We Talk Fantasy Sports: February 2014 We Talk Fantasy Sports: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

ACC Tournament Outlook

As Selection Sunday and the conference tournament around the corner, things are starting to shape up in the ACC, let's take a look at who's in for sure, who might get in, and who has had their March dreams crushed. Check out more at Only College Sports

Locks: Virginia, Syracuse, Duke, UNC, Pitt

Virginia is sitting real pretty right now, they can lock up the ACC regular season title with one more win, either against Syracuse or Maryland. They could go up to a 2 seed but more realistically they will probably not win the ACC tournament and maybe not Syracuse on the first. I see them around a 4 seed.

Syracuse had a two game skid but still has a legitimate chance at getting the #1 overall seed in the tournament if they win out. The ACC tournament won't be easy for anyone, especially the offensively slumping Syracuse, but they have the talent and clearly the defensive ability to win the ACC.

I'll bet Duke can't wait until UNC comes in to Cameron Indoor. That win against Syracuse would have been sweeter if they didn't have the bitter taste of losing to their biggest rival just two days before. But Duke is in good  shape to make a run in the ACC tournament, I don't see them getting out before the finals, hopefully against Syracuse. A rubber match is needed in that one after those first two classics.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baseball's Best Lineup - NL East

The Braves lost Brian McCann.  The Marlins added Garrett Jones, Rafael Furcal, Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but traded Logan Morison.  The Mets signed Curtis Granderson and Chris Young.  The Phillies added Marlon Byrd while the Nationals return with the same lineup.

Atlanta BravesMiami MarlinsNew York MetsPhiladelphia PhilliesWashington Nationals
1. Jason Heyward - RF1. Rafael Furcal - 2B1. Eric Young Jr. - LF1. Ben Revere - CF1. Denard Span - CF
2. Justin Upton - LF2. Christian Yelich - LF2. Daniel Murphy - 2B2. Jimmy Rollins - SS2. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
3. Freddie Freeman - 1B3. Giancarlo Stanton - RF3. David Wright - 3B3. Chase Utley - 2B3. Bryce Harper - LF
4. Evan Gattis - C4. Garrett Jones - 1B4. Curtis Granderson - CF4. Ryan Howard - 1B4. Jayson Werth - RF
5. Chris Johnson - 3B5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C5. Ike Davis - 1B5. Marlon Byrd - RF5. Adam LaRoche - 1B
6. Andrelton Simmons - SS6. Marcell Ozuna - CF6. Chris Young - CF6. Domonic Brown - LF6. Ian Desmond - SS
7. Dan Uggla - 2B7. Casey McGehee - 3B7. Travis d'Arnaud - C7. Carlos Ruiz - C7. Wilson Ramos - C
8. B.J. Upton - CF8. Adeiny Hechavarria - SS8. Ruben Tejada - SS8. Cody Asche - 3B8. Anthony Rendon - 2B

Which lineup is the best?

Baseball's Best Lineup - NL Central

The Reds will take advantage of Billy Hamilton's speed at the top of their batting order but lost Shin-Soo Choo to the Rangers. The Brewers get Ryan Braun for 162 games (hopefully) but traded Norichika Aoki to the Royals. The Pirates and Cubs return with the same lineup while the Cardinals traded David Freese for Peter Bourjos and signed Jhonny Peralta.

Chicago CubsCincinnati RedsMilwaukee BrewersPittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals
1. Starlin Castro - SS1. Billy Hamilton - CF1. Jean Segura - SS1. Starling Marte - LF1. Matt Carpenter - 3B
2. Luis Valbuena - 3B2. Brandon Phillips - 2B2. Scooter Gennett - 2B2. Jordy Mercer - SS2. Peter Bourjos - CF
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B3. Joey Votto - 1B3. Ryan Braun - RF3. Andrew McCutchen - CF3. Matt Holliday - LF
4. Nate Schierholtz - RF4. Jay Bruce - RF4. Aramis Ramirez - 3B4. Pedro Alvarez - 3B4. Allen Craig - RF
5. Junior Lake - LF5. Ryan Ludwick - LF5. Jonathan Lucroy - C5. Neil Walker - 2B5. Matt Adams - 1B
6. Ryan Sweeney - CF6. Todd Frazier - 3B6. Carlos Gomez - CF6. Russell Martin - C6. Yadier Molina - C
7. Welington Castillo - C7. Devin Mesoraco - C7. Juan Francisco - 1B7. Gaby Sanchez - 1B7. Jhonny Peralta - SS
8. Darwin Barney - 2B8. Zack Cozart - SS8. Khris Davis - LF8. Jose Tabata - RF8. Kolten Wong - 2B

Which lineup is the best?

Baseball's Best Lineup - NL West

The Diamondbacks added Mark Trumbo.  The Rockies signed Justin Morneau.  The Dodgers added another Cuban, this time at 2B in Alexander Guerrero.  The Padres get Everth Cabrera back and the Giants picked up Michael Morse.

Arizona DiamondbacksColorado RockiesLos Angeles DodgersSan Diego PadresSan Francisco Giants
1. Gerardo Parra - CF1. Corey Dickerson - CF1. Yasiel Puig - RF1. Everth Cabrera - SS1. Angel Pagan - CF
2. Aaron Hill - 2B2. Michael Cuddyer - RF2. Carl Crawford - LF2. Will Venable - CF2.Marco Scutaro - 2B
3. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B3. Carlos Gonzalez - LF3. Hanley Ramirez - SS3. Chase Headley - 3B3. Brandon Belt - 1B
4. Miguel Montero - C4. Troy Tulowitzki - SS4. Adrian Gonzalez - 1B4. Carlos Quentin - LF4. Buster Posey - C
5. Mark Trumbo - LF5. Justin Morneau - 1B5. Matt Kemp - CF5. Yonder Alonso - 1B5. Hunter Pence - RF
6. Martin Prado - 3B6. Wilin Rosario - C6. Juan Uribe - 3B6. Jedd Gyorko - 2B6. Pablo Sandoval - 3B
7. Cody Ross - RF7. Nolan Arenado - 3B7. A.J. Ellis - C7. Seth Smith - RF7. Michael Morse - LF
8. Didi Gregorius - SS8. DJ LeMahieu - 2B8. Alexander Guerrero - 2B8. Nick Hundley - C8. Brandon Crawford - SS

Which lineup is the best?

Back to Basics: Draft Strategy 101 Part 3

The idea behind position scarcity is simple: the elite performers at thin positions get a boost in value because the gap between them and the rest of the guys at their position is larger than that of deeper positions like 1B, 2B, and OF.  Essentially, you are trying to get a leg up on your league-mates by being elite where they are not, and assuming you can still be strong enough elsewhere because of the depth of those other positions.  It is this idea that has kept guys like Robinson Cano and Troy Tulowitzki in the middle of the first round for so long when their numbers alone/injury history may not have always warranted it.

But should we really be looking to fill these thin positions with elite performers early?  Are these guys even good values where they are currently ranked?  How much weight should we actually give position scarcity when formulating our draft strategy?

Well, in short, no, not really, and not much.  Generally I believe position scarcity is overrated. We’re looking for the best numbers we can get, regardless of where they come from.  If we load up on scarce positions early then we will be left with middling options at the deeper positions, which is where the best numbers are usually found.  The first round is mostly filled with OF and CI because those guys have the most well-established, safest floors, while also maintaining some of the highest ceilings (especially for power) in the league.  So by attempting to get this leg up on our competition by filling thin positions early, we are actually doing our teams a disservice by not only increasing their risk but also limiting their potential upside.

In today’s fantasy baseball game, power is of the utmost importance. Power hitters generally produce in at least three categories automatically (HR, RBI, OPS), while contact guys (BA) and speed guys (SB) are only guaranteed to give you one.  Power is also harder to find than ever.  Last year, in fact, only 14 players hit at least 30 HR, and all of them qualified at 1B, 3B, or OF.  This year, 8 of those 14 players are being drafted in the first 4 rounds (3 if you leave out Jay Bruce), and the ones that aren’t come with (often severe) BA risk (Alvarez, Dunn, Trumbo, Soriano, Moss) or big-time cliff season risk (Ortiz).  So by eschewing these big power producers in favor of top-tier thin position guys early, you are putting yourself in a hole in the power categories, and all but guaranteeing that you will have to make other sacrifices to make up for the lost power later.

Draft Strategy Part 1
Draft Strategy Part 2
Part 4 - Misc.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baseball's Best Lineup - AL West

There is a new sheriff in Texas and he goes by the name of Prince Fielder.  The Rangers also added Alex Rios at the end of last season AND picked up Shin-Soo Choo this offseason.  Robinson Cano signed for the 3rd largest contract ever and the Seattle Mariners also added Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.  The Los Angeles Angels added David Freese and Raul Ibanez while the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics will roll with lineups similar to the ones that finished last season.

Houston AstrosLos Angeles AngelsOakland AthleticsSeattle MarinersTexas Rangers
1. Dexter Fowler - CF1. Erick Aybar - SS1. Coco Crisp - CF1. Dustin Ackley - LF1. Shin-Soo Choo - LF
2. Jose Altuve - 2B2. Mike Trout - CF2. Josh Donaldson - 3B2. Kyle Seager - 3B2. Elvis Andrus - SS
3. Jason Castro - C3. Albert Pujols - 1B3. Jed Lowrie - SS3. Robinson Cano - 2B3. Prince Fielder - 1B
4. Chris Carter - 1B4. Josh Hamilton - LF4. Yoenis Cespedes - LF4. Corey Hart - RF4. Adrian Beltre - 3B
5. Marc Krauss - DH5. David Freese - 3B5. Brandon Moss - 1B5. Justin Smoak - 1B5. Alex Rios - RF
6. Robbie Grossman - LF6. Raul Ibanez - DH6. Josh Reddick - RF6. Logan Morrison - DH6. Mitch Moreland - DH
7. Matt Dominguez - 3B7. Howie Kendrick - 2B7. Alberto Callaspo - 2B7. Michael Saunders - CF7. Geovany Soto - C
8. L.J. Hoes - RF8. Kole Calhoun - RF8. John Jaso - DH8. Mike Zunino - C8. Jurickson Profar - 2B
9. Jonathan Villar - SS9. Chris Iannetta - C9. Derek Norris - C9. Brad Miller - SS9. Leonys Martin - CF

Which lineup is the best?

Baseball's Best Lineup - AL East

The reigning World Series Champs will take the field on opening day sans Jacoby Ellsbury, who jumped ship to the New York Yankees.  Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia will have plenty of opportunities to prove he made a mistake.  Also wearing Pinstripes this season will be Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Brian Roberts  The Baltimore Orioles added Nelson Cruz to their already powerful lineup, while the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays return with similar lineups to last seasons opening day.

Baltimore OriolesBoston Red SoxNew York YankeesTampa Bay RaysToronto Blue Jays
1. Nick Markakis - RF1. Shane Victorino - RF1. Jacoby Ellsbury - CF1. David DeJesus - LF1. Jose Reyes - SS
2. Ryan Flaherty - 3B2. Daniel Nava - LF2. Derek Jeter - SS2. Ben Zobrist - 2B2. Jose Bautista - RF
3. Chris Davis - 1B3. Dustin Pedroia - 2B3. Carlos Beltran - RF3. Evan Longoria - 3B3. Edwin Encarnacion - 1B
4. Adam Jones - CF4. David Ortiz - DH4. Mark Teixeira - 1B4. Wil Myers - RF4. Adam Lind - DH
5. Nelson Cruz - DH5. Mike Napoli - 1B5. Brian McCann - C5. Matt Joyce - DH5. Colby Rasmus - CF
6. Matt Wieters - C6. Xander Bogaerts - SS6. Alfonso Soriano - DH6. James Loney - 1B6. Melky Cabrera - LF
7. J.J. Hardy - SS7. A.J. Pierzynski - C7. Brett Gardner - LF7. Desmond Jennings - CF7. Brett Lawrie - 3B
8. David Lough - LF8. Will Middlebrooks - 3B8. Kelly Johnson - 3B8. Yunel Escobar - SS8. Dioner Navarro - C
9. Jemile Weeks - 2B9. Jackie Bradley - CF9. Brian Roberts - 2B9. Ryan Hanigan - C9. Ryan Goins - 2B

Which lineup is the best?

Baseball's Best Lineup - AL Central

The biggest offseason move came when the Detroit Tigers sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler.  This moved Miguel Cabrera back to 1B and opened up a spot for Nick Castellanos at 3B.  The Kansas City Royals also made a big move, trading for Norichika Aoki to be their leadoff hitter.  The Twins will have a battle at the catcher position for the 1st time in what feels like forever now that Joe Mauer is playing 1B full time and Justin Morneau is in the National League.  Expect Josmil Pinto to end the season with more ABs than Kurt Suzuki.  The White Sox feature a younger lineup adding Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson.

Chicago White SoxCleveland IndiansDetroit TigersKansas City RoyalsMinnesota Twins
1. Adam Eaton - CF1. Michael Bourn - CF1. Ian Kinsler - 2B1. Norichika Aoki - RF1. Alex Presley - CF
2. Alejandro De Aza - LF2. Nick Swisher - 1B2. Torii Hunter - RF2. Omar Infante - 2B2. Brian Dozier - 2B
3. Jose Dariel Abreu - 1B3. Jason Kipnis - 2B3. Miguel Cabrera - 1B3. Eric Hosmer - 1B3. Joe Mauer - 1B
4. Adam Dunn - DH4. Carlos Santana - DH4. Victor Martinez - DH4. Billy Butler - DH4. Josh Willingham - LF
5. Avisail Garcia - RF5. Michael Brantley - LF5. Andy Dirks - LF5. Alex Gordon - LF5. Oswaldo Arcia - RF
6. Alexei Ramirez - SS6. Asdrubal Cabrera - SS6. Austin Jackson - CF6. Salvador Perez - C6. Trevor Plouffe - 3B
7. Gordon Beckham7. David Murphy - RF7. Alex Avila - C7. Mike Moustakas - 3B7. Jason Kubel - DH
8. Matt Davidson - 3B8. Yan Gomes - C8. Nick Castellanos - 3B8. Lorenzo Cain - CF8. Kurt Suzuki - C
9. Tyler Flowers - C9. Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B9. Jose Iglesias - SS9. Alcides Escobar - SS9. Pedro Florimon - SS

Which lineup is the best?

The Blogosphere Picks Teddy Bridgewater

Bbrophy1 made his We Talk Fantasy Sports debut yesterday, with a post on the Houston Texans and the 1st overall draft pick.  Well I decided to take it one step further and look at what hundreds of others are thinking the Texans should do with that pick.  So I found 3 mock draft databases (thanks to Only College Sports), Walter Football, Eat Drink and Sleep Football and DC Pro Sports Report, took their 100 latest mocks, and counted each pick for Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater.

Blake Bortles topped both Walter Football and DC Sports Report, but 40 #1 picks for Teddy Bridgewater on EDS puts him #1 overall with 87 mock drafts taking him with the top pick.  Johnny Football received the least amount of votes overall with just 63.

Out of a possible 300, one of these four guys was the #1 overall draft pick in all but 5 mock drafts.  Draft Maven gave that spot to Derek Carr and was the only site on Walter Football to go away from the core 4.  Draft Ace was that guy on EDS, but he went with Auburn OT Glenn Robinson.  On the DC Pro Sports Report list, Draft Maven appeared again with Carr, but this time Inside the Iggles joined him.  Draft Insiders Digest gave their top pick to Jake Matthews, OT from Texas A&M.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Should the Houston Texans Do?

The NFL off-season can be just as exciting as the regular season, particularly if you're a fan of a bad team.  The off-season represents hope.  Some teams need to find a general manager and/or head coach to start the rebuilding process.  Others are looking for the right offensive or defensive coordinator to fix one side of the ball.  Other teams look to a key free agent to fill a glaring hole.  The NFL draft is the time of the off-season where every team is participating against each other to execute the right draft strategy, to fill the remaining holes and build your team into a perpetual winner.

The only logical place to begin discussions regarding the NFL draft is with the #1 pick.  After all, the worst team in the NFL is on the clock as soon as the off-season begins.  In 2014, that "honor" belongs to the Houston Texans.  The first topic of discussion around the worst teams in the league and simultaneously at the top of the draft, is the quarterback position.  Matt Schaub hit a major wall in 2013 and the balance of his career is likely to be in the backup role.  Does that mean the Texans automatically draft a quarterback with the top pick in the draft?  Let's examine the options:

Teddy Bridgewater is often described as "the most NFL ready" which is hardly a ringing endorsement of his skills.  do you select somebody anybody based on the fact that they are the most ready for a specific position at this point in time?  the #1 overall pick of the draft should be a difference maker for at least a few years, and a solid contributor even longer than that,

Johnny Manziel is described as a vertically challenged play-maker who may bring some off field baggage with him when drafted.  Johnny Football, as he is known, is a rock-star in the state of Texas but his work ethic has been questioned since he was dismissed from the Manning football camp last summer.  If the Texans make him the #1 pick and give him the money that goes along with that distinction, it will be a combustive relationship where they wind up trying to manage a celebrity instead of coaching their quarterback

Best Starting Pitching Staff - NL East

The National League East features two of the best teams in the National League in the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.  It also features a ton of young talented pitchers on all 5 teams as well as big names like Stephen Strasburg and Cliff Lee.

The Braves let Tim Hudson sign with the San Francisco Giants and will feature a youth movement.  The Mets will be without Matt Harvey and added Bartolo Colon.  Roy Halladay retired forcing the Phillies to sign A.J. Burnett.  The Marlins have Jose Fernandez and the Nationals added Doug Fister this offseason.

Atlanta BravesMiami MarlinsNew York MetsPhiladelphia PhilliesWashington Nationals
Mike MinorJose FernandezBartolo ColonCliff LeeStephen Strasburg
Kris MedlenJacob TurnerJon NieseA.J. BurnettGio Gonzalez
Julio TeheranNathan EovaldiDillon GeeKyle KendrickJordan Zimmermann
Brandon BeachyHenderson AlvarezZack WheelerMiguel GonzalezDoug Fister
Alex WoodTom KoehlerJenrry MejiaRoberto HernandezRoss Detwiler

Which rotation is the best?

Best Starting Pitching Staff - NL Central

The National League Central is as tough a division there is in the MLB.  The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the best organizations in the sport for a while now while the Pittsburgh Pirates are turning their franchise around.

The Brewers added Matt Garza in the offseason, the Cardinals continue to roll out arms from the farm system, the Cubbies have done a decent job picking up scraps from the free agent yard, the Reds have had consistency in their rotation, and the Pirates couldn't afford to bring back A.J. Burnett but added Edinson Volquez.

Chicago CubsCincinnati RedsMilwaukee BrewersPittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals
Jeff SamardzijaJohnny CuetoYovani GallardoFrancisco LirianoAdam Wainwright
Edwin JacksonMat LatosMatt GarzaGerrit ColeShelby Miller
Travis WoodHomer BaileyKyle LohseWandy RodriguezMichael Wacha
Jason HammelMike LeakeMarco EstradaCharlie MortonLance Lynn
James McDonaldTony CingraniWily PeraltaEdinson VolquezJoe Kelly

Which rotation is the best?

Best Starting Pitching Staff - NL West

The National League West has been rotating division winners for the past decade, except for the Colorado Rockies.  We all know it is about the health of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez that will lead them to the postseason via a division title.

The DBacks traded Tyler Skaggs for a bat and added Bronson Arroyo.  The Rockies acquired Brett Anderson.  The Dodgers picked up Dan Haren.  The Padres added Josh Johnson but will be without Cory Luebke.  The Giants have finally shed Barry Zito from their roster and added Tim Hudson.

Arizona DiamondbacksColorado RockiesLos Angeles DodgersSan Diego PadresSan Francisco Giants
Patrick CorbinJorge De La RosaClayton KershawIan KennedyMatt Cain
Brandon McCarthyJhoulys ChacinZack GreinkeAndrew CashnerMadison Bumgarner
Wade MileyBrett AndersonHyun-Jin RyuJosh JohnsonTim Lincecum
Trevor CahillTyler ChatwoodDan HarenTyson RossTim Hudson
Bronson ArroyoFranklin MoralesPaul MaholmEric StultsRyan Vogelsong

Which rotation is the best?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yahoo Fantasy Baseball ADP Mock Draft

Understanding when to draft certain positions is the key to a great fantasy baseball draft.  This mock draft is based on Yahoo ADP, creates a 10 team league and requires each team draft the following roster:

(1) Catcher (1) First Base (1) Second Base (1) Third Base (1) Shortstop (3) Outfielders (3) Pitchers (1) Closer

When a team was up to selected and it would have created an invalid roster, players were skipped until the next needed position was available.

Mike Trout Adam Jones Adam Wainwright Jose Fernandez Jose Reyes Cole Hamels
Miguel Cabrera Hanley Ramirez Carlos Gomez Jason Kipnis Jean Segura Starling Marte
Paul Goldschmidt Adrian Beltre Felix Hernandez Dustin Pedroia Chris Sale Allen Craig
Andrew McCutchen Yu Darvish Yasiel Puig Justin Verlander David Price Matt Carpenter
Clayton Kershaw Joey Votto Giancarlo Stanton Cliff Lee Shin-Soo Choo Ryan Zimmerman
Carlos Gonzalez Prince Fielder Stephen Strasburg Madison Bumgarner Ian Desmond Kenley Jansen
Chris Davis Troy Tulowitzki Max Scherzer Justin Upton Alex Rios Joe Mauer
Bryce Harper Jacoby Ellsbury Freddie Freeman Buster Posey Zack Greinke Matt Holliday
Ryan Braun Edwin Encarnacion Evan Longoria Craig Kimbrel Albert Pujols Hunter Pence
Robinson Cano David Wright Jose Bautista Jay Bruce Aroldis Chapman Wil Myers

Anibal Sanchez Gio Gonzalez Adrian Gonzalez Carlos Beltran Brian McCann Asdrubal Cabrera
Yoenis Cespedes Jordan Zimmermann Homer Bailey James Shields Brett Lawrie Jason Grilli
Matt Kemp Jason Heyward Pedro Alvarez Mike Minor Starlin Castro Jonathan Lucroy
Eric Hosmer Koji Uehara Joe Nathan Domonic Brown Julio TeheranJ.J. Hardy
Billy Hamilton Carlos Santana Elvis Andrus Jose Altuve Pablo Sandoval Glen Perkins
Mat Latos Gerrit Cole Mark Trumbo Brandon Phillips Shane Victorino Evan Gattis
Ian Kinsler Ben Zobrist Josh Hamilton Manny Machado Wilin Rosario Shelby Miller
Greg Holland Matt Cain Alex Cobb Sergio Romo Everth Cabrera Martin Prado
Yadier Molina Masahiro Tanaka Alex Gordon Michael Wacha Hyun-Jin Ryu Matt Wieters
David Ortiz Trevor Rosenthal Josh Donaldson Matt Moore Salvador Perez Aaron Hill

Round 1

The Trout vs Cabrera argument will never end and both are great #1 choices.  As mentioned before on the blog, it all depends on your league settings to determine which player has "more" value.    If you are a position scarcity drafter, than you would be the one picking Cano.  Just like the CBS ADP Mock Draft, Team 5 drafted Clayton Kershaw and depending on your league settings you might want to pass!