Michael Salfino

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Closing costs

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Last week I detailed my strategyof not drafting starting pitching when a top 80(ish) hitter is still on the board. Now let me make it clear, that doesn’t mean that I’m not drafting any pitchers in those rounds. I’m willing to pay the freight on certain closers.

    * - Does not currently hold the closer role for his team

  • Scouting Notebook: Backs on the wire

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Week 15 in Fantasy Football was the proverbial “Drunkard’s Walk.” Whether you advanced or were vanquished depends on whether your big players showed up at all. That’s usually the case, of course, but it’s hard to remember another playoff week where so many big names came up empty. But before the post-mortem, let’s help those that are advancing assess the waiver wire, which, as is the case every week, is ripe. It’s quite frankly hilarious that Toby Gerhart may decide fantasy championships, but that’s our game, boys. The zeroRB guys don’t care, of course. Gerhart suddenly is in line for the most touches and probably any goal-line ones on a team that plays a low-scoring, running friendly brand of defensive football. This week, in front of a nation-wide Thursday audience (as part of, I’m sure, some elaborate practical joke), Gerhart and the Jaguars face the Titans, one of the friendliest running-game matchups going. In San Francisco, Carlos Hyde may be in line for the most touches now that Frank Gore is in the concussion protocol (worst Mission:Impossible title ever). Hyde needs to be rostered, even defensively. I was right about Rashad Jennings not being able to hold up as a first-time featured back, but wrong about Andre Williams. Even against a Rams run defense that is very overrated, I can’t trust Williams. His upside is 40 yards and a goal-line TD. His floor is 40 yards. Only play Williams over some real-life backup you’d otherwise be forced to start. It’s Week 16 and those are three backs who will be starting and who are all free in many leagues. Remember this when you are lectured next summer ad infinitum about how impossible it is to find a running back during the season. I can’t remember a week without a reasonable running back option on waivers. It’s relentless. I’m not even counting Jonas Gray, as no Patriots running back is bettable. New England is going to pass the Jets silly in Week 16 anyway. The window to pickup Jonathan Stewart is still open a crack, and he’s a solid option versus the Browns’ horrendous run defense. I like Latavius Murray, too, even against Buffalo, because home-run hitters aren’t that matchup sensitive. And the Raiders may come to play at home.

  • Splitsville: Holding out for a hero

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Let’s start Splitsville this week with a look at the top scorers of Week 15 last year, mostly to prepare ourselves for how cruelly random our game can be. Source for this is Pro-Football-Reference’s excellent player-finder database, well worth a subscription. Top five Week 15, 2013 QBs: Nick Foles, Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel and Matt Flynn. Top five RBs: Jamaal Charles, Matt Asiata, Eddie Lacy, DeAngelo Williams, Rashad Jennings Top five WRs: DeSean Jackson, Greg Jennings, Dez Bryant, Pierre Garcon, Julian Edelman, Andre Caldwell [ Join FanDuel.com s $2M Week 15 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid ] So some crazy players may end up being on the Week 15 Hero list this year. You know the candidates, guys like Johnny Manziel, Derek Anderson, Jake Locker, Marquess Wilson, Kerwynn Williams, Latavius Murray, Harry Douglas…. Who knows? Anyone who is starting is dangerous in any given week. Again, forget about “fantasy points vs. position X” stats to pick your lineups. They’re too touchdown driven and touchdowns are random. The rate stats are way better if you want to increase your odds in breaking ties for your starting lineup. You can fish for yourself here...

  • Scouting Notebook: Le'Veon on legendary run

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Le’Veon Bell has been a disappointment to his owners when it comes to converting yardage into touchdowns but all that changed at a perfect time for his owners, with three scores in Week 14. So let’s start our Scouting Notebook with the player who is rapidly emerging as the consensus No. 1 running back (and thus, in the non-zeroRB world, the No. 1 overall pick) in 2015. Bell now has a remarkable 711 yards in his last three games. Only one player in league history has more (or has even ever broken 700) in a three game stretch — Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears in 1977. Bell's season total is up to 1,924 yards. He’ll have to play near his recent pace to break Chris Johnson’s 2009 record of 2,509 scrimmage yards. But just holding his full-season average, which seems a safe bet considering his recent surge, would get Bell to 2,368 scrimmage yards, the fourth most in league history (leapfrogging 1997 Barry Sanders). Bell is the complete package, of course, except for home-run speed. But his slashing style, patience and vision coupled with his outstanding receiving ability reminds me of former Jet Freeman McNeil, as you can see for yourself . I would not be in on Marquess Wilson...

  • Splitsville: The tall and the short of it

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Let’s mine the data this week for the players who were least and most efficient in converting yards from scrimmage into touchdowns. I’ve also included position and height/weight. Thanks to Pro-Football-Reference for the stats. Here’s a link to the full chart.  We’ll just do the highlights here. The top 20 most efficient scorers are:

  • Scouting Notebook: Donte's inferno

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Week 13 was a breakout for a select class of young wideouts. What DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills and Keenan Allen all had in common entering this year was producing at an all-time level for a 21-year-old receiver in their rookie season of 2013. So the expectation, from me at least, was that we have to age-adjust their stats like we would a super-young baseball player and thus expect star-caliber performance going forward. Unfortunately, going forward is a long time, as much as we’d like that to mean “from Week 1 of the upcoming season forward.” It’s been rocky at times with all three guys. Hopkins has mysteriously not been given the lion’s share of targets despite elite yards-per-target production all year. Stills entered the season hurt and and afterthought given the new, 21-year-old wide receiver in town, Brandin Cooks. Allen went seven games without a touchdown and, in fairness, was doing very little with his targets. But in Week 13, the trio combined for 25 catches on 30 targets for 521 yards and five touchdowns. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s is truly jaw-dropping. Stills and Hopkins are elite assets going forward this year given that there’s nothing terribly fluky about...

  • Splitsville: C.J. all the way

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 3 mths ago

    Let’s start Splitsville this week by using last week’s results to illustrate again why it’s best to use rate stats and not fantasy points allowed when picking players to start based on their defensive opponent. Last week, I listed the Chiefs as a run defense to target. The commenters noted that this is absurd because the Chiefs are one of the stingiest defenses in allowing running back points, courtesy of yielding zero rushing TDs. But I ignored TDs in this assessment because I said they were random events. What would even be the argument for avoiding the Chiefs’ run defense? That they are good at preventing rushing touchdowns while being bad at allowing yards per attempt? Does that make any sense? This is the textbook case of something being descriptive (the Chiefs allowing few running back fantasy points because of a lack of rushing touchdowns) rather than predictive (actually being good at preventing rushing touchdowns). Something, eventually, had to give. And it did last week when Latavius Murray had two rushing TDs in the blink of an eye while the Raiders had the kind of running success last week’s Splitsville envisioned. [ Join FanDuel.com s $1.75M Week 13 fantasy league: $25...