Let’s deal ‘em up!
In continuation of our offseason advice for daily baseball, we now touch on another “simple” rule. Don’t set your lineups for the day games… unless, you are only playing the day games. Even then, I’d caution to avoid playing those, but more on that shortly.
Like I said, this is a simple rule. The reason you don’t set your lineups including both day and night games ties into our previous rule about checking lineups. When you set your lineups for both, you’ve locked yourself out of lineup changes for the night games – unless, you play on a site such as DraftKings, where you can change out any player prior to game time. If that’s the case, well, you can skip ahead as this doesn’t apply.
Locking yourself into a lineup hours before the games start is foolish. What happens if a player sits for a late reason (sickness, opposing pitcher change, etc.)? What happens if the game is rained out?! You don’t need to be a daily game genius to know that locking yourself into such a position is beyond a mistake.
As for the day games, I’d avoid playing in leagues that are solely day games. There is a caveat again, as if you are rather experienced and know how to work those, by all means, go ahead. However, for the average player, playing with fewer options makes your job that much more difficult. Let’s say you and nine other people have to pick five out of 10 options to win a $1,000. You’re going to have a ton of crossover. You have to get lucky and basically pick the perfect five because you’re going to be sharing many of your picks with others. However, let’s take that same group of 10 making five picks, but we’ll make the numbers of options 100. Now, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll have more than one crossover pick from the rest, if any at all. You don’t have to be perfect here because a few slightly better picks will win it for you versus your needing that difference maker.
These are more rules that may seem obvious to some, but many sometimes overlook and/or new players might not know. In the end, it’s just some more advice to make sure you win plenty this season.
Let’s deal ‘em up!
Recently, I wrote about avoiding the top-tier pitchers in daily. This go around, we’re hitting an obvious, yet all too often overlooked, tip: check the lineups and weather. That actually should have a sub-point… maybe a 2A or something. Sub-point being that you should check both as close to game time as possible.
Honestly, this tip should go without saying. However, I regularly saw lineups with players not starting or players with no game due to a rainout. You’ve done all of the research, checked the matchups, squeezed a team into the budget and then you let yourself get a zero at some spot because you were too lazy to check back in.
I understand we all have priorities, but if you can’t check your lineup at least one hour before first pitch, don’t waste your money. To that point, setting a lineup in the morning is nuts… unless you’re playing the day games only. I couldn’t count the number of times a 20 percent chain of rain turn into a downpour and a postponement.
It’s not just the weather you need to worry about either. A pitcher might tweak something in warm-ups, a hitter could get sick or need a day off, or due to that pitcher change a hitter’s matchup changes dramatically and/or he could even lose his start. You need to make sure the lineups are exactly what you planned for or you’re simply throwing away potential points.
A great site for lineups is baseballpress.com, and you should bookmark it now.
Don’t be that guy with a non-starting hitter, or even worse, a pitcher no longer set to start that night. If you really want to throw away your money, just email me and I’ll give you my mailing address.
Let’s deal ‘em up!
As we settle into this dead zone we call the NFL offseason and MLB pre- preseason, we’re left with testing the daily NBA or NHL games or waiting for baseball to start. I’m in the latter category, as the last time I tinkered with NBA, I found out that I had an ungodly knack for picking players who fouled too much early or left games due to injuries. So this offseason, I’m going to spend my time studying for the MLB 2014 season and sharing insights to help you win.
Your first tip for 2014? Stay away from the elite pitchers!
Simply put, there is no reason to spend so much on the top-notch pitchers. By grabbing one of the expensive arms, you hamper your ability to build a quality-hitting lineup. You’re forced to dig and attempt to get lucky with matchups and inconsistent hitters. And yes, I know that any daily lineup needs a few of those types anyway… but I said a “few.” Often, grabbing a pitcher at the top means you need an entire lineup of those types.
Not only does the price associated handcuff your options elsewhere, it doesn’t even guarantee production. My favorite example from last season is Clayton Kershaw. There is no doubt that the man is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Yet, as good as Kershaw is, we simply need to look at his third appearance against the Padres. Actually, his first and second could be included as well. So let’s.
In Kershaw’s first start against the Padres, he entered 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA. Kershaw gave up five runs (three earned) in 5.1 IP with just five Ks, which ended in a loss. Most sites had Kershaw finishing with a single-digit performance; some even had a negative-scoring outcome. In his second showing, Kershaw fared better – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 K – but he still suffered a loss and poor scoring. His third start against them had to be better right? After all, Kershaw had a 1.84 ERA going in with 104 Ks in 107.0 IP. Plus, the game was in San Diego. Well, not so fast. Kershaw against lost the game with 6.0 IP, 4 ER and 7 Ks. That’s three showings against one of the weaker hitting teams (seventh lowest in runs), all in pitcher-friendly parks, especially the third game. Meanwhile, we saw mid-level options such as Bartolo Colon, C.J. Wilson, Chris Tillman, etc. post a high number of wins, while notching some high-scoring shutouts.
There are tons of examples where elite pitchers struggled and/or mid-to-low level pitchers dominated a favorable matchup. The fact remains, you just don’t need to spend big on pitching. Play the matchups and/or the “hot arm” and make sure you have a quality selection of hitters.
Let’s deal ‘em up!
Have fun trying to field a lineup for Championship week! Man, I tinkered with one for quite a while before I found a lineup that I like… a fair amount. I have to say, there is no “stud” or “can’t-beat” lineup this week. We have four teams, and all of the sure-fire options are priced so high that you can only afford one, maybe two, in your lineup.
Let’s give it a go anyway…
At quarterback, Peyton Manning is the obvious choice. However, the Broncos ran the ball with a significant amount of success in the first matchup, and Manning will cost you $9,400. You want to make a difficult lineup selection near impossible? Take Manning. Instead, I am going with Tom Brady. He is $7,900, and all you need to look at is Brady’s success the first go-around. He’s a better play given the savings with around the same upside.
At running back, it gets tough. LeGarrette Blount was my value darling last week, and now he is $6,900. Oh well, I am still taking him. Blount is the hot hand in New England, and they will need to run again this week if they want a shot at winning in Denver. For my second back, ugh, this gets tricky. We can’t afford Marshawn Lynch or Knowshon Moreno, and I don’t want Frank Gore versus Seattle, so why not Montee Ball. If the Broncos have success running again, Ball has the potential to find the end zone. At $3,700, he’s worth the risk.
Receiver is a bit easier, but that’s mainly due to the Ball savings. Anquan Boldin is the stud of the playoffs. At $5,900, you can argue he is underpriced. Julian Edelman is $1,000 more, but he is well worth it given his terrific PPR numbers and the success Brady has shown against the Broncos. At flex, we’re going with a third receiver. Eric Decker was quiet in the first matchup, but given his $6,500 price and the lesser options undesirable, we’ll hope that Manning keys on Decker this week.
Going back with a Broncos player at tight end. Really, it’s either Vernon Davis or Julius Thomas… that’s it, the end. I’d rather grab Thomas against the Pats than Davis in Seattle. Kicker is Phil Dawson – a $3,000 option and rather solid, and defense is the Broncos. Sure, I took Brady too, but I can’t afford the 49ers or Seahawks, and I’m not sacrificing my running backs or receivers to do so.
Let’s deal ‘em up!
Who wouldn’t love to have Peyton Manning at the helm of their daily team? The problem is that Manning sits at $9,400. With limited options from the player pool, you’re going to have to dig deep to afford that. I’m going with Philip Rivers. There is plenty more risk, but Rivers is averaging more than two of the higher priced quarterbacks, and he’s going to have to sling it to make this a close game. The Broncos are also at the bottom of the league for allowing points to QBs.
At running back, the options are more slim, and we have to get at least one stud in here. I like Knowshon Moreno over Marshawn Lynch, as the Chargers are much worse than the Saints against the run, and Moreno saves us $300. My second option is Donald Brown. He has long pushed aside Trent Richardson, and the Patriots rank in the Top 10 for most PPG allowed to running backs. Brown will also cost us just $5,700. I am going three running backs this week, not because I truly want to, but given the prices and difficulty of filling a team, I had to find value. I think there is real value in LeGarrette Blount. Yes, anyone in the Pats backfield is a huge risk, but Blount has taken over mostly since Belichick lost his faith in Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. At $5,600, I’m taking the gamble (so watch Ridley go off, ha).
For receivers, there are two I like quite a bit, and it’s why I had to roll the dice with Blount. Wes Welker and Julian Edelman are PPR machines. Edelman was a Top 10 play the last few weeks, and a healthy Welker means high potential. The Chargers allow the fourth most PPG to receivers, and Welker is an even better play given this is a PPR format and he costs just $6,200. Back to Edelman, I mentioned his late-season play, and the Colts are extremely susceptible to the pass. I would expect Edelman to haul in at least 5-6 catches this round.
There is no way to afford Jimmy Graham, again, unless you do the same as you would for Peyton Manning, but there is a nice play here. Coby Fleener has been inconsistent and tapered off at the end of the year. Wait, so why use him? It’s because the Pats rank as the sixth easiest defense for tight ends to face, and Fleener costs just $3,800. Few options have more upside to cost potential. For defense and kicker, we’re rolling with the Broncos at home at just $2,600 and Adam Vinatieri facing his former team (who should thank him for two Super Bowls).