OpinionMay 14, 2009

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Three Most Overrated Players

By Daniel Cohen

In the world of fantasy baseball, it’s easy to fall in love with big names. Everyone’s trying to build the perfect team, and they value players based on how they feel about seeing that name on their roster. This tendency creates golden opportunities for you to exploit feeling in the name of value, ultimately benefitting your fantasy team tremendously.

With that, let’s take a look at the three most overrated players based on name recognition:

1) B.J. Upton (OF, Tampa Bay)

This guy has had an absolutely miserable start to the year. With a line of .167, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs, 18 Rs and 7 SBs, B.J. Upton doesn’t even rank in the top 700 players in the game. There is serious talk in Tampa of dropping him from the leadoff spot for Jason Bartlett, which would be another blow to his fantasy value. Yet he maintains a spot of #47 on the most recent Yahoo! Big Board and sports a price tag of a top-20 Average Draft Position on Yahoo and Mock Draft Central (42.6 on ESPN). Surely there must be some reason for this terrible anomaly! Let’s look at Upton’s career stats and see if he redeems himself:


Note the alarming decline in power. Upton is a .269 career hitter who will likely steal 40+ bases for you. Worthy of being a top-50 player? Sure the steals are nice — but you know who else gets steals and is a free agent (he shouldn’t be) in my 12-team mixed league? Willy Taveras. Fast Willie swiped 68 bags last year, 24 more than Upton.

Advice: B.J. Upton’s alarming decline in power and miserable start to the 2009 campaign are huge red flags, and he should be sold while he still has name value. Point out his O-Rank and the fact that many sites (Yahoo, ESPN) still heavily endorse him as a top-50 player and try to get some value out of him while you still can. This guy is a one-tool player that will only help you in steals, and you can find cheap steals on the waiver wire.

2) Jimmy Rollins (SS, Philadelphia)

Another big name with a slow start, Rollins is better than he’s played thus far, but he’s not the superstar SS of 2007 anymore. Last year, he showed serious signs of a decline, swatting only 11 HR with 59 RBI and 76 runs, and batting a mediocre .277. Rollins was a huge bust last year, and he hasn’t shown any signs of rebounding, hitting only .195 with a mere 1 HR and 1 SB through 28 games. Yet Rollins’ name continues to keep fantasy owners mesmerized, with a ranking of #35 on the Big Board. People like him. But the truth is, Rollins is a merely serviceable shortstop and no longer the stud that many think he is.

Advice: Rollins owners should hold and wait for the inevitable rebound and then sell based on name value. Hitting below the Mendoza Line is never an attractive attribute in trades, and Rollins is better than this. Still, don’t expect him to return to the superstar form of 2007 — those days are long gone. Get a real superstar for this washed-up pretender.

3) Lance Berkman (1B/OF, Houston)

Berkman baffles me. After an unbelievable first half of the year last year in which he hit .347 with 22 HRs and 73 RBIs before the All-Star Break, he was mostly garbage in the second half, hitting only .259 with 7 HRs and 33 RBIs. The slump has continued into the start of 2009, as he is hitting .184 with only 16 RBI, although he has a respectable 7 HRs. The power shows some signs of life, but the Berkman that the fantasy world became enthralled with last year was only an illusion. Expect him to finish with his 30 HRs, but Berkman is slowing down with his age, and his average probably will not top .300 this year.

Advice: Still believed to be a top-30 player, Berkman has been swapped for the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carlos Pena in Yahoo H2H leagues. A rebound is coming, but cash out while the glowing memory of his (early) 2008 season is still front and center in people’s minds. He’s good, but not elite.

Daniel entered the world of fantasy baseball last year and has been obsessed since. His hero is Brandon Funston of the famous Yahoo! Big Board. Go Cubs!
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