Evaluating fantasy free agents

I’ve stressed repeatedly the importance of working the waiver wire, but this begs the question – how do you evaluate free agents? There is one criterion that is common to both pitchers and position players – ownership percentage, which is listed on the player profile right next to position rank.

When I’m considering a free agent, I’m more interested in the change in ownership in the past week than I am in total ownership. For instance, Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb is owned by 81.8 percent of leagues (not in my league after I dropped him Tuesday). But his ownership percentage has dropped 8.9.

Now, consider Tyler Anderson, a starter for Colorado, who is only owned by 47.2 percent of league. His ownership percentage has jumped 30.1 percent in a week. What this tells me is that Anderson is no secret and is being picked up by a lot of general managers. I may soon be one of his new owners.

There are five scoring categories for a pitcher – wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. Saves don’t apply to starters, and wins are really not significant for relievers. I look at recent history with a pitcher, to see how he’s trending. With hitters, it’s average, runs scored, home runs, RBI and stolen bases.

I’m in first place in my league because of hitting. I dominate in every hitting category. First in runs, RBI and average. Second in home runs. But I’m ninth in stolen bases and am “punting” this category. My focus now is on pitching, where I’m fourth in strikeouts, wins and saves, seventh in WHIP and eight in ERA.

Tomorrow: How to quickly move up in the standings.

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