Andy Behrens

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Andy Behrens is the editor of Roto Arcade, the Yahoo! Sports fantasy blog. Andy has been writing about fantasy sports for the past decade and playing them much longer. He's won his share of experts leagues and accuracy titles. He's also the author of three novels for young readers. He also consistently beats the Evans-Pianowski team in barroom shuffleboard, no matter who he's paired with.

  • Closing Time: Miguel Castro takes the ninth, Trevor Bauer piles up Ks

    Brett Cecil blew a save opportunity in a loss to the Yankees on Wednesday, delivering a messy stat line along the way: 0.1 IP, H, BB, K, WP.

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    On Thursday, Toronto's closer became an ex-closer:

    Apparently John Gibbons maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding the blowing of saves, which of course is his prerogative. Seems harsh, but our role here is merely to react to various moves, not judge them. Cecil was dinged this spring (shoulder) and his velocity has dipped, so the flip isn't completely out of nowhere.

    The advice here is simple enough: Go add Miguel Castro. Everything else can wait. Go. Do it.

    Done? Great.

    Castro currently owns the ninth for the Jays. He's a hard-throwing 20-year-old coming off an excellent spring, and he was terrific in the low minors last year

    Read More »from Closing Time: Miguel Castro takes the ninth, Trevor Bauer piles up Ks
  • Archie Bradley gets his shot after terrific spring

    Had things gone according to plan, Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Archie Bradley would have excelled last spring, flummoxing hitters, earning a spot in his team's early season rotation. He would now be entering his second year in the majors, an obvious breakout candidate.

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    But things only rarely go according to plan with young pitchers. Bradley had a shaky spring in 2014 — perfectly allowable, given that he was only 21 — then he struggled at Triple-A Reno to open the year. He landed on the DL in late April, sidelined by a flexor strain in his pitching elbow, and ultimately finished his season with a not-so-appealing stat line: 4.45 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 5.3 BB/9.

    Bradley had some nice moments in the Arizona Fall League, however, introducing a slider, rediscovering his mid-90s velocity. He entered spring training in 2015 still ranked among (though not atop) the game's best pitching prospects. Bradley has been excellent

    Read More »from Archie Bradley gets his shot after terrific spring
  • A's outfield ailing, clearing path for spring star Billy Burns

    If you were counting on a meaningful early season contribution from Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp, we've got some bad news for you.

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    This via the San Francisco Chronicle:

    The Chronicle has learned that Coco Crisp is expected to need surgery to remove a bone spur and chips in his right elbow, and he would miss six to eight weeks after the arthroscopic procedure.

    Of course it's not as if you didn't understand the risks associated with Crisp. He has a deep injury history, with five trips to the DL during his six seasons with the A's. Josh Reddick is dealing with an oblique malfunction at the moment, so he'll be sidelined for something like five games, too.

    Oakland figures to use burner Craig Gentry and the exceedingly versatile Ben Zobrist to cover the outfield absences, but we're also likely to see 25-year-old Billy Burns in the mix — and if Burns is playing, it's an actionable fantasy event in deeper leagues.

    Burns is

    Read More »from A's outfield ailing, clearing path for spring star Billy Burns
  • Tip Drill: A beginner's guide to daily fantasy baseball

    Realistically, you will not become a zillionaire by playing daily fantasy baseball. Sorry to smack you with cold truth right here at the top, but there it is. Advertising efforts from various DFS sites may have convinced you that such games offer a clear and easy path to extreme, life-changing wealth, but, um ... no, probably not happening.

    In fact, a comprehensive review of the Forbes 400 list will reveal that zero of our richest citizens acquired their fortunes via daily fantasy games.

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    However, this fact doesn't mean you can't still profit by dabbling in DFS. Daily games are really an excellent complement to the standard fantasy portfolio. If you regret not drafting any shares of, say, Taijuan Walker or Nolan Arenado or whoever else, you can always find opportunities for single-serving ownership in daily.

    Today, the mission is to assist those of you considering a foray into daily baseball — we're talking to the

    Read More »from Tip Drill: A beginner's guide to daily fantasy baseball
  • It would not be entirely accurate to say that I entered this year's A.L.-only Tout Wars auction with a highly detailed and thoroughly vetted plan.

    No, plan is definitely the wrong term.

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    Last year I had a well-rehearsed plan, executed it reasonably well, and then four of my players suffered season-ending injuries almost immediately. Mike Trout couldn't do it all by himself. My pitching staff was basically Yordano Ventura and five dudes who threw like Boof Bonser. That is to say, it was not a good pitching staff.

    So this season, I suppose I'm trying to move beyond plan-making, beyond scripting. Still, I did enter the Tout auction with a set of guiding fantasy principles in mind (some of them disposable), plus I'd spent a good deal of prep time identifying players likely to be available for $1 (some of whom went for $7). When preparing for any auction or draft of unusual depth, my focus is generally on finding the best

    Read More »from Tout Wars recap: Jose Abreu, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodon and various other Sox
  • If you were under the impression that spring training existed entirely as a showcase for Kris Bryant's ridiculous power and for no other reason ... well, we get it. Bryant's dominance has certainly been the top story from the exhibition season. When a prospect slugs eight homers over just 29 plate appearances, hype is gonna happen. It's unavoidable.

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    However, Bryant actually isn't the only player making noise this spring — he's been the noisiest, sure, but he's not alone.

    Today, our purpose is to discuss other players who've surged in March, several of whom have earned opening day roster spots. We're diving relatively deep here, just for the record, well beyond the early rounds in standard fantasy drafts. You shouldn't need us to tell you about Mike Trout's 1.459 spring OPS, or Brandon Belt's .333/.467/.722 slash. Those guys are well established. The players mentioned below have much, much more to prove.

    But before we

    Read More »from Fantasy baseball sleepers, 2015: Joc Pederson, Taijuan Walker and a dozen other spring stars
  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Relief Pitcher

    Closers are really a fantasy nuisance.

    You're a fool if you draft them early — or if you draft too many of them — because we all know several new sources of saves will emerge during the season. Happens every year. Something like one-third of closing jobs will flip at some point.

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    But of course if you don't draft any closers — or if you limit yourself to just one — then you'll spend the next six months of your life targeting saves on the wire. And for most of us, that's not much fun. Nor is it entirely practical if you're a normal human, instead of a fantasy professional.

    In mixed leagues of standard size/shape, my recommendation is that you snag two or three of the late-round closers on draft day, so as to avoid the in-season stress of the saves chase. Try to do your shopping in the Cishek-Benoit bin, if possible. You should really be able to acquire saves easily enough without snagging one of the luxury closers. However,

    Read More »from Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Relief Pitcher
  • Kris Bryant can't wait

    On Monday afternoon, Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant had a miserable day at the plate by his recent standards, merely going 1-for-3 with an opposite field double off the wall.

    Normally, he does stuff like this and this and this.

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    Bryant is now nine games into his second spring with the Cubs and he's 10-for-23 with two doubles, six homers and an OPS of 1.804. No other ballplayer on any team has hit more than three spring home runs.

    By now, you're all no doubt familiar with Bryant's resume. He led all minor league players in homers last season, hitting 43 bombs across two levels, stealing 15 bags and slashing .325/.438/.661. He was the game's top amateur player in 2013, then the minor league player of the year in 2014. Bryant may not be a flawless prospect — he struck out 162 times last year — but the Cubs have yet to find a level at which he struggles.

    As Chris Cwik discussed on Friday, Chicago now encounters a

    Read More »from Kris Bryant can't wait
  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Starting Pitcher

    Whatever statistical lines of demarcation you've used in the past to define good, bad and ordinary pitching performances, it's well past time for an update. We've hammered away at this general theme in earlier Position Primers, you might have noticed. The run-scoring environment has changed substantially in recent seasons, so fantasy managers need to adapt.

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    Back in 2004, for example, the Atlanta Braves led all major league teams in ERA at 3.74. Last year, the average MLB pitching staff posted a 3.74 ERA. Seventeen teams finished below that number, and the average National League ERA was 3.66.

    Among all individual pitchers who tossed more than 140.0 innings in '04, only 19 posted ERAs below 3.50. Last season, 26 pitchers delivered sub-3.00 ERAs with over 140 frames of work, and 48 hurlers were below 3.50.

    So yeah, times have changed. The strike-zone is clearly expanding while hitters are quite possibly shrinking. Thus,

    Read More »from Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Starting Pitcher
  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Outfield

    The outfield is where you'll find ... well, everything.

    Whatever you need, it's available in the outfield. All hitting stats, all player traits. This roster spot is where the four and five-category fantasy commodities tend to reside. The top-two overall picks in an average Yahoo draft are a pair of outfielders — Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen — and four additional OF-eligible players are typically selected among the overall top-ten.

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    Simply put, fantasy is a numbers game, and the outfield is rich with numbers. If you adhere too strictly to position-scarcity draft principles in the opening rounds, you'll whiff on several of the game's most productive, bankable, multi-category assets.

    Eighteen major league hitters posted at least 80 runs, 80 RBIs and 20 HRs last year, and nine were outfielders. (None were shortstops, none were catchers.) Thirteen players at this position delivered a combined homers-plus-steals total of 40

    Read More »from Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Outfield

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