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Charging the Mound: The Two-Hour Nap

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Liss
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:30am
To: Jeff Erickson
Subject: Charging


Everyone hates a hangover, but I used to think it was almost worth it for that two-hour nap you get in the late afternoon when the herky-jerkiness of the alcohol withdrawal finally wore off. After driving back from Vegas today with Sasha bristling against the ultra-tight kids car seat and Heather either sleeping or attending to Sasha, I got one of those naps - one minute you're stretched out on the couch reading your IPad, and the next you don't even know where the hell you are, drifting in and out of different dreams intermixed with the noise from Heather feeding Sasha in the kitchen.

The All-Star break, and the unreal environment in which we spend it every year isn't all that different. There's the vague awareness of baseball news going on in the background - Ryan Braun, Biogenesis suspensions and likely appeals looming soon, ARod, Jake Peavy and maybe Brandon Beachy returning soon from injuries - Yoenis Cespedes won the home run derby, and I wouldn't have bet on him, so I'm glad I didn't bet. The actual All-Star game took place while I was at the poker table, but I was able to lay $50 on the AL and parlay the AL and the over (a loser) for $20 without missing a blind. What an odd poker game - I felt like everyone at my 1/3 table was a shark, and I was the dumbass. Because I was losing anyway, I broke my rule about not drinking and got a Grey Goose martini and then five Vodka-sodas. It was only then my luck turned. The moral is while you should never play drunk against dumbasses, when you are the dumbass, it can't hurt and might even help. Except when I called a guy who had a set of jacks after slurring: "If you don't have the jacks, I've got you."

By the time Mariano Rivera came to close the game out, I was actually up $50 or so (after being down $350), and I celebrated the win before realizing he was pitched in the eighth inning. When Joe Nathan closed out the ninth I was down about $60 but had gotten more than my money's worth in top shelf drinks and was best friends with half the table. I had even forgotten that Robbie Cano had gotten drilled - if that injury were serious, the Yankees become instant sellers. Fortunately, it looks like he'll be okay.

Even now, I'm still only drifting back into baseball reality like when you first wake up and you still think parts of your dream are true. Or when you dream you've woken up and are actually still asleep. Or when you are actually up and hosting the SXM show but forget that you're hosting and talk like you would if you were on the phone with your co-host.

Your last email incidentally reminded me of a dream that we had a 16-team football draft in Vegas. I picked 15th and got LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew. Can't remember who you took.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Erickson
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 4:00pm
To: Chris Liss
Subject: RE: Charging


Man, I wish I would have had a two-hour nap after getting home from that drive - it's always so draining. But I dealt with the 15-minute catnap and moved on.

The metaphor works for me. It's a surreal world, and I think if you spend any longer than two-to-three days in Vegas, you need to get off the strip for just a little bit to go get grounded back in reality. But it was nice to be in the bubble for a little bit and ignore the Biogenesis news, or lack thereof, just for a little bit. Instead, I could focus on things like the Gelato Wheel at the Aria buffet or our great pool set-up. Alas, my poker memories from this trip are ones I'd rather forget.

So let's talk about that draft instead. I had the fifth pick, and was hoping for either Jamaal Charles or C.J. Spiller to fall back to me. In a modest surprise, both were there when it was my time to act. I went with Charles because he has just a little less competition than Spiller, though I'm not really afraid of Fred Jackson eating too much into Spiller's time now that the Bills have a sane coaching staff. On the way back, I grabbed Jordy Nelson, taking a small gamble on his bounce back over the likes of Andre Johnson, Victor Cruz and Dwayne Bowe, among others. Ironically, I really like the idea of Bowe being a good "Last Year's Bum" to target and would have taken him in the third had he gotten back to me, even though I already had Charles. I'm not necessarily adverse to grabbing multiple guys from the same team, but at the same time, I'm not thrilled with the idea of the top two picks going like that, especially from a team that was so disappointing last year. I get the concept of buy lowest, but there's a fine line between that and betting on the come.

We talked about this on-air, but I like all the challenges that a 16-team draft presents. With each pick you make, there's more value that you're passing on, forcing you to make real decisions. Want to load up on RB's and WR's early and play the wait-on-the-quarterbacks game? That's fine - but unlike in a 12-teamer, your options aren't nearly as viable, especially if you don't immediately back that QB up with a second one. Lower-upside but steady players have a lot more value in this format, too.

Let's talk about baseball again. Games finally start Friday - I enjoy the extra day off merely from a work perspective, but my goodness, as a baseball fan, it often seems like the wait is interminable. I really felt lost yesterday around 4:00, not having any lineups to set or baseball to watch. And don't get me started on the programming options on television. I already try to avoid games broadcasted by Hawk Harrelson - there's no way I'm going to watch a two-hour career retrospective. And the football news, both pro and college, don't qualify as news - I really, really don't care if Johnny Manziel left a third-party camp a day early or not. In other news, 20 year-olds really act like they're 20 sometimes!

Even though it's a later All-Star break than usual, there's still a ton of baseball left to be played. There's a natural inclination to turn to football now, but don't give up on all but the most hopeless of teams. For starters, you have a real chance to win! I can't tell you how many times I've seen 20-point comebacks in this timespan, and I've been on both sides of that ledger. It's time to really attack those categories in roto-style leagues. Moreover, even if you're just a middle of the pack league, there's a pretty big responsibility to not skew the race by becoming a ghost ship. Put out your best lineup, make sure there are no dead spots, and try to acquire the most obvious free agents. The latter is especially important in leagues such as your home league, which have periodic waivers and there's a supplemental draft order - no contender should get a windfall because a middling team just gave up.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Liss
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 9:43pm
To: Jeff Erickson
Subject: Re: Charging


I like the 16-team format because it puts quarterbacks back in play. DVR took Aaron Rodgers at No. 6 overall, and it actually makes sense when you know the QB run will happen in Round 4 instead of Rounds 6 or 7. In the standard 12-team league, you almost have to wait on QBs, so the strategy is far more obvious. Even WR which are deep this year thinned out in a hurry with three starters and a flex multiplied by 16. 

As for baseball, even with the last All-Star break, there's plenty of time for huge shake-ups in your league. I've lost 20-point leads in late August, let alone mid-July. The best thing to do with the struggling teams is to set a modest goal of getting to 10th or eighth or sixth and give it meaning. If you have too many other squads going to care, the remedy is to play in fewer leagues. I like that in most of mine - the Staff League, YF&F and my home league, for example, we keep track of lifetime finishes, average finish, etc. You really don't want a 12th place destroying your career resume. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Erickson
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:57pm
To: Chris Liss
Subject: Re: Charging


We should make lifetime finishes a tiebreaker for current season ties. Also, sidebets should always be encouraged for those teams not currently in the hunt - that's a powerful incentive to make those incremental improvements. Actually, sidebets should always be encouraged no matter where you're at in the standings.

I think you've inspired me to geek out on archiving the Staff League results - average finish, category records, etc... I need a time-killing project like this like I need another league to join, or a hole in my head. But I'm probably going to do it anyways.