minors to see if you might get a potential impact player a week efroe teh callup for $2 instead of a week after for $100.

Larry Schechter (Winning Fantasy Baseball, @LarrySchechter): Someone on twitter recently posted how an injury to one of their key players ruined their weekend. Remember this is a game…it’s fantasy baseball…it’s not real life.

Fred Zinkie (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @FredZinkieMLB): Look for players who are receiving larger roles on the weakest teams. Everyone notices the new Yankees and Dodgers. The new Pirates and Rangers are easier to add and sometimes just as productive.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): If you’re out of the running in a keeper/dynasty league with reserve/minors roster spots, take a look at the updated prospect lists that have come out in the past couple of weeks and grab a couple of prospects for the future. if nothing else, they may have trade value for teams that sold their future to contend this year.

Andrea LaMont (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @RotoLady): Don’t give up right now because many will lose interest and focus on Football. This is the best time to gain in the standings. Figure out where you can gain the most points and focus on those categories.

Chris Liss (Rotowire, @Chris_Liss): Make moves, set lineups, pay attention down the stretch. Showing up for the entire six months is a major edge.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): As Yogi said, “it ain’t over til it’s over”. Keep playing, maximize at bats and two start pitchers. Look for guys getting opportunities to play, and bench your guys not playing.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Many fantasy team owners will do a category analysis this time of year, figuring out how many points they can gain or lose for each category, and in total. I find it helpful to do this exercise twice: once using “likely” point gains/losses, then again using “possible” gains/losses. That gives me a better idea of which categories to prioritize for the stretch run. It’s also useful when doing this exercise to note whether it’s likely/possible that you’ll pass or be passed by people who you’re chasing in the standings (or being chased by). Finally, when deciding which categories to chase/punt, keep in mind the correlation between categories. If you’re locked into a point total in Saves, it may be tempting to de-emphasize Saves in order to chase Wins or Ks, but you’ll want to consider the likely impact on your finish in the ratio categories if you were to do that.

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Let go off your attachments to slumping or (especially) injured players, if your gut is telling you they won’t contribute anything meaningful the rest of the way. Remember, the deeper we get into the season, the less the sting if that player miraculously turns it around on a competitor’s roster. You need to be prepared to move on from bad stats and for every day that passes, name brands and superstar reputations have less relevance.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): I am always looking for changes in playing time on teams who are out of the hunt. If your guy is getting less and a FA is getting more, don’t sit on your hands.

Shelly Verougstraete (Dynasty Guru, @ShellyV_643): Just keep swimming! Many managers start focusing on fantasy football and could miss players on the waiver wire that are on a hot streak. Swoop in and get those precious stats that will help you move up in the standings.

Jock Thompson (Baseball HQ, @JOCKatHQ): What Nick and Shelley have said. Ride the hot hands, know what pitchers are going up against weak offenses, and what hitters are going up against weak pitching staffs.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): Forget about projected rest of season value. All you care about now is the player’s value to your team. If you’re in first place with a reasonable cushion in HR and RBI, Joey Gallo isn’t earning you much, if any, value at this point. Don’t be afraid to bench, or even drop, him. If the latter is too risky given a competitor adding him, trade him to a bottom tier team for essentially nothing just to ensure you don’t allow a competitor to gain points.

Brent Hershey (Baseball HQ, @BrentHQ): Echoing the great Fred Zinkie above, pay special attention to lineups/rotations of the bottom-dwelling MLB teams. At this point in the MLB season, those teams are in some cases holding open tryouts for 2022, and could have a longer leash with young player especially as they are doing their own evaluations. Look for players getting a chance who ideally also have some sort of previous track record of fantasy value (either in the majors or minors). Catching a 5-week hot streak from someone like, say, DJ Peters or Steven Brault, could provide your fantasy team a cheap bump at just the right time.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): I’m going to be a little contrarian here. Hot streaks aren’t any more predictive the last quarter of the season as they are at any other time. Research has shows hot and cold streaks can start or end at any time. Sure, there have been instances of players overperforming for an extended period of time, some at a new and sustainable skill level. However, big picture, riding streaks is no more effective — or necessary — down the stretch. We only remember the good and not all the times we picked up a perceived hot guy only to roster the downfall. For me, it’s still a matter of matchups and looking at the underlying skills and not hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru, @rotogut): You’ve worked hard since the beginning of the year and this is the most crucial stretch. Don’t slow down now. Don’t let football distract you. Stay diligent and engaged.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): Don’t underestimate the impact of the limits on September callups this year. Usually playing time really fractures, especially in the 2nd half of September, and it gets really hard to make up ground or flip standings points, especially in counting stats. That may be a little less true this year. Heck, we still have more than half the length of the 2020 season in front of us! Run through the finish line.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): A few quickies … 1) ERA and WHIP are categories that are easier to make gains in than you think. Remember – when others pitch starters who blow up, their ratios inflate! 2) Look not just at who you are playing for the coming week, also look at what others are doing. This is helpful in determining the number of SPs vs RPs to pitch in the last few weeks. 3) For waiver wire, sort by ABs in the past 14 days. More ABs mean more counting stats … look at who is getting the playing time!

Adam Ronis (Fantasy Alarm, @AdamRonis): There’s a big disparity between the top teams and bad teams, so look to exploit that. Keep putting in work, even for the teams that can’t win. Play until the end.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Be realistic where you can make up ground while not conceeding points in other categories. Also look to where other league managers can stay active to gain points against your opponents. For those teams that have no realistic chance on winning your league, they have a tendency to place their priorities on fantasy football. It’s everyone’s responsiblity to stay active until the last day of the season, regardless of where they are in the league standings. I not only look at where other teams can cause my opponents to lose ground in points, but also when was the last time that a league manager has logged into the league to review their team. This also can be used on who should be invited to your leagues next season. Each league manager should be playing to the end, regardless of where they are in the league standings. You would do this for them, even if you were towards the bottom of your league standings, and you should expect the same in return if they could assist you by being as active as possible through the end of the season.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): By this point in the season loyalty to players you have invested in are unimportant. If you have a chance to win be sure you continue to ride the hot hand no matter how big or small named the player is.

Greg Jewett (Fantasy Alarm, @gjewett9): Echoing sentiments above, do not chase the hot waiver claim of the week. Focus on player(s) who make an impact on the standings for your roster and do not overlook pitching ratios if streaming for wins. Maximize match-ups and some scheduling wrinkles in the offing with teams like Washington facing a weaker schedule so players like Carter Kieboom and Lane Thomas (in deeper leagues) may remain productive in the weeks ahead.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn): I’ll second Tristan’s advice to finally let go of struggling players, whether it be via trade for 50 cents on the dollar or by simply releasing them. Even if you had high hopes for these guys when you drafted them five months ago and have thus far patiently waited for positive regression, now is the time to move on. I know it’s upsetting, but it just has to be done.

Alan Harrison (The Fantasy Fix, @TheFantasyFix): Stay active to the end, regardless of your current position in the standings. Your name is attached to all that you do. Even though it’s just a game, have some pride and finish the best you can despite any challenges your team faced this season. Scour the waiver wire players that may have been dropped but are resurfacing or for those getting new opportunities on rebuilding teams. Trade. Have fun. Finish strong.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): Do what you can to impact the standings wherever you can, even if you’re out of contention for the title. If you can impact the overall race by adjusting your lineup to focus on a particular area, it makes the league more entertaining. There is nothing more infuriating than watching teams give up and move onto that devil sport foosball when they can still make a difference in the final outcome of the league.

Brian Entrekin (Benched with Bubba, @bdentrek): Keep fighting on. We have a little over a month to go and a lot could happen. Pride is always on the table so moving from 8th to 5th is still great. Finishing in the money is the goal but finishing strong is just as important. Never give up.

Tout Wars FAB Report: August 22

We’re entering the “you can’t take it with you” stage of the FAB season as the Touts have FAB units burning holes in their proverbial pockets.

Here are the week’s array of winning bids in all the Tout Wars FAAB leagues. If you want more than just the winning bids, all you need to do is click on the league header and you can access standings, rosters and all the moves in each league.

American League

DBundy, LAADoug Dennis 111
AVelazquez, NYYDoug Dennis 111
KSmith, TorPatrick Davitt 39
MMelendez, KCPatrick Davitt 39
PBlackburn, OakJeff Erickson 37
BKeller, KCRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 20
KBubic, KCRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 8
TShaw, BosJason Collette 6
CEllis, BalPatrick Davitt 0
CThielbar, MinLarry Schechter 0

National League

LThomas, WasPhil Hertz 77
DPeters, PitTodd Zola 33
RAdams, WasFred Zinkie 22
SLong, SFFred Zinkie 20
KThompson, ChCScott Wilderman 19
AMachado, WasTodd Zola 17
JBarrero, CinGrey Albright 12
YTsutsugo, PitSteve Gardner 9
MHermosillo, ChCGrey Albright 6
AAdams, SDPeter Kreutzer 4
DEllis, AriPeter Kreutzer 3
ECabrera, MiaCraig Mish 1
MMoore, PhiCraig Mish 1
CStratton, PitPeter Kreutzer 0
LWilliams, PhiPeter Kreutzer 0

Mixed Salary Cap

YGrandal, CWSZach Steinhorn 82
MMikolas, StLZach Steinhorn 63
JMeyers, HouEric Karabell 51
MLorenzen, CinIan Kahn 36
GJax, MinMichael Rathburn 19
TGilbert, AriDerek VanRiper 11
FSchwindel, ChCDerek VanRiper 11
BDalbec, BosScott Engel 5
RAdams, WasScott Engel 4
MHermosillo, ChCScott Engel 4
RChirinos, ChCDerek VanRiper 3
YPozo, TexMichael Rathburn 2
BTreinen, LADScott Swanay 0

Mixed Draft

EMorgan, CleCharlie Wiegert 87
ABender, MiaTim McCullough 38
MFoltynewicz, TexCharlie Wiegert 37
DHill, DetSeth Trachtman 30
FSchwindel, ChCTim McCullough 18
SBarlow, KCAdam Ronis 18
JMeyers, HouAdam Ronis 14
TLaStella, SFRay Murphy 10
YGomes, OakRay Murphy 10
ASenzatela, ColD.J. Short 5
BDeLaCruz, MiaPerry Van Hook 3
DSteckenrider, SeaTim McLeod 3
BKeller, KCShelly Verougstraete 1
EFedde, WasShelly Verougstraete 1
LWade, SFShelly Verougstraete 1
TWidener, AriTim McLeod 0
LThomas, WasPerry Van Hook 0

Head to Head

YHernandez, WasGreg Jewett 45
JRojas, AriFrank Stampfl 23
MMikolas, StLNick Pollack 13
NLopez, KCNick Pollack 12
EFedde, WasGreg Jewett 9
EMorgan, CleAndrea LaMont 8
SBarlow, KCClay Link 7
SZavala, CWSAndrea LaMont 3
CVazquez, BosAndrea LaMont 3
PGosselin, LAAAndrea LaMont 3
ZLittell, SFAndrea LaMont 2
LWade, SFAndrea LaMont 2
JStallings, PitAriel Cohen 1
HDozier, KCAndrea LaMont 1

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

AGarcia, TexRon Shandler 47
MMikolas, StLRon Shandler 22
DLynch, KCRay Flowers 9
YGomes, OakJim Bowden 7
NLopez, KCAlex Fast 7
JHapp, StLAlex Fast 3
ASantander, BalAl Melchior 2
NCortes, NYYAl Melchior 2
CMcHugh, TBAl Melchior 1

Tout Daily: Stacking the Colorado Chalkies

This is it, the final week of the final period of Tout Daily. This time next week we’ll be commencing the modified Survivor Tournament to crown the first official 2021 Tout Wars champion!

Here are some of the Tout’s picks.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn)

Pitcher: Alek Manoah – In three starts since returning from the IL, Manoah is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Hitter: Jorge Polanco – We’re barely halfway through August and Polanco already has six homers, 13 RBIs and 12 runs this month. Why is he only $3,500 on Draftkings?

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi – Likely no Golden Ticket for the second straight year, but I’m going down fighting with a seven-inning complete game shutout!

Hitter: Frank Schwindel – Stacking the Colorado Chalkies so need some salary relief

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Logan Webb – He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any start since early May (and that was at Coors!) The Mets’ free fall continues …

Hitter: Connor Joe – He’s no ordinary … Connor! He’s been hot, he’s hitting leadoff in Coors Field and he’ll cost you only $2800 to slot at first base or outfield.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Framber Valdez – The lefty needs to lower his walk rate, but a nice matchup tonight at Kansas City should do the trick. His ERA is now close to 3.00 and he’s 8-3 on the season.

Hitter: Dansby Swanson – He’s been playing lights out this month and I see it continuing tonight at Miami against SP Alcantara.

Tout Wars FAB Report: August 15

It was a busy week for AL only and the Head-to-Head leagues. Meanwhile, the 15-team mixed leagues were quiet.

As always if you want to see the standings, rosters and complete ledger of moves, just click on the league header.

American League

RNunez, DetMike Podhorzer 127
DPeters, TexMike Podhorzer 127
YHernandez, TexMike Podhorzer 127
RMartin, BalPatrick Davitt 96
ZShort, DetPatrick Davitt 96
JMartin, TexPatrick Davitt 96
APuk, OakDoug Dennis 92
YPozo, TexMike Podhorzer 78
AChafin, OakJeff Erickson 37
GJax, MinJeff Erickson 17
CChang, CleChris Liss 7
TWade, NYYRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 7
MFoltynewicz, TexRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 2
AConley, TBJason Collette 0
SHoward, TexMike Gianella 0
CCulberson, TexMike Gianella 0
BValera, TorMike Gianella 0
MBrosseau, TBJason Collette 0

National League

TGilbert, AriSteve Gardner 57
RChirinos, ChCScott Wilderman 23
JSteele, ChCScott Wilderman 23
AAlford, PitGrey Albright 17
LNootbaar, StLBrian Walton 13
ZLittell, SFBrian Walton 12
DDuffy, LADTodd Zola 7
DNunez, ColFred Zinkie 5
MWhite, LADTristan H. Cockcroft 4
RWick, ChCDerek Carty 3
RKnehr, SDScott Wilderman 1
JAlvarez, SFPhil Hertz 0

Mixed Salary Cap

JBarlow, TexScott Swanay 87
CHernandez, KCIan Kahn 51
RNunez, DetZach Steinhorn 38
BMarsh, LAABret Sayre 37
ADiaz, HouDerek VanRiper 37
AKirk, TorBrent Hershey 11
JFleming, TBDerek VanRiper 3
BBoxberger, MilScott Swanay 2
APuk, OakJustin Mason 0

Mixed Draft

IHapp, ChCRudy Gamble 37
TGilbert, AriPerry Van Hook 23
LBrinson, MiaTom Kessenich 22
JBarlow, TexD.J. Short 20
RLopez, CWSPerry Van Hook 17
BOber, MinRay Murphy 13
JSteele, ChCRay Murphy 13
CJoe, ColRay Murphy 13
NCortes, NYYScott White 13
AAquino, CinTim McCullough 11
JHapp, StLAdam Ronis 4

Head to Head

LBrinson, MiaRalph Lifshitz 46
GJax, MinRalph Lifshitz 44
LTrivino, OakRalph Lifshitz 44
CHernandez, KCAriel Cohen 34
CBlackmon, ColFrank Stampfl 32
LUrias, MilAriel Cohen 23
RSuarez, PhiGreg Jewett 18
BOber, MinFrank Stampfl 12
MStraw, CleFrank Stampfl 12
KPlawecki, BosRalph Lifshitz 11
ElDiaz, ColFrank Stampfl 7
RLopez, CWSFrank Stampfl 6
ASenzatela, ColAriel Cohen 5
TEdman, StLAndrea LaMont 4
AColome, MinAndrea LaMont 3
MWhite, LADAndrea LaMont 1
JAlfaro, MiaAndrea LaMont 1
LCain, MilGreg Jewett 1
TWade, NYYAndrea LaMont 1
MCabrera, DetAndrea LaMont 0
DBednar, PitClay Link 0

Mixed with IP & Saves+Holds

LBrinson, MiaRay Flowers 19
CHernandez, KCBrian Entrekin 17
ARosario, CleRay Flowers 14
VGutierrez, CinRay Flowers 12
BDalbec, BosBrian Entrekin 6
SMurphy, OakAlex Fast 5
CJoe, ColBrian Entrekin 2
SHilliard, ColChris Towers 1
AlJackson, MiaChris Towers 0
NPivetta, BosChris Towers 0