HomeSportsThe Cheap Seats: Fantasy Baseball Mailbag (with one key fantasy football question)

The Cheap Seats: Fantasy Baseball Mailbag (with one key fantasy football question)

The Cheap Seats mailbag. (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

The Cheap Seats come your way every week through the heart of the baseball season. Baseball – both fantasy and real-life – questions go to the front of the line, but we can talk about all sports, life, music, food, travel, pets, movies – just about anything. Catch me @scott_pianowski on X/Twitterand there we go.

I know this is primarily a baseball column, but this is too good a question to ignore, and it ends up in every fantasy league. Whenever we encounter a Salary Cap Draft (also called an Auction Draft), it’s the timeless question: should you chase your guys regardless of the flow, or just take what the room gives you? Is it better to be a genius draftsman (“I know the right answers”) or an agnostic drafter (“I assume the room is wrong”)?

One of my old football competitions is a Salary Cap Draft that runs 2-3 days before the season starts. At that point in the year, my cronies have heard all my ranks, choices, and touts and know exactly who I want (for whatever that’s worth), and I usually just accept that I can’t get my guys in that room. Maybe it’s stubbornness on my part. Agnostic teams can feel a little strange outside the club.

One thing I know for sure is that if you’re going to “overpay” for something in a Salary Cap Draft, do it for a star or a player you absolutely believe in. Hall, Wilson – they would qualify on my clipboard. If you pay a little too much for Christian McCaffrey or Tyreek Hill (or Mookie or Shohei), then what? It’s a lot better than overpaying for the last legit WR3 type in the endgame because you waited too long to join and someone else has the same need as you.

I think it’s probably related to baseball itself. My friend Joe Sheehan recently discussed the lack of offense in his essential baseball newsletter; here’s some of what Sheehan wrote on May 5:

Similar to why pitchers get injured, this decline in fouls likely has a number of factors. However, with each passing day, it’s hard not to think that a combination of the baseball’s construction and serve makes it difficult for hitters to put runs on the board. Whatever the reasons, we’re about 20% of the way through the season with some truly miserable offensive numbers, and last week’s uptick looks more like a blip than a trend.

When Joe tells you it’s raining, grab your umbrella.

I do not think so. My rule of thumb in trade evaluations: if one side doesn’t jump up and screen the ‘right side’, it’s probably fair. Bichette is clearly younger and probably has his best season ahead of him. Swanson might be a little safer, and I like the Cubs lineup better.

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However, neither is currently hitting home. It’s a challenge trade, and I like challenge trades.

There is no universal answer to this. It’s one of those “you’ll know it when you see it” things, but I want to remind you of two general concepts. First, while player development is not always linear, player decline usually is. Two: being afraid of making a fantasy mistake is the mistake: you can’t play scared. If you don’t make a regretful decision for a season, you’re probably playing way too conservatively.

Don’t cut players for the sake of cutting them, but if your instincts draw you to something new, we’re deep enough into 2024 to trust those instincts.

It’s hard enough for pitchers to judge whether they’re healthy. The injured and rehabilitating boys, we are all blind to these cases. If I were to draft Cole, I’d probably hold him until just before his New York debut, and then I’d see if anyone in my league wanted to chase the best-case scenario. I never will be, but Christmas presents are never more exciting than on Christmas Eve.

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If Cole can pitch half the season and return the SP3 slot value, that will be considered a win. It sits somewhere around SP 25-35 on my current board.

The Mount Rushmore is pretty standard, something like Jagger, Mercury, Plant, Nicks. Bono is not far from that list. Others that came to mind pretty quickly: Chrissie Hynde, David Lee Roth, Roger Daltrey, Paul Westerberg, Karen O, Jeff Bebe, Debbie Harry, Steven Tyler, David Byrne, David St. Hubbins. Thom Yorke is a different kind of frontman, but the perfect man to lead Radiohead. Janis. Gwen. Sammy. Eddie. Amy.

Please make this series seven. That’s all I care about. Hockey as it should be.

Connor McDavid has been the best player in the league for a while now; he probably won’t win the Hart Trophy this year (and I’m fine with Nathan McKinnon getting his first), but he would never be a bad choice. About three months ago I saw a McDavid game in real life for the first time, and I watched it all night. You can only judge players in their own era, but this is the best offensive hockey player I have ever seen.

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Vancouver is such a fun team. Quinn Hughes is the candidate for his first Norris Trophy and is the defenseman I would pick if Cale Makar were unavailable. Hughes almost never makes a bad decision, regardless of the speed of the game. How can one family have so much talent?

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