Articles by Chris Liss

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

FSTA Draft – Stacking Giants

The FSTA industry fantasy football draft took place on Monday night in Manhattan. It’s a 14-team, PPR league with 1-QB, 2-RB, 3-WR and a RB/WR/TE flex. I drew the fourth pick.

Here are the results:

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1.4 Odell Beckham – in a 3-WR PPR league, it’s always better to start with a WR if possible, so I was relieved when Brett Baker took Le’Veon Bell at No. 3. Had he taken Beckham I probably would have gone Bell too as my No. 4 WR is Allen Robinson, and there’s a decent drop-off.

2.11 Demaryius Thomas – I considered T.Y. Hilton who I think will have a big year in a high-volume Colts passing game, but I thought I’d get him in Round 3. Otherwise, no one jumped out at me, and the running backs were a dime a dozen at that point. I’m concerned with Mark Sanchez, the Broncos go into a shell and run the ball a ton this year, but in the event they throw, their receiving tree is pretty thin – really only Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and the running backs.

3.4 C.J. Anderson – I was wrong about Hilton who went 3.2, and I couldn’t bring myself to draft injury-prone Julian Edelman who’s missing his QB for four games or Golden Tate. So I took a RB, forgetting I had another player on his team already, and the Broncos are not one you want to stack. I went Anderson over Eddie Lacy because I think there’s more PPR upside with the former, and I don’t trust Mike McCarthy to stick with Lacy if he struggles.

4.11 While I missed on Hilton, I connected on Donte Moncrief, another big piece of the Colts passing game. With 33-YO Frank Gore as the starting back, and a mediocre defense, I think Andrew Luck will sling it more than 600 times.

5.4 Giovani Bernard is being mispriced in PPR leagues. This isn’t Charles Sims or Theo Riddick – he’s actually got a chance to lead the team in carries as well as being a 50-catch lock. Jeremy Hill will probably see goal line work, but this is Tiki Barber/Brandon Jacobs, and Barber was a monster at his peak.

6.11 Sterling Shepard was the top receiver on my board at that point, and when Russell Wilson went one pick ahead of me, I was happy to double up on Giants receivers. Shepard is drawing rave reviews in minicamp, for what it’s worth.

7.4 Charles Sims is blocked by Doug Martin, but he’ll catch 60 passes minimum and would be a top-15 PPR back should Martin go down.

8.11 Zack Ertz is great in Week 15 every year. Hopefully, he can do something before that for once.

9.4 Kamar Aiken – this was before the more positive news on Breshard Perriman, but even so Perriman’s iffy, Steve Smith is 37 and coming off a serious injury and Mike Wallace isn’t good.

10.11 Paul Perkins adds to my Giants stack. Rashad Jennings will start, but he’s 31 and injury prone, and Perkins has the most upside of his backups.

11.4 Eli Manning was a no-brainer given my team already depends heavily on the quality of the Giants passing game – why not go all-in? I also like Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and might have taken one of them were I not committed to the stack.

12.11 Josh Gordon could be reinstated August 1. If not, I’ll need someone to cut.

13.4 Jared Cook has always had the talent, and now he’s finally paired with an elite QB. I went with a second TE over a backup QB (Mariota), and Steve Gardner took Mariota with the very next pick.

14.11 Stephen Gostkowski is a top kicker every year, and there’s no reason to think that won’t be the case in 2016.

15.4 Jeff Janis made huge plays in the playoffs, and other than a 31-YO Jordy Nelson returning from an ACL tear, the Packers lack big play threats.

16.11 I had hoped to get the Giants defense, but they were gone, so I settled for the Jets. I’m not proud of it.

Full Lineup:

QB Eli Manning

RB C.J. Anderson, Giovani Bernard

WR Odell Beckham, Demaryius Thomas, Donte Moncrief

FLEX Sterling Shepard

TE Zach Ertz

K Stephen Gostkowski

D Jets

B Charles Sims, Kamar Aiken, Josh Gordon, Paul Perkins, Jared Cook, Jeff Janis


Two Rationales for Vetoing Trades

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, and got into it in detail on Jonah Keri’s podcast last week. In short, most leagues require outright collusion, i.e., one team purposely making a bad trade with another for some outside consideration, in order to veto a trade. In practice, that standard is almost never met – few people in friendly leagues are corrupt enough, for example,  to agree to split the winnings at the end of the year in exchange for an advantageous deal. Instead, most bad trades that distort league outcomes are of the negligent variety.

Velocity Elasticity

We talk about velocity quite a bit when evaluating pitching and rightly show concern when a pitcher loses it. Jeff Zimmerman has done a great job tracking and evaluating it both in his articles and constantly updated google docs. But while generally speaking more velocity is better, and losing velocity is costly (Zimmerman estimates a 1 mph drop raises a starter’s ERA by .28), not all pitchers respond to velocity changes the same way.

What to Make of a Small Sample

Trevor Story already has seven home runs. Should you sell “high,” and if so what’s high? Is it a player like Christian Yelich or Nelson Cruz? The answer depends on what meaning you extract from Story’s mind-blowing one-week sample. In February, I emphasized how a sample’s size was only one factor, its amplitude being the other. If Story hit three homers last week, it would still be a strong start, and the sample would still be one week, but it would easier to chalk up to variance. Seven home runs per week is obviously not sustainable even for Babe Ruth on steroids in Coors, but it’s more likely we’re looking at a 25-homer baseline player (in Colorado) than it was before the season. All but the most irrationally-stubborn Story-faders would concede that, but how much more likely? Are there stats we can use to determine whether a power spike is for real?

My NFBC Main Event Team

On Saturday, April 2  at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, I drafted my $125K grand prize, NFBC Main Event team. The Main Event consists of 30 15-team leagues, the members of which compete for both league prizes and the overall title. Because a substantial portion of your entry fee goes toward the overall prizes, you must draft not only with an eye on winning your individual league, but also the entire contest. There’s no trading (for obvious reasons) so you need to have a team with both upside and balance, i.e., you can’t afford to tank a category and expect to do well in the overall.

My Yahoo Friends and Family Draft

Reading Jeff Erickson’s take on the draft reminded me to post my own. It’s an odd format with a 1450-innings cap for your pitching stats, four outfielders, two utility spots and only one catcher. You can also have an unbalanced roster with, say, only six pitchers, for example, and three extra hitters on your bench if you like. Moreover, there are daily transactions, though free agent pickups accrue to your roster the following day. All these quirks have implications for player value, as did the fact there were only 12 teams this year as opposed to 14 or 15 in the past. Full results are here.