Saturday, April 17, 2021

Hold or Fold?

 MLB Fantasy Baseball 2021 - Hold 'em or fold 'em?

"You've got to know when to hold 'em;

know when to fold 'em;

know when to walk away;

know when to run."

as "the Gambler" lyrics go is also true for Fantasy Sports.  Do you hold on to the start you drafted or drop him for someone who is hot and on the waiver wire?  Do you trade him?  

In one league, a manager dropped Boston's Alex Verdugo after the first week to grab Cubs SP Trevor Williams off the waiver wire.  In my opinion that was too quick but now we are preparing for week 4 of the season.  Is it still too quick?  The early bird gets the worm, after all.  

I grabbed his dropped Verdugo to strengthen my week OF replacing Tatis who went on the IR.  Now Tatis is back, I offered to trade Yoan Moncada and Mike Yastrzemski for Toronto's George Springer who is currently on IR.  I have 3 star 3B in Moncado, Devers and Suarez so in essence I am trading Moncado for Springer.  With Tatis back, I must drop a player and currently that would be Yastrzemski since LAA's Jared Walsh qualifies as OF now and Dodger's Chris Taylor has been hot.  That left Met's Dominic Smith or Yastrzemski to drop.  Smith qualifies at 1B and OF and projects about the same for points.  So I offered to trade for Springer who, once healthy, should anchor my OF in that league.

Making those snap decisions can make or break your fantasy season.  That crystal ball that says this break off is for real or this isn't a slump, it's a real fall.  There is no way to say who is right or wrong except time and time is a dear teacher.

Cincinnati's Tyler Naquin jumped out to the best stats of his career.  Some managers jumped to claim him.  I'm in a league where the opposing manager did that and it's a weekly lineup.  This week, Naquin has provided him -0.5 points while the stud he drafted but sat this week M. Ozuna has 15.5 points so far but is on his bench.

What about Baddoo?  Is his hot start for real?  Or will he fade?

CJ Cron?  Off to a slow start in Colorado.  Hold or fold?

Joc Pederson?  Hold or Fold?


Jazz Chisholm (MIA)?  Grab or not?

Luke Weaver (SP ARI) Grab or not?

These are the decisions that will end up winning someone a championship.  Guessing right.  It could also cost someone a championship - guessing wrong.

My advice is to hold the true studs even when they are down but constantly evaluate your team versus the waiver wire.  If you have a fringe hitter or pitcher such as Joc Pederson, you should consider dropping them for someone who is hot especially if you think their hot streak is for real.  But keep the player you drop on your radar - you can grab them back if they heat up if now one claims them first like I did Verdugo.

It's a game of hit or miss.  To win, you need to hit more often than miss OR at least hit at the right time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Aches and Pains - MLB Fantasy IR

 It didn't take long.

Before the season even started you had some key players placed on IR; many at the last moment which created havoc trying to get rosters ready.

SP Carlos Carrasco NYM wasn't added until after the season began.

NYY 1B Luke Voit was added on opening day.

Tor SP Robbie Ray was added on Opening Day

KC SS  Adalberto Mondesi was added just before opening day.

SD SP Dinelson Lamet - added after Opening Day

SD OF Trent Grisham was added after Opening Day

TB RP Nick Anderson was added just before Opening Day.

The above are ALL players I have on my fantasy teams.  Players I had to replace from Waivers after the season began.  Yahoo Sports only allows 6 adds a week.  That was OK if it applied to the shortened 4 game 1st week BUT Yahoo applies it to the first 11 games instead of giving a fresh 6 adds for this week.  I'm out of adds in 1 league in part because I expected Yahoo to renew the adds with a new week.  Hmmm

Now this week has seen:

LAD SP / RP Tony Gonsolin added 

BAL  3B  Ke'Bryan Hayes added

SD SS and Top Fantasy Draft Pick Fernando Tatis is added

My fantasy team is full of walking wounded.

LAD Utility Player Chris Taylor is hobbled and listed as DTD which means you can't rely on him.

This is one reason I dislike playing in leagues that freeze your lineup for the week once play starts - my CBS Sports Points League for example.  A player gets injured or a covid19 event causes a team to postpone and you are still stuck, unable to change anything.  For that reason I won't play CBS Sports leagues in the future.  I want daily lineup leagues.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Week 1 Recap; Week 2 alert

 Week 1 is in the book - sort of

How did week 1 go?  

Starting pitching and some elite hitters were definitely NOT in the groove yet while some lesser known bats were alive.

In my CBS Points league, Fernando Tatis who was a #1 pick by many including me started the season with 6 strikeouts.  Entering yesterday, he had only 2 points but that was better than SF's Mike Yastrzemski who finished the week with 0 but that is better than a negative score.  I managed to barely outpoint my competition who had 3 players sidelines by covid19 while I had 2.

Week 1 also saw Washington Nationals and New York Mets sidelines because several National players tested positive for Covid.

Advice for week 2 is to avoid National players even as they are scheduled to start playing Atlanta tomorrow (Tuesday).  That presumes no other positive test.  11 players for Washington will be out for the week BUT Washington hasn't indicated who they are but many are starters like Kyle Schwarber.  

Atlanta players on the other hand probably get a boost this week since they will be playing a depleted Washington team especially if Starting Pitchers are included in the 11 players who can't play.

In my week 1, I am ahead in 2 of my 3 Yahoo HTH leagues while trailing in 1 (3 vs 6).  That one has the two teams neck and neck in almost every stat category.  Yahoo leagues will extend week 1 to include this week so all 3 contests continue this week.

I have 2 starting pitchers - Carlos Carrasco and D. Lamet on IL in that league and picked up Ryan Yarbrough of TB who pitched well but whom I dropped and picked up Brady Singer (KC) who didn't do so well and gave up a couple of homeruns.  Tony Gonsolin was placed on the IR yesterday so I am back on the waiver wire this morning trying to add Justus Sheffield and Yusei Kikuchi so my team can compete with my opponent on pitching.  I'm hoping Adbert Alzolay (CHC) gets a start this week and hits sleeper status.  Brandon Woodruff and Aaron Civale are my 2 starting Pitchers who remain active from my original draft.  

In my ESPN Roto league, I was dead last after day 1 but bounced back to finish in 2nd place at the end of week 1.  My Yahoo Roto league is my worst so far as I am in 7th out of 12 entering week 2.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

DAILY League - Lineup Tip

 Setting my Lineup - Head to Head leagues - One Tip

Do as I say and not as I do?  I missed using my lineup trick yesterday because I got busy in my yard and lost track of time.  It ended up not mattering BUT over a course of a fantasy season, this one lineup trick could add crucial points and be the difference in winning or losing.

So what is the tip?

You will notice in the screenshot, I have Maikel Franco starting as Utility.  That is my mistake.  Not playing Franco BUT having him occupy the Utility Spot when he has an early game.  Franco only qualifies at 3B and Utility.  Since his game had started (yesterday), he was locked into Utility.  I couldn't move any other player there.  So what happens if Suarez doesn't play at 3:10 pm?  I could lose a hitting position for the day.  

In this type of scenario, I like to MOVE the player whose game starts early into their Position and the player starting later into the Utility position.  So here I should have moved Franco to 3B and Suarez to Utility.  Then if the later games gets postponed for bad weather OR the player sits that day, I can put another player into the Utility spot such as Tapia who is an Outfielder.  

Since I had Dylon Moore playing OF and he was eligible to play 3B, I wouldn't have been hurt IF Suarez ended up not playing.  I would have moved Moore to 3B and Tapia to OF.  

In hindsight, I should have played Tapia.  He homered in his game and I had him sitting.  That's fantasy baseball.  Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.  You set your lineups based on your best "forecast" but sometimes good players don't play well and sometimes players for whom you have lower expectations outperform those expectations.

Hope my lineup tip helps you in the fantasy season.

Friday, April 2, 2021

MLB Opening Day - Pitching Fiasco

 MLB 2021 - April 1 April Fools'Day Joke on Starting Pitching

Where did the Elite Pitching go?

Opening Day was for the most part owned by hitters rather than Pitchers

Gerrit Cole?  Considered by many as the #1 Fantasy Starting Pitcher, Cole lost to Toronto 3-2 and that was one of the lowest scoring games.  Cole allowed 5 hits and walked 2 in 5.1 innings (WHIP = 1.37) and 2 Earned Runs so an ERA of 3.38    

Things would get worse, much worse.

Shane Bieber (CLE)          6 Innings  5 hits, 3 walks  WHIP = 1.33; 3 ER so ERA=4.50

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) 4 innings  6 hits, 2 walks 3 Earned Runs    WHIP = 2   ERA= 6.75

Kenta Maeda (MIN)        4.1  innings  6 hits and 2 walks  but only 1 earned run.  WHIP=1.95  ERA = 2.08

Luis Castellano (CIN)?   Starts the season with an ERA of 21.60 giving up 8 earned runs in just 3.1 innings striking out 0.  Yes 0 Ks for Castellano who entered the contest as one of the top strikeout pitchers in MLB.  Yes I have Castellano on one of my fantasy teams.  a WHIP of 3.22 to go along with the ERA.   

Kershaw (LAD)?  WHIP 2.11   ERA  7.94

Darvish (SD)?  WHIP 2.14  ERA 7.71

and then there were 

Brad Keller (KC) who gave up 6 earned runs in just 1.1 inning (WHIP=10; ERA=40.50); and

Kyle Gibson (Tex) with a WHIP of 70 and ERA of 135.

They picthed against each other.

It was a WILD opening Day for Starting Pitching.

But not all were bitten by the April Fools Bug  Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcantara faced off in a pitcher duel down in Florida.  Alcantara yielded 0 runs in his 6 innings of work, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.  Glasnow pitched better, also going  6 innings, but yielding just 1 hit.  No walks, no Runs.  

Neither pitcher got a decision. 

On to day 2.  The season is early.  The bad start for many pitchers can be put behind them as they build up endurance and innings.  

But to begin the season, hitters reigned.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

POSTPONED: Opening Day and 2 games are already postponed

 Baltimore @ Boston is postponed and

New York Mets @ Washington  

The Washington postponment is more worrisome since it is possibly due to Covid19.

It seems Baltimore / Boston is weather related.

Get those lineups especially any weekly lineups adjusted.

This was a major problem for me last season since I was living in China.  News like this would be in the middle of the night for me often after I was already sleeping.  At least now I am back in the US, I can make last moment adjustments IF my roster has the flexibility.  In one league I only have 3 OutField eligible players so I lose 1 - Dominic Smith - today.

CBS Weekly Lineup; Points League - week 1

 So today is Opening Day of MLB and April Fools'Day

I am in the process of deciding who to start and who to sit.

My position eligibility is limited - I have some studs who must sit this week but whom?

As you can see I have 3 high level players for 1 position - Third Base.  I also have 2 premier Shortstops and 1 player, Shohei Ohtami who can pitch or hit, as a hitter he qualifies only as Utility for now.

One of the first things I do with hitters is look at the number of games scheduled.  

Eugenio Suarez has 3 games at home - the friendliest ballpark for hitters other than maybe Coors Field in Denver.

Devers is also playing at home and in a hitter friendly park in Boston against maybe the worst pitching in the MLB in Baltimore.

Moncado had 4 games all away in LAA.  LAA pitching is an unknown at the moment - they could be great or just so-so.  

Based on games played, Moncado wins. 

Next, I look at the computer projections for the week.

Looking at the projections, Moncado is the leader.  

So I changed Suarez for Moncado.  Trevor Story remains as my Utility hitter this week.  Devers, Suarez and Ohtani are on my bench.  

Note you can also view the scheduled matchups to help decide.  A player playing 4 games but against a top pitching staff like LAD or SD for example might be sat while I play a hitter playing Baltimore in Baltimore for example.  Don't ignore who and where the games are being played.

Next pitching.

Here I have fewer options.  I could move Ohtani who is scheduled for LAA's 4th game BUT he is coming off his last spring game where he developed a blister and for now he remains 6th among my starting Pitching options so I leave him on the bench this week.

My relief pitching is where I have options.  I have 4 pitchers for 2 spots.  3 of those pitchers by design are Starting Pitching.  With this being a 4 game week, neither Peralta nor Quintana are scheduled to pitch.  Both are scheduled for next week.  Oakland has NOT announced their pitchers yet for games 3 and 4 so it could be AJ Puk or might not.  So I start AJ.  

My theory is that a starting pitcher should outpoint a Closer on average every week.  As the season progresses we shall see.  There are only 5 starting pitchers who qualify as Relief Pitchers to start the season.  I have 3 of them on my roster and the other 2 on my watch list.  I am thinking most weeks Peralta will be the go to pitcher here especially early in the season.

Lineup is set.  Play Ball!