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Phillies trio drags down fantasy teams

After a solid April and May, Chase Utley has fallen to depths unheard of for this All-Star.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As the baseball season heads down the final stretch and the calendar flips to September, many fantasy baseball owners are wondering, "What happened to my team?" and lamenting, "I had a star- studded lineup, why didn't I win?"

A quick glance back at the top players around the league in March will reveal a lot. First and foremost, if you were depending upon the once-mighty Philadelphia Phillies offense, then you are likely looking at your league's fantasy championship battle from the outside.

Sure, Alex Rodriguez, Troy Tulowitzki, Pablo Sandoval and Ian Kinsler have been disappointing, but the combination of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins has been a fantasy disaster.

And it's a wonder how far they have fallen, considering that they got off to decent starts.

Rollins (ADP 24), a notoriously slow starter, came out of spring training with guns a-blazing, and after the first seven games was batting .391 with an OPS of 1.255. Then a strained calf sidelined him for most of April, May and June. Since returning, he hasn't been close to the same player. Rollins hasn't even been his old self with a career .765 OPS. Rollins' July OPS was an ugly .622 and August hasn't been much better at .694. You would be much better off if you played an Alexei Ramirez (OPS .754) or a Marco Scutaro (OPS .702)

Utley was the No.1 second baseman off the board and around No.6 overall, but after a solid April and May has fallen to depths unheard of for this All-Star. June saw him hit just one home run and his OPS was .727, well below his career OPS of .845. Then he broke his right thumb sliding into second base and missed all of July and most of August. He returned on August 17th and his fantasy owners excitedly installed him into their lineups, but they would have been better off leaving him on the bench. In his last 45 at-bats, Utley has nine hits (seven singles and two doubles), four RBIs and an OPS of .590. Almost any second baseman you were using while Utley was on the disabled list would have given you more production.

Then there is first baseman Howard (ADP 8), who normally is the most consistent of home run hitters. Between 2005 and 2009, Howard had blasted 198 homers and not fewer than 45 in any season. This season, however, Howard will be lucky if he reaches the 30-HR plateau. He has 23 to date, but his last one was July 27th. In his last 33 at-bats, Howard has four hits, all singles, and 16 strikeouts.

And the worst part about the trio's slump is that they are so talented that you still have to start them every day in the hopes that they will break out of it and return to form.

Unfortunately, it's probably too late to help your fantasy team get back into the title chase.

2010 Selected Phillies Hitters
PlayerABRHHRRBISBAVEOPSADP
Jimmy Rollins2903972633150.2480.71024
Chase Utley3095382114150.2650.8116
Ryan Howard44065123238210.2800.8408


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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