Friday, July 25, 2014



Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson showed up to training camp for the team on Friday, despite vowing to hold out due to a desire for a new contract and/or a trade. 

Analysis:  Yet another holdout that ends with little adieu about nothing on the heels of Jamaal Charles.  Johnson has caught over 100 passes the last two seasons despite some horrible QB play and he remains in great shape despite turning 33.  He is a major PPR weapon but Ryan Fitzpatrick limits what he could do somewhat overall.



Marcus Stroman:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.21.  Maybe I was selling Stroman short by comparing him to Roy Oswalt circa Houston Astros before his debut.  Top notch control+high K rate=future star.

Cole Hamels:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.72.  Since Zack Grienke has finally graduated into a higher draft level of years of being undrafted, Hamels is now my clear number 1 man crush among off starters.  For some reason Hamels continues to be forgotten as a top ten fantasy baseball starter and since his best work comes after the break, the good times will get even better.

Tim Hudson:  6 IP 8 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.65.  Amazing what this guy is doing at his age.  Hudson though was smart in signing into such a great ballpark which is helping to prolong his stellar career. 

Chris Carter:  1/4 with his 20th HR while hitting .213.  The batting race between Carter and Mark Reynolds is heating up.

Brandon Moss:  1/3 with his 23rd HR while hitting .266.  Grand salami for Moss who continues to take aim at the hallowed 40 home run mark. 

Jeff Samardzjia:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Samardzjia is right at home with the A's and his career season should ensure he graduates into the quiet ace class with James Shields and Zack Greinke.

Brandon McCarthy:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.45.  Three-for-three when it comes to McCarthy pitching well for the Yanks.  Usually going to the AL East and into Yankee Stadium is a recipe for fantasy baseball disaster but McCarthy using the cutter again is boosting him greatly.

Chris Johnson:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .277.  Johnson is starting to finally drive the baseball but that really has never been part of his game.  We told you all going into the season that Johnson was a bust candidate off his batting title average a year ago which was attached to the highest BABIP number in the game.  Trust in the advanced stats.

Henderson Alvarez:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.62.  Alvarez is just the latest Miami Marlins starter to come up from the minors and turn into a top end guy.  From Jose Fernandez going back to Josh Beckett, the Marlins develop pitchers as well as the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals. 

Wei-Yin Chen:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.92.  Chen can help you as an SP 5 in almost all leagues and a bit more in AL-only but you won't feel any pull to own him if he is not already on your roster.

Max Scherzer:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.37.  The ERA has been up a bit this year for Scherzer but he is still having a very good season and is slated for a monster payday in free agency. 

Joe Nathan:  scoreless ninth while striking out the side for his 21st save with an ERA of 5.73.  Take that Joakim Soria.  Nathan has pitched very well since the start of July for what it's worth and Brad Ausmus has said the job remains his.  We'll go with it.  For now.

Tyson Ross:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.85.  No one is talking about how dominant Ross has been in his ultra-breakout season.  For all the pub Corey Kulber has deservedly gotten with his boatload of strikeouts and low ratios, Ross has been just as good and is a guy you should pick over his Cleveland counterpart due to his league and ballpark.

Danny Santana:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .325.  Santana has been a nice story out of the blue this season and I spoke of his average, runs, and steals potential when he arriverd.  Want him back near the leadoff spot though.

Matt Garza:  8 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.87.  It is all-or-nothing sometimes with Garza who was destroyed in his last outing.  You would think he has had an awful season without looking at the numbers but in actuality what Garza is doing is pretty much the standard for his career.

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .302.  Braun is getting into one of those big hot spells that he tends to find a few times a season but until now had been absent in 2014.  On pace for 26 home runs, this is the new Braun post steroids.  Which means borderline outfielder 1.

Khris Davis:  2/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .253.  Many cut Davis in April when he got out of the blocks slow but he has done what was expected right on down to the mediocre average. 

Jonathan Lucroy:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .314.  You can say that Lucroy is the best "hitter" on the Brewers.  I would not argue.


Thursday, July 24, 2014



Camps continue to open up for business around the fantasy football world so lets get right to all the latest news:

-The big news of the day of course is the fact Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is holding out for a new contract.  This comes just a day after Kansas City's Jamaal Charles got rewarded with a two-year deal after holding out for one day against the team.  A separate Status Report feature will run tomorrow on this so be sure to check it out.  In short, this is nothing but bad news for Lynch and his current owners.

-Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice got only a two-game ban by the NFL after he was caught on video hitting his wife.  A clear slam on the wrist for a dirtbag of a man whose act is indefensible.  As far as his fantasy football value is concerned, Rice has some bounceback appeal as he was hobbled by injuries for most of last season but he also has a ton of wear on his smallish body which means there is also a chance he continues to slide.

-Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano want to have a bellcow back this season for the team and it looks like Trent Richardson will get the chance to be that guy.  Richardson of course is coming off arguably the worst rushing season by a back who got the majority of his team's carries in the league a year ago.  The former first round pick has rushed for fewer than 4 yards per carry since being drafted which means he carries nothing but RB 4 fantasy football value for now.  There is a chance Richardson could unleash some of his potential but we also are reaching the point where what you see if what you get there. 

-Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel is listed atop the team's depth chart as camp opened.  Rookie Teddy Bridgewater is still in play as a possible starter however.  Owners of Cordarelle Patterson are paying close attention.

That's all for now.  As always let us know what you think.



By Michael Wong

Lots of rumors and discussions to talk about as the July 31 trade deadline is now only a week away.  Let's get to all the latest.

-The Philadelphia Phillies are completely done with 1B Ryan Howard now and are willing to eat a sizable amount of his remaining contract in order to be rid of him completely.  The Yankees have kicked the tires here as Mark Teixeira can't stay healthy and Howard's power plays well in their ballpark.  As it always does, it comes down to money and how much the Phillies are willing to take.

-Speaking of the Phillies, the Tigers are now out of the Jonathan Papelbon sweepstakes after trading for Joakim Soria.  The Toronto Blue Jays are still in the discussion however.

-Once again with the Phillies, A.J. Burnett is begging to be traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates but his former team is only lukewarm on the idea of brining him back.

-On a related front of a team being sick of a player, the Kansas City Royals will give away Billy Butler is anyone wants him.  The 29 home runs he hit back in 2012 are going down as one of the biggest outlier numbers in the game the last few seasons.

-The Yankees continue to stay very active after trading for Chris Capuano from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations.  Capuano had been pitching in the bullpen for the Rockies but he could factor into the Yankees' decimated rotation.  His home run tendencies are a bad fit at Yankee Stadium however.

-The Minnesota Twins have already given up on Kendrys Morales as they traded him to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.  Morales of course was with Seattle last season and the Mariners have been looking for another bat to help protect Robinson Cano.  Morales has looked awful so far this season however amid whispers his bat has slowed.

-The Houston Astros are inclined to keep closer Chad Qualls who has had a nice comeback season for the team.  He is signed for only $5 million in 2015 and has pitched very well for the Astros which hasn't forced their hand to make a deal.

-Aaron Hill is being offered by the Arizona Diamondbacks but more teams are asking about Martin Prado.

-Edwin Jackson could be on the move yet again.  One of the more traded players in the game, Jackson has been his usual up-and-down self this season for the Chicago Cubs.  He could be a help for any team needing starters.




It was widely assumed that the acquisition by the Detroit Tigers of Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria would finally solve their ninth-inning woes.  After seeing Joe Nathan struggle mightily pretty much the entire season, the trade for the All Star Soria and his excellent numbers was looked at as the key piece for the Tigers to make a firm World Series run.  However soon after the trade was made, reports began to come out that Nathan would in fact remain the closer and that Soria would pitch in the eighth inning.  Nathan has given up only one run in his last seven appearances which may have played a role but still this was a puzzling decision by Brad Ausmus considering how great Soria has been.  Ultimately though Nathan has no more margin for error and is one more slump away from being removed from the role for good in favor of Soria.  Hold onto Soria if you already are an owner and don't automatically drop Nathan yet either.  This story if not over yet.


Jorge De La Rosa:  7.1 IP 8 H 1 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 4.19.  Few pitchers have been bigger teases than De Le Rosa over years.  Big arm but horrid control has been the scouting report since he broke into the league.  Oh and throw in injuries also.

Freddie Freeman:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .284.  It doesn't look like Freeman will be reaching the 30 home run mark like we all thought he would.  Truth be told the overall numbers are a slight disappointment.  This is not the Billy Butler 30-home run watch however as Freeman is still even at his present stat range a top five to seven fantasy baseball first baseman.

Ervin Santana:  7.1 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.87.  Santana is hot again which means in two weeks he will be cold.  Which than means......etc. etc.

James Shields:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.58.  Shields will be a free agent and I will watch very closely to see where he signs in the offseason after a career spent in the AL.  If he does sign in the NL and a neutral park at worst, than my already heightened expectations will go even higher.

Mark Reynolds:  3/4 with 2 home runs (16 for season) while hitting .207.  I really am thinking that Reynolds will be hitting home runs with a .200 average until he is 50.

Kyle Lohse:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.07.  Tired of walking about Lohse.  You know the deal about the guy.  Non-innings capped league guy.  Blah blah blah.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .315.  We all keep waiting for that monster power surge to get Cabrera back to his usual home run output but it strangely just has not happened.  Only thing I can come up with is that Cabrera is just having an "off" season by his standards. 

Didi Gregorious:  2/4 with his third HR and second SB while hitting .234.  Yeah him again.  Through all of his promotions and demotions, Gregorious still not has figured out how to hit consistently enough.

Bartolo Colon:  7.1 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.03.  Could be the last start in a Met uniform for the ageless and rotund one.  Giants looking very closely.

Tajuan Walker:  5 IP 2 H 2 ER 6 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.60.  Please don't let this be another Trevor Bauer again. 

Alex Cobb:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.76.  This kind of start from Cobb arrived about three months later than I thought it would.

Yoenis Cespedes:  2/4 with 2 home runs (16 for season) while hitting .253.  Seems like Cespedes is always hitting .253.  And moonshot home runs.  We'll take it.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014



The Texas Rangers have agreed to trade All Star closer Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for two minor league prospect pitchers late Wednesday.  Soria will immediately move into the closer role for the Tigers in place of the struggling Joe Nathan.

Analysis:  Great move by the Tigers whose biggest weakness was the ninth inning.  They thought they solved that problem going into the season after signing Nathan but he looks completely shot.  As far as who steps for the Rangers at closer, Neftali Feliz could go right back into the ninth inning as he once did for the team before injuries took him out of action for awhile.




The Houston Astros placed outfielder George Springer on the 15-day DL on Wednesday due to a strained right quad.  Springer had tried to rehab the injury the last few days but combined with a sore knee, reported Wednesday that he was not ready to rejoin the lineup.  The Astros believe he will be ready to come off the DL when his 15 days are up.

Analysis:  Springer has been terrific in his rookie season with 20 home runs and 50 RBI in only 78 games but there is the red flag of his awful batting average due to a plethora of K's.  Ultimately Springer has to make inroads with the average the way Carlos Gomez did when he got to the Brewers in order for him to reach his highest potential.




The Kansas City Chiefs and holdout RB Jamaal Charles have reached agreement on a new contract according to a team source.  The new deal comes on the first day of Charles official holdout from team activities in training camp.

Analysis:  Well that was quick.  The holdout story really was whole much about nothing as Charles got the deal he wanted not even 24 hours into his vow.  The new deal once again cements his status as the top running back in fantasy football and in the debate with Peyton Manning as the number 1 pick in the game.




San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended for 25 games after he tested positive for banned amphetamines.  This is the second time Maybin has tested positive for the substance and he will be replaced by Jeff Francoeur in the lineup.

Analysis:  What a moron.  Maybin is garbage anyway when it comes to fantasy baseball circles so this is not a big deal but still it is amazing a guy who has struggled so much would jeopardize his career like this. 



He just can't do it.  Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki just physically cannot make it through a season with out hitting the DL at least once.  2014 started to give us hope that maybe he was ready to buck his career long trend of getting injured as he made it to the All Star Break unscathed.  However once the All Star festivities were finished, Tulowitzki got bitten by the injury bug again as this time he came down with a strained hip which landed him on the 15-day DL on Tuesday.  The move was made retroactively to July 20th and the Rockies think Tulowitzki will be back when the 15 days are up.  The injury also makes it highly unlikely Tulowitzki will be traded leading up to the July 31 deadline which is actually the only bit of good news for his fantasy baseball owners who want to preserve half of his games at Coors Field. 

In looking at the fallout from the injury, the fact the Rockies think Tulo will be back so quickly is a nice sign.  However Tulowitzki is not the quickest healer in the world as we all know so take that with a grain of salt.  The fact of the matter is that any game Tulowitzki misses is a big blow to his fantasy baseball owners.  A ready-made replacement in the form of backup Josh Rutledge should be available in 99 percent of leagues however and his power/speed game should be more than enough to help keep you afloat until his teammate heals.  On and on the trend goes however as nothing is more certain in life than death, taxes, and Troy Tulowitzki getting hurt.




New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been fully cleared to participate in training camp and will not be forced to go on the PUP list after last season's torn ACL and MCL.  While Gronkowski will be on a modified schedule in camp and may not see a lot of action in preseason games in order to stay healthy, the news means he will be ready to go in Week 1 barring any more issues.

Analysis:  Great news as Gronkowski was one of those very tough calls in fantasy football circles given his iffy heath status.  Still he remains one of the bigger boom or bust players in the game and needs a good backup if you draft him.



Adrian Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .259.  Gonzalez went crazy with the home runs in April but has really fallen off the pace since.  In fact we started talking about Gonzalez being a 30-home run guy again until May hit and they all dried up.  The average is not wonderful either which means we are back to his 2012-13 realm which is useful but far from his San Diego heyday.

Greg Polanco:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .253.  There have been some pronounced cold spells but all the tools are there ready to explode.  In fact I hope Polanco continues to struggle so that I can get him at a discount in 2015 when he will turn into Carlos Gomez.

Neil Walker:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .286.  No one gives enough credit to Walker who has had some very nice seasons with little flash.  He is the classic second baseman you draft when all the top names are off the board.

Chad Qualls:  scoreless ninth for his 11th save with an ERA of 1.78.  Someone will come calling soon for Qualls whose best career work has always been at Houston.  Credit where credit is due for a guy who looked shot just a year ago.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his 15th HR and third SB while hitting .261.  The Mets clearly made the right call keeping Duda and trading Ike Davis.  While Duda will never challenge for a batting title and has to sit in your lineups against lefties, his power and RBI's are graduating into everyday UTIL or CI terms.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.01.  Has a 1.29 WHIP which is a bit scary and lends credence to the fact DeGrom has been a bit lucky with his strand rate.  However this is a better arm than anyone thought as DeGrom was off the beaten path of prospect hounds.  Now up to 79 K's in 80.2 innings.  Yes please.

Mike Trout:  1/4 with his 24th HR while hitting .309.  For Trout's next trick of excellence, we present 40 home runs.  My goodness Trout has been a monster over the last two months and with Miguel Cabrera having an off season by his lofty standards, is now the slam dunk top player in the game in all formats.

Aaron Hill:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .251.  Yeah I talked Hill up all offseason and so far the numbers have just not been there.  Yet more of a letdown from a guy who has made a career of it.  That just means he will hit 30 home runs next season when we all ignore him. 

Rick Porcello:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Since the start of 2013, Porcello has been a very good starter in the mold of a Doug Fister.  Works better in non-innings capped leagues but still useful nonetheless.

Danny Salazar:  5 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.12.  I don't even want to look at this guy, so great is the disgust I have for him after he made me look silly for endorsing him so much.  There are about 150 other starters I would trust more than Salazar.

Carlos Santana:  4/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .214.  One look at the average and you would think Santana is having a horrific season.  You would actually be wrong as he is now up to the 15 home runs and has excellent counting stats as he plays everyday with catcher eligibility.  And the average is coming up for what it's worth.  If someone dropped him than by all means make the add.

Anthony Rizzo:  2/4 with 2 home runs (25 for season) while hitting .283.  Look who is leading the NL in home runs.  The guy I told you all would be a post-hype sleeper.  Yup.

Ryan Braun:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .304.  Braun is getting a bit hot now as his body is feeling better.  Feeling better for the next 6 days of course until he comes down with a day-to-day (insert here) injury.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .284.  Ramirez will go down in my personal Hall of Fame.  You wonder what might have been for his career totals if he hadn't been hurt so often.

Jonathan Lucroy:  2/4 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .310.  Those who got burned by Travis D'Arnaud (at least early on) should take notice.  Lucroy was once in the same boat as he couldn't hit a lick and the team thought of demoting him.  However the Brewers stuck with him and now Lucroy is arguably the best all-around catcher in the game including defense.  And boy can he hit.  You would have a tough time convincing me that outside of Buster Posey and maybe Evan Gattis, Lucroy is not the best catcher in fantasy baseball.

Mike Moustakas:  3/5 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .198.  Moving right along.....

Adam Dunn:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .227.  Dunn is getting close to being done. With his power slipping and that being his only redeemable quality, Dunn is pretty much useless now.

Corey Dickerson:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .332.  Why did it take injuries to give this guy a chance?  Holy crap Dickerson has been incredible and has not let up one bit.  What's a good comparison?  Post below.

 Nolan Arenado:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .282.  The real shame here is that the two-month interruption in Arenado's season really curtailed what could have been the mother of all breakouts.  Which would be the third such breakout on the team with Charlie Blackmon and Dickerson.

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .284.  Upton comes and goes like Exlax and Viagra but the bottom line numbers are always there.  Consider this an upswing.

David Ortiz:  2/5 with his 23rd HR while hitting .253.  The power remains immense as Ortiz shows no signs of slowing down there unlike Adam Dunn.  Since we have called for his demise for five years running and been wrong every time, I think we reached the point of pursuing other more fruitful predictions.

Jose Reyes:  3/5 with his 6th HR and 19th SB while hitting .276.  The Jose Reyes Special.  Basically when Reyes does it all in one game as he did in this one.  The legs are still working and Reyes is beginning to earn back the trust he lost with his earlier injury issues.  For the time being at least.

Jake Peavy:  5 ER in 6.1 IP with an ERA of 4.72.  Told you to stay clear of Peavy this season as he is a bad matchup for Fenway Park.  Could be traded back to the NL though so he should be watched with regards to a possible new location.