|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Do you know who would be an awesome pitcher to have on your fantasy roster? Henry Rowengartner! Yeah, the kid from “Rookie of the Year”. Watch the film one more time. You will see that after his first ever appearance, he never allows another baserunner for the rest of the regular season. The kid struck out Barry Bonds for cryin’ out loud! Rowengartner would be a more dominant closer than Mariano Rivera.
Just when you think he is done, Gonzalez proves you wrong. The Padres slugger destroyed everything in sight with videogame-like numbers by cranking out 19 hits with three home runs to give him 32 this season. In the process, Gonzalez raised his average from .251 to .279.
Howard continues to be a power and RBI threat with four home runs and a league-best 11 RBI all while hitting .381. Howard is once again having a great second half with a .306 avg, eight home runs, and 24 RBI since the break.
Still arguably the best fantasy player (other than Pujols), Hanley stayed in the lead for the N.L. batting title by collecting 15 hits including four doubles and two home runs. Hanley also scored eight runs and swiped two more bases. Complain about there being not as much power as previous seasons (18), but Hanley has already posted a career-high in RBI with 82 and is hitting .356.
Remember when Figgins qualified at every position except for catcher? Man, those were the days. Figgins predictably had no home runs, but he did manage 13 hits and four stolen bases. When you draft Figgins, you know what you are getting, which is speed and a .300 avg. So don’t bitch about the lack of power.
I have a soft spot for doubles, so Roberts gets recognition this week. Roberts gave owners 12 hits including seven doubles, one home run, five RBI, and three stolen bases. If your league counts doubles, then Roberts is a gold mine. The Baltimore second baseman has had 40+ doubles in five of the last six seasons with two seasons of 50+ doubles. With 45 doubles already this year, Roberts will break his career-best of 51 doubles he had last season.
I hope you listened to me three weeks ago. De La Rosa was one of the few starters to win both of his starts last week. He struck out 20 batters in 13.1 innings with an impressive 0.68 ERA in the process. He is 5-1 since the break with a 3.00 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 39.0 innings.
How does a closer make it here with no saves last week? Well, by going 2-0 silly. Wilson allowed no runs and struck out six batters in four innings to improve to 5-5 on the season.
Even though he failed to strike out any batters, Franklin still shut the door in the ninth inning and collected three saves without allowing any runs. Franklin leads all closers with a 1.17 ERA.
Baker made his one start count by pitching a complete game shutout over Cleveland. Baker is having a stellar second half with a 2.29 ERA in 39.1 innings and August is his best month yet with a 2.66 ERA.
After two shaky outings (combined 10 ER in 14.0 IP), Verlander bounced back with eight shutout innings with eight strikeouts to give himself win number 13. Verlander leads the A.L. with 194 strikeouts, which is a career-high for him.
Wolf has flown under the radar all season, but he has been a quality outings machine. Lately, he has compiled a 4-2 record and 3.12 ERA in his last 10 starts. Nine of those 10 starts have been quality outings.
In his nine games since his call-up, Hunter has a 2.26 ERA in 55.2 innings to go with his 5-2 record. Six of his starts have been at home in Texas, so you know he can pitch well anywhere.
I guess all those supplements he is taking are working for him lately. Arroyo has a 2.49 ERA and two complete games (both shutouts) in his last seven starts.
If you nee help at one of fantasy’s most shallow positions, then Ellis is worth a gander. Ellis is hitting .346 since the break including a whopping .431 with 19 RBI in August.
If you need average and stolen bases, then pick up Rajai Davis now. Davis has hit .357 over the last month with 12 stolen bases and 11 extra base hits (eight doubles, three triples). He won’t hit home runs for you, but the speed and hits alone are worth it.