FLB: Endgame bargains

Updated: March 14, 2006, 6:45 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
Don't underrate those late-round draft picks, $1 auction bids or reserve picks; you never know when one of your dirt-cheap gambles will step forth and becomes a reliable weekly fantasy option. Many owners simply lose focus as they fill out the final spots on their rosters, but had you done that last year, you'd have missed out on players like Jorge Cantu, Chris Capuano and Scott Elarton, who all made my 2005 "Endgame Bargains" column. (Of course, Jesse Foppert, Jason Phillips and Robb Quinlan were also included, which demonstrates how truly unpredictable sleepers can be.)

This year, I'm taking an even tougher approach to my "Endgame Bargains." I've listed 15 such candidates below, with the criteria that each shouldn't be much more than a $1 pick in an AL- or NL-only format, and no player can be listed on any of my recent Rookie Report or "Go Get 'Em" columns. (Sorry, Fernando Cabrera, Ryan Garko and Kevin Youkilis, you're disqualified, though I do like you as endgamers.) Maybe none of these players warrants any mixed-league consideration at all right now, but even in those formats, these names should certainly be tracked as potential early-season pickups.

Wilson Betemit, 3B/SS, Braves: Once one of the best prospects in baseball -- he ranked as high as No. 8 overall on Baseball America's top 100 in 2002 -- Betemit has since seen his career stall due to questionable plate discipline and shoddy defense. However, let's not forget that he's still just 25 years old, meaning he has a lot of career ahead of him, and he did bat .325 with a .938 OPS in June when he was standing in for an injured Chipper Jones. Betemit is slowly beginning to make better contact -- his one strikeout per 4.5 at-bat ratio was his best since 2001 -- and his ability to play third base and shortstop makes him useful insurance for Jones and Edgar Renteria NL-only owners.


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