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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
Yordano Ventura picks up a no decision
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:20 pm ET) Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura picked up a no-decision Friday against the Indians. 

Ventura gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one. Carlos Santana was the main culprit behind Ventura’s struggles. Santana belted a solo shot off Ventura in the fourth inning, and added a two-run shot in the sixth. Ventura pitched into the seventh inning, but was pulled after putting a man on. The runner would come around to score on a sac fly. The run was credited to Ventura.

The game was tied when Ventura left, giving him a no-decision. His next start will come against the Twins.


Josh Tomlin struggles against the Royals
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:19 pm ET) Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin had a tough start against the Royals Friday.

Tomlin allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and did not walk any batters. Home runs proved to be an issue for Tomlin. In the second inning, he allowed two solo shots to Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas. Trouble struck again in the fourth inning. After giving up a single, Tomlin allowed a triple to Raul Ibanez. Ibanez would score on an error. 

The Indians managed to tie the game up, meaning Tomlin received a no-decision. His next start is slated to come against the Mariners. 


Jerome Williams turns in a strong start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:18 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Jerome Williams tossed a strong start Friday against the Athletics.

Williams allowed one run on five hits over six innings. He struck out four and did not issue any walks against one of baseball’s best offensive clubs. Williams got off to a fantastic start, tossing five scoreless innings to open the game. He started to run out of gas in the sixth. After giving up two singles to open the inning, Williams allowed a run-scoring single to Yoenis Cespedes. He was able to get out of the inning unscathed after that play. 

With the win, Williams improved to 2-4 on the year. If he gets another start, it would likely come against the Yankees. 


Carlos Torres picks up relief win Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:17 pm ET) Mets reliever Carlos Torres (5-4) picked up a relief win Friday night against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

The right-hander permitted one hit and struck out one in a scoreless eighth inning. The Mets exploded for three runs in the top of the ninth, which proved to be the difference, Torres owns a 2.93 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP over 61 1/3 innings of relief.


Jason Hammel drops one against the Rangers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:17 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Jason Hammel had a rough start Friday against the Rangers.

Hammel allowed four runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two during the outing. Hammel first ran into trouble in the second inning. After giving up a double to open the inning, he gave up a run-scoring single to the next batter. He gave up an additional run in the third inning. 

Hammel was able to get through the fourth and fifth inning unscathed, but again ran into trouble in the sixth. Hammel gave up a single and walk to open the inning, before allowing a run-scoring single to Adrian Beltre. Jim Adduci added a sac fly, scoring the fourth run of the game. 

With the loss, Hammel dropped to 8-8 on the year. His next start will come against the Astros.


John Danks runs out of gas, but picks up a win Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:15 pm ET) White Sox pitcher John Danks ran out of gas late against the Twins.

Danks allowed four runs on six hits over seven innings of work. He struck out five and did not issue any walks. Danks was fairly solid early on, but ran out of gas late. He gave up a sacrifice fly in the second inning, but tossed three straight scoreless innings after giving up his first run. In the sixth, Chris Colabello was able to drive in two runs on a single. The following inning, Oswaldo Arcia added a solo home run. Danks threw 100 pitches during the outing.

The White Sox offense exploded early, giving Danks the win. He improved to 9-6 on the year. Danks will take on the Tigers in his next start.


Francisco Rodriguez has ninth-inning meltdown vs. Mets
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:15 pm ET) Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez (4-4) was not at his best on Friday, as he was charged with a blown save and loss at home against the Mets.

Rodriguez allowed a run-scoring single to David Wright in the ninth inning to cut the lead in half, then a two-run home run to Lucas Duda to lose the lead. He was charged with three runs on four hits and no walks while striking out two over one inning of work. He owns a 3.10 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP over 49 1/3 innings of relief.

Kevin Correia blasted by the White Sox
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:14 pm ET) Twins pitcher Kevin Correia was blasted by the White Sox Friday.

Correia ran into trouble almost immediately. After giving up two singles to open the game, Correia allowed a three run home run to Jose Abreu to break things open. After a scoreless second inning, Alexei Ramirez took Correia deep for a solo shot to open the third. Gordon Beckham would also plate a run on an error. Correia would allow two additional runs to score in the fourth inning before leaving the game.

Correia allowed seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits over four innings of work. He walked two and did not record any strikeouts. With the loss, Correia dropped to 5-13 on the year. He will take on the Royals in his next start. 


Steve Cishek fans two, picks up 25th save
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:13 pm ET) Marlins closer Steve Cishek struck out two and needed 18 pitches to retire the side in order to close out a 2-0 win in Houston on Friday. Cishek has converted 25 saves in 28 opportunities. He owns a 3.25 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 44 1/3 innings of relief.

Brad Hand blanks Astros for second straight win
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:10 pm ET) Marlins starting pitcher Brad Hand continued to pitch well Friday night against the Astros in Houston, limiting hitters to three hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings to improve to 2-2 on the year. The right-hander struck out four and walked two in 97 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Hand has won back-to-back starts since returning from the All-Star break. He owns a 4.19 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP over 53 2/3 innings of work this season. His next start will come Wednesday at home against Washington.

 
 
 
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