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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL POSITION PRIMER: FIRST BASE

The other day we began our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Position Primer's by taking a close look at the catchers.  Today we delve into the blockbuster power position of first base which has the deepest collection of talent in the game when it comes to hitting.  Let's get right to it.

A few days ago we spoke about how one of the most tried and true methods for fantasy baseball success according to yours truly is to forget picking catchers until the middle portions of your draft.  Well the exact opposite holds true for the first base position as you MUST do what you can to get your hands on one of the stud power guys in the first two or three rounds.  And we also strongly recommend double-dipping here in your quest to find your CI or UTIL guy.  The power that is supplied at first base is extreme and getting two of these guys sets you up for great success in the home run, runs, and RBI department.  Now for some specifics:

3 First Baseman Who Should Turn A Profit

1.  Freddie Freeman:  At only 24 years old, Freddie Freeman is about ready to burst when it comes to his fantasy baseball prospects.  After coming up and hitting a very impressive 21 home runs as a 22 year old rookie, Freeman continued his ascent by hitting 23 more home runs in 2012 while also driving in 94.  His bat is mature beyond his years and the former 2nd round pick has had the future star label attached to his since he debuted.  Another spike in power is on the way and if Freeman can cut down on his strikeouts, a 25-30 home runs season could be in the offing for a guy who won't be drafted as a starting 1B in standard 12-team formats.

2.  Kendrys Morales:  Already went over why we love Morales' outlook for the 2013 campaign now that he will be playing everyday as the Seattle Mariners' starting first baseman.  Morales could be right on the verge of 30 home runs this season with around 90 RBI and just like in the case of Freeman, for a fraction of the cost.

3.  Adam LaRoche:  LaRoche is the classic case of a guy who is perennially underrated despite putting up top notch power numbers.  Sure his batting average is never great but it is not terrible either.  What is impressive is the 32 home runs LaRoche hit in spacious Washington last season.  With rumors that he could sign with the Boston Red Sox and thus hit in Fenway, LaRoche's outlook looks very positive once again with no one paying attention.

3 First Baseman Who Should Fail To Turn A Profit

1.  Mark Texeira:  Age, injuries, and a sinking batting average are all conspiring to curtail the value of the former first round pick.  Texeira has been a a batting average liability for a few years now and now he is falling in love with the DL.  Sure hitting in Yankee Stadium is perfect for his lefthanded swing but his awful April's are no standing out more when you take into account some underperformance the rest of the year.  The name value is now outstripping his actual value.

2.  Paul Konerko:  We have always loved the guy but finally age was starting to show up for Konerko in 2012 as his runs total sunk to the 60's and his power dropped for the third year in a row.  Father Time can't escape anyone and Konerko is clearly heading in the wrong direction.

3.  Adam Dunn:  Dunn was a tremendous value last season since many got him as a late round lottery ticket after his pathetic 2012.  41 home runs later and a major value was had.  The script switches for 2013 however as Dunn will now get drafted higher than he should as a result of his comeback season and thus he will have a tough time turning a profit.  His average is beyond horrific which takes a god chunk of the luster off the power. 

GUYS I WILL BE DRAFTING

1.  Kendrys Morales:  Been over this too many times to count.

2.  Freddy Freeman:  See above.

3.  Adam LaRoche:  See above

4.  Paul Goldschmidt:  Will reach a bit for Goldschmidt due to the fact he fell two stolen bases for a very rare 20/20 season for a first baseman.  Goldschmidt has uncanny wheels for the position and what is even more attractive is the fact there is more power in that bat as he hit home runs at a much better clip in the minors.  He also answered questions about his strikeout rate last season, hitting for a good average.  A 25/20 season is in the cards.

5.  Eric Hosmer:  Yes he destroyed all of his owners' hopes last season but he is now in the post-hyper sleeper mode which means profit.

LEAVE THEM AT ANOTHER POSITION

1.  Buster Posey-Catcher

2.  Corey Hart-Outfield

3.  Carlos Santana-Catcher

4.  Nick Swisher-Outfield

5.  Allen Craig-Outfield

6.  Pablo Sandoval-Third Base

7.  Mark Trumbo-Third Base

FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: CHIEFS FIRE HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL, RETAIN GM SCOTT PIOLI

The Kansas City Chiefs fired head coach Romeo Crennel on Monday but owner Clark Hunt decided to keep GM Scott Pioli.  Crennel wound up lasting not even two seasons with the team as he took over early in 2011.

Analysis:  The Chiefs are a colossal mess who have no QB and a dire immediate future.  With no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the 20-13 draft, they may be inclined to trade down given all their issues.  As far as the next coach, Hunt is expected to look widely at all available guys.




FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: BROWNS CAN HEAD COACH PAT SHURMER AND GM TOM HECKERT

The Cleveland Browns got Black Monday off to a quick start in firing head coach Pat Schurmer after only two seasons and GM Tom Heckert.  New owner Jimmy Haslam has his eyes on the college ranks, openly dropping the names of Alabama coach Nick Saban, Oregon's Chip Kelly, and Penn State's Bill O'Brien as potential replacements.

Analysis:  Typical as Haslam wanted his own guys in there.  He will reportedly go hard first at Saban and than focus in on Kelly who the Philadelphia Eagles also are in love with.  Stay tuned.


FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: JETS FIRE GM MIKE TANNENBAUM, RETAIN HEAD COACH REX RYAN

The New York Jets wasted little time firing GM Mike Tannenbaum on Monday morning and at the same time decided to retain head coach Rex Ryan.  The Jets completed an ugly 6-10 season Sunday with a loss to the Buffalo Bills amid an organization that was constantly in chaos in 2012.  No word yet on potential replacements for Tannenbaum.

Analysis:  This move was expected as Tannenbaum made some curious moves lately in re-signing QB Mark Sanchez and bidding against himself to retain WR Santonio Holmes.  As far as Ryan is concerned, his days are numbered in that the new GM will have no loyalty to him and most likely will want his own guy to coach.  Also with the Jets' immediate outlook looking anything bur promising, it is hard to imagine Ryan survives more than one more season.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL FIRST BASEMAN RANKINGS: A VERY EARLY LOOK

Moving right along in our first extensive look at position rankings for 2013 fantasy baseball, let's delve into the always powerful first baseman.  As always you want to double dip here in filling not only your first baseman slot but also your CI or UTIL position.  Let's see where thingsd currently stand.

1.  Albert Pujols-gets the top spot back after Miguel Cabrera loses eligibility.  His days of being the top pick (and top five overall for that matter) are finished for good.
2.  Joey Votto-still the best pure hitter in the game in my opinion.  2012 stats were down only because of missed games. 
3.  Prince Fielder-likely won't touch 40 home runs playing his home games in Comerica but he was still a beast in his first year in the American League.
4.  Edwin Encarnacion-wow did this guy elevate himself in one year.  Everything about Encarnacion last season was incredible (40 home runs/110 RBI).  For good measure he also stole 13 bases.  He is legit folks.
5.  Billy Butler-the power finally fully arrived with 29 home runs and he is a lock for a .300-plus average.  Love him.  And remember when I told you to give him one more chance last spring?  Yup.
6.  Adrian Gonzalez-should be much better now that he is out of Boston since he clearly was distracted.  While we don't see his 40-home run Padres days returning, AGONE's discounted price in 2013 looks nice.
7.  Anthony Rizzo-no this is not too high a ranking.  Love his bat and hit with power and average upon promotion last season.  A clone of Billy Butler. 
8.  Paul Goldschmidt-how about 20 home runs and 18 steals from your first baseman?  And there is more power to be had here as Goldschmidt was a power-hitting dynamo in the minors. 
9.  Mark Texeira-fading and now dealing with injuries every year.
10. David Ortiz-has 1B eligibility in 5-game leagues.  Still hitting for power and shockingly for average.  Cliff season could come at any time though.
11. Ike Davis-yes the average was brutal in the first half but the power was extremely good.  His average was .260 in the months where his BABIP was not unlucky and with the power we will certainly take that.
12. Adam LaRoche-perfect guy for your UTIL or CI slot as he is always undervalued for some reason.  This from a guy who hit 32 home runs last season and could end up in Boston.  Yes please.
13. Paul Konerko-we will always love the guy but age is finally starting to show.  Only 66 runs scored in 2012 and power slipped for third year in a row.
14. Adam Dunn-you really got to swallow hard when picking Dunn knowing the damage he will bring to your batting average (.204).  Power is insane however (41 home runs).
15. Mark Trumbo-first half renaissance/second half fade.  Chalk him up somewhere in between.
16. Corey Hart-still has outfield eligibility as well.  Like with Adam LaRoche, one of the more underrated guys in the game.
17. Freddie Freeman-getting better and better.  Still ceiling to be had here.  Could reach 30 home runs as soon as this season.
18. Kendrys Morales-went over why we like him so much yesterday.
19. Chris Davis-classic post-hype sleeper made good as Davis hit 33 home runs in 2012 with no one watching.
20. Buster Posey-play him at catcher.
21. Allen Craig-play him in the outfield.
22. Carlos Santana-catcher only.
23. Eric Hosmer-price will crash to the gutter which makes him a good buy.  Remember post-hype sleepers are among the best values in the game.
24. Ryan Howard-please.  OLD!!!!
25. Pablo Sandoval-strictly best as a third baseman
26. Nick Swisher-outfield guy.
27. Justin Morneau-wow have the mighty fallen by the wayside.

There you have it.  Let us hear your thoughts.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: KENDRYS MORALES 1B SEATTLE MARINERS

The first thing you must be thinking after perusing the title of this post is "how is a veteran guy like Kendrys Morales a potential fantasy baseball draft sleeper?"  Well in our view, a sleeper is not only just a young pitcher or hitter who is getting ready to burst to prominence.  We also feel strongly that a sleeper could even be a veteran pitcher or hitter who is undervalued and who could supply some big time fantasy baseball value relative to their lower than it should draft spot.  Hence we bring you new Seattle Mariners 1B Kendrys Morales, who came over via trade from the Los Angeles Angels for SP Jason Vargas.  No doubt we have always had a lot of love for Morales on this site as his explosive full-season debut in 2009 won us a league title and stamped his bat as a rare slugger who could hit for power and average.  Our always positive views of Morales have never changed and they are even more optimistic now that he is out of the logjam in Los Angeles between he Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols. 

First a quick trip down memory lane.  I already mentioned that splendid 2009 season by Morales where he 34 home runs with a .306 average while driving in 108.  The live bat that was always talked about when Morales came out of Cuba was everything it was predicted to be and he had firmly stamped himself as a top fantasy baseball 1B going forward.  The encore in 2101 was off to a terrific start as well as Morales sat with 11 home runs and a .290 average as May began to wrap up.  That last home run of course was the walk-off bomb that ultimately led to one of the most fluky and unlucky injuries you will ever see.  By now you all know that Morales severely broke his leg jumping into a pile of his teammates at home plate, beginning a saga where he missed the rest of that 2010 campaign and ALL of 2011 recovering.  Once 2012 arrived, Morales was nothing but a late round pick amid questions of whether he could ever be a force in fantasy baseball terms from that point on.

Well despite not lighting the world on fire and getting clearly overshadowed by 1B/DH teammates Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, it was a successful return to the diamond for Morales in 2012 as he hit 22 home runs and batted .273 in only 484 at-bats.  The home run rate was right where it was from his 2009 days and he would have made a run at 30 if not for the Angels strictly sitting him on the bench against lefty starters.  Thus the counting stats just were not there.  However now that Morales has been sent north to Seattle, playing time will no longer be an issue as the team plans to have him be their everyday 1B/DH and thus get the amount of full-time at-bats he needs for a run at 30-plus taters.  With his body right, Morales stands an excellent chance of doing just that and his projected middle round price tag is incredibly attractive.  This could be among the cheapest 30 home runs you can get in fantasy baseball this season and at the very least Morales is a guy who goes perfectly in your UTIL or CI slot.  The value is there to be had and the chance to now be a full-time hitter again is something that at the very least makes Morales a guy you all need to target in drafts this season.

2013 PROJECTION:  .284 27 HR 89 RBI 78 R 1 SB


Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL POSITION PRIMER: CATCHER

We will begin our 2013 fantasy baseball position primer today by taking a closer look at the always volatile catcher position.  Just like with the tight end in fantasy football, catcher has been a position in fantasy baseball where there historically has been only 3 or 4 top notch guys and than a bunch of mediocre options who wind up being cut and picked up a dozen times each throughout the course of the season.  However again like the tight end position in fantasy football, the catching position in fantasy baseball has gotten deeper than it has in years.  There are now arguably 10 very good to solid starting options, which means there pretty much is one for almost every owner in a standard 12-team league. 

Looking towards the draft when it comes to catchers, we continue to stand by our tried and true strategy of never drafting one of these guys until the middle rounds.  You can have the Joe Mauers, the Brian McCann's and even the Buster Posey's.  Remember that the 2012 MVP Posey severely set back his owner's seasons early on in 2011 after suffering broken leg that finished him in May after he went as one of the top three catchers in that draft.  So as good a hitter as Posey is, the position is so full of injury risk that it makes picking one of these guys a colossal risk.  Remember that you want to minimize as much risk as you can in the early rounds of a draft and catchers is about the opposite of what you would want to do there.

So without further delay let's take a look at how we view the current crop of catchers with an eye toward the 2013 fantasy baseball season.

3 Catchers Who Should Turn a Profit

1.  Jesus Montero:  Truth be told those who drafted Montero last season expected more out of the guy who many compared to Miguel Cabrera when it came to his natural ability to hit.  Montero batted only .260 with 15 home runs which was not even in the ballpark of what those owners thought they would be getting.  Well for 2013 Montero falls under the very profitable "post-hype sleeper" category which has yielded immense value in guys like Adam Jones, Alex Gordon, Homer Bailey, and other over the years.  Basically it goes that a young hitter with immense hype struggles during his first full season and than fantasy baseball owners dump said player and being looking for the next best thing.  Montero is in that class this season and should easily take another step up in his development.  The natural hitting talent is still there just waiting to come out and with his draft price a lot lower this season, Montero could bring some sizable value.

2.  Victor Martinez:  You are all probably saying "oh yeah I forgot about him" as Martinez missed the entire 2012 season with injury.  He is in the last year of his deal with Detroit and will be back to full health for 2013.  He is slated to be the primary DH hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder which is quite possibly the best hitting spot in all of baseball.  The guy can still hit ropes with the best of them and even though his power was already fading, Martinez could hit .300 in his sleep with a big amount of RBI's.  The best part is that his "out of sight/out of mind" presence is sure to bring some positive value along for the ride.

3.  Salvador Perez:  Last but not least we bring you the guy who will be on both of my Experts Leagues (if I can help it).  Perez is the absolute best bet to be this season's Wilin Rosario as a guy who supplies the biggest bang for cheap bucks.  Perez was already the rare catcher who could hit .300 without blinking an eye and the power showed up in 2012 after he came back from a first half knee injury.  Perez hit 11 home runs in less than 300 at-bats which speaks to his power growth.  This should continue as he gets closer to his power prime and in the end we could be looking at a .310/20 HR/80 RBI campaign.  GET HIM!

3 Catchers Who Should Fail To Turn a Profit

1.  Joe Mauer:  Mauer has been on this list since 2009 when he came off that beyond fluky 28-home run season.  He has not come ANYWHERE near that total since and instead has become an injury mess with barely double-digit pop.  The name value severely outpaces Mauer's actual value and that is a losing proposition all the way around.  No thank you.

2.  Brian McCann:  McCann is starting to enter the Mauer discussion as a guy whose name is inflated his value based on past performance.  He crashed and burned last season with his worst year since arriving as a full-time player and the biggest reason is the fact he can't touch lefties and opposing teams are employing a strict shift that he has shown no sign of being able to beat.  Once a good average hitter, McCann will struggle to hit .260 unless he makes inroads there.  So far the evidence is not strong that he can do so.

3.  A.J. Pierzynski:  We don't need to tell you that Pierzynski's 28-home run 2012 goes right at the top of possibly being the flukiest fantasy baseball output ever.  This from a guy who struggled to hit double-digit home runs the previous decade of his career and just when he reaches a critical contract year, the power takes off.  We already saw a similar out-of-nowhere season like this from Carlos Ruiz get clouded due a positive amphetamines test and there are whispers Pierzynski was up to no good.  The guy is now 37-years-old which is ancient for a catcher.  Leave him alone.

There you have it.  As always we would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.


STILL LOOKING FOR MORE WRITERS

Putting another call out for some talented fantasy baseball writers to help contribute to the site.  Anyone who has a vast knowledge of fantasy baseball and wants to put their thoughts and ideas out, feel free to express interest to us via e-mail at rangerfan28@yahoo.com.  If you have a website you want to put at the end of the features to get traffic to your site that is no problem.  Strictly voluntary at this point with the potential for more if we continue to grow the way we have over the last year.  Would love to have some new ideas on board.

The Fantasy Sports Boss


Thursday, December 27, 2012

FANTASY SPORTS BOSS FANTASY FOOTBALL HORROR SHOW: WHAT WENT WRONG

For those who are religious followers, yours truly has always fared much better in fantasy baseball than in fantasy football.  Whether it is that more luck is involved with football or whatnot, baseball is where my best work has been done to the tune of winning Experts League # 1 four years running and Experts League 2 three of the last four years (with a rotten fourth place finish included). 

As far as the Experts League in fantasy football, I have won two titles in 7 seasons, with none in the last two years.  Despite having five non-winning seasons, I have either lost in the title game or advanced to the second round of the playoffs each year until 2012.  To say that 2012 was a brutal year would be an understatement as, despite making the playoffs as an a non-deserving sixth seed, got bounced in the first round of the playoffs and finished with a 6-8 overall mark.  All of this despite going into the season thinking I had a team destined for greatness. 

So what went wrong?  Allow me to go back down the awful memory lane that was the 2012 Fantasy Football Season.

1.  Running Back Was My Primary Undoing:  There is no doubt that running back was the position that killed me the most, both for injuries and for poor decisions on my part.  It all started on draft day when I picked LeSean McCoy fourth overall (after Ray Rice, Darren McFadden (Raiders fan), and Aaron Rodgers) over Arian Foster.  My thinking was that Foster had a history of leg injuries and had a very capable Ben Tate looking to take some carries.  McCoy however chose 2012 to be his worst season since becoming a regular, missing the last quarter-plus of the season with a concussion.  Foster meanwhile has his third stellar season in a row, finishing behind only Adrian Peterson in fantasy football points scored by running backs.

My second big problem was that my other starting back was DeMarco Murray.  You know the DeMarco Murray who missed almost all of 2012 with a nagging foot injury.  Yes he made it back for the stretch run but by than my team was on fumes.  I had to get by with the awful Felix Jones and DeAngelo Williams.  I said in the summer that Murray was a boom or bust player, capable of a huge PPR season if he stayed in one piece but also capable of ruining your team if he got hurt again.  Well the latter came true for me at least.  Not good.

2.  I Have Too Much Loyalty To Andre Johnson and Jason Witten:  Again those who are religious followers know that the two guys I love more in fantasy football are Andre Johnson and Jason Witten.  Both guys have been on my team each of the last five years with much success along the way.  However as great as these two guys are, the only big issue with both is that they don't score touchdowns.  As dominant and unstoppable force as Johnson is, he scored all of four touchdowns this season.  Witten?  Only 2!!!!  Yes in our PPR format these guys are awesome but they also need to supply at least 6 touchdowns as well which they didn't.  Again I still love these two but next season I need to get more touchdowns out of the receiver spots like a Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson, or A.J. Green.

3.  It Wasn't All Bad:  My Touting Of Matt Ryan and Eric Decker Paid Off:  Two of the underrated value plays I touted heavily in the summer both came through big time as Matt Ryan absolutely exploded like I knew he would in new offensive coordinator Dirk Kotter's passing attack and Decker found live grand on the receiving end of Peyton Manning tosses.  Ryan is in the conversation of fantasy football MVP but he his no-show against the New Orleans Saints of all teams in Week 13 cost me a higher seed and an easier first round opponent.  Also as good as Decker was (especially scoring), he went ice cold from Weeks 12-15 which again cost me big time in the seedings.

4.  Injuries:  Yet another major tout of mine was Aaron Hernandez who I drafted over Witten as my number 1 guy amid reports he was going to be the clear top dog in the Patriots' passing offense.  Well Hernandez lived true to his habit of getting hurt and missed the middle portion of the season with a high ankle sprain.  I than was forced to trade for Witten (a steal on my part as I dealt Miles Austin and Fred Davis for him) and had to juggle which one to start when Hernandez returned.  When he was on the field, Hernandez was unstoppable and I fully believe he would have been a monster if he didn't get hurt.  But like with Murray, and guys like Hakeem Nicks and Darren McFadden, Hernandez just can't stay in one piece.

So there you have it.  A bunch went wrong and here I am sitting with nothing to show for this season.  I haven not won in two years now and am determined to learn from this.  More touchdowns to go with the receptions is the goal for next season, along with continuing to go after value plays at QB.  Looking straight ahead now and not back anymore.


2013 FANTASY BASEBALL CATCHER RANKINGS: EARLY LOOK

It is never too early to start fine-turning your fantasy baseball rankings, even if the season is still three full months away.  With that in mind, here is our early look at the catcher rankings for the 2013 campaign.  Keep in mind that we continue to advocate not drafting a catcher early on due to the injury risk among other reasons.  We see some very good bargains who have the chance to be tremendous value plays this season.  Take a look.

1.   Buster Posey-NL MVP is Mike Piazza with less power.  Still major risk investing a third round pick in a catcher no matter how good they can hit.
2.  Carlos Santana-Give him another chance.  Much too good a hitter to struggle like that again.  Typical growing pains for a catcher.
3.  Wilin Rosario-We no doubt have Rosario ranked higher than most but for good reason.  The power is extreme and did we mention he plays his home games in Colorado?  We love him.
4.  Yadier Molina-Bust potential here as no way Molina repeats his crazy good 2012.  Any catcher approaching mid-30's is a major question mark as it is.
5.  Matt Wieters-Not the stud yet that we all thought he would be but a very good catcher indeed. 
6.  Joe Mauer-Average, runs, and RBI all top notch for a backstop but he can't ever stay in one piece.  Name value still outweighs actual value.
7.  Brian McCann-Just an awful season for McCann in 2012 when he should be smack in his prime.  His average has been going the wrong way for a few years now and opposing team's now employ strict shift which won't help.  Forget that 30-home run season.
8.  Miguel Montero-Prime example of solid but not spectacular.  Works for us.
9. Mike Napoli-Right now in limbo with Boston over neck issue.  Has best power at the position but average is pathetic. 
10. Salvador Perez-VALUE ALERT!  VALUE ALERT!  Here he is.  This is guy we are ALL IN on for 2013 as Perez is a .300-hitting catcher with power that came to the surface in 2012.  11 home runs in 289 at-bats shows the growth is there.  Could go .310 with nearly 20 homers for a fraction of the price as the guys above.  Get him.
11. Victor Martinez-Don't sleep on this guy as Martinez is back after missing all of 2012 with injury.  Martinez still carries catcher eligibility and will be among the best counting stat catchers in the game as he should DH on most days.
12. Jesus Montero-This guy is going to be a tremendous hitter and would have no issues going back to the well here despite him letting us down a bit in 2012.  Remember the learning curve for catchers is longer than at any other position.
13.  A.J. Pierzynski-Yeah we are not buying his crazy 2012 when Pierzynski hit 27 home runs out of the blue after struggling to reach double-digits there the previous five years of his career.  Among the biggest fluke seasons ever.  Run far away as his draft price will be grossly inflated.
14. Ryan Doumit-Was back to being the solid hitting catcher/outfielder he was during his early Pittsburgh days.  Doumit has fallen so far out of the fantasy baseball consciousness that his value remains terrific.
15. Alex Avila-Told you his 2011 was sketchy.  The power is decent but Avila can't hit for average and now VMart is back.
16. Jonathan Lucroy-Underrated hitter, Lucroy is the perfect catcher 2 in those formats.
17. Russell Martin-Massive downgrade now that he no longer plays in New York.  Power was only thing he had left and now that is in question due to the ballpark drop.
18. Carlos Ruiz-Busted for 25 games for greenies.  Yeah we thought his fluky 2012 season looked funny.
19. Jarrod Saltalamacchia-A poor man's Mike Napoli who can't hit for anything close to average but whose power is tremendous.  It will be interesting to see how his playing time shakes out if Napoli officially comes aboard.
20. A.J. Ellis-You really are hurting if you are looking here as your starting backstop.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think and be sure to pick up the 2012 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for more in-depth analysis.

2012 FANTASY FOOTBALL FINAL WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Here are the final 2012 fantasy football wide receiver ranking as we put a cap on the season.

1.  Calvin Johnson-record for receiving yards in a season says it all about how he has no peer.
2.  Brandon Marshall-back to the monster he was in Denver with Jay Cutler.
3.  A.J. Green-couldn't stop him at times but had a few clunkers late.
4.  Andre Johnson-other than Megatron, this Johnson was the best receiver in football the second half.  Look at those numbers!  Strange lack of scores remains though.
5.  Wes Welker-another 100-catch season in the books.  Big story is whether he stays in New England where his fantasy football value is at its peak.
6.  Dez Bryant-Talk about unstoppable in the second half.  Broken finger or not, Bryant was a man among boys.  He has arrived finally.
7.  Julio Jones-Now the 1A to Roddy White's 1B.
8.  Vincent Jackson-Finally found season-long consistency and the results were staggering.
9.  Demaryuis Thomas-You expected a bit more in the receptions department with Manning at QB but Thomas is the clear Reggie Wayne Indy Colts in this offense.
10. Victor Cruz-As dominant as Cruz was in the first half, he was a virtual no-show the last month when his owners needed him most.
11. Randall Cobb-It will be interesting to see how the catches are divided up between this dynamo, Jordy Nelson, and Greg Jennings.
12.Roddy White-Lowest ranking for White in two seasons.  Raw catches still there but Julio Jones surely eating into potential stats.
13. Reggie Wayne-We have to worry some about age but Wayne was ridiculous for most of 2012.  Late fade brings the previous worry into focus however.
14. Percy Harvin-Was on monster pace before more injuries derailed things.  If he ever stays in one piece for a whole season than look out.
15. Larry Fitzgerald-If he gets even a decent QB, Fitzgerald moves up easily.
16. Marques Colston-As dependable as they come.  Remains top guy in crazy offense.
17. Jordy Nelson-Cobb is the big play guy now in this offense but Nelson remains a big time TD-guy.
18. Eric Decker-Yes playing in a Peyton Manning offense has its perks.  Decker fulfilled our sleeper hype.
19. Mike Williams-Potency of Josh Freeman this season means there is room for two Tampa Bay QB's in fantasy football going forward.
20. Hakeem Nicks-Love the talent but not the brittle body.  No longer considered number 1 guy due to injuries.
21. Torrey Smith-Right on schedule into becoming close to WR 1 status.
22. Greg Jennnings-Injuries ruined his 2012 but he was top ten before that point.
23. Cecil Shorts-Many of you probably don't realize how good he was in 2012.  Check him out.
24. Steve Smith-Finished strong but how in mid-30's.  Price him as clear WR 2.
25. Stevie Johnson-We overhyped him earlier in his career but he is still a big-play guy.
26. Dwayne Bowe-Get ready to push him way up if he signs with a club who employs a top QB. 
27. Mike Wallace-Antonio Brown and Wallace kind of cancel each other out at times it seems.
28. Antonio Brown-Ditto.
29. Lance Moore-Love him in PPR but still a bit wild in production.
30. Denarius Moore-Scored a bunch of touchdowns and is improving still.
31. Miles Austin-Clear number 2 now to Bryant.
32. Brandon Lloyd-He really overall disappointing in New England.  Tough to fathom such a scenario with Tom Brady chucking it to you.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ORDER YOUR CUSTOMIZED MLB MAJESTIC T-SHIRT TODAY: ANY NAME/ANY TEAM FOR THE NEW SEASON!

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FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX OFFICIALLY ACQUIRE JOEL HANRAHAN FROM PIRATES

The Boston Red Sox have officially acquired closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a package containing Mark Melancon, Jerry Sands, and others.  Hanrahan will immediately be entrusted to close games for the Red Sox over injury-prone Andrew Bailey, while Jason Grilli will inherit the ninth inning for the Pirates.

Analysis:  Two things:  one is that Hanrahan is a top five closer in 2013 fantasy baseball which means if you listen to our advice against drafting stoppers early, he won't be on your roster.  Second is that Grilli becomes a big time sleeper as he has been a dominant setup guy the last two seasons and makes for the perfect closer with upside to grab later in the draft.

2012 FANTASY FOOTBALL TIGHT END RANKINGS: FINAL INSTALLMENT

Moving right along, we bring you our final installment of 2012 fantasy football tight end rankings. 

1.  Rob Gronkowski-We actually favored Jimmy Graham over Gronk in the preseason but on a per game basis the Patriot tight end was more productive.
2.  Tony Gonzalez-Count on him coming back for another season off arguably his best year ever.  Crazy.
3.  Jimmy Graham-The encore was not even close to his 2011 breakout but Graham still a stud.
4.  Jason Witten-The script remains the same:  90-plus catches but hardly any scores (2 touchdowns). 
5.  Aaron Hernandez-On a per game basis Hernandez was as productive as any tight end in the game but he CAN'T stay healthy.  A major knock on his value as you need to back him up with another decent tight end for insurance.
6.  Brandon Pettigrew-Not as many catches as Witten but Pettigrew falls under same class in catching a lot of passes without scoring.
7.  Owen Daniels-Nice comeback season for Daniels after a lost 2011 campaign.
8.  Antonio Gates-Fading fast.
9.  Jermaine Gresham-Continues to improve as he is now a rock solid every week starter.
10. Vernon Davis-If only he played in a bigger passing offense.  This ranking not a knock on his true talent.
11. Jermichael Finley-Being fourth on the passing attention-meter is a negative, even in the Green Bay offense.
12. Martellus Bennett-Acquitted himself nicely in his first year with Big Blue.  Look for him to re-sign.  Was a nice red zone option.
13. Dennis Pitta-Ran hot and cold at times but catching ability is real.
14. Kyle Rudolph-Major red zone guy was Christian Ponder's top guy by the goal line.
15. Greg Olsen-He leaves you wanting more but Olsen was a nice low level option this past season/
16. Brent Celek-Never developed into the top tier guy we thought he could be.
17. Jacob Tamme-Only two touchdowns not acceptable with Peyton Manning tossing you the rock.
18. Marcedes Lewis-Remains nothing but a standard league replacement guy.
19. Dwayne Allen-Allen seemed to earn the trust of Andrew Luck as the season took shape.
20. Heath Miller-Knee injury clouds his outlook for next season unitil we get an update on his progress.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JOSE ALTUVE 2B HOUSTON ASTROS

One other tried and true method for fantasy baseball success is our annual advice suggesting to use the middle infield positions of second base and shortstop as spots where you get a good chunk of your stolen bases.  Since these positions are historically shallow when it comes to power hitters, speed is the name of the game here and always has been.  One player who flies under the radar but who could once again be a big time asset in that department is Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve who stole 33 bases on a bad team in 2012.  The consummate leadoff hitter, Altuve combines his prowess on the basepaths with a historically good batting average and a nice haul of runs scored. 

In taking each stat apart, the steals are easily the category that jumps off the page the most when it comes to Altuve and his fantasy baseball stock.  Altuve is very young at only 23 and he will only get better and more aggressive when it comes to that statistic.  A run (pardon the pun) at 40 steals in 2013 is almost a given if Altuve stays healthy and that benchmark numbers is useful in all formats. 

Altuve is slated to once again hit at the top of the Astros lineup in 2013 and with that perch comes the chance to score a good amount of runs.  The big issue is the fact the Astros will have quite possibly the worst batting order in baseball this season so anything more than 80 is a bonus.  After all you can't drive yourself in to score a run.

Finally, Altuve is a guy who has posted .300 averages throughout his minor league days and he was above .315 for a large chunk of 2012 before a late fad.  His low strikeout rate and ability to generate walks will get him at or near. 300 yet again.  Combined with the average and steals, Altuve is a clear three category guy.

The big negatives surrounding Altuve is the fact he has little power, with only 7 home runs in 576 at-bats last season and the fact he won't drive in many guys leading off the order.  Altuve surely can add a few home runs as he matures and enters his power prime but this obviously is not part of his game makeup.

All in all, Jose Altuve is a vastly underrated and improving second baseman who will be a very solid performer in fantasy baseball parlance for his owners this season.  Again you want to fill the middle infield spots with as many stolen bases as you can and Altuve fits the bill as well as anyone in the game in that regard.

2013 PROJECTION:  ..305 8 HR 86 R 45 RBI 38 SB

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL

Allow us all here at the Fantasy Sports Boss to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Tomorrow we are back with massive 2013 fantasy baseball coverage along with continuing to wrap up the 2012 fantasy football season. 

2012 FANTASY FOOTBALL FINAL RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Let's now take a look at the final 2012 fantasy football rankings with an eye toward next season.

1.  Adrian Peterson-Not even a debate as to who the best runner was in 2012.  Scary he was better after surgery.
2.  Arian Foster-Another dominant season and this time no leg problems.
3.  Ray Rice-Underutilized again but the talent is extreme.  Best in PPR leagues still in discussion for top pick overall.
4.  Doug Martin-We called him Ray Rice-lite at the start of the season and he could be right with him going forward.
5.  Marshawn Lynch-Toughest runner in the game outside of AP to bring down.
6.  LeSean McCoy-Had an off season hurt by injuries and now we are concerned team is mentioning Bryce Brown as a big part of their 2013 offense.
7.  Jamaal Charles-Remains the best big play runner in the game but consistency still not there throughout the whole season.
8.  Trent Richardson-No telling how high he can go.  Love what we see so far.
9.  C.J. Spiller-We are banking on Spiller being the man next season as the Bills will likely release Fred Jackson.  Could easily end up in the top five.
10. Alfred Morris-The new Michael Turner is a beast to bring down.  Better yet a comparison to Marshawn Lynch could be more realistic.
11. Maurice Jones-Drew-Bombed in 2012 like we predicted.  Not bullish on this aging back with a ton of carries on his body.
12. Matt Forte-Still has not been trusted with the full load as Michael Bush will be back next season to steal touchdowns.  Elevate in PPR and drop in standard formats going forward.
13. DeMarco Murray-All he has to do is stay healthy and a big season could be had.  That has been fleeting for him though.
14. Chris Johnson-Believe it not Johnson has a bette season than you all thought. He was up and down all year though in order to get there.
15. Frank Gore-Could have the cliff season in 2013 as he is aging big time and has a ton of carries in his past.
16. Darren McFadden-This low ranking is not based on pure abillity but on McFadden's ultimate failure to stay healthy. 
17. BenJarvus Green-Ellis-Power back all the way was his usual inconsistent self.
18. Darren Sproles-You know the drill as you elevate Sproles in PPR and drop him in standard.
19. Ahmad Bradshaw-David Wilson should have a bigger role but Bradshaw continues to pace the Giants rushing attack.
20. Reggie Bush-Failed to build off his very good 2011 campaign and in fact took a sizable step back.
21. Steven Jackson-Rallied to have a very good second half after a start where we all surmised he was finished but that is likely his last gasp.
22. Michael Turner-Speaking of fading badly, we bring you Turner.
23. Ryan Matthews-Again this is not based on ability but Matthews is even worse than McFadden when it comes to never staying in one piece.
24. Mikel LeShoure-Didn't see much to get us excited about his 2013 outlook.
25. Stevan Ridley-As long as Tom Brady is playing, no New England back will be worth much. 
26. Vick Ballard-Has opened some eyes the last month of the season and should have first dibs on the gig next season.
27. Jonathan Dwyer-Tough to predict who will be the main back here but there is no doubt the Steelers have to find a workhorse runner.
28. Beanie Wells-Likely out of Arizona and value depends on how much playing time he gets in new location.
29. Mark Ingram-Too many runners in New Orleans for any to carry starting value.
30. Shonn Greene-The epitome of the average back.



Monday, December 24, 2012

KEEP POSTING AWAY ABOUT THE FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER YOU WANT US TO ANALYZE

Upcoming in the next few days are Mark Trumbo and Ian Kennedy as per your requests. 

JERSEY'S ALREADY GOING FAST

We are glad to see that many of you are taking advantage of the discounted Nike NFL Jersey Sale we are running here.  To answer a recurring question:  We don't yet have Russell Wilson but should be soon.  He easily is the most sought after jersey out there.  Access our inventory in the NFL Jerseys Page and enjoy the discounts.  All of those jerseys retail for $99.99 on NFL.com and other sites.

FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: RE: RUSSELL WILSON

Now that the 2012 fantasy football season is in the books, allow me to brag for just a second.  Below is the link to a post I wrote on September 1, 2012 which was the last set of QB rankings before the season got going.

http://www.thefantasysportsboss.com/2012/09/2012-fantasy-football-updated-qb.html

All you need to know is that a guy we told you all to use your last round draft choice on was none other than the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson who upped his touchdown total to 25 with only 10 interceptions after a demolition of the San Francsico 49ers Sunday night.  Wilson has now led the Seahawks to the brink of the playoffs and has led an offense that has put up more than 40 points for three straight weeks.  Here is what I said in one simple sentence:

"18. Russell Wilson Jr.:  Could be the best rookie QB in the league this season. Really."

Yup and YUP!  Honestly I don't know why you read any other site.  :)


2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: NICK SWISHER OUTFIELDER CLEVELAND INDIANS

Nick Swisher has been signed, sealed, and delivered to the Cleveland Indians, inking a four-year deal for $56 million.  Swisher will figure prominently in the weak Indians lineup, likely hitting second to take advantage of his high on-base skills.  With that said, let's take a deeper look of what he could provide prospective owners this upcoming season in fantasy baseball.

The biggest fallout from the Swisher signing is the fact he leaves arguably the best home run ballpark in the major leagues in Yankee Stadium, where he hit 29, 29, 23, and 24 home runs the last four seasons.  Cleveland's park is considered a pitcher's park which no doubt will chop a home run or two off Swisher's overall total.  Yes he hit 35 home runs with Oakland back in 2006 but that stat is an outlier given what he has done the rest of his career.  Due to his great durability however, Swisher's counting stats will be very good which means 25 home runs is a decent bet.  Always a very solid RBI guy, Swisher will see a bit of a decrease there as well in 2013 now that he won't be surrounded by the high octane hitters he had in New York.  If he does hit near the top of the lineup as expected though, Swisher should score around 90 runs which plays well with 25 home runs and 85-plus RBI.

The big negatives with Swisher is that he is a career .256 hitter which is shaky to say the least.  He also has zero speed which means you are not getting stolen bases out of his legs.  When you break it down you are getting a 3 category guy who will help but not blow you away in runs, RBI, and dingers.  Swisher is a very nice outfielder 3 in fantasy baseball however as his draft price annually is lower than it should be and he carries eligibility at first as well.  Also again his durability makes him a guy you don't have to worry about too much this season.  Solid but not spectacular applies to this bat as a whole.

2013 PROJECTION:  .265 25 HR 86 RBI 84 R 2 SB




Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 FANTASY FOOTBALL FINAL QB RANKINGS

With the 2012 fantasy football season in the books, let;s see what the final QB rankings look like.

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Peyton Manning-He is back and maybe even better than ever as crazy as that sounds.
3.  Tom Brady-Old reliable right there with Manning, Rodgers, and Brees as sure things.
4.  Drew Brees
5.  Robert Griffin III-Scared as heck over his slight frame and tendency to get hurt.  Can't ever see us investing such a high pick on the risk.
6.  Matt Ryan-We went all in on him this season and were rewarded with a near-fantasy football MVP campaign.  We will gladly have some more of this.
7.  Cam Newton-Blazing finish reminds you how stupidly talented the kid is but it came in meaningless games.
8.  Ben Roethlisberger
9.  Tony Romo-Continues to be as underrated as anyone in the game and we will target him again for that reason.
10. Eli Manning-Started off great but finished horribly.
11. Josh Freeman-Major strides toward fantasy football weekly status
12. Andy Dalton
13. Andrew Luck-Upward and onward as the kid will be pushing on the top five door as soon as this season.
14. Matthew Stafford-No excuse for why he was so bad with all that talent around him.  Major step back.
15. Russell Wilson-Can easily see him being a top ten guy before too long.
16. Matt Schaub-The numbers were just not there considering all the talent he also had.
17. Philip Rivers-His career is sinking under two poor seasons in a row with a boatload of turnovers.
18. Carson Palmer-Can still sling it with the best of them but he needs help.
19. Jay Cutler-We can't deal with the turnovers.
20. Nick Foles-We like his future.  Makes for a great backup selection.
21. Michael Vick-He should find a starting spot somewhere but his body is falling apart.
22. Joe Flacco
23. Ryan Fitzpatrick
24. Brandon Weeden
25. Ryan Tannehill
26. Colin Kaepernick
27. Jake Locker
28. Christian Ponder
29. Chad Henne

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: INDIANS INK OUTFIELDER NICK SWISHER TO A FOUR-YEAR DEAL FOR $56 MILLION

The Cleveland Indians finally got the bat they were looking for this offseason when the signed free agent outfielder Nick Swisher to a four-year deal for $56 million. 

Analysis:  Swisher is a decent but not great hitter who is best used as an outfielder 3 in fantasy baseball.  A typical Swisher year is between 25-30 home runs to go with a shaky average.  There is also a negative change in his home park after leaving Yankee Stadium so a downgrade in power is likely.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RAYS TO HAVE WIL MYERS BEGIN YEAR IN MINORS

The Tampa Bay Rays will have super hitting prospect Wil Myers begin the 2013 season in the minor leagues according to a team source.  Myers was dealt by the Kansas City Royals to the Rays early last week for a package highlighted by James Shields and Wade Davis but the more conservative approach will be taken at the outset of the season.

Analysis:  This is typical business when it comes to top minor league players as waiting until June 1 sets back their arbitration clock by a year.  After clubbing nearly 40 home runs on the farm last season, the future is very bright for Myers who should be drafted in the late middle rounds this winter. 

CLEARANCE SALE ON SELECTED NFL JERSEYS. SHOP NOW! GREAT DEALS!

As we talked about earlier, we have started a new venture here on the Fantasy Sports Boss as a licensed NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL game jersey seller.  We have a large selection of NFL jerseys that are up for sale and have their prices slashed.  Retail for these jerseys the entire past season was $99.00 but our prices range from $69.99 to a low of $39.99.  Click over on the NFL Jerseys Page to take a look.  Ask us if you don't see a player listed you are interested in at rangerfan28@yahoo.com. 


THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS ONLINE STORE GROWING

We are now venturing into another territory when it comes to The Fantasy Sports Boss site as we have become a partner with Adidas, Nike, and Reebok to sell licensed NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA jerseys right here on the site.  Sports jerseys are a billion dollar industry and we are now fully involved with the enterprise.  We will be fixing up the SHOPPING CENTER page in the next few days to show the inventory we have and we look forward to getting to all of you the jerseys you wish.  The best part is that our prices will be competitive or in most cases CHEAPER than what you would find at other sites since we don't have as much overhead costs to worry about.  Also if we don't have a jersey listed that you like, feel free to drop us an e-mail at rangerfan28@yahoo.com and request one which will will do our best to get for you.  Very prosperous times here at the Fantasy Sports Boss thanks to all of you. 

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: JOEL HANARAHN DEALT TO RED SOX TO CLOSE

The Boston Red Sox continued with their offseason makeover as they completed a trade Sunday for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan.  After dealing with the injuries of Andrew Bailey and the struggles of Alfredo Aceves in the ninth inning last season, the Red Sox made it their mission to gain stability at the back of their bullpen.  While the full details of the deal have not been revealed yet, Hanrahan clearly is the biggest piece worth discussing in this deal.

Joel Hanrahan:  There is little debate that after some early career struggles with his control while with the Washington Nationals, Joel Hanrahan has turned himself into one of the very best and most dependable closer in all of fantasy baseball.  At a position that saw unprecedented tumult in 2012, Hanrahan was a rock of consistency as he pitched to a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves.  The prior 2011 season saw Hanrahan as dominant as can be with a 1.86 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while earning 40 saves.  The problem was that the Pirates saw some concern with Hanrahan last season as his WHIP spiked to 1.27 on the heels of an elevated walk rate.  Hanrahan has also seen his K rate dip the last two seasons after punching out 100 batters in only 69.2 inning pitched back in 2010.  Still at only 32, Hanrahan still has some prime years left and he should fully be up to the task to be one of the top tier closers in Boston.  While his days of striking out 100 guys are over, Hanrahan still should come close to 40 saves while posting a high 2.00 ERA and decent enough WHIP.

Jason Grilli:  Enter the new Pirates' closer.  Grilli re-signed with the Pirates by inking a two-year deal with the whispered promise he would be the team's closer once they dealt Hanrahan,  There is little doubt that Grilli has the stuff to be excellent in the role as he comes off a truly stretch the last two seasons where he pitched to a 2.48 and 2.91 ERA while striking out an obscene 90 batters in only 58.2 innings.   Even though he is aging as he turns 37 this season, Grilli should be a good investment at least for this season.  In fact Grilli makes for the best kind of closer investment in our book.  Since we always advocate never drafting a closer until the middle portion of a draft, Grilli is the high upside closer play we love in that his high K rate should mean success in the role based on his past solid to great performance while as a setup man.  We will be buying.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.


FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: RG3 FULLY READY TO GO SUNDAY

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is all set to start Sunday after missing one game due to a knee injury.  After Kirk Cousins led the team to a crucial victory last week, Griffin immediately practiced at the start of the week to ensure he played Sunday.

Analysis:  Griffin is a bit of a risk since he won't likely be running much today but if you are an owner and am in the championship game, you have to go with your best player regardless. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RAVENS WR TORREY SMITH (CONCUSSION) TO PLAY SUNDAY

Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith will play Sunday despite being limited this past week with concussion symptoms. 

Analysis:  Smith got off to a rocket start to the 2012 fantasy football season until going back to his up and down ways the last month or so.  The Giants secondary has been prone to the big play this season and Smith is fully capable of adding to their misery on Sunday.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MATT MOORE SP TAMPA BAY RAYS

It was a clear tale of two halves in the 2012 fantasy baseball season for young fireballing pitcher Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays.  After serving as quite possibly the most sought after sleeper in the game going into winter drafts on the heels of his impressive late season cup of coffee run with the team in the pennant race and in the playoffs itself, Moore was the guy fantasy baseball owners just had to have.  Moore screamed out "next great power pitcher", what with his 98-mph fastball that racked up a massive amount of K's as he climbed the minor league ladder.  The 15 K's in 9.1 IP during Moore's 2011 debut only reaffirmed this potential.  Also with the Rays having had good to great success in developing power pitchers (see Price, David and Shields, James), Moore seemed destined for stardom.

As with most young overhyped sleepers however, Moore hit more than a few bumps along the way which encompassed almost the entire first half of his 2012 campaign.  Moore was absolutely hideous in fact early on, posting a horrid 4.68 April and 4.83 May ERA that almost got him sent back down to the minors. It also forced many owners, who thanked their good fortune for getting him in drafts, to already cut ties with this seemingly gigantic bust.  However manager Joe Maddon stuck with Moore, correctly surmising that it was only a matter of time before his natural talent would come to the forefront.

This is exactly what happened once the All Star Game concluded as Moore went on an absolute tear in the second half of the season, ending up with numbers that were top five caliber in all of baseball during that time period.  Moore would compile a splendid 3.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP the second half of the season, to go along with a very impressive 79 K's in only 77.2 innings pitched.  The kid was right back on schedule in his potential of becoming one of the best young starters in the game and his second half numbers were even more impressive when you consider he pitches in the AL East. 

As far as 2013 is concerned, we are very bullish about Moore as we were going into last season.  Even though we were disappointed like the rest of you over his rough 2012 start, we completely felt it was almost impossible for a guy with his stuff to continue struggling that way.  Moore obviously figured something about along the way as evidenced by the massive turn in his stats and that is why we believe this season will be even better.  The kid should easily hit the 200-K mark in 2013 and continue to maintain a mid-.3.00, with the potential to get even better as he continues to mature.  Pitching in the AL East makes it tough to say Moore will get his ERA into the 2.00 range but even if he gets it to around 3.50 with 200 K's, we reckon no one would complain about that stat line by any means,  Moore also is doing a nice job cutting into his high walk rate which will help lower his WHIP as well.  Put it all together and what we have here is a kid on the brink of a major step up in class which could thrust him into SP 2 territory this season.

2013 PROJECTION:  15-7 3.57 ERA 1.19 WHIP 203 K


Friday, December 21, 2012

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 16 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

1.  Adrian Peterson
2.  Arian Foster
3.  DeMarco Murray
4.  Doug Martin
5.  Ray Rice
6.  Jamaal Charles
7.  Knowshon Moreno
8.  Marshawn Lynch
9.  C.J. Spiller
10. Matt Forte
11. Stevan Ridley
12. Chris Johnson
13. Reggie Bush
14. Frank Gore
15. Darren McFadden
16. Trent Richardson
17. Vick Ballard
18. DeAngelo Williams
19. LeSean McCoy
20. Steven Jackson
21. Michael Turner
22. Mikel Leshoure
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
24. Darren Sproles
25. Shonn Greene
26. Beanie Wells
27. Jonathan Dwyer
28. Montell Owens
29. David Wilson
30. Jackie Battle

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PIRATES INK SP FRANCISCO LIRIANO FOR TWO YEARS/$14 MILLION

The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to spend money like never before this offseason, signing free agent SP Francisco Liriano to a two-year deal for $14 million. 

Analysis:  This is a very interesting move for Liriano and his fantasy baseball value as he will be taking his sometimes electric stuff to the much easier NL.  Despite pitching to an above 5.00 ERA last season, Liriano still struck out a batter per inning and he is setting himself up for a nice value season in the easier circuit. We swore off Liriano for good last season but this move has us intrigued yet again.  As long as you draft him as only an SP 5, you have nothing to lose.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RANGERS TALKING WITH MICHAEL BOURN

Trying to salvage their offseason, the Texas Rangers are now in talks with free agent outfielder Michael Bourn after seeing Josh Hamilton sign with the Los Angeles Angels.  Earlier in the day, the Rangers also signed free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal for undisclosed terms.

Analysis:  Bourn has been the biggest loser along with Rafael Soriano so far in free agency, seeing all the other big names get signed while they sit around.  The Rangers would be a logical spot to land since Hamilton is now elsewhere.  As far as Pierzynski, we all know the 27 home runs he hit last season have to be taken with a grain of salt.  For a guy who struggled to hit double-digits in that category the last five seasons, the explosion coinciding with his free agency raised many eyebrows.  However in Texas he will at least remain in a good hitter's park and should hit double-digit home runs. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: GIANTS RB AHMAD BRADSHAW (KNEE) PRACTICES FRIDAY

New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw returned to practice Friday after missing last week's game with a knee injury. 

Analysis:  The fact Bradshaw was able to practice Friday is a good indication he will be able to play Sunday.  Despite the fact he is always nicked up, Bradshaw has put up decent but not great numbers when he has been active. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: PATS TE ROB GRONKOWSKI (FOREARM) WILL NOT PLAY SUNDAY

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will not play in Week 16 as he continues to recover from a broken forearm suffered last month. 

Analysis:  Despite what Gronkowski said about missing only a game or two when he first broke the arm, Gronkowski is looking like at best a Week 17 play.  His loss was huge for his fantasy football owners who didn't have a good backup and it is likely these owners are now playing this week to even care about this bit of news.


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 16 QB RANKINGS

Last week in the 2012 fantasy football season so let's take a look at the last batch of QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Tom Brady
3.  Cam Newton
4.  Drew Brees
5.  Tony Romo
6.  Robert Griffin III
7.  Matt Ryan
8.  Peyton Manning
9.  Ben Roethlisberger
10. Andrew Luck
11. Matt Schaub
12. Russell Wilson
13. Matthew Stafford
14. Eli Manning
15. Sam Bradford
16. Josh Freeman
17. Colin Kaepernick
18. Andy Dalton
19. Nick Foles
20. Joe Flacco
21. Chad Henne
22. Ryan Tannehill
23. Carson Palmer
24. Philip Rivers
25. Jake Locker


Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JUSTIN UPTON OUTFIELDER ARIZONA D-BACKS

"UPTON!"  Eliciting that simple two syllable last name no doubt generates more than a few aggravated shakes of the end when it comes to the fantasy baseball community.  Whereas Atlanta's Upton version, B.J,, has been a disappointment for years since he first came up as a 20-year-old in the Tampa Bay organization, brother Justin seems to be following the same script through his early years with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The former number 1 pick overall in the 2005 draft, expectations were through the roof for Justin Upton, especially after his 2009 breakout season when he hit 26 home runs, stole 20 bases, and batted an even .300.  Speaking to how powerful Upton was, the average distance his home runs traveled that season were the highest in baseball.  At only the age of 22.  Clearly the sky was the limit for Upton and future visions of a 40/25 blockbuster campaign were dancing in prospective owners' heads.  He was a can't miss and he would turn out to be the Upton star that B.J. was supposed to be.

The battle for Upton's services were as fierce as any player in 2010 drafts and he would be picked as high as the second round which spoke to how the consensus was stardom and nothing less for the kid.  Well taking a page out of his brother's handbook, Justin proceeded to hit the ground with a thud in 2010, hitting only 17 home runs while stealing 18 bases and batting only .273.  It was a gigantic step back for Upton who went down as one of the bigger busts that season due to where he was picked in drafts that spring.  The biggest problem was Upton's horrendous striking rate, as he whiffed an inexcusable 152 times in only 495 at-bats.  Opposing pitchers refused to throw Upton any fastballs and so the home runs vanished.  Be that as it may, Upton was still a baby in baseball terms at 23 and he would surely be given another chance in 2011 due to his youth.

Those owners who took advantage of the 2011 version of Justin Upton no doubt made out big time as he seemed to figure out overnight how to curb the strikeouts.  Whiffing only 126 times in 592 at-bats, Upton was like a completely different player in 2011 and the results were mammoth.  He would hit 31 home runs, steal 21 bases, and hit a very solid .289.  Surely Upton had finally broken through on all of his potential and once again visions of a blockbuster season began to make the rounds again.  Even if he didn't take that step, a 30/20 campaign was second round material and would do just fine on any fantasy baseball team.

Since nothing ever goes according to plan when it comes to the Upton's, 2012 brought yet more disappointment as Justin hit only 17 home runs, stole 18 bases, and batted only .273.  The power seemed to vanish overnight and the crazy part was that Upton held onto the gains he made in the strikeout department in 2011, whiffing only 121 times in 554 at-bats.  Despite being solid there once again by his standards, Upton was not hitting home runs.  He once again was a fantasy baseball pariah and his own team began to solicit offers for him which seemed crazy on the basis of Upton being only 25 and signed to a decent contract.  Yet the Diamondbacks didn't stop once the season ended in trying to deal Upton as they listened to offers all the way through the Winter Meetings.  While no match was found as of this writing, many feel it is only a matter of time before Upton got traded finally.  Where he ends up could go a long way in setting up his fantasy baseball value going forward but for now we have to grade him on being in Arizona. 

Taking a look at his prospects for 2013, Upton is about as tough to grade out as anyone due to his wild swings in production.  While he could easily duplicate his 31 homer 2011 campaign, he could also continue to post ugly 2012 numbers, especially with trade rumors swirling around.  What we can bank on is Upton hitting around 20 home runs and stealing between 15-20 bases which is where he generally has finished in his career each season.  However getting to the 30 home mark is certainly in the realm of possibility as well since Upton held onto the strikeouts gains he made in 2011 which will continue to give him good pitchers to hit.  Also he is getting close to his power prime which means a burst in home runs could happen at any moment due to that physical improvement.  Still Upton is a risk due to not knowing where he could be traded and for the unpredictability in his stats.  We like him as a fifth round pick or later but anything before that is too risky in our book.  You as a potential owner need to come up with a spot in the draft where he would be comfortable picking him and stick to it.  If he goes before that spot, than quickly forget it and move on.  If he lands in your lap when you wanted him to, than go right ahead and make the selection.  Your call on this.

2013 PROJECTION:  .280 25 HR 88 RBI 92 R 17 SB




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: KENDRYS MORALES FOR JASON VARGAS

Yet another trade to discuss in fantasy baseball terms as the Seattle Mariners made a rare intra-division trade by dealing SP Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels for DH/1B Kendrys Morales.  As always let's take a closer look at the deal from a fantasy baseball perspective.

Kendrys Morales:  First of all for those who know us well, Morales has always been a guy we have had a soft spot for and continue to support.  After he helped win me a league title during his breakout 2009 MVP-type season, Morales of course missed almost two seasons recovering from a beyond freakish broken leg.  He came back in a solid but not spectacular fashion in 2012 with 22 home runs in 134 games but wound up sitting most days against lefties.  Despite for punch, the Mariners no doubt will throw Morales out there each and every day no matter who is pitching and that alone supplies a nice boost to his bottom line value.  Sure hitting in Safeco Field is extremely rough on the home run totals but Morales playing everyday should offset the slight hit in his amount of home runs overall this season.  Despite struggles against lefties, Morales is a guy who slaughters righties which helps him solid to decent batting averages in the .280-.300 range.  Put it all together and what you could get this season is 25 home runs BARE MINIMUM with a .280 average and 90-plus RBI's.  The best part about all this is the fact that Morales' fantasy baseball draft price can't get any lower than it already is and going to Seattle will help keep his total cost at bay yet again.  That makes him the perfect low-cost/high reward guy you can slot into your UTIL or CI spot and enjoy the very good value he will bring.  Yes we love him again.

Jason Vargas:  By now the story is well-chronicled when it comes to Vargas as he is a guy who pitches well at home and horrible on the road.  While Los Angeles is no Safeco Field, the ballpark is neutral and should allow Vargas to post a solid mid-.3.00 ERA again.  He will be horrid on the road though so he is strictly a guy you stream when at home.  I don't know about you but I dislike AL pitchers as it is and really can't endorse taking on a guy who you will only use through half of his outings.  No thank you.

There you have it .  Let us know what you think of the deal.


NEW FANTASY BASEBALL POLLS ADDED

Vote away!  Results will be posted in a week. 

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL: WHO DO YOU WANT US TO PROFILE?

Once again we are putting it out there for you the readers to let us know which hitters of pitchers you want us to profile the most leading up to the new season.  We have already begin our coverage for the 2013 season and our player analyzers, sleepers, and busts are already being posted.  Below use the comments box to let us know the players you want to see discussed the most.


FANTASY SPORTS BOSS 2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE EXCERP: FREE-AGENCY TRACKER

HERE IS A SMALL EXCERPT FROM THE FREE-AGENCY TRACKER SECTION OF THE 2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE:  POST FREE-AGENCY EDITION BY THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS STAFF.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB ON THE HOMEPAGE TO PURCHASE THE GUIDE.


2013 FANTASY BASEBALL FREE AGENCY/TRADE TRACKER

The Hot Stove League is always a fun time for baseball lovers everywhere.  This is especially true for fantasy baseball players as free agent signings and trades serve to change the outlooks and values of hitters and pitchers based on their new locations and thus their place in your rankigns need to be adjusted to go along with it.  This past off-season surely didn’t lack for action, with a monstrous trade between Toronto and Miami highlighted the chaos.  With the ink barely dry on many of these deals and contracts, let’s take a look at all the key moves and the impact it had from a fantasy baseball angle on those players involved.

HITTERS

1.  Jose Reyes (traded from Miami to Toronto):  We all know Reyes is about as dynamic a player in fantasy baseball as there is, what with is ability to swipe 40 bags and score 100 runs while hitting for a solid average.  Reyes has also settled into the low-to-mid teens when discussing his power.  However his long history of leg injuries is well-chronicled and Reyes getting traded to Toronto was about as bad a landing spot as you could get when it comes to that concern.  The artificial surface in Toronto is murder on a ballplayer’s legs and lower body due to the unforgiving nature of the surface and thus Reyes stands a big time chance of once again hitting the DL with more leg issues.  At 30 years of age, Reyes is also no longer a spring chicken and speed is always the first skill to fade as a player ages.  We feel strongly in suggesting to pass Reyes by on drafts unless the value is terrific due to the this mammoth worry and the headaches that will be coming along for the ride.

2.  Shane Victorino (signs three-year deal with Boston Red Sox): 
Victorino was a surprise signing by the Red Sox for three years and $39 million.  Coming off an 11 HR/39 SB season, Victorino is still supplying nice juice when it comes to his rotisierre numbers.  The Red Sox are gambling a bit here though as Victorino is turning 33 in 2013 and investing so much money in a guy whose average is now slipping and whose speed could go at a moment’s notice is a big gamble.  There is less risk as far as Victorino is concerned for fantasy baseball burposes this season as Fenway park will surely help delay any statistical fall that could arrive as he continues to age.

******THE REST OF THE GUIDE CAN BE PURCHASED ON THE HOMEPAGE USING THE BUY NOW TAB.******



FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: 'BOYS WR DEZ BRYANT (FINGER) PRACTICES WED.

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant practiced fully on Wednesday despite still dealing with the effects of a broken finger.  Bryant played the entire game last Sunday after suffering the break the week before and continues to say he is "fine."

Analysis:  Nothing to see here as Bryant is being trusted to play with the break.  He was decent enough last week but remains a bit of a risk as one pass could make it worse.  Overall Bryant has been every bit the big playmaking receiver the Cowboys thought he would be coming out of college.



FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS: EAGLES RB LESEAN MCCOY (CONCUSSION) TO START WEEK 16

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will start Sunday after missing four games with a concussion.  McCoy was cleared for contact in practice amd head coach Andy Reid said he will be behind Nick Foles come Sunday.

Analysis:  McCoy has been sorely missed by his fantasy football owners who are probably out of the playoffs anyway, including yours truly.  It has been a rough season for McCoy who has put up numbers well off of his 2010 and 2011 pace while also dealing with the concussion. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: SHANE VICTORINO OUTFIELDE BOSTON RED SOX

The rebuilding Boston Red Sox, who missed the playoffs last season amid the chaos that surrounded manager Bobby Valentine's presence in the clubhouse, aimed at free agency as the means to get the roster back in working order and return to their customary spot at the top of the sport.  They wasted little time on that front once the opening bell rang to usher in free agency, signing C/1B Mike Napoli, SP Ryan Dempster, and outfielder Shane Victorino to new contracts.  It is the latter whom we will profile in our latest 2013 Fantasy Baseball Player Analyzer in order to try and figure out what the Red Sox' newest outfielder could provide of the team and his potential owners this season.

The word "new" should not be throw in much with Victorino these days as he is no spring chicken at 32 years old.  Many raised serious eyebrows about the three-year/$39 million dollar deal Victorino got on his age alone as guys whose heavy reliance on speed make for some decent-sized risks once they pass the age of 30.  And it is the speed game that has made Victorino most known in the fantasy baseball community, as he has stolen over 30 bases four times in his career, including a personal high of 39 set last season.  The fact that Victorino was still very aggressive on the basepaths and that he was successful in doing so, quiets some of the worry one would have about his age causing a dropoff there in 2013.  The Red Sox are also historically near the top of the majors in steals so Victorino should have his chances in that part of his game once again. 

Looking at the rest of his game, Victorino has hit double-digits in home runs each of the last 6 seasons, with a high of 18 in 2010.  While he hit only 11 last season, Victorino should be right in the realm of 15-18 home runs in the hitting paradise that is Fenway Park.  Also depending on where he hits in the order, with second or sixth being the most likely, Victorino should score a very good amount of runs (if he hits second) or drive in a decent batch of guys on base (if he hits sixth).  Finally, the one glaring issue with Victorino right now is his batting average, which has come in at an ugly .261 and .255 the last two seasons.  After being generally a .285-300 guy early on in his career, Victorino has seemed to trade average for more power since 2010.  That coincided with the Phillies opening up their new launch pad ballpark which lends credence to his idea.  Hitting in Fenway Park will no doubt invite Victorino to swing for the fences once again and so we have to assume he is now more of a .265 guy than .285.

All in all, Victorino remains a solid and somewhat underrated fantasy baseball outfielder.  His durability is another very nice aspect of his game and is worth an extra buck or two on draft day.  While he won't light the world on fire in anything other than stolen bases, Victorino is as solid bat who can help across the board in the standard fantasy baseball categories.

2013 PROJECTION:  .265 16 HR 82 RBI 88 R 36 SB

FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

It is time to once again check in on the updated wide receiver fantasy football rankings.  Here is how they currently sit.

1.  Calvin Johnson-Getting heat from Brandon Marshall but Megatron still holds firm at the top.
2.  Brandon Marshall-Is it possible to be even better than what we all thought he would be back with Jay Cutler?  I think so.
3.  Andre Johnson-Has been right with Johnson and Marshall as the best receiver in football second half of the season.  His stats are ridiculous during that time period.
4.  A.J. Green-Has slowed a bit in his production the last few weeks but otherwise remains a gem.  If you ranked him above Johnson I wouldn't quibble.
5.  Wes Welker-Slow start but another 100 catches in the books.  Just stay with the Pats Wes (pending free agent).
6.  Julio Jones-Now firmly ahead of Roddy White in the Falcon passing pecking order.
7.  Victor Cruz-Has been perhaps even better than his 2011 breakout campaign.
8.  Vincent Jackson-Finally showing the consistency he never had in San Diego.
9.  Dez Bryant-Broken finger the only thing to stop him the second half of season.
10. Randall Cobb-Believe it.  On a team with Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, Cobb has been the best Packers WR.
11. Demaryius Thomas-Still a bit up and down with the numbers but overall has lived up to the sleeper hype.
12. Roddy White-Slipping some now that Julio Jones is the big play guy in the offense.  No longer a rock solid WR1.
13. Reggie Wayne-Has gone ice cold the last month as maybe age becoming a factor with his endurance.
14. Percy Harvin-Would have loved to have seen where he would have ended up if he didn't get injured.
15. Eric Decker-This is one guy we hyped up tremendously in the summer who fully lived up to his worth.
16. Mike Williams-Has been a very good complement to Jackson.
17. Cecil Shorts-Breakout season for this guy.  If only he didn't play in such a poor offense.
18, Jordy Nelson-Like with Harvin, would have finished higher here if he didn't get hurt.
19. Marques Colston-Old reliable.
20. Stevie Johnson-Has quietly had a very solid season now that his draft price has settled.
21. Steve Smith-Still going despite approaching his mid-30's.
22. Larry Fitzgerald-This ranking has nothing to do with his ability but all to do with the horrid QB play he has to deal with each season.  Push him up 10 spots if he gets even a decent passer over the winter.
23. Hakeem Nicks-Steep drop for Nicks who just can't stay in one piece.  Start pricing him as such.
24. Dwayne Bowe-Could shoot way up this list depending on where he signs in the winter himself.
25. Greg Jennings-Lots of competition again in the Packers receiver chain.
26. Miles Austin-Has become the Mike Williams to the Vincent Jackson of Dez Bryant.
27. Denarius Moore-Has been solid, especially when it comes to scoring touchdowns this season.
28. Mike Wallace-Steeler receivers had off year due to Big Ben's injury issues.
29. Antonio Brown-See above.
30. Torre Smith-Had big start to the season but back to inconsistent ways the second half.
31. Brandon Lloyd-Outside of a few big games (like his effort in Week 15), Lloyd has not lived up to the hype in the Tom Brady offense.
32. Lance Moore-Like him a lot and was more dependable than ever this season but still swings a bit wild in his stats each week.

There you have it.  Let's hear your thoughts.


FANTASY SPORTS BOSS PODCASTS TO COME THIS FANTASY BASEBALL SEASON

Our next frontier when it comes to bringing you the latest and most up-to-date fantasy baseball information is through the use of PODCASTS which yours truly and some of the other correspondents from the site will start putting up on the homepage.  We feel this will be another way for us to brings you the latest news from around the game and keep you in tune with everything that is going on. 

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: TRAVIS D'ARNAUD C NEW YORK METS

For those who are religious followers of the site, you will instantly be familiar with one of our tried and true draft commandments of not picking a catcher in the first portion of the event each spring.  The high incidence of injury, the volatility of the stats, the missed games due to rest, etc. all conspire to make drafting a catcher in the first few rounds of a draft one of the biggest annual mistakes we see every season.  Instead we have always preached targeting one of two class of catcher when it comes to the draft.  The first is to target a good hitting catcher who is coming off a down season but stands a solid chance of rebounding based on past performance.  The other option is to target buzzy catching prospects who are on the verge of getting brought up to the major leagues.  Over the last few seasons, none other than Buster Posey and Carlos Santana have made their way onto my roster in the Experts League based on this premise with fantastic results.  Going into the 2013 campaign, the one key guy who fits the latter bill is New York Mets catcher Travis D'Arnaud who just came over in a blockbuster trade from the Toronto Blue Jays for Cy Young SP R.A. Dickey.  D'Arnaud is considered the best catching prospect in baseball and with the Mets in desperate need of backstop help, has a clear path to a major role with the team this season.  So without delay, let's dig in a bit deeper on D'Arnaud and determine what he could bring to a fantasy baseball roster.

At 23 years old, D'Arnaud has nothing left to prove on the farm.  A very solid defensive catcher, D'Arnaud has been more known for his hitting prowess, which netted him a slew of .300-plus averages and above average power at the minor league level.   This was highlighted by D'Arnaud's Triple-A numbers last season as he batted .333 with 16 home runs in only 67 games.  Very impressive and eye-opening indeed.  The only issue with D'Arnaud however is that he has been injury prone, missing time the last three seasons with ailments.  That has to be a decent concern heading into 2013 as we have seen with guys like Joe Mauer how an injury prone catcher can ruin a roster.  Be that as it may however, the ceiling is very high for D'Arnaud as catchers who can hit like he is capable of don't exactly come around often.  Thus the kid makes for a terrific fantasy baseball draft sleeper this season as he could very well yield great value relative to his low draft position coming into the spring.

2013 PROJECTION:  .284 15 HR 67 RBI 61 R 1 SB

Monday, December 17, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: DICKEY HEADS NORTH OF THE BORDER

The New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays put the finishing touches on the trade of R.A. Dickey, who received a two-year/$25 million extension in order to get the deal to go through.  The final package has the Blue Jays sending the Mets their two top prospects, catcher Travis D'Arnaud and pitcher Noah Syndergaard, along with catcher John Buck and a lower level prospect for Dickey, a lower level prospect, and catcher Josh Thole.  With that said let's break the trade down when it comes to its effect on fantasy baseball.

R.A. Dickey:  Saying it was a shock to see Dickey win the NL Cy Young last season was a gross understatement but the knuckleballer was unbelievable in 2012 when he put up a 2.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP to go with an insane 230 strikeouts in 233.2 innings pitched while winning 20 games on a terrible team.  Unfortunately for Dickey, his new destination couldn't be in a worse spot as he not only goes to one of the biggest offensive parks in the majors in Toronto but also plants his roots in by far the toughest division in baseball in the AL East.  A rise of at least a half a run on his ERA and .10 on his WHIP are a given and a drop in strikeouts is in the cards as well since he no longer will be feasting on opposing pitchers and the much weaker NL lineups.  Whereas Dickey as a New York Mets was a lower level SP 1 and a high level SP 2, with Toronto he is nothing but a lower level SP 2.  That is how dramatic a change of scenery will have on his stats this season.

Travis D'Arnaud:  We will be doing more on D'Arnaud tomorrow but needless to say this is a guy we have been watching closely over the last two seasons as he appears to be the next in a recent line of impact offensive catchers who came up from the minors ranging from Buster Posey to Carlos Santana.  D'Arnaud has a major league stick and is good defensively behind the plate.  He has been compared to Posey which is saying a ton since the latter just came off the NL MVP award.  D'Arnaud hit 16 home runs in only 67 Triple-A games last season which is eye-opening and he has posted a bunch of .300 averages on the farm.  The only issue with D'Arnaud is injuries as he has missed time during each of his last three minor league campaigns.  This is a decent worry since D'Arnaud plays the injury-inducing catching position but we will try and look past this as we look to the kid as a big time sleeper.  We have always preached waiting on drafting a catcher early each spring and instead focused on targeting young prospect catchers who are on the verge of being promoted.  D'Arnaud has as much potential as anyone the last few seasons and the catching position is wide open when it comes to the New York Mets.  Go get him.

The rest of the package of Buck and Thole have no fantasy baseball value which means it is not worth even discussing what they can do.  Dickey clearly has lost some sizzle while D'Arnaud is a fine sleeper you all should be on this season.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 15 WRAPUP 1:00 GAMES

The 2012 fantasy football season is almost in the books as we move onto the Super Bowl week.  Let's take a look at all of the key action from Week 16.

Matthew Stafford:  24/50 for 246 yards and 3 INT's.  This abomination was the topper on a busted season for Stafford who went as a late first round or second round pick last summer.  He still had Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler and friends for almost the entire season so it appears as though he was playing over his head in 2011.  Obviously Stafford gets downgraded for next summer.

Calvin Johnson:  10 catches for 121 yards.  Megatron was the only Lion who showed up in this game as he continues to be on pace to overtake Jerry Rice's season receiving yardage total.  Despite some pressure from A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall, Johnson remains the absolute top dog at the receiver position.

Vick Ballard:  18 carries for 105 yards.  Ballard has likely put himself into position to be the starting runner for the Colts next season but he has not wowed me by any means.  Stictly a backup guy at best. 

Reggie Wayne:  3 catches for 14 yards.  Wayne has completely vanished at the worst time for his fantasy football owners.  It is games like this that cost owners a championship.

Andre Johnson:  11 catches for 151 yards and 1 TD.  Johnson has been ridiculous the seocnd half of the season and once again has reclaimed his spot at a top four receiver in fantasy football with Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, and Brandon Marshall.  However the annoying career-long issue for Johnson has been his lack of touchdowns as the one he hauled in during this game was only his fourth of the season.  Strange for a guy so talented.

Arian Foster:  27 carries for 165 yards along with 2 catches for 4 yards.  If only I drafted this guy over LeSean McCoy.  Foster will get some stiff competition from a rejuvenated Adrian Peterson next season as the top running back in drafts but at least in PPR he remains number 1.

Knowshon Moreno:  22 carries for 118 yards and 1 TD along with 2 catches for 8 yards.  It took him long enough but Moreno is finally showing the talent we all knew he had.  Moreno has made the Broncos even more scary and his ability to both run and catch the football make him a potential sleeper value for next season.

Eric Decker:  8 catches for 133 yards and 1 TD.  Overall Decker has fully lived up to the sleeper hype we attached to his name leading up to the season, despite that three game blip a few weeks ago. 

Dennis Pitta:  7 catches for 125 yards and 2 TD's.  Joe Flacco loves his tight end and really he should be going to him more than he does.  While Pitta has nice receiving ability, he has not consistently been good enough to trust as an every week guy.

Cecil Shorts:  6 catches for 101 yards.  Shorts continues to produce every week with little to no fanfare.  Shows you how pathetic everyone sees the Jacksonville offense as being that Shorts is widely ignored despite a very solid season.

Kirk Cousins:  26/37 for 329 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT.  RG3 who?  Seriously Cousins was fantastic here in a tough spot and this kid has a real nice future ahead of him.  Look for a team to pony up a first round pick for the guy in the offseason.

Alfred Morris:  27 carries for 87 yards and 2 TD's along with 2 catches for 6 yards.  How about those two catches?  There is not much more to add to Morris that I haven't already stated in calling him the new Michael Turner. 

Trent Richardson:  11 carries for 28 yards and 2 TD's along with 3 catches for 4 yards.  Wow Richardson's owners are thanking their lucky stars he got into the end zone twice because he was horrible running the football in this game.  Still as long as he doesn't turn into the medical version of Ryan Matthews, the future is bright.

Sam Bradford:  35/55 for 377 yards with 3 TD and 1 INT.  Truth be told I expected more games like this out of Bradford to this point in his career but the gross absence of weapons has to be considered in his slow progress.  The talent is there though just waiting to explode.  Draft him as a backup next season with upside.

Adrian Peterson:  24 carries for 212 yards and 1 TD.  Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record here we come.  The record is the only challenge Peterson has faced this season in a truly remarkable effort off the blown out knee.  And again he went as a fourth round pick in the Experts League.  Wow.

Steven Jackson:  13 carries for 73 yards along with 8 catches for 73 yards.  This was a throwback game for the aging Jackson who is surely winding down his last season with the Rams.  It was a heck of a run literally for one of our favorites.

Josh Freeman:  26/47 for 279 yards and 4 INT.  Freeman likely thrust many of his ecstatic owners to the playoffs with a big time breakout season and than buried them for good with his 4-pick disgrace.

Drew Brees:  26/39 for 307 yards and 4 TD's.  This is why you make Drew Brees a first round fantasy football draft pick every season without blinking an eye.

Doug Martin:  9 carries for 16 yards along with 3 catches for 19 yards.  Oxygen please!  Martin has hit the proverbial Rookie Wall with a thud.

Eli Manning:  13/25 for 161 yards and 2 INT's.  Against a soft Atlanta secondary and in a dome means there are no excuses for how terrible Manning was.  Really for the last month-plus Manning has been shaky as a whole, last week notwithstanding. 

Matt Ryan:  23/28 for 270 yards and 3 TD's.  Sure Ryan's no-show against the Saints a few weeks ago cost me the season but he has been a monster the last two weeks and overall has completely lived up to the hype we screamed out him coming into the season in this passing attack.

Julio Jones:  6 catches for 74 yards and 2 TD's.  Yup the transition of Jones being the top dog in the Atlanta passing attack is now complete. 

Tony Gonzalez:  6 catches for 49 yards and 1 TD.  Please return for one more year bro.  This fun story is not over yet.

Aaron Rodgers:  23/36 for 291 yards and 3 TD's.  He got off to a bit of a slow start but Rodgers was his usual monster self in the second half.  Nothing to see here but greatness.

Brandon Marshall:  6 catches for 56 yards and 1 TD.  Typical brilliance from Marshall who will be a second round pick as we hit next season.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: CHARGERS RB RYAN MATTHEWS OUT FOR REST OF 2012 WITH BROKEN COLLARBONE

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Matthews is out for the rest of 2012 after breaking his OTHER collarbone during Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.  Matthews broke his other collarbone during the preseason and is adding yet more ailments to a very long injury history.  Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle will take over the rushing load in his absence.

Analysis:  Matthews is a guy we have hated on since he first came into the league as he has been a perpetual tease.  This should be the final nail in his fantasy football coffin as he is clearly not worth the trouble each season.