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01-16

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20

Fantasy Freestyle: Stop Looking for Sleepers, Start Looking for Value
by
Mike Gianella

12-31

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: How NOT to Consume the Positional Series
by
Ben Carsley

12-30

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Consuming the Positional Series
by
Jeff Quinton

12-23

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Still Holliday Season
by
Wilson Karaman

12-22

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Marcus Stroman the Real '6 God'?
by
Nick Shlain

12-18

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget the Vets
by
Matt Collins

12-17

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Undervalued NL Starting Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

12-16

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Trouble With Tiers
by
Mike Gianella

12-12

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Shortening Your Dynasty Rebuild
by
J.P. Breen

12-11

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated
by
Matt Collins

12-10

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: American League Speed Options on the Cheap
by
Keith Cromer

12-09

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Yordano Ventura Overrated Now?
by
Nick Shlain

12-05

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild
by
Craig Goldstein

12-04

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Mike Minor Last Year?
by
Wilson Karaman

12-03

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help
by
Keith Cromer

12-02

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions
by
Nick Shlain

11-25

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Christian Yelich is Poised to Break Out
by
Matt Collins

11-25

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Responding to the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-25

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know
by
Craig Goldstein

11-20

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-18

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy Busts
by
J.P. Breen

11-13

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy MVPs of 2014
by
J.P. Breen

11-06

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Make of Odrisamer Despaigne
by
Keith Cromer

11-05

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Curb Your Pitching Enthusiasm
by
Nick Shlain

11-04

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Players Looking for Bounce-Back Power
by
Matt Collins

10-30

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Going All-In on Hyun-jin Ryu
by
Matt Collins

10-30

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept that Justin Upton is Quite Good
by
Wilson Karaman

10-28

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Madison Bumgarner for Cy Young
by
J.P. Breen

10-24

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Projection Season and the Recency Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

10-23

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Brandon Belt
by
Ben Carsley

10-21

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Alcides Escobar
by
Wilson Karaman

10-20

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 2 - National League
by
Mike Gianella

10-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Joe Panik
by
Ben Carsley

10-16

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Jon Jay
by
Jeff Quinton

10-15

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Lorenzo Cain
by
J.P. Breen

10-14

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Prospect Predictions
by
Craig Goldstein

10-13

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 1 - American League
by
Mike Gianella

10-10

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller
by
Wilson Karaman

10-08

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back at Super Subs
by
Paul Sporer

10-07

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: My Favorite Endgame Targets of 2014
by
Bret Sayre

10-06

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Sergio Romo
by
J.P. Breen

10-03

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span
by
Wilson Karaman

10-02

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Trades and the Importance of Hustle
by
Jeff Quinton

10-02

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
by
Craig Goldstein

10-02

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becoming More Numerous?
by
J.P. Breen

10-01

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Josh Donaldson
by
Paul Sporer

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

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December 5, 2014 10:58 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild

1

Craig Goldstein

Might retooling on the fly be a better plan than tearing it down and starting over?

Author’s Note: This column is intended for deep leagues only

It’s become increasingly clear in the last few years that fans of baseball, fantasy baseball owners included as a subset, are tolerant of essentially two modes of thought when it comes to their team and how it’s built. There’s the contending team, that makes itself known to be attempting contention for a wild card spot, if not a division crown, and the rebuilding team that isn’t competing that year so is all about future assets and long-term growth. These are accepted styles of competition in which one is either competing at the top or dwelling at the bottom with the idea of competing at the top down the line. What’s less accepted is mediocrity, or stagnancy. Move up or move down, or at least make your motives known.

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December 4, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Mike Minor Last Year?

1

Wilson Karaman

A look at whether the Braves lefty is primed for a rebound.

I’ll admit up front that I have a huge soft spot for Mike Minor. I acquired him in my home league as a buy-low guy in late May of 2012, and he proceeded to return gobs and gobs of surplus value for me over the following season-and-a-half. I didn’t end up owning him in any leagues this past season, and I was pretty bummed out about that coming out of my assorted drafts. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, though, right? According to NFBC data Minor was taken as the 29th starting pitcher off the board last spring, yet Mike Gianella recently figured him as the fourth-biggest bust among NL starting pitchers after he returned exactly zero dollars-worth of production in a season plagued by injury and poor performance. So what happened here, and where should we be setting expectations for Minor in 2015 and beyond?

The injury issues probably deserve front and center attention as top billing in our story. Minor had what can be charitably described as… well, just a terrible-sounding operation to remove scar tissue from his urethra as the new year dawned. In addition to making men around the country wince and recoil, the procedure knocked him off his standard throwing schedule heading into spring training and led to some shoulder inflammation after he tried to ramp up too quickly. The shoulder issue turned out to be a nagging one, forcing a DL stint that cost him all of April and ending his season prematurely in September as the Braves fell out of contention. When he did toe the rubber in between those shutdowns the results were obviously quite poor relative to the pitcher we saw over the previous 18 months. And the first thing that jumps out in looking at his profile is that Minor’s release point for the vast majority of the season was significantly higher than it had been at any point since his first-half troubles in 2012.

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December 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help

6

Keith Cromer

These pitchers might not rack up saves, but they could still hold considerable fantasy value.

From my perspective, it’s never too early to begin speculating about teams’ bullpens during the offseason and researching who could make a fantasy impact the following year. Playing fantasy baseball for as long as I have has taught me that finding those hidden reliever gems can be the difference between hoisting a trophy and waving the white flag in July. Spending time studying every arm in all major-league bullpens is a staple of my pre-draft routine, and just as important as the homework done for position players, starting pitchers, and impactful rookies.

Please note I am not talking about closers, but rather those reliable bullpen arms that have impressive peripherals and produce in high-leverage situations, not just save situations. These pitchers have earned the trust and confidence of their managers and will continuously be given the opportunity to pitch in similar future situations that could result in wins, holds, and potentially some saves. Even in deeper AL- and NL-Only leagues, the value of these relievers is sometimes unappreciated, despite how they can offset bad performances by starting pitchers in any given week.

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December 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions

4

Nick Shlain

Resolving a few hypothetical dilemmas involving Kole Calhoun, Kevin Gausman, J.D. Martinez, and Angel Pagan.

Although inspired by a real event, the following story is fantasy and does not depict any actual person or event.

We’re completely entrenched in the slog that is six months without real baseball, but that doesn’t mean fantasy owners are bereft of all decision-making. It’s the time of year when keeper-league owners must make a call on which players they’ll have back next year.

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November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Christian Yelich is Poised to Break Out

4

Matt Collins

Giancarlo Stanton isn't the only name to know in the Miami lineup.

Giancarlo Stanton has always been the focal point in Miami, and that is even truer now that he has signed his massive 13-year, $325 million contract. He’s not their only exciting young player, though. They have a pitching staff that includes Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jarred Cosart. Their outfield, besides Stanton, boasts players like Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. It’s that last name I want to focus on here. Yelich is a player who obviously has a lot of traction in dynasty and keeper leagues, as he’s been touted as a top throughout his professional career. Well, things are setting up for him to take a real step forward in 2015, making him an intriguing early pick in redraft leagues as well.

Whether you’re in a league that uses batting average or OBP, Yelich is going to be helpful. At a time when the average outfielder is hitting .259 with a .321 OBP, the Marlins’ center fielder just finished his first full season and put up a .284 average and a .362 OBP. This comes from a player who consistently hit in the high-.200s or low-.300s throughout his minor-league career, and hit a similar .288 in his 273 MLB plate appearances in 2013. To make matters better, he did this with very respectable peripherals. Yelich watched his strikeout rate fall to 20.8 percent last season, while his walk rate stayed at a well above-average clip of 10.6 percent. And he did all that while keeping his swinging-strike rate below the league average.

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November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Responding to the Default Effect

2

Jeff Quinton

A follow-up to last week's piece, explaining how to take advantage of offseason trade-market inefficiencies.

Last week, we discussed the ways that the default effect influences our dynasty- and keeper-league offseason trade markets. Today we will take a look at some ways to deal with and take advantage of these market realities. These ways can be broken down into two categories:

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November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know

1

Craig Goldstein

These prospects have cleared one hurdle keeping them from the majors, so they're worthy of your attention.

Late last week was the deadline for teams to add guys to their 40-man rosters, which is pretty much the only time anyone cares who is added to or taken off of a 40-man roster, which is why me bringing you fantasy takes on several of those players is perfect. No one cares what I have to say anyway. This is a look at guys that could matter in 2015, which means some of the more intriguing names that are still far away (Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Drury etc) are being left off. Let’s get to the limited-upside prospects!

Jose Peraza - 2B - Atlanta
Not only did Tommy La Stella get shipped out of town, but Peraza got put on the 40-man, which means a relatively minor obstacle (but still an obstacle) is now out of his way. He’s performed well in a limited look at the upper levels, and has a good chance of contributing some time in the second half. He could make a case for reaching the major leagues earlier based on his defense (he’s a natural shortstop), but allowing his bat to mature isn’t the worst idea (or bad for fantasy owners) either. Even if he doesn’t hit, he’s a threat to contribute on the bases, so he’ll probably be worth adding no matter when he gets the call. His power comes from adding the extra base thanks to his speed, as he tends to just spin in place when he swings, without generating power by transferring his weight.


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November 20, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and the Default Effect

1

Jeff Quinton

Logic dictates that offseason trade activity should be virtually endless, so why doesn't this happen?

While no Major League Baseball games are currently being played, the offseason maintains a tight hold on our attention. The offseason brings every team back to 0-0 (for both major-league and fantasy baseball), and we are captivated by the hope of the new season and intrigued by the strategy each team will deploy.

Whereas in-season trades and moves tend to be limited by the competitive landscape, the offseason tends to be less limited, because more uncertainty exists about the upcoming season. In fantasy baseball, potential moves and strategies are even less limited in the sense that all teams have closer to equal resources because of parity-promoting rules and constructs such as salary caps, keeper limits, auction dollars, and draft rounds. Given all of this to go along with person-to-person inconsistency in valuing uncertain future assets (baseball players), one could assume that the offseason would be a time of torrent trade activity. In theory, each owner would continue to trade until he or she possesses each asset that he or she most values among his or her peers (obviously this depends on the value of the assets one originally owns, but you get the point). Put differently, because every owner would rank the top 300 players (or top 300 values in leagues with contracts) differently, one could assume that there would be trade after trade after trade until every discrepancy in valuation has been corrected.

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November 18, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy Busts

9

J.P. Breen

Examining a handful of players who underperformed fantasy investments badly in 2014.

Last week, I identified a quintuplet of players who vastly outperformed their preseason fantasy valuation, making them five of the most valuable fantasy players of the 2014 season. We flip to the infuriating side of the coin: five players who perhaps disappointed more than anyone else in Major League Baseball. It should be noted that I didn’t include guys like Joey Votto, who lost significant value due to time on the disabled list. These are players who unexpectedly sucked in 2014, but they did so for an extended period of time. There was no respite. These guys started 30-plus games or logged 500-plus plate appearances, and they were likely in your starting lineup all year. Those are the true value killers.

Let’s commiserate together.

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November 13, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy MVPs of 2014

0

J.P. Breen

These players vastly outperformed their draft position, making them the best fantasy values of the past season.

Trying to determine any Fantasy Baseball MVP is inherently difficult because the notion of what is the “most valuable” depends on the specific league settings, the makeup of individual teams, and even the type of draft. However, we can certainly highlight some of the players who carried significant surplus value by comparing the preseason average draft position (ADP) of a player and his end-of-season ranking. Those players, we can reasonably assume, impacted the overall success rate of fantasy teams more than other picks.

Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians

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November 6, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Make of Odrisamer Despaigne

2

Keith Cromer

Can the Cuban righty be a reliable fantasy option in 2015?

So, here is a scenario I am assuming a few of you fellow fantasy baseball brothers and sisters were faced with just two months into the baseball season….

It’s late May, and your pitching is scuffling a bit. Despite the shaky start, you have faith in your squad and know that just one or two waiver-wire pitching finds could turn your season around. You need to act fast, though, so as not to dig a hole in ERA and WHIP from which you might not recover. You play in competitive leagues, and there is not much pitching available on waivers. You see a note saying the Padres have just promoted a 27-year-old Cuban righty named Odrisamer Despaigne to Triple-A and that he could be called up to the majors soon.

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November 5, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Curb Your Pitching Enthusiasm

0

Nick Shlain

Why blowing the bulk of your budget on pitchers might not be the way to go.

PSA: Throw on “If it Ain’t About The Money” as we’ll get into some pricing and I’m playing Young Thug to Mike Gianella’s T.I.

Fantasy baseball is one of my favorite things in the world, but one thing I truly hate about it is anytime I overpay for a pitcher. Generally, my strategy entering an auction is to spend much more on hitting than pitching. Sometimes this strategy yields a bargain-basement staff and bloated offense, but I’d honestly rather waste the money on my offense than not even try to build a winner throwing it away on arms.

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