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Archive January 2009

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Over/undervalued - SPs

Yeah it’s Super Bowl weekend, but I still can’t get my mind off the fact pitchers and catcher report in TWO WEEKS. As a Dodgers fan, it’s safe to say that every veteran off the street will be gunning for a spot in what is looking to be a wide open starting rotation.
Last week I took a look at a handful of hitters that I felt could be either overvalued or undervalued in 2009. This week: the pitchers.

Super Bowl Pick

Super Bowl XLIII

Cardinals +7 vs. Steelers

The Cardinals were the longest of long shots even to be here, clocking in at 40 to 1 before the start of the playoffs. That was hardly better than the 45 to 1 they rated before the start of the season! But like the New York Giants last year, the Cardinals playoff performance matters far more than what they did in September through December. And it was impressive as they handled a game Falcons team in the Wild Card round, then absolutely pounded the second-seeded Panthers in Carolina before outlasing a sound Eagles team at home two weeks ago. We wouldn't say it was quite the degree of difficulty the Giants had last year with three road games, including two against 13-3 teams, but it was far harder than Pittsburgh's road which consisted in rematches against the only two playoff teams they beat. In fact, Pittsburgh was 5-0 against the Ravens and Chargers this season and 0-4 against the other playoff teams they faced (Giants, Eagles, Colts and Titans).

Risk v. Reward - Atkins, Reynolds, & Tracy

What can a guy with a .223/.271/.354 career line against left-handed pitching do for you? Off the top, you'd probably think that there's a pretty good chance that someone with such an ineptitude against southpaws will be available for $1-2 in the endgame of your auction. You'd be right.

Why you should pick the Arizona Cardinals...

because that is who Maya Angelou is picking. Yes ESPN.com, for whatever reason, decided to ask celebrities for their Super Bowl pick. Why in the world anybody would care even one iota about whom a celebrity is backing to win the Super Bowl is beyond me, but this list in incredibly amusing anyway. The combination of who they asked combined with some of the reasons people made their choices is definitely worth a laugh. "Maya Angelou's Super Bowl pick" sounds like an absurd Saturday Night Live sketch.

Did the Wolves Get "Screw Shafted"?

The Timberwolves had two players under consideration to play during All Star weekend, but neither were selected.  Find out why Al Jefferson and Kevin Love both have reasons to be upset for being snubbed for the honor.

50 Worst Announcers (Updated)

David J. Halberstam's article on the top 50 announcers of all time is nearly as bad as the Matt Lauer-hosted 100 Greatest Americans a few years back. Actually it's just as bad, but the stakes happen to be lower. (For a laugh (or some other involuntary bodily response), see who checks in at No. 6 - six spots ahead of Thomas Jefferson).

In Halberstam's defense, he was trying to list the 50 most *influential* announcers, but anyone that has Joe Buck three spots ahead of Vin Scully for any reason is either brain damaged or not a sports fan.

Breakout/Rebound Candidates '09

For many of the players mentioned on this list, 2008 was what I like to call an “outlier” season.   It just doesn’t reflect their true fantasy value. A couple of these guys are young and about to break out in a big way, a few are young players who haven’t reached their potential but I expect them to this year and the rest are the guys whose injury-riddled seasons filled with bad luck will present a nice bargain in the later rounds or at the auction table, whichever the case may be.

What happened to the AL Shortstops?

We often talk about scarcity in fantasy baseball. Scarcity can be discussed by position, or with particular stats. We can talk about the player pool as a whole, or in segments. I want to focus on just one segment today - the AL shortstops player pool.

Why Matt Holliday Might Still Rake in Oakland

Interesting post about Holliday's home/road splits at Bay Bridge Baseball. (Hat Tip: Faketeams.com).

Kobe vs. LeBron by the numbers

Instead of going over a new stat this week, I decided instead to show you one of the fun ways these stats can be used: as evidence in an around-the-water-cooler argument.  And this year, the most popular water cooler argument has to be the question of who is the better player: Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? Let’s look at some of the statistics that we’ve gone over the last few weeks to see if they shed any light on the subject.

Super Bowl Prop Bets

Here's a good prop betting sheet from the Sporting News. One bet I like is Arizona never having a lead at +170.

Free Agent Spending Down This Offseason

ESPN's Buster Olney charts the decline in free-agent spending throughout baseball over the last two seasons. Except for the Yankees, of course.

And I Thought I Came Up with Demented Stuff...

I've always had a taste for goofy, demented humor, some of which will seep into a blog post now and then.

Rapid Fire: Five Centers on the Move

Here's a hockey-style line's worth of centers (with a bonus focus on the second-tier elite) to take a closer look at for the second half. Some are guys that may be on the waiver wire, others the big guns to look at acquiring or dumping in trades for the stretch run to the fantasy playoffs.

MLB Notes

First base is probably the most loaded position, but Kendry Morales is a fine late round target. He’s failed so far in the majors, but he’s still just 25 years old and hit .341 with 15 homers and 64 RBI in 317 at-bats in Triple-A last season. It came in a hitting environment, but he doesn’t strike out a ton, and the Angels figure to hand over the starting first base job to him after Mark Teixeira left town. Morales is definitely someone to go after in AL-only leagues.

NFLTouchdown.com Super Bowl Matchups Breakdown

So many Super Bowl matchup features this week will breakdown how Ben Roethlisberger compares to Kurt Warner. Or how Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin compare to Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. The problem is, none of these things matter. The Cardinals don’t care how Fitzgerald stacks up against Ward. They care how Fitzgerald stacks up against Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.

Here is how the actual personnel matchups we’ll see on the field come Sunday.

Cardinal quarterback vs. Steeler safeties

How Predictable

I'm not going to buy Joe Torre's book, and I don't really care that he ripped ARod. I just want to point out that it's boring.

In Their Prime

For no apparent reason, I found myself thinking about how today's NBA teams would stack up if all their players were in their prime.

Another Reminder Why I Shouldn't Have Taken Amare Stoudemire Over The King

I just got home after meeting some friends for a drink and checked out the Yahoo! Sports headlines. One of them read:

Williams' 43 help Cavs win at home again

Not Everyone Likes Playing for Tom Coughlin

Despite all of Coughlin's success in New York, some players still don't appreciate his coaching style:

Calling out Gary Payton

Payton says that Al Jefferson and Chris Bosh deserve All Star nods over Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.  In the words of Samuel Jackson, please allow me to retort...

"Pick Me" Fantasy Football Promo

Maybe some of you have seen this, but I hadn't - never knew Mason Crosby had that good (and accurate) a leg.

Over/undervalued - 2009, the hitters

 

With all the great information out there these days (including the new Rotowire Draft Kit), the terms “sleeper” and “bust” to me have or should have gone by the wayside by now. You’ll still see such lingo in publications, but if you’re a Rotowire subscriber, chances are, publications that proclaim Troy Tulowitzki as a potential “sleeper” and Mike Lowell as a possible “bust”, are of little value to you. It’s pretty safe to say given Tulo’s injury-riddled and disappointing sophomore campaign, that he’ll rebound fine while Lowell’s hip issues remain troublesome. Finally, is there anyone that doesn’t think Rangers 3B Chris Davis is in for a nice first full season?

Time for Change

Convince NFL coaches to stop chickening out by punting and start going for it a lot more. This is part of the broader pattern of risk aversion we see all too often by coaches in many sports. Only in this case, the numbers often suggest that going for it is the right move. Punting from the 40-yard line on 4th and less than 5 is especially asinine.

MLB Notes

The wait is over – time to start cranking out the baseball notes. Just two short months before the start of the season, and I, for one, can’t wait for it to get here.

Top 12 for 2009

The Fantasy Football Index recently asked us to rank our top-12 players for 2009, so after five minutes of research, I sent in my list.

Rating a Player’s Efficiency

For those that don't know, I'm doing a series of blogs about advanced basketball stats. Thus far we have discussed John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER) stat and the plus/minus stat.

Opa, Stephon!

We may see yet another example of crossover between the NBA and European basketball leagues, with a Greek team reportedly interested in signing Stephon Marbury.

NFL Touchdown's 10 Super Bowl Storylines That Will Drive You Crazy

No world event builds hype like the Super Bowl. The average NFL nationally televised game bringing in 10-15 million viewers; the Super Bowl attracts around 100 million. In the two weeks leading up to the game, the media feels obligated to bring the 80-85 non-football fans up to speed on all that’s been happening with the two final teams. Those of us who have followed the NFL all season will hear more Cardinals and Steelers stories repeated these next two weeks than we could have ever imagined.

Here are the 10 that will soon drive us absolutely crazy.

Rapid Fire: Five Wingers on the Move

With an initial rankings review of all the positions complete, I'll settle into a more hockey-friendly format of a line's worth of three players pushing up (underrated) and two dropping back (overrated) per week, going back to the most dynamic position--wingers--this week to help you win fantasy gold.
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Do Analytics Take the Fun Out of Sports?
Apparently that was the topic of one of the presentations at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston last week. The presenter, Yale's Edward Tufte, opined:

Don't let people tell you analytics are reductionist and take the joy out of sports. They mostly just take the stupidity out of sports.

Is he right?

RotoWire's AL LABR Squad
The 2014 AL LABR auction went down at the Arizona Republic offices in downtown Phoenix Saturday night. It's a 12-team, 5 x 5, AL-only league with 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B. 1 3B, 1 SS, 1 CI, 1 MI, 5 OF, 1 U and 9 pitchers. Everyone has $260 to spend.
The Problem With Drafting Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton went for $28 in the NL LABR auction this past weekend. I discussed this with a fellow writer who participates in Tout Wars with me later this month and we discussed the problem with investing heavily into Hamilton.
Payne's Daily Fantasy Basketball Experiment
Let's see if I can make any money doing daily fantasy hoops.
My 12-Team NFBC RotoWire Online Championship Team
I drafted out of the 11-hole for the "Beat Chris Liss" league. I had done a fair amount of research on optimal roster construction from that slot, and I decided I'd go hitter in the first round, three pitchers in 2-4 and then hitting for the next 10 rounds or so before filling in with upside pitchers late. Of course, few battle plans survive the actual war. Here are the results:

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