Archive January 2012

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Super Bowl Prop Bets

Super Bowl 46 promises to be a fun event, but why not kick up the entertainment value by mixing in some prop bets?  Of course, it's only entertaining if you win, so I've studied the many prop bets available and this is a short list of those I found appealing. 

In other words, if you've got $200 bucks to spend - legally, of course (in Vegas), and you want to maximize your viewing enjoyment, this is how I'd do it. 

Why Rob Gronkowski Won't Do Much (If Anything) Sunday

Welcome to my Fantasy Football Expert Injury Analysis: Super Bowl Edition. 

While plenty of news reports and injury updates make it appear that there is still a good chance that Gronkowski will be in the lineup, they fail to recognize that just because he is in the lineup doesn't mean he is going to be able to be effective.  While I could see him suiting up to play a role as a decoy to free up some of the other receivers or even try to get him the ball if they are in close on the goal line, there is little chance you will see him run any significant routes or catch any 20-30 yard passes that the Patriots have relied on all season.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to play and reaggravates his injury and goes missing for the rest of the game.  It appears inevitable that Coach Belichick will once again have to prove to all of us why he is considered a coaching genius as he will likely take the field this Sunday seeking to win Super Bowl XLVI with Rob Gronkowski only a shell of the tight end we've grown accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis. 

Starting Pitcher ADP Trends

While starting pitching is normally the deepest position available in fantasy baseball, it’s still important to look at the ADP trends to see just how high or low people are valuing starters in their leagues.  In looking at the results from the 552 qualifying, mixed 5x5 drafts, it would seem that the elite starting pitching is still highly valued, but the trends just might indicate that more people are becoming more offensive-minding in their drafting habits.  While 50 of the top 180 overall picks are starting pitchers (27.8%), the ADP trend is on the downturn for slightly more than half of them.

Mid-Season Awards

Since I passed on watching the All-Star festivities (I elected to attend a party and go skiing instead), I thought I would contribute to the plethora of opinions as to whom takes home first-half hardware.

Payne's Picks

At look at this weekend's action:

Re-setting Expectations for the Knicks

The Knicks might have the most imposing three-man frontcourt in basketball. And their coach has led some of the most impressive offensive teams of the last decade-plus, including Steve Nash's Suns and Team USA.

So why is New York struggling to crack the 85-point barrier most nights?

Early ADP Trends For AL and NL-Only Leagues

The amount of data in for us to work with right now is fairly limited, but it’s probably a good idea to start the process of looking at some of the ADP trends in the single leagues as well.  We should see a major increase in draft reporting over the next few weeks, obviously as we near spring training, but also because the majority of free agents have signed on and AL and NL-only leagues have a much better idea of what their player pools will look like here in 2012.

Greatest Players in NBA History: Tim Duncan

In this section of the Lab I pick one of the top players in NBA history as voted on in this project and discuss some of his career accomplishments…in other words, what made him so great that he deserves a spot among the greatest?  This week’s player is Tim Duncan, who is on the short list of best players ever despite the fact that he doesn’t get nearly as much mention as he should.  Duncan’s case, as you might expect, is based on very simple, fundamental reasoning.

Keeper League Decisions - RotoWire Staff League

With the signing of Prince Fielder, the vast majority of free agents are locked up, so most of us can start devoting time to finalizing our keeper decisions, or in some cases, intensifying trade talks in advance of our keeper deadline. Many of you are probably well ahead in this process, especially if you don't play fantasy football.

I play in a handful of keeper leagues of various formats. I'll be writing a series of articles discussing my decisions for the 2012 season and beyond, and we'll start with the RotoWire Staff Keeper League.

Moneyball: Using Modern Portfolio Theory To Win Your Fantasy Sports League

Working for a finance company, it's hard not to notice the parallels that fantasy sports present to investing. When we talk about making moves to acquire players who are due to break out or squeezing out a hefty premium for an overachieving player, we're really just participating in a virtual market, trading players just as we'd trade stocks. That being the case, we can apply many of the same techniques used by sophisticated investors to squeeze out a few basis points that could mean the difference between winning and losing. Let's take a look at how we can use Modern Portfolio Theory to make the most strategic investments in our team to give us the best chance possible for success.

Prince and Other Matters

I'm not ready to declare Detroit the 2012 World Series Champions.

Top 12 ADP Risers and Fallers for Mixed Leagues

When we looked at the ADP trends developing in the top 20 a couple of days ago, it was with the hope of seeing how your first two rounds are most likely going to pan out.  After all, your first few picks are the foundation for your team and the rest of your draft direction hinges on which players you have chosen.  Today it’s time to take a few steps further in and look at some of the biggest risers and fallers in drafts thus far.  Hopefully, with this information you will have an easier time adjusting your in-draft strategy as that tends to change the further along you go into your draft.

All-Star Game or Black Hole?

This subject will likely be shot down by most, but regardless, I don?t believe the All-Star Game is relevant enough to perpetuate its existence. I have no memory of an NHL All-Star Game since 1997 when Owen Nolan called his shot on a breakaway against Dominik Hasek?to make the game 11-7. The excitement of the game can be captured by reading the box score as you check to see who won the MVP and if your favorite players chipped in.

Quick Reactions To the Prince Fielder Deal

The moral of the story, of course, is to never, ever, ever, ever, *ever* underestimate Scott Boras. Did anyone really believe that he'd get Prince Fielder nine years and $214M?

There's plenty of data out there that players hit worse as a DH than as a position player. It's not uniform, obviously, but the Frank Thomas effect (dating back to my first memory of an elite hitter having big DH/1B split) could hold sway here with Miguel Cabrera. Scott Pianowski has already researched Miggy's numbers as a DH - and I agree with his conclusion. The Tigers are best off trying him out at 3B rather than stashing him at DH.

more after the jump ...

Championship Game Observations

The Patriots won on a missed chip-shot field goal, while the Giants won due to fumbles on special teams. It's hard to argue that either team was much better than its opponent Sunday, but at least the Giants had the excuse of being on the road.

Early ADP Risers and Fallers

Utilizing Average Draft Position (ADP) can be one of the most helpful tools as you prepare for your upcoming fantasy draft. Not only does it help you see where most people in the fantasy community are taking certain players, but you can also see certain trends developing, such as which players becoming more popular and which ones are falling out of favor. That affords you the opportunity to see whether or not you can wait on someone for a few rounds or whether you have to act faster than you normally would if you covet a particular guy.

NFL - Conference Championship Live Blog

I'm in the Sirius/XM hosts playoff league, and had some tough decisions on who to use this week. Keep in mind that it's a "one-and-done" league - you can only use a player once. So it's not just a question of trying to find the guy that can produce the most, it's also about making sure you have enough players to use in subsequent rounds. After the jump is my lineup, with the decisions I had to make:

Lets Make A Deal Edition

Some big names have come off the board. What about the Prince?

Payne's Picks

A little delayed since I had other business to attend to earlier today. And by business, I mean "Disney on Ice."

Injuries and Expatriates: When to claim Z-Bo, Manu, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks


How Much Should You Pay For Yu Darvish?

No puns for me today, Thank You.

Then There Were Four: Conference Championship Prediction

22-13-1 against the spread and we're back for more analytically driven playoff predictions.

Greatest Players in NBA History: Earvin

In this weekly blog I'm going to pick one of the top players in NBA history as voted on in this project and discuss some of his career accomplishments…in other words, what made him so great that he deserves a spot among the greatest?  This week's player combined the skills of a point guard with the body of a power forward, a combination so ridiculous that it had to be Magic...

Division Round Observations

How often does a team beat the 15-1 squad by 17 in their building?

NFL Notes

A look at the Divisional Round:

NFL - Divisional Week Live Blog

Sorry for the late start. Multi-tasking with a college hoops game.

Tough start for the Saints, with what looks like two concussions. Definitely one for Pierre Thomas.

Payne's Picks

A look at the weekend:

Does Emilio Bonifacio belong in the Top 200?

When we had RotoWire's Bernie Pleskoff on Wednesday's radio show, we discussed the relative merits of Emilio Bonifacio.

I had given him an advance copy of the RotoWire 200, which will appear in the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Guide 2012 (coming to a newsstand near you in about 2.5 weeks), to get his feedback. He suggested that Bonifacio was my most notable omission.

NBA Notes: Horford and Kwame and Shumpert and More

The toughest part of fantasy basketball is dealing with injuries; there's simply no way to adequately replace a first or second-rounder that gets hurt.

NHL Power Rankings

Most clubs have reached the season's midway point. The elite teams are beginning to distance themselves from the pack while the bottom feeders are falling hopelessly out of the race. Ottawa makes the biggest jump while the Wild find the going tough.
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What I Think You Should Know About The USMNT
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La-La-La-L.A. Gets Lord Stanley!
Just a few things that caught my eye:
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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
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