Fantasy Baseball: 10 Big Names You Must Bench to Win Your League's Playoffs

Adam B. WeinbergerCorrespondent IISeptember 11, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Big Names You Must Bench to Win Your League's Playoffs

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    Benching a big name player is never something you want to do in the fantasy baseball playoffs, but knowing when to pull the trigger can be the difference between advancing to the next round and developing a life-long hatred for guys like Tim Lincecum.

    In making these types of decisions, it is important to weigh a player’s upside with their health and recent performances as well as where their team stand in the playoff hunt.

    With that in mind, here are 10 guys who should sit on the fantasy bench (which is leather trimmed with Wi-Fi and personal TV screens).   

1. Stephen Strasburg

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    Let’s start with an easy one.

    Dear Strasburg Owners,

    Stephen’s season is over as the Washington Nationals have shut him down. Of course, if this is news to you, I highly doubt you made the playoffs in the first place. Do what 28 percent of ESPN fantasy owners have done over the last seven days, and drop him.

    Sincerely,

    The Obvious

    P.S. Why in the world is Strasburg owned in 72 percent of leagues?

2. CC Sabathia

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    Since returning from the DL, CC Sabathia has not looked like the ace of a real life playoff team. That means he should not be considered one in a fantasy baseball one either.

    Sabathia posted a 4.63 ERA over his last four starts and his last two have been particularly troubling. Also troubling, was Joe Girardi’s harsh reaction to what he deemed excessive media questions regarding the health of his ace.

    The more times someone tells you something is not true (and the angrier they are when they do it), the easier it is to believe that they are lying.

    All of this, to go along with the fact that Sabathia has just one start in the upcoming week, makes him very bench-able. 

3. Tim Lincecum

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    I love Tim Lincecum as much as anyone, and God bless you if you still haven’t lost confidence in everyone’s favorite normal-guy-who-happens-to-be-crazy-talented—but starting Lincecum at this point is a risky play.

    Throw aside all of Lincecum’s season-long struggles, his lone start this week will be at Coors Field. Colorado is a shrewd devil for pitchers and there is no mercy given to Lincecum; he has posted a 4.08 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 12 career starts. 

4. Carlos Beltran

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    Starting Carlos Beltran was already a dubious decision heading into the fantasy playoffs, and his recent injury further solidifies this. Even his actual manager benched him.

    Beltran is hitting a hideous 45 for his last 228. With all the depth at the outfield position, there is little reason to put your trust in someone who has been the closest thing to a pitcher’s best friend since the end of June. 

5. Neil Walker

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    Pittsburgh could not have lost Neil Walker at a worst time. The Pirates currently sit 2.5 games out of the NL wildcard spot, but will need to close the gap without consistent contributions from their star second basemen.

    Walker may be available for key pinch-hit situations, but there is no indication that he will return to the lineup by the end of the week. 

6. Colby Rasmus

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    Colby Rasmus was down for two months, then up for another, then way down in July and way, way down in August. Despite missing six games, he rounded out last month with 33 strikeouts. Suffice to say he seemed to ride the ebbs and flows of Toronto’s season.

    So why would you start Rasmus in the postseason? I guess his power is a little enticing (Top-26 in AL in homers and RBIs), but that’s far from any type of justification for a playoff start. 

7. Asdrubal Cabrera

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    Asdrubal Cabrera has been a reliable player for his fantasy owners for much of the year.

    Unfortunately, much like NFL players on winning teams can become fantasy playoff benchwarmers, baseball players on losing ones can have a deflated value by season’s end.

    He is currently listed as day-to-day, although, according to Jordan Garretson of MLB.com, a recent MRI came up negative. If Cleveland were in a playoff push, he would probably miss little time. You never want to lose a fantasy matchup because someone does not play, so definitely consider a more reliable option.  

8. Michael Morse

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    Michael Morse goes against some challenging pitchers this week. He gets R.A. Dickey Tuesday and Atlanta’s Kris Medlin on Friday.

    While Morse has provided fantasy owners with a solid average, he continues to disappoint in the power department, especially for someone who hit 31 homers a season ago. He has just five bombs over his last 133 at bats.

    Starting Morse is not nearly as risky as some of the other guys on this list. However, if you are the type of owner who seems to constantly come out on the losing side of the power battle, let Morse sit for the next week. 

9. Ian Kennedy

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    The biggest problem with Ian Kennedy this season has been his propensity to allow homeruns—27 of them to be exact.

    His lone start this week is against the Dodgers, who much to his relief, rank 29th in homeruns. However, the addition of Adrian Gonzalez gives LA an opportunity to crank one off Kennedy.

    It has also been three months since Kennedy finished a game with an ERA of less than four. 

10. Josh Beckett

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    The Dodgers will host St. Louis this week in an intriguing four-game series that will play a big role in determining the playoff chances of both teams. Beckett opens things up for Los Angeles Thursday night.

    While Beckett has not been terrible since moving West, he has received little support from the offense. They have scored a total of three runs in as many Beckett starts.

    In addition to the wins issue, Beckett has been putting a lot of guys on base. His WHIP since joining the Dodgers is an unpleasant 1.48.

    Assuming Matt Holliday plays, he will be looking forward to the matchup with Becket, against whom he bats .412.