July was a nightmare. August looks better. Slogging through the July rankings was remarkably difficult because it seemed that everyone after about #40 or so was the same and they were somehow all awful. The middle of the pool has crystallized a bit and hopefully the deadline leaves things settled for a bit, too, outside of the unpredictable injuries. Speaking of injuries, I don’t include guys who are out for a long time, but I did start to put some guys back in who are due back within the week or so (the longest might be P.Lopez, who is tracking around mid-August).
Please leave your questions and comments below!
The tiers are as follows:
#1s (10 SPs) – The true aces of fantasy baseball.
Must Start (20 SPs) – Should be pretty obvious, but these are the guys who always start. Again, it isn’t just the very best guys. There are second and third tier arms in terms of market value that I’d start every time out. They don’t have an obvious split or weakness that would give you a better chance at picking off their poor starts. Some of them are “No Coors Field”-types, but it’s predominantly set it and forget it for the foreseeable future.
Usually Start (20 SPs) – If “No Coors Field” is 20-25% with the MS group, it’s more like 60-70% with this group. You need to find a reason to sit them right now in most formats. You might feel like you can spot them properly, but we’re just not that precise in identifying when a solid arm will falter. These guys are good enough to thwart any opponent even on something less than their best day or they could get smacked by a weaker opponent. If you’re rostering them, you should probably be starting them.
Shallow Spot Start (30 SPs) – Flawed talents. A lot of these guys are on the cusp of or have been in the Usually Start tier, but currently you’re looking to curate their starts a bit where you can. These guys might also be US tier arms here temporarily while they get on track. Pay very close attention to gamelogs of pitchers, get a feel for how they arrived at their bottom line numbers. Not all ERAs are created equally and that’s why it’s not a gauge for future production, especially in small samples. I decided to split the group a bit as sort of a way to identify upward or downward mobility for these guys. The shallow ones are a bit more talented and/or running hot so we’re maybe keeping a closer eye on them.
Deep League Spot Start (40 SPs) – I know many of you are dealing with some brutal pitching staff conditions right now after drafting a rotation you thought would be a strength, so you might find yourself in this tier a little more than you’d like. There is some talent to be plucked and the right two-start week could really set you up. This is essentially the Spot Star tier for single leagues or super-deep mixers (16+ teams).
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