- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade1 day ago
For most of his career, Jordan Schafer has been one of those single-skill players. A one-trick pony, but it's a pretty good trick. He steals a bushel of bases (usable in very deep fantasy leagues) and that's about it.
Maybe the script is about to change. Perhaps Schafer is ready for his mixed-league closeup for the final month of the year.
Schafer, 27, has become a regular since his move to Minnesota four weeks ago, and he's making good on the opportunity. He's on a 21-for-64 binge over 21 games, with 10 steals in 11 attempts. He has a whopping 25 swipes (on 28 chances) this year, a ton of bags when you consider it's against a modest 144 at-bats. He had three hits, four RBIs and another steal in Thursday's win over the Royals. (Boom, Yosted.)
The Twins keep Schafer locked at the bottom of the lineup, but they've essentially given him a full-time outfield job. He's started 20 of the last 23 games, taking an occasional break against a left-handed opponent. Ron Gardenhire is letting his new outfielder run liberally, that's for sure. No one has more steals in the majors this month.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade3 days ago
I'm doing this article a little earlier than I'd like to. I'm about 60 percent of the way through my draft and auction season, and I know some of my opponents love to use my publicly-declared targets against me.
So it goes. It's part of the gig.
The names listed below are the common-share players showing up on my rosters to this point. While the fantasy season has yet to be written, the success or failure of this group will have a large say in how I do.
Maybe you'll agree on many, maybe you're agree on none. That's why we have a game.
The first name is the headliner, the player I have the most shares of. Everyone else is listed in no particular order. To the clipboard:
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade4 days ago
Tim Lincecum might be the most consistently-panned player in this space over the last couple of years. We didn't give him an excuse for the gopheritis trend that started in 2012. We didn't trust the K/9 rate, given that the strikeout percentage was moving in the wrong direction. We didn't play the "but he's Tim Lincecum" card, an all-time silly argument.
Numbers over names, man.
But Timmy Lincecum in the Giants bullpen? Yeah, I'm intrigued again.
Lincecum's star started to fade in the 2012 season, but you probably remember he was a reliever for most of San Francisco's championship run. Check what he did out of the bullpen that October: 13 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 17 K. The appearances came against the Reds, Cardinals and Tigers. (Full disclosure, he was knocked around in one start at St. Louis.)
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade5 days ago
It's been a fairly tame summer for football injuries, but now we have to worry about Wes Welker and Cam Newton - and pause sadly for Sam Bradford. Bring on your football queries, your baseball ponderings, your hockey hunches, your random meanderings.
Let's figure this out, together.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade7 days ago
I'm about a third of the way through my fantasy football drafting and auctioning season. Lots more to come, players to select, options to buy. The future is unwritten.
Generally I'm more about the price than the player, so I rarely say "never" on any fantasy commodity. There's usually a ticket where almost anyone makes sense.
That established, here are 10 players I'm just about positive I won't be drafting this year. Call it the Toxic Ten if you want. You'll find talent on the list and maybe some of your pet players as well — it doesn't do anyone any good if I bash backup tight ends. Share your avoid list and agree or disagree with mine in the comments.
You might own these players. You might win because of these players, or in spite of these players. You won't agree with all of these names, and that's good. That's why we have a game.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade8 days ago
For the majority of the season, Matt Shoemaker has been an occasional streamer, a matchup play. Perhaps he's finally ready to shed that tag.
Road starts have been a tricky assignment for Shoemaker this year, but he's coming around of late. He was a one-hit wonder at Fenway Park on Thursday night (7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K), on the heels of a useful victory at Texas. Have a peek at the scouting video. The Shoe now carries a 3.56 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, with almost a strikeout per inning. He's also around the plate, just 19 free passes.
Okay, beating the Rangers and Red Sox doesn't mean a lot this year, no matter where you do it. But Shoemaker also has the advantage of playing on one of the best teams (and highest-scoring teams) in the majors, and in a pitcher-friendly park at that. His fly-ball bias plays well in Anaheim (2.72 ERA), and he's won 10 of his 15 starts overall. This late in the season, we should be trusting these snappy ratios.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade9 days 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 Arcade9 days 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.Sat, Aug 305:40 PM PDTLA Dodgers at San DiegoPreview Game
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade10 days 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 Arcade11 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.