Working The Wire: Replacing Your Injured Players

by Will Overton

You can have the best draft in the world, but if you aren’t prepared for a few bumps in the road in a long baseball season you’re not going to be winning any championships in an active league. Part of fantasy sports is luck, both bad and good. One of the bad breaks that everyone will encounter is injuries.

Unfortunately injuries happen to every team. What you have to do is stay ahead of the game and find the right guy to fill in while your guy is sitting on the DL. Because you often only need a temporarily fill in its nice to know who is hot as you aren’t looking for someone to put a season’s stats, just a couple of weeks.

Here are some key injuries that have taken place lately and a few guys you could look to as replacements.

David Wright – 3B: The Mets star third baseman was likely a top 2 round pick for you, not an easy guy to replace. Luckily he is only out for a couple weeks at most it seems and so you really just need a guy who won’t hurt you.

  • Chase Headley (45%): Headley is a very streaky hitter, luckily right now he is on one of his streaks with a .326 batting average so far in May. He has yet to develop the power some suspected he would, but he hits in the middle of a hot lineup, won’t hurt your average and may help it and has some speed. You could do worse.
  • Scott Rolen (38%): If he’s available I think this is your best bet. Since coming back from his own DL stint Rolen is 10 – 20 with 5 runs and 3 RBI. Rolen doesn’t have the same power he once had, but he has some and the ballpark is favorable. Rolen is certainly the hottest option.
  • Chris Johnson (1%): After the way he played last year Chris Johnson was a hot name in draft preparation. After hitting .185 in April Johnson was quickly forgotten. Now that he’s starting to play better he’s being overlooked. Johnson is probably the deep league play of the bunch, but he could go from temporary replacement to full time fill in.

Adam Lind – 1B: Lind has provided more than his owners bargained for when they drafted him, now they have to deal with replacing more production than they bargained for though. Much like Wright Lind shouldn’t be out for long.

  • Todd Helton (64%): He’s quickly being snatched up in many leagues so if you want him you’re going to have to act fast. Helton has been channeling the 2004 version of himself with 6 HR’s and is hitting .322. I can’t see Helton continuing his recent power surge, but he’s certainly the most attractive option.
  • Casey Kotchman (1%): He’s taken the first base job for the Rays and is running with it. He’s hitting .337 but as a career .262 hitter that’s not likely to last. He has some power which he has yet to show which might offset the inevitable drop in average.
  • Brad Hawpe (5%): April was horrible to Brad Hawpe who struck out a ton and didn’t hit a single homerun. Hawpe is now .372 in May though with 2 HR and 8 RBI. He hit 20+ HR’s four years in a row from 2006 – 2009 and could see that power again. He’s available in a lot of leagues and he’s worth a flier.

Grady Sizemore – OF: The injury to the knee isn’t supposed to be serious, but things always tend to take a turn for the worse with Sizemore and his injuries so don’t get to comfortable.

  • Raul Ibanez (46%): He is starting to cool off, but Ibanez got off to a very nice start to the month of May. Ibanez is 38 and age has gotten the better of him, but he still has something left in him and he’s better than a .225 hitter. It can’t hurt to take a flier on him.
  • Corey Patterson (13%): If you need speed this is your guy. He joined the Blue Jays late, but he’s making up for lost time and is currently sporting an 8 game hitting streak. That hitting streak includes 3 stolen bases. Patterson has solidified a starting spot in the OF and should be owned in more than 13% of leagues.
  • Roger Bernadina (2%): Here is your deep league special replacement for Sizemore. Bernadina struggled early and was demoted to Triple-A, but he was brought back up in late April and has been on a roll since then hitting over .300 and stealing 4 bases so far this month. Bernadina doesn’t have power and he doesn’t play in an ideal lineup, but he has potential and he has speed. He’s a good deep league play.

Whose injury has hit you the hardest and who are you looking for as a replacement? Chime in with your thoughts and questions.


  1. AJ says:

    Who do I drop when Nelly Cruz comes back? Melky or Lo Mo

  2. Will Overton says:

    I say Melky. He could just be a late bloomer, but he’s been around a few years and not shown this kind of ability so I expect him to regress.

    Lo Mo has the higher upside and will likely finish with the better stats across the board with the exception of steals.

  3. GT says:

    Great presentation on this post. I love the standard/deep/only-league hierarchy for recommendations.

  4. Will Overton says:

    Thanks for the compliments guys. Make sure to keep checking back for this weekly.

    I’m always open to suggestions for future Working The Wire’s as well if there is something specific you’d like to see.

  5. mark says:

    what about his replacement on the mets justin turner nice start, . and speaking about 3b’s will ramirez ever hit for power again
    tx mark

    • Will Overton says:

      I like Justin Turner in deep leagues. He’s got a little power, but his value comes from his ability to get on base and do it often. Currently he doesn’t have 3B eligibility, but he should earn it at some point.

      I think Aramis days of hitting 30 bombs are over. But I do still expect him to break 20. He started slow last year and than belted 19 from July on so be patient. And the Cubs seem committed to him at cleanup so he should still bring in solid RBI numbers.

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