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Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: CARSON WENTZ UNABLE TO FINISH SEASON YET AGAIN

A year ago at this time it was a torn ACL in his knee.  This time around it is a back fracture.  Combined together, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz has now been unable to finish a season for the second year in a row; putting a major hurt on those fantasy football owners who trusted in his ability to deliver league glory.  Now in terms of 2018, Wentz was very good for long stretches of his 11 games as he tossed 2 or more touchdowns in 8 of those contests and also went for over 300 in five.  Alas, Wentz' worst stretch of games came late as he was shaky in two of his last four and then he suffered the back fracture which adds more legitimacy in terms of his fragile physical state.  After all, when you can't finish a season for the second year in a row, the injury-probe label gets slapped on the player no matter what and this is what Wentz will carry with him into the offseason.  Now the flip side of this is that next summer Wentz should carry a very attractive fantasy football draft cost which should get the attention of those who like to look for value at the very deep QB position.  The talent is certainly not in question here but Wentz as an early mid-round pick next summer appears to be a very tantalizing proposition and pairing him with someone like a Jimmy Garoppolo or even a likely discounted Tom Brady would be a swell idea.  So while Wentz once again let his fantasy football owners down in the stretch run, the outlook is still quite enticing. 


Thursday, December 13, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER SIGNINGS: FLURRY OF ACTIVITY WEDNESDAY

While the biggest names remained on the market, there were still a bunch of signings Wednesday at the Winter Meetings which will impact respective fantasy baseball values:

Charlie Morton:  Morton heads to the Tampa Bay Rays for two years and $30 million and will look to pick up where he left off as a monster first half performer in 2018 for the Houston Astros.  By now we all know how Morton unleashed additional velocity midway through his career which greatly upped his K/9 rate and he was cruising with a sub-3.00 ERA last season before injuries derailed things.  Morton has never been the picture of health and his home run problems will likely be exacerbated a bit in the AL East.  That will push Morton down from SP 2 territory to more of an SP 3. 

Lance Lynn:  3 years and $30 million was the freight the Texas Rangers handed Lance Lynn which is surprising considering he was brutal for almost all of 2018.  With a K/9 rate that has cratered after Tommy John surgery a few years back, Lynn logged a 4.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP but he is still only 31 which lends hope he can come back a bit.  Be that as it may, going to the offensive haven in Texas is a potential recipe for disaster and so Lynn is really just AL-only fodder for now.

Jeurys Familia:  The New York Mets bring back long-time closer Jeurys Familia but this time to work in setup in front of newly-acquired monster closer Edwin Diaz.  The cost was three years and $30 million which is a lot for setup but the Mets are not paying Diaz much will offsets things.  In the end though, Familia only has moderate value in holds leagues.

Justin Bour:  One of our favorites for a number of years, first baseman Justin Bour inked a one-year deal worth $2 million with the Los Angeles Angels. Unfortunately, Bour had a rough 2018 and now will likely share first base/DH duties with Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani.  Not much value here outside of AL-only leagues.

J.A. Happ:  While you never like to get in bed with pitchers who operate in the AL East, J.A. Happ has proven he can succeed here as he was excellent during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and then with the New York Yankees last season.  The Yanks brought Happ back on at hree-year deal at $17 million per and so he will remain in the top SP 4 range off a 2018 where his K/9 was at his highest level ever. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING WINTER MEETINGS NEWS: YANKS BRING BACK J.A. HAPP ON THREE-YEAR DEAL

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--Lots of drama here this morning with free agent starter J.A. Happ who has come to agreement to return to the New York Yankees on a three-year deal.  The drama centered on the fact Happ got the Philadelphia Phillies to go three years on a prospective deal last night and the Philly media contingent said they deal was pretty much done.  Not so fast as Happ's representation took the offer to Yanks GM Brian Cashman this morning to see if the team would match.  While it may not have been a straight match all the way down the line in terms of dollars, the Yanks went from two to three years on their original proposal which was enough to land Happ.  Happ only has to pass a physical for it to get done.  Good stuff here as the Yankee reporters were circled in a cluster this morning waiting for updates as this was going on.  With Happ now in the fold, look for Cashman to quickly move to trade Sonny Gray and also possibly step up his pursuit of Manny Machado. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: INCREASED CHATTER THE YANKS WILL GET MACHADO

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--With the majority of personnel departing Thursday, these Winter Meetings so far have fallen well short of expectations in terms of big deals being signed or trades consummated.  With that said, there are some embers burning that could turn into a transaction inferno before too long.  Specifically speaking, the general consensus here is that it is only a matter of time before the New York Yankees reel in Manny Machado.  GM Brian Cashman has already met TWICE with Machado's agents since arriving here and there has been mutual interest for awhile here.  Where there is smoke, there is fire and the fact that word publicly got out that the Yanks are willing to move 2018 rookie sensation third baseman Miguel Andujar means a framework could already be in place here.  Finally, there has not been any other team other than the Phillies and the White Sox who have been overly aggressive on Machado like the Yankee have.  Stay tuned.

-Speaking of the Yankees, they remain very interested in top setup men Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller and last night met with Ottavino's agent.  Ottavino has stated publicly his affinity for New York and the Mets are also engaged here as well.

-In terms of the J.T. Realmuto talks, the three-team deal with the Mets, Marlins, and Yankees never really went anywhere and those talks morphed into Miami asking the Mets straight up for Amed Rosario for the All-Star backstop.  The Mets don't want to move Rosario since it would be just moving pieces around and in fact, they began peddling back to Martin Maldonado last night as now the Phillies are becoming more of a prime factor in the Realmuto talks.

-There were instantly raised eyebrows regarding the three years and $50 million the Phillies handed aging outfielder Andrew McCutchen.  While McCutchen is still productive, he is a level down from his past MVP days with the Pirates and is not the kind of move that Phillies fans were expecting going into the winter. 

-The Cincinnati Reds have been quite active here as they look to engage the Dodgers in talks for outfielder Yasiel Puig and the Yanks for pitcher Sonny Gray.  They also are open for bringing back Matt Harvey on a short-term deal.