The obscure bargains in tricky fantasy baseball closers market

Drafting a closer/reliever is like going to Best Buy to purchase a DVD for your collection (yes, we’ve heard about that whole streaming thing, but play along): You have to know where to look in the store for the best deals.

Being that this is a position that constantly changes throughout the season, you have to make sure you spend your money wisely.

When you walk into the store, the first thing you’ll see are the new releases — movies you rush out to get because you will likely watch them over and over again. Those flicks are like the top-end closers — Milwaukee’s Josh Hader, the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman, Houston’s Roberto Osuna, San Diego’s Kirby Yates or Oakland’s Liam Hendriks — but they’re going to cost you, and it’s not always worth the price.

For example, Hader has the highest average draft position of all relievers (63.84), according to Fantasy Alarm, which means you’d be selecting him over valuable position players like DJ LeMahieu, Matt Olson, Eloy Jimenez, Bo Bichette and Paul Goldschmidt, or starters like Noah Syndergaard and Mike Soroka.

As you look on the lower shelves, you’ll find older titles you’ve seen hundreds of times, like “Jaws” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” This is the equivalent of oft-injured Blue Jays closer Ken Giles (135.34), the Dodgers’ slowly-declining ninth-inning man Kenley Jansen (120.47) or Cleveland’s Brad Hand (115.24). They’re classics, but still may cost more than you’re willing to spend.

Fantasy closers
Taylor Rogers and Edwin DiazGetty Images

For the best deals, you’re going have to search the bargain bin.

You won’t have to dig too deep to find Minnesota’s Taylor Rogers (122.85), one of Roto Rage’s top relief targets this season. Not only does Rogers have a mid-90s fastball, the lefty also collected 30 saves in 36 chances, a career-low ERA (2.61) and recorded a career-high 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

You can also find the Mets’ Edwin Diaz (129.41), a Roto Rage bounce-back favorite, who is just one year removed from recording 57 saves with a 1.96 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 73 ¹/₃ innings.

As you continue to sift through that upper layer, you’ll come across solid titles for your collection, like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or “My Cousin Vinny.” This is where you’ll find the likes of the White Sox’s Alex Colome (162.74), who may not be the sexiest name in the stack, but has a 2.78 ERA and 126 saves since 2016 (including 30 last year). Others you’ll find here: Boston’s Brandon Workman (170.07), Philadelphia’s Hector Neris (152.96) and Arizona’s Archie Bradley (184.06), who recorded all 18 of his saves, a 1.71 ERA and .191 opponent average in the second half of 2019.

Just hanging out in the middle of the bin are “Weekend at Bernie’s,” and “Grandma’s Boy,” which are fun to watch, but many will question your judgement for owning them. This is where you’ll find the Angels’ Hansel Robles (182.05), the Rangers’ Jose Leclerc (186.27) and Kansas City’s Ian Kennedy (208.73), who all but resuscitated his career by moving to the bullpen and collecting 30 saves.

There also may be some highly acclaimed foreign films worth giving a try just because they’re cheap and you have the opportunity. This is where someone like St. Louis’ Giovanny Gallegos (224.90), who struck out 11.3 per nine with a 16.3 percent swinging strike rate and may get a shot to close as Carlos Martinez gets a shot at the rotation.

There are also combo packs (aka closer-by-committee, like Tampa Bay or Washington) for great movies that have several inferior sequels. Mark Melancon (235.69) is a great option, but listed here because of the addition of 2019 All-Star Will Smith (145.67).

If you dig really deep, almost to the bottom of the bin, you can find some some 1980’s flicks that once brought you much joy (no matter how bad they are), like the classic Hulk Hogan vehicle “No Holds Barred.” People may laugh at the fact you own them, but Detroit’s Joe Jimenez (231.12), Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela (226.03) and Colorado’s Scott Oberg (268.73) will make you smile just by seeing them in your RP spot. You can also find other relievers who may not collect a ton of saves but do rack up the stats in other categories — like Seth Lugo (296.92), A.J. Puk (240.93) or even Dellin Betances (351.9).

If your hand touches the bottom of the bin, you’re looking at the Orioles, Mariners and Giants situations. That means you’re staring at Carrot Top’s 1998 thriller “Chairman of the Board,” which means you might as well saw off your hand and leave it in the bin.

Reliever rankings

1. Josh Hader, Mil
2. Kirby Yates, SD
3. Aroldis Chapman, NYY
4. Roberto Osuna, Hou
5. Liam Hendriks, Oak
6. Brad Hand, Cle
7. Kenley Jansen, LAD
8. Raisel Iglesias, Cin
9. Taylor Rogers, Min
10. Edwin Diaz, NYM
11. Ken Giles, Tor
12. Will Smith, Atl
13. Emilio Pagan, TB
14. Archie Bradley, Ari
15. Craig Kimbrel, ChC
16. Carlos Martinez, tL
17. Sean Doolittle, Was
18. Jose Leclerc, Tex
19. Hector Neris, Phi
20. Brandon Workman, Bos
21. Alex Colome, CWS
22. Hansel Robles, LAA
23. Nick Anderson, TB

 Kenley Jansen
Kenley JansenGetty Images

24. Ian Kennedy, KC
25. Joe Jimenez, Det
26. Kenta Maeda, LAD
27. Mark Melancon, Atl
28. Seth Lugo, NYM
29. Giovanny Gallegos, StL
30. Andrew Miller, StL
31. Julio Urias, LAD
32. Keone Kela, Pit
33. Dustin May, LAD
34. Ian Kennedy, KC
35. Scott Oberg, Col
36. Adam Ottavino, NYY
37. Dellin Betances, NYM
38. Ryan Pressly, Hou
39. Zack Britton, NYY
40. Joe Musgrove, Pit
41. Andres Munoz, SD
42. A.J. Puk, Oak
43. Mychal Givens, Bal
44. Shane Greene, Atl
45. John Gant, StL
46. Diego Castilla, TB
47. Daniel Hudson, Was
48. Sergio Romo, Min
49. Blake Treinen, LAD
50. Josh Hames, Hou

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