Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Spot Starter Pickup For 4/1/11

Any good fantasy baseball player knows that acquiring free agent pitchers is huge for any kind of fantasy team.  If you drafted a lot of relievers, streaming starters can be a great way to accumulate innings and strikeouts and even if you have great starters, picking up the right free agent pitcher can be great help on days when your starters have bad match ups.  Everyday I post my recommendation for starting pitchers to pick up for the next days games.  If you read this space yesterday for today's (3/31) games you would have picked up Derek Lowe and got great value out of him.  Lowe pitched 5.2 innings of no run ball with just three hits and two walks...picking up six strikeouts and a win with a slick 0.88 WHIP.  Lowe had a great day but won't have another good matchup for a while, so you can drop him for tommorow's (4/1) pickup if you need to.  So who do I recommend for Friday?  Find out after the jump....

Daily Links For 3/31/11

NBA Investigating Jay-Z - Jay-Z Was in the University of Kentucky locker room after their win over North Carolina and there are photos and video to prove it.  As a part owner of the Nets, Jay-Z should know better than that and I'm betting he does.  However, I think that Jay-Z, like everyone else, just doesn't care about the NCAA.  Because he's not an athlete, the NCAA can't really punish him and the NBA has already set a precedent of just fining executives for smoozing up to college players.  Jay-Z can afford to pay a fine or two.  The NBA should make an example out of him or someone for this kind of activity, whether it's a draft penalty or something else it shouldn't be just a fine.

Wilpons Continue To Try And Sell Part of The Mets - The Wilpons need to come back to reality.  Everyone knows that the Mets aren't doing too well financially...No one is going to buy part of the team from them if it's not a majority share.  It'd basically be a sunk cost to give the Wilpons the money for a minority share of the team.  You're just buying in to the ability to lose money with the Wilpons.  And everyone knows that the Wilpons absolutely need to get capital.   Each time you hear about what the Wilpons are willing to sell, the share gets bigger and bigger.  If investors just wait it out they know they'll be able to eventually work out a deal for a majority share of the team and likely get it at a good price as the Wilpons will be desperate.

Warren Moon angry about Cam Newton's treatment - Warren feels that people's dislike of Cam Newton stems from the fact that Newton is a black man playing quarterback.  That is crazy.  It has nothing to do with the fact that he is black.  Newton has proven himself a bad character guy.  He had problems at Florida before transferring.  He not only stole a laptop but was also caught cheating three times.  That is a red flag.  At the Combine, before he's played a NFL down, he was calling himself an entertainer and icon and talking about himself in the third person.  That is a red flag.  It's not because he's black, it's because he has shitty character.  Moon brought up the fact that people had seemed to get over their racial bias after JaMarcus Russell went first overall, but JaMarcus had horrible character and was not a hard worker off the field which is why he failed.  Teams don't want to draft Newton for his amazing potential and have the same thing happen with Newton that happened with Russell.

Pegged Cap was NFL Players Idea - The NFLPA was complaining about the NFL's cap offers and the fact that anything over the predetermined cap would be going mostly into the owners pockets...But as it turns out the pegged cap was the players idea.  It makes sense.  The pegged cap protects the players if the NFL ends up falling short of revenue projections.  It gets them a guaranteed cap set point even if the NFL itself isn't making money.  But because they are getting that, they shouldn't be complaining about the NFL getting more of the money over projections.  If the players want that protection from the NFL not making enough revenue, the NFL owners should get some sort of compensation for offering that protection, and that should be the owners getting a greater share of the money over projections.

Chad Pennington Tears ACL in Basketball Game - Only news because Pennington is such a class act.  He's a guy who has come back from injury after injury and was working his way back from another shoulder injury when this happened.  He's likely to miss the whole 2012 season, and is expected not to come back after that.  Hopefully he catches on as a coach somewhere next year if he's not going to be playing.  Too smart a player to end his relationship with football just because he won't be playing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Spot Starter For 3/31/11

Every good fantasy baseball player knows the value of the spot starter.  In head to head leagues, good spot starts can help you win four categories a week and in roto leagues you need to use spot starters to accumulate more stats when your starting pitchers either have bad days or are injured.  That's why I'm going to offer daily recommendations for spot starter pickups.  Obviously I'm only going to offer guys that are readily available in most leagues but I haven't decided on the official ownership cut-off yet.  Also, the plan is to offer these spot starters a day or two in advance so you have time to put in the pickup and get the player starting on your roster before the day that it happens.

Daily Links For 3/29/11

Football Outsiders' Aggressiveness Index - Cool article about who are the most aggressive coaches in the league and all time on fourth down.  Statisticians over the last few years have determined that NFL teams don't go for it often enough on fourth and short in opposing territory.  Football Outsiders tries to determine if teams have been following that logic or not and then takes a look at coaches' general aggressiveness.  Fun data tables in there to check out even if I don't know how useful they are.  Everyone knows that Bill Belichick is extremely aggressive and Mike Tomlin is extra conservative.

Dez Bryant Needs To Grow Up - Dez Bryant now has two civil lawsuits against him totaling about 850,000 dollars.  I love to say I told you so... So I told you so Jerry Jones.  Before the draft, everyone knew that Bryant was an elite talent but that he also had off the field personality issues.  But Jones was enamored with his talent and traded up in the draft to get him.  Now he's got nearly a million in lawsuits against him before accounting for damages and legal fees.  Even Deion Sanders has walked away from helping him.  Bryant needs to grow up fast and not waste all of his potential.  Physically he could be one of the best receivers in the league but between this news and his inability to make it to meeting on time and stay awake through them...It's clear that he is not even close to being one of the best mentally.

Iowa's Adrian Clayborn Accepts Draft Invite - This is only news because the NFLPA was attempting to get the highly touted rookies to not go to the actual NFL draft event.  This is the first player I've seen accept his draft invite and likely signals that the NFLPA won't be successful.  I've established I'm with the owners in this lockout, so anything that hurts the NFLPA I'm probably going to report on.

Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates -
Mat Latos On 15 Day DL - Mat Latos is eligible to come off the DL on April 6th but any DL stint has to worry you after his massive innings increase last year.
Chase Utley Doesn't Have a Timetable for Return - The Phillies still don't know when Chase Utley will be back.  He's losing all kinds of value here. Don't know when he'll be back or if he'll be effective when he gets back.
Jason Bay Could Start Year On DL - Jason Bay wasn't drafted that highly to begin with but him going on the DL hurts his value even more.

John Hollinger Rates Every NBA Team's 4-12 Players (Link For ESPN Insiders Only) - Hollinger uses his PER system to rank each team in the league based on their 4th-12th best players.  Surprisingly the Nuggets grade out as the best 4-12 team and totally unsurprisingly the Heat ranked last.  Not going to spoil more than that, but it's getting more obvious now that many people were right. The Heat can be good with their big three but need to get more players over the next off season or two and improve before they are going to be winning any titles.

MLB Announces 7-Day DL for Concussions  - Great great move here by Major League Baseball.  Hopefully the 7-day DL will have teams be more cautious with players with concussions and help prevent players developing bad post-concussion syndrome in the future.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Links For 3/25/11

Browns Fan Sues NFL Over Lockout - The suit is so small that it's not going to get anything done quicker negotiation wise.  Just mentioning it because I think he's suing the wrong people.  While technically his "contract" of his seat licence is with the NFL... It's the players association's fault that we are in a lock out right now, not the NFL's.

Twitter In The Lockout - Column from Mike Tanier of the New York Times about what has been happening on twitter during the lockout.  Just a round-up of what NFL players have been up to on twitter for the last week or two.  Good read for those who haven't been following on top of every little thing.

Cubs a 2011 Sleeper? - Jay Jaffe over at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the Cubs chances as a sleeper team this year.  The NL Central is more open as a result of the Wainwright injury but the article doesn't see that as putting the race wide open.  The Cubs are still pretty mediocre on paper and would need some exceptional performances to win the Central.

Carolina Panthers Need a QB - Kerry Byrne in an article on explains the obvious.  That Carolina needs to draft a QB with their first overall pick.  Mocks I've seen have been keeping Carolina away from a quarterback but not providing a good reason for them to be taking players for their already solid defense.  They should draft Blaine Gabbert and not look back.

More QB Needy Teams - Mike Lombardi breaks down the teams that need quarterbacks and how he believes they can go about acquiring one.  Best link in here... You can tell by how little I'm writing about it... Just click through and read it.

Boise State's Mike Coughlin Getting Buzz - Coughlin is the backup quarterback from Boise State but has been generating interest after wowing scouts in Boise yesterday.  QB is one of the hardest positions to find quality players and Coughlin wouldn't be the first backup college QB to be drafted.  Both Tom Brady and Matt Cassel were backups in college.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fantasy Draft Live Blog - 3/24/11

Hey guys.  Doing my main fantasy draft with my buddies tonight and am going to try and live blog the draft here. Going to provide insight to my own picks and make fun of everyone else all night.  Going to live blog it here with CoverItLive.  Check it out

Daily Links For 3/24/11

Matthew Berry's Bold Predictions - Fantasy baseball predictions from THE Fantasy guy... Matthew Berry.  Not going to step on his toes by copying any of his bold predictions here. Gonna leave one of my own though - Mike Aviles will finish in the top ten at second base at the end of the year.

Football Outsiders Determines Effects Of New Kick Off Rule - Warning: Link is ESPN Insider only - Football Outsiders uses their play by play data to try and figure out how many more touchbacks there will be next year.  Simple answer, a shit load. There is a chart that shows ten kickers that all would have more than ten more touchbacks next year.

Neftali Feliz to Remain Ranger's Closer - Yeah... Link really says it all.  Important mainly for fantasy purposes, but wanted to link here.

Blaine Gabbert Is Awesome - Link is to an ESPN story all about Gabbert personally.  This kind of article is why he'll probably go first overall.  Any talent concerns with Gabbert are soothed by his amazing off the field personality.  NFL scouts are realizing more and more how important character guys are, and Gabbert has character in spades.

Buck Showalter Talks Shit About Yanks and Red Sox - Or in other words, Buck Showalter does exactly what you'd want the manager of the Orioles to do.  If you're the manager of the Orioles you are in a tough place behind the Red Sox and Yankees and Rays.  Talking shit about them is the first step to getting your team believing they actually have a shot to win that division.

Ochocinco Below Own Expectations at Soccer Tryout - There's minimal NFL news today.  That's all the excuse I have for this one.

Bill Parcells Leaves Dolphins... Back On ESPN - After a few years of hanging out in Florida doing nothing for the Dolphins... Tuna is heading back to ESPN.  He's going to be a draft analyst at first and will likely find his way back onto Sunday Countdown come fall.

Also going to use this space to kinda announce a future site feature.  Once fantasy baseball season starts I'm going to offer a daily spot start candidate.  It'll be a player available in a yet to be determined large percentage of ESPN leagues.  The plan is to offer one for every day all season long so you'll have a reason to come back here every day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Links 3/22/11

Mike Vick Up For Madden Cover. People Are Up In Arms. Naturally... Vick's name is brought up in anything and there is a major shit storm attached, even if he's just one of 32 guys up for a fan vote for the Madden cover.  He's not making the cover for his dog fighting. He's making it cause he's exciting as hell on the football field (I'm a Giants fan and hate him BTW).   Ray Lewis was never convicted... But everyone agrees that he probably killed two people.  Brett Farve, we now know, is a shitty person... A married man who sends around pictures of his penis. But these two are the examples of past cover athletes this article uses.  Get a grip people.  He's not gonna make the cover and we don't need a full explanation on why he's horrible every time he comes up.

Madden Cover Vote - The post about Mike Vick being up for the Madden Cover actually fails to link to the actual Madden Cover vote.  Love the idea of the Madden Cover vote but not so sure about this year's execution.  There's one player from each team (and Seattle's 12th man) which kinda turns it into a team popularity contest.  They should have narrowed it down to like 8 guys who deserve the cover and then let us vote on it. BTW... My money is on Tebow.  He shouldn't win but you can't underestimate that Christian vote.

Madden 12 Teaser - While we're discussing Madden.  Figure I'd link to teaser they put out yesterday.  It somehow shows absolutely nothing but still gets you pumped.

Mike Francesa Blowing Up - Not really news. Just fun to listen to.  Caller calls in about Wilpons being net gainers on Madoff scheme.  Francesa is arguing that Wilpons took out money thinking it was legit and that makes it okay.  Based on what I've been informed, Mike Francesa is in the wrong here.  That doesn't stop him from yelling at and over his listener.

NFL Moves Kickoffs To 35 Yard Line - While I thought this would kill the return game, I actually think it might make returns, when they happen, much more exciting.  There are going to be less returns next year because it will be five yards easier to get a touchback.  However, they are also limiting kicking team players to just a five yard run up.  That means they won't be going as fast on kickoffs because it's hard to get up to speed in five yards and harder to do it while not going offsides.  This is going to give return men more room to work with at the beginning of their returns.  It's going to hurt expectations for kick returners this year, but I doubt it will actually hurt kick returns that much.

Football Outsiders Stats Point Out Bad Corners - Linked to their stats with good corners last week so figured I should also link to their post about bad corner stats as well even if it's a few days late.  This chart shows what we already know... DeAngelo Hall is garbage.  Also found it interesting that Revis shows up on the average YAC chart.  While he's perceived as good in coverage, he's definitely not a good tackler.

Lost's Carlton Cuse Goofs With Texas Pitcher C.J. Wilson - Fun little sports related bit off of Funny or Die.  Not really much comment for me to put here.. Just watch the video.

That's enough links for one day I think. Dunno what the next column will be yet.  Still mulling over ideas. Stay Tuned

Monday, March 21, 2011

MLB Fantasy Sleepers: Gio Gonzalez Can Help Your Team More Than Albert Pujols

In fantasy baseball, everyone knows that Albert Pujols is the best player available.  If you have the first pick in a draft you take Pujols and then go get a snack because you have two rounds till your next pick.  But Pujols isn't going to win you the league.  If he gets hurt you he might lose you your league, but if you don't do a good job with the rest of your draft it's not going to matter what Pujols does.

If you want to win your league you are going to do it later in the draft.  Here is an article that features data from last years leagues.  It shows the players who were on the highest percentage of top teams in yahoo leagues last year.  Not a single guy on the list of top eleven players there was drafted in the first round.  Instead the list features guys like Carlos Gonzalez (ADP 143.6), Buster Posey (ADP 238.1), and Mat Latos (ADP 248.6).

This should be common sense, but it's not.  Fantasy players are focused on the figuring out the top guys at each position.  But guys drafted in the first few rounds are basically all going to be good players, you're not going to win your league by drafting guys that are only marginally better than the guys going in the spots around them.  However, if you pick up someone in the 15th round who ends up as the best player in fantasy (like Carlos Gonzalez last year) you are at a huge advantage.

So this is a list, in no particular order, of five players whose ADP is 200+ but who will give you more value than your typical 21st-25th round pick.  It's a mix of players who are just plain undervalued (like the guy mentioned in the title, Gio Gonzalez) and players whose upside potential I believe to much higher than where they are being drafted.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daily Links For 3/18/11

Jim Tressel Self Increases Suspension - This came out late last night.  Because his players received a five game ban for their actions but Tressel only received a two game ban for knowing about them, he volunteered to have his own suspension increases to match his players' suspensions.  Classy Classy move in my opinion.  There are too many guys like Rich Rodriguez who bail on their players.  For Tressel to stand up and ask for his suspension to be extended is a great move on his part.

Mets Cut Luis Castillo - This is only news because somehow they cut Castillo but Oliver Freaking Perez still has a job.

More Union Said League Said In Lockout Talks - Union now saying NFL was changing status quo with their last offer.  NFL says union could have kept negotiating about it.  I personally don't care as long as they figure it out soon.

Also a little programming note.   MLB Fantasy Sleeper Column coming Monday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Links For 3/17/11

100 Fantasy Baseball Facts By Matthew Berry - I know that I'm a day late on this one, but unless your fantasy draft was yesterday this is still useful.  Berry brings it as usual and does a great job proving the same point he does every year...Stats can be made to be misleading.  To prove it he wrote a paragraph about Player A... Using Stats Describing a player you would never want on your team.... And another paragraph about Player B... Using stats that describe him as a good player who should have a great year this year... And then reveals that both paragraphs are about B.J. Upton.  The column would be worth the read for that reminder itself but he also gives you 100 facts about other players this year.

Shogun Rua Sports Science - I'm a sucker for ESPN's Sports Science web shorts.  Nothing mind boggling here but still a decent way to blow three minutes.

Worst Fans In Sports By GQ - Not that GQ is any kind of sports news source.  But I had to link it because they put Phillies and Eagles fans in a tie for first place... Right where they should be.

Former NFL Officiating Head Mike Pereira On The Proposed Competition Committee Rule Changes - Another post that was technically from yesterday but it was updated at 11:54 P.M. so sue me.  Pereira breaks down what he thinks about the rule changes and the lack of a fix in the Calvin Johnson catch.  Even under the new proposal... The Megatron catch from week 1 won't be considered a catch.  I still think that is just ridiculous to anyone who watched the play.  He had won the game for his team and put the ball on the ground as he went to stand up.  He shouldn't have to stand up after the catch for it to count.

Late Edit Additions

Michael Wilbon on the Hill Rose issue - (Warning: Link leads to column that contains use of the n word) Wilbon brings it on the issue of what does in our society constitute "blackness" as opposed to what should.  I'm not someone qualified enough to get in on the society-wide discussion that Rose and Hill have provoked but Wilbon knows what he is talking  about and does a great job of it as always.

San Diego Linebacker Kevin Burnett Whines About Goodell - Burnett whines that Goodell has fined players and "change[d] a game that [he's] never played." Newsflash Kevin - THATS HIS JOB!  Just because he's never played the game doesn't make him unqualified.  Burnett says that Tagliabue was better, without mentioning that he's never played the game either.  Burnett also whines about drug suspensions and lack of a drug program but doesn't know what he's talking about there either.  He claims 1st offense is a six game ban, but its not. It's a 4 game ban for a first offense with performance enhancing drugs.  If you test positive for something like Marijuana you don't receiver a ban for your first offense.  In fact, they don't even tell anyone that you were caught, they put you in their drug program. You can see the entirety of the NFL drug policy here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Links for 3/16/11

Jalen Rose Is Ignorant - He called black players that go to Duke 'Uncle Tom's.  Because Duke didn't recruit lower class black athletes, that means to him that the Black players that went there were being subservient to white folks.  WHAT?!?  And be sure you watch the video there.  Skip Bayless offers Jalen Rose about 10 opportunities to step back from what he said and Jalen doesn't.

And Grant Hill Called Him Out For It - Grant manages to both take the high road by not attacking Jalen back AND make his point amazingly well at the same time.

Oh... And So Did Jason Whitlock - Some people say Whitlock bases all of his columns on the fact that he is black and that it somehow makes him a bad writer.  Personally, I see a smart man who knows that his fellow white columnist would be definitely be considered racist if they say what he says.  He covers things in a unique  way and a unique perspective.  It makes him a must read in my book.

NFL Competition Committee To Ruin Kickoffs - They want to move the kicker up to the 35 yard line and make Kick off touchbacks come out to the 25 instead of the 20.  I understand that players get injured at a high rate on Kick offs, but they are one of the most exciting plays in the game as they are now and you get them after every score.  This change is going to end up making there be fewer returns and fewer returns will mean less kick off injuries overall, but I highly doubt the rate of injuries per return will go down.  Kickers will try to kick the ball higher and pin opponents deep on short returns rather than boot it out and let the other team have it at the 25.

Football Outsiders CB Charting Stats - Always good to have charting stats for Cornerbacks but I'd take them with a grain of salt for now.  I don't think the charting numbers account for pressure on the quarterback influencing throws and have asked them for clarification.  Just based on my own eyes I didn't feel like Cromartie had remotely that good a year and feel like the pressure on the QBs may have made his numbers look better than he actually looked in coverage.

EDIT: Late Addition - Jason Whitlock Podcast With Dan LeBatard - Awesome Podcast about LeBatard's writing and his ability to connect with athletes.  This quote is of him telling a story as told to him by Terrell Owens - "This is what Terrell told me 'Do you know how i found out who my father was? I was in my grandmothers caged front yard... My grandmother was always drinking and wouldn't let me leave the front yard. And i found out who my father was because i had a crush on the girl across the street and he came over and said 'Hey you can't have a crush on that girl... Thats your sister.''"  You never think about shit like that when it comes to a guy like Terrell.  You think he's crazy and shit but you never think about how he grew up and how he became the Terrell Owens he is today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Links for 3/15/11

Clippers Players Payed For Coaches Surgery - A feel good story about some Clippers players paying for an assistant coach's cancer surgery.  Bring this up because the story was written today but it happened in 2004 and most of the players aren't even Clippers at this point, so this story isn't just a PR shit release but a story about an actual good thing that happened

NFLPA Draft Boycott Plans - Peter King's MMQB-Tuesday talks about what the NFLPA plans to do for the NFL Draft.  My question? How does this not demonstrate that the NFLPA is still acting as a union?

Adrian Peterson Is An Idiot - Not only does he bring up Farve coming back, but he calls the NFL "Modern Day Slavery".  Excuse me?  I don't recall slaves getting 60 Percent of their owners income... do you?  If thats the case I'd be happy to be an NFL slave for 40 percent of the Pie.  It's still fucking millions.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Don't Hate The Game, Hate The NFL Players Association

The NFL and it's players are going to court because both the union and it's leader DeMaurice Smith wanted to go to court.  The players know that in a battle between them and billionaires, the public is inclined to take their side. Which is why I'm writing this article about the truth...An educated public will understand that the players union's goal was not to negotiate, but to decertify.  All of these quotes are taken directly from, the player's lockout website and  are taken from the post that is supposed to explain why the union had to decertify.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Dead Period

With the NBA Trade Deadline passed, the MLB only in spring training and the NFL in limbo.... there really isn't much for me to say.  So just gonna use this space to post some good links i come across this week.

Cano Should Be Face Of The Yankees - Article about Cano needing to continue to produce and step up for this Yankee team to be good over the next few years

Internet Farve Reporting Fail - Awesome bit of reporting tracking how Farve came to be rumored to be on Dancing With The Stars