Category Archives: Fantasy Football

Jimmy Graham as a Wide Receiver? Fear Not, Fantasy Faithful.

Fantasy owners potentially face a peculiar situation when it comes to the league’s best Tight End. As Jimmy Graham fights for an extra 5 million in pay, we have to figure out what to do with him if he wins his grievance hearing on June 17-18.  How do we value WR Jimmy Graham, and where do we pick him?  My take is that Jimmy Graham should still easily be a mid 2nd round pick and would be a great 3rd round value based on his elite talent and consistency.

Continue reading Jimmy Graham as a Wide Receiver? Fear Not, Fantasy Faithful.

It’s Not Me, It’s You: When To Cut Your Draft Picks

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mlb.mlb.com

Look, we’re all trying to win our leagues.  As a fantasy owner, you’ve got a job to do, too. Where you’re going, some players can’t follow. What you’ve got to do, some players can’t be any part of.  You need to look at your roster and say “I took a risk, and this guy can’t hack it”.  Granted,  the fantasy baseball idea of ‘sunk cost’ can seem to be as agonizing as a GM’s decision…but it doesn’t have to be that way.  I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to bail on a guy.  It’s ok to take that ‘hot pick’ you took in the draft and throw him back on the wire  It’s ok, it’s not your fault. Continue reading It’s Not Me, It’s You: When To Cut Your Draft Picks

Lurching Forwards: Where has Matt Adams Power Gone?

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Scott Kane / AP Photo

Matt Adams burst at the seams with potential after a strong showing in his ‘first cup of coffee and a doughnut’ in the Bigs, slashing .284/.335/.503 in his first 296 at bats.  Big Matt Adams showed tremendous pop in that limited time, hitting 17 home runs in 2013, and left fantasy owners salivating at the potential impact.  What happened?  While his line so far this year is useful, like a veggie stir fry, it lacks the delicious meat of the power and RBI production experts expected.

 

This begs the question, who is Matt Lunchbox Adams?  Is he the potential 30 home run threat that fantasy owners extrapolated from last years stats?  Or is he the guy we have seen so far this year who is hitting .330 with 3 home runs and 18 RBIs? Read on to see my take and how to address the Lurch Adams problem on your line up.

Continue reading Lurching Forwards: Where has Matt Adams Power Gone?

Optimizing Saves

Treating Saves strategically provides an advantage in draft strategy, waiver wire pickups and trades.  One way to optimize draft strategy is to avoid the temptation to overdraft and overpay for Saves.  If we compare the top saves leaders from 2012 to 2013, we see significant volatility amongst the top 10 saves leaders.  Only 3 closers ranked in the top 10 in saves in both 2012 and 2013: Jim Johnson, Joe Nathan and Rafael Soriano.  2012 saves leaders Jason Motte (6th most saves), Chris Perez (7th most saves), Jonathan Papelbon (9thmost saves), Joel Hanrahan (10th most saves)  did not even crack the top 20 in 2013, with Papelbon being the only rosterable closer among them.  Finding a closer should be considered a lower priority, as relief pitchers are generally one dimensional, and come with the risk of meltdowns that significantly skew ERA / WHIP (particularly damaging in head-to-head leagues).
Additionally, Saves can be found on the waiver wire as MLB managers lose confidence in their closers and players are ravaged by injuries.   In 2013, free agent fodder such as Danny Farquhar and Koji Uehara had a combined 29 saves in the second half.  It is worth keeping  an eye on meltdowns, and health issues as rostering a potential closer from the waiver wire is often worth the risk in lieu of carrying a sixth outfielder.
Trading a top closer in or around the all star break can upgrade a roster.  If we look at the second half saves leaders in 2013, most of the top 10 were not in the top 10 in saves during the first half of the year.  Comparing first half saves leaders to second half leaders, there is a big difference.  First half top 5 saves leaders (second half rank): Jim Johnson (9), Joe Nathan (23), Mariano Rivera (21), Jason Grilli (unranked, only 4 saves in second half) and Craig Kimbrel (2). Only Kimbrel was consistent throughout, and he could have conceivably been packaged in a trade for a Steve Cishek or Huston Street + another player of value.  Taking advantage of early saves by packaging closers in trades will provide an in-season advantage.
When it comes to Saves, draft late, trade early and keep an eye on the waiver wire.  Most managers eyes will light up if they see sexy Saves numbers in June, but understanding there is significant volatility at the top and most managers overvalue closers will provide an advantage.

Run Environments 101

It’s worth taking a look at park factors when deciding how to fill out a pitching staff, particularly in the later rounds of a draft.  If your roto league has ‘Pitcher HRs’, you probably want to know which building gave up more HRs than others last year.  Although Citizen’s Bank and Kauffman Stadium were fairly close hitters’ parks, far more HRs sailed out in Philadelphia.  This is a handy chart to have with you during your draft, because as sample size gets larger, park effects become clearer and better defined.  A couple things to note here: Comerica Park was known as pitcher-friendly a decade ago, but has been playing as more of a hitter’s park (and it’s not the ‘Miguel Cabrera’ phenominon as Joe Posnanski explains here).  Don’t only use this for your draft, if you’re trying to decide on which player to throw in a UTIL spot, check the pitching matchups, and the parks.
To read the chart, 1.000 is league average; above 1.000 indicates a hitters’ environment, below indicates a pitchers’ environment.  The HR column indicates average number of HRs per game.
RK Park Name Home Team RUNS HR
1 Coors Field Colorado Rockies 1.273 1.169
2 Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs 1.192 1.115
3 Comerica Park Detroit Tigers 1.139 1.013
4 Rogers Centre Toronto Blue Jays 1.118 1.289
5 Miller Park Milwaukee Brewers 1.11 1.259
6 Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia Phillies 1.107 1.517
7 Yankee Stadium New York Yankees 1.087 1.128
8 Kauffman Stadium Kansas City Royals 1.082 0.88
9 Minute Maid Park Houston Astros 1.074 1.23
10 Camden Yards Baltimore Orioles 1.057 1.275
11 Marlins Park Miami Marlins 1.03 0.636
12 Target Field Minnesota Twins 1.02 0.802
13 Nationals Park Washington Nationals 1.013 0.804
14 U.S. Cellular Field Chicago White Sox 0.998 1.185
15 Safeco Field Seattle Mariners 0.991 0.885
16 Great American Cincinnati Reds 0.989 1.338
17 Rangers Ballpark Texas Rangers 0.985 0.903
18 Chase Field Arizona Diamondbacks 0.974 0.949
19 Angel Stadium Los Angeles Angels 0.968 0.902
20 Fenway Park Boston Red Sox 0.96 0.845
21 Turner Field Atlanta Braves 0.956 0.925
22 Progressive Field Cleveland Indians 0.933 1.078
23 Tropicana Field Tampa Bay Rays 0.931 0.975
24 PNC Park Pittsburgh Pirates 0.907 0.679
25 Busch Stadium St. Louis Cardinals 0.892 0.837
26 O.co Coliseum Oakland Athletics 0.889 0.818
27 AT&T Park San Francisco Giants 0.869 0.768
28 Dodger Stadium Los Angeles Dodgers 0.868 0.963
29 Citi Field New York Mets 0.867 1.12
30 Petco Park San Diego Padres 0.831 0.936