Puig Keeps Up Production with Grand Slam

Posted by JKD on June 7, 2013

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We do as much research as possible before the season, we keep up on injury news and call-ups, study who is hot or who is underperforming, and we scour daily matchup info and weather reports to see if maybe that, after everything else, will give us an edge.  But the moment when fantasy sports is the most FUN, the moment when we realize we are sports fans before anything else, is when something unexpected happens.  A big upset in the playoffs, a monster individual performance, a walk-off hit or no-hitter, a 5-run rally – these are the moments that keep us coming back to the games we love.  And that time you drafted a guy for $3,000 and he went 4-4 to win you a tourney, or the time you loved that one rookie when he was still in the minors, so you picked him up on day 1 and he went on to win rookie of the month, or the time you actually started that guy who threw the no-hitter… but those days are not your bread-and-butter – you just need to know where to find solid value to succeed day in and day out, not try to continuously catch lightning in a bottle.  But those days do make for the best stories.

We have talked about Domonic Brown ($5,400), but not about Evan Gattis ($3,600).  Or Yasiel Puig ($3,800).   And we probably should, because guys like these are the fun part about playing fantasy baseball.  Young guys, we had no real idea when or if they would emerge on the fantasy scene or what impact they would have and yet, here we are.  They are on the scene, officially.

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Gattis was the NL Rookie of the Month in April AND May – pretty good start, that.  He is 26, he has played several different positions for the Braves  (C and OF eligibility on DraftKings – and Catcher can be a tough one to fill), and he is hitting .270 with 13 HR and 33 RBI (SLG .608).  But for the last four games, you say, he is 1-11!  And he didn’t start for two of the last three!  So keep your eye on him, I say, and see if he turns it around, but in the meantime, start looking for a guy to catch on the front end of a streak like that, rather than the back.

Yasiel Puig has the smallest of small sample sizes – only 4 games – but he has made the most of them.  So far he is 7-16 with three HRs and 9 RBI.  Last night he powered a 5-0 Dodgers win over the Braves with a 1-out eighth-inning grand slam.  He is the definition of a surprise story: a 22-year old Cuban defector, it was virtually impossible to know too much about this guy.  What we know is what we’ve seen so far, and what’s not to like?  He has no walks, but only three K’s, so he is up there making contact.  He is slugging a ridiculous 1.063 – again, small sample size – but he also was hitting .313 and slugging .599 in 40 AA games this season, so this production does not seem to be a fluke.  The Dodgers certainly didn’t wait to get him in their lineup – is it going to take you too long to do the same?

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Is the Sample Size Still Too Small For… Buchholtz, Goldschmidt?

Posted by JKD on June 4, 2013

Week 9 of the Chase for the Crown II: Diamond Edition has begun, and you still have plenty of chances to accumulate points and try to earn a spot in the finale.  And if points aren’t your thing, maybe cash is: there are more than $12,000 in guaranteed cash prizes just tonight, including the $3,000 Check Swing contest, which has just an $11 entry, or the Moon Shot, where we guarantee $1,500 in prizes and only charge you $2 to play.

Also don’t forget to look for the different qualifiers going on tonight and every night this week, where you can spend cheap money and earn your way into contests like the  $25,000 High Heat contest going on this (and every) Friday, the $100,000 Punch Out tourney coming up later this month, or even the contest with the biggest guaranteed cash prize anywhere, all summer long – the monster $500,000 Midsummer Classic.

Whether you are hoping to accumulate points, earn cash, or win free tickets into other contests – or all three – you have a lot of different guys to choose from in an MLB season that has seen young players emerge, resurgent veterans and surprising teams.

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At this point, there have been enough games played that we can actually go back and look again at some early-season developments, which at the time were easy to ignore as the product of a small sample-size.  Now that we’re into June, whatever players have done this season is officially relevant.  No longer can you simply dismiss year-to-date stats as “early-season success” or dismiss pitching stats as the product of a small sample size only.

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I wrote about Clay Buchholtz on April 15th, and he cost $8,000.  Today, he costs $10,400, so the chance to get him as a value play is long gone.  However, at the beginning of the year, this guy was barely on your radar, and now he might not be a value – but it is getting close to the time when you consider him to be one of your studs, a guy you have to consider spending for because if you don’t, someone else will, and that could be the move that beats you.  You can talk sample size all you want, but if I told you I had a starting pitcher who was averaging 26.4 fantasy points per outing, who was 8-0 in 11 starts with a 1.62 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, with 77 strike outs, you would wonder why he wasn’t the single most expensive pitcher out there.  And after an injury scare, he returned to the mound Sunday and threw 5 scoreless innings on Sunday (his innings were shortened due to a rain delay, not injury concerns).  So at this point, when he has the matchup, this is a guy you will consider along with the very best if you want to get him in there… because if he keeps pitching like this, $10,400 is STILL a value.

I only wrote about Paul Goldschmidt on May 21st, and he cost $5,100 then, and is actually a little bit cheaper now, but still right in the same neighborhood ($4,700).  He is performing at a level that puts him on a tier just below Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Carlos Gonzalez.  Even if you didn’t plan on it at the beginning of the year, this is a guy who is capable of beating you single-handedly right now, which is exactly the moment when a player starts forcing his way into your lineup – when you start him out of fear.  He went 2-3 with an RBI, 3 runs scored and 2 steals on Sunday.  So today, June 4th, we can talk about someone new – Domonic Brown (PHI, $3,800).  9 HRs in 10 games will get people talking.  He’s a 25-year-old left-handed outfielder, who not only has 17 HRs already on the year, but is also maintaining a .291 average, slugging .592 and has even contributed with 4 steals.  He has at least 2 hits in 5 of his last 6.  How much will he cost a month from now?

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Does Multi-Position Eligibility Increase Value? Chris Davis, Matt Carpenter

Posted by JKD on May 31, 2013

We all have a few players we’re particularly fond of when we are putting together our fantasy lineups.  The guys we pick first, and build around.  Guys we might trust in a less-than-ideal matchup, guys we think are value plays other people haven’t yet identified, guys whose name we like, whatever.  These are the easy ones to pick – it’s filling out the rest of the roster that’s tough.

But, like some other websites that run your seasonal leagues, DraftKings allows certain players who qualify to have multi-position eligibility, and these guys can come in handy when you are trying to find a suitable fill-in for one of those last, hard-to-fill roster spots.

Obviously you don’t care so much about players who qualify at DH and one other position – as you don’t have to start a DH on our site – but we do require you to start three outfielders, so guys who are really infielders but also qualify at OF can be useful to keep in mind.  In particular, you can look for those guys who qualify at 1B and OF – for the most part, these guys are really 1B who have gotten some run in the outfield, usually in right.  And first basemen, usually, have at least a little bit of pop, which can certainly help your squad.

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Chris Davis (BAL, 1B/OF, $5,600) is the most obvious example.  This is a player with 19 HRs already on the year,  hitting .353 and averaging 11.3 fantasy points per game.  And if you have another 1B in mind because of matchup or anything else, you can throw Davis in one of those outfield spots, getting more power into your lineup. And a somewhat lesser option, but who provides the same kind of benefit, Mark Trumbo ($4,700) is averaging 8.3 fantasy points a game by hitting just over .270, with 12 HRs before the end of May.

Even if you are not looking to simply stock your lineup with as many first basemen as possible, players with multi-position eligibility OTHER than 1B and OF can also be pretty useful.  Take St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter, who currently qualifies at 2B and 3B ($3,800).  He is a relatively inexpensive option, but he is averaging more than 8 fantasy points a night, and that kind of production can come in handy, especially when you can plug him at 2B, often a tough roster spot to fill.

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If you’re still in the running for the points lead in the Chase this week, good luck, and if not, well then good luck next week.  And even if you need to wait a few days to take a shot at winning a place in the Chase finale, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a shot at a $5,000 top prize tonight… so whatever you’re doing, best of luck.

#1 Rated Prospect Jurickson Profar Performing for Rangers

Posted by JKD on May 28, 2013

Jurickson Profar is the proverbial “5-tool player,” the #1 rated prospect in all of baseball, and was just called up.  Get him in your lineups!!  Right?

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Let’s make the opening sentence here a bit more accurate:

Jurickson Profar is [a 20-year-old] proverbial “5-tool” player,” the #1 rated prospect in all of baseball [at short stop], and was just called up [to play second base, due to an injury to the starter].

I have written at length about the differences between daily fantasy and year-long leagues, and Profar perfectly embodies those differences.   If you’re in a seasonal league, you have to jump on this guy, and right now is probably not good enough – he was probably picked up last week.  If you’re in a keeper league or a dynasty league, forget about it – he either got drafted or has been on a roster for two years already.  But in daily fantasy… there was just no need to get caught up in the hype right away.  That is not an indictment – the guy is 20 years old.  He, in all likelihood, has not even scratched the surface of his potential.  But remember, two of those five tools are defensive range and arm – and this kid being an elite defensive SS does not help his fantasy production.

Right now, what Profar  ($3,900) has proved is that he can hit .280 with some power and some speed in AAA – and he is TWENTY.  So far this year, in 37 minor league games, he hit .278 and slugged .438 in 166 at-bats, with 13 extra base hits and 6 steals.   He is getting a shot now because of an injury to Ian Kinsler ($5,200).  However, Ron Washington came out and said shortly after the call-up that Leury Garcia ($3,800), a utility-type player, will also be getting some starts.  Garcia is hitting .229, slugging only .286 and averaging 3.3 fantasy points per game – not someone you are going to want to rely on as a last minute replacement if Profar gets scratched.  And so far, in the ten games since his call-up, he’s been scratched twice.  But in the 8 big leagues games he HAS played in this season, here is what he’s done: .304 average and slugging .478 with two extra base hits (one HR, one double).  Again, he’s TWENTY.

Short-term, unfortunately, most injuries benefit daily fantasy players – Profar cost $3,300 and Garcia $3,200 just 5 days ago, and their value is increasing strictly due to playing time.  But long-term, it is hard to see how Profar fits into the Rangers plans anytime in the next few years (which makes sense – I mean, why would they “plan” guy being ready when he’s TWENTY??).  Kinsler is hurt right now but signed for the next few seasons and still producing, and starting SS Elvis Andrus ($4,300) was also recently signed to a long-term deal.  But we all know how it is with even “can’t miss” propects… some of them miss.  Which is why I mentioned trade value above – it might never be higher.

Bottom line, Profar is TWENTY, and right now he is nothing more than an inexpensive option with some upside.  He is not going to dominate, likely won’t come out and win you a tournament, but he can contribute, just like he does for the Rangers.  He was 2-4 with a double yesterday, production you wouldn’t hate and I am sure the Rangers loved. And someday, he might be a star, he might cost twice as much to get in your daily lineup… he MIGHT be a fantasy MVP.  Maybe that’s sometime in the next few years with the Rangers, or maybe it is someplace else because the Rangers front office decided to take advantage of that sky-high trade value.

But in the meantime, the actual starting shortstop on the Rangers is a useful (and reliable) option, even if he is getting far less attention.  And the thing is, Andrus is only 24 himself!  He is a young stud who is getting overshadowed by a younger stud’s potential, but Andrus is already out there every day, is already hitting .271, slugging .333 and averaging 7.8 fantasy points a night… and playing some stellar defense.   And he’s not getting sent down when Kinsler comes back.  Profar is a name you want to remember, and an exciting play for however long he is in the bigs, but Andrus is just a steady, basic, legitimate option you could consider to fill out your lineup on any given night, depending on matchup, weather, ballpark, etc…

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Ranger fans, at least, should be happy – too much young talent is a very nice problem to have.

It’s early in the week: still time to make a run at earning a spot in the Chase finale, still qualifiers going on to get you into this week’s High Heat contest on Friday, and still plenty of time to get your strategies down pat for the Punch Out contest running next month.  And if that isn’t enough, we are also running enough daily contests to feed your desire for fantasy hockey… while they have teams still playing, so do we.

Cabrera and Trout Putting Up Huge Fantasy Totals

Posted by JKD on May 24, 2013

Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are on fire.  Both of them.  Again.  They are totally different players, but one thing they do have in common is an unmatched ability to put up fantasy points on a regular basis when they are hitting well… and as a result, they are both expensive to get onto your daily fantasy team (Cabrera: $6,300, Trout: $6,500).

Baseball players are only going to get 5 at-bats, at most, almost every day.  You can’t try to predict extra inning games, so instead you try to predict who is going to make the most of those five chances.  But the fact remains, Miguel Cabrera’s BEST game can’t really be better than, say, David Ortiz’s BEST game.  It’s just that Ortiz will go 4-5 with 2 HRs maybe once or twice a year… but Cabrera has the potential to do it whenever, apparently.

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And that’s the deal – these guys are expensive because of their consistency. However, consistency is more valuable in a traditional league (just in case you needed another way in which the daily game differs from your roto league).  In daily contests, there is always going to be the chance to say ”Why did I draft Cabrera??!  I could have gotten the same production for half the price with Player X.”   Even worse are the days you dedicate a huge chunk of your salary to a Mike Trout and get nothing at all for it.  But baseball games are hard to predict, and when you have guys playing the way these two are right now, they are just taking the guesswork right out of it.  Identifying Player X – that’s the tricky part.  Identifying Cabrera – not tricky.

But while consistency might be MORE valuable over the course of a whole year, there is certainly something to be said for the ability to start a guy with confidence in a daily contest.  Over the past four games, Cabrera is 9-14, with SIX Home Runs.  Six.  And thirteen RBI.  For the year, he is hitting .391 (and yes, in case you were wondering, slugging .700).  You tell me if you want him in your lineup.  And Trout has been, unbelievably, just as hot. He is 8-13 in his last three, with two home runs, six runs scored, six RBI and a pair of steals.  After a slow April, Trout is again playing like the guy who gave Cabrera a run for his money for that MVP award last year, and once again you have to at least consider paying for his talent.  Most of the time, playing daily fantasy is all about trying to find value, but there is a time and a place to pay for production.   And having a solid performer you can count on is a good way to start to build a lineup.  When they are facing a nice matchup, in a nice park, the sheer obviousness of the opportunity is hard to pass up.

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But no matter who you put in your lineup, you should be going after the $5,000 grand prize in the High Heat contest tonight… and every other Friday the rest of the season (you can win some Chase points while you’re at it).  You can still buy into tonight’s action, but next week you might want to remember earlier so you can take advantage of the qualifiers taking place every night.  And Cabrera and Trout are just the kinds of players who could win you a qualifier and then turn around and do it again for when it counts, and the actual money is on the line.