Here are some of the questions and responses in the article:
Do you think the NFL lockout will affect your fantasy football league(s) this year? If so, how?
“Yes. It’s reducing interest in football, which naturally reduces the normally rabid league interest in fantasy football. Aside from any missed games and diminished interest, the lockout will ostensibly kill the preseason evaluation period. Most people in my league watch the preseason games to scout for draft steals, and I think the lack of a preseason will lower the overall quality of teams in our league.” – a 5-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Washington, DC
“…Already has affected it…we usually get together to watch the draft…also, our league is a keeper league, which means roster management with trades can be a 12 month deal…no one is of the mind to talk trade…it’s a downer…” – an 18-year fantasy veteran and Steelers fan in Parkland, FL
“Every year I go to Waco, Tx for my fantasy football draft. Leading up to draft weekend, most of the participants have studied training camps, made offseason grades, and compiled their draft strategies (a couple even make notebooks). I travel the furthest for this annual ritual. This year we haven’t made our reservations (we typically rent a cabin, lake house, or stay out at someone’s ranch for the weekend), we don’t know what dates to begin blocking off the calendar, and we are forced to discuss basketball to fill the time.” – a 10-year fantasy veteran and Cowboys fan in Washington, DC
“We already decided to cancel the fantasy league and start a pool league on Monday nights. Both sides are greedy, bloodsucking, overpaid, egomaniacs that are destroying minimum wage jobs while they (complain) that they can’t live on only 20 million a year. What a bunch of sniveling little babies that don’t deserve any attention or respect.” – a 25-year fantasy veteran and Bears fan in Waikoloa, HI
“Most definitely it will. This is one of the aspects of NFL football that brings even casual fans closer to the game. I know some women, who can’t even tell you the rules of football, but play fantasy because they enjoy it. It’s kind of like filling out NCAA brackets, everyone does it. The NFL even markets fantasy, and I’m assuming spends millions on it. For instance everyone knows the classic T.J. “Who’s Your Mama” commercial. This is just one more aspect of the “golden goose” that this lockout will kill.” – a 5-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Durham, NC
Has your league made contingency plans if the lockout stretches into August?
“Yes, we have a keeper league with non-standard rules that have necessitated that we already start planning for possible adjustments to our rules depending on whether or not there is a season and how long it is. We have already pretty much decided we must have a draft this August even if the labor dispute is unresolved at that time.” – an 11-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Alexandria, VA
“We are going to try to find a fantasy UFL or college football league and if we do that there will be an asterisk on the trophy.” – an 8-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan from Fisherville, VA
“Since our league is a fairly turnkey operation, we are flexible as to when we start. The only thing that will change will be the entry fee; Likely lowered based on number of weeks missed. So ultimately, the end-of-season prize pool may not be as large. That would be a disappointment.” – a 12-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Silver Spring, MD
“Nope. We’re counting on the NFL getting it done. To quote Harold Camping, “There is no Plan B.”” – a 10+ year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Baltimore
This is just a small sample of the fantasy sports population. In the United States, there are approximately 27 million people who play fantasy sports, and a majority of those play fantasy football. By far, fantasy football is the most prosperous sport within the industry. If there is no NFL season, the ramifications could be disastrous to the fantasy sports industry, including the companies that provide services and the people who spend money to play. Obviously the fans want there to be football, but amongst those fans is a very important demographic of people who play fantasy football. The delay or cancellation of the season will have a far-reaching impact on many industries, and it is important to remember that the fantasy sports industry is one of them.
To my knowledge, this Washington Post column is one of the only articles written about the NFL lockout where the impact on fantasy football was addressed. I realize that fantasy football pales in comparison to the popularity of the NFL, but in many respects they are part and parcel to each other. The popularity of the NFL helped launch the massive growth and popularity of fantasy football. Additionally, the mainstream acceptance of fantasy football has given the NFL newer and more casual fans. The business and companies that write the fantasy magazines, create the draft boards, run the websites providing stats and advice, the websites that host leagues, make the trophies, host parties, and so on, will be in dire straits if the season is affected. While NFL fans will eventually go back to their teams and either watch games on TV or go to the stadium, the same cannot be as definitely said for the fantasy football companies. They may not have the flexibility or financial ability to close shop and reopen. Just something to think about.
I wanted to share with you an article written by Ryan Courtney of Hot Fantasy Picks (www.hotfantasypicks.com) where he breaks down some options to either buy low or sell high in fantasy baseball leagues. Going forward, we will likely continue this collaborative effort to share material with each other’s audience. Be sure to check out his website and find him on Facebook and Twitter (as if I needed to remind you – wink, wink). Without further adieu, here is Mr. Courtney’s debut post with some insightful fantasy baseball advice.
This week we are recapping the first couple months of the season, checking in on my reliability, and of course bringing you some new Buy Low, Sell High candidates. I mean, that’s why you read after all, isn’t it? While this column is a tricky one to write, I think others have a tendency to over-complicate their analysis due to the absurd amount of statistical information at our disposal. However, many picks are rather cut and dry and don’t require the many peripheral stats available to get a clear look into the future. One of the biggest pitfalls for fantasy owners is getting caught up in the moment. When someone is playing good it’s natural to think that they’ll always play this well. The opposite is true as well. I challenge you to remain objective in your fantasy baseball analysis and to “think twice, act once” as a fantasy baseball manager.
It seems hard to believe that we’ve wrapped up two months of the 2011 Fantasy Baseball season. As always, there have been some huge disappointments and also some pleasant surprises. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year has been Hanley Ramirez although his numbers slightly improved through the month of May. It will take a couple months of monster output in order to get him back on track and seeing as he’s dealing with a back injury and bruised right foot, it doesn’t look like a sure thing that it will happen anytime soon. However, HanRam owners are beyond sick of staring at his name on their team. He’s a deal to be had cheaply as many are losing faith in him entirely and feel he’s simply forgotten how to hit the ball. You’ll be able to get him for a pack of peanuts right now.
One of the biggest surprises of the year has been Kyle Lohse. As his ERA continues to hover around 2.00, he also continues to perplex me. In a situation like this you tend to turn to peripherals. A few stand out including his walk rate and HR rate each being approximately 2% lower than his career average. He also hasn’t had a runner steal a base yet while on the mound this year which helps a little bit and double play percentage which is slightly higher than his career average. Overall, it seems Lohse is getting the advantage everywhere he needs it. With a career ERA of 4.66 and WHIP of 1.41 over the previous decade, I find it hard to believe that he’ll maintain a 2.13 ERA and 0.92 WHIP or anywhere near that throughout the remainder of the season. The law of averages will come into play and you’ll see a serious drop off in his production.
Now, for a little analysis of my picks year-to-date. I’ve included players that have been recommended in any of my BuyLow, SellHigh articles. Looking back, it’s funny to think that some of these players ever made the lists considering some of their season stat lines are now either so laughable or so unbelievably good. However, that’s the entire point of these articles in that you want to be able to look back and think man I’m glad I moved that guy when I did. Baseball is such a long season and there are so many high’s and low’s. It’s important to get on the good side of all of those decisions from the beginning to the end of the season.
SPOT ON HITS
Fellas that I feel I nailed with my assessment.
Buy Low’s: Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Stanton, Corey Hart, Evan Longoria, Clay Bucholz
Sell High’s: Sam Fuld, Johnny Gomes, Aaron Harang, Carlos Gomez, Ben Zobrist, Tom Gorzelanny, Placido Polanco, Alfonso Soriano
FLAT OUT MISSES
Guys that I completely whiffed on.
Buy Low’s: Justin Morneau, Ryan Zimmerman
Sell High’s: Justin Masterson, Johnny Damon, Josh Beckett
ON THE FRINGE
These guys are just barely qualifying as a Buy Low or Sell High.
Buy Low’s: Mat Latos, Matt Cain, Josh Hamilton, Dustin Pedroia, Nelson Cruz
Sell High’s: Ryan Roberts, Alex Gordon
STICKING TO MY GUNS
I still strongly believe that these guys are accurate picks. Perhaps, the timing is a little off to buy or sell, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel.
Buy Low’s: Adam Dunn, Ubaldo Jimenez, Hanley Ramirez, Shin Soo Choo, Chris Carpenter
Sell High’s: Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Matt Joyce, Jeff Francouer
Bonus Buy Low, Sell High Picks
- Ryan Howard — While hitting for average has never been Howard’s strong suit, his 30-day .208 batting average is well below par even for the big slugger. With a career average of .277 and a large body of work to back that up, you can bet that he’ll rebound in a quick way. May has historically been his worst performing month, while he performs his best after the All-Star break and typically hits 30 points higher. While you won’t be able to pull a fast one on any owner, right now Howard is a solid investment for the remainder of the year.
- Ichiro Suzuki — One of the league’s most consistent players. He’s never had under 200 hits in a season. However, he’s currently on pace to finish under 200 hits unless he picks up his pace. He is currently batting 50 points below his career batting average. Although he’s definitely aging and regression is unavoidable, one of the league’s most professional players isn’t someone you should pass by. He’s striking out less, walking slightly more, and stealing just about as many bases as he always has. If you look deeper, you’ll see that his BABIP rests at .290 which is 65 points lower than his career average while his line drive rate is also significantly lower. These numbers suggest a rebound is eminent. Right now is the time to buy Ichiro for a bargain.
- Jon Lester — As one of the top pitchers in the American League for the last three years, a slump like is exactly what savvy fantasy baseball owners should be looking for. The most notable statistic that has contributed to his current rough patch are the number of home runs he’s given up. On the year, 3.1% of plate appearances against him result in a home run. His career average is 2.1%. That is roughly 50% more home runs than normal. You can expect this number to regress to norm. Count on Lester to rebound as he’s a workhorse who seems to always throw over 200 innings, has recorded an average of 16.6 wins/season the last three years and has struck out over 9/game the last 2+ years. Even the best pitchers go through rough patches and Lester has never recieved the credit he’s deserved for the accomplishments he’s amassed pitching in baseball’s toughest division. Historically, two of his best performing months are June and July, so act quickly to get him on your team. I drafted him on three of my teams and I’m confident that he’ll finish the season once again in the top ten pitchers in the league.
- Anibal Sanchez — If it weren’t for his inability to stay off of the disabled list, I wouldn’t place Sanchez on this list. However, I don’t feel that he has the physical makeup to throw a full season’s workload. Last year was his highest professional innings total at 195 innings pitched. That is more than his previous three years combined. Yes, when Anibal is healthy he is a solid starter and he has pitched incredibly well this year. However, why wouldn’t you want to trade him for someone such as Jon Lester (above) who is down in the dumps right now, but has been one of the best pitchers in the American League for the last couple of years? You need to have pitchers who will be around all year and keeping Sanchez in your lineup is a risk you shouldn’t need to take.
- Erik Bedard — Don’t get me wrong. I’m on the band wagon right now with everyone else. Bedard is pitching lights out over the last month or so. Here’s the problem I have with him. He’s never thrown over 200 innings and he hasn’t thrown over 100 innings since 2007. He’s already at 58 innings on the year meaning that waiting too much longer to move him is like playing Russian Roulette. His value will never be higher this year as he’s given up 3 or fewer runs for 7 straight starts while lowering his season ERA to 3.41. He was a marquis free agent a few years back and his name alone will raise his value when you put him in an offer. Feel free to run with him for another start or two, but don’t push your luck. Start sorting through your trade options.
- Corey Patterson — It’s always funny to watch such a bonified role player get hyped up. Corey Patterson is your latest such candidate. And rightly so. Over the last 30 days, Patterson is batting .297, slugging .458 with 2 HR, 13 extra base hits, and 4 steals. About the only thing certain with Patterson is that he will fall right back down to earth. It will happen soon folks. For years, Patterson has tugged at my heart strings with his streaky play. However, each time he fades away into baseball oblivion. As a former 3rd overall pick, you expect a lot out of him, but he just can’t sustain his production which can be verified by a decade of futility. My best advice is that you pick him up only to trade him away.