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PURCHASE THE 2015 FANTASY SPORTS BOSS FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE: EARLY EDITION FOR ONLY $17.99

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK 16 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 16 QB rankings for this championship weekend based on opposing matchups.

1.  Drew Brees
2.  Andrew Luck
3.  Aaron Rodgers
4.  Matt Ryan
5.  Tom Brady
6.  Peyton Manning
7.  Tony Romo
8.  Matthew Stafford
9.  Ben Roethlisberger
10. Jay Cutler
11. Russell Wilson
12. Mark Sanchez
13. Philip Rivers
14. Robert Griffin III
15. Eli Manning
16. Ryan Tannehill
17. Joe Flacco
18. Kyle Orton
19. Cam Newton
20. Andy Dalton
21. Alex Smith
22. Josh McCown
23. Colin Kaepernick
24. Derek Anderson
25. Johnny Manziel
26. Blake Bortles
27. Shaun Hill
28. Charlie Whitehurst
29. Teddy Bridgewater
30. Geno Smith
31. Derek Carr
32. Case Keenum

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: JAKE McGEE OUT OF EARLY SAVES PICTURE FOR TAMPA BAY AFTER ELBOW SURGERY

The 2015 fantasy baseball season will take shaper focus soon enough now that fantasy football is almost in the books.  We continue to follow all of the offseason news and signings but also the injuries.  Under the latter heading. word came out of Tampa Bay today that 2014 second-half close Jake McGee was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left pitching elbow which will have him sitting on the DL for the start of the 2015 season.  McGee was coming off a terrific breakout season for the Rays when he pitched to a 1.89 ERA and collected 19 saves while striking out 90 batters in 71.1 innings.  The Rays have refused to say how long McGee could be out but they did acknowledge that he will not be ready to go at the start of April.  The real shame is that McGee was shaping up as a terrific value play at closer where you really want to be when it comes to addressing this position in your draft.  The injury now forces us to push McGee down quite a bit in the closer rankings but we also don't suggest you avoid him altogether either as even if he comes back in May, you would still get a very cheap five months out of the guy.  For now though, we have to try and figure out who will step up for saves in McGee's place and with Joe Maddon and his tendency to love committee's now in Chicago, the hope is that one guy will emerge. 

As far as the possible options are concerned, the one that clearly stands out is Ernesto Frieri who was a dominant closer at times for the Los Angeles Angels over the three seasons.  Unfortunately he melted down in epic fashion last season which cost him his closer job and got him eventually shipped out to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he pitched even worse.  Frieri is a clear reclamation project at this point but one who has a tremendous K rate that goes well with the closer role.  Should be considered the front-runner due to his experience.

Two other names to look at would be Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxburger.  On results and stuff alone, Boxberger should be the clear choice as he pitched to a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP as a rookie in 2014.  In addition, Boxberger struck out a ridiculous 104 batters in only 64.2 innings.  Boxberger has big-time heat under his fastball and again his stuff clearly passes the smell test when it comes to being a closer.  He has little to no experience at the major league level however which could hurt him, especially considering it will be early in the season when managers want their teams to get off to as good a start as possible.  Meanwhile Jepsen just came over in a deal for outfielder Matt Joyce and the veteran setup man and the veteran himself comes off a nice 2014 campaign where he pitched to a 2.63 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while striking out 75 batters in 65 innings.  Jepsen has gotten hit hard in the past but also had put up some dominant seasons.  Again his stuff looks closer-worthy which means he could get a look also.

When you look at this situation closely, any one of these three could emerge as the early closer.  We still think Frieri will get the gig due to his experience but we want Boxberger to get a shot.  If Boxberger does get a chance, he could run with the gig if he dominates early on.  This should be watched very closely in spring training and in the meantime be sure to add all three to your draft queue. 

 
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FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY NIGHT WRAPUP: SAINTS/BEARS

We had some server issues earlier in the day which is why we are posting the Monday night Wrapup late.  The Saints and Bears finished up a wild Week 15 in fantasy football and the championship round beckons.

Drew Brees:  29/36 for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Flawless game fore Brees who has completely erased memories of his slow start to 2015.  He continues to put up monster numbers despite having injuries and age take a toll on the Saints offense. 

Jay Cutler:  17/31 for 194 yards with 2 TD and 3 INT.  More garbage time scores for Cutler who has been an MVP during that time this season but has been among the worst passers in the league when the game is in the balance.  What is really funny is that Cutler statistically is having his best season statistical season ever but trusting him even as your QB 2 is asking a lot given how volatile he continues to be.

Mark Ingram:  17 carries for 59 yards and 1 TD. The TD was huge here as Ingram was just all right running the football.  He continues to be dogged by injuries but Ingram really broke through as a runner this season.  Still not enough to be anything more than a low-end RB 2 however.

Matt Forte:  16 carries for 78 yards while also catching 2 passes for 21 yards.  Forte has been severely undermined by the Bears' habit of getting blown out early in games and than having to rely on the pass.  While his receiving has been exemplary as usual, his running numbers are down more than a bit as a result of the early game issues.  Over the last month-plus as well, Forte has barely put up even decent running numbers befitting a RB 2.

Pierre Thomas:  2 carries for 11 yards while also catching 5 passes for 83 yards.  Thomas is a terrific receiver and still can make hay as a RB 2 in PPR formats but Ingram is clearly the main runner in the Saints offense right now.

Jimmy Graham:  5 catches for 87 yards.  Nice sign here after Graham was unbelievably shut out in the receptions department a few weeks ago.  He is likely more dinged up than the team is letting on as Graham has not been out there on every down but we feel more comfortable going into the championship round with him than we did a week ago.

Marques Colston:  5 catches for 65 yards and a TD.  Colston continues to hold onto his name brand but Kenny Stills and next season a healthy Brandin Cooks could push him over the cliff.

Kenny Stills:  5 catches for 67 yards.  Speaking of Stills, he has predictably been terrific over the last month since replacing the injured Cooks.  He looks like he has finally found some consistency which means he could be as high as a WR 2 next season.

Alshon Jeffery:  4 catches for 78 yards and a TD.  Jeffery collects one of the garbage-time TD's and really the show is his now with Brandon Marshall out.  Jeffery is even going to better his 2013 breakout numbers as he further solidifies himself as a WR 1.

Martellus Bennett:  4 catches for 36 yards.  Disappointing game out of Bennett who caught a 2-pt. conversion.  Considering the Bears had to throw so much and Bennett was coming off a string of good to terrific games, this was a dud no matter how you look at the outing.

Marquess Wilson:  3 catches for 16 yards and a TD.  Other than the TD, Wilson was a dud.  The 3 catches were pathetic and so was the yardage.  In addition Wilson false-started at one point which earned the ire of the coaching staff.  Would not trust him again next week given what we saw.

 

Monday, December 15, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DeMARCO MURRAY HEADED FOR SURGERY TO REPAIR BROKEN HAND, MAY MISS WEEK 16

                                           

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray is headed for surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand which could cause him to miss the team's titanic game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.  If Murray were to miss the game, Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle would be expected to split the workload.

Analysis:  We almost made it through a season with Murray not getting hurt for the first time but alas the challenge was too great.  Murray is 50/50 at best to play Sunday and is more likely to sit out as Emmitt Smith did when he had a similar injury years ago.  This could go right down to the wire so stay tuned for any details that we won't leave uncovered. 

 

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MATT KEMP OUTFIELDER SAN DIEGO PADRES

Sometimes a player's prime years can be fleeting.  One day a player is on top of the game athletically and the next, he is a shell of his former self due to age, injury, or a combination of both.  One can certainly see this phenomenon when it comes to the case of new San Diego Padres outfielder Matt Kemp.  The Padres finally completed a trade for Kemp last week at the Winter Meetings and announced the deal Monday once he passed his physical.  The fact Kemp was able to pass the physical is sort of news in and of itself considering how much of a mess he had been health-wise the two seasons prior.  It has been a long road back for Kemp from his 2011 fantasy baseball MVP level when he smacked 39 home runs, stole 40 bases, and batted .324 in one of the better seasons seen in years.  Unfortunately from 2012 through 2013, Kemp suffered through maladies that included back, knee, hamstring, and shoulder ailments that led to surgery on more than one occasion.  Things got so bad that Kemp logged only 263 at-bats in 2013 when he hit all of 6 home runs while batting .270.  Thus as 2014 dawned, there were a ton of questions regarding whether Kemp was quickly fading prematurely before our eyes despite the fact he was turning only 30.  After a slow start to the season however, Kemp successfully fought back to reclaim his name as he hit 25 home runs, drove in 89, and batted a solid .287  Very good numbers indeed that put Kemp back into outfielder 2 territory as he moves on to San Diego. 

Of course the fact I mentioned that Kemp is now an outfielder 2 and not the 1 he was clearly back in 2011 speaks to how he has changed overall as a player.  At this stage of the game, Kemp is no longer a five-tool fantasy baseball monster due to the fact he has lost a good deal of speed and he may not even be a .300 hitter anymore.  Kemp stole only 8 bases last season and was caught 5 times which speaks to how much ability he has lost in that part of the game.  The Padres also are a team that historically doesn't run as much which means Kemp could very well struggle to reach 10 steals once again this season.  Also like I noted, Kemp's batting average is trending downward as he has hit .270 and .287 the last two seasons and now he goes to quite possibly the worst offensive park in the majors in Petco Park with the Padres.  While Los Angeles is also one of the more pronounced pitching parks, Petco Park is in a league of their own when it comes to challenges to hit for power and even average. 

Now let's get to the power.  It was very nice to see Kemp go back up to the 25 home run plateau last season and when he has been generally healthy, has been a lock with 5 of the last 6 seasons having him hitting at least 23 bombs.  Of course again we have to mention the effect of Petco Park as Kemp is going to struggle to reach 25 home runs there, especially with the lack of protection in the lineup.  There are no Yasiel Puig's or an Adrian Gonzalez on the Padres which means Kemp will be pitched to carefully.  20-23 home runs sounds right with around 85 RBI when you factor everything together.  Finally, Kemp is more of a 75-85 run scored player at this stage of the game, with him coming in on the lesser side of that statistical area code this season.

When you put things all together, Matt Kemp retains outfielder 2 status for 2015 fantasy baseball.  while he is a shell of his former MVP self, Kemp can still help you with the power numbers and hit for a decent average.  The health questions linger however and the ballpark is awful.  Be sure to rice him according to his current level of play and not what we have seen just a few years ago.

2015 PROJECTION:  .275 23 HR 86 RBI 77 R 7 SB



 
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FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS RE-UP CHASE HEADLEY WITH FOUR-YEAR DEAL FOR $52 MILLION

                                       

The New York Yankees retained a big piece of their infield early Monday by agreeing to a four-year extension with 3B Chase Headley worth $52 million.  Headley will man third base for the team this season while the returning Alex Rodriguez will mostly DH. 

Analysis:  Nice move by both the Yanks and Headley as both sides needed one another.  Headley retains some nice fantasy baseball value as he enters his first full season in the hitting paradise that is New York.  However he is really just a low-end starter for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. 

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 15 WRAPUP

Harry Douglas:  A few days ago I suggested you pick up Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas who was slated to take the place of the injured Julio Jones in a terrific matchup against an awful Pittsburgh Steelers secondary.  In the past Douglas has performed like a near-WR 1 when Jones has been out and he did so again Sunday in catching 10 passes for 131 yards.  Jones is no lock to return for Week 16 either so if you picked up Douglas, hold him another few days. 

Johnny Manziel:  Johnny Football was a Johnny Flop Sunday in his first NFL start as he completed only 10-of-18 passes for 80 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.  Simply put, Manziel was horrific no matter how you look at it.  Heading into the game Manziel was just a speculative add but now he can be let go in all formats with the championship game on tap.

Le'Veon Bell:  With DeMarco Murray struggling Sunday night, it is now time to anoint Le'Veon Bell the favorite to be the 2014 fantasy football MVP.  Bell has been beyond ridiculous over the last month which continued Sunday in rushing for 47 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while also catching five balls for another 72 yards.  Right now no one is better regardless of the position he plays. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick:  Stick a fork in Houston Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who suffered a broken leg in the team's loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  Coming off a 6-touchdown game, Fitzpatrick had little chance of an encore as he went down early.  Rookie Tom Savage was ill prepared from that point on which means that those who own DeAndre Hopkins and Arian Foster could see a rough championship game. 

Jeremy Hill:  During the past week it was learned that Cincinnati Bengals OC Hue Jackson preferred to have rookie Jeremy Hill dominate carries and in turn phase out Giovani Bernard a bit.  Jackson obviously made the right call as Hill was unstoppable Sunday in rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries while also catching one pass for 4 more yards.  There is no reason for Jackson to deviate from his offensive plan right now which means Hill will be ridden heavily the rest of the way.  This is a clear RB 1 in all formats. 

Donte Moncrief:  Just a shockingly terrible game for Indianapolis Colts big-play WR Donte Moncrief as the speedy rookie failed to catch even one pass in the team's win over the Houston Texans.  Those who took a shot on Moncrief with Reggie Wayne hobbling got destroyed with this.  As great as Andrew Luck and the Colts offense is, Moncrief is too inconsistent to depend on. 

Greg Olsen:  Continuing with his career year, Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen caught 10 passes for 110 yards in the team's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.  Whether it is Derek Anderson or Cam Newton throwing the passes, Olsen has been the best and most productive receiver on the Panthers this season by far. 

Aaron Rodgers:  Fantasy football owners of Aaron Rodgers had to be feeling pretty confident going into the playoff with the Green Bay Packers QB starting back at them when looking at their rosters.  However it is likely those owners are out of the chase of their league title after Rodgers had arguably his worst game as a pro Sunday in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.  Rodgers completed only 17-of-42 passes for 185 yards and two interceptions and zero touchdowns.  The Bills pass rush and ball-hawking secondary were all over Rodgers and the Packer receivers throughout.  Even the best of them have a bad day.  Just another reminder of how razor-thin the margin of error can be in this. 

Odell Beckham Jr.:  What can this guy do next?  The amazing rookie season of New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. continued Sunday as he caught 12 passes for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns in the team's win over the Washington Redskins.  Beckham Jr. did whatever he wanted in the game and is already challenging for top five status among all fantasy football wideouts.  While Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson, and Demaryuis Thomas are all worthy of being picked ahead of him, I have a tough time figuring out why Beckham should not be the fourth wideout overall next season.

Mike Wallace:  For the first time this season, Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace passed the 100-yard plateau as he grabbed 5 passes for 104 yards and a score in a bad loss to the New England Patriots.  Wallace has done his job as a WR 3 this season but his contract is still completely unjustified. 

Peyton Manning:  The quiet finish for Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning continued Sunday as he threw only one touchdown in the win over the San Diego Chargers.  Overall Manning threw for 233 yards on 14-of-20 passing as the Broncos ran the ball heavily.  Manning has now thrown for 1 or fewer touchdowns in two of the team's last three games.  It is likely that many of his owners are already out of the playoffs as a result.

Antonio Gates:  Ageless San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates kept things going nicely Sunday in catching six passes for 54 yards and 1 touchdown Sunday against personal patsies the Denver Broncos.  Gates was effective at beating the Bronco defense down the middle of the field for most of the game and he has remained overall healthy this season which is always a challenge for him.  Continue using Gates as your prime tight end play.

Julius Thomas:  Things are getting beyond frustrating for the owners of Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas who finally made it back Sunday from his injured ankle but who played only limited snaps that resulted in one paltry catch for 30 yards.  Thomas clearly is not 100 percent and is a major liability to own right now if you are still active in your league.  Look for any other option for Week 16.

Dez Bryant:  It was the Dez Bryant show Sunday night as the big-play Dallas Cowboys wideout caught 6 passes for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns in the team's win over the Philadelphia Eagles.  Bryan and QB Tony Romo played pitch-and-catch throughout and will be a major duo again next week against the awful Indianapolis Colts secondary.