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07-28

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5

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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0

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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0

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

06-19

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Paralysis
by
Jeff Quinton

06-19

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeping Tabs on the Cubs' Top Prospects
by
Mauricio Rubio

06-18

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: A Deeper Look at FAAB in Deeper Leagues
by
Mike Gianella

06-18

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7

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

06-13

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: In-Season Strategic Agility
by
Jeff Quinton

06-13

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Straight Chasing
by
Mauricio Rubio

06-09

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Perception and (Valuation) Reality
by
Mike Gianella

06-05

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper League Purgatory
by
Jeff Quinton

06-04

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Profiling Alex Reyes
by
Craig Goldstein

06-03

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Success Stories in the Endgame, Part Two
by
Mike Gianella

05-28

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Success Stories in the Endgame, Part One
by
Mike Gianella

05-28

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Will Carlos Santana Heat Up?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-22

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Representativeness, Valuation, and Tanaka
by
Jeff Quinton

05-22

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Dallas Keuchel: Sell-High Candidate?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-19

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: My Closer Lost His Job and Now I Hate Everybody
by
Mike Gianella

05-15

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Middle of the Road
by
Wilson Karaman

05-14

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Growing the Pie
by
Jeff Quinton

05-14

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: Nathan Eovaldi: Great or Just Hot?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-12

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Expert League Assessment: First Quarter
by
Mike Gianella

05-07

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Negotiation Styles
by
Jeff Quinton

05-05

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Upside Fallacy
by
Mike Gianella

04-28

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Transaction Paralysis
by
Jeff Quinton

04-23

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: The Benefits of Early-Season Trade Talk
by
Jeff Quinton

04-21

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31

Fantasy Freestyle: Why 70/30?
by
Mike Gianella

04-17

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Recovering Prospects
by
Craig Goldstein

04-16

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting Early-Season Confirmation Bias
by
Jeff Quinton

04-14

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Leagues and Salary/Contract Dynamics
by
Mike Gianella

04-09

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Buying Low, Letting Go, and the Disposition Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

04-09

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Small-Sample Numbers That Matter
by
Craig Goldstein

04-07

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22

Fantasy Freestyle: Home Cooking
by
Mike Gianella

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May 14, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Growing the Pie

6

Jeff Quinton

The final article in a three-part series on trade negotiations focuses on the little pieces that can make the difference in crafting a deal.

What follows is the third of a three-part series about negotiation. Part one, The Benefits of Early-Season Trade Talk, can be found here. Part two, Negotiation Styles, can be found here.

We are not talking about an actual pie in the baked-dish sense. We are not even talking about the late, great tomato pies at Hudson Street and Hamilton Avenue, may they rest in peace. Rather, we are here today to talk about a figurative pie, that figurative pie being the total asset pool that is being moved in a trade. Moreover, we are here to discuss the advantages of growing that asset pool beyond the framework of the initial trade to the benefit of both parties involved when possible.

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May 14, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Nathan Eovaldi: Great or Just Hot?

10

Craig Goldstein

Craig takes a closer look at a flame-throwing pitcher who made his top 150 U25 list for dynasty leagues and is off to a fine start.

Yesterday, Ben Carsley and I released the first portion of our Top 150 U25 fantasy players, the culmination of a six-week division-by-division look. The name that received the most attention was one towards the bottom of the list, with Nathan Eovaldi checking in at no. 141 on our collaborative list. Eovaldi has jumped out to a great start in 2014, posting a 2.86 ERA backed by a 2.94 FIP, and phenomenal strikeout and walk rates, at 23.4 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.

This has earned him many plaudits, and a ton of new fans, as fantasy owners who took a random flier on him have become devoted advocates. The question at hand for Eovaldi, and an important one for those wondering how to value him, is whether this new level of success is sustainable. Our eyes tell us it is, as we watch 96 MPH fastball after 96 MPH fastball whiz by us, even into the seventh or eighth inning. So if the numbers say one thing, and our eyes confirm it (or vice versa), where is the debate?

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May 12, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Expert League Assessment: First Quarter

0

Mike Gianella

With nearly 25 percent of the season in the books, Mike reviews how his teams are doing.

It is difficult to believe, but we are nearly one-fourth of the way through the regular season. It’s that time in fantasy baseball that is early yet not early. If you’re in second or third place and have a slow starting player or two you might not think much of it, whereas if you’re in eleventh place now might be a good time to take a long, hard look at your roster and figure out what you can do to improve your team.

I participate in three expert leagues: LABR, Tout Wars, and CBS. LABR is a mixed league, while CBS and Tout Wars are NL-only. Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus and I share the LABR team, while I run the CBS and Tout Wars teams by myself.

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May 7, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Negotiation Styles

1

Jeff Quinton

A look at how your league-mates might approach trade discussions, and how you should go about dealing with them.

What follows is the second of a three-part series about negotiation. Part one, The Benefits of Early-Season Trade Talk, can be found here.

People are not all alike. Well depending on the baseline you use, we are all pretty similar anatomically and physiologically. While all humans use the hydrochloric acid in their stomachs in a similar fashion, we do not all use our brain, brawn, tongue, and trachea to negotiate the same. Knowing your own negotiation style and that of your leaguemates will help you to negotiate better. Each negotiation style is predisposed to certain trade mistakes in fantasy baseball. By knowing what we are predisposed to, we can hopefully more frequently avoid the following mistakes:

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May 5, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Upside Fallacy

0

Mike Gianella

In shallow formats, potential alone isn't enough for a player to warrant a roster spot.

If you do something for long enough, you start to get complacent. As a fantasy baseball “expert,” for me this complacency came in the form of assuming that there are certain, self-evident truths that “everyone” who plays fantasy baseball simply knows and need no further discussion. However, the reality is that based on some of the questions I receive, this clearly isn’t the case.

One of the biggest misconceptions out there is something that I call The Upside Fallacy. Typically, the concept rears its head when I recommend a boring, stable, yet productive veteran over a rookie or second-year player. The younger player typically has a path to playing time, so to some it seems like the better play is to choose the player with the high ceiling over the player with a more narrow range of options.

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April 28, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Transaction Paralysis

6

Jeff Quinton

A look at how to take personal biases out of transaction decisions.

Note: Today I want to discuss a somewhat pressing topic; thus, the negotiation series will pick back up next week. Until then, below is more strategy and decision-making.

Standard, early-season fantasy baseball advice states that we should be patient with our underperforming picks, especially the ones we have invested in heavily. This is the standard advice because it is good advice. Dropping a slow starting Edwin Encarnacion for a hot starting Justin Morneau is not a good idea (bold, I know). However, this does not mean you should be holding onto every one of your players regardless of performance or opportunity cost (that being the other players available). Players in the waiver pool are occasionally better than the players on our rosters. We should pick up those players, but often we do not pull the trigger quickly enough. Two things about humans: (1) we overvalue the things we own and (2) we are afraid of making mistakes that result in loss more than we are enticed by taking action that results in gains (in the short term). These are the result of the endowment effect and loss aversion, respectively. Both of these factors make us less likely to drop one of our players for a better available player. As per usual, let us dig into each factor and discuss how we can overcome these biases.

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April 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Benefits of Early-Season Trade Talk

5

Jeff Quinton

In part one in a three-part series on negotiation, Jeff advises getting a headstart on discussions with your league-mates.

What follows below is the first of a three part series about negotiation. Like my previous strategy and decision making pieces, this series will not provide a panacea and it will not have broad, sweeping answers. The purpose of these articles is to get us to understand how we (humans) negotiate and, thus, allow us to improve our ability to negotiate.

Why am I qualified to give advice on the topic of negotiation? I am not quite sure. After being on the wrong end of several trades in a league consisting of lawyers and owners experienced at negotiating with those lawyers, I realized that I could know everything there is to know about baseball and still be unable to optimally improve my team through trade if I did not get better at negotiation. After learning the hard way and taking a couple negotiation classes, I have gotten a little bit better and have learned a lot. The hope is that these lessons can help you in your future negotiations.

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April 21, 2014 7:07 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Why 70/30?

31

Mike Gianella

Mike examines the reasoning behind the popular auction spending split.

This winter, there was a great discussion on Twitter with Peter Kreutzer (a.k.a Rotoman) and Chris Liss of Rotowire about why fantasy baseball teams in auction formats spend about 70 percent of their money on hitting and 30 percent on pitching (more or less). We are beyond auction season now, but this is such a terrific debate (and such an important concept to auction owners) that it is worth revisiting now.

Kreutzer is correct that we spend more for hitters in the aggregate than we do for pitchers because there is always more value to be had in the free agent pitching pool than there is in the free agent hitting pool. A simpler way of putting this is that in a 12-team format you’re far more likely to buy a pitcher who will not be as good as one of the actual top 108 pitchers as you are to buy a hitter who will not be as good as one of the actual top 168 hitters. I don’t agree with Kreutzer’s assumptions on the valuations, but that’s not especially germane to this particular discussion. He’s right where it counts, and this is why most experts use something along the lines of 65/35, 70/30, or something in between for dollar allocation.

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April 17, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Recovering Prospects

8

Craig Goldstein

These promising minor leaguers saw their stocks tumble in 2013 but have started 2014 on a high note.

This is the time of year when every article begins with the caveat that stats aren’t worth much right now, but, hey, here are some stats. Well, this is like that except it’s fully acknowledging that the stats aren’t worth anything. All they’re here for is to key in on some players who were highly thought of at one point who struggled through a rough 2013 and have come out of the gates quickly. This isn’t to impart meaning to those good starts, but just identify them as prospects to monitor as the season progresses:

Trevor Story - SS - Colorado Rockies

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April 16, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting Early-Season Confirmation Bias

4

Jeff Quinton

Advice to help you avoid being steered off course by April results.

The 2014 season is not even 20 games old, but we are already at the height of confirmation bias season. After spending the offseason (or some portion of the offseason) analyzing players for the upcoming season, and after acting on that research and analysis in offseason trades and in our drafts and auctions, we have a strong desire to see a return on the time and effort invested, to see our decisions pan out.

Obviously, it is too early in the season for there to be much, if any, information to actually confirm or disconfirm our assumptions. There really is no short-term risk in seeking this confirmation bias; rather, the danger lies in how seeking confirming information will impact our future decisions. If we continue to ignore information that disconfirms our beliefs (player A is bad because of X), while seeking out information that confirms our beliefs (player X is good because of Y), we will tend to overvalue our players. The more we overvalue our players, the less we will look for opportunities to improve our team and the greater the chances of us passing up or missing opportunities to improve our team. By knowing how we allow ourselves to fall victim to confirmation bias (traps) and with a few tips on how to fight those instincts (solutions), we can free ourselves, at least a little bit, from the downsides of confirmation bias.

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April 14, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Leagues and Salary/Contract Dynamics

2

Mike Gianella

Building for next year based on your league's rules.

If you play in a keeper league, one of the most frustrating things about the start of the regular season is that there isn’t a lot of advice out there for you. Nearly all of the fantasy content generated during the regular season is geared toward the here and now. Some advice might look ahead to later in the current season, but little if any advice looks beyond this season.

In a keeper league, you should have a strong foundation not only of this year’s values but of future valuation. This applies not only if you have packed it in and are playing for 2015 but if you are playing for this year as well. Owners playing for this year probably have an even more difficult job than owners who have packed it in, as they have to figure out the best way to sell their next year assets to non-contenders in an effort to win this year.

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April 9, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Small-Sample Numbers That Matter

5

Craig Goldstein

Despite what everyone says, some early performances do make a difference.

Pretty much every article you’ve read between Opening Day and today has started with the caveat that there’s no point in drawing meaning from the statistics that are about to be presented, but then going ahead and presenting them anyway. In the end, the articles either draw a meaningless conclusion (they warned you at the beginning though) or waffle on what, if anything, any of their contents mean (nothing, they told you up top).

While I can only concur that the statistics that have been accrued since opening day (Salvador Perez has a 25 percent walk rate in six games, despite a career 4.5 percent walk rate) are at this point meaningless in a data sense, they are meaningful in that they matter to managers. I’m not going to draw any conclusions about a player’s evolving skillset or change in approach, so much as I am highlighting players who have either bought themselves or potentially cost themselves some rope, in the eyes of their manager. This has a very tangible effect in the fantasy world, especially in deeper leagues, where players who merely rack up at-bats are worth something.

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