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This being the Year of the Pitcher and all, it might be a good time to get your hands on every spare fantasy arm you can find.
The trouble is there are usually (unless your commissioner is a nit-wit) only so many starting pitcher slots - four in some leagues, but I've seen others with three or even two.
Starters don't go every day, and they may not all pitch on the same day, but if you are trying to gain fantasy points by loading up on pitching stats, you need a lot of arms, and that means potential conflicts. That means it's time to look for pitchers with flexible position eligibility - the sometime elusive SP/RP.
There are actually a decent number of SP/RPs every season, but they tend to change from year to year. Players who come out of the bullpen or the minors and then get moved into the rotation early in the year may only be SP/RP for that year if they pitch well. A good way to find the best ones is by searching for RPs, but ranking them by most innings pitched.
Here are a few SP/RPs who should be on your radar right now:
Brandon Morrow, SP/RP, Toronto: Almost threw a no-hitter last weekend, but the best part fantasy-wise were his 17 strikeouts. Morrow actually has been a great strikeout pick all season at well over one per inning. A fairly high ERA has kept him on the waiver wire in many leagues, but look for that to change. 40 percent owned in Yahoo!
Colby Lewis, SP/RP, Texas: He's had an up-and-down year, but still has a 3.37 ERA and, like Morrow, will get you a lot of strikeouts. 77 percent owned.
Brett Myers, SP/RP, Houston: Only eight wins for a poor-hitting team, but another low ERA, high strikeout pick-up. 55 percent owned.
Brian Duensing, SP/RP, Minnesota: He's bounced between the rotation and the bullpen more than the others, but looks like he may start frequently the rest of the way. 5-1 right now with a 2.27 ERA for a late-season surging team. 11 percent owned.
* Closing Time says the latest SP/RP to size up is Jeremy Hellickson. Just one start in the bank, but the Rays will give him a lot of run support.
* Bleacher Report asks if Gio Gonzalez, SP, Oakland is worth owning. Like his more successful teammate Trevor Cahill, he delivers a low ERA, WHIP and wins games in which Oakland cares to score, but also has relatively few strikeouts. On a winning team, he'd be an easy pick.
* ESPN has a good feature for folks in keeper leagues on the top-ranked keeper choices.
And now, over to football . . .
Top 10 QBs
A quick look at my top 10 quarterbacks as we get ready for draft day:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay.
My love for him has been pretty well documented. I predicted an MVP-type season last year, and this year I'm going to be right.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans.
Everyone keeps expecting a let-down, maybe conditioned by his early-career inconsistencies. He still has a wide range of players to throw to, and probably more confidence than ever.
3. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis.
Why? Because he's Peyton Manning. He excelled last year with a young, questionable group of receivers, and now they have all the awkward getting-to-know-you stuff out of the way.
4. Matt Schaub, Houston.
His breakthrough year of more than 4,700 yards passing and 29 touchdowns almost gets him a No. 3 rank.
5. Philip Rivers, San Diego.
He's getting to be a reliable choice for 4,000-plus pass yards and right around 30 TDs.
6. Tony Romo, Dallas.
Still getting beat up despite rising passing yards and fewer interceptions and fumbles.
7. Brett Favre, Minnesota.
This is assuming a best-case scenario where he's ready to go no later than Game 4 of the season. Until he cashes his first pension check, he remains in my top 10.
8. Jay Cutler, Chicago.
Surprise! Leading a Mike Martz offense won't be a miracle cure, but I like his potential for something like 32 TDs, 16 INTs, 4,000 pass yards.
9. Tom Brady, New England.
His stock is definitely on the decline, but it looks like Wes Welker will be healthy, and Brady can quickly and quietly pile up passing yards.
10. Matthew Stafford, Detroit.
A pretty high-profile gamble for a guy who had 20 INTs in just 10 games last year, but he showed flashes of brilliance and has a solid receiving corps. Like Brady, more of a passing-yards play than a TD play.
Next week: The top 10 WRs.
Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space (nearly) every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like it's about.
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