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.

  • 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

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  • 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,

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  • 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.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    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

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  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Middle Infield

    Not so long ago, back when middle infielders were supposed to look like this dude or this dude, we expected the best of them to hit 30-plus home runs. Today, in a much different run-scoring environment, our projections for second basemen and shortstops are relatively modest.

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    Only six middle infielders reached the 20-homer plateau last season, and none topped Ian Desmond's 24. Only four middles finished the year with more than 80 RBIs, and none reached 100. Banking on significant production in the power categories from these spots, is ... well, it's probably a terrible plan.

    Generally speaking, the pool of second basemen and shortstops is rich with players who can produce useful-if-not-spectacular power/speed totals — guys like Alexei, Jimmy, Howie and Kolten. The middle also offers a small number of players with zero power, but top-tier speed — burners like Dee, Elvis and Alcides. If you pass on the early-round options

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  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Ranking the corner Infielders

    Many of you have been managing fantasy baseball teams for a decade or more, so you can remember a time when power stats were available everywhere, at all positions. Back in the day, we used to get 25 and 30-homer seasons from middle infielders who weren't even particularly skilled at hitting — like this guy and this guy.

    Power was unavoidable. Everyone cleared the fences.

    These days, however, power isn't so widely available.

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    The average major league team hit just 140 total home runs last season. In 2004, an average team hit 182. Only 11 players reached the 30-homer plateau last year, compared to 37 back in '04. Hitters are presumably less enhanced today, plus the called strike zone has dramatically expanded. All the fantasy benchmarks have changed. Run-scoring is down, Ks are up, batting averages haven't been this low since the Nixon administration and power is fading.

    Today, if you don't receive significant

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  • Fantasy Baseball Position Primer: Catcher

    In leagues with standard Yahoo settings, there are basically two acceptable ways to address the position of catcher on draft day:

    1) Get Buster Posey in the early rounds, or...

    2) Wait it out and find a value — and when it seems like you've finally waited long enough, wait another round or two.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    Seriously, with the exception of Buster, this position is really a minefield of uninteresting numbers and grossly inflated prices. Last season, Posey was the only catcher to finish among the top-50 overall fantasy assets in the year-end ranks (No. 42). In fact, over the past 15 years he's one of just four backstops to have delivered that sort of value. Here's the full list of the catchers who've achieved top-50 status in recent seasons:

    2014 – Posey
    2013 – none
    2012 – Posey
    2011 – none
    2010 – none
    2009 – Joe Mauer
    2008 – none
    2007 – none
    2006 – none
    2005 – none
    2004 – none
    2003 – Javy Lopez
    2002 – none
    2001 – none
    2000 – Mike

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  • Pressing Questions: The Chicago Cubs

    When the Chicago Cubs last appeared in the World Series, the team's pennant-winning roster included names like Dewey, Mack, Walter, Stan, Lon, Cy, Len, Lennie, Hank and Peanuts. The National League was composed of only eight teams. Baseball cards, discontinued during the war, generally featured painted images. Mordecai Brown was still alive, Bud Selig was 11 years old and Rob Manfred was not yet born.

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    Chicago lost the 1945 Series to the Newhouser and Greenberg-led Tigers, and so began one of the more remarkable periods of sustained non-achievement in the history of team sports. These past seven decades have been a little rough for the Cubs.

    But today, the team is guided by a battle-tested manager and a collection of proven executives. Chicago's farm system is ridiculously talent-rich, featuring a trio of consensus top-20 prospects — Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler — plus another half-dozen young players with

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  • Priority Pickups: Spencer Hawes, suddenly fantasy relevant

    When last we saw Clippers big Blake Griffin, he was playing 36 minutes in a loss at Toronto, delivering a rich stat line (26-6-9-1-1). No obvious signs of trouble.

    But on Sunday morning, bad news broke:

    Brutal. Just brutal.

    We don't yet have a clear recovery timetable for Blake — could be two weeks, could be six or more — so let's simply say he's out indefinitely. The Clips currently occupy the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings, both Griffin and J.J. Redick (back) are sidelined, and the near-term schedule is a minefield: at OKC, at Dal, Hou, SA, Sac, Mem, at Hou, at Mem, at Chi. So things could certainly get rough for L.A.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    Fantasy-wise, a familiar vet (and respected fashion maven) figures to gain value...

    PF/C Spencer Hawes, LAC (30

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  • Priority Pickups: Langston Galloway, Marcus Smart and various Bucks

    We're in the middle of a week in which every NBA team plays at least three games, which should make this a relatively low-stress time for fantasy owners. Perhaps you're not desperate for a pickup. Maybe you briefly freaked about Kevin Durant's dinged elbow, but, thankfully, that sounds like a non-issue.

    Still, many of you treat your league's free agent pool like an all-you-can-eat buffet, so for you we offer the following options...

    Langston Galloway, NYK, PG (9 percent owned)

    Honestly, I really have no great sense for where the Galloway story will go, and New York's roster hasn't exactly been a fantasy gold mine. But he's found his way into the starting lineup — no small feat for a 10-day contract guy — and he's coming off a 21-point game against New Orleans and an 11-point, seven-rebound effort against the 76ers. In the D-League, Galloway piled up steals (2.7 per game) and points (16.5), and he'll clearly have an opportunity to do the same for the Knicks. I'm interested enough to

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  • Priority Pickups: Into the smoldering ruins of New York's roster...

    On Monday, the Knicks, Thunder and Cavs managed to complete a three-team trade in which no player involved gained fantasy value. In a way, that's really a remarkable achievement. So kudos to those franchises. If you're still having trouble wrapping your head around the fact that J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters were both flipped in the same deal ... well, yeah. It all seems wonderfully insane.

    In New York, a whole pile of (regrettable) minutes and (probably bad) field goal attempts are suddenly up for grabs, so let's review a few widely available options...

    SG Tim Hardaway Jr., NYK (28 percent owned)

    Yeah, this add might feel awful. It's not for everyone. Hardaway has been shooting poorly in recent weeks, and shooting frequently. That's generally a terrible combination. But I can't believe this sub-40-percent terror will continue indefinitely; he was better than this as a rookie (42.8 percent). He won't lack for opportunities in the near-term, with Smith and Shump shipped and Carmelo

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