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13 fantasy baseball tips I used to win Tout Wars’ mixed auction

After six years of seemingly either falling just short of a title, or finishing near the basement or subterranean – maybe there was one year of an in-between result – I finally reached a professional goal in 2018, bringing home my first Tout Wars expert-league title in the mixed auction.

I’m not aiming to make this into a “look at how great I did in one league” summary, though it always pays to take lessons from any victory or defeat.

We should look at any trophy-winning season in two parts: (1) dissecting your players’ performance, and (2) examining whether the strategy that got you there was valid or mostly good fortune.

But first … the Yoo-Hoo.

(Here’s a history lesson for the uninformed.)

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Players I Whiffed On – 2018 Edition

This was a pretty good season for me.

I won the overall championship in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational and finished top 10 in the NFBC RotoWire Online Championship among 1,764 teams.

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And realistically, nobody wants to hear about my successes anyway. It’s my opinion that in this game, looking at one’s failures is more productive than looking at one’s successes, so I wanted to take some time to look back at what I got wrong.

This is just scratching the surface:

Jose Peraza, SS, CIN – This was probably my biggest whiff of the season, and it was with a player on my favorite team. What I saw with my own two eyes in 2017 was beyond ugly. Part of it was body language — he wasn’t confident at all — but the numbers backed it up: no power (.066 ISO), no patience (3.9 percent walk rate), a 21.6 percent line-drive rate (down nearly six percentage points from 2016). I thought an ADP around pick 200 was way too high. I guess the lesson here is that it’s OK to overlook some warts and gamble on a player with pedigree outside the top 175 or so, especially when he plays a premium position, plays in an advantageous home park and helps in a scarce category.

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A Quick Look at MLB Counting Stats

I’ve spent a lot of time and thought into investigating global MLB counting stats, focusing mostly upon homers, stolen bases, and saves – and how those rates dictate how we plan for our fantasy drafts. Now that the regular season is finally concluded, it’s time to look to see what happened in 2018. The last couple of seasons featured such tectonic shifts in favor of more homers and less speed – was it more of the same this year? For now, I just want to identify the results – I need more time to decipher the causes and fantasy implications. Let’s dig in.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Week 4 Edition

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offence runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, the ebb and flow of all 32 offensive line groups around the NFL is analyzed and relevant fantasy implications are uncovered.

Last week was defined by shocking upsets — the Bills trounced the Vikings, Detroit felled New England, and an injured Marcus Mariota led the Titans to a win over the lauded Jaguars defense. To decipher out whether such results were anomalies or whether the status quo is truly in flux, let’s take a look at the foundations of key offenses around the league heading into Week 4:

 

Risers:

Detroit Lions

It’s been the same story for years with this team: “Matthew Stafford doesn’t receive adequate protection, there’s no running game to get off the ground, and as a result the offense just can’t move consistently.”  But after a questionable start to the 2018 season, Detroit seems to have finally shifted the narrative; the team’s offense is actually defined by consistency up front.  Considering the amount of questions surrounding the Lions’ O-line heading into the season, the group’s performance is nothing short of shocking. That Detroit hadn’t had a 100-yard rusher in 70 games (until rookie Kerryon Johnson ended the drought last week) is one of the most bandied about stats of recent times, but even that doesn’t come close to exemplifying just how well this offensive front has played. In 138 pass attempts over the last three games, the O-line has allowed Stafford to be sacked only three times — making them the best pass protection group in the NFL thus far. While it should be considered that Detroit has yet to face a top-end pass rush, the improvements surrounding the protection can’t be ignored: for the first time in years, this team’s offensive line is a strength and not a weakness.

What to watch: Despite a marked improvement in run-blocking, neither Kerryon Johnson or LeGarrette Blount has scored a touchdown this season. That could change after Sunday’s tilt against the Cowboys.

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Early 2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: First 4 Rounds

Two podcast episodes ago, Derek VanRiper and I selected the first two rounds of a 15-team 2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft (leaning NFBC-style).

We finished things up in my last regular-season episode Tuesday with Rounds 3 and 4 — and things, of course, got interesting, especially with starting pitching.

We didn’t need to check on Walker Buehler’s attendance here. He was certainly taken off the board.

See where by taking a look at the draft board image below or the public Google Doc.

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Early 2019 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Rounds 1 & 2

On the latest RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast, Derek VanRiper and I completed the first two rounds of an Early 15-team 2019 Mock Draft.

Really. Early.

Being the generous host he is, DVR let me draft eight teams (including the No. 1 pick), while he handled the other seven.

Who went No. 1? (Jose Ramirez?) Which pair is your favorite? Which team messed up?

Take a look at the draft board image below or the public Google Doc. We’ll be finishing up with Rounds 3 and 4 next Tuesday to wrap up the regular season.

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30 Players, 30 Teams – The Forgotten Royal

Alex Gordon has had a pretty good career by most accounts. He’s in his 12th major league season, all with the same club, a team that’s located mere hours from his hometown of Lincoln, NE. He had one of the two most memorable hits from the Royals’ World Series title in 2015 – his game-winning homer in Game 1 against Jeurys Familia. He’s made three All-Star games and has won five Gold Gloves, befitting his reputation as an excellent defender. While his career .753 OPS isn’t overwhelming, there would be a lot of players that would love to have his career. And yet …

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