Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Heart Silver Trophies

From ESPN's Fantasy Basketball coverage:

Roy was hurt at the end of the first quarter in Portland's win over Washington. The All-Star guard strained his right groin attempting to block Caron Butler's buzzer-beating attempt. He returned briefly in the second quarter, but he aggravated the injury and soon left for good. Afterward, Blazers coach Nate McMillan told The Oregonian: "That injury could be awhile." The paper pointed out that groin injuries can take a month to heal.

With that, set your coffee safely away from your keyboard, and let me say it: Roy's season might be over.

And thennnn???

As for Turkoglu, he fell on his right wrist during Orlando's loss to San Antonio. As with Roy, Turkoglu's injury occurred at the end of the first quarter, and, after trying to play with it, he left for good early in the second. Turkoglu, a fantasy gem uncovered at the tail end of many drafts this season, will have an MRI on Wednesday.

"I'm crossing my fingers," he told the Orlando Sentinel. "I just fell on it. I hope it's just a sprain. I hope it's not something like it was broken and keeps me away."

There's still a little snow on our lawn. The flowers haven't poked through the ground yet. And the only real baseball game was played in a Japanese egg. Fret not, though. Clearly, spring is here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fun With Superlatives

Team most likely to

...repeat as champions: Chicago Tiger Army
There is a much higher degree of difficulty for everyone else this season.

...lead the league in steals: New Haven T-Cones
This team is fast. Not as fast as Michael Johnson (or someone more current), but fast.

...lead the league in saves: New Have T-Cones
Ffej has assembled the usual cast of closers... this time with Papelbon power.

...lead the league in homers: Woosta Pimp Roostas
I like to collect power hitters... Rich does it better and has been doing so for years.

...draft his own son: Speedway Starwipes
Two reasons... first, he's always the first one to the rookies. Secondly, given that he has one he has a distinct advantage.

...have two catchers on MLB All Star teams: Marshall Street Menace
Well, he kept two catchers. He had to get something for that. I drafted one once... just not this year.

...lead the league in CG's (thereby angering Watts): LA Squatters of Anaheim
Webb + Harang + Lackey (when back) = LOCK for this category.

...recieve trade offers from Speedway and Baltimore: Mile High Mackeral
Having Tim Lincecum will do that for you.

...recieve the most production from the MI position: Mile High Mackeral
Last years draft continues to pay dividends.

...challenge Speedway's supremacy for picking up younger players: Baltimore Devil Jays
Longoria, Upton, and Butler form the 2008 all star cast at the beginning of this year. Taking over the place of Alex Gordon.

...have his entire pitching staff begin the season on the DL: Baltimore Devil Jays
Lidge, Ryan, and Smoltz are already there (or will be soon).

...use at least 5 catchers this year: TIE Woosta and Chicago
Rich has very short patience with catchers, and I will begin the season with Bengie Molina (enough said).

...go the entire year without a Red Sox on their roster: TIE Baltimore and Chicago
Amazingly neither of these teams has one on their roster... oh wait, Julio Lugo's available... gotta go.

Monday, March 24, 2008

2008 ECB Draft: A Retrospective

Another ECB draft is in the books and clearly everyone wants to know what JB thinks about it. First of all, I would like to express my extreme regret for my tardiness on Sunday, but god damn, apparently a dude's gotta be ready and chatting at least 25 minutes before the start of the keeper rounds to prove he's still alive, otherwise his cellie runs out of memory from all the texts and voicemail he receives. I've drafted before, boys. I know where the pre-rank button is. And if you must know, I was playing tennis, didn't draft from my own computer, and still had a better draft than Watts. What. Okay, on to the round-up.

The 2008 cast of keepers was a pretty solid group, but as always, some keepers' sole job was to remind their owners not to repeat their bad-to-fuckin'-terrible 2007 draft. We all love to jack with Yahoo!'s ADPs by picking sure-fire keepers like David Wright and Carlos Lee well before they would be taken in an average Yahoo! draft, but some players had no business being drafted in the Top 40. I guess what I'm trying to say is, in my opinion, the 2008 ECB draft was very important for New Haven and Marshall Street.

Watts led off the draft with a surprisingly strong pick in Jake Peavy. I'm too lazy to do the research, but I remember back when Watts' teams were better than average they had formidable pitching. It seemed like he was going to try to re-establish that persona until his third pick came around (Huston Street). Ffej literally had me thinking that someone had fucked up the keeper rounds when he took Brandon Phillips. I'm not sure what his thinking was there, but Phillips wasn't anywhere on my radar for the first few rounds. The rest of the first round went pretty true to form. Sitting in the eighth slot, I wasn't expecting guys like Magglio Ordonez, Manny Ramirez, and Justin Morneau to get to me. I kind of enjoy drafting at the end of the line because a lot of the decisions are made for me by the rest of the league. I was debating on whether I should take Alex Rios or my eventual pick of Nick Markakis. When Grashow took Rios, I got to spend the next three minutes pining over Vernon Wells.

My reasoning for taking Wells? He's usually on Rich's team. Speaking of Colonel Rice, he had a very Pimpy draft. In fact, almost every team in the league seemed to draft guys that fit the persona of their team. Half-crazies like Manny, K-Rod, and Rickie Weeks wound up in Woosta. Young'ns Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Cain went to the Wipes. Adler kept things in Chi-town with Paul Konerko, Carlos Zambrano, and Bobby Jenks. Personally, I look at my roster and seen n'an guys that make me think "why did I draft that douchebag?" Can the same be said for Watts when he sees Joakim Soria? I leave that to him.

Some picks I loved...

  • Ryan Garko (Speedway, Round 22) - For some reason I got to see a lot of Garko games last year towards the end of the season. I think with a healthy and productive Hafner in front of him, Garko could put up some big power numbers. A good pick by Frieds as Garko would not have made it back to him in Round 23.
  • J.J. Putz (Baltimore, Round 8) - Had he not finished 2007 on Adler's team, there's a good chance he would have been a keeper somewhere else.
  • Brad Penny (Chicago, Round 17) - This dude carried my pitching staff last year, so I'm not sure why I let him slip this far. I have no problem with him playing in Chicago though, Penny would probably be 8-Ball's favorite player if he knew who Penny was.

... and some I thought were... well... bad.

  • Brian McCann (Keeper, Marshall Street) - I still don't get why Watts needed to keep two catchers. I realize McCann scored only two less points than Melky Cabrera last year, but with only one C-spot to fill, questionable health for all catchers, and Joe Mauer already in tow, I think Watts should have kept a guy like Chris Young (the hitter) and let someone else have McCann. I just think it would have been a more efficient roster move. But that's just me...
  • Chone Figgins (Round 11, New Haven) - I'm never going to like small-ball guys in this league. Never ever. "But JB, your team led ECB in Offense and steals last year, what are you talking about?" Shut up.
  • John Lackey (Round 12, LA of A) - Sorry Bob, but I have a bad feeling that Lackey's going to put up B.J. Ryan-esque numbers this year.

So if no one were to make any moves all year, who do I think would win? Hell if I know, but I'll tell you who I think will join me in the playoffs...

  • Chicago Tiger Army. Adler's hitting his stride with this league and he won the Frieds lottery this year. It'll be tough to screw up that lineup, but it's been done before.
  • Woosta Pimp Roostas. I'd be a fool to think that a team with Pujols, A-Rod, and Papi would miss the playoffs two years in a row.
  • Los Angeles Squatters of Anaheim. I don't think I'm the only owner who would like to see Bob's team make the playoffs. This team was really bad for years and Bob has stuck to his guns and put a lot of work into turning the franchise around.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Got a Fevah

Actually, I don't. No calling in sick today, folks. I'm legitimately home sans guilty conscience and plan to watch copious amounts of West Wing Season 5. Man, that John Goodman is a fat mess. Oh and also, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament kicks off today. Between now and MLB Opening Day, late March fucking rules.

I think the last time I got to watch the afternoon tourney action without feigning illness was back in 7th grade, when renowned middle school health teacher Mr. Sweeney wheeled the ol' TV cart into that dungeon classroom and "made" us all watch. That's the kind of teacher I'd want to be. Except I wouldn't want to have to talk about genitalia on the side.

Anyway, it feels like we've been in a buzzer-beater drought for the last few years. We've had enough Cinderellas, I suppose, but I'd rather see all the favorites advance if it meant their games came down to the last shot. This especially holds true in the Denver region, where I expect an interpid blogger to be filing reports. Why Denver? Gus.

In fantasy news, some of the KFSers are back in the deep end of the tournament pool - I believe young Daniel took home the gold in '07. There appear to be a few pitfalls in this year's bracket - the Drake-Butler trap, the "pick-all-the-2-seeds" trap, and the dreaded "pick-American-or-you're not-patriotic" trap. Well I'm not falling for any of those, no sir. I'm sticking with the chalk. And Siena. And St. Mary's. And Washington State. But certainly not Vermont. They can't make free throws.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Keeper Numberology

All of these preview posts (and the impending draft) got me thinking about keepers, so I went back to 2007 and calculated the point totals for last season's keepers:

For those of you who aren't into statistics, the +- entries are the standard deviations. A large standard deviation indicates a lot of variability in the scores. For instance, in the case of BDJ, the score of Chris Carpenter (5) is very different from the average score (506), resulting in the large standard deviation (281). Small standard deviations, like that for MHI (27) indicate that all of the players scores are pretty close to the team average.

The first thing that jumped out at me was that the keepers taken in the first round averaged a score of only 491, by far the lowest of any keeper round. I attributed this to savvy KFS players trying to sabotage the Yahoo! Average Draft Position (ADP) rankings in combination with Chris Carpenters elbow. The overall average score for all keepers was 546 points, which was significantly lower than I would have guessed. Of course, after the scores of 2007 Worst Keeper candidates Chris Carpenter and BJ Ryan were removed, the average scores increased to a more respectable 574. These two ultimate keeper busts were both pitchers, but out of the other pitchers kept (Johan Santana(625), Jake Peavy(717), Brandon Webb(627), and Joe Nathan(548)) only Nathan didn't significantly outpace the average keeper score of 546 (or even the average with outliers removed, 574). I took this to indicate that keeping pitchers tends to be a high risk/high reward proposition.

As we should have expected, the highest team average keeper score went to Woosta (655), but Speedway wasn't too far behind 628). Interestingly, 2007 champions, CTA, were in the lower half of the list (5th place, 558 average), suggesting that the draft, a lucky schedule, and a hot streak around playoff time can more than make up for poor keeper performance. The relatively poor average keeper scores for the other 3 basement dwellers (BDJ, MST, and NHT) can be linked to injuries and/or lack of power hitters. I guess the old saying: "Chicks and KFS dig the longball," seems to hold true.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

3 Hours With the Celtics, the Rockets, and a Baby on My Lap

What, you were expecting a play-on-words headline? Yeah, that particular gene has been temporarily disabled.

I'm gonna do something crazy here to mark the return of the wildly underrated KFS blog. I'm gonna watch a basketball game and comment on it in real time. To my knowledge, this has never been done on the internet. Thinking of calling it "Jogging Journal" or "Now to Now Blogging."


For those of you reading this 5 years from now after clicking on "Archives", printing this out, and sitting on your toilets (which have a much higher flushing capacity and come with Cottonelle Wipes dispensers and a pop-up HDTV), here's a little background for tonight's action:

In a league that has been perennially criticized for featuring the most god-awful slow regular season in sports, the '07-'08 NBA campaign has seen more twists and turns than the Suzuki track on Pole Position (really, I'm doing this once per paragraph. Bite me). More importantly, the number of legitimately great players is at an all-time high and scoring and free-flowing play is on the way back. Now, add in the fact that the C's have a shot to bring glory back to one of the league's cornerstone franchises, and that the Rockets are currently riding a 22-game winning streak, and by golly, people are talking about an NBA game in March.


Well, I already royally f'ed this up, as the game isn't even on CSN (nee Fox Sports New England, nee SportsChannel, nee Prism). I was counting on half my material coming from Tommy Heinsohn. Instead, CSN is handling the pregame show only, before handing it off to TNT. Hopefully, this means some Sir Charles goodness will fill the void.

9:02 - From the studio, Tommy says that the Rockets have benefitted greatly from the resurgence of Dikembe Mutombo. Well, actually he said "Dicumby Matembo" the first 3 times before nailing it. Jameson Whiskey - it's what's for dinner.

9:11 - So, even though they aren't announcing the game, Mike Gorman, Donny Marshall, and Greg Dickerson are at the arena anyway doing some analysis. Of course, it wouldn't make any sense for them to be standing out on the court, so they happen to be back in the bowels of the stadium, standing under a stairwell or something. I'm pretty sure I just saw Mankind hit Golddust with a mophandle in the background.

9:27 - Tommy says goodbye by pretending to quickly scribble on the sheet of paper in front of him, newscaster-style. This guy actually did the play-by-play for road games back in the early 90s with only Bob Cousy to rein him in. This would have been when their away games were on Fox - "And now you've heard the word - FOX25 has got Bill, Bart, and Bird!" Memory is a weird mistress.

9:30 - Channel 764 brings us TNT in lovely high definition. Ernie, Chuck, and The Jet are in the studio.

9:35 - Ernie - "Charles, did you hear what Wolves GM Glen Taylor said about his team today?"
Charles - "We suck?"

9:40 - Kevin Harlan's doing the game! I either like this guy or hate him. Can't wait to remember which.

9:41 - Starting lineup graphics. If a production crew hands you a ball and tells you to ham around a little bit, how do you
not palm the ball and hold it out in front of you? Even the Tim Duncan Robot does it.


9:42 - I love these green and gold uniforms. I do not love Tony Allen starting.

9:42:30 - Somebody stole the tap for Boston, so it's Rockets ball on the side. I'll take a poll when this is over to gauge public opinion, but I'm thinking I won't talk about every play. Pioneerin' ain't easy.

9:43 - Except now Rafer Alston and Rajon Rondo almost come to blows during the first stoppage. It would be so awesome if the two most clever PGs in the league got tossed and I spent the rest of the night sleeping through 178 iso sets.

9:47 - I noticed this during last night's game against the Spurs, too, but James Posey is so awesome on the bench. Every C's basket, he leaps out of his chair, sticks his chest out towards the crowd and nods his head. In a related story, Shane Battier just went through his jab series from the triple threat position.

9:51 - You're not going to believe this, but KG just grabbed two offensive boards and put one back, then ran up the court spewing about 43 varieties of the f-word to himself and anyone else within a 3-mile radius. But yeah, I totally miss Gerald Green.

9:55 - Should I be mentioning commercials?

9:59 - Boston officially means business - PJ Brown is getting 1st Q minutes. Unfortunately, he just got eaten alive by Dicumby, who gives the finger wag of doom and is still making his way upcourt as I type. See, this is exactly the kind of thing that sinks my NCAA brackets every year - now I'm thinking about how much I hate Georgetown and I'll have them going out in Round 2. If Battier plants a foot in Paul Pierce's nuts later, I won't know what to do.

10:07 - T-Mac gathers in a rebound, glides up the floor, effortlessly pulls up for what looks like an automatic three, and then, at that exact moment that awful Gwen Stefani song (nope, not that one. Nope. Ye...wait, no. There you go) gets pumped into the arena and McGrady bricks it. Just desserts, that.

10:09 - We made it to the end of the first quarter, people. This is going splendidly, I think. The inventor of the "live blog" would be proud. And I am. I have no idea what the score is, by the way.

10:13 - OK, now on the floor for the Rockets: Shane Battier, Luther Head, Bobby Jackson, Chuck Hayes, and something called a Mike Harris. Did I mention these guys haven't lost since the middle of January? And of course they're running the Celtics bench plus Pierce off the court right now. These are the times when, as a Celtics fan, you just have to remember that KG, Rondo, et al won't be resting for 20 minutes a game in the playoffs like they are now.

10:18 - Changing the channel for the first time - Syracuse barely beats Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. Morris is now free to join the Rockets in time for the 4th quarter. Lurking on the other side of Syracuse's "region" is UMass. 1996 called. They want cell phone technology to hurry up and get here so that they can call from anywhere to say that those two teams were really good in 1996.

10:23 - One of Eddie House's tattoos says "E HOUSE", which is totally normal. But why is it written in Ye Olde English font? Is he Eddie House of the Kensington Houses?

10:30 - Mike Harris is apparently miked up for TNT, and they come back from break showing him fumbling the ball out of bounds and saying "my fault". Good to know that kind of thing isn't limited to midnight madness at the Y.

10:33 - If I told you one of the Rockets was hustling just a little too much, grabbing offensive rebounds, tripping over himself, and flopping on every drive, your first reaction should really be, "there's a white guy on the Rockets that comes from a country that loves soccer?" To make matters worse, I just remembered he's in my fantasy lineup this week and looks like the kind of player that the coaches specifically tell to not to shoot the ball under any circumstances. Maybe I won't score 1300 points for once.

10:42 - It's halftime, Cameron is sleeping soundly before 4AM for the first time in his life, and I've got the big couch all to myself. I think I better call this one early. Hey, not bad for our first time out. Baby steps, people.
Hey, there's my pun!

2008 Draft Preview: Speedway Starwipes

The following entry was submitted by Grashow.

Announced Keepers

Chase Utley, Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Matt Holiday


If the list of keepers for the fast-roading celestial towelettes that call themselves the Speedway Starwipes does not send a shiver up your spine, then you need stop reading this right now and go take a look at just about any list of top fantasy baseball players available on the Internet or in any magazine. The only thing that could make this lineup any more fearsome would be to replace only semi-awesome shortstop Troy Tulowhatshisname with one of MLB’s top sluggers. Of course this “top slugger” would have to be someone who consistently finishes at the top of the league in points and is in the prime of his career. Possibly someone who plays at a position that allows him to focus on offense (like first base), possibly playing for a team that he rooted for growing up, possibly in a contract year, possibly with a name that throws opposing pitchers off with complicated sequences of vowels every time they look at his uniform… but where would you find a player like that?

Well, anyway, as if their fearsome five-some wasn’t enough to set them up for the season to come, Speedway also wriggled through the rule book to make a trade that landed them an extra 13th round pick in exchange for their funny name pick (karma be damned!). This team is looking so good that one can’t help but wonder when GM Friedman will feel the need to step in and trade away some of this top talent for some “high upside” replacements.

Draft Outlook

With a rock solid offense virtually assured by their keeper picks, the Starwipes may be in the market for some pitching by the time the 6th round rolls along. Will they be able to avoid the longing looks coming from the puppy-dog eyes of recently discarded All-Star pitcher Jake Peavy long enough to pull the trigger on someone else? My guess is no.
SIXTH ROUND PICK (6): Jake “the K-Snake” Peavy

2008 Draft Preview: Baltimore Devil Jays

Announced Keepers

Johan Santana, Prince Fielder, Grady Sizemore, Adam Dunn, Victor Martinez


GM Grashow, sans basketball, team spent all of his off season on one thing... winning a football title. GM Grashow has now turned is attention towards baseball which could be a scary proposition given his keepers. This is the first year in a while that his expectations will not rely on the state of NH as Chris Carpenter was not invited back in 2008 (at least not as a keeper).

Draft Outlook

There are lots of pitchers for the choosing this year as only 3 pitchers were kept going into 2008. This would seem to set the stage for Baltimore, a franchise known for pitching, to complement Johan Santana with another capable second starter. While this is unlikely to be Baltimore fan favorites Tim Lincecum, Liriano, or Carpenter (not in the 6th round anyway) there will likely another strikeout pitcher on his way to Baltimore soon.
6th Round Pick (7): Erik Bedard

2008 Draft Preview: Los Angeles Squatters of Anaheim

Announced Keepers

David Wright, Alfonso Soriano, Travis Hafner, Jason Bay, Brandon Webb


Bob Colayco is much like Carmen San Diego. Having attended the fantasy football draft while in Germany there is much anticipation to see where Bob will select his baseball team from. There is one thing for certain though... and that is Jason Bay will be wearing the Squatters jersey in 2008. After the unintentional non-keeper debacle of 2007 Bob is taking no chances this year.

Draft Outlook

Bob is one of the most versatile GMs in KFS. He has retooled this franchise from a team with keepers including Bret Boone, Jason Schmidt, and Derek Lowe to one that threatens to make the playoffs rather consistently (and includes Jason Bay). Bob has no aversion to going against conventional KFS wisdom (see pitcher as keeper), and will likely stay his own course.
Round 6 Pick (3): Jake Peavy

2008 Draft Preview: New Haven Traffic Cones

Announced Keepers

Carlos Pena, Brian Roberts, Aramis Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Ichiro


Jeff Stanley has been a busy guy. After guiding his football team the playoffs again he briefly flirted with making the playoffs in basketball too. Returning to baseball, Jeff has renewed hope that he will be able to double his baseball postseasons in 2008. Jeff feels comfortable with his keepers and in fact challenged all other teams to a relay race of keepers. At one point Jeff proposed changing this league to a Track and Field fantasy league. Fortunately this proposal never made it out of subcommittee.

Draft Outlook

If Jeff has one weakness as a baseball owner it is closers, and old players. Fine, if Jeff has two weaknesses as a fantasy baseball owner they are closers and keepers. While this would seem to lead the reader to say this is where Mariano Rivera goes off the board... it is unlikely in round 6 as Jeff hasn't taken a closer in the sixth round since at least 2002 (fun fact). This is not to say that Jeff will not use picks 7-25 to select 19 closers.
Sixth Round Pick (2): Manny Ramirez

2008 Draft Preview: Marshall Street Menace

Announced Keepers

Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Carlos Lee


Having grown hungrier over the off season, GM Watterson is looking to turn this franchise around to its glory days... of 2003. While GM Watts made the playoffs in 2005, championships are what they count on on Marshall St., not first round defeats. After being unable to land anyone via trade, GM Watts has turned his attention to the draft. He will examine many prospects as the world, as they say, is his oyster with the first pick.

Draft Outlook

After missing some recent drafts GM Watterson has seemed to renew his focus and is going to lead by example. Figuring if he shows up, maybe his team will do likewise. Having been devastated by injuries to keepers BJ Ryan and Troy Glaus last year, Watts has likely sworn off the Blue Jays (and Canada as a whole). This would mean no Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, or even Andres Galarraga. Appearing to be set at catcher could also be a smoke screen as Watts targeted the 3 top catchers in the league in 2007's draft.
Sixth Round Pick (1): Russell Martin

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Draft Preview: Chicago Tiger Army

Announced Keepers

Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman


Well, it finally happened. After years and years of hard work and several near-misses, Adler finally has some proof that, at least sometimes, he does not suck. So after winning his first-ever championship what does the Tiger Army owner have in store for an encore? How about a controversial pre-draft trade of a pick for a keeper for starters? Adler was able to steal switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira from the Speedway Starwipes for a 13th round pick. The addition of Teixeira gives the Tiger Army three of baseball's premier switch-hitters. Rumor has it that Adler is now eying Jimmy Rollins of the Mackerel and Jose Reyes of the Pimp Roostas in hopes of one day putting together an entire roster of switch-hitters.

Draft Outlook

With the core of this once directionless team now securely in the hands of Da Yung Bux (Ryan Howard, Hunter Pence, and Teixeira), Adler can afford to take some chances on draft day. Although he'll be losing a 13th round pick, as one ECB owner pointed out, "I'll probably wind up cutting everyone after my first three picks anyway." True statement. The addition of Teixeira and the legendary draft-prep done in Chicago means that Adler's Army has to be considered one of the top teams again in 2008, with a legitimate shot to make a run at a repeat.
SIXTH ROUND PICK (5): Justin Morneau

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Let's open this up to something that is no longer just a KFS blog. Now we can talk about real sports and get into it with homers like these guys.

New names and slogans are welcomed. It took me all of 2 minutes to come up with the new name.

I'm also going to throw in some back-dated blogs of mine, just for shits.