Sunday, January 11, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue II

Welcome to our 19th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues: Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008), Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008), Volume I, Issue XV (December 14, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVI (December 20, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVII (December 28, 2008), Volume II, Issue I (January 3, 2009)

In this week's edition:
^ Don’t Trust the Overall Rankings in Fantasy Baseball Magazines!
^ Hoops Buy Low
^ Hoops Sell High
^ Hockey Buy Low
^ Hockey Sell High

NOTE: Our advice, as it does on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER weekly program (Wednesdays, 9:00-9:30 PM EST as part of THE FDH LOUNGE on, is based on avoiding the obvious and trying to be of actual help to you.

Don’t Trust the Overall Rankings in Fantasy Baseball Magazines!

We’ve talked about this very point on our aforementioned fantasy sports program for years now. Routinely, fantasy baseball magazines (and quite possibly major fantasy sports websites as well, although we are less certain of all of their practices, because it’s a MUCH larger ecosystem) compile their top overall rankings without taking into account how exactly players should be measured against each other at each position.

What do we mean by that exactly? Well, we’ll use the new fantasy baseball annual from The Sporting News as an example. Now, we want to start out by saying that this is one fine resource indeed and if you’re bound and determined to spend your hard-earned money on a fantasy baseball resource instead of waiting for our free FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 which will be released by February, you could do a lot worse. We have a lot of respect for what they do – BUT – when we find a big area where we differ, we’ll tell you about it. And as we said, they’re far from the only offender in this regard.

Frankly, their Top 300 Overall list is in no way representative of a draft strategy you should use for procuring players, especially at the positions of greater scarcity. In our draft guide, we utilize a Top 72 overall, showing which players should be selected within the first six rounds of a 12-team draft (we also have dollar values assigned in our guide for the benefit of those in auction leagues – the dollar values track exactly to where we have players ranked on our top overall list, which The Sporting News admittedly gets right as well). Given the inefficiencies that are available to be exploited in your average fantasy baseball draft, you should be able to get more than six players off of that list – no less than seven, quite possibly eight and in an ideal world nine or ten.

Catcher, second base and shortstop perennially produce the most shallow talent pools in fantasy baseball. Most industry touts would probably agree that you’d have a difficult time building a successful team without managing to procure above-average talent at no less than two of these three positions. Inasmuch as there are generally between 5-10 players at each of these positions that fit that bill, if they’re not all represented in our Top 72 Overall (or at least just on the cusp of it), we know that you’re not going to be able to pick the right players at the most difficult of positions. That’s why all of our starting-caliber players at each position are either contained in that Top 72, or in some rare instances are just outside of it.

But that’s not how the top magazines roll! When The Sporting News has J.J. Hardy at #126 overall or Robinson Cano at #128 overall, that shows that they’re not utilizing the tier system in terms of how to rate players. Most people would agree that Hardy, with his power and Cano, with his great and partially-realized upside (albeit with a toe-stubbing ’08 season) would be considered viable fantasy starters – but they would NEVER be available that low. If you’re on that tier of acceptable starters at a thin position, you’re NEVER to be slotted that low.

For that matter, The Sporting News doesn’t even slot the elite at these positions properly against the field. At a position where their rare skill sets really set them apart, Geovany Soto is rated #40 overall, Brian McCann is rated #76 overall and Russell Martin is rated #77 overall (Joe Mauer at #45 is still WAY overrated as he is every year by most touts because he does not have the power that is the true differentiator at catcher, but that’s another story!). The notion that one should wait that long before selecting such obvious early-round talent is patently absurd.

At FDH, we rate players against each other by position and break them down into tiers where we see obvious dropoffs in value, then we determine at which tier break you need to get your first player at a given position, then your second, and so on. By assembling the positional rankings in this way, it allows us to weave together a Top 72 Overall that is a seamless whole. If you apply a common-sense standard to an evaluation of the process, you would surely have to agree that this is the only method by which you can assemble a coherent overall set of rankings. It is obvious to us that our peers in the elite fantasy media, not just The Sporting News, are not piecing together their overall rankings as they should. As such, their products – while possessing some outstanding individual elements in different places – are fatally flawed in terms of their draft boards. Isn’t that a pretty big deficiency to have in your product? We think so.

Hoops Buy Low/Sell High

NOTE: Our recommendations flow from the proven notion that most players end up somewhere close to the range of their lowest potential reasonable projections and their highest potential reasonable projections. In other words, players who are cruising way above their highest potential reasonable projects are generally due for a “regression to the mean” and those scuffling along below their lowest potential reasonable projections are generally due for a “progression to the mean.” Injuries and other changes of circumstance can affect these expectations, but they are a true guide in terms of expectations way more often than not.

^ Carlos Boozer: The ultimate individualist will be very driven to finish the season on a high note when he does return (roughly around the All-Star Game) so that he can hit the free agent market with his usual degree of ruthlessness.
^ Daniel Gibson: As he returns to health, he’ll pick up where he left off before he got hurt last season, which means you’ll be hearing a lot of this: “Boobie for three!”
^ Peja Stojakovic: This streaky player is trending up again; buy his stock now.

Hoops Sell High

^ Paul Millsap: Boozer’s return will severely crimp his opportunities in about a month, although he now clearly factors strongly into the future of the Jazz.
^ Shaquille O’Neal: His recent play is generating euphoria and expectations that his body clearly can’t meet all the way through the season.
^ Derrick Rose/O.J. Mayo: Speaking of euphoria and expectations, these rookies are turning a lot of heads by picking up where they left off in college – but they’ll soon be reaching the point past which they’ve never been pushed physically and “The Wall” bows to no young hotshot.

Hockey Buy Low

^ Erik Cole: After a slow start, he’s coming much closer to meeting expectations.
^ Henrik Lundqvist: Finally, his other numbers are catching up to his nice win total.
^ Miikka Kiprusoff: He’s another marquee goalie with other numbers not worthy of his win tally – until recently.

Hockey Sell High

^ David Krejci: In his second year in the league, do you expect him to maintain better than a point-a-game pace, double that of a year ago? No, we didn’t think so.
^ Devin Setoguchi: See Krejci.
^ Steve Mason: This pace is a heck of a lot to expect from a rookie all the way through the season.


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