Bracket Strategy: Four Sweet 16 Picks To Fade The Crowd

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from, a site that has provided data-driven bracket tools and analysis since 2004. They also offer premium bracket picks.

When it comes to picking a bracket, there are no golden rules. Every tournament, every team, and every potential path to the Sweet 16 is different.

Even the usually-smart bracket advice of picking undervalued teams (e.g., teams that have a better chance to make the Sweet 16 than the public is giving them, based on pick popularity data from nationwide bracket contests) isn’t all that easy in practice.

For example, it’s simple enough to identify undervalued teams using win odds and pick popularity data. However, it’s a whole lot harder to figure out how many of those value picks you should make, or exactly where in your bracket you should make them.

Balancing Risk vs. Reward In Your Bracket

One of the key goals of smart bracket strategy is to make sure that the risk/reward profile of your bracket as a whole makes sense for your specific pool’s characteristics (e.g. its scoring system, size, and other factors). Make too many value-driven picks in a small pool, for instance, and you may end up with a bracket that is too risky overall, thus lowering your odds to win.

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Sweet 16 fantasy baseball sleeper SP

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’m back with a March Madness tradition: my Sweet 16 fantasy baseball pitchers list, which I write every year to point out sleeper and bargain hurlers.

I’m focusing on pitchers with an Average Draft Position of 200 or higher, according to RotoWire’s free ADP report from NFBC and Fantrax leagues and mocks, as of March 13.

This leaves out numerous middle-round arms I like (Lance McCullers, Jeff Samardzija, Garrett Richards, Danny Duffy and Kevin Gausman included), and I chose not to include injured but hyped Ervin Santana.

1. Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks (203.58 ADP)

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How Much Should You Expect to Lose With Your Top Picks?

I came across an interesting article by Fangraphs’ Mike Podhorzer on Twitter this morning, wherein he shows that last year’s breakouts typically fail to earn their keep the following. It’s well worth a read. But I started wondering to what extent they fail relative to every expensive player. Because – after all – every top-50 list fails in the aggregate to live up to its preseason billing for the simple reason that players outside the top-50 before the year will wind up on it by year’s end. There’s nowhere to go but down for every set of players in the Top-10, Top-20, Top-x.

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Bracket Picks: 3 Key Strategies To Win Your Pool

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from, a site that has provided data-driven bracket tools and analysis since 2004. They also offer premium bracket picks.

Are you ready to lay the smack down on your friends and family in your NCAA bracket pool?

Here at, we may not be fantasy experts, but we’ve built the most sophisticated tools to maximize your edge in bracket contests.

Backed by nearly 15 years of research, here are three proven strategies to give yourself a leg up in your 2018 bracket contest:

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AL LABR Review: Hits and Misses

Last weekend I took part in my second AL-only LABR auction.

For the uninitiated, LABR (pronounced “labor”) stands for League of Alternative Baseball Reality. Founded in 1994, it was the first high-profile experts league of its kind. Check out its Wikipedia page.

To say it’s a tremendous honor to be a part of the league would be a huge understatement. The entire weekend is a blast, hanging out in Arizona and talking baseball with the best minds in the industry.

There were a few of key lessons I learned in my first year. My crucial mistakes:

  1. I didn’t spread my budget around as well as I should have and ended up with three $1 hitters on my team (four $1 players total).
  2. I valued volume over skills too much on the pitching side.

With that in mind, and with a core of key players pinpointed that I wanted to build around — Giancarlo Stanton, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Wilson Ramos, Dustin Fowler, Blake Treinen, Keone Kela, and A.J. Puk were all players that I knew I liked more than most — I set about creating what will hopefully be a championship-winning team.

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NL LABR – Upon Further Review

When we first completed the NL LABR auction Sunday night, I was pleased with my team. Though I didn’t quite meet my target of spending $190 of my $260 budget on hitting (instead my split was $179/81), I thought that I pieced together a strong offense, hitting most of my intended slots with players that fit in well for each. By intended slots, as an example, I mean that I roughly had a $30 slot that I filled with a $29 Cody Bellinger, who was worth $33 according to my projections and valuation in the RotoWire software. Throughout the top end of my roster, I found other similar perceived bargains. I was even pretty happy with my purchases made in the mid-game. However, I think that not sticking to the original budget plan is going to ultimately hurt me, as my endgame players are fairly weak.

Before I go into detail about the players I purchased, and the circumstances under which we drafted, here’s a link to the results.

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