HIT the LINKS: Fantasyomatic

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Throughout my many years playing this game, I have come across a bunch of websites that specialize in fantasy sports. I saved them all and they are included in the

FANFOOD Fantasy Baseball Tools

and the

FANFOOD Fantasy Football Tools

 

Each week a different website, twitter feed or mobile application will be highlighted and reviewed for you before you “HIT the LINKS”.

 

This week I ask you to check out fantasyomatic, along with a great recipe for Slow Cooked Cider Beans.

 

If you can get past the corny name, you will find a site that is committed to constantly evolving the content to help provide you with the data you need to win your league. And all of it is free.

Take a moment to browse the site, you will see that they specialize in “Strength of Schedule” data. Its a polarizing concept in the preseason, but no one can argue its value during the season. At fantasyomatic, they take it to a new level.

The Fantasyomatic fantasy football articles on this site are primarily based on a proprietary engine they call their “Algorithm”.

The concept is based on a belief that a player will do better than average against a defense that is weak against their position and worse than average against a defense that is strong against their position.

This is commonly called “Strength of Schedule” (SOS). You will see this talked about for overall team strength of schedule but that does not apply with their projections. For an NFL Team, SOS can determine if they will have an easy road to wins. But lets face it, in Fantasy you don’t care if the TEAM wins. You want to see if your PLAYER is going to well in a game and over a season.

You may already subscribe to this theory and not even know it. Think about all the sites you visit throughout the season. The START/SIT information is almost completely about what defense a player faces that week. Specifically how well that defense does against their position. Of course, the player’s capability to score points is the other factor.

If you look at a given game you can easily see that a player could do well if they play a weak defense against their position. But their engine also aggregates that information across an entire season (for drafting), remaining season (for waivers and trades) and weekly (for starts and sits).

On every fantasy football website, tv show or radio show during the season, start/sit advice ALWAYS boils down to who your player is playing that week. This tool puts that data in your hands before anyone else.

 

 

fantasyomatic

 

 

 

FANFOOD Says:

(out of 5)

 

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Slow Cooked Cider Beans

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 pound dry Great Northern beans, soaked overnight (or using the quick soak method: below)
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced small (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, diced small (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (See Recipe Note)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon or spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 20 grinds)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced

 

PREPARATION

 

Quick Soak Method for beans:

In a large saucepan cover dried beans with triple their volume of cold water.

Bring water to a boil and cook beans, uncovered, over moderate heat 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and soak beans 1 hour.

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Put the soaked beans in a medium saucepan and pour in 4 cups of water, or enough to cover the surface of the beans by about 1 inch.

Set the pot over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a boil.

As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the beans for 1 1/2 hours, until they are tender and creamy. Don’t boil them. The water should be busy but not rolling.

Test several beans from around the pot to determine their texture.

While the beans cook, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots and sweat them for 30 minutes until the onions become a little flimsy and take on a smidgen of color from the carrots, whose diced corners will have become less severe as the veggies soften from the heat. Neither the onions nor the carrots should brown at all as they sweat.

Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the heat isn’t too high, and give a stir now and again, but for the most part, leave these aromatics to their own devices.

So you don’t obsess over the simmering beans or the sweating vegetables, distract yourself by making the base for the cider sauce.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, molasses, mustard, and brown sugar until smooth and uniform.

Slowly add the vinegar, whisking again until a looser paste forms.

Pour the cider in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to make a fluid mixture.

Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir again to incorporate. Set aside.

After the onions and carrots have sweated for 30 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour the cider sauce into the pot with the vegetables and stir everything together.

When you’re certain the beans are relatively unanimously tender, strain them, reserving the cooking liquid.

Add the beans to the pot with the cider sauce.

Measure 1 1/2 cups of the bean cooking liquid and add it to the beans in the cider sauce.

(Note: There’s a good chance the amount of liquid left in your simmered beans will be just right and you can take your chances with dumping everything in without straining or measuring separately.But pot sizes, different guesstimates of initial water coverage, and varying temperatures can make for inconsistent totals of simmer liquid. If you come up short on simmering liquid, simply add more water to hit the recommended 1 1/2 cups.)

Simmer the beans in this liquid now for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the beans thicken the sauce with their starches to your liking.

For saucier beans, simmer closer to 30 minutes.

For thicker, richer sauce that coats the beans, simmer for 45 minutes or longer.

Stir occasionally as the beans cook in the sauce to prevent any from sticking to the bottom.

Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper to your taste.

Cool leftovers to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container.

Refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze for a month.

When reheating the cider beans, add water a few tablespoons at a time to loosen the sauce as it warms.

Recipe Notes:

Blackstrap Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is a little more noir in color and spirit than regular molasses. Its flavor notes are deeper like a cello instead of a violin and it lingers on the back of your tongue, registering more bitter and savory than sweet.

 

 

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