Corrections for Fantasy Football Guide 2016

On page 2, in the credits for the Position Pages, Marc Meltzer’s name is spelled incorrectly. Sorry Marc.


The lists of teams with the easiest schedules are wrong. Here is the correct info (and sorry for missing this):


Easiest Schedules:
Chicago, Tennessee, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore

Easiest Playoffs:
Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Detroit, and Buffalo

Hardest Schedules:
New England, Indianapolis, Miami, San Francisco, and New Orleans

Hardest Playoffs:
New England, Seattle, Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Miami


Easiest Schedules:
Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Cincinnati

Easiest Playoffs:
Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Oakland, San Diego, and New York Giants

Hardest Schedules:
New England, Philadelphia, New York Jets, Buffalo, and Indianapolis

Hardest Playoffs:
Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Tennessee, and New England


Easiest Schedules:
Indinapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego, and Green Bay

Easiest Playoffs:
Buffalo, Jacksonville, San Diego, Indianapolis, and San Francisco

Hardest Schedules:
Washington, Cleveland, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia

Hardest Playoffs:
Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Arizona, Baltimore, and Oakland

The Spring Training Football Yes FOOTBALL Podcast Is Posted!

FFG14_PodcastLogoIt kind of ticks me off when I’m searching for fantasy baseball news during spring training and I come across people talking about football. I mean, everything in its place!

But Andy and Derek, who handle the fantasy football podcast here DURING football season, got excited and started talking.

Please forgive. Please listen, if you care to, and then get back to baseball!

Can Something New Be Said About the Choice Between Running and Passing on Second Down in the Super Bowl?

As the clock counted down to the end of the Super Bowl Sunday night, the announcers speculated that maybe Bill Belichick should stop the clock, to give his team a chance to march the length of the field after the inevitable TD. But Belichick didn’t.

I would like to say that I assessed the situation and determined what the right thing to do was, for everyone, but mostly riding on the giddy head of Jerome Kearse’s insane catch moments before, all I was thinking was that the Seahawks were going to win in a most improbable manner. No way could they fail, I was thinking.


After the interception the social media blew up with astonishment that the Seahawks didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, and let him run for a touchdown. That seemed like the safe thing to do, and it certainly would have covered Pete Carroll’s ass, but Matthew Iglesias explained on Vox yesterday why throwing the ball on second down made good sense. In short, and ignoring the significant third possible outcome, a pass would have led to a Touchdown or a stopped clock, which would have allowed the Seahawks, if they didn’t score, to either run or pass on third down—since they had only one timeout left. In other words, by passing, the Seahawks would have time for three plays. If they ran they would have had time for two (or would be obliged to pass on third down, with everyone knowing the pass was coming).

Now, this is kind of true, but not only didn’t Pete Carroll use this explanation after the game for his decision, but such rational thinking about the situation gets in the way of game theory, and the need to mix it up in order to keep your opponent off balance.

Justin Wolfers explains in today’s New York Times that good and effective strategy depends on randomizing one’s choices. If the best choice is to run, and you always run, your opponent will defense against the run and running will no longer be your best choice.

Which raises the interesting question: If Belichick is so smart, shouldn’t he have realized that the Seahawks better strategy was to pass? And if he realized that, wouldn’t he assume Pete Carroll would also realize that? And, if Pete Carroll thought passing was the better strategy and he assumed that Belichick would also assume so, wouldn’t he be obliged to change up his plans and call for a run?

It’s important to remember that game theory helps us figure out the competing motives, but before time runs out a decision has to be made.

That it was to pass was fine, I think, but I wonder about throwing the ball into the middle of all that stacked defense. Why not throw over the head of a receiver running to the corner after a play action? Or have Russell Wilson roll out and throw if a receiver was open, with at least the option of carrying the ball in if they were defensed?

What we know for sure is that, no matter what the coaches were thinking, Malcolm Butler saw what was happening and stepped up at the right time. Nice play.

New York Daily News Follows The Fantasy Football Guide 2014’s Lead

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One of the country’s largest circulation daily newspapers announced yesterday that they’ve changed their policy, and will not publish (with the exception of reader letters and quotes in which the name is relevant, as well as packages supplied by outside vendors, though they’re going to try to strip it from those) the Washington NFL team’s name. I suspect they’re going to get some letters.

DEAR ROTOMAN: I Love the Washington Football Team’s Name Too Much to Buy The Fantasy Football Guide 2014!

Screenshot 2014-07-27 18.58.42The Fantasy Football Guide 2014 appeared in stores last week, just as it has each of the past 15 Julys. It was also the week that my trusty but aging computer managed to breath its last.

Now replaced, the email flows, including this letter that reminds me that in this year’s Guide we wrote about the Washington football team. I’ll let the writer explain:

I had your magazine in my hand, ready to buy it, like I’ve done for the past 15 years. Until I saw your Letter from the Editor.

I am buying your publication for football fact and insight, not mindless politically correct, cattle following opinions. When I see someone with other than white skin complaining then maybe I’ll look up and listen. The courts will rightly give back their trademark for all the obvious reasons.

Until then, I’ll get my info elsewhere from more astute and football passionate people. I put your rag back on the shelf.

The most ardent Giant fan there is

Now, I bristle a little about the claim that political correctness is the reason reasonable people want to do the right thing. And while there certainly are times political orthodoxy has led to idiotic extremes, there are a lot of times that wanting to do the right thing leads to doing the right thing, once enough people turn political correctness into political power.

redskins+logo+petaI’m not rabid about the Washington football team’s name. I don’t think Daniel Snyder means to be racist or offensive, but it is clearly offensive to a broad swath of Native American people, and the idea that it originated as a tribute is fairly laughable. Read this story by the Washington CBS affiliate to the end to understand why, as well as to see how the name is acceptable in some Native American communities.

Comparisons to the N-word in its defense are not a winning argument. Suggestions to change the logo to that of a potato with the same name got my support in the Guide, by the way. Artwork by PETA.

Those who read the Fantasy Guides and this blog and my posts on Twitter (@kroyte) and Facebook (PeterKreutzer) know that I think discussion changes minds. Me telling you something might get you to put the magazine back on the rack, but my hope is if you and I get to talking we’ll each gain a better understanding. Together we might get to a better idea.

So please write if you disagree, let me know why, and give my arguments as much of a shot as I give yours. In Mike’s case, his main point was that my point was pointless because I’m a slave to a political view that has no Native American supporters.

I wrote to him:

Dear Mike,

Thanks for writing. I think there are more than a few people with other than white skins who are complaining, which is why the tongue in cheek suggestion that the Redskins refer to potatoes seemed to me like a light-hearted way to comment on this situation.

Clearly you disagree, and I’m sorry about that, since the editorial content of the magazine is exactly the same as it has always been. One word has been excised, and the editor explained why he thought that was a good idea.

Have a great season. We will miss you.

Revolutions Per Minute: A Bowling Story

Mike Salfino is the Wall Street Journal’s extremely sharp sports analyst, with a focus on the numbers side of things. Usually he looks at baseball and football, casting a gimlet eye on weak analysis and demonstrating an enthusiastic love for the metric that reveals hidden value. Not only for fantasy players, but also fans of the game.


He has a story today that brings his usual acuity to a somewhat surprising subject: Bowling.

It seems that a young bowler by the name of Jason Belmonte is turning the world of keglers over and over and over really fast by delivering the bowling ball with forward speed and a ton of spin. Mike explains it all here.

The one question I have. The ball is traveling 20 miles an hour down a lane that is 60 feet long. The travel time is measured in seconds, but the metric is scaled to a minute? It seems to me the number would be more manageable and meaningful if they scaled it to the second.

60 revolutions per second. Sounds good to me.

And here you get what the Wall Street Journal can’t offer: video.

Rotoman on this week’s BaseballHQ Radio.

Patrick Davitt kindly asked me for a return appearance, which isn’t why I think he’s a very smart guy and an excellent interviewer.

Picking Delmon Young as a guy to buy, and having him follow through with six RBI tonight makes me want to wear my swami hat full time. The more interesting part of the show focused on administering leagues, dealing with zombie teams and starting a rock and roll website called Rock ‘n’ Roll Remnants.

Enjoy! I hope.

How To Make A Million Dollars An Hour

Rotisserie analyst and pricing pioneer Les Leopold’s last book was about how the derivatives market was like fantasy sports, and how that contributed to the Great Recession. His new book takes a look at hedge funds and how they work. From the publisher:

Top hedge fund managers make more than Oprah, Rupert Murdoch, and A-Rod combined——but they aren’t running news and entertainment empires or playing baseball for the New York Yankees. Aren’t you curious about how these hedge fund dudes make so much doing who knows what? You may even wonder if you can get there, too. After all, this is America!

This book gives you the answers in a twelve-step guide to accumulating vast riches the way hedge fund managers do—by playing trillion-dollar poker with a marked deck.

Les is a clear and entertaining writer who targets the popular audience. I’ll post a review here after I read it.

One time, Nate Silver was wrong!

About politics, anyway, in 2004: “Here, too, there is a useful political analogy. The Democrats in particular have been reluctant to throw their resources behind candidates with appealing skills but unproven track records, which in turn prevents these politicians from gaining the exposure they need (or are perceived to need) to run for higher office. It’s a self-perpetuating problem. So we’re going to get Hillary Clinton running for the White House in 2008. And we’re going to lose again, just as surely as if the Diamondbacks had tabbed Jimy Williams for their managerial vacancy.”

Read the whole story about recycled baseball managers and recycled politicians at Baseball Prospectus.