Bullpen Report: Helpful middle relievers

So it's mid-August, and a buddy of mine in one of my many leagues just noticed the small print on a pretty critical rule that really affects his team: There's a starts limit of 200 in our league. Perhaps there is in yours as well, and while you should be aware of whether this is a factor in your leagues, the truth is plenty of people aren't aware, might have forgotten or simply haven't been preparing for it.

Pretty much all the closers are owned in a high percentage of ESPN standard leagues, unless you count the Houston Astros, where the role isn't exactly defined as of yet, not to mention it's not exactly the most attractive situation anyway since they rarely win. I'm often asked what I look for in potential setup men to add for fantasy help, whether you're up against a start limit or have just tired of the Jeff Samardzija-, Tim Lincecum- and Ryan Dempster-types who give up plenty of runs while they're striking out plenty of hitters. Well, there are times I'll add an obvious closer handcuff if I'm desperate for saves -- like a Pedro Strop, for example -- but generally I want the strikeouts. A good and busy reliever can match many starting pitchers in any given week in whiffs, and if you're lucky, he'll even win a game or two.