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Fantasy Freestyle 

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09-30

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric Hosmer
by
Ben Carsley

09-29

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Expert-League Recaps
by
Mike Gianella

09-26

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Rankings Review
by
Craig Goldstein

09-25

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value
by
Wilson Karaman

09-25

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Theory-Driven Versus Context-Driven Strategy
by
Jeff Quinton

09-23

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12

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

09-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: DFS and the State of Fantasy Baseball
by
Mike Gianella

09-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Circling Back to The Holy Trinity
by
J.P. Breen

09-19

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14

Fantasy Freestyle: Power Outage
by
Craig Goldstein

09-18

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Small Moves That Might Matter
by
Jeff Quinton

09-17

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Streaming Strikeouts
by
J.P. Breen

09-15

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: The Other Guys, Part Two: National League
by
Mike Gianella

09-12

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: The Process of Analyzing Process: A Keeper League Example
by
Jeff Quinton

09-08

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Other Guys, Part One: American League
by
Mike Gianella

09-04

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: A Behavioral Look at Lineup Setting
by
Jeff Quinton

09-03

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Danny Duffy
by
Craig Goldstein

08-29

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy Corey Dickerson
by
Craig Goldstein

08-28

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Fantasy Freestyle: Analyzing the Competitive Landscape
by
Jeff Quinton

08-25

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Weak Links
by
Mike Gianella

08-22

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Era
by
Craig Goldstein

08-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Information, Humans, and Errors in Valuation
by
Jeff Quinton

08-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Week 21
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

08-20

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Being Wrong About Yovani Gallardo
by
J.P. Breen

08-15

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Starling Marte and Being Wrong
by
Craig Goldstein

08-13

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Setting Expectations on Superstars
by
J.P. Breen

08-11

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Other Competitive Balance Mechanisms
by
Mike Gianella

08-08

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Jeremy Hellickson
by
Craig Goldstein

08-07

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: A Strategy Example From the Deadline
by
Jeff Quinton

08-04

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Leagues With In-Season Salary Caps
by
Mike Gianella

07-31

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadlines and Systems of Thought
by
Jeff Quinton

07-28

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: FAAB in Review: Asking the Non-Experts
by
Mike Gianella

07-24

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Sustained Success and the Red Queen Hypothesis
by
Jeff Quinton

07-23

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Useful Non-Closer Relievers
by
J.P. Breen

07-21

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The MLB Trade Landscape, Buyers
by
Mike Gianella

07-18

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15

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Chris Davis
by
Craig Goldstein

07-17

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Midseason Keeper League FAAB Strategy
by
Jeff Quinton

07-15

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: 10 Crazy Predictions Fantasy Writers Should Have Made
by
Mike Gianella

07-11

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Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Charlie Morton
by
Wilson Karaman

07-11

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Expect From Jimmy Nelson
by
Craig Goldstein

07-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: League Norms and Trade Markets
by
Jeff Quinton

07-09

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget About Me
by
J.P. Breen

07-07

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Edition, Sellers
by
Mike Gianella

07-03

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Rick Porcello: Buy or Sell?
by
Craig Goldstein

07-02

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Minor League Draft Pick Valuation
by
Jeff Quinton

06-30

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking at Values, Part 2: Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

06-27

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Veterans With Value
by
Craig Goldstein

06-26

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Weaknesses, Decision Framing, and Trades
by
Jeff Quinton

06-25

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking at Values, Part 1: Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

06-25

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Checking in on Cinderella: Pitchers
by
J.P. Breen

06-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Catcher Fetish and Derek Norris
by
Craig Goldstein

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September 30, 2014 10:35 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric Hosmer

1

Ben Carsley

Evaluating one of Kansas City's successful failures.

Happy playoff season, fantasy fans.

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September 29, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Expert-League Recaps

2

Mike Gianella

Mike looks back at how he did in a couple of NL-only expert leagues.

You are a worthless scumbag if you talk about your fantasy team. While these words have (probably) never been uttered, the sentiment certainly exists. Talking at length about your fantasy team is a combination of egotistical and boring, and nobody cares but you and the 11 other nerds who are in your league.

The naysayers do have a point. The story of how you overcame that six-point deficit in the last three weeks is captivating if it is your league, and especially riveting if it happened to you. If it is someone else’s league, the tale loses its luster quickly. I love fantasy baseball, and even I don’t want to hear more than a 60-second recap of what happened in your league.

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September 26, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Rankings Review

7

Craig Goldstein

A look at two pitchers who ranked back-to-back in our preseason top fantasy prospects rankings.

The dust hasn’t yet settled on the 2014 but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to look back at some of our pre-season work and look at how we did. Before the regular season started, we (Bret Sayre) released our fantasy prospect rankings and while there are innumerable (okay, fine, 101) interesting aspects to that list, some stood out more than most.

Two of my favorite prospects in all of baseball, much less fantasy happened to be ranked back to back as though they were striking a pose for an action/spy movie poster. Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman checked in at 15th and Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura ranked 16th. Let’s take a look at what we said then, how they did, and why we were right or wrong.

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value

3

Wilson Karaman

Examining some pitchers whose second-half ERAs belied strong peripherals to see whether a breakout 2015 might be in store.

Well, it’s that magical time of year. The season is winding down, and here we sit preparing to begin our annual stare into the frozen, dead abyss of a fantasy-baseball-less winter. Fortunately, those of us in keeper and dynasty leagues are somewhat exempt from this situation because, as the saying goes, there is no offseason. This is actually, legitimately one of my favorite times of the year for those formats, as it’s the time when we can start to analyze the breakouts and the disappointments of the past season and begin to construct rudimentary target lists for upcoming trade talks over the winter and, in shallower formats, drafts next spring. I play primarily in head-to-head leagues, and particularly in this format I’ve found the following exercise to be quite valuable as a quick and dirty starting point. Since head-to-head championships are determined by player performances during weekly format playoff matchups the it tends to open up opportunities for acquiring players on the relative cheap who performed poorly down the stretch and may have contributed to a league-mate losing his or her final matchup. This “recency bias” plays off exactly the kind of negative memory impact my colleague Jeff Quinton took a long and engaging look at last offseason, and I highly recommend the read for context.

One of the primary places I like to direct my efforts at the start of each off-season is the FIP bin of second-half pitching performances. Particularly given that starting pitchers will usually only get one shot, maybe two, to contribute in a head-to-head matchup a poor finish to the year can sting that much more. And the metric also provides a valuable opportunity to sniff out some emerging talent among guys who may have started to come into their own at the big league level but might not quite have the production (or, subsequently, the hype) to back it up just yet.

To this end, here are the top 20 pitchers with the biggest gap between their second-half ERA and FIP numbers:

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Theory-Driven Versus Context-Driven Strategy

1

Jeff Quinton

Distinguishing between the two approaches and explaining why the latter is far superior in fantasy baseball contexts.

As this fantasy baseball season ends and a new fantasy baseball off season begins, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at why I take the approach I do when writing about fantasy baseball. Consequently, I do so.

As I see it, there are two styles of strategy that can be used in fantasy baseball: (i) theory driven and (ii) context driven. While I write about theories and concepts in the majority of my articles, I am a firm believer in context-driven strategy, especially for fantasy baseball. Before I go any further, please find my definitions for theory driven and context driven strategy below:

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September 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects

12

Ben Carsley

A look at the perils of falling in love with promising catchers down on the farm.

There’s nothing quite as alluring as a stud fantasy catching prospect.

Predicting which catchers beyond the obvious names will produce on a yearly basis is a tedious, difficult exercise that often leads to disappointment. Just ask people who drafted Miguel Montero, Wilson Ramos, or Matt Wieters this season, only to see the likes of Yan Gomes, Dioner Navarro, and Kurt Suzuki outperform their backstops by a long shot.

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September 22, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: DFS and the State of Fantasy Baseball

2

Mike Gianella

Will daily leagues one day supplant rotisserie and head-to-head formats?

If you play fantasy sports, you are familiar with DFS, even if you don’t play DFS. Short for Daily Fantasy Sports, in the past two years DFS has gone from a novelty to a mainstay, carving out a significant share of the fantasy sports marketplace. As a result, most websites that cater to fantasy baseball have started devoting a portion of content to DFS and/or partnering with a DFS service. Baseball Prospectus is no exception; in 2014, BP and Draft Street entered a working partnership, which then became a partnership with Draft Kings when Draft Kings purchased Draft Street earlier this year.

DFS arguably represents the biggest paradigm shift in fantasy sports since the Internet changed fantasy gaming from a game you played with friends in your neighborhood or your college to a game you could play with anyone anywhere in the world who had a working modem. Even if you haven’t played DFS, the appeal of the game is obvious. There are a number of great things about DFS, but the three biggest positives to in my mind are:

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September 22, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Circling Back to The Holy Trinity

2

J.P. Breen

A look at the pitchers who excelled in the three statistical areas fantasy owners cherish most.

The Holy Trinity is nothing new ‘round these parts. Bret Sayre discussed the concept and gave it its moniker last season, and I brought it up once again in my first piece at Baseball Prospectus. For those who are unfamiliar with The Holy Trinity, though, it’s pretty simple. As fantasy owners, we like pitchers who can either strike guys out, limit walks, or generate copious amounts of ground balls. But we love pitchers who can do all three. Thus, The Holy Trinity occurs when a pitcher posts better-than-average strikeout, walk, and ground-ball rates.

In short, they’re generally the guys to covet in fantasy leagues. They tend to be the anchors for your starting rotation, as they can provide above-average production in all categories. We’re not talking about someone like Francisco Liriano, who will rack up the strikeouts but drag down the WHIP category. These are guys like King Felix who provide value in strikeouts, wins, ERA, and WHIP.

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September 19, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Power Outage

14

Craig Goldstein

A fantasy-oriented look at the decline in pop across the league.

A few weeks ago, I took stock of the dramatic changes we’re seeing across the league in terms of ERA/FIP/xFIP. We knew that good pitching was trending upward, but my thought was that we weren’t accurate in our view of just how much good pitching there was.

Today, I want to look at the inverse, and take stock of how hitting is on the decline. While there are myriad ways of attacking this issue, I’m going to focus on hitting for power because in standard leagues, hitting for power carries the most weight, affecting three categories (HR, R, RBI). While this is going to be old hat for some, it’s my hope that looking at the dramatic changes in power production over the course of two seasons will help us properly evaluate those hitters who do provide power.

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September 18, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Small Moves That Might Matter

6

Jeff Quinton

Gaining a little extra value here and there can make a difference.

“Small moves that might matter” is certainly a connotatively positive way of describing relatively insignificant end-of-season, keeper league, roster moves. It is also certainly a more succinct title. We could just as accurately describe these moves as small moves that will probably not matter. What exactly are these moves? They are “who to drop” decisions of little consequence that come with the nature of keeper leagues and expanded September rosters. Here is an example I am facing in my 10-team, AL-only keeper league:

I need to activate or cut an $8 Drew Pomeranz this upcoming Sunday. In order to activate Pomeranz, I would need to release one of the following players: Danny Salazar ($15) or Rubby De La Rosa ($10). None of these pitchers are likely to be keepers at their current prices. I am currently in fourth place, the last position that pays out (I would get my entrance fee back). I am about 50-50 to finish fourth or fifth, which gets the first pick in next year’s minor-league draft. (In hopes of reverse jinxing myself, there is an outside shot that I finish in sixth.) I value a fourth- or fifth-place finish equally.

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September 17, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Streaming Strikeouts

1

J.P. Breen

If your fantasy squad needs some late-season Ks, J.P. has you covered.

As we move to the closing weeks of the season, fantasy owners in the championship hunt are forced to chase specific categories. Realistically, only a category or two leave room for fluctuation with so few games remaining, so any late-season waiver pickups tend to relate to those specific needs.

In this article, I want to focus on little-owned starting pitchers who could help rack up the strikeouts down the stretch. Most leagues have moved beyond the trade deadline; thus, any potential additions must come from the waiver wire. All ownership statistics are from ESPN leagues, but one can reasonable assume that Yahoo! and CBS ownership rates would be roughly equivalent.

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September 15, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Other Guys, Part Two: National League

7

Mike Gianella

These players might not be the center of your fantasy attention, but some could have sneaky keeper value in NL-only leagues.

Last week, I took a look at some of baseball’s “other guys.” These are players who can fit a lot of descriptions, but often are afterthoughts at this time of year. In keeper leagues with reserve lists, many of these players have to be activated or cut before the season is over, so it is definitely worth taking a look at this less scrutinized pool of players to see if they are worth hanging onto in 2015 and at what price point.

These recommendations are primarily geared toward AL-only and NL-only fantasy players. Last week I looked at the American League. Today, I tackle the National League.

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