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04-28

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Fantasy Freestyle: The All-April Team
by
Matt Collins

04-27

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: I’m Very Nervous
by
Mike Gianella

04-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio—Minor Leaguers I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Reconsidering Your Targets
by
Mike Gianella

04-14

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers
by
Matt Collins

04-14

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Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio: Major League Players I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-06

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio
by
Mike Gianella

04-05

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Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano
by
Alex Chamberlain

04-03

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Five to Watch: Leadoff Surprises
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-27

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Auction of 2017
by
Scooter Hotz

03-23

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Prep: Auction Podcast Takeaways
by
Jeff Quinton

03-23

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Reviewing the 2016 Model Portfolios
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-21

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Fantasy Freestyle: My First Draft of 2017
by
Scooter Hotz

03-20

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Smaller Leagues
by
Mike Gianella

03-13

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: An All-Post-Hype Team
by
Matt Collins

03-03

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: PECOTA, the PFM, My Bid Limits, and You
by
Mike Gianella

03-02

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Fantasy Freestyle: Robbie Ray and Statcast
by
Tim Finnegan

01-07

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Twenty Questions For 2017
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-04

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Using Statcast Analytics for Fantasy Decisions
by
Tim Finnegan

10-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: An Avoid Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

10-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: A Target Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

09-29

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Fantasy Freestyle: Five Short-Season Hitters to Watch
by
Wilson Karaman

09-15

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: What I Learned This Year
by
Wilson Karaman

09-09

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Fantasy Freestyle: Positioning Your Team for Success
by
Mike Gianella

09-07

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Fantasy Freestyle: Three Thoughts About 2016
by
J.P. Breen

09-02

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: 2016 In-Season Valuations: Third Edition
by
Mike Gianella

09-01

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Low-Minors Prospects I Like
by
Wilson Karaman

08-31

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Worrying About Innings Limits
by
J.P. Breen

08-26

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Fantasy Freestyle: DRA Do-Gooders
by
Wilson Karaman

08-18

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: The Unsung Heroes of the Shortstop Revolution
by
Wilson Karaman

08-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Recent Top Performers: Pitchers and Outfielders
by
J.P. Breen

08-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Post-Mortem
by
J.P. Breen

08-04

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Fantasy Freestyle: Early Returns on the 2016 Draft Class
by
Wilson Karaman

07-27

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Four Things I Believe
by
J.P. Breen

07-22

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Fantasy Freestyle: Yasiel Puig's Missing Pop
by
Wilson Karaman

07-13

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: First-Half Awards
by
J.P. Breen

07-08

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Second-Half... Bounce Backs?
by
Mike Gianella

07-07

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Gimme Some of That Sweet Ratio Love
by
Wilson Karaman

06-30

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Dynasty Prospects: A Few of My Favorites
by
Wilson Karaman

06-24

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Bargains and Busts, Midseason Edition
by
Mike Gianella

06-17

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Fantasy Freestyle: So What's Going on with Jose Abreu, Anyway?
by
Wilson Karaman

06-17

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: On Average, We'd Rather Not
by
Mike Gianella

06-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper-League Trading: A Primer
by
Mike Gianella

06-09

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Fantasy Freestyle: Evaluating the California League All-Stars
by
Wilson Karaman

06-09

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Building a Contender in TGDX
by
J.P. Breen

06-08

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Mark Trumbo and Being Wrong
by
Jeff Quinton

06-02

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Fantasy Freestyle: Yes, You Can Stream Jeff Locke, Except You Can't
by
Wilson Karaman

05-27

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Fantasy Freestyle: Batted-Ball Trajectory and BABIP Overachievers
by
Wilson Karaman

05-19

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: New Managers and Stolen Bases
by
J.P. Breen

05-13

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Fantasy Freestyle: What Happened to Last Year's Hot Starters
by
Mike Gianella

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April 28, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The All-April Team

0

Matt Collins

Eric Thames (probably) won't keep up this home-run pace, but he still might be among the elite fantasy first basemen. It's harder to see Chris Owings and Jett Bandy continuing their respective paces, however.

On Thursday, Mike Gianella reminded all of us that it is far-too early to be worried about our rosters. April stretches obviously get us more worried than any other poor month-long periods, simply because there is no encouraging stretch of time beforehand to alleviate our concerns. To put it another way: The current sample is too small to inform any sweeping evaluations. With that being said, April performances sometimes do last all season, and identifying the sustainable early trends can catapult you to a championship. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the best players at each position on ESPN’s Player Rater and see if they can remain fantasy assets throughout the season, or if they simply are mirages we’ll look back at a year from now and laugh about.

(Note: These rankings are through action Wednesday.)

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April 27, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: I’m Very Nervous

8

Mike Gianella

It's no longer too early to worry—which is exactly why Mike is concerned.

Yes, I know: April isn’t even over—heck, we haven’t reached the 1/8th point of the season yet—but there are reasons why I’m nervous about my chances to win this year.

To start with, my competitors seem to have all the freaking luck. I know that Michael Conforto was supposed to be good, but a .365 batting average, four home runs, 15 RBIs, and 18 runs in 86 plate appearances? I thought he was going to provide a fourth outfielder’s production. I know Bryce Harper always gets off to a fast start, but nine home runs and five steals in 96 plate appearances? Boy, do I regret not going the extra dollar on him in Tout Wars. Even more annoying are the hitters who came out of nowhere. Colby Rasmus (7 HR, 19 RBIa, 95 PA) and Aledmys Diaz (4 HR, .423 AVG, 75 PA) are killing me. not only in my AL and NL leagues, but in my mixed leagues as well.

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If Franklin Barreto and Francisco Mejia blossom, Scooter will score big-time.

This past week, I went through my fantasy investment portfolio for major leaguers across my seven leagues. This week, I’m going to walk through the minor-league side of my fantasy investment portfolio across my five leagues that allow minor leaguers.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the configuration of those five leagues:

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April 20, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Reconsidering Your Targets

2

Mike Gianella

Early on, look less at the data while watching more baseball.

April is a rough time for baseball analysts, fantasy or otherwise. We’re so excited to finally write about real baseball games that many of us inevitably jump the gun and start trying to parse through miniscule amounts of data. My best advice during the first 2-3 weeks of the season is to watch as much baseball as you can while looking at as little data as possible. Yes, this includes looking at how your teams are doing in their fantasy leagues. This is particularly true if your team is off to a poor start. Spend enough time looking at poor results for a two-week period and you might find yourself believing that your team really is this bad.

However, while performances seldom impact a fantasy team’s overall fortunes, events frequently do. Injuries are the most dramatic performance-altering event, but lineup changes or mid-season minor-league promotions can have an impact as well, particularly in deeper leagues. But the in-season change I want to talk about today involves closers.

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April 14, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers

5

Matt Collins

Where did these whiffers come from?

J.A. Happ

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Who does Scooter love? How about Matt Moore six times?

This past weekend, I had my last two auctions of the season, my AL-only league on Saturday and my NL-only league on Sunday. While I love fantasy baseball, there is a sense of relief that comes from closing the book on drafting and auctioning teams for the year. With a few days of perspective, I repeated an exercise I performed last season and took a look at which players I owned the most often across my seven leagues.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the configuration of my seven leagues:

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio

3

Mike Gianella

Applying PFM valuations to the My Model Portfolio exercise and testing the results against mixed Tout Wars teams.

Every March, at least a few readers ask me “Why don’t you just use the PFM instead of your bids, Mike?”

Over the years, I have answered this question a few different ways. But today I thought I’d take a different approach. Inspired by a reader question last month, I decided to take the Player Forecast Manager's valuations for a 15-team mixed league and apply them to Baseball Prospectus’ My Model Portfolio exercise from March. As a reminder, this is what our authors did in that series.

In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create its own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed-league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process
In this case, the process is simple. I took my mixed-league bids, took the valuations the PFM spit out for a 15-team league, and posted the results below. I started by using the 23 players who had the biggest differential between the PFM valuations and my bid limits, and kept adding players with less of a differential by position until I reached $260 in salary. As a reminder, every “winning” bid below equals my published bid limits plus one. One-dollar players on my team are those who were not listed in my bid limits.

The only change I made to this exercise is that I added a second catcher to the team and removed the second utility player, since my bids are designed to mirror the Tout Wars mixed-auction format. At the end of the season, I want to test this team not against the model portfolio teams but rather the mixed Tout Wars teams.

The Offense

Position

Player

Bid

PFM $

C

Gary Sanchez

25

$31.21

C

Brian McCann

10

$20.22

1B

Carlos Santana

15

$22.15

2B

Josh Harrison

5

$14.25

3B

Aledmys Diaz

7

$15.26

SS

Jose Reyes

6

$14.63

CI

Tommy Joseph

9

$15.43

MI

Devon Travis

3

$11.81

OF

Billy Hamilton

22

$28.54

OF

Andrew McCutchen

22

$28.78

OF

A.J. Pollock

19

$25.79

OF

Adam Jones

15

$27.21

OF

Kole Calhoun

8

$14.75

UT

Jacoby Ellsbury

8

$15.06

Total

174

$285.09


The PFM is far more conservative on the top players than I am, so there are no Mike Trouts on this squad. This goes against what Bret Sayre typically does in Tout Wars mixed, and the approach I tend to take in shallower auctions. Sanchez at $25 is the anchor for the team, but the PFM also is betting on a comeback from McCutchen and for Hamilton to finally achieve his potential.

This is a fairly risk-averse team. Where my bid limits are somewhat cautious with Joseph and Travis, the PFM believes that they’ll be solid contributors. Calhoun and Ellsbury are not the most exciting players, but the PFM thinks that they will at least contribute at the levels they did over the last few years.

The Pitching

Player

Bid

PFM $

Clayton Kershaw

42

$49.54

Dallas Keuchel

10

$17.15

John Lackey

10

$15.61

Jeff Samardzija

10

$15.79

Michael Pineda

6

$12.73

Michael Shoemaker

4

$9.48

Wei-Yin Chen

2

$9.69

Matt Andriese

1

$6.40

Mike Leake

1

$7.63

Total

86

$144.02

You can’t argue against purchasing Clayton Kershaw. While my bid limit sits at $42, it is admittedly a compromise with at least three separate goals: trying to spread money across a pitching staff, building in some risk because he is a pitcher, and also giving deference to Clayton Kershaw. I have no qualms with spending $50 or more on him in a mixed format.

The PFM spits out mostly veterans, which isn’t surprising. A former AL Cy Young winner, a reliable-yet-aging workhorse, and a solid arm who had one poor year with the White Sox back up Kershaw at $10 apiece. This is a very strong base for a pitching staff. With a pitching staff like this, my strategy typically would be to bottom out with one dollar starters and spend $77 on the entire staff.

The Prediction

This is the section of the model portfolio where our staff came up with predictions for their teams. For a league that doesn’t play out, going with a balanced team is a solid approach. Something the PFM cannot do that a human can is look for one-dollar fliers that the PFM puts below replacement level. Someone is going to get this year’s Aledmys Diaz—we just don’t know who that is yet.

I will revisit this team at the end of the regular season. Like any “test” of the PFM, it is far from perfect, but this is the goal of the PFM: to build a hypothetical team that is a successful fantasy franchise.

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April 5, 2017 1:22 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano

0

Alex Chamberlain

Liriano went from a top-30 fantasy starter to written off after a rough 2016 season. Are his results headed for a rebound?

The fantasy community was quick to write off Francisco Liriano as being cooked. It's as if the 500-plus innings of 3.26 ERA he posted from 2013-2015 were all a fluke—or that they didn't happen at all. It's also as if not a lot changed in 2016 when hitters punished him, hitting home runs on nearly 19 percent of fly balls. With everything we know about what pitchers can and can't control on the mound, it's a mystery to me why Liriano went from a top-30 arm to one that's barely top-75. Still, I'll humor the notion that there's something to fix. Perhaps there is. I don't even know yet. We're going on this journey together.

It's pretty easy to spot what went wrong in the numbers. After allowing only 16 home runs with his sinker during his three almost-elite seasons, Liriano gifted 14 homers using the pitch in 2016. It never was a particularly safe pitch (it allowed a .297/.396/.429 triple-slash during those aforementioned almost-elite seasons), but the damage ballooned out of control in 2016 to the tune of a .301/.419/.502 triple-slash. Both are bad, to be clear, but wow, that's bad. Also: The outcomes didn't fundamentally change outside the isolated power allowed.

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April 3, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five to Watch: Leadoff Surprises

1

Greg Wellemeyer

There can be hidden value at the top of the lineup.

The importance of batting order position is often overstated, especially in shallow or medium depth mixed leagues. In deeper and mono contexts, where plate appearances come at a premium, a slot in the upper third of the lineup can make a difference. The same goes for formats that allow daily lineup changes, as the leadoff spot can be a popular place for hitters with a pronounced split. Provided you have a bench with a little depth, you can often build an excellent platoon on the cheap by leveraging these roles. With that in mind, here are five players whose Opening Day stock is up because of unexpected opportunity at the top of their clubs’ lineups.

Delino DeShields, Texas Rangers

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March 27, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Auction of 2017

1

Scooter Hotz

Scooter recaps the results of his recent keeper-league auction.

Last night I had my first auction of the season. It’s my second season in the league, which is a more serious league than the one I wrote about last week. Like that league, though, a lot of the owners are more inclined towards fantasy football than fantasy baseball, which is why it’s a head-to-head league. Here are some other league settings for background:

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March 23, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Prep: Auction Podcast Takeaways

1

Jeff Quinton

After discussion his strategies on the Flags Fly Forever podcast this week, Jeff recaps what he learned to help you prepare for your league's auction.

Earlier this week, George and Mike from the Flags Fly Forever podcast were kind enough to have me on to discuss auction strategy and the decision-making process. When I write my articles from my typing cove (really, my apartment’s kitchenette), I do not get to bounce ideas off of people in real time or get to listen to the in-depth thoughts of others on auction strategy like I did when on the podcast. Consequently, the podcast (which you can listen to here) helped clarify and even bring to light some new beliefs and ideas that I believe will help us in our quest to improve our auction strategies, strategic process, and decision-making as we endeavor to chase flags that will fly forever. Again, I would highly recommend listening to the podcast, but additionally, I have recapped and expanded on some of the ideas and recommendations discussed—advice that I am going to be trying to heed come my final auction preparation this week and come my two auctions this weekend

1. Always prepare and analyze with opportunity cost in mind

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March 23, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Reviewing the 2016 Model Portfolios

4

Greg Wellemeyer

Looking back on how our staff members fared with their ideal fantasy rosters last season.

Our positional coverage is all wrapped up and draft season is drawing to a close as Opening Day nears. One series we’ll be rolling out starting next week is My Model Portfolio, wherein our staff members will each pick a roster using Mike Gianella’s final bid limits, which will be published tomorrow.

Before we get there, though, how about a little accountability on last year’s picks? I’m judging these purely based on how much difference there was between Mike’s preseason bid limits and his postseason retrospective valuations. There is no consideration for roster balance or categorical strength, this is purely an evaluation of whose draft day roster created the most raw profit over the course of the season.

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