Nervous about the trade deadline in your fantasy baseball league? Don’t be. The Chinstrap Ninjas have you covered.
Be sure to start by checking out our 10 tips to pull off the perfect fantasy baseball trade deadline deal.
Then, check out the following players you should be targeting as you begin last-minute negotiations with an eye to your fantasy playoffs/championship …
First, let me be frank and point out that making deals this time of year can be hard. Players that have struggled throughout this much of the year aren’t as likely to magically turn it around for the final month-plus of regular season action.
For example, Matt Kemp was a first- to second-round fantasy outfielder heading into this season, but can’t get it together. He’s been in and out of the lineup working on his swing, his confidence and his plate discipline. Sure, at this point you’ll get him cheaper than ever, but what are the odds he’ll turn it around for the stretch run? If you can get him cheap enough, than go ahead and hope for the best. Just don’t give up too much in the process.
One category of players that offer some decent value with a chance to bring you immediate dividends are those that are coming off the DL or soon to come off the DL.
Those who took previous Chinstrap Ninjas advice and snagged Brian Roberts before he came off the DL are currently reaping the benefits. Some players who could follow suit include:
Dustin Pedroia, who is being fast-tracked back to the majors as early as this coming Tuesday, is a player I avoided in preseason drafts because I wasn’t thrilled about his ADP. However, as a player who missed a ton of time this season with a broken foot, there is little doubt that Pedroia could offer some nice value in middle-infield slots, especially in batting average. He should produce well enough in other categories to be a worthwhile add if you can get him for the right price.
Chase Utley, just a day ago, was targeting a September return. Now, suddenly, he is in a minor league rehab stint with an outside chance at returning next week or the week after. Of course, any time a team rushes a player back from injury, there is reason to be concerned about additional struggles or injuries. Be sure to remind your leaguemates of that as you target him cheaply in trades hoping/banking on his talent outweighing his physical woes as the Phillies battle down the stretch for the NL-East pennant.
Andrew Bailey may not see a return to the majors as quickly as Pedroia or Utley, but within the next two weeks, he could be back closing games with the Athletics. Again, you don’t want to sell the farm for him, but you should be able to snag him at a discount price.
Kyle Lohse hasn’t pitched in the bigs since May 22, but is due back to the majors this weekend after a dominating performance in the minors. He may not be a stud pitcher, but as a back-end starter, he could give you a nice boost in wins, ERA and a few strikeouts to boot.
Other players I’m personally targeting before the fantasy trade deadline:
Jonathan Broxton lost his job as closer, temporarily, after struggles over the past month. There is little doubt that he has more than enough ability to regain the saves dominance he showed earlier in the season, and I’m banking that his short break from closing duties will be enough of a spark to get him there. Strike now in a deal as owners worry about his sudden demotion.
Mark Buerhle is the fantasy baseball version of Rodney Dangerfield … he doesn’t get any respect. Sure, Buerhle isn’t going to strike out tons of batters, but he is going to help your team ERA, WHIP and wins without giving you too many ulcers in the process. Fantasy owners seem drawn to the flash of other pitchers and are quick to devalue Buerhle’s quiet consistency. Don’t be one of those people.
Fantasy owners rejoiced when Josh Beckett returned from the DL not too long ago. However, struggles on the mound have quieted those cheers. So much so, in some leagues, where you can get Beckett on the cheap. Pitchers more than any other position depend on getting into a groove and riding there as long as possible. It was hard for Beckett to find that groove so far this season due to injuries and inconsistency around him. I personally think he’ll buckle down and produce some nice numbers down the stretch.
Jimmy Rollins is a lot like Beckett … a proven fantasy commodity who has been derailed by numerous injuries and inconsistency around him. Some feel he is in the midst of a declining skill set … I am more convinced that he’s struggling to find his own groove, and when he does, he’ll be hard to beat.
Carl Crawford hasn’t been lighting things up lately, but there is something interesting among elite athletes that allows them to elevate their game when it is most needed. The Rays are in a gruesome battle with the Yankees for the AL-East, and the Red Sox are talented enough to put some pressure on the Rays in terms of the wildcard. Methinks that Mr. Crawford, along with others in Tampa, will rise to the occasion over the next several weeks of action.
He won’t be as cheap as you’d like, but Shane Victorino is back in the majors after some time on the DL and looking very good. He was productive in limited minor league action and stole a base upon return to the Phillies big league squad.
Ryan Doumit has been quietly productive for the Pirates since returning from his own DL stint. The Pirates have less to play for than other teams represented on this list, but Doumit should still produce nice numbers down the stretch, especially considering his catcher eligibility.
Who are you targeting in fantasy baseball leagues as you approach the fantasy baseball deadline? We’d love to hear about it below.