Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 hrs ago
Fantasy Football draft strategy has evolved considerably over the years, and that’s especially true at the running back position.
In the old days, several owners would bunker down on draft day and load up on the early backs, not even looking to the side. Starting with two backs was fairly common – many viewed it as a mandate – and some flex owners would look to open with three straight running backs.
Football 2015 is a different animal. The NFL has morphed into a pass-happy league, and several teams now consider the running back position as platoon-oriented, a collection of specialists.
Most of my fantasy strategy comes from an agnostic tilt – I’ll take what the room gives me, so to speak – but that doesn’t mean I don’t consider draft blueprints and themes before the big day arrives. I’m just sure to compose plans in pencil, ready to erase and rewrite at all times.
Here are some of the backfield blueprints I’m thinking about on an early August afternoon.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 12 hrs ago
Jaime Garcia, SP, vs COL (Flande), $45: Although he’s the biggest Vegas favorite on the Sunday card, Garcia is merely the No. 8 pitcher in Yahoo price. Some might be a little concerned about Garcia after a layoff, though he did turn in a quality start on July 28. His overall ratios are excellent (2.00/0.89), and everyone knows the Rockies aren’t as much fun on the road.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, vs. WAS (Zimmermann), $52: Sure, it’s a pay-up price, but the Baby Faced Ace known as Thor has ungodly powers at home (1.46 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, six walks, 51 strikeouts). That’s going to work. So long as you have John Kruk on mute, you'll have some fun on Sunday night.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago
I had a lot of pointed things to say about Yoenis Cespedes in the preseason. I called him overrated, a sucker play. I ranked him lower than just about anyone.
Thus far, Team Cespedes is having the last laugh, an extended last laugh. He’s currently the No. 10 outfielder in Yahoo 5x5 value, enjoying a strong .293-62-18-61-3 season. So long as you didn’t pay a ridiculous price in March, this has been a fun profit season for you.
Everyone knows that NL baseball is shaded by the lack of a designated hitter, while AL baseball enjoys the DH and a freer scoring environment. The average AL club slugs .405 and has 432 runs for the year; in the NL, it drops to .391 and 404.
Cespedes isn’t just going to any offense of course, he’s going to the Mets – the lowest-scoring club in baseball entering Friday’s action. He’s not going to get a lot of help here.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago
For most of the season, the Tigers didn’t look to Alex Wilson for holds. But in the new world order Thursday at Baltimore, the club decided the 28-year-old righty was worthy of a handshake.
Wilson only had two holds on the year through his first 38 appearances, despite a pretty set of ratios (1.84 ERA, WHIP under 1). With that in mind, it wasn’t clear if he’d be part of the closing chase after Joakim Soria was dispatched to Pittsburgh. Bruce Rondon had the big strikeout rate and seemed like someone who would get a chance, despite other flaws. Al Albuquerque also strikes guys out, though he has a walk problem. Blaine Hardy is generally a lefty specialist. Neftali Feliz has been horrendous since joining the Tigers; that's the first name I eliminated.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago
We're bringing back five tips from last year to help you prepare for drafts in the coming weeks.
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.
The league changes too quickly. No sport reshuffles as thoroughly as the NFL.
Play For Today.
But these things need to be constructed with a pencil, not a pen. You don't want to be locked into anything.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago
The Minnesota Twins, for all their fine play this year, are not an attention-grabbing franchise on the national landscape. Perhaps that’s why Aaron Hicks is still kicking around free-agent wires despite a strong rally this summer.
Although Hicks is just 25, he’s already had his share of ups and downs during his pro career. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft, and was ranked favorably in prospect circles for the ensuing four years. But the star quickly faded when Hicks flopped with the Twins in 2013 and 2014. Over what’s essentially a full-season sample, he posted a putrid .201/.293/.313 slash, along with nine homers and 13 steals, in those two campaigns.
Hicks is ready to add in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues. He might just make it after all.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago
Catcher is the most physically-demanding position on the sandlot, and maybe that explains why the position has been such a fantasy mess this year.
Consider all the big names disappointing us. Carlos Santana hasn’t returned what we expected. Yadier Molina’s power might be gone for good. Yan Gomes got hurt, hasn’t hit since. Devin Mesoraco also got hurt, and basically punted the year. Wilin Rosario isn’t in the mix in Colorado. Matt Wieters has been so-so since his injury return.
With all that in mind, we savor the players who have panned out, and the surprises that emerged from nowhere. Russell Martin is no hoser in the YYZ. Yasmani Grandal is an OBP machine in L.A. Francisco Cervelli is here to help your batting average. Buster Posey remains one of the most bankable and reliable players around.
And very quietly in South Florida, rookie J.T. Realmuto is making his mark with the Marlins.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago
While it’s a seismic move in the real baseball world, the Troy Tulowitzki-Jose Reyes deal isn’t nearly as important to fantasy owners. The two key players are universally owned and their values don’t change much. Nonetheless, we should offer up a few thoughts before we move onto subtler things.
I’ve been out on Tulowitzki for a few years now, worrying about his injury risk and whatnot. You know what you’re signing up for with him. I give his fantasy value a minor boost in Toronto, now that he’s in the hitter’s league and with a better lineup around him (the best lineup in baseball, of course).
This summer, Tulowitzki didn’t make it into Cameron’s Top 50. And no, Reyes and some prospects is not a Walker payday.
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Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago
Chris Heston, SP, vs. MIL (Lohse), $45: The Regression Police had their fun after Heston’s surprise no-hitter in early June, but guess what? The music keeps playing. Heston has a tidy 2.20 ERA in his last seven starts since the gem at Citi Field, and if you look at all of his non-Colorado starts (thin air ruins everything), we’re looking at a 2.50 ERA. The Giants have been sizzling since the break, and I certainly expect them to have some fun against Kyle Lohse on the other side.
Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago
Yahoo Daily Fantasy is fun, especially when all the teams are in play. Here are some names to consider as you do your Friday shopping. Make sure you check out the weather and lineups before you make final commitments.
Tim Cooney, SP, vs. ATL (Williams), $25: You’re hoping for six innings from Cooney, an ordinary lefty, but also take note he’s the second-biggest favorite on the Friday card. Those win points sure come in handy. Atlanta’s offense isn’t much without Freddie Freeman; the Braves are the NL’s lowest-scoring team for the second half.
Ian Desmond, SS, at PIT (Locke), $14: Is his nightmare summer finally turning around? Desmond has seven hits and two homers over his last four games, and now he draws the platoon advantage against a soft-tossing lefty. Sounds good to me.