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THT's Fantasy Archives
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice based on my every-morning waiver wire search. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
R.A. Dickey gets the lucky Pirates match-up. Unfortunately, he's 42 percent owned.
Juan Nicasio has a decent match-up with the Marlins.
Travis Wood gets to face the Astros. I picked him up twice.
David Murphy should start against the hittable Hector Noesi.
Matt Adams' ownership has jumped to 15 percent. The match-up with Edinson Volquez isn't exciting or anything, but you might not have long to pick him up despite that. He's also plastered all over the Yahoo! fantasy splash page, so his ownership will skyrocket. He's not a lock to start any given night until he establishes himself.
Rajai Davis will get another chance to hit multiple home runs, this time against the Rays' Matt Moore.
Marlon Byrd and Reed Johnson are both set to face hitable lefties.
Marco Estrada is a reliable source of strike outs. The rest of the results could be anything. He faces the Giants.
Scott Feldman rarely crosses my radar, but he faces the Mariners tomorrow.
Andy Pettitte against the Royals sounds like a workable match-up. It also sounds like I'm playing an outdated video game.
Murphy's set to see Kevin Millwood.
Carlos Gomez should get a start against Barry Zito.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis faces Charlie Morton.
Jason Motte picked up the coveted blown save, vulture win last night. He's pitched well despite the three blown saves.
Jonathan Broxton blew his second save. He's done well to date but there's reason for concern in his peripherals. It might be time to start quietly adding alternative Royals.
Andrew Cashner blew a non-ninth inning save. I didn't have eyes on this game, but my impression is that Cashner isn't quite polished enough for a high leverage role yet.
Henry Rodriguez was pulled from a save situation after recording one out. The Nationals are said to be considering alternatives, but there aren't many available. Tyler Clippard is probably the best reliever in the pen, but he has history of trouble in the ninth and management has been adamant that Clippard will remain the setup man.
Great start from Felipe Paulino. He earned the win while shutting down the Yankees: 6.2 IP, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.20
Jamie Moyer did not get through that outing with the Marlins. I hope you have less fantasy hubris than I and passed on that recommendation: 3.2 IP, 5 K, 14.73 ERA, 3.55 WHIP
Seth Smith was 1-for-2 with one run and a pair of walks.
Eric Thames was 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:51am
As fantasy baseball players we develop certain rules that we use as shortcuts when making personnel decisions. Stream pitchers against the Padres at home or avoid the Rangers lineup are two common examples. Admit it, you use these, too.
Everything is constantly changing in the baseball landscape though, so every so often it's a good idea to make sure the stats still support the rules. To do this I checked out the FanGraphs team leaderboard, which shows us how many runs each team is scoring. Here are the top 10 scoring teams in 2012:
First off, notice that every AL East club makes the cut. Pity the modern-day AL East pitcher, for his challenge is great. Unless you are Jeremy Hellickson, of course.
Overall the top scoring teams look pretty much in accordance with what people expect, but there are a few surprises. Despite currently employing an outfield Theo Epstein might not even recognize, the Sawx are still a team to avoid. Their infield is one of the best offensive units and thankfully Will Middlebrooks is purportedly here to stay even when Kevin Youkilis returns.
The Braves are a somewhat sneaky offensive machine, lacking any real star power. Regardless, Michael Bourn and Martin Prado are great table setters and then Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla, and Co. feast in driving them home. Bottom line: The Braves are not a team you want your pitcher pitching against.
Obviously right now the Rays are a bit less scary without Evan Longoria anchoring that lineup.
The next set of 10 teams features two that people generally associate with anemic offense, the Mariners and Astros. Give these teams some credit, though, they've been better this year and are no Sunday stroll for opposing pitchers. The Mariners in particular have been "dragon slaying" a lot of quality starters this year, most recently with their encore performance against Yu Darvish last night.
It's a little surprising to see the Tigers and White Sox here, considering how well both teams' stars have played. However both have a few clunkers at the end of the lineup, highlighted by Ryan Raburn's .144/.213/.216 line. How did this guy ever hit in the .280s in half seasons?
Wow, the Pirates have really been that bad, creating a sizable gap between them and the second-to-last Padres? No wonder Justin Verlander almost no-hit them.
No surprise here with the A's and Cubs near the bottom, but seeing the Cincinnati offense ranked this low is unexpected. I still fully expect the Reds offense to heat up—keep in mind their home park is a haven to hitters—but right now they are a team not scoring many runs and striking out a lot. Especially away from their home, don't hesitate to start a pitcher against the Reds.
Lastly, it's sad to see the Angels ranked so low. Albert Pujols can't do all the heavy lifting on his own, I suppose.
Posted by Paul Singman at 5:06am
Generally speaking, people play fantasy baseball for fun. Sure there is an opportunity for financial gain and bragging rights through the competitive nature of the activity. But the reason most people play fantasy baseball is for the enjoyment it brings as an extension of the love of baseball and the desire to interact collectively with friends, family, colleagues, peers and complete strangers.
As we all know, fantasy sports has become an extremely profitable industry and affords many opportunities for people to earn significant money. But deep down, the most passionate fantasy baseball players participate in leagues because they enjoy it, regardless of whether the league costs $0, $25, $100, or $1000.
Irrespective of whether your league is governed by a constitution or other written set of rules, I have argued that there is a generally accepted code of conduct that all fantasy players should adhere to with respect to playing in good faith and fair dealings in the spirit of competition. There should be a mutual respect afforded amongst fantasy players when it comes to interactions within a league. I realize that this sounds a bit idealistic and may even be unrealistic in certain circumstances. However, it is absolutely necessary in order for leagues to be sustainable from year to year.
There are myriad disputes that can arise within a fantasy baseball league, including unfair trades, improper rule interpretations, abuse of discretion by a commissioner, etc. Of course, dealing with the collection and distribution of league money will always be the most contentious issue there is because that could have real legal implications.
In terms of the day-to-day administration and functioning of a league, there is no more serious offense than collusion. Unfortunately, collusion is not easily discernible outside of written proof. But there are telling signs that can indicate it exists. You and your league members should know how to handle those situations, because if ignored, it could completely undermine the integrity of the whole league.
The Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment defines collusion as "a secret agreement or conspiracy, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes." Collusion requires the involvement of two or more people with the collective intent to benefit from circumventing the rules. Collusion can manifest itself in many forms, but there are two particular scenarios that are most common in fantasy baseball leagues.
The first scenario involves two or more teams orchestrating an inequitable trade to stack one team's roster in an effort to bolster their chance of winning prize money. In return, the money would be shared with the co-conspirator(s). The second scenario also involves roster stacking where two teams manipulate the waiver priority list so that one team drops a player that would normally not be dropped in order to let another team have the first opportunity to add him as a free agent. Granted, each case must be looked at individually taking into account all of the circumstances. Not all scenarios with these fact patterns are collusion. But if things like this are happening in your league, you may want to investigate further.
People in fantasy baseball leagues attempt to make uneven trades all the time. In keeper leagues, trades that are facially uneven may be approved because of the very nature of keeper leagues where people opt to sell high priced talent in an effort to build for the future. The criteria used to analyze the fairness of trades in a keeper league is different than that of a non-keeper league. Thus, not all uneven or inequitable trades are indicative of collusion. There must be something else inherently illicit going on between multiple teams.
It is quite rare that a league commissioner or anyone else would be able to prove that collusion exists. On a personal note, I actually did obtain proof of a team attempting to collude in one of my fantasy baseball leagues back in 2002. A league member was trying to solicit "partners" in the league by agreeing to make questionable trades in exchange for monetary gain. Unfortunately for him, he made these solicitations on AOL instant messenger, and the other league members were honest and noble people.
They rejected the overtures and sent me copies of the IM conversations so I had proof of what was going on. Once this was discovered, I ruled that the colluding team was prohibited from making any more trades during the season. If he won prize money, he would still be entitled to it. But he was immediately removed from the league after the season was over. Did I handle it the right way? Perhaps, but that is open for debate. I did what I felt was best for the league at the time.
Because obtaining actual proof of collusion is unlikely, you need to dig deeper to find out what, if anything, may be happening between the suspected league members. A closer look at the personal relationship between the league members is a good start. However, the fact that two people engaging in a questionable trade are either friends or family members is not demonstrative in and of itself that there is collusion.
It is helpful to know how each of the league members know each other and what their relationships are with the commissioner, who in all likelihood was the common denominator in bringing them into the league in the first place. You should also look at the trade history of the suspected members, if any exist. In addition, you should consider each team's place in the standings and their patterns of roster management and transactions.
But remember, before casting aspersions and accusations against anyone, you should have a solid basis for your suspicion. When the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment analyzes cases involving suspected collusion, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the accused. This is because an act of collusion is one of the most serious fantasy sports crimes that can be committed.
Without actual proof, we must look at the totality of the circumstances in order to determine whether it is more likely than not that there is collusive conduct. Collusion can exist in many forms, some of which are not overtly offensive to the league. But the mere act of conspiring to evade the rules in order to receive a benefit of any kind should never be tolerated. If you suspect teams in your league are colluding, bring it to the league commissioner's attention and seek intervention.
The fact is that it is virtually impossible to prevent collusion. You can't necessarily stop or prevent two people from attempting to collude. The best thing you can do is be aware of what is going on in your league and consult with the commissioner if you are suspicious. It would be equally as offensive if you unjustly accuse innocent people of collusion, so you want to be sure you have your facts and evidence in order before taking the next step.
If the commissioner agrees that there is evidence of collusion, then he should take action by undoing whatever trades or transactions were made, preventing further moves between the teams from being made, and making an instant decision on the future status of these teams in the league.
Posted by Michael Stein at 4:18am
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