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Scott Pianowski

Tip Drill: A column about nothing

Scott Pianowski
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It's been a while since we've gone to the bullets. Here are a few random things on my mind.

The more competitive your league is, the more aggressive you need to be (especially in the free-agent pool). The less knowledgeable your opponents are, the less chances you have to take.

When it comes to free agents in my competitive groups, I'm just looking for any plausible path to value before I jump. In Yahoo's expert league last year, that led to Michael Bourn(notes), Garrett Jones(notes), and three strong fake-catcher months of Brandon Inge(notes). In that sort of league, you can't wait for proof, the speculator hat stays on.

As deep as the outfield pool looks this year, I'm not thrilled with the available power options after you drive past the Michael Cuddyer(notes) and Brad Hawpe(notes) types in the middle of the draft. But with the rabbits it's a completely different story - I haven't seen this much cheap speed since Slater and O'Bannion were in High School.

Context is everything when it comes to the draft-day value of some players. Ryan Franklin(notes) will probably be overpriced in common leagues (where the save total carries too much clout) and underpriced in industry leagues (where his under-the-hood stats cause panic). I wouldn't be surprised if Franklin ended up on a few of my expert league teams for two simple reasons: I think Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan trust Franklin more than the average person does, and I'm expecting my opponents will avoid Franklin whenever possible. It's not that I'm targeting him, more than I'm willing to accept him if the room passes.

Jay Bruce(notes) is the opposite type of player, someone likely to be more pricey with the industry types but more affordable with the nationwide peeps. At the end of the day, knowing how your opponents feel about the player pool is almost as important as your own ranks. In some leagues, it might be even more important.

"Don't overpay" is the lowest form of fantasy advice. And when someone says "I'm not so sure" they're just settling for a cheap hedge.

Maybe there's an athlete who gives off worse body language than Sergio Garcia, but I have no idea who it is. The grief and self-pity is written all over Garcia's face when things go south; the "here we go again, this happens to me" train. I'll be flabbergasted if he comes remotely close to the level of play everyone expected 10 years ago.

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Olympic Sieves Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff are my two main netminders for my Yahoo Friends & Family club. Here's hoping they can get a session or two with Dr. Katz before the NHL season resumes.

The more researched your opponents are, the more likely they are to reach for rookies. Everyone wants to plant the flag in the group and yell out "first."

So I hear David Geffen is now the leader in the You're So Vain clubhouse. Didn't see that one coming; I guess it's time for me to tear up all those Warren Beatty futures.

For a short time last weekend the Final Four at Accenture were forced to play in the middle of horrendous weather conditions (wind, rain). Hope you caught a look at it; I have nothing against the great shots we see on a weekly basis, but it's fun to watch them struggle once in a while, too.

In any one-catcher league there's no way I'm targeting the position early; you'll beat me to Joe Mauer(notes), Brian McCann(notes) and Victor Martinez(notes) every time. And you can wait fairly long to get a middle-tier catcher; the owners who strike early at that position will probably ignore it for the rest of the day (the same thing happens when someone takes Peyton Manning or Drew Brees in a football draft).

The Oscars made a lot more sense with just five movies getting nominated.

I know it's a pain in the neck to edit your own rankings before a draft, not to mention a mock draft, but every time I make the effort, the endgame goes a lot smoother. Don't let someone else's ranking oversight take you down; have the players where you want them.

In case you (merficully) missed it, Mike Salfino and I had a weeklong debate argument over Prince earlier this month (Mike thinks he's a genius, I respect Prince but feel he's overrated). Feel free to weigh in on this in the comments.

Everyone should spent one year as a goalie, and one year behind the plate.

It's no accident that February is the shortest month on the calendar; winter has been cruel and unusual punishment over the last few years.

An NHL ticket costs about four or five times more than a college hockey ticket. A college hockey game is usually more fun than a regular-season pro hockey game (assuming Alex Ovechkin isn't on the ice). You can have the same old rock at a typical NHL arena, I'll take the Michigan or Wisconsin band, every time.

I've always had a lot of respect for Al Michaels, but his Gary Bettman interview on NBC Friday was softball city.

Just five weeks until our first Closing Time. I can't wait.

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Photos via US Presswire

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