Go and Buy a Wrench (Allen Craig)
As a big Allen Craig fan, and someone who kept him in multiple leagues entering this year, I still have a lot of faith in the Cardinal’s regular first baseman to put up some power numbers over the remainder of the season. He has hit a lowly three home runs so far, but he has still been a tremendously productive hitter and has been nearly as effective as he was in his breakout 2012 campaign.
He is still an RBI machine, thanks to having a plethora of quality hitters batting in front of him. This allows for some support to withstand the lackluster power numbers. He is still contributing despite the low home run totals, which allows us to keep running him out there every day without worry. We can wait until his power comes around and still find him to be valuable to your squad. It can also make now a good time to grab him from a league mate who is growing tired with his low home run output. Those who drafted him as a quality power source are likely to be upset at this point, but a hitter with his power and rate of contact is bound to run into a home run stretch and you want to have him when he does.
This makes him a good “buy low” candidate even though his performance has not really been that low. A better phrase may just be to put a “buy” tag on him rather than his overall performance being high or low. At this point, if someone told you his line would be what it currently is at the start of June you would likely have taken it. It would not be exactly what you wanted, but it is not as if he has struggled either.
His bat skills and spot in a top notch batting order, along with his multi-position eligibility, make him a quality fantasy player in and of itself. So far this year, he has been to RBI as Matt Carpenter has been to runs. And on top of that, he has shown 20 home run power and a career ISO right around .200 whereas Carpenter has provided neither of those qualities. But performance in fantasy is all about expectations. And while Carpenter’s eligibility at second and third base are also big factors, it does not make a whole ton of sense to me that Carpenter owners look at him as a huge win at this point and Craig owners look at him as a relatively big loss.
If you have Craig lined up as your first baseman, it could be a good idea to move him to the outfield and acquire a power hitting first baseman as you wait for Craig’s power to come around. Loading up on as many first baseman as possible is always a very good roto strategy, and if you have the ability to sub Craig in the utility or outfield spot to make room for a more consistent source of homers then you absolutely should. And if you do not have Craig on your roster, send out a feeler message to his owner and see how willing he would be to part with the wrench.