Relievers for Daily Fantasy Baseball Leagues

February 4, 2011
Fantasy Baseball
by shawnzam

Reliever Best Bets for Daily Fantasy Baseball Leagues


The only thing harder to find than a catcher who doesn’t ruin your fantasy numbers is a solid reliever that you can count on game after game. The real teams that have books of scouting reports and a committee of able bodies have enough trouble; it’s even harder when all you have is a computer and some statistics. That’s why it’s always important to keep an eye on who’s hot in the bullpens right now for your Daily Fantasy Baseball League.


Jose Valverde, Detroit. Valverde has been the definition of lights out this season. What’s not to like? He’s sporting a .42 ERA, with 11 saves and just one home run allowed in 21 innings. He pitches in non-save situations more than most closers, but if you have him and another reliable closer, you should be in good shape.


Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles. LA does so many things well; the movies are hits, the women are beautiful, and the closers are dominant. So it’s not surprising that the Dodgers have yet another big time closer in Jonathan Broxton. He has the fifth-most strikeouts of any reliever in the bigs (actually a surprisingly low number for him) and a microscopic 1.07 ERA. Oh, and he’s playing on one of the hottest teams in baseball, one that frequently comes through with walk-off wins. If Joe Torre keeps putting him in for the ninth inning in any close game, he’ll start adding some useful win totals to his overall value. The Dodgers didn’t perform well out of the gate but are surging now; expect his numbers only to improve along with the team…he lead the MLB with 12 saves in the month of May.


Matt Belisle, Colorado. People who continue to shy away from Colorado pitchers are straight-up out of the loop at this point. It’s not 1998- balls aren’t flying out of any park as much any more (how many perfect games and no-hitters have we had this year?) and Colorado has taken a number of steps to keep balls in the yard. So owners who have the stones to put reliever Matt Belisle on their roster have been rewarded with some impressive stats. His ERA for the season is just over 2.00, and it was half of that in the month of May. He’s not the official closer, but Manny Corpas hasn’t been other-wordly this year, so it’s a definite possibility. If you need holds or just a smaller ERA, Belisle is as hot as anyone in baseball and a great fit for your daily fantasy baseball league.


Heath Bell, San Diego. Bell is the model for closers in today’s game. He’s big, he throws hard, and no one scores on him. I mean, no one. His ERA is among the lowest in baseball (1.13) and he has 14 saves in 24 appearances. He strikes out a bunch of people, he plays for a division-leading club, he’s even got a great baseball name. You can’t go wrong with Heath Bell, and you won’t have to pay Mariano Rivera- or Jonathan Papelbon-esque prices to get him.


Brian Wilson, San Francisco. What is it with these NL West relievers? Maybe it’s something in the water out west, but it’s hard to find a bad apple in the bunch (oh, wait, except for everyone in Arizona’s pen. We’ll just ignore them.) Wilson’s personality is as weird as his breaking pitches, and batters just haven’t been able to get a good feel for him. He’s one of the brightest young stars of San Francisco’s post-Bonds era and has a number of good years ahead of him. His numbers are very comparable to Broxton’s, and you likely can get him on your roster without giving up your left leg. Wilson is a solid addition to any bullpen. And finally…


Mariano Rivera, New York. Look, you know he’s good, he knows he’s good, the batters know he’s good, the whole world knows he’s good. Sure, he’s getting on in years, but his cutter is still breathtaking and he still plays for the Yankees. You’ll pay top dollar for close-to-top production, but at the end of the day, he’s Mariano Freaking Rivera. If you’re in a one-day league, take him against any light-hitting team and he’ll likely pay off. In longer leagues, pair him with another top-10 closer and you’ll rarely lose the saves or ERA stat. Just do it.


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