Sep 01

Working the Waiver Wire like a Pro – Week 1

"Josh Gordon who? I'm ready to shine" (Andrew Hawkins 2014 Browns training camp) by Erik Daniel Drost - Flickr.

“Josh Gordon who? I’m ready to shine” (Andrew Hawkins 2014 Browns training camp) by Erik Daniel Drost – Flickr.

What do names like Julius Thomas, Keenan Allen, Zac Stacy, and Nick Foles have in common? At some point last year, all of them were probably sitting on your waiver wire ready to lead your fantasy team to dominance. At their respective positions, Julius Thomas finished 3rd, Allen 16th, Stacy 12th, and Foles 6th on a per-game basis. Last year was no anomaly, successfully working the waiver wire is just as important as a solid draft but the question becomes will you be proactive or reactive? The NFL changes so much from week to week, some players just need an opportunity or an injury to show off their skill set. Tom Brady started as a 4th string quarterback his first year and was nowhere in the plans to be a starter until Drew Bledsoe whom recently signed a 10 year contract, suffered a brutal hit the second game of the next season. The rest is history. Aaron Rodgers rode the bench his first three years during the Brett Favre debacle before they ultimately said goodbye to their beloved Hall of Famer. DeMarco Murray was a 3rd string running back behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice before he got an opportunity and went on to break the Cowboys single game rushing total with 253 yards and 1 touchdown. It’s a next man up league and using a bit of clairvoyance, you can preemptively strike gold on players that are just an opportunity away from being a star. Highlighted below, you’ll find some names to pluck off your waiver wire that may very well end up being an every week starter or game-changer for your team.

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Aug 29

What we learned from preseason week 3!

Colin Kaepernick by Mike Morbeck

Colin Kaepernick by Mike Morbeck

What a crazy week 3! So many good things that we saw and a plethora of bad things that we can use to our advantage to tweak our lineups and get ready for our last minute drafts. We are going to talk about those players and teams who have hurt/improved their stock for the upcoming 2014 season. Continue reading

Aug 29

2014 Fantasy Football Predictions

Jordan Reed could be the 2014 version of Jordan Cameron, this year's breakout tight end.

Jordan Reed could be the 2014 version of Jordan Cameron, this year’s breakout tight end.

Most fantasy football leagues have wrapped up their drafts and the start of the 2014 NFL season is just around the corner.  Immediately following a league’s draft, most fantasy owners will look at their team and be somewhat pleased with their roster.  Injuries haven’t occurred yet, early round busts haven’t become apparent and sleepers haven’t shown their full potential.  As the season takes shape over the next several months though, players will start to emerge as fantasy football all stars.  Last year Peyton Manning set many NFL records on his way to the best season any quarterback has had.  Similarly, Jamaal Charles had a phenomenal week 15 game against the Raiders that led many owners to fantasy championships.  A lot can happen in the course of an NFL season and those rosters we once thought were flawless can look entirely different by December.  There’s going to be players who emerge to win owners championships and there will also be those who highly disappoint.  Let’s hop in our Delorean and gaze into our crystal to make some 2014 fantasy football predictions that will come true by season’s end. Continue reading

Aug 28

Successful Streaming: Tight End Edition

So you really wanted Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas or Rob Gronkowski on your fantasy team this season, but for one reason or another they were picked just before your turn in your snake draft, or you were outbid during your auction. You think, hmmmm, I can get Vernon Davis, Jason Witten or Dennis Pitta at a reasonable price/pick, but suddenly as you are drafting your flex and top bench players in rounds 5, 6 and 7, those tight ends have also been drafted just before you can select them. Before you panic and draft someone like LaDarius Green (only 3 targets this preseason) or Zach Ertz (still in a timeshare with Brent Celek), you have another option.

Welcome to the wonderful world of streaming. You can sit back and wait until your 3rd to last pick in your drafts (last 2 picks are for kickers and DSTs, duh) to target these tight ends for week 1 and throughout the remainder of the first half of the season. Continue reading

Aug 27

Nick Rothschild’s Pick ‘em or Kick ‘em: Draft Edition

The clock is ticking. Your hands begin to sweat.

You have 90 seconds at the most to make the decision, and despite all of your preparation the names on the board are now foreign to you.

We’ve all been in a fantasy football draft that has either A.) Snuck up on you and didn’t give you time to prepare or B.) Played out differently than you expected. The worst thing you can do is panic, and the second worst thing you can do is take a guy that isn’t a good value for your pick.

So what do you do?

In the first of my season long series “Pick ‘em or Kick ‘em” I’m going to outline the guys you should “pick” or “pass*” based on a number of factors, including: ADP, draft strategy, and team/individual upside.

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Aug 27

Staking your claim…avoiding the fantasy fool’s gold at your draft!

Wes Welker

Last week we went over the guys to target in your draft that can help you strike it rich on draft day. The focus this week will be on those players that might have been fantasy gold last year or look like hidden nuggets this year, but none will be worth their weight in gold.

Keep in mind that my views on these players are weighted against their current ADP’s. It’s not to say that all these players will be worthless or has zero value; I’d just much rather get someone else with higher value around where these players are going in drafts. With that said, the same holds true on the other end of the spectrum, if these players fall TOO far in drafts then the value may be worth the risk. Heck, even Dwayne Bowe is a value at some point in a draft…isn’t he…anyone?

‘What glitters may not be gold; and even wolves may smile; and fools will be led by promises to their deaths.’ –Lauren Oliver Continue reading

Aug 26

Rankings Debate The Truth v Commish pt. 2

debateOne thing we can all agree on is that the fantasy community has dissenting opinions on several players and the discussions can get intense. Isn’t that what makes this game so great? If you missed part 1, last week I annihilated my colleague debated my colleague on quarterbacks and running backs so this time around we’ll be tackling wide receivers and tight ends. Rob Gronkowski, DeSean Jackson, and Victor Cruz are all polarizing figures which some of us hate and love this year so stay tuned as me and Pete Neubacher engage in another fantasy rankings debate of epic proportions.

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Aug 22

Running Backs and the Deciding Week

Bishop Sankey 2014 by Thomson200

Bishop Sankey 2014 by Thomson200

Can you believe it? Only 12 days left until the start of the regular season kicks off. This is the most important weekend for fantasy owners because it’s the 3rd week of preseason. This will be the time that all the starters play 3 quarters of football and we will get to see a true test of who could be in-line for a breakout year. Most fantasy owners don’t draft until after the 3rd week so let’s start talking about draft strategies and what you should watch for this weekend.

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Aug 20

Chris Tillman’s Misleading Streak

Last night on twitter, I saw an interesting tidbit from ESPN Stats and Info about Chris Tillman. I couldn’t believe my eyes as 14 straight starts with 3 ER or fewer seems like a big deal, yet Tillman didn’t seem to be getting any extra media attention for his streak. After taking a look at some other statistics, it’s clear that Tillman is getting lucky rather than actually being an elite pitcher.

Hit the jump to see my recommendation on the Orioles right-hander.

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Aug 20

Frame Job 2.0 – On the Corner

Last week i reviewed some of the latest developments in catcher framing.  A tough statistic to apply directly to fantasy sports, catcher framing metrics place a value (runs saved/added) to the ability of a catcher to “frame” strikes by taking borderline pitches and receiving them in a way that causes the umpire to call a strike.  The methods reviewed last week include the earliest developments by Mike Fast and the later applications and standardization and control of the BaseballProspectus method that built off Fast’s work.

What I tried to do, as was pointed out to me by astute readers and commenters, was an academic exercise.  The overall impact of catcher framing is significant, but not to the point that you can quantify an impact to fantasy relevant 5×5 categories for projection purposes.  Theoretically, the pitchers changing teams I mentioned should benefit or suffer slightly based on their new battery mate, but application to ERA and/or WHIP is still difficult to isolate.  The limited application of both framing metrics AND this coming piece on umpire effects should only enter your analysis at the margins, so with that limited application in mind, lets dive in!

Continuing my series of pieces on the strike zone, a mystical and difficult to quantify factor, today I’ll review umpire effects.  Again, these pieces may present a more academic and theoretical approach, however, there is applicable value to picking streamers, constructing daily league rosters, or other start/sit type decisions.

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