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Don’t let replacement players fool you in fantasy baseball

As the All-Star break approaches, teams atop the fantasy baseball standings become more aggressive with their trade offers.

They are looking to tighten up their rosters, gripping tightly to their star performers while routinely selling off players in whom they just don’t believe. If you are in position to move up the standings as well, you need to be careful: These opportunistic fantasy managers will approach you like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and try to sell you on a player you may regret acquiring.

If your competition is sitting pretty in the stolen bases category, beware of the Jon Berti trade. The veteran utilityman has been an absolute beast on the basepaths for the Marlins, swiping 12 bases in his past 12 games and 21 on the season thus far. He has been a fixture in the lineup throughout the month of June, but his playing time is in direct relation to the injuries to both Joey Wendle and Brian Anderson.

Jon Berti
Jon Berti
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Heading into the weekend, Berti had 81 at-bats in June, which is a stark contrast from the 52 he had in the two months prior. Pinch-running may open up additional opportunities, but once Wendle and Anderson return, you can expect Don Mattingly to go back to his original lineup configuration.

Another player to be skeptical about is Tampa Bay’s Isaac Paredes. The 23-year-old infielder was hyped as the key component coming to the Rays in the Austin Meadows trade, and Paredes took center stage this past week with four home runs in two games against the Yankees.

When a player garners that kind of media attention, diligent waiver-hounds run to grab him and immediately attempt to capitalize on the publicity. If Paredes were on another team, perhaps we could see a path to regular at-bats, but once Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco return, there won’t be much of an opportunity for him. Manager Kevin Cash may mix and match with his relievers, but he has his favorites in the field and doesn’t like to mess with his defense.

Not every fantasy player in first place is going to try and sell you a bill of goods, but you have to be careful when making trades. Too many times, owners look at the player’s most recent statistics and fail to factor in the circumstances. Do your homework and study up on every player coming your way. At-bats are key for your fantasy team, so make sure the ones you acquire are for real.

Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice. 

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