Jul 25

2 Start Free Agent Pitcher Finds: 7/28-8/3

The basics: I look at tons of stats and identify the best available options of the pitchers in the free agent pool. My goal will be to find pitchers who are scheduled to make 2 starts a week, are available in over 40% of most leagues (12 team head to head), and are in favorable matchups.

I’ll keep a running tally of stats here going forward to monitor success (and failure).

So here we go
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Jul 25

Why You Should Wait On Drafting A Quarterback

Source: Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America

Source: Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America

Why You Should Wait On Drafting A Quarterback

In a 12 team, non ppr league with quarterbacks getting four points for passing touchdowns, it’s wise to wait on drafting a quarterback this year.  Don’t get me wrong; getting one of the big three (Rodgers, Brees, Manning) early will land you a top quarterback, but your team will look a lot better if you wait to take your quarterback later in the draft.  Let’s look at three reasons why it’s best to wait on taking your quarterback for 2014 and that will help you win your league. Continue reading

Jul 24

Underowned Pitchers – deGrom and Co.

Jacob deGrom, Underowned Pitchers

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Let’s start this piece with an interesting fact: More people are rostering Matt Cain than these underowned pitchers: Ian Kennedy, Jake Arrieta, Jose Quintana, Phil Hughes, and Jacob deGrom.  If only 2012′s stats counted towards this year’s fantasy titles…

One of my favorite things to do when I’m bored is filter the whole set of MLB pitchers so I can see who’s actually doing well.  By doing well, I mean a pitcher is amassing strikeouts, limiting walks, and not getting lucky when balls are hit.  Everyone knows that wins and losses are mostly unpredictable, so those three features are all we can really look at when we evaluate pitchers.  To be specific, here’s what I want out of a pitcher: more than 7 K/9, less than 3 BB/9, BABIP greater than .275, and FIP/xFIP below 3.25.  When a pitcher meets these criteria, they are doing very well.

Here’s a quick list of “elite” pitchers who are meeting that (very selective) filter over this whole season:

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Jul 23

Pablo Sandoval’s Resurgence

Pablo Sandoval HRPablo Sandoval was downright awful when the season began. Through May 7th, he was hitting an uncharacteristically low .174, with only 2 homeruns, and 6 RBI. With his impending free agency coming after 2014, Sandoval altered his approach, trying to see more pitches and walk more frequently. While he accomplished some of those goals, it led to larger issues, and robbed Sandoval of what makes him so great, hitting awful pitches. By trying to stay inside the zone and not chase, exactly what hitting coaches preach at every level of the game, Sandoval seemingly lost his ability to hit.

Fortunately for baseball lovers and fantasy players everywhere, Sandoval went back to his free swinging approach, and is back to what we’ve come to expect from the Panda.

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Jul 23

“Two for Tuesday”: Jake Arrieta and the Chris Bosio Effect

Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America

Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America

What Chris Bosio is doing in Chicago has been nothing short of extraordinary. As the Cubs pitching coach for his 3rd season, Bosio has personally turned a consistently underwhelming rotation into a pipeline of trade bait. In 2012 it was the resurgence of newly acquired Paul Maholm; In 2013 it was the same story, except with Scott Feldman; and finally, in 2014 it was Jason Hammel posting a career year along with homegrown ace Jeff Samardzija.

As frustrating as a team rebuild can be, the Cubs are finally starting to see the payoff from their sacrifice. Jake Arrieta, acquired in the deal that sent Feldman to Baltimore, has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the league so far in 2014. Clouded behind the phenomenal seasons of Kershaw, Hernandez, and Wainwright, Arrieta has missed out on some of his well-earned attention.

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Jul 22

Second Half Free Agent Pitching Finds

By Bryan Shaffer
@bryanzane

Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

I love finding value where everyone else sees garbage.

In the future you’re likely going to read my columns because you’ll find it helpful in winning your weekly head-to-head league. I look at tons of stats and identify the best available options of the pitchers in the free agent pool. My goal will be to find free agent pitchers who are scheduled to make 2 starts a week, are available in over 40% of most leagues (12 team head to head), and are in favorable matchups.

Because of the All Star break, things are a little goofy, so I’ve come up with 4 pitchers (2 starters and 2 relievers) that are available in many leagues that you should consider adding to your roster. Continue reading

Jul 21

Breaking down a 14 team draft (Part 5 of 5)

Welcome back to the final installment of my 14-team June draft, I am happy to see you all back ready for more fantasy football analysis! Picking fourteenth in this league was an absolute drag, especially because I ended up taking the last pick in both the first and last rounds of the draft. If you have been reading my previous articles (Parts I, II, III, IV) then you know my feelings on taking a defense in the earlier rounds. That feeling is echoed even more so with kickers, though I will not go into too much detail save for their interchangeability in most scenarios. I have broken down the sections of each round a bit, differently from previous articles, to try to save space. With that said, it is time to start digging into the nitty-gritty as I break down rounds twelve through fifteen!

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Jul 21

J.D. Martinez – Sell While He’s Hot?

 J.D. Martinez - Fantasy Baseball Sell High

Source: Duane Burleson/Getty Images North America

Well, we’ve made it.  We’re at the All-Star Break and that means most of us are ~60% of the way through our fantasy baseball seasons.  Hopefully everyone still has a shot at playoffs in their leagues… but sometimes you draft the likes of Harper/Fielder/Fernandez and are looking forward to 2015 at this point.  Either way, the All-Star Break is a great time to kick back and actually think about what’s happening with some of the hottest (and coldest!) players around the league.  If you’re especially devious and conniving, you’re probably wanting to find a player or two whose production is unsustainable so you can work your league like the stock market.  We’ll start the process for you today by pointing out a few of the hottest players prior to the All-Star Break: J.D. Martinez, Garrett Richards, Jesse Hahn, and Joe Smith… along with some of the reasons we suspect it’s a great time to sell them off while you can! Continue reading

Jul 21

First-Half Studs Not to Trust: I’m Looking at You, Victor Martinez

Go ahead and celebrate your great first half, Victor Martinez, because the last few months may not be so kind to you. (May 18, 2014 - Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)

Go ahead and celebrate your great first half, Victor Martinez, because the last few months may not be so kind to you.
(May 18, 2014 – Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)

With the season more than halfway complete, more and more fantasy teams in your league will likely stop paying attention. This gives the contending teams a huge advantage on the waiver wire with far less competition for important player acquisitions down the stretch.

At this point in the season, the best way to improve your team quickly and make a big jump in the standings is by ripping someone off in a trade. The most effective way to do that is by selling high and fooling your trade partner that the stud you’re about to trade to him will continue his high level of production. There are always a ton of sell-high candidates this can work with, but here are three players in particular that I think you would be wise to consider dealing.

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