Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Expert League Challenge

posted by Jon Williams


I have had the privilege of participating in several fantasy baseball and football expert leagues. I have done well in a few of them but unfortunately have yet to actually win one. I plan to change that this season. Whether you participate in Fantasy Baseball or another type of sports betting the goal is always to win. Sometimes you want to win for recognition (as in Expert leagues) and other times you want to bring home the fantasy league pot. In either case the method is pretty much the same – develop a winning strategy and implement it to the best of your ability. 

On Sunday I drafted in two Fantasy Sports Invitational Challenge Expert Leagues run by Fantasy Sports R Us. One league was an NL-only with 11 teams and the other a nine team AL-only.  My Strategy in both leagues was fairly simple. Draft at least 200 homeruns, 120 stolen bases, two closers and strikeout starters. You can judge the execution of that strategy for yourself. I was more happy with the AL team than the NL team. I was not nearly as obsessed with the Reds and Yankees as the rosters may make it appear. I failed to acquire the quality of pitching I was hoping for but think I have a solid core in both leagues.

The NL-Only Team

C Rob Brantley, Miami Marlins – showed new on-base skills after joining the Marlins
1B Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers – hopefully over his shoulder problems
3B Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds – a talented player in a great lineup
CI Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals – an underrated power source
2B Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds – a top second basemen
SS Alex Gonzalez, Milwaukee Brewers – should see time all over the field and serve as Segura insurance
MI Steve Lombardozzi, Washington Nationals – betting on Espinosa’s shoulder problems
OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves – my bet to be a 2014 first round pick
OF Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals – his endurance should be better this season
OF Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates – a youngster with power and speed
OF Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres – a powerful hitter who is presently healthy
OF Tony Campana, Arizona Diamondbacks – just for the stolen bases
Utl Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres – my rookie of the year pick
SP Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds – I think he’s an ace starter
SP Trevor Cahill, Arizona Diamondbacks – trending very well, improved skills
SP Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs – an underrated starting pitcher
SP Ross Detwiler, Washington Nationals – him too
SP Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies – put it together in the second half of the 2012 season
MR Heath Bell, Arizona Diamondbacks – betting he finds his way to saves somehow
MR Brandon Lyon, New York Mets – next in line for saves in New York
CL Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals – A top five closer
CL Rafael Betancourt, Colorado Rockies – a top skilled closer
R Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds – If he comes up early he’ll save my horrid middle infield
R Jerry Hairston, 2B, 3B, OF Los Angeles Dodgers – love having reserves that play all over
R Erik Kratz, C, Philadelphia Phillies – should be very productive while Ruiz sits
R Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates – an ace as soon as he gets the call
R Cory Luebke, SP, San Diego Padres – help down the stretch

The AL-Only Team

C Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox – should see more at-bats in a park built for him
1B Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays – he may not repeat but 30 homers is a cinch
3B Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics – a sleeper pick after getting caught looking elsewhere
CI Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees – the power is not going anywhere
2B Robinson Cano, New York Yankees – worthy of the number one pick in any league
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians – a top shortstop
MI Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers – a quality late round middle infielder
OF Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox – big power potential
OF Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians – a solid player in a very improved lineup
OF Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics – the stolen base master of the present
OF Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers – a better hitter than most understand
OF Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels – if he hits he should also steal bases
Utl Darin Mastroianni, Minnesota Twins – knows how to get on base and the speed skills for 70 SBs
SP Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers – better than he looked last season
SP Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox – flashed his former stuff last season, finally healthy
SP Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays – a solid pitcher on a great team
SP Vance Worley, Minnesota Twins – a pitcher I like more than you
SP Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics – a minor league strikeout leader with a rotation spot
SP Joe Saunders, Seattle Mariners – the park should make him look better than his skills
SP Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals – one of my bets to step up big time in 2013
MR Sean Doolittle, Oakland Athletics – my favorite relief sleeper
CL Brant Balfour, Oakland Athletics – the only closer left on the board
R Ryan Flaherty, 2B, 3B, OF, Baltimore Orioles – versatile and behind a brittle starter
R Matt Dominguez, 3B, Houston Astros – improved his bat skills last season, starting 3B
R Mike Aviles, Cleveland Indians – versatile reserve on a team with many potential holes
R Eduardo Nunez, New York Yankees – a young and versatile player on an aging team
R Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona), SP Tampa Bay Rays – the Rays are miracle workers

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