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Thursday, July 19, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: INDIANS ACQUIRE CLOSER BRAD HAND

A day after the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Manny Machado, the Cleveland Indians fired off a trade round by picking up San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand in a deal for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. The move is a decent one for Hand from a fantasy baseball perspective as he will now likely take over for the struggling Cody Allen as closer as he has pitched to a 3.05 ERA and striking out 65 batters in 44.1 IP. Kirby Yates now becomes the likely new closer in San Diego and he should be added everywhere. Yates is having a big year himself and he has the high K rate to succeed as a stopper. Mejia should also be added as his bat has been lauded throughout his development and now he will get a chance to play consistently. 

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Here are the 2018 fantasy football WR rankings as we take out first look around the league with drafts underway.

1.  Antonio Brown
2.  DeAndre Hopkins
3.  Odell Beckham
4.  Julio Jones
5.  Michael Thomas
6.  Keenan Allen
7.  A.J. Green
8.  Davante Adams
9.  Adam Thielen
10. Doug Baldwin
11. Larry Fitzgerald
12. Demaryuis Thomas
13. Tyreek Hill
14. T.Y. Hilton
15. Mike Evans
16. Allen Robinson
17. Amari Cooper
18. Jarvis Landry
19. Golden Tate
20. JuJu Smith-Schuster
21. Stefon Diggs
22. Brandin Cooks
23. Alshon Jeffery
24. Josh Gordon
25. Jamison Crowder
26. Allen Hurns
27. Michael Crabtree
28. Risard Matthews
29. Robert Woods
30. Pierre Garcon
31. Sammy Watkins
32. Julian Edelman
33. Corey Davis
34. Chris Hogan
35. Devante Parker
36. Jordy Nelson
37. Marquise Goodwin
38. Devin Funchess
39. Robby Anderson
40. Cam Meredith
41. Martavis Bryant
42. Kenny Stills
43. D.J. Moore
44. Randall Cobb
45. Sterling Shepard
46. Cooper Kupp
47. Emmanuel Sanders
48. Marqise Lee
49. Ted Ginn
50. Mike Williams
51. Tyler Lockett
52. Nelson Agholor
53. Tyrell Williams
54. Kenny Golladay
55. Dez Bryant
56. Michael Gallup

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL MIDSEASON ALL-VALUE TEAM

Last but not least, we bring you our 2018 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball All-Value team.  This is a team made up on guys who were either drafted very late or not at all but who broke through to supply some major value for their respective teams.

CATCHERS (2):  Kurt Suzuki, Evan Gattis
Notes:  Both Suzuki and Gattis qualify as boring veteran players who many looked past during the draft but both are also reminding us they still have quite a bit to offer.

FIRST BASEMAN (2):  Jesus Aguilar, Max Muncy
Notes:  These two are quite obvious as they arguably have been the very best values no matter the position in all of 2018 fantasy baseball.

SECOND BASE (2):  Jose Peraza, Gleyber Torres
Notes:  Torres' numbers would be even better if he had not gotten injured and landed on the DL but the future is extremely bright here.  Meanwhile, Peraza was 2017 sleeper who went bust that caused his 2018 stock to plummet.  He is taking advantage of a second chance though to really show off his legs and .300 average.

SHORTSTOPS (2):  Tim Anderson, Trevor Story
Notes:  I have spoken quite a bit of late how Story has absolutely exploded this season compared to his face-plant of 2017.  Anderson himself has been terrific with 13 homers and 21 steals that are simply not getting the attention it deserves.

THIRD BASEMAN (2):  Eduardo Escobar, Matt Carpenter
Notes:  I admit I wrote Carpenter off a bit prematurely as few have destroyed the baseball with more force than this guy over the last month.  As far as Escobar is concerned, he adds to a Minnesota Twins lineup that has gotten some nice contributions from multiple players this summer.

OUTFIELDERS (5):  Eddie Rosario, Nick Markakis, Michael Brantley, Mitch Haniger, Shin-Soo Choo:  This is a mix of veterans who were widely ignored in drafts this spring and also upstarts that disappointed a bit the season prior.  All are well-deserving of making this list.

STARTING PITCHING (10):  Blake Snell, Ross Stripling, Mike Foltynewicz, Tyler Skaggs, Miles Mikolas, Eduardo Rodriguez, Charlie Morton, Patrick Corbin, Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios   
Notes:  Some of these names also appear on our midseason All-Star roster and you really can't get much more value than what we have seen from Snell, Stripling, and Mikolas.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: MANNY MACHADO OFFICIALLY A DODGER

Despite the potential of a last minute snag, the Los Angeles Dodgers officially acquired Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado on Wednesday for a package of five prospects.  The prize return is Dodgers top outfield prospect Yuniel Diaz, plus RHP Dean Kremer, 3B Ryan Bannon, INF Breyvic Valera, and RHP Zach Pop.  That is quite the haul the Orioles received for Machado who we spoke in-depth about this morning in terms of his terrific 2018 fantasy baseball campaign and that package looks even more scary when you consider Machado could walk this winter as a free agent.  Be that as it may, the Dodgers once again won't be denied at the trade deadline just about a year after picking up Yu Darvish to help make a World Series push last summer. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

We continue on with our first batch of 2018 fantasy football position rankings by looking at the resurgence that is the running back position.

1.  Todd Gurley
2.  Le'Veon Bell
3.  David Johnson
4.  Ezekiel Elliott
5.  Kareem Hunt
6.  Saquon Barkley
7.  Alvin Kamara
8.  Melvin Gordon
9.  Leonard Fournette
10. Dalvin Cook
11. LeSean McCoy
12. Devonta Freeman
13. Jerrick McKinnon
14. Jordan Howard
15. Kenyan Drake
16. Christian McCaffrey
17. Alex Collins
18. Dion Lewis
19. Mark Ingram
20. Joe Mixon
21. Derrick Henry
22. Rashaad Penny
23. Royce Freeman
24. Jay Ajayi
25. Lamar Miller
26. Ronald Jones
27. C.J. Anderson
28. Devontae Booker
29. Isaiah Crowell
30. Tarik Cohen
31. Tevin Coleman
32. Rex Burkhead
33. Jamaal Williams
34. Sonny Michel
35. Duke Johnson
36. Theo Riddick
37. Carlos Hyde
38. Marshawn Lynch
39. Nick Chubb
40. Derrius Guice
41. Kerryon Johnson
42. Chris Thompson
43. Javorius Allen
44. Aaron Jones
45. Doug Martin
46. James White
47. Corey Clement
48. Gio Bernard
49. Ty Montgomery
50. Chris Ivory

-Even prior to the very disturbing abuse allegations that were leveled against him, I was swearing off Buffalo Bills high-mileage running back LeSean McCoy.  With his average dipping to a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry a year ago and with the Bills lacking any sort of offensive help to prevent stacked defensive lines, McCoy was facing a rough go of it already.  Now add in the threat of suspension and he should be radioactive at your draft.
-Admittedly, these initial rankings will likely be turned on their heads as these training camp battles shake out.  Detroit, Oakland, Denver, and Tampa Bay are obvious locales where there are clear battles looming and the results of them will skew these rankings greatly.
-You always feel a bit nervous drafting a rookie running back in Round 1 (rememeber Ryan Matthews?) but Saquon Barkley is the real deal and he looks like another Le'Veon Bell or Todd Gurley.  Dive right in.
-Of course whether you play in PPR or standard formats will determine how you rank some of these players, with pass-reception gems like Christian McCaffrey, Theo Riddick, Chris Thompson, and Duke Johnson all swaying wildly in their position above based on what your settings are.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MANNY MACHADO SS

Manny Machado anyone?  While Major League Baseball tried a business as usual approach to their All-Star Game festivities, it was impossible to get away from the never-ending news/rumors centering on where the Baltimore Orioles would trade superstar shortstop Manny Machado.  While at one time it seemed Machado was heading to the New York Yankees and then the Philadelphia Phillies, it now looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the derby as almost all of the top insiders such as Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman are saying as much.  This would make sense when you consider that the Dodgers are willing to move 21-year-old top slugging prospect Yusniel Diaz who just got done smacking two homers in the Futures Game.  Now in terms of fantasy baseball, Machado going to the Dodgers does downgrade him in terms of ballpark which may steal a home run or two from his ledger but he will head West with these insane numbers regardless:

.315
24 HR
65 RBI
48 R
7 SB
12.3 K/9
10.9 BB/9
.311

Now that is how you do a contract year performance.  No matter where you look, Machado has been a monster and honestly there is literally nothing to quibble about here.  With Machado running at a bit more frequency this season with the 7 steals, he is a true superstar five-tool and his power numbers have never been better.  Not to be overlooked is the fact Machado's 12.3 K/9 is simply ridiculous and serves as a career-best.  Add in another career-best in BB/9 at 10.9 and a near-neutral .311 BABIP and Machado has been phenomenal.  So while he may lose a home run or two with the Dodgers pitching-centric park as his new home base, Machado has been on an MVP run this season both in real and in fantasy baseball.  Maybe Bryce Harper should take notes on how to perform with a new deal on the line. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: LE'VEON BELL RB PITTSBURGH STEELERS

The annual summer reality hit "Will Le'Veon Bell get a new contract extension" just finished up its second season on Monday and the public reaction centered mostly on annoyance aimed at both running back Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers for not coming to agreement on a new deal.  As a result, we once again have to deal with rumors and speculation that Bell will hold out for all of training camp and preseason games as he did a year ago and as a result, be susceptible to injury or a slow performance in September as he gets his legs under him.  This was the exact same scenario Bell and his fantasy football owners found themselves in a year ago as he held out all summer before reporting right before the opener.  While Bell did go on to have another insanely good year, the start was slow in September and he is now a year older with much more mileage on his tires.  With all this said, let's dig in a bit deeper on the guy who is considered to be the consensus number 2 pick in all 2018 fantasy football drafts.

As far as the particulars are concerned, Bell is still young at the age of 26 but he is also not spring chicken like a Dalvin Cook or a Kareem Hunt either.  Also, Bell has had nothing but a massive workload both in the running and receiving game since coming into the league back in 2013 and he comes off a 2017 where he ran the ball an insane 321 times and caught as just as ridiculous 85 passes.  Typically what we see when running backs come off a 300-plus carry season is a "bounce" the following year where the rushing average and overall yardage decrease.  There is also a much higher risk for injury and this is particularly scary with Bell who has missed 17 games in five NFL seasons due to health woes.  This is an issue not to be taken lightly and it becomes more stark when you consider he will not be in top shape if he does in fact hold out for training camp and preseason games like he did a year ago.  Keep in mind that under the same situation last summer, Bell averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and 60 rushing yards per game last September which was his lowest monthly total by far.  No doubt this is a big issue as you never want to be digging out of a slow start to your fantasy football season since the regular season is just 13 games in most leagues and a listless or injured Bell in September is a potential negative.

Now on the positive side, there is not a single more awesome player in all of fantasy football outside of maybe the Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley in terms of Bell's uncanny ability to dominate both as a runner and a receiver.  He has caught 75 or more balls in three of his five seasons and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry with 35 rushing scores during the same span.  You simply can't find those numbers anywhere else and so Bell is still deserving of at worst the number 2 pick in all 2018 fantasy football drafts.  With that said though, just keep in mind there is still some decent risk involved.

2018 PROJECTION:  1,241 rushing yards 9 TD, 73 receptions 644 yards 2 TD  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL FIRST HALF ALL-BUST TEAM

On Monday we took a break from the daily minutia of 2018 fantasy baseball and checked out who made the cut as our first half All-Star team in identifying those pitchers and hitters who made all of their owners incredibly happy with their performance over the first 3.5 months of the season.  Of course, we have to take a look at the flip side of things and discuss those players who ended up causing the most damage as your classic draft "bust."  We excluded players who got injured from this list as that could happen to anyone and instead based our selections on those pitchers and hitters who simply under-performed.  Be sure to share your thoughts below.

CATCHERS (2):  Gary Sanchez, Buster Posey:  While Sanchez has hit for his customary power, he has been injured and is batting under .190 for the season which is downright hideous for a second-round pick.  Meanwhile, Posey's power has vanished like I said it would in comparing him to Joe Mauer back in March.

FIRST BASEMAN (2):  Anthony Rizzo, Cody Bellinger:  I sounded the alarms on sophomore slump candidate Bellinger back in March and right on queue, he has struggled to hit even .250 this season while also showing a downgrade in power.  Meanwhile, Rizzo has had the same issues at an even higher draft cost.

SECOND BASEMAN (2):  Chris Taylor, Brian Dozier:  Dozier has perked up over the last week as he begins to do his typical second-half assault but the average hit and overall listless hitting the first half of the season was a reminder of ugly days from earlier in his career.  As far as Taylor was concerned, he was in BABIP heaven a year ago and his minor league rates suggested 2017 was a bit of an aberration.

SHORTSTOP (2):  Carlos Correa, Paul DeJong:  You may think it is harsh to knock Correa but it is not since he was a first-round pick, has stopped running altogether, and is hitting under .270.  DeJong was a guy I told you to avoid given his insane K numbers from the minors and even in his 2017 debut and so no shock he has been a liability.

THIRD BASEMAN (2):  Josh Donaldson, Justin Turner:  Kris Bryant and Rafael Devers were candidates for this spot as there have been a bunch of letdown here but both Donaldson and Turner look shot both on the health and hitting front.

OUTFIELDERS (5):  Marcell Ozuna, Rhys Hoskins, Byron Buxton, Yasiel Puig, Tommy Pham:  The hype machine was out of control on Hoskins this spring which is always a recipe for fantasy baseball disaster.  While he has not been awful, the numbers failed to match the third-round cost.  The other four all letdown in similar fashion related to cost.

STARTING PITCHERS (10):  Zack Godley, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Chris Archer, Yu Darvish, Marcus Stroman, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Bundy, Jose Quintana, Rich Hill:  Every single name on this list has been a letdown and in particular Darvish, Godley, Weaver, and Archer.