Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fantasy Baseball Help: Don’t Draft These Players!


Anthony Cavalcante
@AntCav_Fantasy


In every draft, there are players that get drafted fairly high, but eventually they get dropped from the team because they really aren’t that good. For whatever reason, people think these players are good when they are not. I’m going to go through the top players that are being drafted in leagues that are going to perform worse than the average player at their position.

Note: These rankings are based off a CBS Head-To-Head fantasy league.

Catcher

Travis D’Arnaud (Average Draft Position 195.09)
Coming into the season last year, D’Arnaud was one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball. He could end up being a very good fantasy player someday. However, that day will most likely be sometime in the future. He doesn’t have enough MLB experience to be a consistently good fantasy player for the 2014 season. I think D’Arnaud will hit .243 with 15 home runs with 66 runs scored and 68 RBI. According to my rankings, that will be 28.21 points less than the average catcher and therefore, you should pass on D’Arnaud on draft day.

First Base

Adrian Gonzalez (ADP 74.79)
Years ago, Gonzalez used to be a player that was undervalued. He used to hit a ton of home runs which means he would score a lot of fantasy points. However, Gonzalez is a totally different player now. His batting average is higher, but his home run total is much lower. In fact, I’m expecting him to only hit 20 home runs this season, and at first base, that isn’t enough to be drafted.

Second Base

Jedd Gyorko (ADP 128.99)
Gyorko surprised a lot of people with his power outburst last season. I expect him to slug 28 homers this season. I also expect him to strike out 150 times, which would put him in the top 5 in strikeouts amongst second basemen according to my projections. I also have him hitting just .248 and stealing only 1 base. Gyorko should score 12.53 less points than the average second basemen. Stay away from him.

Third Base

Manny Machado (ADP 124.46)
Machado was a doubles machine last year. I expect him to hit 41 of them this season. However, doubles are worth 2 points, as opposed to a home run, which is worth 4 points. Also, unlike home runs, he isn’t guaranteed to score or knock in any runs if he hits a double. Machado should hit only 15 home runs this season. Although he should be one of the best doubles hitters this season, he still shouldn’t be drafted in fantasy leagues this year.

Shortstop

Starlin Castro (ADP 166.42)
Castro isn’t as good as good as people think he is. I project him to hit .279 with 10 homers and 31 stolen bases. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they aren’t great either. There are plenty of other shortstops that should outperform Castro. Although he’s only 7.31 points worse than the average fantasy shortstop, he still is worse and therefore should go undrafted.

Outfielders

Mark Trumbo (ADP 76.12)
Trumbo has been a very good power hitter ever since he got to the majors. However, his batting average is another story. He is also now playing in the National League, so expect his stats to go down from how they’ve been in the past. I expect Trumbo to hit .239 with 31 homers. Outfield is a very deep position, and I have him as 35.33 points less than the average outfielder.

Josh Hamilton (ADP 93.00)
Josh Hamilton was once a first pick in fantasy baseball drafts. However, I no longer see him as a player that should be drafted. Ever since he left the Angels, Hamilton hasn’t been the same. I’m expecting him to hit .250 with 20 home runs. Sadly, Hamilton isn’t the player he once was. Don’t expect him to bounce back.

Jason Heyward (ADP 99.45)
Jason Heyward is being drafted before the 100th pick. Although I think he’s only going to be 1.33 points away from the average player, he’s still going to score below average. I have Heyward hitting .253 with 23 home runs. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but there are plenty of outfielders that you should draft instead of Heyward.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (ADP 115.31)
For some strange reason, people think Jeff Samardzija is much better than he is. First of all, he plays for a terrible team, which means his win-loss record won’t be good. Secondly, his ERA isn’t that good either. I expect him to go 9-13 with a 4.10 ERA. He just isn’t that good and doesn’t belong on a fantasy baseball roster.

Alex Wood (ADP 132.63)
I expect Wood to go 13-10 with 157 strikeouts and a 3.53 ERA. Although those numbers sound fairly good, he still shouldn’t be drafted. He doesn’t pitch a lot of innings. I have him only pitching 163 innings in 32 starts. If he can pitch later into games, then maybe he can be a decent fantasy player. But for now, he should score 56.58 points less than the average fantasy baseball pitcher.

Taijuan Walker (ADP 141.53)
Walker is one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. However, he barely has any MLB experience. You don’t know how he is going to fare against MLB hitters. Also, the Mariners aren’t that good of a team, which will affect his win-loss record. I have Walker going 11-11 with a 4.11 ERA. That would put him 74.02 points below average. You’d be better off taking one of the safer bets.

Zack Wheeler (ADP 142.41)
Everyone expected Wheeler to follow in Harvey’s footsteps as the next great Mets young pitcher. Wheeler was pretty good, but he was no Harvey. I expect Wheeler to go 10-11 with a 3.45 ERA. These are pretty good numbers for a young pitcher, but still 26.87 below the average starting pitcher. There are better pitchers to have.

Tim Lincecum (ADP 149.87)
Tim Lincecum used to be easily the best pitcher in baseball. However, in recent years, he’s been pretty bad. I think he could go 10-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 197 strikeouts. That would put him at 2.55 points beneath the average. He is no longer the pitcher he once was, but he could be better than he was in recent years. Either way, he should perform worse than the average fantasy starting pitcher and should go undrafted because of this.

Closers

Joe Nathan (ADP 111.73)
Nathan used to be known as one of the best closers in the MLB. Since then, his value has dropped, and then been brought back up again. I have Nathan saving 38 games with a 2.11 ERA. Although the Tigers are a great team, they didn’t give their closer that many save opportunities last season. He should be 19.77 points below the average. There are better closers out there.

Glen Perkins (ADP 139.09)
I have Glen Perkins saving 38 games and having a 2.39 ERA. The Twins didn’t give their closer that many save opportunities either and he also doesn’t strike out players at too high of a rate. There are better closers than him available as well.



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NFL COMBINE-NATIONS

By

Michael H. Osinski
@mhosinskiLLP


Why is it that we watch the Combine? Football withdrawals? There really can't be very many reasons to watch a bunch of football players run and jump without even wearing pads. There is no hitting. Hardly any real passing. No hand offs.

Never mind for right now the reasons. My step-son and I sat mesmerized while 300-pound men ran further than they will ever have to in a game situation (40 yards). It's like the Sumo Olympics.

Kidding aside, we watch the Combine for the same reason the "Paid" Executives do...we are looking for stuff we didn't know.

For example, when Jadeveon Clowney runs 4.47 in his 40, we have what we thought we had. (Somewhere in my head I hear Dennis Green ranting "They are who we thought they were!") If I am Houston, I am taking him with the #1 (Sorry Johnny).

We saw Michael Sam wow people during his interview, but he ran over 4.9 in the 40 and only did 17 bench presses. He doesn't have Clowney's reach, so his value as an edge rusher just dumped him from the third round to the fourth.

Teddy Bridgewater didn't run. He didn't throw. Why did he go? Johnny Manziel ran (well) but didn't throw. Blake Bortles ran and threw...and did both well enough to confirm for us "Yes, he is a project."

At the end of the day, the Combine is an activity that allows us to either confirm or deny what we saw of players on film.

So...what we learned:

Manziel IS fast enough. We are sure he will perform well enough to show people his arm is sound. He won't grow between now and then, so whoever drafts him assumes the injury risk. He and Michael Vick (and me) are all about the same size.

Clowney is faster than any QB he will chase. Position him opposite JJ Watt and you have the best D-Line in the NFL (Yes Niners fans).

Bortles really does have potential. He physically resembles Ben Roethlesberger, but runs better. Question: do you take that kind of guy in the top 5 of the draft? Maybe Oakland plays Terrelle Pryor and lets Blake school until he is ready?

What is Bridgewater scared of? On film, he threw better looking passes than any of the other guys, but didn't throw or run at Combine. He had small hands (Bad weather teams won't draft him for fear of fumbles). He would've been better served putting on more weight so teams would quit thinking he will break like a twig.

I was kinda rooting for Sam because of the statement he made coming out. But he did not show what we saw on film. He was slow and weak. I am rooting for him, but he cost himself one, maybe two rounds in the draft. He will still get drafted, but may only be a situational rush option.

Another player who changed perception was Mike Evans. He is young, fast, aced the WR drills and solidified himself as the #2 WR behind only Sammy Watkins. Definite 1st round pick. Yes, I am talking to the Jets.

Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack were even better than we thought they were. They may not last past pick 10. 

At the end of the day, all I am doing with my Combine impressions is either confirm or deny that the player is who I thought they were. It helps me limit the Pro Days I follow. For instance, I don't need to follow Clowney, Mack, Barr, Evans or Watkins Pro Days.

I am interested in Bridgewater's. Interested in Bortles.

For those interested, I intend to have a Mock Draft to post March 1, April 1 and May 1.

Happy scouting.

I can be reached on twitter at @mhosinskiLLP


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Fantasy Baseball Help: Khris Davis is the Next Chris Davis


Anthony Cavalcante
@AntCav_Fantasy

            Everyone that plays fantasy baseball wants to be that guy that finds a diamond in the rough. That player that was overlooked by everyone, and when people realize how dumb they were to pass up on this player, it’s too late because someone else was smart enough to grab him. That player that can turn a decent team into a great team, and turn a great team into a champion. I know who this year’s version of that player is. It’s Khris Davis.

            Ironically, last year’s version of that player was also named Chris Davis. But I have reason to believe Khris will be better than Chris. First, let’s look at Chris Davis. Chris always had power. In 2012, he hit 33 homers, while missing 20 games. He also hit .270, which isn’t too bad for a power hitting first basemen. However, what Chris did last season was unbelievable. He brought his batting average up to .286, and slugged 53 home runs while driving in 138 runs. This is a player that was going undrafted in the majority of leagues. Whoever was lucky enough to grab him off of the waiver wire probably ended up making the playoffs.
            Now, you can’t realistically expect Chris to match those numbers. He obviously has the ability to play this well since he has already done it, but who’s to say he isn’t going back to his 2012 numbers? I feel like he will be somewhere in between there. I predict a .279 batting average, 45 home runs, and 116 RBI. What hurts Chris the most is his strikeouts. I expect him to strike out 191 times, which hurts his value a lot. I have him as my 5th ranked first basemen, my 20th ranked hitter, and my 45th ranked player overall. He certainly is not worth the 10.93 draft average he has. Last year he was tremendously undervalued. This year, he is being drafted way too early, and I advise you to stay away.

            Khris Davis only had 136 at bats last year, but he made the most of them. He hit 11 home runs and had 27 RBI in about a quarter of a season. Over the course of a full season, that he would’ve hit .279 with 46 home runs and 113 RBI. Those are very similar to the projection I have for Chris Davis. However, there are two huge differences that make Khris better than Chris.
The first main difference is the other stats. Khris has an edge on all of them, and those add up. Khris should out-double Chris 42-32, out-steal him 13-3, and strikeout 50 less times. That’s a 65 point swing in Khris’ direction. However, the biggest difference of all is their draft spot. Khris average draft position is 135.63, which is significantly later than Chris’ 10.93 ADP. I have Khris as the 3rd best outfielder, 4th best hitter, and 8th best player overall. He has the ability to be this good, and he could be had with a pick in around the 13th round. Khris Davis is a must-have player this season. Do not pass up on him. I guarantee you he will be the steal of the draft.


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EARLY POINTS LEAGUE ADP ANALYSIS

 By Joe Pisapia the creator of the revolutionary statistic RPV (Relative Position Value) and the author of The Fantasy Baseball Black Book 2014 Edition. Available on Amazon Kindle Store and iTunes for Apple Devices. Check out www.fantasyblackbook.com for your fantasy baseball news and listen to him on Sirius210/XM87 Fantasy Sports Channel Going 9 Baseball Every Thursday 8-10PM EST.

Bryce Harper is over his sophomore slump
and the third time will be a charm.
Here is Part II of my look at early ADP (Average Draft Position). This time we are looking at points league formats. Understanding the ADP trends allows you to map out a clear draft strategy. It will tell you how long you can wait on certain players and who is being under/overrated. Remember its not only about getting the best talent. It's also about getting that talent for the proper value. The biggest change you will see is the value of pitching in this format as opposed to roto leagues and with good reason. Two start weeks and big game bonuses are a huge advantage in this format. As I laid out in this year's FANTASY BASEBALL BLACK BOOK '14, the RPV (Relative Position Value) advantage of having multiple front line starters can be enormous.

Here is a look at some early trends in points league ADP worth noting that can influence your draft strategy a great deal. (ADP based on CBS Fantasy Sports)

EARLY POINTS LEAGUE ADP ANALYSIS:

(Picks 1-30)

The usual pitching suspects show up in the early going (Kershaw #2, Wainwright #5, Darvish #7, Verlander #9, Scherzer #10, Felix Hernandez #11). It's nice to see Verlander getting a pass for a down year since he has earned it. As you can see, if you want an elite starter you have to be willing to draft one in the first round. The one starter that I think is trending a little too high is Cliff Lee at #13 overall. He certainly performed like and ace last year, but at 35 on a team with question marks I think that is a little high. This is especially true when you consider Strasburg (#16), Jose Fernandez (#19), Sale (#23) and Bumgarner (#26) are all still on the board at that point. In a snake draft, I would definitely take the big bat over Lee and grab one of these other arms in the later second round. David Price at #17 is the most overrated pitcher based off the fact his strikeout rate is declining and he did have an injury plagued 2013. He is far from done, but not worth this high of a pick heading into this season.
At #15 Troy Tulowitzki is trending upward in a terrible shortstop market. Chris Davis at #24 is much more reasonable than his roto league ADP. His strikeouts are a burden in points leagues and I am more apt to take Edwin Encarnacion (#28) a few picks later. He may have a lower ceiling than Davis, but he has two consecutive consistent power seasons to his name. Basically, you know what you are getting with Encarnacion; Davis' value on the other hand is far more unknown. Ryan Braun is a steal at #18, as is Carlos Gonzalez at #22. When you talk about value per draft pick here is a prime example. Braun's PED suspension has brought his value down from a top 3 pick to the 15-20 range. Cargo had his best overall season when you consider his new found away game production. Constant injuries weigh down his ranking. Both guys come with risk, but when the rewards are this high you shouldn't be gun shy.
Yasiel Puig (#29) is edging out Bryce Harper (#30) and that is just bananas in my world. Puig is a talented player, but he is in for a big adjustment in year two. I am not ready to anoint him after a partial season of good production. Plus, he comes with a fair amount of personal liability as well. If you don't think that matters you are wrong. Harper is poised in his third season to really take a step forward in his development and I believe could even reach first round level production if everything breaks right. He has more experience than Puig and is clearly more mature despite being younger.

(Picks 31-60)
David Wright is still worth
a big investment.
The infield market begins to fly off the board with Pedroia (#32), Matt Carpenter (#34), David Wright (#35) and Jose Reyes (#40). The estimated 3rd round value is about right considering: Pedroia's declining power, Carpenter has done it only once and Wright and Reyes have had trouble staying on the field. Craig Kimbrel (#36) is the first and only closer selected within these 30 picks. Again, points leagues are a different animal. Depending on what saves are worth in your specific league and how many you are allowed to play, this trend can vary. Elite closers can be an alternative to starters in the right situation when they have high strikeout rates.
Rounds 4-6 in this ADP are really about filling your infield and rotation. There are really no glaring values out of balance. Perhaps you can argue than Anibal Sanchez at #59 should be higher than Julio Teheran (#49) who has had one big year, and Jered Weaver (#50) who is aging and trending in the wrong direction; but that is splitting hairs. For my money, the secondary pitching market yields great value with middle tier starters and young up and comers like Michael Wacha, Tony Cingrani, Shelby Miller, Sonny Gray, Taijuan Walker etc. It would be smarter to invest in offense at this stage in the draft and go with the "strength in numbers" philosophy in your rotation once you have one or two top guys. Conversely, the offensive market is not what it used to be and there is greater value to be had at this stage in the draft than any other. Basically, it's better to be drafting Jason Kipnis (#52) than Matt Cain (#47) is the main idea.

(Picks 61-100)
The draft now shifts to the aforementioned young starters and elite closers like Chapman (#61), Jensen (#64), Holland (#66) and Rosenthal (#81). If you can only play one reliever, I suggest letting this market come to you. If your league has 16 teams, you are still going to be putting out a closer in the top half of league market and saves are easy to find. I would rather be drafting Ian Desmond (#80) or Ben Zobrist (#82). Matt Kemp at #74 is intriguing, though I believe that ADP will rise as he begins to play in spring games. Early drafts will benefit from players like Kemp who come with risk off down years.
Josh Donaldson at 76 could be a steal. Yes, he has had one big year, but it was a consistent one and he has minor league track record to back it up. Similar situation to Matt Carpenter, yet Carpenter is going 40 picks ahead of him. That is a bit crazy. Carlos Gomez (#87) is also a steal considering his skill set. Allen Craig's versatility and run production is another sleeper at #98. Many first baseman and outfielders have already gone and Craig has the ability to put up similar stats. He drops this far because he has had trouble staying on the field. Players with talent are worth risk, and Craig can be a steal. His position flexibility is also a huge plus.
Now for the overvalued...Justin Upton at #63 is way too high. He has never reached the "potential" scouts have suggested and despite being relatively young there are simply other outfield bats out there that can put up similar power numbers. Patrick Corbin (#69) is another guy I would avoid at this value.Way too many options out there and Corbin was dreadful after the break. Mark Trumbo (#75) has power, but the change in leagues and his big strikeout rates should not have him in above Jayson Werth (#86) and even Josh Hamilton (#91).

Again, its about getting the right player at the right price.


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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fantasy Baseball Help: Steals of the Draft

Anthony Cavalcante
@AntCav_Fantasy

The best fantasy players aren’t always drafted in the first few rounds. Sometimes, there can be players that are drafted in the double digit rounds that perform like early rounders. In this article, we will go over the best players that are being drafted after the 100th pick.

Note: These rankings are based off a CBS Head-To-Head fantasy league.

Catcher

Dioner Navarro (Average Draft Position 242.69)
Navarro is being drafted 242nd overall. In most leagues, there aren’t even 242 picks, which means he’s going undrafted. However, I have Navarro as one of the best catchers in my rankings. If you look at his stats as a Cub, he was amazing. He would’ve been on pace for a .317 batting average with 29 home runs. Navarro could end up being a top 3 catcher. Once the good catchers have been taken, do not waste a mid-round pick on a decent catcher. Instead, take Navarro with one of your last picks. It could be very beneficial.

First Base

Jose Abreu (ADP 125.86)
Jose Abreu’s career numbers in Cuba were out of this world. No, I don’t expect him to put up those type of stats in the much more competitive MLB. However, I wouldn’t count out maybe 75% of those stats here. That would give him a .313 batting average with 33 homers. I think that’s a definite possibility. He’s being drafted pretty late but has the ability to be the best first basemen other than Miggy.

Second Base

Chase Utley (ADP 180.2)
Second base is one of the weakest positions in fantasy baseball year in and year out. After Cano, there’s a huge dropoff. The next four players after Cano are very close, but Utley is being taken later than all of them. I have him hitting .270 with 19 homers and 16 stolen bases. Those are by no means great stats. However, that sadly might be enough to make him the second best second basemen in fantasy. He also could be had very late since he’s being taken 180th. If you miss out on Cano, don’t forget about Utley towards the end of the draft.

Third Base

Aramis Ramirez (ADP 187.46)

Aramis Ramirez is a great player that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He consistently puts up very good numbers. He might be the 3rd best third basemen in fantasy after Miggy and Beltre. He should hit around .295 with 25 homers and 100 RBIs. Those are very good numbers for a player being drafted 187th at the surprisingly weak third base position.

Shortstop

Ben Zobrist (ADP 109.1)

Shortstop is another one of those very weak positions. After Hanley and Tulo, there’s a huge dropoff. I have Zobrist as being the next best. He scores and drives in a good amount of runs, and should be in the mid-teens in homers and stolen bases. If you don’t have one of the elite shortstops, take Zobrist if you can.

Outfield

Khris Davis (ADP 136.37)

Khris Davis is easily the best steal of the draft. He started playing in Milwaukee when Braun got suspended and was very impressive. This kid has the ability to lead the MLB in home runs. I expect him to be among the best fantasy hitters in baseball this season. You can wait on him, since he’s being taken 136th overall, but don’t wait too long as you may miss out on a tremendous player.

Carlos Beltran (ADP 121.66)

Carlos Beltran is fairly old right now and because of that, people feel like his numbers are declining. However, that isn’t the case. I expect Beltran to hit .298 with 31 homers. He still has the ability to be a very good fantasy player. You should be happy if he’s your number two outfielder.

Brandon Moss (ADP 170.85)

Brandon Moss is one of the best power hitters in baseball. He has the ability to hit 40+ homers. He isn’t going to hit .300 or steal a bunch of bases, but his power numbers are enough to make him a good bargain at 170th pick in the draft.

Starting Pitching

Jered Weaver (ADP 101.44)

Jered Weaver is a very good pitcher. He also has an impressive lineup on his side. Weaver could be a top 5 starting pitcher in fantasy, yet he is being drafted 101st overall. I expect him to go 17-7 with a 2.75 ERA. He could be the ace of your staff.

Hisashi Iwakuma (ADP 116.51)

Iwakuma was great last season. Although he no longer as eligibility at the RP position, he is still a very good SP to have. 16-7 with a 2.68 ERA isn’t out of the question. He’s a very good starting pitcher to have on your side.

Sonny Gray (ADP 137.07)

Not many people know about Sonny Gray, but he’s the real deal. I have him going 18-7 with a 2.86 ERA and 195 strikeouts. You’re not going to find numbers like these this late in the draft. He could be this year’s version of Matt Harvey or Jose Fernandez.

Kris Medlen (ADP 141.32)

Similar to Iwakuma, Medlen lost his RP eligibility. Also similar to Iwakuma, he’s still a very good starting pitcher. I think he’ll go 16-8 with a 2.79 ERA. Those are great numbers for someone being drafted so late. He could be a top 15 SP in all of fantasy.

Brett Oberholtzer (ADP N/A)

Oberholzter’s statistics last year were amazing. However, since he pitches for the Astros, nobody pays attention to him. He might be in the top 5 in ERA this year. He won’t rack up a ton of wins, but he will still be able to put up a lot of fantasy points. He’s going undrafted in every league. Take him with your last pick before people wise up and grab him off of the waiver wire.

Relief Pitching

Tommy Hunter (ADP 203.9)

Closers are very difficult to predict. One year a closer can have an amazing season and the next they could flat out suck (see Fernando Rodney). Tommy Hunter is getting a chance to close in Baltimore this season and I expect him to be very good. Baltimore relief pitchers had 84 total save opportunities last season. If things go like they did last year, Hunter will have a ton of chances to save games and earn points. He could be the number 1 RP in the league.

Jaon Grilli (ADP 136.85)

Lastly, we have Jason Grilli, a closer that saved games at a 94.34% clip. The Pirates gave their relief pitchers 72 save opportunities last year. If they could repeat that number, Grilli could be a top 5 closer.




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Monday, February 17, 2014

Bestern vs Leastern

By Briyant Hines, The SportSnitch
Twitter: CST_SportSnitch
web: thesportsnitch.blogspot.com

Is it me or does anybody else believe that the Eastern Conference is getting better? Nah. Can’t be true.
The Eastern Conference Standings currently look like this:
1. Indiana Pacers (38-10)
2. Miami Heat (35-13)
3. Toronto Raptors (26-23)
4. Atlanta Hawks (25-23)
5. Washington Wizards (24-24)
6. Chicago Bulls (24-24)
7. Brooklyn Nets (21-25)
8. Charlotte Bobcats (22-28)
If you ask me, teams 5-8 should not even have a playoff spot. Why? Well, simply because they have losing records. Let’s face it. No one in the Eastern Conference besides the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers offer any real competition. As long as there is no competition in the East, Miami and Indiana will meet in the conference finals. It will never fail.
Look at the teams that are in playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Take a good look. Now, lets compare them to the 1-8 seeds in the grueling and competitive Western Conference.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-11)
2. San Antonio Spurs (36-13)
3. Portland Trail Blazers (35-13)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (34-18)
5. Houston Rockets (33-17)
6. Golden State Warriors (29-20)
7. Phoenix Suns (29-20)
8. Dallas Mavericks (29-21)
Do you see how immaculate the 1-8 seeds look compared to the 1-8 seeds in the east? The east poses no kind of threat to the West. If we match up the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers, due to the Pacers lukewarm defense, they will unsurprisingly fall to the Slim Reaper and company. Coach Pop can out-coach Eric Spoelstra any day this season. Although these two have met in the NBA Finals where the Heat won, that wont be the case this year. King James is overwhelmed and the Miami Heat are not as dominant as they used to be.
I dont even have to tell you that Western Conference teams 3-8 will annihilate Eastern Conference teams 3-8. There is certainly no competition coming from the East. Right now, any seed in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs. Even if you are at the bottom of the barrell like the 16-33 Cleveland Cavaliers…you have to be hungry and aggressive enough to grasp one of the 8 seeds.
Just as I said before, the NBA Championship belongs to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

- See more at: http://www.clesportstalk.net/2014/02/bestern-vs-leastern/#sthash.tq8eBwog.dpuf

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

EARLY ROTO LEAGUE ADP ANALYSIS

By Joe Pisapia  the creator of the revolutionary statistic RPV (Relative Position Value) and the author of The Fantasy Baseball Black Book 2014 Edition. Available on Amazon Kindle Store and iTunes for Apple Devices. Check out www.fantasyblackbook.com for your fantasy baseball news and listen to him on Sirius210/XM87 Fantasy Sports Channel Going 9 Baseball Every Thursday 8-10PM EST.
Chris Davis as a Top 10 Roto League pick
may be biting off more that you can chew.
Personally, I never found a "Top 100 List" very useful in preparing for a draft. It's interesting to see where experts rank certain players and it can be a goal to end up with as many players from a list like that as possible. However, at the end of the draft day it's about building a team to fit for your specific league format. What are your rules on innings totals? Is OBP is a category? If so, then you must knock "all or nothing sluggers" down a peg. What I believe is useful is a strong look at ADP (Average Draft Position). What that allows you to do is get an idea what players are being selected at what time in most drafts. That can make an enormous difference in your approach. Just because you are high on a player does not always mean other owners are too. You should never "reach" for a guy that you may be able to wait a few more rounds on and still own. That sort of planned patience can allow you to continue to build your roster and actually get better value per pick. ADP can also show you which players are being overvalued. That information can help you write off certain players that you don't have faith in that are going way too soon.

Here is a look at some early trends in Roto league ADP that are worth noting that can influence your draft strategy a great deal. (ADP based on CBS Fantasy Sports)

EARLY ROTO ADP ANALYSIS:

(Picks 1-30)

The top 10 is filled with the usual suspects (Trout, Cabrera, Kershaw etc). Ryan Braun is cracking the top 10 at the #9 slot. I expect that his stock will rise as drafts continue and he shows any signs of life in spring training games. Chris Davis rounds out this group, and in my mind is a huge red flag. Yes, Davis is in his prime, had a huge season and is firmly entrenched in the middle of the Baltimore order. However, I am not ready to claim him as a franchise fantasy player after on huge year. The biggest issue I have here is if Davis slips to a 35HR/105RBI season; how is he all that different from Prince Fielder (#13 overall ADP). Joey Votto (#15) or Edwin Encarnacion (#20)? Davis historically has struggles versus lefties and last year was no different (.235 BA/.763 OPS vs LHP). 37 of his 53 homers came in the first half. If you marginalize that monstrous first half, a 30/100 player is more likely than the 50/130 player we saw last year. From an RPV (Relative Position Value) standpoint, Hanley Ramirez (#11) or Troy Tulowitzki (#16) are far better risks and have many more elite seasons of production if you are putting your fantasy season on the line.
Yasiel Puig at #14 is another player who I think is vastly being "over-drafted" when known entities like Adrian Beltre (#17), Evan Longoria (#18) and David Wright (#19) are all still on the board. Bryce Harper at #21 may or may not be a reach. However, if you want him then clearly you are going to have to make your move and pay top dollar. The same can be said for Giancarlo Stanton (#29) and Matt Kemp (#30), regardless of their respective down years and injuries. No discounts on these big bats nor on big arms like Adam Wainright (#22) or Yu Darvish (#25). I am pleased that Justin Verlander (#27) is a small step ahead of Max Scherzer (#28). Having been dominant for so many years should mean something, even after a down year.

(Picks 31-60)
Here is where the young pitching starts to fly: Jose Fernandez (#35), Stephen Strasburg (#37), Chris Sale (#53) and Madison Bumgarner (#58).
Chris Sale should not be undervalued
based on win potential.
I think Sale and Bumgarner are much closer to these other two and are being undervalued. Obviously people think Sale's win total will be limited. Yet, Fernandez pitching in Miami is certainly not a lock to win more games than Sale. Never chase wins and take your chances on Sale a round later. Bumgarner is durable, pitches in a favorable park and could easily outperform all of them. He is the best bang for your fantasy buck of the group.
Steals are also starting to go off the board Starling Marte (#38), Jose Reyes (#39), Jean Segura (#41), Elvis Andrus (#47), Billy Hamilton (#55) and Jose Altuve (#57). Considering the disappearance of Marte and Segura in the second half, it's a tad surprising to see them go top 50 overall regardless of their speed. Billy Hamilton is a boom or bust and his ADP is bound to rise over the next month as he is over-hyped by fantasy outlets on his 70-100 stolen base potential. As tempting as he is in this format, you have to be careful not to put yourself in a situation where your season hinges on his success. I'll take my chances with Reyes and his 40+ steals at shortstop.
Elite closers Craig Kimbrel (#36), Kenley Jansen (#54), and Aroldis Chapman (#56) are all gone by pick #60. Chapman in my opinion is closer to Kimbrel than Jansen, and is being undervalued. Just because Jansen is on a better team on paper does not necessarily translate to more saves. If Chapman is going this late, I am perfectly content to be the 3rd owner to take a closer.
Joe Mauer at #34 is surprising, but catcher eligible players who play everyday at another position are a big RPV advantage. Mauer at catcher is not a sleeper folks, sorry. Dustin Pedroia at #43 is a steal considering his RPV at a weak position and his dependability. Albert Pujols rounds out the group at 60. If he rebounds to 30/100 levels, yet another reason not to go out on a limb for Chris Davis.

(Picks 61-100)
This is where you can start to see opportunity knocking. Matt Carpenter at #65 is coming off a breakthrough year, but his minor league track record and major league sampling suggest he can be a close proximity. Teammate Trevor Rosenthal (#70) is no longer a sleeper, being drafted right after Greg Holland (#62). They are perfectly suitable consolation prizes should you miss out on Kimbrel or Chapman. Matt Adams (#74) is also getting a lot of attention for his power potential. Josh Hamilton comes in at #79 and frankly I don't see why. That's not to say he can't live up to this ADP, but Hamilton is aging and was never the same hitter outside of Arlington. There are better options out there.
Catchers Carlos Santana (#61), Wilin Rosario (#67), Jonatahn Lucroy (#69), Yadier Molina (#85), Brian McCann (#86), Matt Wieters (#94) and Salvador Perez (#100) are flying off the board. As much as I like Rosario and his potential to reach 30 homers, I can't see taking him two rounds before Molina or three rounds before Perez. If you miss out on this group and play two catchers in your roto league, you are in deep trouble. There is clearly the potential for a serious catcher "run" in this year's draft.
If you are looking for starting pitcher value, Anibal Sanchez (#91), Hisashi Iwakuma (#98) and Julio Teheran (#99) are terrific choices. Considering Sanchez's incredible strikeout rate and ERA in '13 (2.57 mark led the AL), he is by far the most underrated arm in the top 100 ADP.
Of this entire list, Evan Gattis at #83 I feel is the worst choice of the top 100 ADP for three reasons. First off, being full time catcher in Atlanta is going to take it's physical toll. Secondly, he lacks on base skills (.291OBP in '13). Lastly, he did not fare well when the league made adjustments to him. When you add in the fact he is losing at bats by catching everyday, his top 100 ADP is a farce. The best value in the top 100 ADP is David Ortiz at #73. All he does is hit despite advanced age and the fact he is limited to DH duties in most leagues. Power is scarce nowadays, so you should take it wherever you can get it. His high BA and penchant for driving runs makes him one of the safer draft day solutions to power categories. Ben Zobrist, at #113, based on his versatility and track record should be in the top 100 ADP and is the first glaring omission.

UP NEXT WEEK: A look at EARLY POINTS LEAGUE ADP....

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All Underrated Fantasy Team for 2014

 By Joe Pisapia the creator of the revolutionary statistic RPV (Relative Position Value) and the author of The Fantasy Baseball Black Book 2014 Edition. Available on Amazon Kindle Store and iTunes for Apple Devices. Check out www.fantasyblackbook.com for your fantasy baseball news and listen to him on Sirius210/XM87 Fantasy Sports Channel Going 9 Baseball Every Tuesday 8-10PM EST.

  Last week we took a look at what makes a player overrated. Just as important in your upcoming draft is the understanding of what makes a player undervalued. Usually undervalued players tend to not be household names. They don’t always put up gaudy numbers, but what they usually do is produce time and time again. Sometimes they are on small market teams who don’t garner as much national attention. A lesser known entity that produces like a known commodity at a reduced price is what a savvy fantasy owner should always be on the lookout for on draft day.

My personal favorite undervalued player type is the young guy who burst on the scene, fails in year two, and then resurrects himself in year three. Eric Hosmer, Jason Heyward and many others fit this bill. Rookies sometimes come on like gangbusters, which cause fantasy writers to overvalue them and over-hype them. Their value consequently skyrockets. Then they have a sophomore slump and their value plummets. What happens is owners get so down on them because they paid such a hefty price and got burned. The next year they are still young talented players, but because they owners were scorned by them, they become taboo. People get scared off way too easily. This is when you scoop up these guys in the mid-to-late rounds the following year and watch them blossom into stars. If they don’t, you only spent a mid level pick to find out. No harm done. As long as they have good minor league track records they should turn things around eventually and steady the ship.
ALL UNDERRATED TEAM for 2014
C Salvador Perez KC Hits for a high average and gets glowing reviews from his coaching staff. Young catchers sometimes take longer to develop offensively. Power is coming down the road and his second half OPS of .818 was 100 points higher than his first half. Clearly he is making progress.
1B Brandon Belt SF Had a very strong second half (.329BA/.390OBP/.525SLG/.915OPS)
and will no longer be looking over his shoulder to be sure he is starting every day.
2B Martin Prado ARZ Once he got over the pressure of living up to being dealt for Justin Upton, he settled in had had another terrific season. He has never been a streaky player in the past so last year was a fluke.
3B Matt Carpenter STL His 2013 was a Wade Boggs-esque season and folks still don’t realize how valuable his on base skills are…you should. he led the NL in runs, hits and doubles.
SS Andrelton Simmons ATL He is still very young and already shown 15-20 homerun power at a weak position. His defense is off the charts, so he is never coming out of the Braves lineup no matter how bad he may slump.
OF Hunter Pence SF All he does is give you great production every year in every category. Matt Kemp will probably be drafted ahead of him, but Pence has a good chance to outproduce him for the third year in a row.
OF Matt Holliday STL He may be getting older, but he still has power and will be on base a ton…a very reliable bat.
OF Norichika Aoki KC How many guys walk more than they strikeout out, hit double digit homers, steal 20+bases and cost very little? This guy is one of them.
RHP Doug Fister WAS Take a terrific mid rotation AL arm and drop him on arguably the best team in a weak hitting NL East division. He could easily outperform many bigger names and will always work deep into games.
LHP Madison Bumgarner Still so young with a terrific K/BB rate, a favorable home ballpark and an improving offense.What's not to like? This could be the last year you get him for a discount.
RP Glen Perkins MIN Has put together a nice run as closer with good peripherals on a team going nowhere. Pitching for the Twins in anonymity is why he slides under the radar, but that makes him a great value.