The ESPN Fantasy Forecaster is a comprehensive weekly post chocked full of information to help fantasy baseballers in weekly leagues.  It is penned (typed?) by FSWA Hall of Famer Tristan Cockcroft who, incidentally, is our favorite ESPN fantasy baseball writer and someone very well-liked and respected among experts.

Each week, the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster estimates the value of every start with a ‘Game Score‘ – a metric devised by Bill James. It is unclear whether Tristan calculates the estimated Game Scores or this comes from someone else at ESPN.

This post is a head-to-head test of our Streamonator vs the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster to see which is better at predicting pitcher starts/stream values.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I remember the first book I ever bought on fantasy baseball. It was titled ‘Rotisserie League Baseball’ by Glen Waggoner and Robert Sklar. I purchased it at one of those bookstores that only appeared in malls (B. Dalton? Walden Books?). It must have been around the 1988 or 1989 season as I can recall that Gerald Young had a high $ because of his SB prowess (one that peaked with 65 SBs in 1988 and cratered in 1989 with a preposterous 34 SB / 25 CS.).

Somewhere within the pages of this paperback gem was the origin story of fantasy baseball. As origin stories go, it was remarkably believable (versus, say, Abner Doubleday inventing baseball). Daniel Okrent came up with the idea and pitched it to a number of writer/editor friends in 1979 at a New York restaurant called La Rôtisserie Française. To think, if he brought it up one week earlier, we might all be playing Beefsteak Charlie Baseball instead of Rotisserie Baseball. I recall the authors of this book – who were part of this group – teasing Okrent because his team (the Okrent Fenokees) had yet to win a season (he never did win one).

This is all a preface as to why when asked if we would help promote the e-book release of one of Daniel Okrent’s books, I signed us up. This is the man that invented WHIP! Without him, how else would have I occupied all those thousands of hours? Spend time with friends and family? Contribute to society? Invest myself in an actual MLB team?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It has been almost 2 years since we launched our first daily fantasy baseball tool (Streamonator in 2012).  Since then, we have launched several other tools such as Rest of Season Player Rater + Hittertron in 2013 and DFSBot in 2014.

Razzball Nation has been a huge part of these tools from the start – both in encouraging us to create them and providing ongoing feedback to make them better (e.g., we now report ‘next week’ data on Fridays to assist those in weekly roster leagues, added game time, etc).

But one valid ‘ask’ that we have not been able to deliver until now is:  “How accurate are Razzball daily projections?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our fantasy baseball pitcher (Streamonator) and hitter (Hittertron) tools are designed to help make their daily and weekly decisions. Should I stream a starting pitcher? Which hitter should I pick up? Whom do I sit/start? Et cetera.

Some of you who play Daily Fantasy Sports leagues like (our DFS sponsor) DraftKings probably use Streamonator and Hittertron to help choose your daily lineup.  I hope the tools have been helpful though I realize they were never ideal – notably, because 5×5 value does not necessarily equal a daily fantasy baseball site’s point structure.

Well, good news. We now have a tool specifically designed for those of you who play daily fantasy baseball games.

Introducing the DFSBot (GIF/JPGs submissions welcomed).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sonny Gray – aka “The Oxymornic Forecast” – stormed through Texas with a 3-hit shutout (6 K’s) that netted him his 4th win and an ERA/WHIP of 1.76/1.14. Not bad for a 16-year old if you ask me. Is he getting a little lucky? Yes he is, question I just asked myself. But he certainly looks like (at least) a top 25 SP right now and has the benefit of a nice home park. Makes me wish I had him on one of my eleventy teams (why don’t you like him Steamer?)

Anyway, the other oxymoronic Grey asked me to pinch-hit as he was going to a ‘one-man show’ tonight. Hoping that isn’t code for renting a hotel room by himself and running up adult movie charges on the Razzball corporate card.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I typically keep these expert league draft write-ups short but I think this year’s Yahoo! Friends & Family draft was an interesting draft to both:  1) Share some of my in-draft thinking and 2) Go off on tangents based on a couple of interesting draft gambits.   So apologies in advance for the Tolstoyan/Grantlandian length of this post.

Fantasy baseball draft rooms feel like poker tables.  Now I do not play a lot of poker but, for analogy’s sake, I’ll say there are two types of tables when you play with good players:  1) Strong but predictable play with occasional risks/bluffs and 2) Unpredictable but strong play that takes you out of your comfort zone.

Most leagues we play in fall under the former for 15-team mixed snake drafts (AL/NL-only auctions a whole different beast).  There really was not a moment in this year’s 15-team mixed LABR and KFFL drafts where I felt uncomfortable.  I had a general strategy, my values, and the NFBC ADPs. All peachy.  I am not saying I dominated those drafts – just that I felt pretty comfortable.  It did not hurt that I picked 8th in both those drafts so I did not have to worry as much about position runs.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Loyal (or at least frequent) readers of this site know that Grey LOVES to rub it in my face whenever he is right about a player and I am wrong.  I think he has an archive of every conversation we ever had for that expressed purpose.  It’s like he is keeping an NSA dossier on me and the S stands for Spite.

In the spirit of transparency – and maybe actual learning – I stitched together our 12-team mixed $ values for 2014 so there is a complete comparison out there for you to see.  I am only including players where one of us gave the player a $0+ value as once you agree a guy is undraftable, there is no reason for further debate.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We know how easy it is to just click on a player’s name from within your fantasy baseball league site when you want to find out more information/stats on the player.

But we feel confident that no site’s player pages can help you as much as Razzball’s redesigned player pages to make quick and informed day-to-day fantasy baseball decisions.

Here are examples of the redesigned hitter and pitcher pages.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was fortunate enough to be invited to this year in KFFL’s Fantasy Baseball Analysis Draft (which leads to a BAD acronym).  It has historically been a 12-team mixed snake draft league but has now been expanded to 15 teams.

Some drafts require a lot of prep time – this one had the prep time of a TV dinner.  It came right on the heels of LABR which follows the same format.  Then my pals at KFFL (Nick Minnix and Tim Heaney) were nice enough to ‘randomly’ assign me the same pick (#8) I had in LABR.  Sweet.

My strategy going into the draft was similar to LABR – draft 9+ SPs, be AVG-conscious, get two top 15 closers, try to nab one of the speedy/solid AVG MIs, and anticipate and/or dodge position runs.  There were a couple of post-LABR draft learnings I incorporated:

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