Archive for Strategy

How Your Biggest Strength Could Be Hurting You

What is your strength when it comes to fantasy baseball?

Is it trading? Draft preparation and execution? In-season management? Identifying likely hitter busts? Or spotting that diamond in the rough pitcher? A lot of us seem to believe we’re adept at identifying those pitchers. Does that describe you? I’ll come back to this later.

You likely have a strength. And you should know what it is. You want to be able to exploit this strength as an advantage.

Assuming you are aware of your “edge”, let’s take a closer look at how it’s very possible you’re use of that strength might actually be putting you at a disadvantage. Read the rest of this entry »

Tipping Pitches: Cutting Bait on Three Top-60 Arms

I practice extreme patience in fantasy baseball because to me there’s nothing worse than overreacting on a guy, cutting him, and then watching him get back on track for one of your competitors. However, I also realize that sometimes the patience is exercised to a fault, especially in shallower leagues (10-13 team mixers where the waiver wire is going to be more plentiful). I’m trying to strike a better balance this year and be willing to take chances on available guys, even if it means cutting someone who might get back on track, but just isn’t performing right now.

Of course, to pick someone up, someone has to go. And that decision is often the more agonizing of the two so today I’ve got three arms drafted in the top 60 starters of NFBC leagues that I’m ready to move on from in favor of the latest hot prospect being called up or fast starters with some bankable skills changes behind their run. We’ve already seen Blake Snell, Henry Owens, Aaron Blair, and Jose Berrios get the call. And sure, they could flop and have you back on the wire picking one of these guys back up, but for now I’m comfortable cutting them to invest elsewhere in the hopes of a big payday.

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Fantasy Baseball Tips from the Worst Team in the NBA???

Bear with me for a bit as I venture down an unusual path for Rotographs.

I’m not much of an NBA fan. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve pretty much devoted my fandom to Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college football & basketball. I’ve watched about 10 minutes of my hometown Pistons this year. A couple weeks ago I caught a late night Warriors game so I could have the Steph Curry experience (nope, didn’t even tune in for #73).

Despite the NBA not being on my radar, about a week and a half ago I kept seeing mentions about the “Hinkie retirement letter” in my Twitter feed. A lot of them. As soon as I determined that “Hinkie” was Sam Hinkie, General Manager for the Philadelphia 76ers, I said to myself, “Don’t care, moving on now.”

Then the next night, as I was walking around the house getting my Fitbit steps in (#dadlife), I saw this tweet from Jonathan Bales:

If you’re not much of a DFS player, you may not know Bales. He’s the author of the DFS series “Fantasy Football for Smart People” and “Fantasy Baseball for Smart People” and has become quite well known for all of his work in the DFS arena.

You don’t have to be a DFS player to enjoy Bales’ work (this is not a DFS article). I don’t have much time to play DFS regularly, but I love his work and thought process. So I had to go down the rabbit hole to see what he was talking about…

And it was this darn “Hinkie retirement letter” again. The greatest thing he’s ever read? Now I have to check it out. Read the rest of this entry »

On Doing Nothing

The first week of the season is always a fun time of the year. The limited amount of data in the books makes it difficult to provide any sort of valuable analysis and any advice is going to essentially be given based on the tiniest of sample sizes. So what’s a fantasy player to do? Nothing. That’s right, the best moves you can make now are no moves.

Read the rest of this entry »

Am I the Only One That Feels This Way?

Do you suffer from early season regret? Or is it just me?

I’m a value-based drafter. I don’t go into the draft with a plan. I have my values and I sit back, watch the draft unfold, and let the opportunities come to me. I’m also an accountant. I love Excel.

In other words, I’m boring.

The old guys. The boring guys. The “cool” players from two years ago or maybe even ten years ago… That’s the type of player that usually ends up on my teams. Certainly not the fun new toys. I’m told it’s the smart way to play the game. I’m stock-piling value. Increasing my chances of winning.

And I hate it.

I’m also pushing 35. So maybe I’m experiencing early onset mid-life crisis. But I’m second guessing my way of doing business. You might have seen a little bit of the second guessing here. And then I went through a 10 team AL-only draft and it really sent me into a tail spin. Take a look at what’s causing me to question my purpose in life:

Boring vs. Sexy
My Boring Team Price Paid My Value That Guy’s Sexy Team Price Paid My Value
Masahiro Tanaka $17.00 $18.11 Marcus Stroman $23.00 $14.82
Michael Pineda $10.00 $14.09 Luis Severino $14.00 $7.71
Ian Kennedy $7.00 $9.38 Carlos Rodon $10.00 $8.03
Erasmo Ramirez $2.00 $1.13 Jose Berrios $5.00 $0.00
Tyler Skaggs $2.00 $0.00 Blake Snell $3.00 $0.00
Jimmy Rollins $1.00 $1.00 A.J. Reed $3.00 $0.00
Nori Aoki $1.00 $11.45 Jackie Bradley Jr. $3.00 $8.12
Adam Lind $2.00 $6.20 C.J. Cron $3.00 $5.82
Josh Hamilton $1.00 $0.00 Jurickson Profar $1.00 $0.00
Total $43.00 $61.36 Total $65.00 $44.50

Read the rest of this entry »

Guidelines to Platooning

If you are new to Ottoneu, one of the first things you’ll realize is that the list of rostered players is deep. One strategy that these larger rosters allow for is the ability to platoon players. While this strategy isn’t too useful with 25 man rosters, it’s perfect for the 40 man rosters of Ottoneu.  Many teams utilize it in some capacity, but it can also lead to certain pitfalls. Let’s review a couple guidelines to platooning

1.) Target good home parks and left handed hitters

The goal in using a player in a platoon situation is to maximize your Points Per Game (P/G) by starting them in favorable situations. Unlike a major league team, you do not need to pair hitters who kill left and right handed pitching respectively. Instead, focus on platoons which are likely to yield a high number of usable games.  (This is very important as meeting the game cap greatly increases your chances of success.) The two most common splits I find myself building platoons off of are home/road splits and left/right splits. In these scenarios, I am targeting players who play in favorable home parks or perform well against righties.

A couple players who I plan to use in these types of platoons in 2016 include (vRHP) Chris Coghlan, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, and (@Home) Ben Paulsen.  There are plenty of other options as well! Coghlan, Moss, and Reddick all hit righties well, while Paulsen plays in Coors field. In each of these scenarios, those mentioned are likely to put up better production than their overall lines may suggest, and is likely to cost something similar to a 5th OF or bench player.  As you look for players who perform well in these types of situations, you’ll stumble upon a few players you really like. Feel free to post some of your favorites in the comments. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing Injured Players

Managing injured players is a real nuisance. There are two scenarios I’d like to discuss today – fantasy injury stacks and nagging injuries. Each offers distinct challenges based on league type, depth, and settings.

Fantasy Injury Stacks

It happens to all of us eventually. Our roster includes two DL slots, so what do we do? Say hello Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb. Or maybe you didn’t even stash anybody. You may still have the misfortune of losing four key, uncuttable players in a week.

At some point in the season, you’ll probably have more injured players than DL spots. Here are five factors you’ll need to consider before making your next move:

  • Type of injury
  • Expected length of DL trip
  • Roster composition/redundancy (i.e. do you have an empty active roster spot)
  • The player’s expected production when he returns relative to waiver wire replacements
  • Keeper status

The first two bullets may seem related, but they’re distinct points of analysis. Andrew Miller missed a month last season with a forearm strain. In a pitcher, this injury often leads to Tommy John surgery. Carter Capps is the latest victim. I actually cut Miller in a few leagues (luckily I got him back before he returned) specifically because of the risks involved with this particular injury. Had he been set to miss a month after an appendectomy, I would have held onto him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking Through the $38 Yankees Bullpen

Author’s Note: The article you see below was completed before Andrew Miller was injured by a comebacker on Wednesday. I believe the thought process and information below is still relevant and useful, even in light of this injury.

I love this time of year. Sure it’s fun to be doing my own draft prep. But a much underrated part of draft season is all the talk by others in the industry about their own processes. If you’re trying to learn about other strategies and improve at this game, the expert draft season is a treasure trove of goodies. A lot of the strategy and thought provoking discussions will dry up as we get further away from March.

I gobble up the draft recap articles and podcasts that come out of the LABR and Tout drafts because I’m such a junkie for the strategies and decision making processes others use.

And there were some interesting ones this year. Ron Shandler took his new BABS approach to Tout Wars. Steve Moyer attempted the Labadini plan. And there’s now a Tout Wars head-to-head draft with some interesting rules that will lead to interesting strategies (as Jeff Zimmerman wrote about on Rotographs (free!), Rotographs again (free!), and Rotowire ($$)).

YANKEE_BULLPENBut the one outcome I want to discuss wasn’t so much an overall strategy as it was a specific plan or series of decisions. Chris Liss, of Rotowire, drafted Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances for a combined $38 in the AL Tout Wars draft (click here to see the entire results of all the Tout leagues).

Was this a good move? Or not? Read the rest of this entry »

Guessing Wrong in Tout Wars

Last Friday, I asked our RotoGraphs readers on how they would approach my Tout Wars mixed 12-team head-to-head auction. The strategies stated in the comments were similar to the approach I took. But that is not how the rest of the teams operated and it threw me for a loop.

A person must remember the rules to this league are fairly unique with a head-to-head component making up 80% of  the league’s wins and a roto component being the other 20%. A full rule set can be found here and the abridged set here.

Going back to the comments from Friday’s, here are the approaches the various readers would have taken.

Pitching Strategy

Few high K starters to make minimum IP, RPs otherwise
Brad Johnson Read the rest of this entry »

The Math of Winning Ottoneu

Ottoneu founder/creator Niv Shah once described Ottoneu as an economic system that just happens to be built for fantasy sports.  The entire platform is finely tuned to bring the stats, rules, and interface together to provide an excellent overall gameplay experience perfectly suited for baseball nerds.

Nerds often like math (which is why baseball nerds love sabermetrics), so let’s spend some time digging into some of the math behind the game of Ottoneu.  This will be a blend of benchmarks and strategy, but overall the goal here is to create a reference for Ottoneu owners looking to win their leagues.

Ottoneu Basics

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