Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Week In Fantasy Sports (Football and Baseball)

posted by Jon Williams
Anthony Reyes Baseball Card

http://www.fanball.com/buzz/article.cfm?id=6652

John Turvey of Fanball.com discusses the joys and pains of preparing for Fantasy Football Season. Then John explores what happens when you give your target audience an early chance to explore your findings.

They flipped to the appropriate page, found my team (seventh pick in a 10-team draft) and immediately called into question my selection of Domanick Davis in round two (14th overall).

They pointed out that his line blows—which is true for
pass-blocking, I countered, but they effectively employ the same zone-blocking scheme Gary Kubiak used in Denver and have produced solid numbers for Dom in the past.

They noted that he's been nicked up throughout his career—again, a valid concern, but one I believe can be insured by grabbing his handcuff (like Davis owners did with Jonathan Wells did last year).

http://www.fanball.com/buzz/article.cfm?id=6629

Court E. Mann of Fantasy Football Weekly discusses the football annuals and the disappearance of the Fantasy Football Bust.


At Fanball, we publish three preseason magazines under our Fantasy Football Weekly moniker in

June, July, and August. In both the June Annual and the August Draft Issue, we devote an entire feature to 15 reliable fantasy starters from the previous season that we slap the Bust label on. In the July Just Cheat Sheets issue, each of our editors is forced to choose one prominent name at each position as their Bust, and that player must be ranked in the top 15 at that position.

http://www.fanball.com/buzz/article.cfm?id=6615

Jay Powell shares his semi-unique draft strategies. I think he may be on to something.

In the third round, I added wide receiver Roy Williams, whom I expect to thrive in the offense that Mike Martz is installing in Motown. At the time I picked Williams, the list of available running backs included Warrick Dunn, Reuben Droughns, and Carnell Williams. Fans of the "Do the Opposite" approach should also know that Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was also available.

http://www.fanball.com/fb/article.cfm/ID.6664

The guys at Fanball.com have been busy with team previews. Each one includes Notable Offseason Moves, Position Battles and Keep an Eye On blurbs. Check them out starting with this one on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Griffin has more name value, but Dee Brown appears to have the inside track to earning the No. 2 spot on the depth chart should Holmes retire. Brown has impressed the coaches during the offseason workouts and will challenge Griffin for the role during training camp. The Chiefs signed Kyle Turley to compete with Jordan Black for the starting right tackle job. Turley has battled back problems over the last few seasons. He also allegedly threatened to kill former Rams head coach Mike Martz, so Edwards might want to consider entering the witness protection program if he has to cut Turley this summer.

http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/tips.php

http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/2006/tips_projecting_wins.php

Bob Hoyng tries his hand at creating a projection system for WHIP. I haven’t played with it yet but he could have something useful here.

My main thought here (looking at this situation from a fantasy baseball manager’s point of view) was to use this information to find pitchers whose bad luck over the last few years had deflated their value to the point where they were bargains. To do this I would need one formula to project ERA, and another formula to project WHIP. I could then take a pitcher’s 3 year averages in the component numbers (BB, K, HR and IP) and find the guys that showed a large variance between actual, and projected ERA/WHIP both, to identify the over and undervalued pitchers.

Bob then goes on to predicting wins for pitchers. I’ve actually tried this and it isn’t easy. Bob has a grasp on the concept, give it a look and decide if it works for you.

Projecting the number of games a team is going to win during the course of the upcoming year is definitely not to the point that it’s an exact science. We can try to use tools such as the expected lineup’s Runs Created/27 outs or other such methods to project the runs the team will score. We can look at what type of era we expect the team to put up as a whole as well, and apply the Pythagorean Expectation formula to try and estimate the team’s wins. It’s kind of like predicting the weather - it may not be 100% but it’s the best that we’ve got.

My interest in this article is in explaining how we can extend this approach to predicting pitchers. And more importantly to try and project the wins for ALL pitchers - not just starting pitchers. In order to determine the winning percentage for a team from the Pythagorean Expectation formula we need two numbers - runs scored and runs against. In projecting the wins for pitchers we need one extra number - the number of opportunities (decisions) that we expect the pitcher to receive. While there can certainly be progress made from the point that this article will take us, the general approach that I will lay out here is a good start to estimating the number of decisions any pitcher will receive. Before we get into the detailed examination of predicting opportunities though, let’s take a look at the first two numbers - runs scored and runs agains

http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/sleepers.php

Adam Lewis has Fantasy Baseball Cafe’s Sleeper of the Week. He believes this week’s sleeper could very well end the year in a closer role. Names have been redacted for entertainment purposes.

At the moment, ****** is the ****** closer, but look for ****** to take it from him in the second half. It has been said that ****** gets the ugliest saves of any closer. ****** never seems to have a 1-2-3 inning, nor does he have that ‘out’ pitch closers need. ****** is also now suffering from elbow tendonitis, which sometimes is hard to shake. With ****** being injured, and journeymen and castoffs in the bullpen, look for ****** to get his fair share of opportunities. The ****** have the worst bullpen in the league, so ****** will get his chances to rise above. For now, keep an eye on the closing situation and keep your eyes on this rising 22 year old hurler.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AlIGHpWY0vmOeCiXC.dV1KkRvLYF?slug=jp-mauer062606&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Jeff Passan tells us why it’s good to be Joe Mauer.

Though being good might give Mauer the utmost pleasure. Because it proves, once and for all, that the Twins weren't erring solely on the side of spendthrifts when they chose Mauer with the first pick ahead of Mark Prior, and that Mauer wasn't crazy for leaving behind a scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State to sign with the Twins.

http://fantasysports.yahoo.com/analysis/news?slug=be-noise_062206&prov=yhoo&type=lgns&league=fantasy/nfl

Brad Evans explains why its all about the money in the NFL and gives us a few names we can count on to provide a performance worth major ducats.

For fantasy football aficionados, knowing who's playing for a big payday is vital info. For example, last year Ladanian Tomlinson was a unanimous No. 1 pick for many owners. However, LT drafters were kicking themselves by season's end for not picking Shaun Alexander. The popular second fiddle bulldozed his way to the top of the rankings, totaling a staggering 27 rushing touchdowns. His record-breaking campaign and consistency – he scored at least once in 14 of 16 games and had 11 100-yard rushing performances – were a cornerstone on many championship rosters. Why did Alexander reach unprecedented heights? He was looking to cash in.

http://rotoworld.com/content/story.asp?sport=MLB&storyid=22869

Aaron Gleeman gives us the scoop on a trade as its about to happen and some tidbits from around baseball.

Speaking of rumors, things appear to be heating up on the Miguel Tejada front. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Tejada may have been linked to Jason Grimsley’s now-infamous affidavit. Grimsley and Tejada played together for parts of two seasons in Baltimore, so the media attention on the story is sure to explode within the next couple days.

Meanwhile, the newspaper also quoted sources within the Orioles organization as saying that the team may be “ready to deal their starting shortstop before the July 31 trade deadline.” Team officials indicated last week that they were “unlikely” to deal Tejada, but even then said they’d listen to offers.

http://www.baseballnotebook.com/essay.asp?esource=e_062106.asp&topt=Trading%20-%20The%20Art%20of%20Selling%20Low

David Luciani of Baseball Notebook expounds on the Art of Selling Low. Its interesting stuff, as always the guys at Baseball Notebook go a little bit against the grain to get at the truth of things.

Everyone knows the stock trading concept that dictates that we should "buy low, sell high." It makes sense and there's no need to prove here that the trader who successfully does this, in stocks or in fantasy baseball, will be successful. When fantasy baseball was relatively new, or at least spreading in popularity around North America, some of the early official Rotisserie materials rightly advocated the concept of "trade them while they're hot and get them while they're not." The idea which helped many a fantasy owner in the mid 1980s and even into the early 1990s was that certain players have a track record and if they start slow, they can easily be acquired. Conversely, many players are notoriously slow starters and the intelligent fantasy GM can go out and pick them up relatively cheap.

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2006/06/war_stories.php

Bob Klapisch explains why journalists and teams just can’t get along any longer. With the Jay Mariotti and Ozzie Guillen story raging maybe Bob can come up with a solution better than sensitivity training. While you’re at it check out my Sportsblurb.com article on that very topic.

Younger reporters who sometimes complain that today's stars, like Derek Jeter and Carlos Beltran, have nothing interesting to say, obviously don't know what it's like when the players declare war on the press.

Still, the newcomers have a point about the thick wall of clichés. Where did all this new millennium caution come from? I asked Jeter that very question recently, wondering why he affects that Dawn of the Dead expression whenever the camera goes on. His answer was surprisingly candid.

"It's you guys," Jeter said, nodding at a group of reporters standing around the clubhouse. "Because any time you do something you guys write about it, absolutely anything. You can't really be as loose as you want to be."

http://fantasyfootball.rotoworld.com/content/story.asp?sport=NFL&storyid=22866

Gregg Rosenthal examines the NFL East and North and declares that the sleeping Lions are being roused by Mike Martz and his new offense.

Jon Kitna has reportedly opened up a big lead in the battle to be the team’s starting quarterback. Dan Orlovsky may be passing Josh McCown to be the backup. … The running back depth chart is odd after Kevin Jones. Arlen Harris is reportedly second, ahead of mainstays Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner. I try not to get carried away with minicamp depth charts, if they even exist. Look for Bryson and rookie Brian Calhoun to have roles behind Kevin Jones once the season starts. For now, Jones owners may want to wait to handcuff him. Martz wants Jones to play on third downs and near the goal line, which could make him a great RB2.

http://longgandhi.com/061706.html

Long Gandhi looks at the future of the Toronto Blue Jays rotation.

Anyway, I thought I had written about a month ago that I didn't think Janssen would be long for the Blue Jay rotation because he didn't fool hitters with his stuff. More precisely, that hitters didn't swing and miss. He got strikes primarily by getting fouls and calls. That works in the short term, but eventually hitters will get his timing and start hitting him... hard. Just looking at his last two outings, against the Orioles and Marlins of all teams, that appears to be happening now. Put another way, he's given up at least 4 earned runs in five of eleven starts. Take out his two starts against the Angels, which came fairly early in his major league tenure, and his ERA is 6.24 and WHIP is 1.567. How's his style gonna play against the division rival Yankees and Red Sox against whom he's yet to face? My guess is not well. Sure, his K/BB rate is nice, but so was Josh Towers and we see how well that has turned out. Casey Janssen's time in the Blue Jay rotation will be coming to a close very soon.

http://www.rototimes.com/index.php?sport=bsball&type=gordon&name=F20060626135043

Jeff Gordon goes deep into This Week In Baseball.

Russ Ortiz, SP, Orioles: ... Baltimore hopes to turn Ortiz around after his washout in Arizona. As a D'Back, Ortiz was 5-11 with a 6.89 ERA in 2005 and 0-5 with a 7.54 ERA this season. It doesn't get much worse than that.

But he had a fruitful working relationship with Leo Mazzone in Atlanta, so the O's figure this was worth a shot. "I think Leo is always up for a challenge," Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He's usually up for getting someone back on track. It seems like his track record is he's able to do that."

http://www.sportsblurb.com/baseball/stock.asp

My article for Sportsblurb.com.

Guillen might have a point if Mariotti was a beat writer, but he is not. Mariotti is a columnist that has the job we all wish we did. He goes to the NBA finals and flies from there to the next big event and from there to the next. Mariotti, in a rather wussy fashion, claims that the Chicago White Sox clubhouse is too dangerous a place for him to risk showing up. Of course, I am sure if reporters were being beat up after games we would have heard about it by now.

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