Archive August 2009

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NFL Training Camp Notes

Notes around the league:

Beat the Writers

The Rotowire Staff Football League is auctioning tomorrow night at 6pm EST.  It's a standard format, H2H, 14 teams.  Several of our featured NFL writers are in the league, including Jeff Erickson (who writes Value Meter), Dalton Del Don (who writes NFL Barometer), Scott Pianowski (who co-authors Breakfast Table), myself (Working the Wire), and several other intelligent writers.  However, we have two openings left.  Rather than having two more RW writers join, we're opening up the two empty spots to subscribers.  Hence, this is your chance to "Beat the Writers."  Here are the qualifications: 


Who Closes in Arizona?

Chad Qualls dislocated his kneecap on the final play of the game on Sunday, getting the save but needing help off the field afterward. He's due for an MRI today. Meanwhile, the D-Backs have traded away the two most likely closers-in-waiting in Jon Rauch and Tony Pena.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Matt Cassel could miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL.. That means Brodie Croyle or Tyler Thigpen could start in Week 1. Considering Cassel's new to the system this year, we wouldn't necessarily downgrade the Chiefs' other skill players, either way.

NFL Training Camp Notes

X-rays on Matt Cassel's left leg came back negative, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer reports. Cassel was noticeably limping as he exited Saturday's preseason game, and it's unclear how much time he'll miss with this injury. Coach Todd Haley didn't disclose much of anything after the game, and we probably won't hear anything from Scott Pioli either. He was a pretty run-of-the-mill QB2 option when he was healthy, so it shouldn't be too big of a blow to Cassel owners if he was to miss time. Edwards, Hasselbeck, Garrard, and Orton should all be more viable QB2 options this season. The Chiefs will go forward with a pass-oriented offense even if Cassel was to miss time, as backup Tyler Thigpen averaged 30 pass attempts per game in 14 games last season. Take away the two games that Thigpen had to split snaps with Damon Huard and that average balloons to 33.

NL West Schedule Analysis

From September 1 through the end of the regular season on October 4, the Dodgers, Rockies, and Giants have widely-divergent prospects, according to who's in the opposing dugout.

Some Thoughts About The Baseball Headlines and Other Things

Players keep moving, teams continue to reduce payroll and the playoff races continue. Let's take a look at some of the items that hit the headlines this week:

New York Giants Receivers

Ralph Vacchiano's Blue Screen blog ranks the Giants receivers on the depth chart. It's speculation at this point, but it's the best list I've seen.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Coach Josh McDaniels suspended Brandon Marshall through September 5th for conduct detrimental to the team. Marshall, who is unhappy with his contract, further acted out in practice, batting down a ball thrown his way, and punting another off the field. The suspension is on the wimpy side - excusing him from preseason work without docking his pay or suspending him for the regular season doesn't strike me as a huge punishment - kind of like being sent home from school when you've done something wrong. But there's a danger that Marshall escalates the situation by taking to the press - which will no doubt be hounding him for a reaction - and that it becomes intractable like Jay Cutler's. It's also unclear what Marshall's status with the team would be when he returns - whether he'd go back to being the team's No. 1 target off the bat or not. In any event, downgrade Marshall and upgrade Eddie Royal.

A Word about September Call-Ups and Keeper Rules

September call-up day is one of the most exciting days of the year for fantasy players and baseball fans. You get to see what your team brings up and get to get a sneak peek at who might be in the regular lineup the following season year.

The Barclays -- Liberty National Gets Nasty

Thursday's low scores are a distant memory, as the field faces brutal wind in Friday's second round of the first event in the PGA Tour Championship playoffs.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Roy Williams hurt his shoulder in practice. This could be nothing, but it's serious enough to require an X-ray. The primary knock on Williams is his inability to stay healthy, and if he were to go down, the wideout targets would be wide open in Dallas, with Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd all being in the mix. For now, it looks like Crayton's the No. 2.

MLB Notes

I don’t want to overreact to one great start by John Smoltz that came in probably the easiest situation in baseball (against the Padres lineup in the best pitcher’s park in MLB), but it does highlight my previous stance about Boston being really premature in releasing him. The guy now has a 4.7:1 K:BB ratio! That would rank sixth best in all of baseball if he qualified. The quicker everyone stops evaluating pitchers based on ERA, the better baseball will be. On a related note, the Red Sox just released Brad Penny (5.61 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) and the immortal Junichi Tazawa currently sports a 6.65 ERA and 2.03 WHIP. But again, I’m not here to rehash the Smoltz issue regarding Boston. I’m here to once again question why Brian Sabean never even made a call about acquiring him. (Of course, I know the answer. He doesn’t “get it.”) But here’s an SF team right in the thick of the wild card race, with a No. 5 starter named Joe Martinez, who currently has a 7.52 ERA, 1.90 WHIP and a 17:9 K:BB ratio. Signing Smoltz cost St. Louis $100,000, which is dirt cheap in baseball terms. When the Cardinals make the playoffs and the Giants don’t, it won’t be because of luck. After all, we are talking about an SF organization that allowed its closer to throw 41 pitches in a game this week…And then had him throw 30 more pitches the next day.

Picking My NFFC KDS - 3RR and Banzai Analysis

I'll be drafting in the National Fantasy Football Championship this season. If you're not familar with this high stakes league, it uses two relatively new additions to the fantasy football landscape. The first is "3RR" or third-round reversal. In this format a regular snake draft has the third round "flipped" so that a 14-team league goes 1-14, 14-1, 14-1, 1-14,14-1 in the first five rounds and snakes like usual until the end of the draft.

The second feature is "KDS" which is a method for people to chose their draft position before the draft. The draft of draft slots is modeled after the lottery to pick starting post spots in the Kentucky Derby (thus the KDS moniker).

I'm trying to figure out what spot I want in my two NFFC leagues this season. I'm drafting in both the NFFC Classic 14-team main event on Saturday at noon CT and the NFFC Primetime main event on Saturday at 5 pm CT (12-team format) in Chicago.

Here's my take on what spots to take in each format.

Anatomy of a pitching meltdown, part 2: Manny Parra and Jeremy Guthrie

Milwaukee’s Manny Parra went from being about average last year (his first full season in the Majors) to being absolutely terrible this year. So what changed for this promising young left-hander?

RotoWire Recent Media Appearances

The staff of is privileged to make appearances on many media outlets across the country.
Here are some clips from our recent appearances.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Notes around the league:

The Dog Days Of Summer

What dog days of summer? The baseball races are certainly far from settled. There's lots to talk about. Let's get right to it:

Can You Get Brees Performance at a Hasselbeck Price?

Article looks at how the scheduling of tier-2 quarterbacks can help the fantasy player pick the right two quarterbacks to maximize performance.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Not a lot of exciting news broke today, but here are three things that got my attention. 

Arizona Fall League Rosters Announced-Loaded With Talent

Preliminary rosters for the Arizona Fall League were announced today. The rosters are loaded with talent. In the past, however, for one reason or another some preliminary names were removed when the games actually began. So this list is subject to alteration.

Jets' Notes

A few thoughts following the team's Monday Night matchup against Baltimore. 

NFL Training Camp Notes

Notes around the league:

Anatomy of a pitching meltdown, part 1 -- Scott Kazmir

Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir tops my list of this year’s underachieving pitchers, and with a quick look at his numbers, I think few would argue with that choice. Last year, Kazmir posted a very respectable 3.49 ERA, with a whopping 166 strikeouts in only 152.1 innings pitched. He has followed it up so far this year with a miserable 6.17 ERA, with only 81 K’s in 105 innings.  So what accounts for this drastic downfall? Well, I delved into his pitch data from 2008 and 2009 to see if I could figure it out. Here’s what I found:

NFL Training Camp Notes

Notes from Sunday NFL camps.

Catching Up On The Week In Baseball

The dog days of summer have turned many fans to football preparation. There's still plenty of baseball to be played. Let's look at some of this past week's stories.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Notes from around the league....

Quantifying Patience and Timing in Fantasy Baseball

What we can learn from buying lowest, David Ortiz, and partial-season dollar values.

2009 Fantasy Baseball Busts - Can They Come Back In 2010?

Fantasy rosters are littered with players that have not achieved their potential or usual level of success. Let's take a look at a few of them and discuss their potential for a rebound next season.

Keeper Conundrum

I am in a 12-team football league that allows each owner to keep one player from the previous year. My choices this year are DeAngelo Williams, Larry Fitzgerald and Tom Brady (I picked him up last year after he was injured and subsequently dropped). Who should I keep?
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What I Think You Should Know About The USMNT
Needless to say, it's been a great World Cup thus far. The USMNT having some success would be awesome.
La-La-La-L.A. Gets Lord Stanley!
Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • Alec Martinez's Cup-winning goal celebration? # priceless. I wonder if he'll ever get his gloves back.
  • Henrik Lundqvist stopped the 50th shot of the game. He couldn't stop the 51st. #connsmythe if the Rangers had found a way to come back in this series.
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.

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