As many of you know, our friend and colleague Ron Shandler has launched a new venture, Shandler Park. Ron has married the game theory and player evaluation of traditional fantasy with the faster-paced, more hands-on management of daily fantasy into an entertaining month long contest. Lawr Michaels, Perry Van Hook and I are doing some writing for Shandler Park and have been playing regularly since April.
It’s a pay-for-play setup but as site content contributors, we all have teams scattered throughout the leagues that are of course not eligible for prizes. But by playing, we get to put our theories into practice. In fact, we’re encouraged to experiment with different strategies and different lineups. Of the trio, Lawr has taken the best advantage of making these leagues his personal laboratory as he’s not afraid to try what some may consider out-of-the-box strategies.
In brief, Shandler Park is a salary cap game where you select a roster of 32 players whose collective prices cannot exceed the preset cap. The prices are based on a combination of a player’s historical performance and their current level. The cap only applies when choosing the 32 players at your disposal for the month. The active lineup is the same as traditional fantasy, with 14 hitters and 9 pitchers (leaving 9 on reserve). Hitting and pitching changes are allowed on Monday and Friday. Scoring is rotisserie style using modified 4x4 scoring.
This month, Ron decided to have a little fun and invited a group of fellow writers, analysts and radio hosts to join an industry showcase league. Brian Walton has joined Lawr and I in this publicly accessible contest. This is the final week, so we thought you may enjoy following along and hopefully joining the festivities in August. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
To follow along, click HERE.
Here are the standings entering the final week of the contest:
Having lost Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, it's going to take a little luck for yours truly to hold onto this precarious lead and finish atop this esteemed group. In lieu of Lind, I am using Manny Machado, so that's not too bad. The replacement for Encarnacion is either J.J. Hardy or Wilin Rosario. When we're talking about a month's worth of games, three homers can mean five or six points (not to mention points in the runs produced category), so the drop-off here is significant.
While I'll decide when everything's said and done if I should have had another stick in reserve, my present focus is on maximizing pitching points since I have more available reserves to work with. Despite completely forgetting to change my roster the Friday before the All-Star break, my pitching has come through and I'm near the top in whiffs and W+QS. On the other hand, I'm lagging in SV+HLD. So what I'm doing is switching from 7 starters and 2 relievers to 6 starters and 3 relievers figuring to maintain my stead in strikeouts and W+QS while hoping for some good fortune with saves and holds, since one of my relievers is Joe Smith.
Something I am regretting is not having a fourth reliever. The irony is I usually have four bullpen arms but I opted to go with three, wanting to make sure I had ample starters to handle the reshuffling of the rotations before and after the break (and of course I forgot to make the changes - sigh).
Hopefully, by setting the stage for this exciting finish, you can see the multitude of strategies available in Shandler Park and in turn give it a try.
And the best part is you get to do it all over again every month.
Hopefully, you'll take some time to root on my squad and check out some of the archived essays on Shandler Park. Who knows, maybe this time next month, you'll be battling for second place in my league!