FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LIKE THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS ON FACEBOOOK

Sunday, July 31, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PIRATES CLOSING IN ON RYAN LUDWICK

Just when it looked like the Cleveland Indians would snag San Diego Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick, a snag in the talks opened up the door to the Pittsburgh Pirates to pick up the slugger.  Reports indicate that the two teams are closing in on a trade that would send Ludwick to the Pirates and a minor leaguer or two to the Padres.

Analysis:  The Indians' loss is the Pirates' gain.  Again I love to see the Pirates making moves to improve their team instead of selling off and Ludwick could be a solid pickup for those in deep leaguers the rest of the season.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES AND BLUE JAYS BOTH GOING AFTER WANDY RODRIGUEZ

The Toronto Blue Jays have joined the New York Yankees in their pursuit of Houston Astros SP Wandy Rodriguez.  The Yankees are desperate for starting pitching and the Blue Jays feel they need an upgrade there also. 

Analysis:  The Yankees almost have to get this deal done since they cant go into the postseason with AJ Burnett as their second best starter.  Stay tuned.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RAGERS ACQUIRE PADRES RP MIKE ADAMS, NOT HEATH BELL

Correcting an earlier false report from CNNSI, the Texas Rangers have acquired San Diego Padres standout setup man Mike Adams and not closer Heath Bell on Sunday.  Bell was rumored to be the one who was traded but it now has been confirmed that it was Adams.  Apparently the two teams couldnt find common ground on Bell and its now likely he will stay as closer of the Padres.

Analysis:  Wow this is all coming in fast.  Bell looks like he will remain in San Diego as the Padres cant seem to find equal value for him.  They could always collect the draft choices at the end of the season.  Adams meanwhile goes to a setup role in Texas, much to the chagrin of those fantasy baseball owners who were expecting him to be the Padres closer when Bell got traded.  Now do yourself a favor and pick up Luke Gregerson in case Bell is still dealt.  The Cardinals remain the most likely destination if there is one. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RANGERS ACQUIRE PADRES CLOSER HEATH BELL

The Texas Rangers finally closed the deal and acquired San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell on Sunday.  The terms of the deal were not anounced yet.

Analysis:  There you have it.  Bell goes to serve as a setup man in a loaded bullpen with Koji Uehara and closer Neftali Feliz.  Bell could even unseat Feliz if he struggles the rest of the way.  For now Bell's fantasy baseball value takes a serious hit while Mike Adams takes over closing duties for the Padres.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: INDIANS PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON DEAL FOR RYAN LUCWICK

The Cleveland Indians have long been out front in the Ryan Ludwick trade talk and it appears they are moment's away from officially picking him up.  Ludwick is not in Sunday's lineup for the Padres due to the fact he is likely headed east for an unknown package.  This would be the second outfielder the Indians would have picked up this week after making a trade for former Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. 

Analysis:  Ludwick will be on the move its looking like and his fantasy baseball value goes up in getting away from San Diego.  If you are hurting for power, make the add. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: THE DREW STOREN FOR DENARD SPAN TRADE SEEMS LIKE IT WILL NOT HAPPEN

The much talked about Denard Span for Drew Storen trade is looking like it wont happen due to holdups on the rest of the package.  Both team have agreed on the two main pieces of Storen and Span but the Twins apparently are asking for a bit more than the Nationals are willing to give up in the rest of the trade.

Analysis:  Its a shame this doesnt seem to be working since its a good deal for both.  Also for those who picked up Tyler Clippard, this certainly is not news you want to hear. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: DIAMONDBACKS ACQUIRE A'S RP BRAD ZIEGLER

The Arizona Diamonbacks acquired RP Brad Ziegler from the Oakland A's for 1B Brandon Allen and a minor league pitcher.  Ziegler becomes a key component in the D-Backs bullpe for the stretch run while the A's get to see if Allen's power can catch up with the rest of his game at the major league level.

Analysis:  Interesting trade and a good one especially for Billy Beane who gets to see if they can unlock the potential in Allen who could hit 30 home runs if given an extended look.  Ziegler on the other hand has no fantasy baseball value. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES TRYING TO ASTROS SP WANDY RODRIGUEZ

Not to be outdone by the Red Sox, the Yankees are talking with the Astros about SP Wandy Rodriguez.  Knowing they need to shore up their rotation, the Yankees are trying to get Rodriguez according to reports.

Analysis:  This deal would make a lot of sense for the Yankees who need the pitching and the Astros who want the payroll relief.  Look for the Red Sox to get back involved knowing the Yankees are in it.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RANGERS AND HEATH BELL LOOKING LESS LIKELY TO HAPPEN, STILL TALKING ABOUT ANDREW BAILEY

The Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres have been grappling for weeks now over closer Heath Bell and its looking like things could end in no deal.  Various reports have it that the talks are breaking down and the Rangers are thus now looking into Oakland's A's closer Andrew Bailey again.

Analysis:  I dont buy this Andrew Bailey stuff since I doubt the A's will trade a guy who is under control through next season to a division rival.  They are likely trying to pressure the Padres on Bell as it was widely assumed he would have been traded already and they might be feeling the urge to make a trade. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES CHECKED IN ON HEATH BELL, NO DEAL LIKELY

The New York Yankees took a look at San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell this morning but the talks went nowehere.  He is still being looked at by the Cardinals and Rangers.

Analysis:  Its surprising the Yankees havent made any trades yet.  Bell wouldnt seem to be high on their list since they need SP but Bell could help shorten games out of the bullpen. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PIRATES AND INDIANS FIGHTING IT OUT FOR RYAN LUDWICK

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians are fighting it out for San Diego Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick according to published reports.  The Indians have already brought in SP Ubaldo Jimenez and OF Kosuke Fukudome as they gear up to make a run.  The Pirates brought in 1B Derrek Lee Saturday and again are looking for more pop in their lineup.

Analysis:  Ludwick will likely be moved as he makes a good short-term rental with his power.  He could be more intriguing as a fantasy baseball option if he gets out of San Diego. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARDINALS CHECKING IN ON ERIK BEDARD

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to make moves this trade deadline in order to win now due to the fact Albert Pujols is on the last year of his contract.  They are also involved in the Heath Bell talks in addition to bringing in SS Rafael Furcal and SP Edwin Jackson.  Bedard has also been looked at by the Boston Red Sox and Cincinatti Reds.

Analysis:  Bedard remains a trade target since he is on a one-year deal and he would see a sharp rise in fantasy baseball value in going to the NL for pennant contender. 

2011 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT BUST: SIDNEY RICE WR SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Free agency continues to unfold at a rapid pace and one of the more noteworthy signings so far has been the Seattle Seahawks picking up WR Sidney Rice for 5 years and 41 million.  Thats a steep price for a guy coming off an injury-marred season  but clearly the 'Hawks want him to be their number 1 guy catching balls.  So lets take a look at what we can expect from Rice from a fantasy football angle and what kind of numbers he could provide this season.

The first and most obvious aspect that needs to be discussed with Rice is the fact that he goes to an offense with the awful Tavaris Jackson at QB.  Throughout his tenure as the Vikings' QB, Jackson showed very little in the way of passing efficiency or the ability the throw the ball accurately.  In fact the two seasons in Minnesota that Rice and Jackson played together showed Rice catch 31 and 15 balls as he dealt with injuries as well. 

Injuries also need to be mentioned here as Rice has had a great deal of trouble staying on the field as he has missed a total of 16 games throughout his first four season.  You can argue that Rice has really only had one good season which came in the Brett Favre MVP-type 2009-10 season when he caught 83 passes for 8 TD's and 1,312 yards.  Clearly Rice showed that when he has a decent QB throwing him the ball, he can be very good.  However Tavaris Jackson is not anything close to being a decent NFL QB and so you cant expect anything close to those 2009-10 numbers in 2011. 

All in all, I think Sidney Rice is nothing more than a WR 3 in almost all fantasy football league's this season.  The fact he has a QB who cant throw along with the fact he cant stay on the field makes it obvious that he is someone who should just let pass by during your draft this summer. 

2011 PROJECTION:  65 catches 927 yards 5 TD

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BRAVES ACQUIRE OUTFIELDER MICHAEL BOURN FOR 4 MINOR LEAGUERS

 The Atlanta Braves completed a trade Sunday morning for Houston Astros outfielder Michael Bourn.  The Braves will give up 4 minor leaguers in the trade which was just reported.

Analysis:  Bourn moves on which leaves BJ Upton as the most likely outfielder to be traded before the day is through.  Bourn will hit leadoff for Braves and continue on his aggressive stolen base pace. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: DREW STOREN IN DEAL FOR DENARD SPAN, HOLDUP IS OTHER PLAYERS

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Washington Nationals have decided to give up closer Drew Storen in the trade for Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span.  The holdup apparently is the other players that are to be involved in the deal.  Roger Bernadina is also probably part of the package but more should come out on this later on.

Analysis:  So its good to see they have found common ground on the major players but the rest of the package seems to be the holdup.  Count on this going through eventually.  Pick up Tyler Clippard if available anywhere. 

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADING NEWS: WHO IS GETTING MOVED TODAY?

The MJB trading deadline is today at 4:00 PM ET and there has already been a lot of activity the last few days.  Today lets take a look at who is most likely to be dealt today and what teams they will be going to, along with a fantasy baseball spin.

BJ Upton
Where He Goes:  Atlanta Braves
Fantasy Baseball Spin:  Upton is what he is.  A bad average hitter with lots of speed and some improving home run swing.  It doesnt figure to change much wherever he goes.

Ryan Ludwick
Where He Goes:  Cleveland Indians
Fantasy Baseball Spin:  Ludwick will see an improvement pretty much wherever he goes as he gets out of San Diego's very large ballpark.  He is still a deep league guy at best.

Denard Span
Where He Goes:  Washington Nationals
Fantasy Baseball Spin:  The Nationals have been infatuated with Span all week and it makes sense since he is a young leadoff hitter who is under control for a few seasons.  The Nats are balking at sending over closer Drew Storen so this could go down to the wire.  Span's fantasy baseball value is overrated since he doesnt do anything well but is solid across the board.

Erik Bedard
Where He Goes:  Boston Red Sox
Fantasy Baseball Spin:  The Red Sox were shut out on Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda decided to stay home so Bedard is the ballback option.  He got rocked in his first start off the DL but he is a free agent at the end of the season and pitched great until he got injured.  Going to Boston hurts his fantasy baseball value big time since the AL East is murder on pitchers. 

Heath Bell
Where He Goes:  Texas Rangers
Fantasy Baseball Spin:  Bell has been rumored to be going to the Rangers the last few weeks but they seemed to have hit a snag.  They also picked up Koji Uehara but I think he still ends up with the Rangers since there is still concern about Neftali Feliz. 

Surely there will be more deals on tap today so stay tuned for all the latest right here. 

FANTASY BASEBALLL NEWS: BRAVES TO TURN TO BJ UPTON IF THEY CANT LAND MICHAEL BOURN

The Atlanta Braves have grown frustrated with their inability to complete a trade this week and they continue to try and get Michael Bourn from the Astros.  If they cant be successfull there, they will turn to Rays outfielder BJ Upton instead. 

Analysis:  Bourn has really picked up steam in the last few days but Upton has been mentioned prominently in talks for weeks.  Look for the Braves to get something done before the day is completed. 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: REPORT STATES HEATH BELL WILL BE TRADED SUNDAY

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell will be traded on Sunday.  The Texas Rangers are the favorites, with the St. Louis Cardinals also in the mix.  The Phillies and Yankees are on the periphery as well.

Analysis:  It was thought the Rangers would drop out after bringing in Koji Uehara but they apparently are still interested.  Mike Adams could be a closer as soon as tonight.  As far as Bell is concerned, he will likely not close in any of the locations mentioned above with the exception of maybe the Phillies. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX TRADE FOR RICH HARDEN IS OFF

The Boston Red Sox have called off their trade for Oakland A's SP Rich Harden.  No reason has been given at this point but its possible they could have back at it this morning.  1B prospect Lars Anderson was supposed to be the returning prize but so far he stays put.

Analysis:  Harden is a big time injury prone player and it could be that the Sox thought giving up a nice prospect like Anderson gave them pause.  They could work it out as the day goes on. 

2011 FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Free agency has begiun and so there has been a lot of change in the landscape of the fantasy football position rankings.  Lets take a look at how the wide receivers stack up through the early flurry of activity.

1. Andre Johnson


2. Roddy White

3. Calvin Johnson

4. Larry Fitzgerald

5. Hakeem Nicks

6. Reggie Wayne

7. Dwayne Bowe

8. Greg Jennings

9. Dez Bryant

10. Brandon Marshall

11. DeSean Jackson

12. Marques Colston

13. Wes Welker

14. Anquan Boldin

15. Miles Austin

16. Mike Wallace

17. Mike Williams (Tampa Bay)

18. Chad Ochocinco

19. Austin Collie

20. Sidney Rice

21. Steve Johnson

22. Vincent Jackson

23. Santana Moss

24. Kenny Britt

25. Steve Smith (CAR)

26. AJ Green

27. Steve Smith (NYG)

-Larry Fitzgerald moves up a few spots this week due to the fact that Kevin Kolb has now arrived in town.  Kolb is a big improvement over the garbage the Cards had throwing the football last season and whats amazing is that Fitzgerald still caught over 90 passes with that bunch last season.  He will once again be a top 5 wideout this season.
-Another guy on the way up is Chad Ochocinco who will see a nice boost in value in going to Tom Brady and New England.  We all saw what going to the Patriots did for Randy Moss when many thought he was done and although I dont see Ocho having that dramatic a comeback, I do see him improving his numbers by a decent margin this season if he stays healthy. 
-Sidney Rice did himself no favors in reuniting with QB Tavaris Jackson in Seattle.  Sometimes you wonder what these guys are thinking before they sign.  I guess Rice is happy with catching 60 passes this season as opposed to the many more he would have caught if he went to somewhere like St. Louis.  Avoid him if you can.
-Miles Austin was the toughest person for me to grade.  He looked like the best receiver in football the first half of last season and than turned into a pumpkin during the second half when he struggled.  Figure he is somewhere in the middle and thus a borderline number 1 WR.  Also the presence of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will continue to siphon catches away.
-AJ Green has a ridiculous amount of talent and I would go with him over Julio Jones in a heartbeat if you had the choice.  Still his QB situation is iffy so dont go overboard for the name.
-Both Steve Smith's are guys who are very risky this season.  The Carolina version has a terrible QB situation with the rookie Cam Newton and an offense that will run all day, while the Giants version could mniss the first few games as he continues to recover from microfracture surgery.  I would look elsewhere if you could.

Thats all for now.  As always, check back for more as this list will continually be updated as we head to the season.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PIRATES CLOSE TO ACQUIRING ORIOLES 1B DERREK LEE



The Pittsburgh Pirates are acting like buyers this trading deadline season for the first time in recent memory and they are confirming this with a report that they are on the verge of acquiring Baltimore Orioles 1B Derrek Lee.  Lee would be a bat the team desperately needs in order to try and claim their first playoff berth in almost two decades.

Analysis:  This moves makes sense due to the fact Lee is no expendable due to the acquisition of Rangers 1B Chris David earlier today for Baltimore.  Lee has come around after a rough first half and he should be a nice help for the Pirates throughout the rest of the season.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX COMPLETE TRADE FOR RICH HARDEN


The Boston Red Sox have apparently sealed a deal with the Oakland A's for SP Rich Harden.  No word on what the Red Sox will send back but Harden will look to shore up a rotation that could be missing Clay Buchholz going forward.

Analysis:  All of the pieces are falling now after Ubaldo Jimenez got traded.  The Red Sox settle for Harden who has looked good so far this season but goes from probably the easiest division to pitch in in the majors to the hardest by far.  I dont like his chances to succeed there so dont bother picking him up.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATIONALS-TWINS GETTING CLOSE TO DEAL INVOLVING DREW STOREN AND DENARD SPAN


According to various reports, the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins are moving closer to a trade that will have outfielder Denard Span and closer Drew Storen as the centerpieces.  The Nationals continue to dominate the trade deadline with various trades already in the book and they look like they will add to it. 

Analysis:  The Twins are looking for some long-term stability at closer with Joe Nathan and Matt Capps both aging and free agents next season.  You might wonder why the Nationals would want to deal such a good young closer but they have Tyler Clippard waiting in the wings who has been even more dominant this season in a setup gig.  Do yourself a favor and pick up Clippard since he will inherit the closer role when this trade is completed.  Meanwhile Joe Nathan could be out of a job shortly when this deal goes though.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: UBALDO JIMENEZ TRADED TO THE CLEVELAND INDIANS


In a huge deadline trade, the Colorado Rockies have traded ace SP Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for pitching prospects Drew Pomeranza and Alex White, along with 1B prospect Matt McBride.  After hearing big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox involved for Jimenez, the Indians stepped up and snagged the best pitcher available for their stretch run.

Analysis:  This was an impressive haul for the Rockies for Jimenez who is in the midst of a disappointing season with a 4.20 ERA.  Mechanical and control issues, along with injuries have marred his season and there is concern about why the Rockies would trade such a young pitcher who has had some nice success and also has a manageable deal.  He goes to the much tougher AL but the Central is nothing like the AL East so it may not be so bad from a fantasy baseball angle.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: D-BACKS ACQUIRE SP JASON MARQUIS FROM NATIONALS FOR PROSPECT

The Washington Nationals were at it again on Saturday as far as trades were concerned as they swapped SP Jason Marquis to the Arizona Diamondbacks for SS prospect Zach Walters.  Marquis has a 3.95 ERA on the season and figures to join the back end of their rotation.

Analysis:  Marquis is not a good option for fantasy baseball since he doesnt strike anyone out.  He also goes to a worse ballpark so he is even doubly unattractive. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ORIOLES TRADE RP KOJI UEHARA TO RANGERS FOR 1B CHRIS DAVIS AND SP TOMMY HUNTER

The Texas Rangers finally bolstered their bullpen Saturday by acquiring Baltimore Orioles setup man Koji Uehara for 1B Chris Davis and SP Tommy Hunter. The Rangers had been in talks for San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell but when those talks hit a snag, they turned their attention to Uehara. 

Anlysis:  Some things to not here.  First is that Uehara wont get the chance to close games in Baltimore which I hoped to see if Kevin Gregg got dealt.  Clearly he has the stuff to succeed there but he will be a setup guy in Texas.  Also Neftali Feliz just got a longer leash since its looking like Heath Bell wont be coming aboard.  Finally Chris Davis could get some more playing time in Baltimore but he is likely just Derrek Lee's replacement next season.  As far as Tommy Hunter is concerned, he is not worth looking into no matter the league.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX ACQUIRE ROYALS INFIELDER MIKE AVILES

The Boston Red Sox fortified their infield depth on Saturday as they acquired Kansas City Royals 2B Mike Aviles for two minor leaguers.  Aviles will fill in all over the infield as needed.

Analysis:  This is a minor deal as far as the Red Sox are conerned since they are in play for some big names.  Aviles has had some useful stretches as far as fantasy baseball is concerned.  Still he is a speculative add for even the deepest of leagues. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX LOOKING FOR A PACKAGE DEAL OF JOSH WILLINGHAM AND RICH HARDEN FROM THE A'S

The Boston Red Sox continue to look for a deal for a starting pitcher and have turned to the Oakland A's today in an effort to try and get both SP Rich Harden and outfielder Josh Willingham in a package deal.  No word on what the A's would like in return but Oakland has a lot of tradeable assets in Willingham, Harden, Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz, David DeJesus, Coco Crisp, and Craig Breslow. 

Analysis:  The Red Sox seem pretty desperate to get their hands on a pitcher but I dont think Harden would be a good fit in the AL East.  Willingham on the other hand would be a nice pickup hitting in that awesome lineup. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES STEP UP PURSUIT OF UBALDO JIMENEZ

Sensing that the Boston Red Sox could be making a play, the New York Yankees stepped up their efforts to acquire Colorado Rockies SP Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday.  The Yankees are said to be willing to give up catching prospect Jesus Montero and are mulling whether to also give up Ivan Nova in the deal.  The Red Sox meanwhile remain in the hunt for Jimenez while also working hard to convince Dodgers SP Hiroki Kuroda to agree to come to the American League.

Analysis:  The Yankees need a starter badly in that they wont last in the postseason with a rotation of CC Sabbathia, AJ Burnett, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon.  Jimenez makes more sense for them than it would for Boston but its likely the Rockies will get a nice haul since both teams are involved. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BREWERS ACQUIRE INFIELDER JERRY HAIRSTON JR. FROM NATIONALS


The Milwaukee Brewers acquired infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Washington Nationals on Saturday as they look to fill the void left from Rickie Weeks' badly sprained ankle.  Hairston is likely to start at second base until Weeks returns.

Analysis:  The Nationals have dominated the trade talks so far and they are still involved in the Denard Span negotiations.  Hairston has limited fantasy baseball value. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TIGERS ACQUIRE SP DOUG FISTER FROM MARINERS


The Detroit Tigers have completed a trade with the Seattle Mariners to acquire SP Doug Fister and RP David Pauley for outfielder Casper Wells and a minor leaguer.  Fister has pitched to a 3.33 ERA on the season and Pauley has been very good in relief himself with a 2.15 ERA.

Analysis:  The Tigers were after pitching for awhile and finally got someone.  Fister has been surprisingly very good the last season and a half as he gets by without big time stuff.  Pauley will be a nice asset to their bullpen as well.  Fister's fantasy baseball value doesnt change much though other than maybe seeing some more wins. 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: HUNTER PENCE OUTFIELDER PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES


Late last night the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence for two minor league ballplayers and cash.  Pence was to fly to Philly and be in Saturday's lineup after a physical.  The step up in ballparks is a major boost to Pence and surely will show up in his numbers the rest of the way.  In our latest Fantasy Baseball Status Report, lets look a bit deeper as to what we can expect from Pence in a Phillies uniform.

Looking at Pence's numbers up until the trade, they were at their customary solid but not spectacular levels.  Lets see what he has accomplished so far.

.308 batting average
49 runs scored
62 RBI
11 HR
7 SB

These are typical Pence numbers in that he doesnt light up one particular fantasy baseball category but he is solid in all of them.  In fact some people think Pence is a perpetual tease due to the fact he burst onto the scene his rookie season with a .322 and 17 home runs in half a season.  He has failed to live up to that pace since than but there is no doubt Pence is one of the better fantasy baseball outfielders out there.  As far as the 2011 numbers are concerned, Pence was down a bit in his home runs rate as he was on pace for 19 which is a drop of 6 from the last three seasons.  He also seemed less interested in steals this season with a pace for 13 which was a drop from the last season's 18.  Be that as it may, Pence was putting up his best average since his rookie season and had the best RBI rate of his career so its a wash.  He now goes to Philadelphia however which is arguably the best hitter's park in the majors.

Its  obvious to see that Pence will likely see an uptick in his home runs with half his home games there and that could get him back to the 25 range.  Also the Phillies have always been aggressive on the basepaths which means some more steals can be thrown in as well.  Its likely that Pence will bat fifth behind Jimmy Rollins, the returning Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard so plenty of RBI opportuities will be there as well.  So its all good for Pence going to the Phillies.  If you are an owner, consider yourself lucky for this development.

Friday, July 29, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RANGERS OUTFIELDER NELSON CRUZ EXITS WITH TIGHT QUAD


Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz exited Friday night's game early with a strained quad which was not the one that landed him on the DL earlier in the season.  Cruz had hit a home run earlier in the game but now will be evaluated late today or tomorrow to determine what to do next.

Analysis:  Injuries and Nelson Cruz go hand-in-hand and we got another one to worry about.  At this point you have to start worrying about a DL stint since he had this happen earlier and that was the result, 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PHILLIES TO ACQUIRE ASTROS OUTFIELDER HUNTER PENCE


The Philadelphia Phillies will acquire Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence for minor league 1B prospect Jordan Singleton and SP Jarred Cosart. 

Analysis:  Finally this thing is done.  The Phillies look overpowering right now and they didnt even have to give up Domonic Brown.  The line starts way behind them when it comes to World Series favorites.  Regarding Pence, his value goes up big time in moving to hitter's park that is Philadelphia. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PHILLIES MOVING TOWARD DEAL WITH FOR HUNTER PENCE


The Philadelphia Phillies seem like they wont be denied when it comes to Hunter Pence as recent reports indicate they are progressing toward a deal with the Astros for his bat.  Word was that they wont give up Domoic Brown in a deal for Pence so they obviously have found something else to work with.  The Atlanta Braves are also supposedly involved.

Analysis:  I think everyone just wants this deal to be done with.  Obviously Pence is looking to be on his way out which doesnt say much for the intelligece of the Astros. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: RANGERS TURNING TO ANDREW BAILEY?

Annoyed at the stalled talks with the San Diego Padres for closer Heath Bell, the Texas Rangers have now apparently turned their attention to Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey.  Bailey is under team control for another season and likely would cost more but things could be easierthere since talks seemed to have broken down with the Padres.

Analysis:  I still think Bell winds up with Texas as this is likely just posturing but at least there is another potential closer turnover to be concerned with. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RANGERS/PADRES HEATH BELL TALKS HIT A SNAG?

Hold off on those Heath Bell to Texas predictions.  It appears as though Texas and San Diego are dug in on their demands for the closer and this could open the door for the Cardinals to swoop in and grab him.  No word on what the exact holdup is but this could go down to the wire.

Analysis:  I still believe Bell will be dealt before the deadline but the Rangers and Cardinals seem to be the only two teams involved right now which doesnt help San Diego in their demands. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BRAVES WILLING TO GIVE UP MIKE MINOR FOR HUNTER PENCE

The Atlanta Braves have gotten involved in the Hunter Pence talks and they are willing to give up major-league ready SP Mike Minor.  The power southpaw is an intriguing pitcher of interest but its likely the Astros prefer Domonic Brown from the Phillies which means they could wait it out to see if they can get him instead.  Its almost a given now that Pence will be dealt.

Analysis:  Its still amazing to me that the Astros would deal such a good young hitter like Pence but that seems to be what will happen. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PHILLIES TO LAND HUNTER PENCE IF THE SURENDER DOMINIC BROWN

Its apparently come down to whether the Phillies will give up prized outfielder Domonic Brown in their efforts to get Astros outfielder Hunter Pence.  The Astros are holding out for Brown and have said its a necessity for him to come back in the trade. 

Analysis:  This is a tough choice for the Phillies as Brown has a crazy amount of potential but Pence could put them over the top.  Stay tuned. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX GOING HARD AFTER UBALDO JIMENEZ

The Boston Red Sox are once again going hard after Rockies SP Ubaldo Jimenez after stops and starts the last week.  Jimenez is becoming a big need as it looks like Clay Buchholz could be in trouble with his back.  The Yankees on the other hand reportedly are not having fruitful discussions with the Rockies so far.

Analysis:  Its looking like a given that Jimenez will be dealt now as the two heavy hitters in the Yankees and Red Sox are involved.  Also the Reds have checked in often here so stay tuned. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: CHAD OCHOCINCO WR NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


By now most of you have heard that the New England Patriots have acquired WR Chad Ochocinco from the Cincinatti Bengals for two draft picks.  Ochocinco will now join Tom Brady in one of the most explosive offenses in the game.  Clearly he could be in for a bit of a rebound season and so lets take a look at what I think Ochocinco can supply his fantasy football owners this season.

Clearly, Ochocinco is aging as he will be 33 this upcoming season.  Thats getting up there in any position, especially receiver which depends heavily on speed.  Although he has lost a step or two, Ochocinco is still one of the best route runners in the game and in playing with an All Pro in Brady, he should not have much of an issue getting his catchers and yards.  Whether he can be the stud he was back in his heyday or even approach it, will be the million dollar question. 

Looking back at Ochocinco's career, there is no doubt he was a top five receiver for 5 years running when he caught over 90 passes in four of those seasons.  Starting in 2008-09 however, Ochocinco has seen his catch totals drop to 53, 72, and 67.  No doubt some of that was due to the instability at QB as Carson Palmer was injured for many of those games but clearly Ocho was nothing like the Pro Bowl star he once was.  So what happens now?

Obviously, going to New England is going to thrust Ochocinco back into prominence due to the QB he plays with.  Remember that not too long ago we had a similar situation with a guy named Randy Moss coming off two terrible seasons in a row with Oakland where many said he was finished as a top end receiver.  He than goes to the Patriots and has three huge seasons in a row and once again established himself as one of the best receivers in the game.  Can the same happen with Ochocinco?  Maybe not to the level of what Moss did but there is no doubt he will see a uptick in all of his numbers playing with Brady as long as he stays in the lineup. 

All in all, I think Chad Ochocinco makes a very good fantasy football sleeper for this season.  Many will still think he is on the decline and avoid him altogether but going to that offense and with Brady almost guarantees he will be back as one of the better receivers in the league.  A solid bounce back campaign is upon us so take advantage at the value.

2011 PROJECTION:  88 catches 1,218 9 TD

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PHILLIES CLOSING IN ON HUNTER PENCE, WILL NEED TO SURRENDER DOMONIC BROWN


The Philadelphia Phillies are in the clear lead in their pursuit of Houston Astros outfielder Huntrer Pence.  Things have progressed to the point where they have been told they need to give up Domonic Brown in order to get the deal done. 

Analysis:  The Phillies can basically clinch the World Series in my mind if they do this deal.  Pence is one of the most underappreciated players in the game and he would be a major upgrade from Brown.  They also have been mentioned in connection to Carlos Quentin so if they could always turn there if things dont go according to plan. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY


Mike Stanton:  1/3 with his 24th HR while hitting .257.  I said in the spring that Stanton was going to be the next Adam Dunn.  My apologies for the insult Mike.

Joey Votto:  2/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .319.  Votto has gone yard in three straight games now.  That long awaited power run is finally here.

Homer Bailey:  9 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 4.68.  Daaoooo!!!  This about sums up that disgusting performance. 

Mark Trumbo:  3/5 with his 19st HR while hitting .256.  Kendys who?   Trumbo has delivered exactly what was expected.  There is something nice about guys living up to their value.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/5 with his 22nd HR while hitting .315.  It is more of the same here for Cabrera who keeps hitting home runs and so far has stopped hitting cops.

Billy Butler:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .294.  Someone has got to convince Butler next season that April is really July.

Dustin Pedroia:  1/3 with his 15th HR and 21st SB while hitting .308.  He is quietly in the fantasy baseball MVP discussion.  No really.  Just check out the numbers.  He is healthy and looking like one of the best hitters in game.

Ryan Braun:  3/4 with his 21st HR while hitting .328.  The guy seems to hit better the more hurt he is.

Desmond Jennings:  3/4 with his first HR and 4th SB while hitting .500.  Yeah I would say he is ready for the majors this time around.

BJ Upton:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .228.  The guy is so frustrating in that if he could just hit .260 he would be a big time fantasy baseball asset.  He is still very good but could be better if he just followed his brother's developmental schedule.

Evan Longoria:  1/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .236.  Last season it was the power concerns.  This season its the average.  Lets go with next season being the fantasy baseball MVP campaign we all are waiting for.

Heath Bell:  scoreless ninth for his 30th save.  Its possible this is his last save in San Diego.  Good luck to him wherever he winds up.  Just be sure you go where somewhere you can close please.  That would be nice to see.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWSl PANTHERS ACQUIRE TE GREG OLSON FROM BEARS

The Carolina Panthers continue with their efforts to surround freshman QB Cam Newton with weapons as they acquired TE Greg Olson from the Chicago Bears for an undisclosed draft pick.  Olson joins the Panthers who already have Jeremy Shockey on the roster, along with re-signed RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Steve Smith who wont be traded.

Analysis:  Olson is a borderline fantasy football option as he actually might have gone to a worse place than where he already was.  He has a rookie QB as a passer in a run-dominated attack with Shockey also in the picture.  Be sure to look elsewhere for your TE. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: BENGALS TRADE WR CHAD OCHOCINCO TO PATRIOTS


The New England Patriots are at it again.  A day after trading for former Pro Bowl DT Albert Haynesworth, the team made a deal for disgruntled Cincinatti Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco on Thursday.  The deal calls for the Pats to trade two late round picks in the next two drafts.  Ochocinco signed a new three-year deal with New England.

Analysis:  Clearly the aging Ochocinco has seen better days but going to the Patriots and Tom Brady could be huge for his fantasy football value.  Remember that Randy Moss was looked at as being washed up when he was traded from Oakland to New England and we all know how that turned out.  While I dont think he will be that good, I do believe Ochocinco can easily out up WR 2 numbers in an explosive offense. 

2011 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: SAM BRADFORD QB ST. LOUIS RAMS


Continuing with out 2011 fantasy football previews, we turn to St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford today and discuss why I think he makes for a good sleeper entering the season.  Bradford of course is going into his second year in the league as he comes off a rookie campaign where he started all 16 games and proceeded to put up these stats::

3,512 yards passing
60.0 completion percentage
18 TD
15 INT

All in all it was a very nice season for the kid who achieved the very tough distinction of not having thrown for picks than scores in his rookie season.  Something Peyton Manning couldnt even claim.  And going back to Bradford's college days in Oklahoma, we could easily see just how big time of a passer he was.  Bradford put up video game passing stats while he was there and the only hiccup was two separate shoulder injuries that clouded his past season.  None of that showed up last season however and the fact he made it through all 16 games was a nice thing to see.

Now as far as the stats are concerned, its clear that Bradford is going to be a big time passer in the NFL and a future star.  Ask any personnell man around the league, and I guarantee you all of them will say that Bradford will be one of the best QB's in the league for years to come.  The issue is whether that will happen this season.  Lets figure that out.

Looking at what Bradford did last season, we can easily surmise that he will improve across the board as he is another year into his maturation as an NFL QB.  Reaching 20 TD's is almost a given and a run at 25 is not out of the question.  Bradford is that natually gifted and the only issue is the fact that the Rams dont have a lot of  big time weapons for him to throw to.  They already lost out on Sidney Rice this offseason who could have been perfect for Bradford but at least for now he will have to be content with Brando Gibson, Donnie Avery, and Danny Amendola as his weapons.  Good but not anything to write home about. 

All in all, I think Sam Bradford has the highest ceiling of any QB entering this season in fantasy football and he makes for a great pick if you decide to wait on drafting your passer.  He also would be the perfect backup for your team as he could become a big trade chip when injuries start to strike other QB's.  So be sure to include Bradford on all of your sleeper lists.

2011 PROJECTION:  3,897 yards 63 % 23 TD 14 INT

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ASTROS OUTFIELDER HUNTER PENCE NOW "LIKELY" TO BE TRADED BY SUNDAY


Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence is now "the guy" to go get leading up to Sunday's trading deadline.  After originally saying he was not available, the Astros have done an about face and now say it is "likely" he will be traded by Sunday's deadline.  The Atlanta Braves have been the hottest in pursuit but those who missed out on Carlos Beltran like the Rangers, Red Sox, and Phillies also will likely be after him.

Analysis: I find this disturbing that the Astros just get purchased by a new owner and the first thing he wants to do is lower payroll by trading his best player in Pence.  No doubt the guy is an above average fantasy baseball outfielder and the team will get a lot for him due to his still youtful age.  If you are an owner, you have got to like the notion of him going to the Red Sox, Phillies, or Rangers. 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: RANGERS ZERO IN ON PADRES STOPPER HEATH BELL

On the day Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington questioned closer Neftali Feliz' desire, the team apparently is getting in deep discussions with the San Diego Padres about Heath Bell.  Bell has been rumored to be on the Rangers' wish list for weeks and with Feliz coming off his fifth blown save of the season, things could be heating up as a result of his struggles.

Analysis:  Maybe Bell going to Texas wont be a fantasy baseball buzzkill after all from the looks of it.  Feliz has not been anywhere near as good as he was last season and Bell would make a spectacular pickup at closer for the Rangers who are looking to go back to the World Series. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BREWERS 2B RICKIE WEEKS PLACED ON DL WITH SEVERE ANKLE SPRAIN, OUT 3-6 WEEKS

Just when we started to think that Rickie Weeks had finally put his injury-riddled past behind him, he sevrely sprains his ankle which could keep him out for 3-6 weeks.  Its a potentially devastating injury since the Brewers are in playoff contention.  It also will likely mean the that the team will likely turn to the trade market to fill the void.

Analysis:  Terrible time for an injury for Weeks and its more of the same for the guy who is one of the best young hitters in the game when healthy but unfortunately that has been a challenge for him.  Theoretically he could miss most of the rest of the season if it doesnt improve. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: INDIANS ACQUIRE CUBS OUTFIELDER KOSUKE

The Cleveland Indians acquires Chicago Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome on Thursday for two minor leaguers.  Fukudome will help fill the outfield void left when Grady Sizemore went on the DL.

Analysis:  This is as minor a deal as it gets since Fukudome is not much of a fantasy baseball asset at all.  Lets hope there will be more exciting trades on the horizon. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: SAINTS TRADE RB REGGIE BUSH TO THE DOLPHINS FOR DRAFT PICK


The New Orleans Saints traded disgruntled running back Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday for a undisclosed draft choice.  Bush than signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins for 10 million.  He will share the running load with rookie Daniel Thomas and this move effectively ends the teams pursuit of free agent Ahmad Bradshaw and likely ensures Ronnie Brown wont be back.

Analysis:  Bush has always been severely overrated in fantasy football due to what he did in college.  He is better suited to PPR leagues since he catches passes but I dont think he will be that much better now that he is in Miami.  What this does though is almost guarantees Bradshaw returning to New York since Miami was the one place he mentioned as a landing spot.  Also it doesnt help that DeAngelo Williams is also off the market so his landing spots are evaporating quick.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: SEAHAWKS INK WR SIDNEY RICE TO FIVE YEAR/41 MILLION DOLLAR DEAL


Another ex-Vikings has joined the Seattle Seahawks and this time it was WR Sidney Rice who inked a five year/41-millon dollar free agent contract with the club on Wednesday.  Rice joins QB Tavaris Jackson in Seattle as they try to both get their careers back on track.  He is coming off an injured-plagued 2010 campaign than sunk his fantasy football value tremendously.

Analysis:  This is a bad move for Rice from a fantasy football perspective since he will once again have the ineffective Jackson throwing him the footbal.  I would have much rather seen him go to St. Louis with Sam Bradford and than I would have been interested.  Now that he is with Jackson in Seattle, I have no interest in him as a fantasy football wide receiver and neither should you.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX WORRIED SP CLAY BUCHHOLZ HAS STRUCTURAL BACK ISSUE


The Boston Red Sox have grown very concerned about SP Clay Buchholz's injured back ad they think he could have a structural issue going on in there.  Buchholz has been on the DL for over a month with back pain and he just scraped a planned bullpen session due to feeling more discomfort.  If anything is found in testing, it could ratchet up their efforts to acquire Rockies SP Ubaldo Jimenez.

Analysis:  This is a potentially big situation in that Jimenez could find himself in a Boston uniform if anything is found when Buchholz is tested.  I suggested all spring to aboid Buchholz in fantasy baseball leagues this season and injuries were not the primary reason. Stay tuned on this potentially big bit of news. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: INDIANS GOING HARD AFTER CUBS OUTFIELDER KOSUKE FUKUDOME


The Clevelad Indians were rejected by Carlos Beltran in trade talks but they havent given up on looking for outfield help as it appears they are going hard after Chicago Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome.  SO far this season Fukudome has been nothing but a mediocre hitter but the Indians feel they need someone to help get them to the playoffs. 

Analysis:  Fukudome is not even for the deepest of fantasy basebal leagues as he doesnt do anything well as far as 5 x 5 stats are concerned.  Nothing to see here. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY


So Ervin Santana throws a no-hitter on Wednesday and as I was watching this, I kept flashing to an image of Francisco Liriano in my disturbed brain.  I mean the similarities between the two are uncanny.  They both can dazzle you with no-hit stuff as they each have done this season, while also driving you to drink heavy amounts of booze with injuries and wildy inconsistet pitching.  I am even willing to bet money that Santana gives up 5 ER in like 3 IP his next outing.  Thats just how these guys are and even though this was a beauty for sure, Santana looks no different in my eyes from a fantasy baseball perspective that he did before. 

So with that said, here is what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball.

Felix Hernandez:  1 ER in 7 IP with an ERA of 3.38.  It was the first win for the Mariners since Colombus thought he had landed in India.

Austin Jackson:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .247.  Yeah he has sucked all season like I thought he would.  Next.

John Danks:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K with a ERA of 3.79.  Danks usually craps out in the second half but since he spent so much time on the DL, he is still in May form.

Matt Cain:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 1 K with an ERA of 2.91.  I remember when he first came up, Cain was a pure fireballer who racked up the K's and the walks.  Now look.  He doesnt K anyone but he is as dominant as they come.  Yeah I will take that tradeoff any day of the week.

Mike Stanton:  2/4 with his 23rd HR while hitting .256.  The .256 average should be Stanton's line of demarcation each season.  Anything above will be a bonus.  Anything below a disappointment.  For Adam Dunn that line is .170.

JP Arencibia:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .214.  To Adam Dunn, Arencibia's average looks like it belongs to Tony Gwynn.  Sr. or Jr. 

Ricky Romero:  8.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.08.  That hypnotist the Blue Jays brought in finally got it through to Romero's head that it is still May.

David Wright:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .259.  Wright is swinging a hot bat since coming off the DL and this will be a key time for him to show the fantasy baseball world he is healthy and ready to be a top pick again.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .318.  Votto's mission is to get to 25 home runs at least so that I dont have to listen to what a disappointment he was all offseason.

Billy Butler:  3/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .285.  Scroll down and read what I wrote about Billy Butler yesterday morning.  Its still there.

Eric Hosmer:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .287.  Only five home runs behind Votto with like 150 less at-bats.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  3/4 with his 17th HR and 29th SB while hitting ..325.  Ryan Braun....Matt Kemp...Jacoby Ellsbury....you better believe it.

Dustin Pedroia:  3/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .308.  It took awhile but I honestly think Pedroia is playing better than he did during his MVP season.

David Ortiz:  1/4 with his 20th HR while hitting .305.  The guy has more lives than Michael Myers.  And not the pitcher.

Joe Mauer:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .288.  Its been so long since Mauer homered that when he hit it, he began jogging toward third base.

Michael Cuddyer:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .299.  The guy has been so good and yet he remains so boring.  Call it the Hunter Pence syndrome.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: NATIONALS LOOKING INTO DREW STOREN FOR DENARD SPAN DEAL


The Washington Nationals are mulling a trade proposal for Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span, with closer Drew Storen being the top prize.  The Nationals have been working hard to improve their offense and they think Span would be the perfect guy to be their leadoff guy.

Analysis:  Storen has had a big season for the Nationals and already has established himself as one of the better closers in the game.  Span is a very solid leadoff man but is not a star by any means.  Obviously there could be a closer opening to talk about in Washington if this gets done but I dont see it happening.

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: PADRES CLOSER HEATH BELL WANTS TO GO TO ST. LOUIS


San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell went on record Wednesday saying he would prefer to be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals traded for SP Edwin Jackson today along with bullpen help in an effort to gear up for the playoffs ad Bell feels he could be the final piece.  Fernando Salas is the current closer and he has had a nice season but Bell would be a major upgrade there nonetheless.

Analysis:  If Bell goes to the Cardinals, I would think Tony LaRussa would have a tough time not naming him the closer.  This reminds me of the Jon Rauch situation in Minnesota last season when he was pitching well as their closer when Matt Capps was brought in and immediately took the job.  That very well could happen here as well. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: VIKINGS ACQUIRE QB DONOVAN MCNABB FROM REDSKINS FOR SIXTH ROUND PICK


The Washington Redskins have traded QB Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth round draft pick.  McNabb will start the season as the team's QB as rookie Christian Ponder learns from the bench.  This is the third team in three seasons for the aging McNabb.

Analysis:  McNabb's career is sinking fast and he no longer is a fantasy football starting option.  Its also likely he will cede the starter's job to Ponder midway through the season.  Dont recommend.

FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED CATCHER RANKINGS


Time to once again take a look at the latest set of fantasy baseball catcher rankings we head through the final two months of the season.  Lets see how they all currently stack up.

1.  Brian McCann
2.  Victor Martinez
3.  Buster Posey
4.  Carlos Santana
5.  Miguel Montero
6.  Matt Wieters
7.  Joe Mauer
8.  Mike Napoli
9.  Alex Avila
10. Geovany Soto
11. Ramon Hernandez
12. Yadier Molina
13. Jonathan Lucroy
14. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
15. JP Arencibia

-Even though he just hit the DL, Brian McCann has been by far the best hitting catcher in all of fantasy baseball.  In fact its not even close for second.  He is still south of 30 despite feeling like he has been around forever so there is no excuse for him not to be the top pick at this position in all drafts next season.
-I still have Posey in the third spot because lets face the facts that he would have been an easy top three guy if he didnt get hurt. 
-You might think I am being too harsh on Mauer but its time for everyone to get their heads out of the sand when it comes to this guy.  He is always hurt, he cant hit home runs, and his ballpark sucks.  Enough said.
-Miguel Montero was the guy I told you all to draft this past spring and I took my own advice and am enjoying every second of it.  He stayed healthy and so he hit like I thought he would.
-The other guy I recommended was Wieters who has been very good as he continues to develop his game.  Sure he hasnt blown anyone away but he is looking more comfortable in all facets of his game and he makes a safe pick for next season.
-Carlos Santana has been an average liability all season but he has hit for power and he will be a big time hitter going forward for sure.  Ignore the average and enjoy the development which will continue.

Thats all for now.  We will check back in later on in the season.  Lets hear what you have to say about this. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: PANTHERS RE-SIGN RB DEANGELO WILLIAMS FOR FIVE YEARS/43 MILLION


The Carolina Panthers opened up the checkbook in a big way on Wednesday as they brought back RB DeAngelo Williams with a five-year/43-million contract.  Williams will return to his role as the starting back for the run-heavy Panthers, while yielding some of the work to Johnathan Stewart. 

Analysis:  This is a ton of money to give a 28-year old running back who is coming off injury.  Williams is a tough player to gauge this season as he was truly awful last season as he dealt with injuries and Stewart is back again to steal goal-line carries.  He has gone from a late first round pick to someone you might be able to get as late as round 6.  At that point he would make a great value so dont let him pass by. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: BRONCOS TO TRADE QB KYLE ORTON TO DOLPHINS


The Denver Broncos have agreed to trade QB Kyle Orton to the Miami Dolphins in a deal that could be announced shortly.  Reports are that the Dolphins will send a third round pick to the Broncos as compensation for Orton.

Analysis:  Orton was very good last season until getting hurt and opening the door to the Tim Tebow era.  He is an upgrade over Chad Henne in Miami and is a solid enough backup passer in fantasy football.  This also bodes well for WR Brandon Marshall who has a better QB to get him the football.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: JETS LOCK UP WR SANTONIO HOLMES FOR 5-YRS./50-MILLION


The New York Jets quickly locked up WR Santonio Holmes to a five-year/50-million contract.  Holmes was an unrestricted free agent that the Jets focused as the guy that needed to bring back.  Braylon Edwards remains a free agent as the Jets now turn their attention to Randy Moss.

Analysis:  Holmes is a very solid fantasy football receiver who is better suited for those in TD-heavy leagues due to the fact he wont catch enough passes in the ground-heavy Jets offense to be a weapon in PPR. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: EDWIN JACKSON TRADED TO CARDINALS FOR COLBY RASMUS IN 8-PLAYER DEAL


The other show dropped as the Toronto Blue Jays have traded SP Edwin Jackson, RP's Mark Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and OF Corey Patterson for OF Colby Rasmus, RP Brian Tallet, PJ Walters, and Trevor Miller.  Earlier today the Jays acquired Jackson from the White Sox with Mark Teahen for Jason Frasor.

Analysis:  Apprently Rasmus was the guy the Jays wanted all along.   There is a lot of moving parts in these trades but Ramus and Jackson are really the only names that matter in fantasy baseball.  Rasmus should do well in the power hitting Toronto ballpark and he could relax now without having to play for Tony LaRussa.  Jackson on the other hand gets a step up in value due to his move to the NL and a contending club. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: GIANTS TO ACQUIRE CARLOS BELTRAN


The San Francisco Giants will acquire New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran according to various reports in the know.  Gary Brown is the prospect the Mets will get and SP Jonathan Sanchez has also been mentioned as possibly being involved. 

Analysis:  So there it is.  Beltran was rumored to be going there all along and he seemed to have gotten what he wanted in staying the NL and going to a contender.  Unfortunately for his fantasy baseball owners, its a wash as far as the parks are in regards to hitting .

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX OUT ON CARLOS BELTRAN, GIANTS GETTING CLOSE TO DEAL?


CNNSI's Jon Heyman reports that the Boston Red Sox are not out of he Carlos Beltran sweepstakes and that the San Francisco Giants could be getting close to getting a deal completed.  Jonathan Sanchez has been mentioned as a guy who could come back to the Mets but he is currently on the DL.  Stay tuned.

Analysis:  The Red Sox really dont have to do this deal as Josh Reddick is playing well and the rest of the lineup is sick.  Its a shame however if you are a Beltran owner since he wont get to hit in that park.  As far as the Giants, its really Citi Field West so dont expect drastic improvement when he is there. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS ACQUIRE SP EDWIN JACKSON FROM WHITE SOX FOR RP JASON FRASOR, WILL BE FLIPPED FOR COLBY RASMUS?


Once again Edwin Jackson finds himself on the move at the trading deadline as he was shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.  Jackson, along with Mark Teahan were dealt for Blue Jays RP Jason Frasor and rumor has it that Jackson could be on the move again.  Word is that Jackson will now be combined with Octavio Dotel and Mark Repczynski for Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus.  Stay tuned.

Analysis:  Something is definately up here as Jackson is nothing but a mediocre pitcher who occasionally shows flashes of excellence.  He obviously is better suited to the NL as would any pitcher despite historically pitching better in the AL.  Stay tuned for the other show to drop. 

FANTASY BASEBALL EWS: BLUE JAYS HARD AFTER EDWIN JACKSON, IN ON UBALDO JIMENEZ

The Toronto Blue Jays have zeroed in on White Sox SP Edwin Jackson as the teams have traded proposals.  They also are involved in the Ubaldo Jimenez talks as well as they try to bolster a starting rotation to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees. 

Analysis:  Inetersting that the Blue Jays are so into the pitching sweepstakes but its clear they need to do something to improve a ptiching staff that had used Jo-Jo Reyes for most of the season. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY


Jered Weaver: 7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.79.  Weaver is ludicrously good right now.  Nothing much more to say than just look at the numbers.

Logan Morrison:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .256.  Morrison's average has dropped off the mat as he looks more like a crap average/power hitter but there has been nice growth this season.  Still an OF 3 in fantasy baseball leagues.

John Buck:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .227.  It was obvious to see that last season's average was one of the bigger flukes next season.  He is back to being a catcher 2 in fantasy baseball leagues. 

Jordan Zimmerman:  6 ER in 6.2 IP with an ERA of 3.27.  The NL's version of Michael Pineda in that he is searching for "An In Case of Oxygen Emergency Break Glass" case. 

Chase Utley:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .287.  Utley has been very good his last month but I get the nagging suspicion we are on borrowed time here as far as his health is concerned.

Ryan Howard:  2/4 with his 20th HR while hitting .251.  I wish I could say that Howard's drop in average wont continue but keep in mind guys with husky bodies like his fade faster than usual. 

Vance Worley:  9 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.02.  Scroll all the wayyyyyy back to April when I told you to ride Worley out until Joe Blanton comes back.  I wish I could take credit for all of this but not even Nostradamus could have foreseen this.

Curtis Graderson:  1/4 with his 28th HR while hitting .266.  More of the same.  Its still unreal.

Mark Texeira:  2/4 with his 28th HR while hitting .248.  Big Tex has hit Big Bombs all season.  The average sucks.  I basically could use this writeup as his default summary the rest of the season.

CC Sabbathia:  7 IP 1 H 1 ER 3 BB 14 K with an ERA of 2.56.  Sabbahia has been sick the last month of so and he will have much to say about Weaver winning the Cy Young.  Yup I traded this season.  (Proceed to kicking my own ass.)

JJ Hardy:  2/4 with 2 home runs (16 for season) while hitting .278.  The Hardy who was once one of the better fantasy baseball values is back after an extended injury related absence.  In a year where shortstop once again has been as barren as the Gobi Desert, he has hit like a top five guy.

Derrek Lee:  4/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .246.  Ignore the average with Lee as the damage has been done there.  He is aually one of the best second half hitters in the game and he is showing it once again.  A very smart late-season pickup for your UTIL or CI slot.

Adam Lind:  1/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .290.  I have stopped waiting for Lind's average to drop to ugly territory as he has validated his awesome 2009 and pushed the ugly memories of 2010 from our minds.

Aaron Hill:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .229.  Hill has been so busy stealing bases in his early mid-life crisis that he doesnt recall how to hit home runs.

Alex Gordon:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .298.  Gordon will threaten 20/15 this season with a good average.  Sure its not the 25/25 guarantee we were given when he first arrived but considering where he was the last few seasons, you would take that without delay.

Billy Butler:  3/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .290.  See Lee, Derrek.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .316.  Truth be told, Votto has ot been as dynamic as he was last season.  The power has been sporadic and he is not running.  Still love him but ts looking ridiculous that we even had a Miguel Cabrera-Votto debate.

Carl Pavano:  8 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.60.  HAHAHAHA.  Love seeing this shmuck get his ass kicked.

Neftali Feliz:  fifth blown save with 2 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 3.35.  Feliz now has a 4/4 K/BB ratio in July.  Somewhere Joba is nodding his head.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .299.  Love those contract year players.

Adam Dunn:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .161.  Can he get to .200?  Should be fun to watch.

Paul Konerko:  2/4 with his 24th HR while hitting .310.  Did I ever tell you how much I love this guy?  In that case I will remind you again:  I Love Paul Konerko.

Albert Pujols:  2/4 with his 23rd HR while hitting .277.  Its seems like he is homering every game now.  Thats Pujols in a nutshell.

Kenley Jansen:  second save with a scoreless ninth.  There is not much to talk about here as Javy GUerra was resting.  This is too bad since Jansen could be very good in this gig if given an extended leash.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS SLUGGER JOSE BAUTISTA DOESNT HAVE CONCUSSION AFTER BEANING


Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista got lucky on Tuesday as he has shown no signs of a concussion after getting beaned in the helmet.  Bautista was immediately removed from the game and underwent testing but nothing was found that conerned the team's medical staff.  He is expected to play on Wednesday.

Analysis:  Its been a rough few weeks for Bautista but it looks like he dodged a major deal again.  Look for him to return Wednesday. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARDS OUTFIELDER LANCE BERKMAN AGGRAVATES SHOULDER INJURY


St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman aggravated his existing shoulder injury by taking a swing during Tuesday's game.  He left the game after the fourth inning and will head for testing.  

Analysis:  Count on Berkman sitting out the rest of the week and maybe longer if the tests show something.  His batting average has been in a free-fall since April but he has contiued to hit for big time power.  Hope he doesnt need a DL trip. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BRAVES CATCHER BRIAN MCCANN HITS DL WITH OBLIQUE STRAIN


Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, who has been the best hitter behind the plate by far this season, landed on the DL on Tuesday with an oblique strain.  McCann injured what appeared to be his back during the game and came right out but he was diagnosed with the oblique after its completion. 

Analysis:  Terrible break as McCann has 18 home runs and 55 RBI.  He could return after 15 days so dont fret too much. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS OUTFIELDER CARLOS BELTRAN VOIDED DEAL TO INDIANS


New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran reportedly nixed a potential trade with the Cleveland Indians in the last few days.  Apparently the Mets and Indians agreed on a deal but Beltran used his 10-and-5 rights to void it.

Analysis:  Its any day now that Beltran will finally be dealt but reports of him not wanting to go to the AL are strengthened by this report. 

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE EWS: NATIONALS ACQUIRE REDS OUTFIELDER JONNY GOMES FOR TWO MINOR LEAGUERS


The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Cincinatti Reds on Tuesday for two minor league ballplayers.  The move comes as somewhat of a surprise since the Nationals are out of the playoff picture.  Either way Gomes heads to Washington while the Reds use the open roster spot to call up Yonder Alonso.

Analysis:  I dont understand this at all as Gomes is nothing but a power bat who has a horrible average every season and is not someone to build around.  Maybe they have another deal in the works where they needed Gomes but if not this move is plain stupid on their part. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS SP JOHAN SANTANA TO MAKE FIRST REHAB START THURSDAY


New York Mets SP Johan Santana, who has missed the entire season with the aftereffects of shoulder surgery, will make his first rehab start on Thursday.  He will throw 45 pitches in that game and than go from there.  He could return to the majors by the end of August.

Analysis:  Santana has made steady progress since the season began and it looks like he will get three or four starts before the season is finished.  Whether he will be a help or not is iffy since he coming off major surgery and his stuff was already not as crisp as it was earlier in his career anyway. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL EWS: TRADE REPORTEDLY WORKED OUT BETWEEN VIKES AND REDSKINS FOR QB DONOVAN MCNABB, CONRACT ISSUES REMAIN HOWEVER


The Minesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins have agreed on the parameters of a trade that would send QB Donovan McNabb to the Vikes.  The big issue that remains is McNabb's cotract which has to be restructured before he is moved. 

Analysis:  The McNabb to the Vikings talk has been going on for awhile and it makes total sense for Christian Ponder to learn a bit behind the former All Pro.  McNabb is a borderline fantasy football QB now but the big thing is that his presence should open things up for RB Adrian Peterson. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ROCKIES STEPPING UP EFFORTS TO TRADE UBALDO JIMENEZ, RED SOX NOW INVOLVED?




The Colorado Rockies are now stepping up their efforts to trade ace SP Ubaldo Jimenez. The Boston Red Sox now appear to be biting as they continue to look into all of the available starting pitchers. It was listed as a 50/50 chance of Jimenez being dealt but with the demand increasing, the odds could be more in line of him being moved.

Analysis: I have no idea who the Red Sox would have to give up but you figure it starts with Josh Reddick. This news cant make the Yankees feel too comortable.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: SEAHAWKS TO SIGN QB TAVARIS JACKSON FRIDAY




The dominos continue to fall as far as free agent NFL QB's are concerned as it now appears as though Tavaris Jackson will sign with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. Jackson flamed out as the QB of the future with the Vikings and the Seahawks have moved on from the Matt Hasselbeck era.

Analysis: Why the Seahawks think Jackson would be the answer as QB is a mystery to me. He has zero fantasy football value.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: COWBOYS CUT LOOSE WR ROY WILLIAMS, RB MARION BARBER




The Dallas Cowboys unloaded WR Roy Williams and RB Marion Barber on Tuesday as teams begin to get their rosters under the salary cap. Williams never lived up to expectations after the Cowboys traded a boatload to get him two seasons ago. Barber on the other hand has faded after being one of the better backs in the league when he first arrived.

Analysis: These moves have some decent-sized fantasy football ramifications as Williams will look for a starting job elsewhere, while Barber is likely kaput as a starting caliber running back. The flip side is that Felix Jones will now see a rise in value as he and Tashard Choice will split carries instead of getting only a third of the work when Barber was there.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TIGERS, RED SOX LOOKING INTO SP ERIK BEDARD




The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are looking into SP Erik Bedard who is coming off the DL on Friday. Bedard is on a one-year deal with the Mariners who are in the midst of one of the longest losing streaks in years. He has pitched very well when healthy which has been an ongoing issue for him the last few seasons.

Analysis: Bedard would be a great pickup for either team for the pennant race due to the minor contract comitment. It very well could happen.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: MARLINS NOW UNLIKELY TO TRADE CLOSER LEO NUNEZ




The Florida Marlins are likely to hold onto closer Leo Nunez after not receiving any offers worth looking into. Nunez is still under the team's control at an affordable rate for next season so they could always move him at the same time in 2011.

Analysis: Bad news if you picked up Edward Mujica hoping to land another closer when Nunez got dealt. Wait it out just in case.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: TITANS TO MAKE HUGE OFFER TO QB MATT HASSELBECK




The Tennessee Titans will make a big one-year contract offer to free agent QB Matt Hasselbeck to serve as the bridge to rookie QB Jake Locker. Hasselbeck too the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs last season and a win over the Saints in the wild card round.

Analysis: This is actually good news for QB Chris Johnson as Hasselbeck at least has to be respected as a passer which you couldnt say for Vince Young. I like it.

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: RAVENS TO RELEASE RB WILLIS MCGAHEE




The Baltimore Ravens will release RB Willis McGahee on Friday when player movement will commence in the post-lockout NFL. McGahee has served as the goal-line back for the Ravens for the last two seasons and this move could clear the way for Ray Rice to get the lion's share of carries.

Analysis: This is huge news for Rice and his fantasy football owners. McGahee was a major roadblock for Rice as far as scores were concerned but now it looks like the team will consider giving him the chance to hit paydirt. Rice's fantasy football stock just took a big push upward.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TWINS TO HOLD ONTO MICHAEL CUDDYER




The Minnesota Twins have decided to hold onto Michael Cuddyer, following the paths of the AStros with Hunter Pence, the Mets with Jose Reyes, and the Rays with James Shields. Cuddyer was attractive to teams due to his ability to play all over the diamond but the Twins also are in playoff contention and believe they can get there with him.

Analysis: Cuddyer is having a nice season and his second base eligibility has made him a very sound fantasy baseball investment. He will have to continue to battle Target Field though which wont help his overall stats.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: 5 TEAMS INVOLVED FOR RAYS OUTFIELDER BJ UPTON




There are currently five teams involved in the BJ Upton trade talks with the Royals, Indians, Phillies, Giants, and Braves being the ones interested. Upton has become a spare part for the Rays now that Desmond Jennings has arrived and its looking like in the case of the Phillies, Braves, and Giants, he would be a fallback if they dont get Carlos Beltran.

Analysis: Upton looks to be a goner from the Rays and for his fantasy baseball, a move to the Philies would be the best.

2011 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: RAY RICE RB BALTIMORE RAVENS




Heading into the 2010 fantasy football season, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was one of the most sought after players in the game as he was coming off a ridiculously good breakout season in 2009 when he ran for over 1,300 yards and caught 78 passes. He was a PPR player's dream at a bargain basement price and he was valuable as well in TD heavy leagues due to the yards and the fact he had 8 total scores. That season enabled Rice to be drafted no later than number 4 overall in most leagues last summer and if you polled those who ended up with him, you would find many who were disappointed with the results. First before we get into that, lets take a look at what Rice did last season.

1,220 yards rushing
5 rushing scores
63 catches
556 receiving yards
1 receiving score

No doubt those were big time numbers but they were actually down from what he did the year prior. Clearly the continued presence of Willis McGahee ate into his value as he once again got goal-line scores. Also Joe Flacco seemed to grow more comfortable throwing down the field and so he didnt look as much underneath for Rice as much as he did before. This is all water under the bridge however and its time to turn our attention to what Rice can yield for his fantasy football owners this season. Lets dig in and find out.

Looking at the big picture, its clear that Ray Rice is a big time asset in PPR leagues due to the fact he is one of the best pass catchers in the game out of the running back position and he is also a very solid runner who has top notch speed and good lower body push for a shorter back. The fact he has gone over 1,200 yards the last two seasons tells you he is likely to reach that level again this season and his receptions total should be above 60 as well. He may not get to the level of the 78 he grabbed in 2009 but Rice will still be one of the best around when you look at runners who catch passes.

Looking at the touchdown issue, with the lockout just ending, its still not clear as to whether McGahee will be back with the club or not. There are some indications that McGahee wont be asked back and that Rice will get the lion's share of carries. If thats the case, than you would have to have Rice ranked in the top five of all players in the game once again this season. If he can even duplicate what he did in collecting 7 scores in 2009, Rice will trhrust himself right to the top of the best players in fantasy football. He is that close. If McGahee does return, than use last season's numbers as the baseline for what he will do this season. It really comes down to this when looking at Rice's value.

All in all, I think Ray Rice makes a very smart pick in 2011 fantasy football, even more so if you play in a PPR league. Despite his smaller size, Rice has been durable and thats all you can ask for out of your back. Do yourself a favor and be sure not to let him slip by the fifth spot in your draft. He will be worth whatever price you get him for this season.

2011 Projection: 1,238 yards 7 TD 65 catches 602 yards 1 TD