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Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: TY MONTGOMERY RB GREEN BAY PACKERS

There are certain players each summer in fantasy football drafts that seem to just ooze "boom or bust."  These players carry with them quite a bit of obvious ability and the chance to have a big year but there is also an equal chance all will go wrong and they will go completely bust.  Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery fits this mold for yours truly as he looks like someone who will either be a gem of a draft pick or someone who you will be cursing under your breath about well into next spring.  Right now the allure with Montgomery mostly resides in PPR leagues due to his excellent receiving ability out of the backfield for the Packers but he is no slouch running the football either as his advanced numbers such as "explosive runs" and what not all grade out very highly.  It is obvious that Montgomery has a ton of speed and is a true game-breaker both catching and running the football but there are also some major question marks regarding health and how much work he may receive this season.

First some history here and it really begins midway through 2016 when Eddie Lacy went belly up (or too big of a belly down) which opened the door for Montgomery to be the primary back for the Packers.  The fun started in Week 6 when Montgomery caught 10 passes for 98 yards and then followed that up a week later with another 10 catches for 66 more yards.  While he ran for just 6 yards in Week 6, Mongtomery went for 66 the following week as he showed PPR dual ability.  Just when the excitement meter went into overdrive though, Montgomery began a string of medicore to poor games where he failed to rush for even 60 yards in the next 6 contests and and the most catches he had in any one game was 3.  Just when everyone began to throw in the towel on him, Montgomery went nuts in the fantasy football semis by rushing for 162 yards and 2 scores, while also catching a pass for another five.  It was clear Montgomery could run with very impressive results to go along with his obvious receiving skills as a former college wideout.

So why the concern about Mongtomery going into the new season?  Well for one thing, the Packers have been leery to talk about Mongtomery being more than a guy who will run much more than 8-10 carries a game and that puts a cap on his overall impact.  Also there is the not-so-small matter of the Packers drafting TWO running backs last May, with Jamaal Williams in particular looking like a major threat for at least goal-line work.  Then there are the injuries as Montgomery already has a bum leg that will keep him out of preseason game number 2 and it calls into question whether he can handle the pounding that comes from being a primary running back.  All valid points.

With all this said, you can see why there are wildly divergent opinions on Montgomery this season and in standard leagues, I would take a complete pass.  In PPR though he could be a swell RB 2 or a complete bust.  There is no way to tell which way this could go.

2017 PROJECTION:  791 rushing yards 3 TD 48 receptions 455 yards 2 TD  


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL PRESEASON WEEK 2 WRAPUP: BLAKE BORTLES COULD BE RELEASED

-Barely even into the second week of preseason and already there are QB rumblings from around the league, starting in Jacksonville where it looks like incumbent starter Blake Bortles might finally be running out of chances to be the team's starter.  Reports have surfaced Friday suggesting Bortles could be cut outright as new president of operations Tom Coughlin has no loyalty ties to the QB and after he performed horribly Thursday night in completing 8-for-13 throws for 65 yards as he missed open receivers all night.  Bortles is also coming off a horrible 2016 campaign where he threw 23 TD passes and 16 interceptions and again struggled reading defenses and with accuracy.  Chad Henne is the veteran backup and he could start Week 1 but overall this is bad news for ace wideout Allen Robinson in terms of his prospective fantasy football value and could even hurt Leonard Fournette at running back as the Jags could face a ton of 8-man fronts.

-Tyrod Taylor did himself no favors with new head coach Sean McDermott as he tossed two interceptions Thursday night and completed just 8-of-18 throws overall.  Taylor is more athlete than QB anyways and McDermott seems to have little interest in having him as the team's starter going into the future.  Rookie Nathan Peterman threw well in replacing Taylor but it would be a big stretch to think the former would be out there Week 1.  Again LeSean McCoy could be seeing a bunch of 8-man fronts this season and combined with his age (29), he carries more risk than you think.

-DeVante Parker could be the next Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery in terms of being a heavily-targeted number 1 wideout of QB Jay Cutler.  Cutler has a long habit of obsessing over one receiver and Parker was that guy Thursday night as he was targeted four times in limited action.  I have said from the beginning that Jarvis Landry will be hurt this season due to head coach Adam Gase obsessing over the run and also for Cutler being more apt to wing it down the field.  Parker carries decent fantasy football sleeper appeal.

-Doug Martin ran well for the Tampa Bay Buc's in rushing for 30 yards on just 5 carries, while also hauling in 2 balls for 11 more yards.  While he is suspended for the first three games of the season, Martin has good buy low upside as the expected bellcow back for the Buc's.

-LeGarrette Blount is making no friends in Philly as he has just 17 yards on 9 total carries through two preseason games and he fumbled on one of his two catches last night.  The Eagles have no loyalty to Blount and he is expected to work in a committee anyways which further detracts from his value.  Avoid unless as a RB 4.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Yan Gomes:  3/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .226.  Gomes is trying to get our fantasy baseball attention again but it is not working.

Byron Buxton:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .234.  Buxton is hitting better of late but that is not saying much considering how low the bar has now been set.

Carlos Carrasco:  5 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.76.  Carrasco is dealing right now and is virtually unhittable.  He looks like a fantasy baseball ace under these circumstances but unfortunately the guy just can't put April to the end of September together.

Jake Lamb:  1/4 with his 26th HR while hitting .266.  Considering how much he strikes out, we can live with a .266 average from Lamb with all this power.

Patrick Corbin:  8.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.25.  Corbin is locked in right now which I mentioned after his LAST excellent start.  I can't do it for you.

Joey Votto:  2/5 with his 32nd HR while hitting .316.  My goodness I mean expecting Votto to better this output next season is foolish; making Votto a bit risky in 2018 first rounds.  Still the guy is still right there with anyone in the game for fantasy baseball MVP.

Ian Happ:  2/3 with 2 home runs (17 for season) while hitting .248.  Happ has been everything as advertised in terms of power but he needs to use the winter to get that average in better working order before I dive in fully.

Kris Bryant:  1/4 with his 23rd HR while hitting .291.  Yes Bryant won't get to 40 home runs which is a decent bummer but everything else was right on par.

Javier Baez:  1/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .269.  Ian Happ in 2017 is where Baez was in 2016 as an all-or-nothing slugger.

Kyle Schwarber:  3/5 with his 20th HR while hitting .204.  Yuck.

Jon Lester:  7 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 4.37.  Lester had absolutely nothing and an injury was quickly diagnose which gives him a bit of a pass.  I am VERY leery of him moving forward into 2018 though as the inning totals are massive on his arm going back to his deep-into-the-playoffs Boston days.

Charlie Blackmon:  3/5 with his 28th HR while hitting .335.  Can't think of many cases where a guy went from 40 steal speed to 30-plus home runs with almost no speed within a span of a few seasons.

Tyler Flowers:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .293.  Never draft a catcher early.

Ender Inciarte:  2/3 with 2 home runs (10 for season) and 2 steals (17 for season) while hitting .300.  Yeah you can't cram in much more for one game in fantasy baseball.

Freddie Freeman:  2/5 with his 22nd HR while hitting .321.  Freeman would have had a spectacular season if not for injury but as a nice consolation prize, he gave us third base eligibility for 2018.  An absolute first round pick next season.

Josh Donaldson:  2/3 with 2 home runs (20 for season) while hitting .272.  Donaldson has been a monster the last month and shows that the first round talent is still there but in injury-interrupted doses.

Justin Smoak:  2/4 with his 33rd HR while hitting .296.  Going to be interesting to see how the fantasy baseball community reacts to Smoak next spring in drafts.  I think he will still come cheap given how many people he has burned in the past.

Chris Archer:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.84.  I will say it again.  If Archer just stopped giving up home runs (2 in this one), he would win the Cy Young.

Tommy Pham:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .312.  Still wondering why the Cards had him begin the season in the minors.

Seung Hwan Oh:  2 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 3.74.  It is like Oh thinks he is closing again and so he has to give up runs.  Ummm wait a minute....

Gary Sanchez:  2/4 with his 22nd HR while hitting .277.  Sanchez just got done hitting his 20th of 22 home runs against the Mets in THIS series.

Curtis Granderson:  1/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .228.  Someone please trade for him.

Steven Matz:  6 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 6.08.  From the start of his comeback from yet another injury this season, Matz was not striking anyone out which was a red flag by itself.  This being the Mets, there is a 100 percent chance Matz is hiding an injury.  What a disgrace.

Luis Severino:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.18.  Great sign here that Sererino simply had a rough day versus the Boston Red Sox and is not suffering from the dreaded August/September fatigue for a young hurler.

Jay Bruce:  1/3 with his 30th HR while hitting .263.   I think Bruce gets only a one or two year offer as a free agent this winter.

Nomar Mazara:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .260.  Thought we would see a bit more overall growth out of Mazara this season but his power is moving upwards nicely.  Far from a finished product however.

Yoan Moncada:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .190.  Moncada seems to be settling in now.  Talent is off the charts but those offspeed pitches need to be hit more often.

Jose Abreu:  2/5 with his 23rd HR while hitting .294.  Give me Abreu in Round 3 or 4 next season all day and everyday.

Ryan Zimmerman:  1/3 with his 29th HR while hitting .310.  The average has predictably come down but this is 2010 Zimmerman once again.

Aaron Nola:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.26.  The guy was overdue for a rough one.  Move on.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: DL FOR TREVOR ROSENTHAL, NO DL FOR AROLDIS CHAPMAN

The obvious news that St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal was headed to the 10-day DL after coming down with tightness in his pitching arm was confirmed on Thursday as a bout of elbow irritation.  That sounds serious enough but there are whispers the UCL could be involved as well which would make sense considering how hard Rosenthal throws and how his velocity dropped badly in his outing on Wednesday.  More follow-up tests are scheduled but it is likely we have seen the last of Rosenthal this season.  That means Seung Hwan Oh has a chance to salvage his fantasy baseball season somewhat in moving back into the closer role and he should absolutely be picked up where is currently available.

Meanwhile New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will avoid the DL from all indications as he threw a bullpen session on Thursday and reportedly was running with no gait during warmups.  Chapman complained of a hamstring issue after nearly blowing the save versus the New York Mets the other day but he seems to have dodged the bullet there.


2017 FANTASY SPORTS BOSS FANTASY FOOTBALL PPR EXPERTS LEAGUE SATURDAY

Here we go.  Looking to avenge losing in the Finals of the Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Football PPR Experts League a year ago, I already have my first player for 2017 after picking Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell with the second overall pick.  While the draft is officially Saturday, we give the option to who has the top pick to make the choice ahead of time and then so on down the line.  Predictable David Johnson went first and after debating taking Antonio Brown, I went with Bell.  The only holdup I have with Bell is his holdout and what kind of shape he will be in but then again he came back like a monster after sitting for a three game suspension to begin 2016.  So I have my stud RB 1 and now will wait while for the Round 2 pick at number 19.  I will go running back or wideout here as this single-QB format makes it stupid to go a passer that early.  Be sure to follow along on Twitter Saturday (@RotoBoss) as I will update my picks as we go along.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: TREVOR ROSENTHAL GOES DOWN WITH ARM TIGHTNESS, HWAN OH BACK IN CLOSING DRIVER'S SEAT

In the midst of a big comeback season where he established himself again as an impact closer, it appears as though the St. Louis Cardinals' Trevor Rosenthal may be headed to the DL due to what the team is calling a bout of arm tightness.  The words "tight" and "arm" should not go hand-in-hand for any pitcher and so this is something that is not a small deal by any means and could threaten the remainder of the season for Rosenthal depending on what they find.  Rosenthal set off alarms during a rough appearance on Wednesday when his velocity shot way down and he complained afterwards of the tightness.  That means Seung Hwan Oh should get another chance to close and salvage what has been a very disappointing season for the March highly touted stopper.  With an ugly 1.33 WHIP and a high for a closer 3.46 ERA, Oh has struggled this season after dominating as rookie in 2016 when he looked to be one of the best closers in fantasy baseball.  While his original owners likely cut bait by now, pick up Oh where available.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: TIM BECKHAM SS BALTIMORE ORIOLES

How about a .485 average for the month of August so far?  That insane mark has been achieved by new Baltimore Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham who has been beyond scorching hot since coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.  While Beckham was already in the midst of a nice breakout season after stalling in his development some while with the Rays (this after being the first overall pick in the 2008 draft), what he has done with the Orioles is astounding.  I did say once the trade was completed to pick up Beckham given the fact he was making the move from one of the best pitching parks in the majors to one of the best hitting ones and boy has has he cooperated with that prediction.  Now pretty much a veteran at 27, Beckham is currently putting up the following numbers going into Thursday's games:

.298
17 HR
48 R
48 RBI
5 SB

Imagine what Beckham would have done with a full season in Baltimore but that is a story for 2018.  For now, Beckham is showing off the power that made him the first overall pick in his class and in particular, the .298 average is impressive since he really struggled badly in a Byron Buxton way there while trying to work his way to the majors.  Beckham has good wheels too which means he is capable of some more steals but maybe that part of his game is already stalling as he moves closer to 30.  Either way, Beckham has been tremendous and he should be a daily fantasy baseball starter throughout the rest of the 2017 season.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: AMARI COOPER WR OAKLAND RAIDERS

Maybe THIS is the year Oakland Raiders wideout Amari Cooper graduates fully into WR 1 territory in fantasy football.  It was this time last year where everyone in the fantasy football community said that Cooper would make such a leap in his second year in the league as his talent was obvious and due to the maturation of QB Derek Carr.  Well fellow Oakland wideout Michael Crabtree had something to say about it as it was he and not Cooper who performed as the top receiver on the Raiders in 2016 and this was especially true during the first half of the year.  With Crabtree also serving as the top red zone target, Cooper's numbers languished to the tune of just 15 catches in 3 September games and zero scores.  While Cooper did have a big October (37 grabs for 517 yards and  scores), he caught just 14 and 13 balls respectively in November/December which further made him a disappointment in his fantasy football owners' eyes.  For the entirety of the season, Cooper managed a still very good 83 receptions for 1,153 yards but he hit paydirt just five times as Crabtree caught TD passes.

So as we look toward 2017 fantasy football, Crabtree still remains but Cooper is now once again looking to firmly establish himself as the team's number 1 target of Carr.  On physical ability alone, Cooper is quite capable as he has more big-play potential than Crabtree but he needs to become notices more around the red zone to maximize his fantasy football success.  Right now Cooper can only be drafted as a WR 2 but he has the absolute ability to graduate to WR 1 status given his pedigree and athleticism.  If you can snag Cooper in the middle of the third round or later, you did very well.  It says something that 83 catches for 1,153 yards and 5 scores would be considered a bit of a letdown by his owners but that is simply because we know how much he is capable of achieving.  So go back to the well on Cooper this season as he could very well make that leap.

2018 PROJECTION:  89 receptions 1,298 yards 8 TD  


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: AROLDIS CHAPMAN RP NEW YORK YANKEES

When you appear as the subject of the Crisis Point feature for a second time during the course of the fantasy baseball season, you know you got some problems.  Such is the case for New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman who struggled yet again Tuesday night in giving up a two-run home run to New York Mets rookie shortstop Amed Rosario before finishing things off for the save.  Unfortunately it appears as though Chapman also injured his hamstring but he said afterward it was not a major deal.  Be that as it may, Chapman has been pretty crummy for large segments of the 2017 season and even this past Sunday he gave up a game-winning home run to another rookie, this time Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers.  The home runs given up against rookies could signal that Chapman's cloak of invincibility is vanishing among opposing hitters and the numbers this season could lead those who carry a bat to feel that way.  Consider the statistics Chapman carries into Wednesday's action:

3.89 ERA
1.33 WHIP
12.72 K/9
16 saves in 20 chances

No matter where you look, the numbers are well off the career marks for Chapman.  For starter's, the 12.72 K/9; while still a very impressive number; is quite a ways down from the 13.97 last season or the 15.74 in 2015.  Or the 17.67 in 2014.  There is a noticeable trend here though as Chapman's K/9 has slipped four straight years which is not the trend you want to see.  There are only so may nuclear missiles in a pitcher's arm and Chapman could be losing them right before our eyes.  In addition, Chapman's control is horrendous and at career-worst levels right now as evidenced by his 4.15 BB/9.  That is a simply brutal number and especially troubling for a closer.  Chapman is fighting his stuff like never before and it could portend to trouble with his arm.  And that trouble could be emanating from the ridiculous usage Chapman suffered from under Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon in last season's postseason/World Series.  Even Chapman expressed dismay about how Maddon used him and the correlation doesn't seem to be a coincidence given how bad he has pitched this season and the health problems he has also suffered through.  And again Chapman struggling with his stuff, control, and results can all be pointed to that usage.

Last but not least, Chapman's 0.52 HR/9 rate is his highest since 2013 and again opposing hitters don't seem to be having trouble catching up with his stuff.  Problems all the way around and now Chapman could be headed to the DL with a hamstring injury.  This means Dellin Betances will close in his place and so a look at your league's waiver wire to see if he was dropped is on order.  As for Chapman, he joins Zach Britton as astronomical bombs in 2017 fantasy baseball among closers.