Preparing for week two

Not knowing what to write this week, I’ve decided to take a look at how my team fared in week one, and outline a bit of my decision processes as I prepare for week two.

We are half a week into the season and my NFBC squad Dynamic Inertia has struggled mightily out of the gate. Roughly, over a full week the targets that you want to acquire in this league are as follows:

Hitting: .280 average, 42 runs, 11 home rwns, 40 RBI and 6.5 steals

Pitching: 4.5 wins, 48 Ks, 3.5 saves, 3.65 ERA and 1.25 WHIP

Through the first weekend of games, the only players on our squad who really carried their weight were Russell Martin and Nick Hundley. Waiting until after the 20th round to snag both of our catchers clearly paid off as they combined to hit .455 with a homer, seven RBI and a steal.

Danny Espinosa, Ryan Raburn and Elvis Andrus all brought their bats with them to start the season. Ryan Howard came out of the gate slugging as well, but his home run is the only other one that we would hit.
Carl Crawford, Michael Young, Justin Morneau, Brad Hawpe and Vladimir Guerrero combined to do a gigantic pile of nothing throughout the opening weekend. It is because of their ineptitude that we are currently behind the pace we need to achieve our target totals.

Here’s how we stand through week one:

Average: .287, solid start above the number that we are shooting for

Runs: 15. This number is way on the low side, already putting us six runs off the pace.

Homers: Two. Yuck. Power is the toughest category to make up on offense, and we’re three home runs off the pace to start the season. Hopefully this corrects quickly and we don’t dig ourselves into a gigantic hole here.

RBI: 23, While the home runs were down, our runs batted in are actually slightly above pace.

Stolen bases: One. One stolen base, and it’s from our catcher,l Martin. Crawford, Andrus and Venable need to start getting on base.

On the pitching side, we only had 25.2 innings pitched for the week. Justin Verlander, Chris Carpenter and Matt Garza pitched decently, but none of them could earn a victory. Ryan Franklin blew a save chance Opening Day, and Drew Storen looks like he may be playing second fiddle to Sean Burnett.

On the bright side, Joel Hanrahan did rack up two saves, and seemed to gain in his job security as Evan Meek struggled in the early going.

Wins: Zero. I know it’s only a few days into the season, but this is an area that already concerns me greatly. We’re slightly over two wins off the pace already, and if this doesn’t correct some in the next week, I’m going to need to start looking at the waiver wire to add double starters to make up ground here.

Ks: 30. A solid start in strikeouts, aided by Garza’s 12. Six above the mark heading into week two.

Saves: Two, right on target here. Picking up Contreras in the 27th round should start to pay off in the coming weeks, and we should build up a decent cushion in this category.

ERA: 3.50, not spectacular, but ahead of where we want to be.

WHIP: 1.16, another solid start. Many people don’t pay nearly enough attention to their pitching ratios, but they are the hardest categories to manage over the course of the season. If you let them get away from you, it’s extremely difficult to make them up.

Scouting the free agent market prior to Sunday’s FAAB deadline, we identified a few players who may be able to help our team. On the offensive side of things, we thought we could stand an upgrade at fifth outfielder while waiting for Corey Hart to recover from his injury. I didn’t want to play Brad Hawpe because the Padres play only five games this week, and three of them are against lefties. The best option on the wire was Jon Jay, whom we acquired with a bid of $22 unopposed. The decision now is to play Jay or Rick Ankiel this coming week, and I think we’re leaning toward Ankiel.

On the pitching side, Mike Leake is a player that I had a good deal of interest in for the right price. He’s a double starter this week with two decent matchups. However our bid of $19 fell short by $2. Our decision on the pitching side this week came down to starting J.A. Happ for his double starts, or Michael Pineda or Andrew Cashner for one. Again, my fear of already being behind in wins has led to us going with Happ in the hopes of making up the ground that we lost in week one.

I know it seems like a simple idea to track how your team is doing against the targets that you need to compete for your league title, but you would be surprised how many people don’t bother doing so. Being able to recognize where your team may have weaknesses early in the season gives you enough time to correct the problem without letting it potentially derail your season.

I hope week two brings power and wins, or else we’re going to be seriously scouring the wire in week three!

Comments, questions and insight always welcome, and best of luck to all of you in week two.

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  1. Derek Ambrosino said...

    Not to state the obvious, but it is also important not to overreact early on. Sample sizes dictate that for established players early paces mean nothing. Carl Crawford has not yet swiped a base?

    To me the things that are most important at this time are playing time trends and usage patterns. If guys with potential are getting more ABs than you anticipated at the outset of the season, that’s a reason to move on them. If a widely hyped lefty is starting to disappear from the line-up against lefties, that’s a reason for concern.

    The second tier of things that can be somewhat encouraging or disconcerning are starts that conform to fears or expectations. When Justin Morneau started the season 0-10 or whatever, there may have been more reason that the smoke corresponded to a fire because of the concern about his health and status at the outset of the season. If you thought Nelson Cruz was going to turn in an MVP season, then I’m sure you’re encouraged – he can’t possibly lose the award if he hits 162 homers.

    Beyond that, overreacting to tiny samples is perhaps the biggest thing to worry about in terms of team building. Everybody should be tinkering with their last few roster spots in hopes of maxmizing production and striking gold on the wire, but profound reassessment of strategy or substantial roster overhaul this early in the season can often do more harm than good. Display healthy, but not obstinate confidence.

    And, of course it’s always worth finding out how much stock other are going to put into small sample sizes. Can Nelson Cruz get you Carl Crawford or Troy Tulowitzki? You may want to find these things out.

  2. Brad Johnson said...

    I’m having trouble seeing what if any conclusions you can draw from 3 games (the number of games most teams played). It’s certainly worthwhile to track where you are and where you think you need to be, but there isn’t a whole lot of scope for decision making right now.

    One discouraging bit is that Brennan Boesch is off to a hot start and has probably pushed Raburn into a platoon already, if only temporarily.

  3. Tom B said...

    I think it upsets me that so much of the fantasy expert community wastes so much time playing H2H leagues.

  4. Dave Shovein said...

    @ Tom B: I completely agree, this isn’t a head to head league though, its the NFBC. Straight 5×5 roto

  5. Tom B said...

    Thanks Derek, that is a beautiful article…

    Now I just wish I had stopped there and not delved into the comments. Alot of those H2H defenders have never apparently dominated for 22 weeks, only to lose the last one smile 

    i lost a H2H league a few years ago because of Hurrican Ike!  Boy, that sure was fun!

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