Articles by Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of 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).

DFS Disasters Are Disastrous

Apparently I missed the point of Survivor tourneys, and mistakenly thought that drafting the worst possible pitchers while trying to survive was the point. Gerrit Cole was 73.5% owned, which brought me little consolation when he tallied just 3.9 points. But that was better than my pairing option, the disastrous Roenis Elias, who took away 5.95 points, leading to a grand total of 74.95 points for my team. That was good for 4477/5000, pretty far from the 2,500 cut-line.

DFS Disasters For Wednesday

I still have some doubts, but I’ve decided against fading Gerrit Cole tonight for the Draft Kings survivor tournament. He’s going to be owned nearly universally – my guess is it will be over 75%, and the next best starters are Jaime Garcia and Jordan Zimmermann. He has a poor track record against the Reds, but one of those that hits him the best (in a whopping 11 at-bat sample) in Brandon Phillips has been scratched from the lineup. Todd Frazier scares me, as does an in-form Joey Votto. But this is also a different Cole than the Reds have faced most of the time, too. Moreover, this is basically a 50-50 tournament, so there’s less advantage in being different from the pack.

DFS Disaster Update

Tuesday was less disastrous than most – actually had a positive day. My four FanDuel lineups had two cashes – the Chris Archer and Carlos Correa-led 50/50 squad scored 56.75 points, and my Tout Wars contest led by Madison Bumgarner and Correa scored 47.33 to cash. That’s the good news. The bad news was that they were just a $5 50-50 and a $2 double-up. The $5 SXM contest scored 42.25 (good enough for a 50-50 or a double-up in most cases), but well off the cash threshold. My other 50-50 tanked for just 28.75 points, despite using Carlos Martinez (17 points) and Chase Headley (6.25 points). I sacrificed a lot elsewhere to get one lineup with Paul Goldschmidt in there, but the payoff obviously wasn’t there.

But the big news was that I advanced to Day 2 in DK’s Survivor Contest, scoring 165.25 points. I used MadBum, Martinez, Correa, Brett Gardner and super-cheap BvP hero Dustin Ackley to move on. It’s a single bullet entry, so the odds are still against me. Looking ahead at tonight’s pitching matchups, I have to decide whether to go against the crowd and not use Gerrit Cole against the Reds, knowing that he’s almost certainly going to be universally-owned in a two-pitcher format. I don’t know if I can afford that risk, given that I have a single entry. I’ll post a lineup later tonight.

DFS Disasters

Chris is on vacation, so I’ll fill in with a brief bare-bones version of my DFS travails. After quadrupling my initial buy-in of $75 in April, I’ve given nearly all of it back. Bankroll management has been a significant issue – I can’t resist playing tournaments, and my cash/tournament ratio has worsened over the course of my six-week downswing. But that’s not all – the threshold to cash has also gotten tougher, roughly from the point where FanDuel lowered the pricing on their hitters, though I’m not fully sure if that’s merely correlated or a cause. It seemingly was a shoe-in to cash at around 40 points in cash games, and that hasn’t been the case. What’s interesting is that my average score hasn’t declined during my downswing – just the scores of my competition have improved over that time.

Charging The Mound: Moyer’s Complaints

Steve Cishek

Chris (Saturday, June 6, 8 PM PT):

What’s the protocol here? We just keep complaining about stuff indefinitely? When does it end? I think I’ll add one last closer comment (in closing) and publish it on the site.

You probably don’t know this Steve, but I have Tolleson in a bunch of important leagues including the NFBC Main in part because I thought Neftali Feliz might lose the job, but also due to an encounter with my next door neighbor.

I’ve told this story a couple times on the radio show, but don’t know if I mentioned it here. Essentially, my three-year old daughter, Sasha, often goes to our neighbor’s house to play with their twin four-year-old girls. I knew their father’s name was Gregory and their mother’s was Shawn (I didn’t know how it was spelled – whether Sean, Seane, Shaun or Shawn, like the pitcher.)

A couple weeks ago, right before Tolleson got the job and when Feliz wasn’t yet on the DL, I walked Sasha over there and knocked on their door. I happened to notice their mailbox – apparently Shawn kept her maiden name (Tolleson) – and when I saw it, I did a double take. “Was that the name of the pitcher on whom I was planning to bid in NFBC?” It couldn’t be. So when I got back in the house I checked, and sure enough, it was spelled exactly the same way.

A few days later, I initially put in a $30 bid for Tolleson in the NFBC Main. (I was working in my office, which is a converted garage, about 30 feet away from the main house.) When I came back into the house, who was sitting on my sofa, talking to Heather, but Shawn Tolleson herself! It was about an hour before the bids locked, and I took that as a sign I should go a few extra bucks on the prospective closer, so I upped the bid to $40.

As it turns out, I got him, and the next highest bid was $37, by RotoWire’s Scott Jenstad.

Now I’m not a conventionally religious person – I’m not partial to any particular tradition’s way of explaining the significance and purpose of existence. But I refuse to live in a universe where something like this has no meaning.

Next week we’ll take on DFS. In the meantime you should still trade me Bauer for Hamilton and a throw-in. He’s only out four weeks.

Steve (Thursday, June 4, Noonish):

Boy, it’s so much less fun when we agree. I’m here to fight! (In memory of good ol’ Mikey Salfino.)

Closers truly suck. We’re clear on that. It never ceases to amaze me how many preseason words are wasted on closer-in-waiting speculation to wind up with out-of-nowhere’s like Shawn Tolleson (anyone remember that Tolleson guy from some insurance commercial that XM would run constantly a few years ago?) and no-way-he’ll-ever-close-effectively-again’s like John Axford.

And we firmly agree that MLB humor is horrible, Chris says partially by design, which makes sense to me. Although somebody’s laughing at these schmucks. I know some unnamed industry friends who really do think some of these guys are funny. And I’ll never forget our colleague I’ll also not name who lamented the days of MLB – Mark, Larry and Buck – on XM in the presence of all of us a few years ago at TOUT. Those guys made me wanna drive off a cliff.

We need to do an entire column devoted to Daily, so I’m not gonna waste a lot of my thoughts here. It’s funny that we all fantasize about that big tournament payday though. Sometimes I think we’ve now been ground to the level of the powerball queue at the convenience store.

Two final thoughts:

1) It took me two weeks to realize Todd Cunningham wasn’t Aaron Cunningham.

2) I was actually regretting not trading Trevor Bauer to Chris for Josh Hamilton (offered in early April) for a couple days there.

Jeff (Wednesday, June 3, 8:45 a.m.):

I watch a lot of MLB Network, not necessarily because I’m loyal to any show, but because baseball talk is better than talk about … well, anything else. I’m generally looking for information that I haven’t heard yet, see highlights of games I hadn’t seen earlier, or look-ins of games I can’t watch (i.e., Dodgers games). Almost universally, when it’s geared towards entertainment, it’s pretty bad. I don’t look for stand-up comedians to provide analysis, and I don’t want baseball analysts to try their stand-up routine.

But we’re not their target audience anyhow. They know they have us because there’s no alternative 22 hours a day, if I’m in the mood to see baseball. Even if I really disagree with the host or ex-player, it’s usually not enough to shut it off. The exception is Mad Dog – I still can’t understand why he’s popular. But the average viewer isn’t constantly plugged into the game, hasn’t gone beyond knowing what BABIP is let alone to find good arguments against using it (or any other metric).

I like Brian Kenny – you guys already know that. Sometimes I don’t like the format he’s shoehorned in – “Brian Kenny vs. The World,” as he’s painted as the crazy sabermetrist vs. the conventional wisdom, and they look at him as if he’s wearing a propeller hat.

Week 8 FAAB Results

This was a relatively quiet week on the waiver wire, but sometimes the quiet weeks present good free agents too. Remember to set your lineups early this week – Memorial Day always features a lot of day games.

NFBC Main Event (15-team mixed)

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
Bad Brad and Wild Will Mike Wright (SP) 95 27
Welcome to Stevieland Mitch Moreland (1B) 60 15
On The Jazz Lance McCullers (SP) 38 38
RotoWire – Erickson Seth Smith (LF) 35 5
RotoWire – Erickson Scott Van Slyke (LF) 35
Bad Brad and Wild Will Matt Duffy (2B) 33 16
Sasha’s Team Rougned Odor (2B) 28
ALL-IN MAIN Preston Tucker (LF) 27
DT & Gut Jose Ramirez (SS) 26 10
Team Warner Chris Heston (SP) 24 23
DT & Gut Roberto Osuna (MR) 23
Philbys Enrique Burgos (MR) 19
ALL-IN MAIN Kendall Graveman (SP) 17 14
Team Warner Randal Grichuk (RF) 17 9
Giancarlo…A Gift Gerardo Parra (RF) 13 8
On The Jazz Shaun Marcum (MR) 12
The Weasel Peckers Luis Sardinas (2B) 8
Philbys Tom Koehler (SP) 8 5
Giancarlo…A Gift Michael Bourn (CF) 8
ALL-IN MAIN Adam Warren (MR) 7
Welcome to Stevieland Mike Aviles (SS) 5
Welcome to Stevieland Mark Canha (1B) 5
Philbys Chris Johnson (3B) 3
Welcome to Stevieland Colby Lewis (SP) 2

Charging the Mound – A New Variable

Jurickson Profar

Steve (7:15 PM, Tuesday, May 12)

So what is your high of choice these days, Jeff? Are you still a meth man or have you moved on to heroin?

Too bad we had to do this edition all by ourselves. I knew Liss would be too a-scared to match wits with me.

Decided to make a list from TOUT AL (perhaps I’ll do TOUT NL next column) of the Top 10 “Ain’t Lookin’ Too Great Right Now” bids on guys who the BABIP baboon crowd loved in Spring. I tried to stay away from complete injury cases and spent about 10 minutes on this, so don’t be too critical (that’s my job). In descending order, by price:

1. Brian Dozier – $27
2. Dellin Betances – $19
3. Rougned Odor – $18
4. Rusney Castillo – $16
5. Kevin Gausman – $10
6. Allen Craig – $7
7. T.J. House – $6
8. Josh Rutledge – $5
9. Kendall Graveman – $4
10. Jon Singleton – $4

Of course, none of these guys are mine and that’s part of the reason I’m a solid #8 at the moment.

I don’t think you can overvalue good prospects in a dynasty league that allows for easy-on-the-salary keeping of minor leaguers, like XFL. In fact, I think prospects were strangely out of vogue for a few years recently in that league, but I think they’re making a comeback.

Personally, I don’t have roster room for Profar either, but if I was clearly rebuilding for 2015, I’d make a spot for Profar, even at $10, to see where he is at the end of the season.

We could spend several columns and radio show spots on Daily. Last night I put up a 34.5 in FanDuel and lost in a 50/50. So do I agonize more over Yimi “Changa” Garcia blowing the win for my Zack Greinke or Dee Gordon getting a CS instead of an SB, either of which would’ve put me in the money?

Daily is so much “fun” it makes me wanna jump off a bridge. (Can’t someone just teach me to grind?)

Jeff (5:11 PM, Monday, May 11)

I’d call you cranky about something anyhow – it’s your nature. We’ll rectify the show absences starting this week, now that I’ve finally got you writing again. It’s like McCann-Erickson getting Don Draper to join his firm after pursuing him for 10 years – except hopefully you don’t view us as evil/corrupt/soul-crushing, and quit after one column.

I like going against the gravitational pull – it saves you from overpaying for Danny Salazar (2014 version), and maybe Matt Harvey this year. Not that Harvey has been bad, but just not quite as dominant as expected, and I still think that there are some missed starts in his future.