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Reality Check: Reacting or overreacting?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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You gave Justin Maxwell a look Monday morning, didn't you? Yeah, he won't be the only waiver fodder to get your attention this week.

Jhoulys Chacin with his strong 6 2/3 innings. Jackie Bradley with his three walks. Yonder Alonso with his home run. Collin Cowgill with his grand slam. They all had memorable Mondays.

And that only covers half a day's worth of action.

So many players, so few roster spots. In mixed leagues, that's the frustrating part about this time of year, and it's so frustrating that some people choose not to bother with the early-season headliners at all.

"A couple games can't replace months of research and evaluation," they say.

And it's true. They can't.

But what that line of thinking fails to account for is perception. Most longtime Fantasy owners think they have a good grasp of each player's potential. They think it's why they constructed their rosters the way they did.

But it's not. You know it's not. You may not have thought it through all the way, but you know perception drives the entire drafting process.

Let's say you really like Domonic Brown this year, as I do. Let's say you think he's going to outperform Jay Bruce this year. It's not the craziest prediction. If Brown meets the full extent of his potential, it's perfectly feasible, even. But you knew better than to draft him ahead of Bruce. Even knowing how you feel about Brown, you either opted to draft Bruce in the fourth or fifth round, like everybody else, or passed on him completely, hoping to get Brown 10 rounds later. In both scenarios, you drafted according to perceived value rather than potential value.

Most Viewed Players (as of 4/2)
Player Name Own %
1. Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins 51
2. Collin Cowgill, OF, Mets 17
3. Brandon Maurer, SP, Mariners 35
4. Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox 58
5. Phil Coke, RP, Tigers 22
6. Kyuji Fujikawa, RP, Cubs 42
7. Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies 18
8. Gerardo Parra, OF, D-Backs 11
9. Ryan Ludwick, OF, Reds 50
10. Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers 82

Maybe you don't like Brown this year. Maybe Anthony Rizzo is your guy. The illustration still works. Even believing Rizzo is going to hit .290 with 35 homers, you didn't take him over Billy Butler.

You know what kept you from doing that? Perception. At those critical moments in the draft, you ignored your personal assessment of a player for the sake of having it all.

What's more, you probably would have derided anyone who didn't. The practice of drafting according to the majority opinion rather than your own in an effort to maximize the talent on your roster is a strategy that normally goes unspoken because everybody knows to do it.

So why after the draft is there a complete surrender to potential value, ignoring the perceived value that halfway constructed your roster? Based on your own drafting habits, you could argue the latter is at least as important as the former. How you feel about a player matters only as much as how others feel about that player.

And to the nameless, faceless masses, nothing says more about a player than what he just did.

Don't believe me? Well, just look at the "most viewed" list on the CBSSports.com roster trends. The players at the top are the ones who -- like Maxwell, Chacin, Bradley, Alonso and Cowgill -- just did something. People are looking at them. They're looking and thinking.

And some of them are striking, whether because they're just the impatient sort or because they already know what I'm about to advise:

Don't be shy on the waiver wire this time of year.

I didn't say go crazy. You don't want to be afraid to make a move, but if you turn over half your roster before we reach the end of the first week, you might as well quit playing now. Most players were drafted where they were for a reason, and you can rest assured I'm sticking with Brown even if he starts 0 for 18.

But if you allow yourself some flexibility with the back of your bench -- those players who nearly went undrafted in your league, who everyone else passed on 20 times over -- what do you stand to lose?

Maybe you really like Lucas Duda or Carlos Quentin, and that's fine. But if they don't deliver right out of the gate, what do you owe them? And what do you suspect others will do with them if you make them available? They already passed on them the first 20 times.

If the purpose of a roster spot is to protect the players you don't want going to someone else, shouldn't you protect the ones attracting the most attention?

Now, I'm not saying every Casey Kotchman or Philip Humber who has a good day deserves a roster spot. Those players have already proven their mediocrity. But among the players with genuine upside, isn't it possible you targeted the wrong ones on Draft Day?

You don't always see it coming, you know. If you did, you would have beaten everyone to R.A. Dickey, Chris Sale, Edwin Encarnacion and Allen Craig last year, which would have won you your league and given you so much self-assurance that you wouldn't trouble yourself with the inane ramblings of a peasant like me.

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Winning changes a man, man.

If you have the spot to play with, take the chance. It's like getting a lottery ticket with one of the numbers already filled in. Sure, it probably won't do anything for you, but with that little bit of a head start, how can you turn it down?

And here's the glue that holds it all together: It might be your only chance at it. So many other people are watching and thinking that any of those early-season headliners could be just one good at-bat away from going to someone else. And if that player turns out to be the one that rises from obscurity to claim someone else the championship, you'll be upset, to say the least.

So of those players mentioned -- Maxwell, Chacin, Bradley, Alonso and Cowgill -- which would I be willing to pick up solely because of that one game? None, probably. I might pick up Alonso, but because I liked him as a sleeper even before that game. I might pick up Bradley, but because I recognize his upside as a top prospect. In other words, one game shouldn't be the reason you pick up a player, but it could be the impetus to do so. When the spotlight is on him, it's now or never.

Now, if Maxwell, Chacin and Cowgill keep it going for a week or two, I'll obviously have to take notice, particularly if Duda and Quentin are off to slow starts, but for now, I'm content letting them go to someone else. I'm just not convinced the upside is there.

Kind of pulled back the reins there, didn't I? Again, the point wasn't to have you rip apart your roster on opening day, but to remind you that tuning out anything and everything going on this week is potentially as destructive. Even if I'm not acting yet, rest assured I'm watching. And I'm thinking. And when that right guy does that one thing that I know the masses won't be able to overlook, I'm pouncing.

Because in one of my leagues last year, I did get Dickey, Sale, Encarnacion and Craig, and safe to say the rest of the league paid the price.

I owe that championship not to brains, mathematical formulas or even my so-called drafting prowess, which stuck me with players like Daniel Hudson and Ricky Romero. No, what won me the league was a willingness to gamble on what no one else would.

Call it luck, if you will, but the only thing more reckless than relying on luck is not giving it a chance. If you knew now how little you know about the season ahead, you wouldn't turn down that lottery ticket so quickly.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Nationals RP Drew Storen earns 13th save of season Friday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:09 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Drew Storen entered in the ninth inning with a one-run lead and he was able to shut the door on the Phillies for his 13th save of the season during Friday's 2-1 win.

Storen allowed two hits during the relief appearance, but he was able to record the final three outs to earn the save. He also struck out two batters during the appearance. Storen has saved 13 out of 14 save opportunities this season.


Pirates P Chris Stewart gets start, goes 2 for 3 in win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:58 pm ET) Pirates catcher Chris Stewart was the only member of his club to post a multi-hit game in Friday night's 4-1 victory over the Mets. 

Stewart went 2 for 3 from the plate, which included hitting his third double of the season. The double came in the second inning and scored Gregory Polanco.

This was only Stewart's 15th appearance of the season and 10th start. 

Stewart is now slashing .267/.277/.333 for the season. 


Phillies SP Sean O'Sullivan receives loss in Friday's start
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:55 pm ET) Despite only giving up two runs over six innings of work, Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan received his third loss of the season during Friday's 2-1 loss to the Nationals.

O'Sullivan allowed five hits during the outing. He struck out three batters and walked one. His biggest mistake was surrendering a solo home run to Bryce Harper in the second inning.

O'Sullivan has not pitched past the sixth inning in any of five starts this season. His next scheduled start is set for Wednesday at the New York Mets.


Mets P Noah Syndergaard strikes out 5 in loss to Pirates
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:53 pm ET) Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard fell to 1-2 for the season after losing Friday night's game 4-1 to the Pirates. 

Syndergaard, the heralded 22-year-old, allowed four runs — three earned — in six innings of work. He gave up seven hits, struck out five and didn't surrender any walks. He now holds an ERA of 3.63 this season. 

After giving up five walks in his first two starts, it's a good sign that Syndergaard was able to prevent any from occurring against the Pirates. 

Syndergaard's next start is projected for May 27 against the Phillies. 


Nationals SP Max Scherzer earns fifth win of season Friday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:49 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer allowed one run on four hits over eight innings of work to earn his fifth win of the season during Friday's 2-1 win over the Phillies.

By going eight innings, Scherzer became the first Nationals pitcher since Livan Hernandez in 2005 to pitch at least seven innings in seven-straight starts.

Scherzer (5-3) struck out six batters and walked one during Friday's start. He was able to lower his ERA from 1.75 to 1.67. The one run Scherzer allowed during the game came in the second inning when Odubel Herrera doubled in Maikel Franco.

His next expected start is scheduled for Wednesday at the Chicago Cubs.


Pirates' Mark Melancon earns save against Mets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:49 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Mark Melancon recorded his 10th save of the season in Friday night's 4-1 win over the Mets. 

Melancon took over for starter Gerrit Cole in the ninth inning and recorded the game's final two outs. This marked Melancon's fourth appearance in a row without allowing an earned run. He now holds an ERA of 3.15 this season. 


Pirates P Gerrit Cole strikes out 10 in win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:46 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed only six hits in 111 pitches during Friday night's 4-1 victory over the Mets. 

Cole gave up one run though it was unearned. It was a result of a Josh Harrison throwing error. Other than that, Cole pitched a great game, striking out 10 batters while walking just one. He went 8 1/3 innings. 

Cole has had an exceptional start to the season as he's allowed only 13 earned runs in 48 2/3 innings. He'd posted eight strikeouts three times this year with his total of 10 on Friday being a season-high. 

Cole now boasts a 2.05 ERA for the season. 

His next start is projected for May 27 against the Marlins. 


Brewers SP Wily Peralta leaves Friday's start with tightness in side
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:41 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta was forced to exit Friday's start against the Braves with tightness in his left side, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Peralta pitched four scoreless innings before leaving with the injury. He left with a 9-0 lead, but received a no-decision. He allowed one hit while walking two batters and striking out two.

His next scheduled start was set for Wednesday against the Giants.


Red Sox OF Hanley Ramirez leaves game due to hand soreness
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:35 pm ET) Red Sox outfielder Hanley Ramirez was forced to exit Friday night's game against the Angels due to left hand soreness, according to The Boston Globe

The injury was likely sustained when Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. 

Ramirez's day finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. He's now hitting .257/.306/.486 for the season. 


Marlins RP Steve Cishek leaves game after being hit on leg
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:19 pm ET) Marlins pitcher Steve Cishek was forced to leave Friday's game against the Orioles after taking a comebacker off his leg, reports MASNsports.com.

Cishek entered in the sixth inning and allowed two hits over 2/3 innings before leaving with the injury.


 
 
 
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