Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fantasy update

Been a LONG time since I last posted - let's see how I finished in leagues gone by and where I am now in current leagues.

In basketball, I won the whole friggen league!  James Harden and LeBron James were clutch late, and I beat my Dad for the championship.  that was cool.

In hockey, I fell out in the quarterfinals.  I traded too much good stuff away and then oof...sad ending.

In football, things went okay.  I lost in the quarterfinals in Worst Team Ever, lost in the semifinals in show us your TDs, and then won the championship in The Toby Bowl.  It's my first time winning that in 3 years, so I was pretty excited.

As for current sports, in baseball I am currently tied for first in my division at 4-2.  Probably soon to be 4-3, as I took a sort of stars and scrubs approach and traded away too many helpful pieces early.  But I will come back.

Hopefully this week I'll be back to talk more baseball!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A tale of two trades: Don't let depth blind you!

I recently mentioned a few trades that were made in my fantasy hockey league.  Both trades featured big name players, and both trades were incredibly short sighted.  That is to say, in each case, a team had a need for either more or less of a given position.

When looking at a depth issue like this, you've got to still keep your values straight.  Yes, if you only have one goalie, good owners will expect more in trades.  But you need to hold your ground, unlike in these deals:

Trade 1 - My Drew Doughty and Nick Bjugstad for Patrick Kane and Matt Greene
- This guy needed defenders and goalies, and we said Patrick Kane was "available."  I couldn't move fast enough - I offered my best defender and a center "to replace" Kane and the trade was accepted later that day.

Now Doughty is good - no doubt.  And Bjugstad is a nice enough 4th center.  But Kane has been the #1 player in NHL fantasy since this trade went through.  He definitely was too much to give up for some defensive help.

Trade 2 - My Ryan Getzlaf and Leon Draisaitl for Wayne Simmons and T.J. Brodie
- After that huge Kaner win, I turned around and made this dunce of a trade.  I had six centers, and so often times I'd end up a defender or wingman short in the lineup.  This...sucked.  So I decided to trade a center, and I made Getzlaf the guy.  Which was not smart.

Especially since, a week later, I traded Derek Stepan and Torrey Mitchell for Johnny Boychuk.  Which accomplished the same thing (losing the center, gaining a defender) for me without giving up a top 25 center.  So...should have just waited for this trade.

Regardless, Getzlaf has been very good since this trade.  And throw-in Draisaitl has been AMAZING.  Simmons, who I lived last year, is still middling in the top 100 to top 150 range, and Brodie is...not that good.  So definitely not a good trade.

And a side lesson learned after the Boychuk trade:
Never trade for highly ranked defensemen.  Trade for defensemen who are good at certain stats.

Brodie is a good defensemen.  Boychuk is a defensemen who is top 10 in shots taken.  Boychuk makes more sense on a roster.  So why in the heck did I trade for Brodie?

A sucker is born every minute.  Sometimes it's you...sometimes it's someone else.  After this post, hopefully it's more someone else than you!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Trying to figure out Fantasy Hockey: Five Trades

So I think I've finally figured a few things out in fantasy hockey:
1. Some stats are really hard to get.  Mainly goals, assists, points, power play points (PPP), and any/all goalie stats since people won't trade them.

2. Other counting stats are easy to acquire.  Want hits?  Add Matt Martin.  Want faceoff wins?  Add Martin Hanzal (when he's healthy).

3. Defenders are the kickers or closers of fantasy hockey.  There are a few standouts, but most are middling and won't score much above a defender ranked 30-40 spots below them.  

As such, I decided to make a few trades to help my team.  My overall thoughts were get goalies (if possible), get those hard to get stats, trade those easy to acquire stats, and trade defenders (when possible).  Let's see how I did over a week and a half's time.

My Drew Doughty and Nick Bjugstad
His Patrick Kane and Matt Greene (Filler)

I started things out with a bang.  One guy who auto-drafted was seeking defenders and goalies, and mentioned that Kane was available.  I don't love Kane the guy, but Kane the player is a huge goal scorer with PPP potential as well.  So I was happy to give up Doughty and my 4th or 5th best center (especially with Kane having center eligibility).

My Jonathan Drouin
His Olli Maata

This is the one trade of these five that I really regret.  I was rolling 3/4 starting defense each day because I didn't want to cut anyone.  So finally I made a move for a defender just to give myself a full starting lineup.  Maata has some PPP potential...but he's still a defender, so this was more for hoping someone would see trade value in Maata.  No one did, and he has since been cut from my team.  So...bad move.

My Milan Lucic, Martin Hanzal, Thomas Greiss, and Michael Neuwirth
His Evander Kane, Derek Stepan, and Eddie Lack (Filler)

I love Kane's do everything ability, and will happily see what he's capable of once he gets healthy.  As for Stepan, he gets some good assists and PPP which ain't too bad.  In return I gave up two temporarily hot goalies, faceoffs wins and injury risk in Hanzal, and then Lucic who isn't bad but even then is mostly hits and shots.  Very happy with this trade.

My Jimmy Hayes and Jonas Hiller
His Travis Zajac and Jerome Iginla

So at this point in the deals I've now traded three goalies.  The first two were scrub backups though, and Hiller is a high ranked (88th in the offseason) guy who is battling injury and inconsistency.  So I'm not too sad to lose any of these three.  Especially when Hiller plus Hayes was enough to land me Iginla, who is a goal scoring beast and Travis Zajac, who has been interesting to watch so far and also gets a TON of faceoff wins (which yes, are available off the wire, but he has like 50 more than the next best guy on our wire right now).

My Ryan Getzlaf and Leon Draisaiti
His Wayne Simmonds and T.J. Brodie

With all the above trades, I ended up loaded with centers, and needed to lose one.  I also ended up with only three defenders again.  So I dangled Getzlaf, who is awesome but starting slow this year, and picked up Simmonds, who plays both wings.  He also gets loads of counting stats like PIM, Hits, and other cool stuff.  I may regret losing Getzlaf since he scores some goals and PPP, but I think I gained enough elsewhere to make the gain of Simmonds (and Brodie who scores some PPP himself) worth it.

So as an end result, the only real big value guy I lost over five trades was Getzlaf, with Lucic, Doughty, Bjugstad, and maybe Draisaiti and Drouin as others I would've like to keep.  But I'd say my haul of Patrick Kane, Derek Stepan, Evander Kane, Wayne Simmonds, Jerome Iginla, Travis Zajac, and T.J. Brodie was well worth everything I lost.  We'll see if it helps me in the standings!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Building Trade Rapport: The Trade after The Trade

So I mentioned a few days ago that I made a pretty nice trade to improve my basketball team in fantasy.

Moments later, that owner also accepted ANOTHER trade from someone.  This one was his Carmelo Anthony and Michael Carter-Williams for Nikola Vucevic and Jrue Holiday.  This one also seemed to be a loss for the guy I traded with, as Vucevic is great, but Carmelo is transcendent when he's on his game and I'd probably take MCW over Jrue.  But one man's Cadillac is another man's Lincoln or whatever they say.

All I really took from the trade was that this guy was down to trade ANYONE.  So I took a second look at his roster and noticed a slightly slumping personal favorite of mine - Klay Thompson.  AKA his first round pick.

I already knew the guy liked Rudy Gay, as he had targeted Gay in those earlier trades.  And I knew Marvin Williams and Darren Collison were in the conversation with this guy since they had been in our talks as well.  So my final offer was the following:

My Gay, Williams, and Collison for His Thompson, T.J. McConnell, and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope.

My rationale was that Thompson was a two round upgrade on Gay, who would much improve my FG% over Gay while also adding more 3's (which my team is fairly strong in) and steals.

The other two guys I lose are replaceable.  Williams is playing out of his mind but most of his value in our league comes from double doubles, which won't last forever.  And Collison is nice late round value but he's not enough to hold this trade up.

Caldwell-Pope and McConnell are, as I often do in trades, pure filler.  I often see if I can trade them before cutting them, and while I might keep McConnell for a few days I will pretty much immediately cut Caldwell-Pope for someone with good steals on my watchlist, like Jae Crowder, Kent Bazemore, or Will Barton (the latter two also help 3's).

It seems like I'm probably done trading with this guy, as his 11 man roster has churned seven players in like three days and his last four aren't too great.  That being said, I do love Vucevic, so we'll see if he and I match up again someday!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Thoughts

Welcome to my second edition of Sunday thoughts.  No one's really reading this year, so it's interesting figuring out how I best want this to look.

Green highlights for guys you should trade for or add.
Yellow highlights for players to put on your watch list.
Pink highlights for injury concerns.
Orange highlights for players I would try to trade away
Red highlights for players I would bench or cut.

Games I watched: Oakland-Pittsburgh, Denver-Indianapolis

General Thoughts:
- I picked up Sammy Watkins (or already had him) in all of my leagues this week.  I left him on the bench, but he had career highs against Miami this week and looked like a stud.  A lot of people are saying this makes him a must add, but with his extensive injury history and Tyrod Taylor at QB I actually like him as a trade candidate in yearly leagues.  See if you can package him plus something for a QB or RB upgrade somewhere.  If you're in a keeper league, feel free to hold onto him.

- Derek Carr is a beast.  Amari Cooper drops too many passes and Michael Crabtree has a moderate ceiling, but I loved watching them today versus Pittsburgh.  Of course Landry Jones saved the day - and I'd keep an eye on him if Ben Roethlisberger's foot injury is anything serious (looks like it may be).

- That Denver is crazy good.  Other than that I didn't see a lot I liked in the late game so far.  Manning is still too old and Luck is not as lucky this year...guess those beard hairs wore out.

Well that was a Freebie - Trading in the NBA

So we drafted a few weeks ago for my NBA season.  My team, which I like but don't love, looks like this (Third pick overall in a snake draft):

1. James Harden SG
2. Hassan Whiteside PF/C
3. Rudy Gay SF/PF
4. Reggie Jackson PG/SG
5. Derrick Favors PF/C
6. J.J. Redick SG
7. Ryan Anderson SF/PF
8. Kevin Martin SG
9. Markeiff Morris SF/PF
10. Darren Collison PG
11. Brandon Jennings PG

Then after the draft I moved Jennings to IR (we have two IR spots), signed and IR'd Tony Wroten (PG), and eventually settled on Marvin Williams (SF) as my 11th active guy after a hot start.

It's easy to see some of my weak spots coming out of the draft.  After Harden my guards are very iffy, so assists and steals are two stats I may not easily get (I was hoping for Ricky Rubio but he was picked just before Favors was).  And despite a lot of bigs, my FG% looks like it won't be good - so I actually put myself in a pretty big hole with this draft, given that we're a 10 category league and my team is pretty awful at three of those categories.

Which means it was time to trade.

I sent some fliers around, and my one big nibble was a new guy named Brian.  Brian's team was pretty bad as well, but he had some slow starting bigs in Zack Randolph and Kenneth Faried that I decided to target.  I knew Faried was a 4th rounder and Randolph a 6th rounder, so I thought it would be cool to use Morris (my 9th rounder) plus to get one of them.

And so the offers trade began:
Trade 1 -  I started with his Faried, Amir Johnson, and Al-Fariq Aminu for my Morris, Williams, Collison, and Jennings.  His PG are nearly as bad as mine, so I figured it gave me a chance.  He countered.

His Counter 1 - He countered with my Gay, Favors, and Jennings for his Faried, Johnson, and Aminu.  Gay and Favors were my 3rd and 5th picks, and I'm a little weak at SF, so there's no way this was going to happen.  

I started to get a bit...discouraged.

My Counter 1 - Seeing how he seemed to like Faried, I countered with his Randolph for my Williams, Morris, and Jennings.  He clearly like Morris and Jennings and seemed to like his other guys I asked for.  This trade showed I only want those PFs and nothing else, and that I was willing to give up a few guys.

His Counter 2 - In the last counter of this deal, he wanted my Gay and Whiteside for his Faried, Johnson, and Aminu.  And though I say you should always counter, because you never know what could happen, this trade was so far off that I simply rejected.

HOWEVER, I did so with a note.  It said something like "I only want Faried and/or Randolph," and I can't give up any of my top five guys.  Some players I would give up include Morris, Ryan Anderson, etc., etc.

And he must've read the note, because a day later in my mailbox I saw

the final trade,

which read like this:

My Markeiff Morris and Ryan Anderson for His Kenneth Faried and Zack Randolph.

I immediately thought to myself
and clicked accept as fast as I could.  Faried was a 4th rounder and Randolph was a 6th rounder - and I got them for a 7th rounder and 9th rounder due mostly to Anderson's hot start and cold starts from Faried and Randolph.  I'll take that!

So now I need some better smalls, but in one trade I've already made my team that much better, especially in field goal percentage.  So maybe there's hope in this league after all...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Winning the fantasy baseball offseason - How I turned roster fodder into a top 35 SP with a few strategies

So we're in the World Series (actually late game 1 as I'm writing this).  Fantasy baseball, for most, ended the first week of October.  But in my keeper league, fantasy baseball is always around as long as I have access to my league.  And that's how I turned a bunch of junk into a $14 Gio Gonzalez in my $250 salary cap league, greatening my chances at a 4peat in this league next year.

How'd I do it?  Well, a few steps.  I'll write out some of the key aspects below

Step 1: Sign a bunch of randos with upside at season's end.

Now in a redraft league, lots of people give up in the final weeks.  But I'm always amazed that some people do the same thing in keeper leagues.  Yes, lots of guys will stay active, but there's always a few guys who just let their crappy rosters stay crappy from late August onward.

Me - my roster is a constant churn anyway, but in the final days of the season, I'm always adding guys, if only as trade bait.  So even in my league, where anyone added after the ML trading deadline is subject to an arbitration auction in the offseason, I still try my best to pick up assets.  So once I was up 200 points and guaranteed to win the championship, I added a ton of prospects in the final week.  Some of the guys include Michael Conforto, Greg Bird, Ketel Marte, Brett Phillips, Kevin Pillar, Trea Turner, J.P. Crawford, Robert Stephenson, Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, Matt Moore, Jerad Eickhoff, Jimmy Nelson, Patrick Corbin and Rasiel Iglesias.  A pretty good mix of high upside, at least interesting names, all starting at $1 but most not being kept (whether I just decided not to keep them or someone bid them up significantly in arbitration and out of my ideal price range).

So with all those dudes, I moved on to step 2.

Step 2: Trade all the guys.

I already mentioned that I traded Ketel Marte for a trade amnesty (my fourth) immediately after the season ended.  I then also was dealt Elvis Andrus in what was technically a rental return (I'll be cutting him and his $14 salary in the offseason with one of my amnesties).  But this past week it got crazier.

First I traded Bird and Taillon (both $1 arb eligible) for Adam LaRoche ($1 through 2017) and Mike Leake ($2 through 2018).

LaRoche I didn't want, and was probably going to amnesty, but Leake is a solid pitcher on an awesome contract.  He ranked 42nd this year among SPs, though he gets very few strikeouts, so already a nice get for future potential that I might not have even been able to keep (Bird would've been bid up a bit - Taillon scares me injury wise).

I then offered LaRoche (plus Patrick Corbin and Zack Cozart) for "trash" (Richie Shaffer and Adam Conley).  The guy could not accept it fast enough (he loves Corbin and Cozart) and I now had Leake, an amnesty back (since I didn't have to use it on LaRoche), and two scrubs, all picked up for four amnesty players, only two of which I would've even tried to keep at $1.  Which brings me to step 3.

Step 3: Don't cut ANYONE in the offseason until you have to.

I'm not sold much on Conley despite his end of the season run, and I'm DEFINITELY not sold on Shaffer.  But in the offseason you never know what someone might like, so it's always good to gold onto these kind of dudes just in case.

After the 2nd trade, I offered Leake, Raisel Iglesias, Matt Moore, and Kevin Pillar for Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Piscotty, and trash.

The guy countered with Leake, Iglesias, and Moore for Gonzalez and trash, citing not wanting to lose Piscotty.

I told him that was decent...but I didn't want to lose Leake AND Iglesias.  And I mentioned a few of the other arb guys I would give away, including Shaffer and Conley.

And he told me that he liked Iglesias best but liked Leake's contract status too - if I included Conforto AND/OR Conley, we might have a deal.

I couldn't counter back with Leake + Moore + Conley + Conforto for Gio quick enough.  Yes Leake is decent, but the no k's are no good.  Moore is an injury risk, Conley is a shot in the dark, and Conforto is a stud but he's going to arb so I can still get him back if I put up enough cash.  So in the end...nothing really lost.

Only Gio Gonzalez gained.  Yes, at the 32nd SP in ESPN this year, he's only really 10 spots better than Leake, and with $12 more on his contract and one less year of control.  But the Ks are there, and every little upgrade counts, especially when 2/3's of the players used in the final trade to make that upgrade are scrubs.

So long story told fully, that is how I got a $14 Gio Gonzalez through a combination of Greg Bird, Jameson Taillon, Patrick Corbin, Zack Cozart, Matt Moore, and Michael Conforto.  All six of those guys were not on my lineup with two weeks left in the fantasy season, and I think the fact that they acquired me a real nice SP speaks volumes as to why you should always be on top of your lineup management, even when the other guys are speaking.  

(Now let's just hope I win Conforto at arbitration and it'll be a perfect coup!)