With the All-Star break underway, we are officially at the half-way point of the baseball season. However, this also means you are most likely well into the second half of the 'fantasy' season -- leaving the remaining regular season weeks for the fantasy playoffs. Needless to say this is crunch time for fantasy managers.
If you want a quick recap of the biggest story lines so far this season, be sure to check out my mid-season fantasy awards.
Here are my half dozen fantasy baseball tips for this week. Hopefully they help you in your second half surge...or at the very least keep you company during your fantasy withdrawal during the All-Star break. I know I'm already starving for fantasy numbers.
Pick-Up Of The Week!
Player that should be owned but could still be on the waiver wire in your league.
Chris Archer SP - TB
Granted it's been against Houston (twice) and Minnesota, but Archer has been stellar in his last three starts. In his last start against the 'Stros, he struck out eight over a complete nine innings. He's allowed only two runs in 21 innings in July. He was a big prospect coming into the season, so this production only solidifies the hopes of those who grabbed him early. While he has some control issues, he's worth taking a chance on. His ceiling is just too high. He's only 21 percent owned right now.
Helmuth Hail Mary
It's worth a long shot, but picking up this guy might be your lottery ticket for 2013.
Chris Carpenter SP - STL: I know. This is crazy talk. I can't believe I'm typing this. But while you shouldn't rush to pick him up now, keep an eye on his progress. He hasn't been able to stay healthy (and even unofficially retired this spring), but Shane Robinson (STL, OF) told reporters that Carp's cutter was "virtually unhittable" during a simulated game at Busch Stadium last week. He threw a 100-pitch simulated game. He starts a rehab assignment at Double-A Springfield Monday and could be in the rotation by mid August. Again, this is a long shot -- but crazier things have happened. Not a bad idea to stash him on one of your DL spots if possible.
Eric Young OF - NYM: He's No. 64 on the player rater over the past month and yet he's only owned in 14 percent of leagues. He has eight stolen bases in the last 30 days and 16 for the season and has batted .300. If you need steals, Young will be your golden ticket.
On the lookout for the next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.
Danny Salazar SP - Cle: He's back at Triple-A Columbus, but everyone thinks he's just there to stay fresh during the All-Star break. He was fantastic last Thursday during his MLB debut against a solid Blue Jays lineup, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowing only two hits with one walk and one run over six final frames. Indians manager Terry Francona was impressed, so keep an eye on Salazar's return.
Chris Archer SP - TB: (Above)
Second Half Sleeper
Who will blow up in the second half?
Eric Hosmer 1B - KC: Remember Hosmer's horrific start to the season? Ya know, the start where he was batting near the Mendoza line, only had one homer and was dropped in half of all fantasy leagues? That's a distant memory. He's still available in 20 percent of leagues and for those who haven't caught on, Hosmer has been the No. 24 best player on the player rater over the past month, hitting .310/7/18. I'm a believer. He's going to have a great second half.
Who is fake gold.
Tim Lincecum SP - SF: Don't buy the hype just because he threw a no-hitter. Sure, that's a big accomplishment and I'm very happy for Timmy Jim; it doesn't mean I want him on my fantasy team. He's been way too inconsistent dating back to last year; he still owns a 4.26 ERA over this season and a K/BB ratio less than 3:1. If you can find a sucker that will buy, trade him away. But he shouldn't be owned in any league.
Sucky or sexy?
Matt Cain SP - SF: Picking on San Fran pitching again. Poor Giants... I'm a big Cain fan. I own him in my toughest league. However there is a lot of risk here. If you can sell high, I would consider it. While I still believe Cain has what it takes to be a top level pitcher, FanGraphs did a great run-down on Cain's possible injury while proving he is still maintaining solid velocity. I think there is a 55 percent chance Cain doesn't quite rebound to being elite this season.
Hitter of the Week: (Monday-Monday)
Alfonso Soriano – CHC: .296/4/5, 2 steals. (Second week in a row as H.O.W.)
Hurler of the Week: (Monday-Monday)
Zack Greinke SP – LAD: 16 IP, 2 Wins, 16 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP
Photo Credit: Getty