Scott Pianowski

  • Wallet 2015: Buying in on Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve, Jimmy Rollins

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 21 hrs ago

    I thought I’d be jostling for room on the Michael Brantley bandwagon this year, fighting for a comfortable spot. But it's more like a ghost town, all sorts of room available. 

    No one missed Brantley’s wonderful breakout 2014 season, which pushed him into the MVP discussion. He finished the year as the No. 3 batter in Yahoo fantasy leagues, off a .327-94-20-97-23 campaign. You name it, Brantley improved at it. He walked more, struck out less, spiked his power rate, improved his outstanding line-drive clip. He handled righties and lefties, no problem. And he came to play just about every night, missing a mere six games. 

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

    Here’s why I was fine to make Brantley my most important fantasy commodity for 2015: 

    Here are some other hitters who are common profile players for me this year: 

  • The 2015 Sucker Play: Yoenis Cespedes

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago

    If fun were the only stat category in Fantasy Baseball, Yoenis Cespedes would be a lottery pick every season. The guy owns the Home Run Derby. The guy throws out baserunners from ridiculous platforms. The guy takes every swing like it’s his last. 

    The enjoyment index is off the charts. And it’s turned Cespedes into one of the sucker fantasy plays for 2015. 

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    I don’t see what they’re seeing. I have no problem ranking at least 30 outfielders higher than Mr. Home Run Derby. 

    Oh, I understand that Cespedes has brought plenty of pop in his three-year career (71 homers, 262 RBIs), and he’s no longer held down by Oakland’s roomy park (though his Oakland OPS is 53 points higher than his career OPS). The Tigers have plenty of big bats in their lineup, so it’s encouraging, in theory, to see Cespedes moving to his new address. 

    Well, maybe I know one guy.

  • Auditing the 2015 Friends & Family League

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    On March 18, we rounded up the usual suspects and held the 11th annual Yahoo Friends & Family Draft. It's a meandering 350-pick mixed league, a highly-competitive industry throwdown. The Yahoo crew has won six of the titles; outsiders have stolen away four of them. Last year's standings are here

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

    Have a gander at the draft, then settle in for the usual Q and A (pick out a comfortable chair – it's long). Each pundits was asked a question about his team and a question about the league's perceived hits and misses. We welcome your comments (and predictions) in the comments; maybe this will be the year we have a 14-way tie for last.

    MEET THE FAMILY

    Yahoo – Brandon Funston – @1befun

    Previous F&F Finishes: 9th, 13th, 13th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 9th, 7th, 9th, 1st

    Q: Give us a pick to promote and a pick of regret  

  • Tip Drill: Auction like a champion today

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 18 days ago

    I wish every fantasy league were run auction style; that’s been my story for 20 years and I’m sticking to it. But with a better format comes more responsibility; auctions are far more challenging than basic snake drafts, and they open up different levels of strategy. Let’s discuss a few key elements here.

    The best fantasy auction players are flexible in all areas

    Show me someone rigid with his prices or his strategy and I’ll show you someone who’s probably a yearly donator. You need to be willing to adjust to the nuance of the auction as it unfolds: the unexpected flow, the unique nature of the current assignment. Be flexible with your strategy, and for the love of all that’s holy, please be flexible with your prices. Just because it says $20 on your page in black ink doesn’t mean you can’t bid well into the 20s in the right scenario. Everything is relative. 

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

  • The Fantasy Five: Start Andrea Bargnani, bench Rajon Rondo

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 23 days ago

    This column will concentrate on borderline fantasy options who should get strong consideration to start/bench during the upcoming week based on schedules. Dalton Del Don is surfing in Aruba, so Scott Pianowski comes off the bench this week.

    Andrea Bargnani: Sure, the Knicks are a joke. Sure, you probably have negative history with Bargnani at some point, like everyone else. But the Knicks are treating Bargnani like a No. 1 option, leading to a useful 18.6-4.8-2.4 line since he joined the starting lineup five games ago. (He also scored in double digits in his last four games off the bench.) New York will probably get stomped on its upcoming road swing, but it’s the only club with five games in the coming week. Let’s take advantage. You can still add Bargnani in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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    [Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick 'Em: Enter for a chance to win $50K]

  • Hunter Pence breaks his arm

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 25 days ago

    For about three months, I was in full-on Hunter Pence propaganda mode. I promoted him, on the blogs and in the magazines, and tweeted about his sneaky, underrated game. If I wasn’t driving the Pence bandwagon, I at least had a seat near the front. 

    [ Baseball 2015 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today! ]

    Today, he’s just another injured player who’s on my skepticism list. 

    You probably saw the news item come down Thursday night, but in case you missed it, here it is: 

    Pence non-displaced fracture in left forearm (Ulna bone). Expected out 6-8 weeks. #SFGiants

  • Tip Drill: Revisiting the Draft vs. Auction debate

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 28 days ago

    The perfect sandwich, the perfect cocktail, the perfect design of a fantasy league, there are no obvious answers. These sorts of things are constantly debated and argued, with a consensus unlikely to be reached. One person’s mistake is another person’s perfect mix. (You really like mayo? Get the hell out of my kitchen.) 

    On my fantasy clipboard, there’s certainly room for both of the major formats – but I decisively prefer the auction game when push comes to shove. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with me, of course. Some of my oldest friends don’t agree with me

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    To start off today’s debate, I’ve collected some reasons why you might prefer a Fantasy Draft or a Fantasy Auction. Sure, the auction section is longer. I can’t help what I love, what I prefer. I want you to love auctions, too. I want you to carry a gavel everywhere you go.

  • Six-Pack: Andrew Hammond, out of nowhere

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 29 days ago

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

    Andrew Hammond, G, Senators (28 percent): Sometimes you have to take a story and run with it, even when there’s no pedigree in place. That’s the case with Hammond, a 27-year-old non-prospect who’s been lights-out since getting his chance in the Ottawa cage (five straight wins, two shutouts, 1.31 goals-against, .957 save percentage). Maybe beating the Sharks in San Jose is no great feat these days – those guys can’t seem to play a solid game in front of their home folk – but bagels at Los Angeles and Anaheim need no qualifier, even if it never rains goals in Southern California

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  • Pressing Questions: The Kansas City Royals

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 mth 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. 

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    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 1 mth 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. 

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    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.