What good is talent to a fantasy owner who lacks timing?
Fantasy baseball, just like the real thing, is a game of skill, luck and timing. That last trait in particular comes in handy in regard to trading.
Knowing which player to trade away and which to deal for—and knowing just the right time to do so—can make all the difference. It doesn't get much better than making a move to unload a hot flavor-of-the-month type who's about to cool off in exchange for a slumping stud about to take off.
If you want to check out last week's suggestions, look no further.
Now, speaking of timing, let's get to a batch of players to sell high and a group to buy low.
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
Fantasy Stats: .265 BA, 41 R, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB
Phillips practically sells himself, what with his name value, big personality and that gaudy RBI total.
The thing is, all of that makes him overrated.
Hidden underneath is the fact that Phillips' average and OPS are down for the third straight season. Also? This former perennial 20-steal threat has pilfered just one bag all year.
Find the owner in your league who knows the name and thinks he's getting a career year from Phillips—who's been dealing with a forearm injury and is hitting just .169 since being hit by a pitch on June 1 (pictured)—and you should be able to get a top-30 hitter or pitcher in return.
Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins
Fantasy Stats: 4 W, 2.98 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
This doesn't apply to keeper leaguers, but those in redraft formats need to be shopping Fernandez. Yesterday.
He's been fantastic for a 20-year-old who was jumped from Class-A ball all the way to the bigs, but he's already thrown almost 85 innings. That's at least halfway to the limit of 150 to 170 frames the Marlins have established for Fernandez in his rookie season.
Aside from the fact that he's on the Marlins, which already makes it difficult for him to win games, he's thrown more than seven innings only once.
Frankly, it wouldn't be shocking to see Miami shut him down on the short end of that range, which means his owners will be without a quality arm at the most important time of the fantasy season.
Wil Myers, OF, Rays
Fantasy Stats: .268 BA, 3 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB
Now that Myers, 22, has finally made his debut and also shown that he can hit in the bigs a little bit, this is when you deal him (unless you're in a keeper league).
Owners chase top prospects like dogs chase their tails, so dangle Myers like a new chew toy and watch your league-mates beg.
This isn't to say that Myers will be bad, but it's more likely that the caliber of player you can land for him, even straight up, will be better—and certainly more proven.
Koji Uehara, RHP, Red Sox
Fantasy Stats: 0 W, 2 SV, 2.03 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 12.8 K/9
Having just taken over the closer reigns from the struggling Andrew Bailey, Uehara's value couldn't be any higher.
No doubt, Uehara has been great in his first season in Boston, but we're also talking about a 38-year-old. Uehara is on pace for 63 frames this year, but the Red Sox admit they're hesitant to use him on back-to-back days, meaning the save total—assuming he keeps the gig—might suffer some.
And this might be just a hunch, but it doesn't feel like Uehara is going to remain with the ninth-inning role for the rest of the season.
Chris Tillman, RHP, Orioles
Fantasy Stats: 9 W, 3.72 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.2 K/9
"Hey [insert fellow owner's name here], I've got plenty of pitching depth, and after looking at your staff, I figured you could use someone like Tillman. You know, 25-year-old former top prospect who pitches in front of a great offense and has won each of his past five starts—and nine of his last 10 decisions. Let me know if you'd part with [insert targeted player here] for that."
Find a squad or three that's short on arms, then take what's written above, copy, paste and fill in the appropriate player of choice, depending on your team's need(s).
Why are we shilling Tillman? Maybe it's that 3.4 BB/9. Maybe it's those 17 homers in 94.1 innings. Or maybe it's that 5.01 FIP (per FanGraphs).
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
Fantasy Stats: .287 BA, 29 R, 12 HR, 23 RBI, 2 SB
This one depends on whether or not you're pretty much all-in on Harper.
The price isn't going to be that low. More than likely, Harper will be back from his left knee bursitis by some time early next week, so unless his owner isn't paying attention at all, you're not putting one over on anybody.
What it comes down to, then, is a combination of how strongly you feel about Harper performing as a top-30 fantasy hitter over the rest of the season and how soured on the phenom his current owner has become while the 20-year-old has missed the past month.
The other factor to consider is where you and Harper's owner are in the standings. Chances are, if the other owner is competing, he's not just going to give up Harper after waiting all this time to get him back. Conversely, if you're in the middle of the pack and looking to make a go-for-broke kind of transaction, Harper would be as good a target as any.
Assess your situation—and Harper's owner's—and make a play accordingly.
Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers
Fantasy Stats: .306 BA, 45 R, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 6 SB
Unless we're hearing different things, Jackson has been somewhat of a disappointment so far, right?
He's been fine enough when healthy, but even accounting for the loss of a month with a hamstring strain (jeez, that seems like the injury of the year, doesn't it?), Jackson's numbers don't blow you away.
While the 26-year-old has made some serious advancements, especially in the plate discipline and contact departments, he's never quite put it all together in a season for some reason. This year likely will be more of the same, at least on the surface, thanks to the injury interruption.
So why is Jackson a buy-low guy, then? Well, he's a great batting average get, and he's fantastic in the always-overlooked runs scored category because he gets on base (.380 OBP!) and hits in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
If you need average and/or runs, just take the plunge.
Matt Garza, RHP, Cubs
Fantasy Stats: 2 W, 4.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
Garza's been up and down since missing the first six weeks of the season with a lat strain, which provides two reasons for his buy-lowness.
The third reason? Dude is all but guaranteed to be traded out of Chicago.
If there's one thing you should know about Garza by now, it's that he's a competitive moth—, well, you know. That makes the 29-year-old the type to excel while pitching for an all-around better team in the middle of a playoff chase.
It's a bit of a risk that Garza could be traded somewhere that would be a tough fit—like, say, Camden Yards. But almost anything will be better than staying in Chicago.
A.J. Burnett, RHP, Pirates
Fantasy Stats: 4 W, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10.0 K/9
Trend alert: We've got another injured player.
Burnett has been out since June 8 with a torn right calf muscle, and while his return is still a ways off—perhaps even after the All-Star break—the veteran has been feeling well enough to throw side sessions.
It's a little worrisome that it's the right (push-off) calf for Burnett, who's also 36 years old.
That might just make him extra cheap, though, and his owner probably picked Burnett up off the waiver wire early in the season anyway, meaning his performance this year was gravy.
Still, Burnett was in the middle of a career year, which is pretty impressive for a pitcher who's been around for—count 'em—15 seasons. And any arm notching over a strikeout per (10.0 K/9) is an arm worth acquiring.
Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
Fantasy Stats: .235 BA, 32 R, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 4 SB
So is this what Weeks does nowadays? Stinking it up for the first few months before finally realizing: Hey, the season started!
As awful as the 30-year-old has been to this point, he was actually worse through last season. No, for realz.
Through last June, Weeks was hitting .183 with six homers, six steals, 22 RBI and 27 runs.
From July 1 on? Try a .269 average with 15 homers, 10 steals, 41 RBI and 58 runs.
Certainly don't count on Weeks being quite that good again, but at least we know what he's capable of doing in more or less half a season.
And if you need a little more encouragement, consider that since bottoming out at a .167 average on May 21, Weeks is hitting .380 with five homers over his past 23 games.