- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade19 hrs ago
I'm not going to list off the common and inane "mistakes to avoid" that are regularly trumpeted in this kind of piece; let's try to be better than that. Everyone knows not to draft off last year's stats. Everyone knows not to rely on a magazine cheat sheet that was created several months ago. Everyone knows not to show up at the draft reeking of Old Milwaukee. Everyone knows to monitor the waiver wire like a hawk.
No new tale to tell there.
Here are five mistakes I see even smart fantasy owners make, the second-level of leakage. Consider them, make of them what you will. Add your own ideas in the comments.
-- Looking too far ahead: Obviously fantasy championships aren't finalized until December, but it takes five months to build a champion. We'll place plenty of emphasis on the Fantasy Playoff Schedule when it's time, but I consider it a fool's errand to put any major work into the presumed December Strength of Schedule right now.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade22 hrs ago
We've had a lot of fun with Joaquin Benoit this year, especially in the last month. But it looks like the Padres might be clearing way for a new closer.
Benoit is dealing with a sore shoulder and hasn't pitched since Aug. 13. The Padres steered a closing chance to Kevin Quackenbush on Wednesday night, and the unheralded 25-year-old righty did the job (one hit, no runs). He's posted a 2.29 ERA and 0.97 WHIP this year, nifty work over 39.1 innings. (He also has the facial hair you look for in a relief ace.)
Quackenbush doesn't light up the radar gun (91.3 average fastball), but he's doing the things we want a reliever to do. He's striking out just under a batter per inning, he's issued just 10 unintentional walks, and he's allowed but one home run. This is certainly a profile that can work in the ninth inning.Fri, Aug 226:40 PM PDTSan Diego at ArizonaPreview Game
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade1 day ago
The Johnny Football Era in Cleveland is going to have to wait. For now, make way for Johnny Clipboard and Johnny Headset.
The Browns sent an adrenaline shot to Twitter on Wednesday morning, unveiling their starting quarterback. Veteran retread Brian Hoyer gets the call for Week 1, tabbed over first-round pick Johnny Manziel.
"[Hoyer] was the clear leader from the beginning," head coach Mike Pettine said in a prepared statement. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade2 days ago
Pittsburgh star and defending NL MVP Andrew McCutchen (rib) is expected back Tuesday, when first eligible. That's lovely. But what will Clint Hurdle do with his complicated outfield?
McCutchen and Starling Marte are both going to play, of course. After that, it's a case for a couple of lefties, Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider. Polanco is this year's hot Pittsburgh prospect, while Snider - still just 26 - was a hotshot rookie in Toronto a few seasons back.
Polanco's initial run hasn't gone as well as expected. He's posted decent category juice through 61 games (12 steals, six homers), but a .245/.313/.355 slash line leaves you cold. He's been especially mediocre since the break, posting a .229/.268/.364 line over the past month. Polanco's also batting .156 against lefties.
Snider is at .268 for the year, with 10 homers in 228 at-bats. He's on a .329/.386/.632 binge since the break. The southpaws haven't bothered him (through a limited sample): 9-for-27, .519 slugging.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade7 days ago
I think you know which pitcher we have to talk about.
Fiers was our lead item in the Arcade two days ago, looking ahead to Thursday's cushy spot (hello, Cubs; hello, Edwin Jackson). But not even a member of the Fiers family would have predicted what ultimately happened.
The video is delicious. So was the pitching line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K.
There are all kinds of qualifiers, of course. The wind was blowing in, so Fiers was working confidently, with a safety net. The Cubs have a couple of good hitters, but overall this is a plus matchup for anyone. And obviously we have to be careful with outlier performances; it's unlikely to expect any pitcher to have that level of command in every appearance.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade7 days ago
My goal is to further the discussion, touch upon some subtler angles in the auction game. Here are a few nuances I've collected over the years.
• If your auction is filled with owners new to the format, the early spending will likely be aggressive. If your auction is comprised of experienced players, the early spending might be tempered. There are no hard rules to these types of things, but I'm more likely to be patient against a neophyte room, and more likely to be shopping early in a room of veterans.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade8 days ago
Midsummer zero, August hero. Isn't fantasy baseball a blast?
At what point did someone buy into Chris Carter in your league? He was hitting .181 at the beginning of July; it's surprising the Astros were still giving him at-bats at that point. But something's clicked with the slugger over the last five weeks - he's on a .328/.386/.765 tear, with 15 homers in 31 games. He's the top fantasy player over that period, and it's not even close (your Top 5: Carter, Kluber, Kershaw, Harrison, Hernandez).
Carter sent two more balls to the seats in Tuesday's victory, the story we're getting used to. Here's some scouting video for you. Obviously no one expects Carter to keep up anything close to this pace, but will he be trustable the rest of the way?Fri, Aug 224:05 PM PDTHouston at ClevelandPreview Game
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade9 days ago
Looking ahead is a critical part of this roto racket, so our first throw in the Tuesday column will be a speculation play. Mike Fiers has a good chance to be relevant in mixed leagues.
You probably remember the name - Fiers had a solid 2012 run with the Brewers, collecting nine wins over 22 starts. A 3.74 ERA and 1.26 WHIP might not sound like much, but he was completely in the Circle of Trust before a 7.09/1.88 crash landing in the final month of the year. His first 12 turns were fantasy-useful. Whatever your investment, you made a profit.
The 2013 season turned into a quick flush - Fiers lost his rotation spot early in the year and a broken forearm wrecked the balance of his season. The veteran right-hander wasn't a big part of Milwaukee's plan into this season, in part due to his age (he turned 29 in June) and in part due to his ordinary arsenal (his average fastball is in the high 80s).
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade11 days ago
Feeling a chill in the room? I've been projecting my 500 best hockey friends this past week, while you were out playing deck shuffleboard on your yacht. Isn't August great?
Alas, I've got some time for the football and baseball peeps. Let the questions rip. Let the whiskey pour. Let the river run. Your success is our success. And if you want to get off-topic, that's fine too. Best part of the chat, probably.
First pitch is set for 10:15 pm ET.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade12 days ago
There's no right answer when it comes to fantasy football league setup. Whatever format works for you and your leaguemates, have a ball. I'm not here to talk you out of anything.
[ Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football!]
But maybe I can talk you into something. If you're a sharp fantasy player and you want to keep adding skill to your game, I'm here with a simple piece of advice: start more players. Keep adding those flexes. This is a recording.
The case for more starters is a simple one, broken into three prongs:
- You want to iron out flukes; the more players you start, the less one outlier performance (good or bad) affects your results.
- Each week becomes more fun when you have more players to track and root for.
- The more dynamic your league structure is, the more dynamic your draft or auction becomes.