While Major League Baseball marks its trade deadline tomorrow afternoon at 4 fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhPM, many Fantasy Baseball owners have a little more time to digest the MLB moves and act accordingly.  In the Hausier’s Krowedum Fantasy Baseball League, owners have until August 5th before trades are no longer an option for improvement.  The deals started last week as players like Roy Halladay, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard turned up on the rosters of the teams at the top, acquired from those out of the running.   With many fantasy leagues facing deadlines over the next few weeks, it seems like a good time to discuss trade strategy and protocol from both sides of the transaction.

Contenders should always target statistical categories when making a trade and factor potential monetary gains into a player’s valuation.  For instance, if you find that there is potential for a bump of three points in a tightly bunched ERA category and the prize for winning your league is $500, you should give up significantly more for Joel Pineiro or Jarrod Washburn than you would have back in April or May.  They may not be players worthy of a high draft pick or stud keeper under normal circumstances but they are when you can win.  Don’t underbid.

Be alert for peripheral deals that can help you by hurting your opposition.  Earlier this week in the HK League, Bobby Carr found his Skippy Shakes looking up at the Shady Gradys.   Carr saw that he had a big lead in HR and was locked into 6th place in SB; 20 behind and 20 ahead of his closest rivals.  The Gradys however had a slim 2 SB lead over the Four Horsemen.  As Carr is just 6 points behind the second place Gradys in the overall standings, he sent Alex Rios to the Horsemen, hoping the addition would vault the Horsemen to the top of the category and take a valuable point away from a rival.  A deal like this can be more valuable to you than an acquisition.

If you’re back in the pack and find yourself selling instead of buying, act quickly, as the contenders will be willing to give up only so much and you could be left holding the bag.  Such is the case for Ken Jankowski of GMoney, who came out of the HK Fantasy Baseball draft with a team full of studs that would soon end up on the DL.  Disappointed, Kenny set out to improve draft position for next year.  The problem was, the four contenders had already made a number of deals for high draft picks and there wasn’t a lot left.  He moved Alex Rodriguez for a 2nd rounder and as of this writing was still holding Mark Teixeira without a deal in sight.

Finally, if you are a seller, don’t just turn your attention to your Fantasy Football Draft as soon as the deadline passes.  Keep an eye on your team as it is your responsibility to help maintain the integrity of the standings.  You don’t have to grab free agents every day, especially if it’ll cost you money, but you owe it to the rest of the league to replace injured player

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Buy Low- Don’t let Cliff Lee’s record fool you.  After a rough April, he’s spent the last three months throwing every bit as well as he did in winning the Cy Young last year.  Now that he’s in Philly, look for the W to pile up… Despite a seven game win streak, Rockies’ starter Aaron Cook remains a free agent in some mixed leagues.  Even if he’s not, see if his owner’s been paying attention… Cole Hamels has put three strong starts together since the break and might be a nice deadline pickup for your squad… Might be your last chance to

Sell High- The Orioles are actively looking to move George Sherrill with the Dodgers as one of the destinations.  With Jonathan Broxton entrenched in the closer’s role, Sherrill would no longer be a source for S… Tampa’s James Shields is winless in his last 7 starts… Rangers’ 2B Ian Kinsler has struggled for two months while his BA has dropped to .242.  If you’re NOT in a keeper league, he’d bring a boat load of draft picks… Clint Barmes’ slump has gotten so bad that Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy recently dropped him from 2nd to 8th in the batting order…

Grab Bag- Cubs’ C Koyie Hill has started every game since Geovany Soto went down with an injury. OF/3B is his only backup… Bronson Arroyo has put together quite a few solid starts over the last two months and could see his value leap if he’s traded to a contender… This might be your last chance to pick up the red hot Josh Willingham. Hope you read Moonlight two weeks ago…

Drop Zone- No room at the inn for Ben Francisco, who moves from the Indians’ OF to the Phillies’ bench… Magglio Ordonez needs just 130 plate appearances for a 2010 option for $18 million kicks in.  The way he’s hitting, can’t see the Tigers allowing that to happen… Royals’ reliever, Juan Cruz, is 0-2 with two blown saves since the All Star break… Despite the Angels’ success, Joe Saunders continues to struggle with a 6.58 ERA over his last 11 starts… Chad Tracy is no longer an option in even the deepest of NL only leagues as the D’Backs look to the future…

Sick Bay- Carlos Beltran estimates he is 2-3 weeks away from a return to the Mets lineup after sitting out with a bone bruise in his knee… Yanks’ hurler Chien Ming Wang will undergo season ending surgery, as will Twins’ starter Kevin Slowey… Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre is expected back from a shoulder injury in two weeks… Houston’s Lance Berkman is on the 15 day DL with a strained calf…

by Professor Wagstaff

Well, here we are.  The first NFL training camp opens on Saturday in Buffalo, Horsefeathersperhaps because the Bills can’t wait to immerse themselves in the glow and warmth of newly acquired Terrell Owens.  Whatever the reason, the first whistle will also serve to alert Fantasy Owners that their drafts are just a few weeks away.  In most of those drafts, running backs will dominate most of the first two rounds so; the position seems as good a spot as any to start our 2009 previews.

Fantasy Football Running Backs

Studs

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson carried the ball 363 times last year.  363!  The NFL’s leading rusher probably won’t carry the same load this season but will still be the first pick in your draft… Michael Turner emerged from LT’s shadow in San Diego and became a superstar in Atlanta.  He ran for 220 YDS on Opening Day and never looked back. Ironically, he’ll likely go before Tomlinson in most Fantasy drafts…  It took a year but DeAngelo Williams finally showed the panthers the talent they expected when they drafted him.  His 1,500 YDS were a team record and 20 TD boosted him to an elite Fantasy ranking…  Jaguars’ star Maurice Jones Drew ran for less YDS than anyone in this group but made up for it with better than 500 YDS receiving.  Look for his rushing total to increase in ’09 as he’ll no longer be splitting time with the departed Fred Taylor… Not a bad rookie year for Matt Forte, who quickly became the focal point of the Bears’ offense.  The addition of Jay Cutler won’t hurt him at all since he’s probably Chicago’s best receiver, as well.

Stars

Talk to Fantasy owners that drafted Marion Barber in the first or second round in ‘08 and they’ll tell you they were somewhat disappointed.  Slowed in the final four games by a toe injury, Barber’s production fell off.  Healthy now, don’t look past the fact that he still managed 1,300 total YDS and 10 TD… Frank Gore, slowed in the latter part of the season by a concussion, had 1,500 total YDS and 8 TD.  A new O Coordinator with a reputation for running the ball will give the 49’ers star a huge boost…  Houston’s Steve Slaton went undrafted in many leagues last year (including mine) and was happily grabbed as a FA early on.  He’ll be the starter out of the gate this year so, expect bigger numbers… Brian Westbrook suffered through a litany of injuries last season yet, the Eagles star still had 14 TD and 1,300 YDS.  He’s had off season surgery on his ankle and knee so, be careful but the risk reward for drafting him is huge.

Sleepers

How does one of the greatest RB in the history of the game end up on a Fantasy sleeper list?  When he’s coming off an injury riddled season and he’s over 30, that’s when.  San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson is Wagstaff’s pick for steal of the draft in ’09 as he’ll probably go late second or early third round in a year where he’ll show everyone how great he is when healthy… Injuries and the emergence of LeRon McLain made for a tough rookie year for the Ravens’ Ray Rice.  However, McLain will be moved to fullback while Rice will split time with Willis McGahee…  We’re going out on a limb here with Arizona’s Beanie Wells, as he’s slated to split time with Tim Hightower.  The thought, however, is that Wells has more breakaway potential; enough to give him the bulk of the carries and some late round value… Given the history, how can you not want a Denver RB?  Knowshon Moreno will quickly become the Broncos’ go to guy, especially as they gently work Kyle Orton into the offense.

Slippers

A decent sleeper pick in ’08, LenDale White became nothing more than a short yardage specialist for the Titans as the season wore on with Chris Johnson taking the reins.  Don’t get sucked in by his TD total… Age and the Browns’ ineptitude have conspired to rob Jamal Lewis of his Fantasy value.  His totals last year were his lowest in four years and the Browns don’t look like they’ve worked out too many of their problems…, Willis McGahee seems to have hit the infamous RB wall; and the Ravens apparently think so, too.  They’re looking to work Ray Rice into the rotation… The Colts’ Joseph Addai was a first rounder in most Fantasy leagues last year but struggled mightily.  So much so, that Indy used its first pick on Donald Brown, who will definitely take touches from Addai.

Stiffs

  Larry Johnson has asked the Chiefs for a trade and will lose touches to Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith… In Tampa Bay, Earnest Graham is returning from an ankle injury that cost him the last five weeks of an already disappointing season while battling the newly signed Derrick Ward for playing time… In Baltimore, LeRon McLain became a viable option when Willis McGahee went down.  However, he’s being moved to FB, making him the Ravens’ third option at best.

Fantasy Football Picks: Wagstaff’s Top 20 Running Backs

  1. Adrian Peterson                            
  2. DeAngelo Williams                    
  3.  Matt Forte                                         
  4. Michael Turner                             
  5. Maurice Jones Drew                  
  6. Steve Slaton                                    
  7. LaDainian Tomlinson               
  8. Brian Westbrook                         
  9. Marion Barber                              
  10. Frank Gore                                     
  11. Steven Jackson
  12. Clinton Portis   
  13. Brandon Jacobs   
  14. Knowshon Moreno
  15. Thomas Jones
  16. Marshawn Lynch
  17. Ryan Grant
  18. Joseph Addai
  19. Kevin Smith
  20. Willie Parker                                    
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