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Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Shifting to fantasy football

By: Todd Zola,,

Let's be honest -- a great many of fantasy enthusiasts (including many of us) play both fantasy baseball and fantasy football. What are some of the ways you go about preparing for football but still keep up with managing your baseball teams?

Perry Van Hook

1B Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
From Abreu to Adrian Peterson

First as at other times of the year, it is a question of time management: what has to be done at certain times/days; when you have specific needs (i.e. draft at 7 PM tonight); or how to use a lot of multitasking time.

The NFL Network now has very good shows to watch: Inside Training Camp, which is basically a wandering news/report show; and NFL Total Access which has some things worth storing upstairs. In addition, ESPN has NFL Insiders and NFL Live in the middle of the day (with plenty of re-airings). The big value of these shows is that they don't demand your compete attention they can be background which allows you to focus elsewhere online and then turn when something of interest perks your ears.

Tim Heaney

We're full-blast preparing for football over at KFFL, so it's just another arm of this job.

The balance of baseball management in July and August can be tough. I've tried a little extra reading at night for MLB; planning ahead with waiver wire possibilities earlier in the previous week; and trading a bit more aggressively in efforts to avoid overpaying on the dwindling waiver wire.

Rob Leibowitz

I've always felt prepping for football had minimal impact on my baseball given that I play in exclusively weekly transaction leagues. That said, debating my football keepers and tradeables and thinking about trades in my leagues like I did today doesn't so much impact each other so much as it just reduces the time I spend on other activities.

Right now it's still mostly a baseball focus. Sundays and Mondays (my transaction deadline days) are football-free zones. My football keepers are pretty obvious and most of my leagues don't wake up and only first start talking trade in mid to late August so it is easy to balance the two for now. Mid draft in late August while negotiating deadline deals for baseball can be hectic but I revel in that and just embrace the fun.

Lawr Michaels

I'm with Rob in that it doesn't really get in the way.

Just more games to play.

Lord Zola's Wrap-up

Before I became a full-time fantasy analyst, and before my 20 or so years wearing a chemical lab coat and safety googles, I did a lot of teaching at the undergraduate level. The toughest part was concocting exam questions to elicit the response I was seeking. Early on, I'd write a question and when I was correcting the tests, realize the student misinterpreted the question and in essence answered another question. I couldn't blame them -– the question was poorly constructed. I graded it based on the response given and learned to pose question to eliminate this scenario.

That sort of thinking has carried over to the weekly questions for this Round Table, and I must say, the Knights and I are usually in lockstep. In rare instances do I receive an answer that diverges from the big-picture point I want to make. Kudos also goes to the Knights for recognizing the point and addressing it in a means to make this space as useful as possible.

But this time, for whatever reason, things did not go as planned. The given was supposed to be we collectively make it work – find a way to handle both sports. I was fishing for some of the tricks we all use to make it happen. Maybe the question should have read:

Most of play both fantasy baseball and fantasy football and can successfully keep up with our baseball teams while readying for football. What are some of the ways you go about preparing for football but still keep up with managing your baseball teams?

Regardless, I'll offer some thoughts.

I've actually broached this question with some friends and their response has been "it's only football."

To which I say to myself, "If it's only football, why are there always some fantasy football owners always in the playoffs while another group are always blaming injuries or bad scheduling luck for their non-playoff finish?"

To which I answer to myself, "They work harder."

For what it's worth, the same is true of fantasy baseball preparation. The most successful players aren't universally smarter or even more skilled; they put more effort into their preparation.

Let's harken back to the student thing. Were those that received better grades necessarily the smartest or did they work the hardest? I venture to say it was a little of both but working hard is never a bad thing.

Which student has the better chance of nailing their exam – the one that studies a little every night that spends the night before reviewing or the one that pulls an all-night cram session fueled by alternating Red Bull and Mountain Dew? The same is true for prepping for a fantasy draft.

The key to working hard is working efficiently. Back in my lab coat and safety goggle days, my boss used to say “think about how to work smarter, not always harder.” The idea was he didn't want to see us staying past normal working hours and coming in on weekends. He wanted us to be more efficient with our time.

That's the key to handling both baseball and football – time management. And to be fair, the Knights did talk about this.

It's the end of July. You don't need to know the fifth wide receiver on every team. But it would help if you knew which teams have new head coaches or offensive coordinators thus may be installing new systems and how that may affect the team's skill players. This way, you're not relying on a ranking you download the night before (or day of) a draft. You have a feel for the genesis of the rank and can decide if the ranking incorporated the new system.

These are the sort of things that are talked about on the shows Perry references as well as the radio shows on the Sirius XM football channel.

Looking for sleepers now is a fool's errand as so many training camp scenarios turn would-be sleepers into overhyped must-haves. My suggestion is to focus on the bigger picture: team-oriented scenarios like what team has a better offensive line and how injury to one player may affect another. It's almost like you're not studying; you're just watching (or listening to) something you enjoy.

Then a couple weeks before your draft, spend the time really assimilating all the more casual knowledge into rankings etc.

Work smarter, not harder.

About the author:

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

Top 7 Fantasy Baseball Free Agents: Billy Butler flips switch, SB sources arrive

By: Tim Heaney,

These players deserve to be the most popular additions in fantasy baseball games this weekend.

(All owned in fewer than, or not much more than, 50 percent of leagues polled.)

About the author:

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts: Ken Giles headlines potential new save sources

By: Tim Heaney,

Assessing all the fantasy baseball closers....

We've already seen Huston Street and Joakim Soria change teams with divergent fantasy baseball fallout. The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is one of the most volatile times for bullpen movement during the year. Your best speculations for new saves heading into Thursday:

Ken Giles, Philadelphia Phillies: Despite a reportedly slow market, Jonathan Papelbon is more than hinting he doesn't want to stick around. Giles, who frequently hits triple digits, would step in readily to start his audition for the future.

RP Ken Giles, Philadelphia Phillies
Ken can close

Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres: Odds say Joaquin Benoit is next to leave America's Finest City. Nick Vincent is a threat, but Thayer, who wrapped up seven games in 2012 and has been beasting this year, should be ready if another late-inning domino in front of him falls.

Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox: Boston is selling, and that may include Koji Uehara. Tazawa's skills are elite, so even if they hold, stashing the 28-year-old wouldn't be a fruitless venture.

Rex Brothers and Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies: The reeling Rox would do well to get rid of LaTroy Hawkins for something that can help the future. The control-challenged but future-stopper Brothers and the efficient Ottavino could split duties.

Brad Ziegler, Arizona Diamondbacks: They'd give up on Addison Reed already? It's possible. He'd fetch more for a rebuilding team, in theory. Ziegler has been nearly lights-out.

Neil Ramirez and Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs: Maybe Hector Rondon has done enough to interest some clubs looking for a cheap solution. Ramirez was demoted but is the best pitcher of these three, all things equal.

Mike Dunn and A.J. Ramos, Miami Marlins: They're on the border of competing and maybe shipping Steve Cishek. Miami has another lefty in the 'pen, which frees up Dunn. Ramos' rough statistical outliers say that 1.98 ERA is bound for correction, but he has great stuff.

John Axford, Cleveland Indians: Merely because he has developed a pattern of getting traded at this time of year. His 3.43 ERA and 5.95 BB/9 don't jive, but he would still be a K contributor, and he's shown much improvement since losing the Cleveland job.

Jose Veras, Houston Astros: The perpetually rebuilding 'Stros say they won't trade Chad Qualls, buuuuuuuuuuut....

Closer Depth Charts

Job Security (JS):
1 (unstable)
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
5 (durable)
: Up
+: Added
INJ: Injured
: Down
M: Minors
DL: Disabled List

AL East

Baltimore Orioles
Zach Britton Darren O'Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Red Sox
Junichi Tazawa Andrew Miller
Heath Hembree M +
New York Yankees
David Robertson Dellin Betances
Shawn Kelley
Adam Warren
Tampa Bay Rays
Committee Jake McGee Brad Boxberger
Grant Balfour  
Joel Peralta
Toronto Blue Jays
Casey Janssen Aaron Loup
Dustin McGowan
Sergio Santos M
Brett Cecil


AL Central

Chicago White Sox
Matt Lindstrom DL Zach Putnam DL
Jake Petricka
Javy Guerra
Daniel Webb
Cleveland Indians
Cody Allen John Axford Bryan Shaw
Detroit Tigers
Joe Nathan Joakim Soria Joba Chamberlain
Ian Krol
Kansas City Royals
Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
Jason Frasor
Minnesota Twins
Glen Perkins Casey Fien Jared Burton


AL West

Houston Astros
Chad Qualls Jose Veras
Jesse Crain DL
Tony Sipp
Josh Fields
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Huston Street Joe Smith Jason Grilli
Oakland Athletics
Sean Doolittle Luke Gregerson Dan Otero
Ryan Cook
Seattle Mariners
Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
Texas Rangers
Neftali Feliz Neal Cotts
Corey Knebel
Shawn Tolleson
Alexi Ogando DL

About the author:

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

Fantasy Baseball's Tumbling Dice: Keeping your head in the game

By: Lawr Michaels,,

The baseball season is such a grind.

The ups and downs can be difficult to sustain, which in reality is one of the main challenges fantasy owners face. For even in a league with weekly transactions, staying on top of all the moves and making the right ones at the right time is a challenge.

OF Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Such optimism fell flat

If I think back to the back 15 long weeks ago -- or maybe it was just yesterday -- my League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) NL-only team was duking it out for first place with RotoWire's Derek VanRiper.

The squad was smoking on the power of Mark Trumbo, the speed and average of Emilio Bonifacio, and the starting arm of Aaron Harang.

Needless to say, you can guess where my team is now, struggling near the bottom of the league, as I look at each category and try to figure anywhere I can pick up points and a little respectability in the standings.

The problem is I really have nothing worth trading that would help. Even my second reliever, former Giants No. 1 stopper Sergio Romo, would not entice much of a deal.

And I get this is the way the game goes: Sometimes you just have a bad year.

Still, as the season wanes, and as football starts to peek at us with a whole new sense of fantasy optimism, it is hard to not get distracted, let alone just hang it up in your less than successful baseball leagues.

However, if you are serious about playing the game and about not just learning but improving year-to-year, keeping on top of your team during this seemingly down time can be more than rewarding.

Some of the things I try to stay on are:

If you can lose your off-year blues within the throes of what I suggest, it can not only make the end of this year more interesting and fun, it can help fill you with optimism for next year way ahead of the curve.

You can get the Mastersball Player Projections as well as our Top 250 Prospects as part of our Platinum package, with more information at Mastersball Platinum Package. Mastersball Platinum is the edge that supported four of the top five finishers in the NFBC in 2012. You can get the same insights and analysis that helped Dave Potts with the $100,000 grand prize last year by subscribing to Mastersball at Mastersball Platinum Package.

About the author:

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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