Scott Pianowski

  • Pressing Questions: The Kansas City Royals

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    Just get to the playoffs, then hope to catch lightning in a bottle once you’re there. That’s the wishing credo of your typical Wild Card team these days, and sometimes it turns into a shocking underdog story. 

    The 2014 Royals fit Cinderella’s slipper. With an ordinary plus-27 run differential, it’s amazing they qualified for the playoffs at all. They scraped together 89 wins (five more than the pythagorean formula suggested), then got hot in the AL playoffs. Thanks for coming east, Oakland. Have fun with your theme park, Anaheim. No need to be crabby, Baltimore. 

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    The Royals eventually fell to the Giants in the World Series, but it took seven games to dispatch them. After 28 years of non-playoff baseball in the heartland, Kansas City's fanbase finally had an October story to rally around. 

    Q: Is Greg Holland worth his 67 ADP as a closer? What about saves on a budget and all that stuff? 

  • Six-Pack: Scott Darling gets a shot

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    Six free-agent pickup recommendations, that’s how we roll. We’ll try to offer something for every budget. 

    Scott Darling, G, Blackhawks (9 percent): He’s been terrific at both levels this year, starring in the AHL (.927/.202) and coming through in seven spot-starts with Chicago (five wins, 1.97/.937). With Corey Crawford in a funk, the Blackhawks are giving Darling the Tuesday tap on the pads against Florida. Like most coaches, Joel Quenneville isn’t afraid to ride a hot hand in goal –  perhaps Darling can get something rolling here. If he can just make the basic stops, Chicago's deep blue line should take care of the rest. 

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    Brendan Gallagher, RW, Canadiens (31 percent): Fantasy owners are hip to what Tomas Plekanec is doing this season, but don’t forget his speedy right wing. Gallagher isn’t giving us as many PIMs this year, but we’ll take the trade off –  all of his scoring columns are on the escalator, including shots on goal, and he’s also seeing more ice time. 

  • Pressing Questions: The San Francisco Giants

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 7 days ago

    Although the Giants are coming off their third World Championship in five seasons, a glorious run by anyone's standards, last year's triumph wasn't like the first two. After a pair of front-door titles, the 2014 champagne run was a back-door job all the way.

    San Francisco barely made the playoffs last year, ducking into the tournament as a wild-card entry with an ordinary 88 wins. The Giants finished 12th in scoring, 10th in ERA, eighth in differential. There was nothing particularly scary about these guys into October..

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    It doesn't make the bubbly taste any less sweet, of course. But it puts management in a curious spot – do you judge a team by its ordinary regular season or its glorious end result? 

    Grab your warmest hoodie (yes, it's freezing at AT&T Park, lovely as it may be) and let's try to figure it out.  

    Q: When we last saw Madison Bumgarner, he was mowing everyone down in October. What now? 

    Oh hush, you. We're just in it for the numbers.

  • Six-Pack: Kevin Klein, broadway bizarre

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    Don’t look for Anders Lee in this space, we gave him to you last week. Onward and upward, here are six widely-available pickups to consider for your fake hockey squad. 

    Kevin Klein, D, Rangers (13 percent): He’s the No. 44 defenseman in the Yahoo game, a testament to a useful but fluky season. Klein’s somehow posted a 9-16-25 line despite little power-play time – he’s yet to register a man-advantage point in 2014-15. The nine goals are a mirage, coming off a modest 64 shots (his career shooting percentage is a mediocre five percent). And this isn’t some young up-and-coming talent; Klein’s in his age-30 campaign, and posted just nine points in the 77 games immediately prior to this year. All those caveats established, he’s getting regular ice with a decent team, so we can trust the hits, blocks and even the plus-minus (plus-22). In most pools, there’s a case for picking up The Big Chill. 

  • Pressing Questions: The San Diego Padres

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 14 days ago

    Normally you walk into Petco Park and start thinking about a fish taco or a specialty beer. 

    This year, buy a scorecard first. 

    It’s been a while since the Padres were especially relevant. They haven’t had a winning record since 2010 and they haven’t seen the playoffs since 2006. Their last October series win dates back to 1998, when they hoisted the National League pennant before the Yankees swept them.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    So no one can fault new general manager A.J. Preller for shuffling like a madman during his first Padres offseason. The Friars made three blockbuster trades (check out that snappy outfield, Upton-Myers-Kemp), then chased it with a late signing on a major free-agent pitcher, James Shields. It’s a new team, and it’s a fun team. And for the first time in a while, it's actually a buzzy, name-brand team.

    With that in mind, we open this Padres PQ at a logical place – the pitcher’s mound.

    Q: What becomes of Shields at his new address? 

    Q: Who looks good in the rest of the rotation? 

  • Six-Pack: Tomas Hertl wakes up

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 18 days ago

    Get out your shopping lists and let's hit the waiver wire for some free stuff. As always, we'll focus on players owned below the 50-percent Yahoo Fantasy Hockey threshold, and we'll try to include players at a variety of ownership levels. Something for everybody. 

    Tomas Hertl, LW, Sharks (37 percent owned): The struggling sophomore was given a couple of AHL games during the All-Star break, and maybe that triggered a rebound in confidence. Hertl registered two assists in his Worcester action, and is on a 2-3-5 run in six San Jose games since. Hertl was the club's best forward in Saturday's loss to Carolina, burying two chances from the crease and adding an assist in the final minute, when San Jose was in desperation mode (merely being selected at that time is a vote of confidence). Hertl remains stuck on a third line for now, though he's seeing secondary power-play time – and the up-and-down Sharks could easily promote him if the stick stays hot. I'm expecting a strong push in the final third of the year.

  • Pressing Questions: The Detroit Tigers

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 mth ago

    Although it’s been 31 years since Detroit’s last World Series title, the Woodward faithful hasn’t had much to complain about in recent years. The Tigers are taking aim at their fifth consecutive AL Central title. The glorious run has been fueled by a mix of potent offense (no one has scored more runs since the beginning of 2013) and reliable pitching (Top 10 team ERAs for three straight campaigns). Detroit generally assembles a strong lineup and a formidable starting staff and dares teams to match it over the six-month marathon. Most opponents fall short.

    To be fair, there are subtle areas where the Tigers routinely struggle. They’ve been one of the worst defensive teams in the majors for several years now, and the bullpen hasn’t been good for a while. Detroit fans become anxious whenever the opponent puts the bat on the ball, and there’s a collective Eight Mile shriek whenever the bullpen door opens. 

    Order up a hot and ready and let's try to figure it all out. 

    How do we price J.D. Martinez after that shocking monster year? 

  • Pressing Questions: The Boston Red Sox

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 mth ago

    In most seasons, Fenway Park is a safe place to chase offensive production. The park is tiny and a bonanza for scoring, and the Red Sox usually have a stable of capable hitters. 

    Alas, 2014 wasn't like most years for the Olde Towne Team. A collection of slumps, injuries and mediocre players combined to torpedo the Boston offense, and with that, any hope of a championship repeat died quickly. The Red Sox finished 18th in the majors in scoring last year, a notable drop from their normal perch. Boston posted a Top 4 scoring offense in six of the prior seven seasons. (And to be fair, it hasn't been all Fenway Park; only the Yankees scored more runs on the road from 2007-2013.)

    Let's load up some Ps and Qs and see where we get.

    Q: Does a change of location help Ramirez and Sandoval? 

    I can't see how it won't. Obviously American League life has advantages for most hitters (the DH, more cycling through the order), and the ballpark change in particular is a daisy for both players. 

    Q: Where else is the offense likely to be upgraded?  

    Q: What about the pitching staff? 

  • Six Pack: Is Zach Bogosian teasing us again?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 mth ago

    Six pickups of varying availability levels, that's what we do here. Put some batteries in the cordless mouse or keyboard and let's get some new players for your roster.

    Zach Bogosian, D, Jets (15 percent): The development curve is often a deliberate one for blueliners, especially the taller guys at the position. Even with that caveat out of the way, the waiting has been painfully slow on Bogosian, who was the third overall pick of the 2008 draft. Wasn't he supposed to be an impact player by now? It hasn't worked out that way. (Look at the two defensive superstars he was selected between.)

    Nonetheless, Bogosian is still just 24, and he's been sizzling since he returned from his lower-body injury, ringing up three goals and two assists over his last six games. He's getting some trickle-down time on the power play, he's shooting the puck aggressively, and of course there's the pedigree to chase. I added a Bogie share in one of my pools; who's with me?

  • 2015 Shuffle Up: Antonio Brown, yellow jersey

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 mth ago

    With only seven months until draft season kicks in, we better get some rankings out to the people. In this edition, we'll tackle the wide receivers. (Don't tackle too hard, those zebras sure are trigger-happy.)

    I'll be shuffling all the major positions out the door, one at a time, just to give us something to talk about. I'm not in any way married to these 2015 ranks or opinions; surely I'll forget many (most) of them by the time pitchers and catchers report, if not sooner. But lists are fun, rankings are fun.

    [Join FanDuel's $2M Divisional Round fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid]

    A few rules: players at the same price are considered even; the dollar values are merely comparison tools and are arrived at unscientifically; and I refuse to rank rookies before the NFL draft. We have to draw the line somewhere.

    Marinate on the wideout prices through the overnight. I'll add commentary Wednesday, and maybe move a few things around.