PGA DFS: Puerto Rico Open

Marc Leishman came from behind on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was a fitting way to end the first version of this event since Arnie passed away last September. The Top 64 available golfers in the world are playing in Houston for the WGC Dell Match Play. DraftKings isn’t offering a slate for that tournament but there’s a slate for the parallel tour event, the Puerto Rico Open.

Coco Beach is a Par 72 track that plays over 7,500 yards. In the past, the tournament winners have performed well in each facet of the game. The key stats I’ll be looking at this week include: Par 3 scoring, scrambling, GIR%, and Total Driving.

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SLG Fest: A Selective Stat Study

Cherry picking. It seems so wrong to use only part of the whole story to present one’s own version of the truth as factual.

But this is a fantasy baseball column, not a court of law. No rules! No objections to my testimony, and definitely none of that “glowing in the blacklight” evidence here. With that in mind, let’s have a little fun and study one of the more universally enjoyable hitting statistics in fantasy baseball, slugging percentage.

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Rich Hill is Absolutely Worth the Risk

The last time Rich Hill pitched a full season George W. Bush was the president, Barry Bonds broke the home run record, and Evan Longoria hadn’t yet reached the majors. To call Rich Hill a sleeper would be a miscategorization of his potential, he’s 37 years old and the baseball world is fully woken up on him. Hill’s injury woes have been well documented, and he frustrated fantasy owners last year with a blister that seemingly never healed, leaving a lot of people to proclaim that they won’t touch Hill under any circumstance, but passing on Hill’s upside completely is a dangerous game to play. He’s being taken as the 45th pitcher and 121st player per Fantasypros ADP, and his potential upside is worth the risk at that price. Don’t believe me? Think I’m crazy? Well let me explain.

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5 Players I’m Avoiding in 2017

If there’s one thing any fantasy owner hates, it’s uncertainty, whether It be uncertainty about playing time, being able to duplicate last years performance, or the need for a breakout campaign, uncertainty can kill your best laid plans, and your ultimate goal of a fantasy championship. So waht I want to do for you is highlight 5 players who I feel who so much uncertainty around them, that there’s no way I can advise taking them anywhere near their ADP.

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A Strategy for Making the Best of Your Draft

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “value based drafting” or “draft the best player available”, but what does that really mean? Taking the best player available blindly is a recipe for failure, however if the moves are calculated, they can bring you to the promise land.  Consider your fantasy draft as if you were an actual GM, I know it’s a little silly, but if you were an actual GM you would have to think that players have value other than their production on the team. They can also be flipped for someone who will make a greater contribution to your squad. Let’s say the best player available is a catcher. You already have one, and the one that’s available wouldn’t warrant a starting utility spot on your roster, then there is still at least one owner who needs a catcher in your league, which makes a perfect opportunity for you to grab this catcher, even though you own one already, and trade him.

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PGA DFS: Arnold Palmer Invitational

It’s rare that a $6,800 player wins, but Adam Hadwin was the exception last week. The Canadian earned his first PGA Tour victory and sees a huge bump in salary this week, but more on him later. The Arnold Palmer Invitational is played at the Bay Hill Club in Florida. The course is a Par 72 that plays just over 7,400 yards. If the tournament’s history is any indication, ball striking will lead to better finishing position than distance off the tee.

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2017 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers

Monday night, NFL teams and prospects alike made their way home from Indianapolis as the doors closed to the 2017 NFL Combine.  As the dust settles on Lucas Oil Stadium, several prospects will go home smiling, knowing that their performance has improved their draft stock, while others will go home worried that they just ruined their shot at being a day one or two pick in the draft.

Which players improved their stock? And which would have been better off not showing up? We’ll look at some winners and losers from the combine that could be fantasy relevant for your team in 2017. Continue reading 2017 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers

PGA DFS: Valspar Championship

The WGC – Mexico Championship provided unique challenges across the board for the field this past weekend. From the lack of course data to the elevation to stomach problems, there were issues aplenty throughout Club de Golf Chapultepec. Dustin Johnson overcame all the obstacles on his way to his second victory in as many starts.

This week will, hopefully, feature none of this issues. Course data and elevation won’t be a factor at all. If history is any indication, the DFS community should be targeting accuracy guys. The Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort does play 7,340 yards but distance specialists haven’t performed well here. I’m searching for high GIR%, good strokes gained on approach shots and some scrambling ability this week. Distance off the tee will most likely be a tie-breaker for me, but all-around golfers should be able to make moves up the leaderboard in this weaker than average field.

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Exploiting Draft Room Rankings Part 2 – PITCHERS

Last week we highlighted several hitters who had both positive and negative value using Steamer projections based on where they’re currently being drafted on Yahoo & ESPN. In case you missed the article you can find it here, but the data is simple. I took the Yahoo ADP & the ESPN ADP and I created an average number between them. I used the Steamer projections to find out how closely their ADP reflected their projected performance.

So I took the same formula and tried to identify pitchers that would over or under perform their ADPs and I found a few good candidates. The one trend I noticed during this was the Steamer really expects young pitchers to continue to improve, conversely the Yahoo & ESPN rankings typically haven’t kept up with (or factored in) their relative year-to-year improvements. Here’s what I found…

THE PITCHERS

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

King Felix
Steamer Projection Difference Y! & ESPN AVG Y! Ranking ESPN Ranking TFR Top 200 Ranking
158 -35.5 122.5 136 109 113

-35.5 OH KING FELIX! Say it ain’t so! Steamer is projecting Felix to under perform all of our rankings. Just nothing to like about the downward trend from last year. His walks were up, Ks were down, and ERA ballooned to a full run and a half above his career-average. This will be his age-31 season, which is incredible to think about since when he began pitching in this league in 2005 he was 19 year old, and for a long-time Felix seemed ageless. Just a kid out there dealing. Maybe time is finally catching up to the King.

I see the math and I see the numbers, but you’ve got to have some zen-like focus to not reach for Felix in the 9th round. Let’s all start now by practicing our meditation and hopefully by draft day we can pass on the King.

Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

Jon Gray
Steamer Projection Difference Y! & ESPN AVG Y! Ranking ESPN Ranking TFR Top 200 Ranking
148 +46.5 181.5 180 183 178

+46.5. Everyone saw his potential last year when he had 185Ks over 168 innings. Everyone still wants to stay away from Gray simply because he pitches at Coors, and it’s that fallacy that you’re going to take advantage of when you draft him. He actually pitches better at Coors (7-2, 4.30 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 10.1 K/9) than he does when he is away (3-8, 4.91, 1.40 WHIP, 9.7 K/9). Pull the trigger on Jon Gray. He’s going to outperform his current draft slot, and he’s going to have plenty of run support. I’m a believer, Coors Curse be damned.

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies

Aaron Nola
Steamer Projection Difference Y! & ESPN AVG Y! Ranking ESPN Ranking TFR Top 200 Ranking
146 +49 195 211 179 113

+49. I’ll admit it, I love the guy. My TFR Rank is even above the Steamer projection and I still don’t care. I think he’s a stud. I may have him higher than Streamer, but the point is Yahoo and ESPN have him way under valued. Nola has near-ace potential if he can keep it all together. He was rolling along nicely last year until a rough June & July were followed by a season-ending injury. He’s back, he’s healthy, and I think we can assuming he’ll pitch well in what may be one of the softer divisions in baseball. I expect big things, and you can expect to get him at a discount.

Julio Urias, LA Dodgers

Julio Urias
Steamer Projection Difference Y! & ESPN AVG Y! Ranking ESPN Ranking TFR Top 200 Ranking
148 +40 188 237 139 122

+40. This is another example of Yahoo really skewing the rankings. They have Urias over 100 spots behind the ESPN and TFR rankings. Streamer projects Urias to be generally where ESPN and our TFR ranks have him slotted. Hater in the house, Yahoo.

Much like the player who started this section, Felix Hernandez, Urias pitched in the majors last year in his age-19 season. That’s a statement that not many pitchers can make and should tell you everything you need to know about his talent-level. He more than held his own against at the major-league level last year (5-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 84Ks in 77IP) and should have a much longer leash to pitch deeper into games. The talent is there, and I’m buying in every Yahoo league I’m in. Thanks for the 8 round discount.

It’s staggering how different draft room rankings can be, and if you’re not going to take advantage of it, someone else will. Someone like me. Fantasy sports is Darwinism at it’s finest. The strong survive and the weak get rolled. Keep your eyes open looking for those edges to exploit, because sometimes that one edge will make all the difference.
Agree? Disagree? Either way, you can complain/compliment here: @TheMayor_FBB

(Note from the Editor: As we continue to ramp up for the 2017 fantasy baseball season, we are still seeking writers. If you think you may be interested please click here for more details)

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