If you take fantasy sports seriously, you read the experts. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but I will write about fantasy sports anyway. And if you want to win your leagues handily, I can't think of a better advisor than someone who only stays half aware of what's actually happening in sports. So whether you're just hitting your hockey or basketball league's playoffs, or drafting for the upcoming baseball season, don't do a thing until you've consulted this handy guide.
Good god, fantasy baseball is tiring. You've got like 25 players to handle, and have to keep shuffling your starting pitchers for their turns in the rotation, and do you really have to start someone at catcher when they're obviously going to hit .220? But it's the second most popular fantasy sport after football, and often a money league. So here are the players you'll want to get your hands on.
Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies Utley is a notorious quick starter, with a career first-half OPS 64 points higher than in the second half. You'll want to draft him early, but try to turn a profit for him by trading him away in June or July.
Bartolo Colon, P, Yankees For whatever reason, Colon excels in odd-numbered years. From 1999-2005, he regularly put up better K/BB ratios and lower ERAs and WHIPs than in the even-numbered years. Well, it's 2011, so I can pretty much guarantee he'll have yet another productive season.
Stephen Strasburg, P, Nationals The phenom burst on the scene with a 14-strikeout performance. With a full Spring Training under his belt, and an entire year to compile wins and Ks, you can really expect Strasburg to avoid a sophomore slump.
Mike Sweeney, 1B/Util, Phillies You know exactly what you're going to get from the dependable Sweeney: RBIs, decent power, and a not-embarrassing batting average. While he'll battle for playing time at 1B with Ryan Howard and Jim Thome, don't forget that Sweeney came up as a catcher, and will regain his Yahoo and ESPN C eligibility with just 30 games behind the plate.
Jim Creighton, P, Excelsiors Was the scheduled starting pitcher on a Springfield team that went on to beat Shelbyville.
Fantasy basketball's worse than baseball, if that's possible. Two of the default categories are measured in percentages. Just try looking at live stats and figuring out if your team is having a good night. Just try it. I dare you.
David West, F, Hornets A perennially underrated big man, West is among the league leaders in double-doubles this year. I see no reason he can't keep it up through the final month of the season.
Allen Iverson, G,Beşiktaş Cola Turka Perhaps a few years past his prime, the Beşiktaş offense still flows through AI. Always an unselfish 1, Iverson's still good for double digit assists on any given night. And it wouldn't shock anyone if Boston or Miami or another contending team brought him in for the stretch run.
Pete Maravich, G, Celtics I read somewhere that if they had had the three-point shot in college, Pistol Pete would have averaged 57 points a game. Well, they do have the three line in the pros, so look to Maravich for a steady supply of points and threes.
Chris Bosh, F/C Heat No, yeah, he's totally going to keep up his recent hot streak for the duration of his near-max contract.
Greg Oden, C, Trail Blazers In the NBA, the third year is when young players usually make "the leap." And because Oden missed his entire first season with knee troubles, 2010-2011 becomes his third year. Already averaging 9 and 7 a game, I can't wait to see what Oden will do when he puts it all together. Will he do it in time for your fantasy playoffs? For legal reasons, I can't guarantee it in writing, but if I were you I'd take out that second mortgage on your home to land him at all costs, right now.
Wow, fantasy hockey? You must really be desperate to not do any actual work at work.
Dan Snyder, C, Thrashers Snyder's young, but promising. And with linemate Dany Heatley driving hard to the net, Snyder's in line to put up impressive assist totals. If you're in a keeper league, here's one worth hanging on to.
George Parros, RW, Ducks Fantasy sports have killed hockey cards. Twenty-five years ago you would have had to buy a pack of O-Pee-Chees to know about Parros's magnificent mustache. Now you've already seen it, because he's a legitimately good source of penalty minutes.
Patrik Stefan, C, Stars Largely responsible for the greatest play in the NHL in the last decade. Former first overall pick, and you know draft busts are so rare in hockey.
Rick DiPietro, G, Islanders Another first overall pick. Normally wouldn't recommend giving up a lot of a goalie in fantasy, but if it's good enough for the Islanders, it's good enough for us. DP has a big fat contract, so you know he'll do everything he can to play up to it.
Paul Bissonnette, LW, Coyotes Leads league in Tweets-to-ice-time ratio. Will talk back to you on Twitter if you tell him he's on your fantasy team.
Good luck with that. Here's some CFL fantasy football.