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Know your players

Chipper Jones has always played extremely well against the Mets.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's not enough to be able to recite the current batting average, home run total or OPS for the players on your fantasy roster. To do this thing right, you really have to get to know your players.

For instance, do you know what National League ballpark Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies hits the best in based on batting average and OPS?

No...it's not Citizen Bank Park in South Philly and no it's not other great "hitters parks" like Coors Field in Denver or the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati...it's Busch Stadium II.

In the new St. Louis home, Howard is batting .383 with seven HRs, 28 RBIs and an OPS of 1.298 in 16 games.

Why does Howard hit so well there?

Check out his bio. Howard was born in St. Louis, MO and his family is always at the games.

Chipper Jones has always played extremely well against the Mets, particularly in New York, where the fans "ride" him by calling him Larry (his given name) instead of Chipper. The ballpark outside of Atlanta where Jones has hit the most home runs (19), knocked in the most runs (55) and stolen the most bases (12)?

Shea Stadium, of course.

Former Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell, now with the Tampa Bay Rays, used to "own" the Mets. In 146 starts against the Mets, Burrell hit 42 home runs. By contrast, he has hit less than half that number, just 20 homers, against a less competitive Washington Nationals team in almost the same amount of games (139).

When Tampa Bay flies into New York on June 19-21 to face the Mets, shouldn't Burrell be in every lineup?

It's no different in other sports.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson has raced 15 times at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Despite being one of 43 drivers on the track, Johnson has won 33% of the time. His primary sponsor is...Lowe's.

All I'm saying is that it's a marathon season and players, no matter how good or dedicated they are, can't be "up" for every single game. If you know when they will be at their best, your fantasy team will be better for it.

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

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