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Saturday, November 30, 2013

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: IAN KINSLER SECOND BASEMAN DETROIT TIGERS

                                                               Ian Kinsler

A little more than two weeks ago, the Hot Stove season got its legs under it with the blockbuster trade between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers that sent first baseman Prince Fielder south and second baseman Ian Kinsler north.  The trade no doubt has a sizable impact on the two players' respective fantasy baseball values for the 2014 season and more specifically when it comes to Kinsler, that change is not a positive one.  Once the absolute cream of the fantasy baseball crop with two magical 30/30 seasons at a position in second base where that level of production is almost unheard of in his past, Kinsler is now trending in the wrong direction stat-wise without even taking into account his move to a pitchers paradise.  With second base being one of the most shallow position in the game entering draft season, Kinsler is still guaranteed to find his name attached to a high draft slot.  That means in one experts humble opinion, Kinsler is in line to be a decent-sized bust candidate when all is said and done.  With that said let's dig into this opinion a little bit more so that you all can understand why I firmly believe Kinsler should be avoided in drafts this winter.

First let's go back to Kinsler's second 30/30 season which came in 2011 when he slugged 32 home runs and stole 30 bases while hitting .255.  As I mentioned earlier those are terrific numbers, especially so for a second baseman which can be an offensive sinkhole at times.  However reaching that extreme level of production placed Kinsler squarely into late first round/second round territory and rightfully so.  In the subsequent two seasons however, there has been a noticeable trend going the other way, with some of the numbers starkly going southward.  Let's take a closer look at Kinsler's 2012 and 2013 numbers in order to see for yourself.

2012:  19 HR 21 SB .256
2013:  13 HR 15 SB .277

Now granted Kinsler saw 100 less at-bats last season than the year prior due to a DL stint but still the obvious argument is that erosion is clearly taking place in his overall stat ratios.  Asking Kinsler to repeat 30/30 is obviously tough for anyone to do but Kinsler has not even reached 20/20 the last two seasons.  Looking under the hood, Kinsler's home run rate and fly ball rate have sunk and in addition his stolen base attempts are dropping as well.  Now turning 32-year-old this season, the historical trend with speedy players is that they begin to lose some of their burst when they reach 30 which seems to coincide with the drop in steals we have seen from Kinsler lately.  So looking for Kinsler to reach 30 stolen bases again is a pipedream as he continues to age.

Staying with the aging theme, there is always an increased risk of injury for players who start getting up there in age and we saw some of that in Kinsler with his DL stint in 2013.  No one needs of a reminder of how injury-prone Kinsler was earlier in his career before he finally managed to stay in one piece for the duration of the 2011 and 2012 seasons.  The DL stint last season could be an omen of more injury issues to come which would shock no one who has ever owned the guy.

Last but not least, we have the giant contrast in ballparks that Kinsler will soon find out this season.  The trade moves Kinsler from quite possibly the best hitting park in baseball in Texas to one of the worst in Detroit.  That alone will likely take away 3-5 home runs along with 7-14 RBI's right off the bat.  One only has to look at how Fielder never came close to hitting the 40 home runs (and even 50) he hit in Milwaukee during his two season stay in Comerica Park.  Obviously you can forget 30 home runs and 20 also seems like a vast longshot. 

Putting everything together, there are a whole slew of negative red flags going off around Kinsler as 2014 fantasy baseball gets set to launch.  You always want to reserve your early round picks for guys who present as little risk as possible and who don't have numbers going in the negative direction.  Kinsler is a negative on both fronts and so that alone has him as a clear bust threat you need to do your best to try and avoid this season.

2014 PROJECTION:  .262 15 HR 91 55 RBI 19 SB

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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 13 wide receiver rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  A.J. Green
2.  Brandon Marshall
3.  Demaryuis Thomas
4.  Josh Gordon
5.  Wes Welker
6. DeSean Jackson
7.  Larry Fitzgerald
8.  Alshon Jeffrey
9.  Victor Cruz
10. Vincent Jackson
11. Keenan Allen
12. Andre Johnson
13. Pierre Garcon
14. Michael Floyd
15. Riley Cooper
16. Eric Decker
17. Harry Douglas
18. Steve Smith
19. Dwayne Bowe
20. Mike Wallace
21. Cecil Shorts
22. T.Y. Hilton
23. Kendall Wright
24. Percy Harvin
25. Reuben Randle
26. Marques Colston
27. Anquan Boldin
28. Golden Tate
29. Julian Edelman
30. Michael Crabtree
31. Danny Amendola
32. Roddy White
33. Steve Johnson
34. Hakeem Nicks
35. Brian Hartline
36. Tavon Austin
37. Brandon LaFell
38. Justin Hunter
39. Cordarelle Patterson
40. DeAndre Hopkins
41. Tiquan Underwood
42. Mohamed Sanu
43. Robert Woods
44. Rishard Matthews
45. Ace Sanders
46. Marvin Jones

Friday, November 29, 2013

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: 49ERS WR MICHAEL CRABTREE (ACHILLIES) TO DEBUT SUNDAY

                                                               

San Francisco 49ers big-play WR Michael Crabtree is expected to make his season debut Sunday against the St. Louis Rams after missing the previous 12 weeks recovering from a torn achillies tendon.  While Crabtree will be on some sort of a plays count, head coach Jim Harbaugh has stated he would play a majority of the snaps.

Analysis:  Get Crabtree in there as his knack for the big play makes him at the very least a WR 3.  His chemistry with QB Colin Kaepernick was tremendous the second half of last season and the two should quickly get back on the same pages the rest of the season.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: KNOWSHON MORENO (BONE BRUISE) TO START SUNDAY

                                                         

Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno is expected to start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs after recovering enough from the deep bone bruise he suffered in his leg last week.  Montee Ball however will play "more than usual" to help keep Moreno from being overworked Sunday.

Analysis:  Great news for Moreno fantasy football owners as the playoffs get set to begin in some leagues next week and a possible clinching game could be on tap this Sunday.  Moreno has been terrific all season and in turn been one of the best values overall but this is a reminder of how fragile he can be.

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL SECOND BASEMAN RANKINGS

Ian Kinsler is in Detroit and Robinson Cano doesn't have a home yet.  With that as a backdrop here is how the early class of 2014 fantasy baseball second baseman look. 

1.  Robinson Cano:  Still easily the top second baseman in the game but signing with Seattle is trouble as Cano will lose home runs and RBI in that spacious park with little protection.
2.  Dustin Pedroia:  Pedroia is slightly overrated due to the fact he hit only 9 home runs in an extreme 641 at-bats.  Health is also never a given here.  Love the player but not at a second round price.
3.  Jason Kipnis:  Always compared him to Ian Kinsler and now like him more than his counterpart.  17/30 last season and he could do even better in 2014.
4.  Ian Kinsler:  Stock that is clearly on the way down.  Stats have slipped two years running and now goes from extreme hitter's park to extreme pitcher's.  Terrific career but time to stay away.
5.  Brandon Phillips:  Has become a terrific RBI guy later in his career despite losing his speed.  Getting up there in age though.
6.  Aaron Hill:  Love him.  Great value for this season.  Home run rate was right on par from his great 2012 despite missing a lot of games last season with injury.  20-plus home runs and 10-15 steals in play this season.
7.  Matt Carpenter:  Loads of runs and terrific average guy but other three categories are ugly.  Slightly overrated. 
8.  Chase Utley:  Another guy to avoid.  I bought low last season and enjoyed nice comeback season but no way he stays so healthy two years in a row and Utley is another year older.
9.  Brett Lawrie:  Like that he picked up second base eligibility and if he could ever stay healthy we could be looking at decent power/speed overall numbers.
10. Jose Altuve:  Very good source of steals which is a stat you want to get in abundance from your middle infield spots. 
11. Jedd Gyorko:  Could be the new Dan Uggla circa 2005 with Miami.  Meaning near-30 home runs with shoddy average. 
12. Jurickson Profar:  Now has the second base spot all to his own.  At least for now barring a trade.  Tremendous post-hype sleeper candidate.
13. Ben Zobrist:  Very shoddy 2013 (12 home runs/11 steals) take some of his previous shine away.  Still love the shortstop eligibility.
14. Brian Dozier:  Has the power/speed game that always catches our attention but average need vast improvement.
15. Martin Prado:  Veteran will always threaten to hit .300 with a bunch of runs but steals seem gone for good.
16. Daniel Murphy:  Credit to Murphy for elevating himself past mediocre status by stealing an unexpected 23 bases. 
17. Neil Walker:  Definition of an average fantasy baseball second baseman.  Upside has vanished and is really best as a bench bat.
18. Nick Franklin:  Upside play as Franklin too has some power/speed to offer.  Full season in 2014 could make him top 12 guy.
19. Howie Kendrick:  Stop chasing numbers that will never arrive.
20. Anthony Rendon:  Washington prospect did some nice things as a first-year guy in last season but overall Rendon needs to add some power.
21. Jed Lowie:  Boring veteran who can never stay healthy enough to be an everyday guy.
22. Kelly Johnson:  Move on.  Getting old and losing his numbers.
23. Kolten Wong:  Could do a nice impression of his teammate Matt Carpenter if all goes well from the start.
24. Rickie Weeks:  Please.  Aging, always hurt, and average a disgrace.
25. Dan Uggla:  Please 2.0.  Struggling to hit .200 now and pop slipping quick.
26. Omar Infante:  Decent bench guy but doesn't do enough to be more than where he already is.

There you have it.  Let us hear what you are thinking.



FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 THANKSGIVING WRAPUP

                                                             

Three games of varying degrees of competitiveness marked the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Let's check out all the fantasy football storylines emanating from the three.

-It was another great game marked by turnovers from Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford who threw for 330 yards with 3 touchdowns, which included a late bonus scoring throw to Kevin Ogeltree when the game was well out of reach and the Lions wouldn't be blamed for running it on every down.  However Stafford threw two more INT's and lost a fumble which makes six turnovers in the last two games.  Stafford's gunslinging ways are going to lead to picks but his extremely good passing numbers have made him a top five QB in fantasy football terms this season.  Just pray that an INT doesn't cost you a playoff game.

On the other side Matt Flynn showed why he has been with three teams this season by throwing for only 139 yards with 1 INT and two lost fumbles.  Terrible job by Mike McCarthy as Scott Tolzien did a much better job than this.

-Those who own Eddie Lacy are likely in big trouble in their fantasy football matchup this week.  Credit the Lions defense for holding Lacy to only 16 rushing yards on 10 carries.  A complete disaster of a performance that you can't totally blame on Lacy given the fact the Lions correctly had no respect for Flynn.

Meanwhile Reggie Bush had his one monster game of the month as he overcame an early lost fumble to rush for 117 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown to go with 5 catches for 65 yards.  Truth be told I thought Bush would have an overall better season than we have seen to this point but his huge outing shows you utterly dynamic he could be toting the rock.  Bush even got a ton of help from Joquie Bell who rushed for 94 yards of his own on 19 carries and a touchdowns of his own while also catching 3 balls for 34 yards.  Bell is a back I will be watching closely in the future to see if he lands a starting gig somewhere else.  If he does he could be a low end RB 2 in PPR formats at least.

-Calvin Johnson did his thing with six catches for 101 yards and a score.  Nothing to see here.  The real shocker was Nate Burleson getting shut out.  That makes absolutely no sense given how much coverage the Packers were rolling Johnson's way.  Not good. 

As far as the Packers receivers are concerned, Jarrett Boykin put up his own doughnut while Jordy Nelson caught two balls for only 14 yards.  Finally James Jones was the only Pack receiver who did a bit more than have a decent day with 3 catches for 79 yards but otherwise this was one big disaster.  Owners of these three receivers have to start kneeling down and praying Aaron Rodgers comes back this week.

-Every Dallas Cowboy got overshadowed by RB DeMarco Murray who was insane Thursday by collecting THREE rushing touchdowns among his 63 yards on 17 carries while also catching 5 balls for 39 more yards.  The talent has never been a question for Murray as he is second in the NFL in yards per carry but staying healthy has been his biggest challenge.  Even Lance Dunbar got into the act with 82 rushing yards of his own as the Raiders run defense was a joke. 

With no need to force the pass, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were a bit quiet other than the TD pass they hooked up on.  Romo threw for 225 yards overall with the one score as his owners likely wanted more.  Bryant caught 7 balls for 61 yards and his own touchdown. 

-Many fantasy football owners are looking up Andre Holmes this morning.  Truth be told there was no need to discuss him leading into the game as the Raiders hardly used him until last week.  Holmes broke out Thursday by catching 7 balls for 136 yards as he played the deep pitch and catch game with Matt McGloin.  Holmes is worth looking into based on this one as he clearly knows how to get down the field and make plays. 

-Rashad Jennings is in the running as one of the better mid-season pickups of the season.  Jennings rushed for only 35 yards on 17 carries but he managed to score two touchdowns which all that matters in most leagues.  He also chipped in one grab for 8 yards.  The only problem is that Jennings might have suffered a concussion but the extra few days to recover should have him ready to go next week. 

-Ben Roethlisberger continued his monster last month as he threw for 257 yards and two more TD's Thursday night.  As much as Big Ben railed against Todd Haley when he became OC a few years ago, he has to agree the system is making him numbers shoot skyward.  Roethlisberger now has an extreme 13 touchdown passes in the last five games. 

-Very scary incident with Le'Veon Bell who suffered a concussion on a nasty second half hit that looked horrible.  Luckily he was able to get off the field and seemed to be as good as can be expected afterwards.  Obviously this bears watching for next week but thankfully this wasn't tragic.

Bell actually played well before he got hurt by rushing for 73 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown while also adding 7 catches for 63 yards.  In fact it was probably Bell's most complete game of the season and it was his dual ability to run and catch the football that made him so attractive in the first place to the team and to fantasy football owners.

-It seems like 5 catches is the LOWEST we could expect from Antonio Brown every week and that is where he came in Thursday by hauling in 5 balls for 59 yards.  He continues to hold the receptions lead in the league.

-Torrey Smith has finally fully graduated into a WR 1 in fantasy football terms.  Joe Flacco looks his way almost every time he goes back as the two hooked up for 6 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. 

-Heath Miller caught 8 passes for 86 yards and has now caught 21 balls the last three weeks.  With the Steelers throwing so much, Miller is clearly now a tight end 1 despite having a career filled with waffling back and forth between every week worthy and being a bench option.



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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE

Allow me to take the opportunity to wish all of you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Day.  Enjoy the football and we will be back tomorrow with all the usual features and posts. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING HOT STOVE NEWS: TWINS INK SP RICKY NOLASCO

                                                                

The Minnesota Twins have officially signed free agent SP Ricky Nolasco to a contract Wednesday.  Terms of the deal are presently unknown.  The Twins had been linked to numerous free agent starters such as the signed Tim Hudson and also Bronson Arroyo. 

Analysis:  Nolasco was decent last season with the Marlins and Dodgers but he is really nothing more than an SP 4 or 5 in all fantasy baseball formats.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 13 running back rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Marshawn Lynch
2.  Adrian Peterson
3.  Jamaal Charles
4.  Matt Forte
5.  LeSean McCoy
6.  Eddie Lacy
7.  Andre Brown
8.  Frank Gore
9.  Rashad Jennings
10. Zac Stacy
11. Reggie Bush
12. Shane Vereen
13. DeMarco Murray
14. Alfred Morris
15. Chris Johnson
16. Giovani Bernard
17. C.J. Spiller
18. Knowshon Moreno
19. Pierre Thomas
20. Maurice Jones-Drew
21. Le'Veon Bell
22. Fred Jackson
23. Danny Woodhead
24. Donald Brown
25. Ray Rice
26. Montee Ball
27. Bobby Rainey
28. Steven Jackson
29. Ben Tate
30. Andre Ellington
31. Darren Sproles
32. Lamar Miller
33. Bilal Powell
34. Chris Ogbonnaya
35. Rashard Mendenhall
36. Trent Richardson
37. Stevan Ridley
38. DeAngelo Williams
39. Dennis Johnson
40. Benny Cunningham
41. Brandon Bolden

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 13 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Peyton Manning
2.  Tony Romo
3.  Drew Brees
4.  Cam Newton
5.  Matthew Stafford
6.  Tom Brady
7.  Russell Wilson
8.  Nick Foles
9.  Andy Dalton
10. Josh McCown
11. Philip Rivers
12. Carson Palmer
13. Colin Kaepernick
14. Matt Flynn
15. Eli Manning
16. Andrew Luck
17. Matt Ryan
18. Alex Smith
19. Robert Griffin III
20. Ben Roethlisberger
21. Mike Glennon
22. Joe Flacco
23. Case Keenum
24. Ryan Tannehill
25. Matt McGloin
26. E.J. Manuel
27. Brandon Weeden

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 RUNNING BACK HOT ZONE: ULTRA-RUNNING BACK COMMITTEE IN NEW ENGLAND

Week 13 kicks off tomorrow with three Thanksgiving Day games so let's get right to the Running Back Hot Zone where we check out all the latest news coming out the position.

LEVEL 4

Stevan Ridley-LeGarrette Blount-Brandon Bolden-Shane Vereen:  What a mess this whole situation now is in New England.  It had looked like things were settled going into Sunday night with Ridley as the main runner and Vereen the main receiver out of the backfield.  Well a lost fumble first by Ridley (in a season filled with them) and than one by Blount threw everything into chaos.  Enter Brandon Bolden who ran very well in relief of those two which included a touchdown.  Bolden is also a guy who can catch the football a la Vereen.  However the plan going into Week 13 is for the team to employ a super committee where Ridley, Bolden, and Blount will all get carries which in the process destroys the fantasy football value of all involved.  This doesn't include Vereen who will still be deployed more as a receiver which he has excelled at since returning to the lineup.  Vereen remains a very good RB 2 in PPR formats.  However Ridley has clearly taken a step backwards after playing very well in October and the start of November.  Leave Ridley, Blount, and Bolden all on the bench if you can.

Montee Ball-Knowshon Moreno:  Thank goodness the Denver Broncos are not playing on Thanksgiving if you are a Moreno owner as they guy would surely not be able to go due to the deep bone bruise he suffered in his left leg Sunday night.  Moreno claims he will be out there but moles inside the organization say it is doubtful.  Enter the rookie Ball who recently has been deployed as the goal-line runner with much success and also has started catching the football which is a nice bonus.  However Ball got benched Sunday night for losing a fumble which murked up the waters a bit.  Ball is clearly the most talented among all the Broncos backup runners so he should get the starting nod.  The former Wisconsin  back has shown good power since the start of the season and at the very least will be a threat to score form in-close.

Benny Cunningham-Zac Stacy:  As of this writing there has been no update on the concussion status of St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy.  Cunningham came in and was terrific in the second half of the team's win over the Chicago Bears last week in running for over 100 yards and a score and he naturally is the handcuff to own.  This one could go right down to the wire. 

LEVEL 3

Ronnie Brown-Ryan Matthews:  Matthews suffered a hamstring strain in Week 12 which is always worrisome for someone as injury-prone as he is.  The real shame is that Matthews was actually playing very well finally before this latest health woe and so Brown needs to be looked at as the appropriate handcuff.  Brown has not been much of a runner since his early days with the Miami Dolphins but he has good power and can catch the football.

Bilal Powell-Chris Ivory:  More injuries for Ivory who suffered an ankle injury last week just when he was putting together a string of impressive outings.  Re-enter Powell back into the equation who has run hot and cold since the start of the season.  In fact Powell going cold opened the door for Ivory to make the starting job his own.

LEVEL 2

Lamar Miller-Daniel Thomas:  Generally when a season-ending injury opens the door for a back to be the fulltime runner, this news would be at least in the Level 3 column.  However Miller has been so bad all season that I can't get too worked up over his opportunity.  The Miami Dolphins offensive line is about the worst in the NFL and that as well makes the ceiling on Miller very low to say the least.

Rashad Jennings-Darren McFadden:  McFadden is expected to return on Thanksgiving from his latest hamstring injury but Jennings has played so well in his place that he will be used as the primary ballcarrier.  This means McFadden should be sent to the waiver wire and is just the latest setback in a career filled with them so far.

There you have it.  As always let us hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 ADDS/DROPS

For some leagues this is the last week of regular season games before the playoff weeks start.  So with that said here is the list of fantasy football Week 13 ADDS/DROPS for these crucial games.

WEEK 13 ADDS
Montee Ball:  Ball is expected to get the start if Knowshon Moreno can't make it back from the deep bone bruise in leg Sunday despite losing a fumble that earned him a seat on the bench Sunday night.  Ball has been the recent goal-line back for the Broncos and has done the job successfully.  In addition he has started to catch the football out of the backfield as well which adds another dimension to his game.

Brandon Bolden:  Stevan Ridley is likely back in the doghouse after losing yet another fumble Sunday night which opens the door for Bolden to take on more responsibility.  Bolden ran the football well in Ridley's place Sunday and scored a touchdown.  In addition Bolden is a more accomplished receiver than both Ridley and LeGarrette Blount who also lost a fumble Sunday night.  There is no guarantee Bolden gets the starting gig this week but it is worth the add to find out.

Jacob Tamme:  This is a hedge bet in case Julius Thomas can't come back this week from his knee injury.  The Broncos have said publicly they expect Thomas to return but nothing is ever guaranteed of course on the injury front.  Tamme went right back into hold habits as a trusted Peyton Manning outlet Sunday night in catching 5 balls which included one for a score. 

Miami Defense:  It is likely the Dolphins defense is lurking on your waiver wire and now would be the week to make the add since they play the New York Jets and turnover-prone QB Geno Smith tis week.  Smith has thrown for a grand total of 1 TD and 10 INT's in his last four games.  Yikes.

Michael Crabtree:  We were admittedly a little late on this but Crabtree is set to return form his torn ACL in Week 13.  Crabtree lit it up with QB Colin Kaepernick last season when the latter became the starter and there is no doubt the two will look to re-kindle that work going forward the rest of the season.

Lamar Miller:  I hate to even hint at recommending this gigantic bust but Daniel Thomas is out for the season with a torn ACL so the job is all to Miller's now.  That is what Miller's fantasy football owners were looking for all season but failed to get due to the refusal to not have Thomas as the goal-line back by the coaching staff.  Be that as it may Miller has run the ball horribly this season so we can't get too crazy with this.

Benny Cunningham:  There was no status update on St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy Monday after he suffered a concussion in the second half of the team's win over the Chicago Bears.  That means Cunningham is a must own handcuff for Stacy owners.  The kid did great in Stacy's place last Sunday by rushing for 109 yards on 13 carries and netting a touchdown. 

WEEK 13 DROPS

Darren McFadden:  Rashad Jennings has been better than even I had anticipated and so you can forget about Darren McFadden reclaiming the starting role.  In fact word is that if McFadden returns to the lineup this week from his hamstring injury, he will serve as the change of pace back.  That my friends is a fantasy football death sentence.

DeAndre Hopkins:  Hopkins was a nice early story but since September ended he has been nothing but a space-eater not worth starting.  The Texans have been a complete joke this season and the offense as a whole has been swallowed up with the rest of the mess that is the franchise in its current state.

As always post your thoughts below.



FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWES: YANKS SIGNING OF CARLOS BELTRAN "IMMINENT"

                                                               

According to a team source connected to the New York Yankees front office, the team appears "imminent" in their signing of free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.  After already signing catcher Brian McCann, the Yankees quickly began the process of securing Beltran's services while the whole Robinson Cano drama continues to boil in the background.  Beltran is looking for a three-year deal while the Yankees want to stick for two but the source said "they will work it out one way or another." 

Analysis:  Here we go.  The Yankees are double-dipping in some 30-and over veterans early in free agency and Cano himself has got to start wondering if he fits in the plans the way they are throwing around money.  This move has been hot since the start of free agency and it looks like it could be done very soon.  Beltran would get a nice ballpark boost in leaving St. Louis and also have the opportunity to DH.  If he does sign on the dotted line, I would sign off on one more year of outfielder 2 production as far as Beltran's worth in fantasy baseball.

FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY WRAPUP: REDSKINS/49ERS

                                                             

Colin Kaepernick is getting hot at the right time of the season while those who own any Washington Redskins might want to think about planting their fannies squarely onto the bench.  Let's take a look at the fantasy football storylines coming out this game.

-Speaking of Kaepernick, he was splendid in throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns which marks the second straight big time.  To make matters even more optimistic, Kaepernick will welcome back his favorite target from last season, WR Michael Crabtree, next week.  It has been a lot of rough patches to get to this point for Kaepernick fantasy football owners.....even if they even still own the guy outright....but it looks like the playoff weeks could be kind.

On the other side things are going from bad to worse for Robert Griffin III.  Amid questions he has been calling out players in public and is feuding with Mike Shanahan, Griffin was a dog Monday night in throwing for only 127 yards and 1 INT.  Granted the 49ers defense is rough but Griffin has been garbage all season unless it is garbage time.  Don't even think of starting him in any game of meaning the rest of the season.

-Frank Gore has been very quiet since October and one has to wonder if age is showing up a bit as the season wears on.  Gore rushed for only 31 yards on 13 carries and caught only 1 pass for 2 yards.  Not good.  Gore is another one I am worried about rolling with into the fantasy football playoff weeks.

Meanwhile Alfred Morris made the best of a very tough situation in rushing for 52 yards on 14 carries.  The ongoing problem with Morris is that he doesn't catch the football which means he is a non-factor when the Redskins start getting blown out and they have to pass on every down.

-Anquan Boldin likely gave his fantasy football owners the win Monday night by catching 5 balls for 94 yards and 2 scores.  Things could get murky with Crabtree back though.  Same could be said for Vernon Davis who caught 4 passes for 70 yards and his own TD, although I think the latter will still be very solid with Crabtree back in the fold.

-Pierre Garcon did his PPR owners a nice job by catching 8 balls for 48 yards.  The yardage was not good at all but the raw reception total helped.  That is about all the good I can say about Washington.

There you have it.  As always let us hear your thoughts.

Monday, November 25, 2013

FANTASY SPORTS BOSS CLINCHES PLAYOFF SPOT IN EXPERTS LEAGUE DESPITE MEDIOCRE 6-6 RECORD

What this game does to your sometimes.  It has been a trying season for yours truly in the Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Football PPR Experts Money League. After digging out of an 0-2 start with some big trading (dealing Matt Ryan and Doug Martin for Matthew Stafford and Daniel Thomas) helped move me to 6-4 and in second place, the last two weeks have presented two gutwrenching defeats.  In both instances I would have beaten just about any other team in the league but instead went up against a squad where it all broke right.  Them's the breaks.  What is really aggravating is that I have scored the most points in the league overall by a decent margin but yet I sit here with a 6-6 record.  However it was on the strength of those points that allowed me to clinch a playoff spot despite not knowing what seed I will get.  The loss in Week 12 took destiny out of my own hands for the numbers 2 seed (and second first round bye).  I now need to win in Week 13 and have two other teams lose to get that perch which is significant.  In the previous seven years of the Experts League, five times the champ had a first round bye.  With that said I still think I have a championship caliber team unlike last season when I crawled in with a horrid 6-7 record to take the sixth and last playoff seed and than subsequently got bounced in the first round.  In the seven previous years I have been the champ twice but not since 2010.  The champ the last two years is also in first place this season with a crazy good 11-1 mark.  Yes he owns Peyton Manning and Jamaal Charles too.  Be that as it may I like my chances still.  Here is my roster going into Week 13.

QB-Matthew Stafford
RB-LeSean McCoy
RB-Ray Rice/Zac Stacy
WR-A.J. Green
WR-Brandon Marshall
WR-Nate Burleson/Eric Decker
TE-Julius Thomas/Antonio Gates
K-Ryan Succop
DEF-Miami/Kansas City

I will go with Stacy if he clears the concussion protocols and Burleson has earned the right to play over the slumping Decker.  Finally Thomas is ready to return which pushed Gates to the bench.  Hopefully all breaks right and get the number two seed but if not I will go to battle with anyone with this roster.  So do I stand a chance? Let's hear your thoughts.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRONCOS TO ANNOUNCE KNOWSHON MORENO (DEEP BONE BRUISE) WILL BE OUT WEEK 13

                                                               

Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno has already been ruled out for Week 13 according to a team source due to the deep bone bruise suffered in his lower right leg in Sunday night's game against the New England Patriots.  Moreno was on crutches and in a walking boot after the game.  No word on whether Montee Ball or C.J. Anderson would start in his place.

Analysis:  It is always asking a lot for Moreno to get through a season without missing some games with injury and he just waited a bit longer in the season to do so this year.  Moreno has been a top performer all season but his loss is huge with a huge week of fantasy football games on tap.  Ball was benched for losing a fumble Sunday night but he should get the start.  Overall Ball should rank right up there as the top waiver pickup for this week's games.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING HOT STOVE NEWS: TIGERS TO SIGN BRIAN WILSON TO CLOSE

                                                               

According to a team source close to the front office, the Detroit Tigers will sign free agent RP Brian Wilson with the idea of making him their closer.  The Tigers have zeroed in on deciding Wilson will be their closer and in the process have pretty much ended talks with fellow free agent Joe Nathan.    The fact Wilson pitched so dominantly in his return from Tommy John surgery with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season eased the Tigers' fears about his ability after the procedure.

Analysis:  Wilson was one of the best closer in the game before he came down with arm trouble that led to his Tommy John surgery.  We have seen countless cases of guys coming back stronger from the procedure, especially with relievers so we will sign off on Wilson as a fantasy baseball closer who could excel.  In fact Wilson would represent potentially solid value at an always volatile spot.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING HOT STOVE NEWS: YANKS TO SIGN CARLOS BELTRAN IF ROBINSON CANO REJECTS OFFER BY DEADLINE

                                                              

Backing up a statement by ESPN New York that the Yankees have set a firm deadline for Robinson Cano to accept a 7-year offer for $160 million, a team source speaking to us directly on the condition of anonymity stated they will sign outfielder Carlos Beltran if an agreement is not reached. 

Analysis:  This jives with recent reports indicating the Yankees and Beltran have gone beyond preliminary talks.  Beltran would join Brian McCann as two of the biggest free agents to join up with the Yankees this offseason.  Stay tuned.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING HOT STOVE NEWS: YANKS SET DEADLINE FOR ROBINSON CANO TO ACCEPT 7-YR./$160 MILLION OFFER

                                                             

ESPN New York is reporting that the New York Yankees have set a firm deadline for free agent second baseman Robinson Cano to accept their 7-year offer for $160 million dollars.  Reports have continually surfaced that the Cano camp wants around $300 million for ten years which the Yankees have no interest in approaching. 

Analysis:  Here we go.  The Yankees and Cano have been linked for a reunion by anyone you ask as there has been the absence of any other team to offer competition for his services.  The Yankes are determined to sign Cano under their own terms so it will be interesting to see how much the player wants to return to the ballclub.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 WRAPUP: 4:00 GAMES AND LATER

We complete the fantasy football Week 12 action by taking a closer look at all of the happenings from the 4:00 games and later.

-I liked Carson Palmer as we went into the season due to the fact he would be playing with a potent batch of receivers led by Larry Fitzgerald but he took a good month or two before he found his comfort zone.  Now Palmer is red hot as he was once again very good Sunday in throwing for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Palmer is eliminating the turnovers which is always his biggest drawback.

-On the other side, the underwhelming season of Andrew Luck continued as he threw for only 163 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Luck has only thrown for 15 scores with 7 INT's which is a far cry from what many had expected leading into the season.  You can only blame the play-calling so much which means Luck has to get a hit as well.  Luck's owners had started moving away from him over the last month and right now I don't think you can trust him in a playoff game.

-Michael Floyd continued with his breakout Sunday by catching 7 balls for 104 yards.  Floyd was a big play guy coming out of college and after some adjustments in September and October, has been virtually unstoppable lately.  Meanwhile Larry Fitzgerald didn't light the world on fire with his raw receptions as he caught 5 balls for 52 yards but two went for scores.  It has been another letdown season for Fitzgerald fantasy football owners but he has perked up along with the rest of the offense.

-Nothing to talk about from either running games during the Colts-Cardinals game.  In fact both units in that respect are clearly in the discussion as the worst in the league.

-Told you all to pick up Ryan Fitzpatrick in  two QB formats and the Harvard alum made me look smart in another effective outing Sunday by throwing for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns with no turnovers.  The Titans have nice receiving help in Kendall Wright and Delani Walker so Fitzpatrick should continue to be a very good QB 2.

-Speaking of Wright, when on the field going back to his rookie season a year go, the kid has been better than you think.  Wright caught 6 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown and got some help from rookie Justin Hunter who caught 6 passes himself for 109 yards and his own score.  All of the sudden the Titans look pretty potent.

-Rashad Jennings has done a very nice job replacing Darren McFadden and word is that even when the latter returns, the former will play a lot.  Jennings is a clear PPR weapon all the way but he has run the football well also.

-No big mistake this time from Tony Romo who led a late fourth quarter game-wining drive over the New York Giants.  Criminally underrated every season, Romo threw for 250 yards with 2 TD's and 1 INT.  Maybe next year his fantasy football value should finally catch up with the numbers.

-Eli Manning did a nice job trying to lead the Giants back by throwing for 174 yards and 2 scores but by now no one is starting him other than in two-QB formats.  That is the status he should keep.

-Andre Brown made it two huge games out of three since he returned from a broken leg by rushing for 127 yards on 21 carries while also catching 4 passes for 11 more yards.  Brown is the clear top dog running back here but Brandon Jacobs could still get the goal-line work.

-Victor Cruz got hurt without Hakeem Nicks in the lineup drawing coverages away.  Cruz managed to catch only 2 balls for 27 yards.  Not good and this kind of shows you that even though Cruz can be considered a WR 1, he is a low one in that respect.

-Dez Bryant pretty much did as he pleased Sunday in catching 9 passes for 102 yards. 

-Once Tom Brady finally got back his offensive weapons, the numbers began to re-emerge from hibernation.  Brady was spectacular in keeping his cool after falling behind early by throwing for 344 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Even though I knocked Brady down a peg or two earlier on, that goes out the window now that he is playing with a full deck.

-Stevan Ridley is back in the doghouse after losing an early fumble as he didn't see the field again afterwards.  This is the second time this season Ridley has gotten into trouble for turnovers and Brandon Bolden benefitted the most.  Bolden led the Patriots by rushing for 58 yards on 13 carries and a TD while also catching a pass for 11 yards.  Bolden is a prime pickup guy this week as Shane Vereen is not meant to run the ball much. 

-Speaking of Vereen, he is doing a great Darren Sproles impression by catching 8 balls for 60 yards while also rushing for another 31 yards.  Vereen has been a PPR dream since getting back into the lineup and he should remain a clear RB 2 under that situation.

-Eric Decker ruined comeback efforts for his fantasy football owners by catching only one ball for 5 yards.  Decker has been a non-factor the last month and a half and with the playoff weeks beckoning, it might be time to stick him on the bench.

-As far as the rest of the Broncos receivers are concerned, Demaryuis Thomas was dominated by Aqub Talib as he grabbed only 4 balls for 41 yards.  Thomas did score however.  The big surprise was tight end Jacob Tamme catching 5 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown as the replacement for Julius Thomas.  Sorry for those who went with Joel Dreessen.

-Speaking of tight ends, Rob Gronkowski caught 7 balls for 90 yards and of course a touchdown.  Julian Edelman however surprised by leading the team in catcher in the game with 9 for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns.  It was looking like Edelman was behind left behind with Danny Amendola and Gronkowski back but that obviously wasn't the case in this game.

There you have it.  Let us hear your thoughts.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRONCOS RB KNOWSHON MORENO (ANKLE) IFFY FOR WEEK 13

                                                            

Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno was spotted on crutches and a walking boot coming out of the locker room late Sunday night after rushing for an extreme 224 yards on 37 carries in the loss to the New England Patriots.  A team source who spoke to us directly after the game stated that Moreno already is being looked at as "iffy" for Week 13 and that Montee Ball would be the primary ballcarrier if he has to sit out.  Jack Del Rio answered more than a few queries about Moreno's workload after the game as well.

Analysis:  Moreno has a long history of injuries so it was crazy that Del Rio would give him such a workload, especially in frigid temperatures.  Ball shoots right to the top of the must have pickups for fantasy football Week 13 given the opportunity at hand. 

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: INDIANS SIGN OUTFIELDER DAVID MURPHY TO TWO-YEAR DEAL FOR $12 MILLION

                                                           

The Cleveland Indians signed free agent outfielder David Murphy to a two-year deal worth $12 million.  He is slated to fill the other half of a platoon with Ryan Raburn.

Analysis:  Not much to talk about here as far as fantasy baseball value is concerned.  Murphy was a curiosity in the past due to some power/speed ability but he has been a career-long platoon guy which is not going to change in his new home.

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS INK SP DAN HAREN TO ONE-YEAR DEAL FOR $10 MILLION

                                                               Dan Haren

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent SP Dan Haren to a one-year deal for $10 million.  Haren comes off an up and down season with the Washington Nationals in 2013 when he pitched to a 4.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. 

Analysis:  Haren is once again a bit interesting as a SP 5 in all formats.  Clearly his stuff is not what it once was but Haren had a 3.52 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 70 K's in 76.2 inning the second half of last season which could indicate there is still some juice left in his arm.  The ballpark is nice once again as well so taking Haren on as a guy to round out your rotation is not the worst idea in the world.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 WRAPUP: 1:00 GAMES

Playoff weeks loom in 2013 fantasy football so let's get to all the newsworthy items coming out of yesterday's 1:00 games.

-Ben Roethlisberger stayed hot Sunday throwing two more touchdown passes and 217 yards.  Big Ben has been locked in the last month with 7 TD's in his last three games.  The Steelers have been more of a passing outfit than ever and so rolling with Roethlisberger as your starter into the playoffs could work. 

Of course benefitting greatly from this new passing mantra for the Steelers is wideout Antonio Brown who continued his amazing season with 6 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.  Nothing bad to say here at all.  It is likely most Brown owners have already snagged a playoff spot.  In addition don't look now but Emmanuel Sanders has looked like he has graduated into a near WR 2 after another nice game Sunday when he caught 6 balls of his own for 52 yard and a touchdown.

-How about Josh Gordon?  Geez his performance Sunday defied explanation as he grabbed 14 balls for an insane 237 yards and a touchdown.  I noted this yesterday and will say it again.  If Gordon played with even a decent QB, he could be a top five guy.  Seriously.

-Mike Glennon as your every week fantasy football starting QB?  We are getting close to that point if we haven't already as the latest gem from N.C. State (Russell Wilson) has now upped his ratios to 13 touchdowns and only 4 picks after not getting the job until October.  Glennon has a nice arsenal of weapons led by Vincent Jackson who went right back to his hot one week and cold one week trend by catching only 2 balls for 61.  His new toy was Tiquan Underwood who caught two touchdowns among his 3 grabs for 108.  Now don't run out and grab Underwood as this was just one of those random bustout games from a no-name guy.  However getting back to Glennon, the fact he spreads the ball around so much speaks volumes about his rapid development.  I like him a lot and already am looking at him as a value play fantasy football QB for the next season.

-As an owner of Matthew Stafford, you got to live with the bad from time to time through all the good he brings.  Stafford thinks he can make every throw which he technically can since he has the strongest arm in the NFL.  However it gets him into the same type of trouble we used to see out of Brett Favre.  I am talking about interceptions of course as Stafford ruined a pretty decent 3 TD day with 4 picks.  Two were deflections but the bottom line is that Stafford's day should have been better than what it ended up being.

-Told you all to pick up Nate Burleson and start him in his first game back.  What happened?  He catches 7 balls for 77 yards and a score.  Why you ever go to another fantasy site is beyond me.

-The Bobby Rainey Show came crashing back down to earth after he rushed for only 35 yards on 18 carries. 

-Adrian Peterson got back into monster mode Sunday by rushing for 146 yards on 32 carries and 1 score.  Peterson is kind of just THERE as a guy who is so consistently good there is not much to talk about.  Like with Miguel Cabrera in fantasy baseball.

-Eddie Lacy is showing Trent Richardson how to go from Alabama to instant fantasy football star.  Lacy continued his renaissance rookie season by rumbling for 110 yards on 25 carries and a score.  One thing I failed to mention before Aaron Rodgers got hurt.  Lacy's awesome development has actually hurt Rodgers' bottom line numbers overall since he no longer has to throw as often.  Remember earlier in the season how Rodgers had those pedestrian yardage and TD games?  Look no further than Lacy as the reason why.  Great for winning games in January but no fantasy football ones. 

-Jarrett Boykin looks like a star to me.  Despite James Jones returning to the lineup, Boykin has continued to excel.  The latest was catching 5 balls for 60 yards and a touchdown Sunday.  Jones himself was good leading the team with 7 catches for 80 yards while Jordy Nelson was left out of the fun with only 3 grabs for 58 yards.  Not sure if having Matt Flynn is a boost to these three but at the very least Boykin looks here to stay.

-Cordarelle Patterson was a big play guy coming out of college and after taking some time to fimd his bearings, has looked the part in the NFL after he caught 8 balls for 54 yards Sunday.  This is more of a PPR play right now obviously since Christian Ponder is not fond of throwing down the field however.

-Wow the Kansas City Chiefs defense did a complete 180 on us.  After clearly topping the charts among all defenses the first half of the season under a hail of sacks, the Chiefs defense has been abominable the last three weeks.  They gave up an ungodly 41 points to the Chargers Sunday which at least in the Experts League meant -9 points for me.  -9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  With both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston hurt, they are looking droppable.  The also have Denver up next week.  Yikes.

-Jamaal Charles was terrific Sunday in rushing for 115 yards on only 14 carries and 2 scores.  He also chipped in 4 catches for 42 yards in an outing that only Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy are capable of. 

-Starting to really regret trading away Keenan Allen (although it helped net me McCoy).  Allen has been by far the top rookie receiver in the NFL and fantasy football this season as the third round pick out of Cal caught 9 balls for 124 yards Sunday in his latest gem. 

-Zac Stacy owners such as yours truly had a range of emotions Sunday.  Once again Stacy was tearing it up in rushing for 87 yards on only 14 carries and a score.  Than the dreaded concussion ended things early.  This is scary with the playoff weeks approaching.  Cross your fingers that its only a mild one. 

-It was Brandon Marshall's turn to star for the Chicago Bears' passing game Sunday as he caught 10 balls for 117 yards and a touchdown.  Alshon Jeffrey was the star last week but this time managed only 4 balls for 42 yards.  With Josh McCown under center, it is likely these two will alternate big games. 

-Back to the gutter for Ray Rice but this was predictable going against the top-ranked New York Jets run defense.  Rice managed only 30 yards on 16 carries and one catch for -1 yard.  Ugh.

-The Case Keenum Story is not ending well either.  No touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars defense is unforgivable.  Move on.

-Typical that Cecil Shorts had a big game in catching 8 balls for 71 yards.  Usually when a star receiver pops off about not getting the football, they have a big game the next time out.

There you have it.  Let us hear your thoughts.

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JHONNY PERALTA SS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

                                                        Jhonny Peralta

The St. Louis Cardinals quickly realized going into the offseason that Pete Kozma was not going to cut it as their everyday shortstop.  Thus they quickly moved to sign free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year deal worth a reported $52 million to fill a giant hold in their infield.  Peralta himself comes off a 2013 season that was marred by a 50-game PED suspension as he got caught up in the whole Biogenesis mess.  That not so small issue is part of the discussion when it comes to evaluating Peralta's fantasy baseball value heading into the 2014 season so let's get right to work in trying to figure out where his numbers could end up.

First let's get the particulars out of the way.  Peralta will be turning 32 this season which means he is well past the point where any improvement could be expected in his numbers and in fact we have to go on the assumption those stats will slide a bit after presumably no longer messing with the illegal substances.  It is very difficult to figure out how much of an impact the PED's had on Peralta's performance as you can get to one extreme in Melky Cabrera who was a shell of his All Star and steroids-fueled self when coming back from his own PED suspension last season.  Or you can look at David Ortiz who continues to hit at his usual standards despite testing positive for a banned substance back in the original survey testing.  Be that as it may we got to make the best projection we can with what we can go on. 

As far as what stands out about Peralta, it is obvious he has above-average pop for the position.  YOu are not going to find many shortstops who can hit 20 home runs which Peralta has done 4 times in his career, with the most recent being back in 2011 when he clubbed 21.  In addition Peralta has driven in over 80 runs three times in his career so he can surely be a help there.  However the rest of the package is underwhelming.  For one Peralta has zero speed so you will get next to nothing in the stolen base category which is a big negative.  I always preach the idea of having your two middle infields (second base/shortstop) as a big source of your team steals and in that case Peralta clearly doesn't fit the bill.  In addition, Peralta is very slow of foot so scoring runs is a challenge at times also.  Since scoring a fluky 104 runs in 2008, Peralta has failed to score even 70 since than in any season.  Finally Peralta is only a .268 career hitter which is the definition of mediocre.

If you put it all together, Peralta reeks of a lower end fantasy baseball mixed league shortstop.  The power is nice but again how much that was inflated by the steroids remains to be seen.  Since he is already neutral or negative in steals, runs, and average, if Peralta sees a drop in power than there is not much left to recommend.  My best advice is to get more speed at shortstop and leave the Peralta headache to some other owner.

2014 PROJECTION:  .271 16 HR 78 RBI 61 R 2 SB

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 WRAPUP: LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD A TURNOVER MACHINE WITH 4 INT'S

                                                                

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford showed his bad side on Sunday by throwing four interceptions in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Although two of the interceptions were deflected, Stafford was wild on a good number of his throws all game.

Analysis:  Stafford owners like myself were happy with the three scores but ultimately the four picks ruined the day.  He is a pure gunslinger all the way so games like this are going to happen.  He remains a near top five passer in fantasy football this season.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 GAMEDAY: ADRIAN PETERSON RUMBLES FOR 146 YARDS AND ONE SCORE IN TIE

                                                               

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson carried a heavy but successful load Sunday as he rushed for 146 yards on 30 carries with one touchdown.  Peterson came into the game with groin problem but showed no ill effects from the injury Sunday.

Analysis:  Peterson was a terrific here after some up and down play lately.  The groin issue seems like just a nuisance given what he did in this game. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWSS: DEZ BRYANT BACK ON THE FIELD

Updating an earlier item, Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has returned to the field after getting injured on the team's previous possession.

Analysis:  All Bryant owners can exhale now.  Nothing to see here.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 WRAPUP: BROWNS WR JOSH GORDON GOES NUST WITH 14 CATCHES FOR 237 YARDS AND SCORE

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon went bonkers Sunday in catching 14 passes for 237 yards and 1 touchdown in a losing effort versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Despite the Browns getting blown out, Gordon was able to get open all game long with first Jason Campbell and than Brandon Weeded at QB.

Analysis:  Unreal.  Just imagine how crazy good Gordon would be with Drew Brees as his QB.  Heck even Eli Manning as his QB.  Gordon is now firmly established as a lower end WR 1 in fantasy football parlance and will remain so.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: COWBOYS WR DEZ BRYANT EXITS WITH APPARENT INJURY

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant exited during the first quarter of the team's game against the New York Giants Sunday with an apparent injury.  Bryant got hurt getting tangled up with Giants safety Antrell Rolle and stayed down for a few minutes writhing in pain.  He eventually got up and was able to jog off on his own.

Analysis:  Not sure what happened here but Bryant has been bothered by pain in his back.  He was able to walk off on his own though which likely means he is not hurt too bad.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 GAMEDAY: MIKE WALLACE FINALLY SCORES SUNDAY, GRABS 5 BALLS FOR 127 YARDS

                                                              

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace caught five passes for 127 yards and a touchdown Sunday in his first big game since September.  Wallace has been in a season-long slump with his numbers drastically down in all categories but was in sync with QB Ryan Tannehill Sunday.

Analysis:  Wallace is not a trustworthy fantasy football receiver, big game or no due to the QB play primarily.  He took the money and now is suffering statistics-wise because of it.  He remains nothing more than a WR 3 at best.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: JETS QB GENO SMITH LIKELY TO BE BENCHED FOR WEEK 13

                                                               

New York Jets rookie QB Geno Smith is likely to hit the bench for Week 13 in favor of fellow rookie Matt Simms after yet another horrid performance Sunday versus the Baltimore Ravens.  Smith hit on only 9-of-22 passes in the loss for 127 yards and two more interceptions. 

Analysis:  Smith is playing as bad as you possibly can right now and it has gotten to the point that he just shouldn't be out on the field anymore either.  The Jets are desperate to hold onto playoff contention and thus will turn to Simms to look for a spark.  The bigger picture is the fact the Jets went into the season without a bona fide veteran backup and that ultimately is what is looking like it will sink them.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: CHARGERS RB RYAN MATTHEWS LEAVES EARLY WITH HAMSTRING INJURY

                                                             

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Matthews was forced out of the team's game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs with a hamstring injury.  Matthews has been replaced by Ronnie Brown.

Analysis:  This is reminder of Matthews' constant issue with injuries despite how good he has played lately.  Brown is really only for PPR formats if he has to play next week for Matthews but that is an issue we will revisit during the week.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: GIANTS WR HAKEEM NICKS (GROIN) OUT SUNDAY

                                                             

Updating an earlier item, New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks is OUT Sunday with a groin injury.

Analysis:  Reuben Randle just got a whole lot more interesting.  Nicks on the other hand is getting close to get being a clear bench guy going forward.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RAMS RB ZACK STACY DONE FOR DAY WITH CONCUSSION

                                                                

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy is finished for the day after suffering a concussion in the second half of the team's game against the Chicago Bears.  Stacy was replaced by Benny Cunningham after gaining 87 yards on only 12 carries and a score.

Analysis:  Darn.  Stacy was in the midst of another huge game before the concussion.  Concussions are always scary as the player has to pass the NFL protocols before getting into another game.  We will worry about that later on. 

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FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: TWINS HAVE STANDING THREE-YEAR OFFER FOR SP BRONSON ARROYO

By Michael Wong

The Minnesota Twins have a standing three-year offer on the table for free agent SP Bronson Arroyo according to a team source who told me as much directly.  Arroyo has not responded to the offer yet as he tries to find a team with a better chance of winning.  He has gotten overtures from the New York Mets, Yankees, and San Francisco Giants as well.



FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: CARDS OFFICIALLY INK SHORTSTOP JHONNY PERALTA FOR FOUR YEARS AND $52 MILLION

                                                             

The St. Louis Cardinals officially signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year contract worth $52 million.  The Cards will deploy Peralta at least for the 2014 season in place of Pete Kozma. 

Analysis:  Another big fish is now off the market.  Peralta is really just an OK fantasy baseball shortstop who can hit 20 home runs if all breaks right which is rare at the position.  However he has no speed which is what you want to have out of your middle infielders and there is the giant question of what his numbers could look like off steroids. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 TIGHT END RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 12 tight end rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Rob Gronkowski
2.  Coby Fleener
3.  Jason Witten
4.  Vernon Davis
5.  Antonio Gates
6.  Julius Thomas
7.  Delani Walker
8.  Greg Olsen
9.  Jordan Cameron
10. Joel Dreessen
11. Martellus Bennett
12. Garrett Graham
13. Rob Housler
14. Heath Miller
15. Charles Clay
16. Tim Wright
17. John Carlson
18. Jared Cook
19. Brandon Pettigrew
20. Brandon Myers
21. Jeff Cumberland
22. Anthony Fasano

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: GIANTS WR HAKEEM NICKS (GROIN) COULD MISS SUNDAY'S GAME

                                                           

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks could miss the team's game against the Dallas Cowboys.  Nicks has been suffering from a sore going and abdominal muscle but had said on Thursday he was ready to go.

Analysis:  Ugh.  It has been one big of a disaster for Nicks this season and his fantasy football owners have toyed with sitting him outright since October.  He has failed to score a touchdown this season and once again is hurt.  Whereas once Nicks was looking like one of the best receivers in football, his career is quickly spiraling downward.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LIONS WR NATE BURLESON ACTIVE SUNDAY

                                                                 

Detroit Lions WR Nate Burleson is ACTIVE and will start for the team against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Burleson has been out since September with injuries sustained in a late night care accident.

Analysis:  Burleson is a big time sleeper this week since Calvin Johnson will be matched up exclusively with Darrell Revis so opportunities should be plentiful.  Burleson was off to a nice start before the accident and especially in PPR leagues has a chance to have a big day.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: VIKES RB ADRIAN PETERSON (GROIN) AND WR GREG JENNINGS (ACHILLIES) BOTH ACTIVE SUNDAY

                                                              

Both Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and WR Greg Jennings are ACTIVE and will start Sunday for the team.  Peterson has been hobbled for weeks with a sore groin while Jennings is being bothered by a sore achillies.

Analysis:  Obviously you play Peterson no matter what but Jennings has really not been fantasy football-worthy since exiting Green Bay. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRONCOS TIGHT END JULIUS THOMAS (KNEE) TO SIT OUT SUNDAY NIGHT

                                                                

Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas will sit out the team's Sunday night game against the New England Patriots according to a team source who spoke to us directly.  Thomas has been hobbled all week with a knee sprain and will be replaced by Joel Dreessen in the lineup.

Analysis:  Our source did also say that "miracles do happen" when discussing the Thomas issue but all signs point to him sitting this one out.  Thomas' absence is tremendous as he has been Peyton Manning's most trusted target near the goal-line.  Dreessen is worth an add as insurance. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: VERY HEAVY WINDS/COLD FOR GIANTS/COWBOYS

Heavy winds and biting cold is on tap for Sunday's game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants which is to be played at the later locale.  The high will be 32 and falling once the game begins, with winds on average 25-30 and gusts nearing 50. 

Analysis:  This is very bad news for a few key players.  For one you can forget the downfield passing game which will hurt Dez Bryant and Hakeem Nicks the most.  In addition Tony Romo and Eli Manning will no doubt be negatively affected.  Finally don't overlook the kickers as Dan Bailey and Josh Brown will have a beyond rough time trying to make kicks and will likely won't be given any chance outside of 45.  Adjust your lineups.  Yours truly has already dropped Bailey for Ryan Succop. 

FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER REVISITED: BRIAN MCCANN CATCHER NEW YORK YANKEES

                                                                

A month ago I did a post on free agent catcher Brian McCann and his possible projected stat outlook for the 2014 fantasy baseball season.  The caveat was the fact that projection was subject to change some given the location McCann would call home for 2014 once he decided on his new club.  The projection that I had given McCann before he signed a five-year contract with the New York Yankees for $85 million Saturday was the following:

2014 PROJECTION:  .265 23 HR 63 RBI 56 R 1 SB

Given McCann's new locale, it is now time to up those numbers some due to the fact he now will be playing half of his games in one of the best home runs parks in the majors.  In addition, McCann will also have the added luxury of playing some games at DH in order to keep his bat in the lineup which will help his counting stats.  You always want to try and get as many starts as you can out of your catcher and those who play in the AL and can DH are always given a nice boost.  While McCann remains a bit of a batting average liability no matter where he plays due to his struggles against lefties and due to the strict shift opposing defenses play against him, his power is top notch for a catcher and in Yankee Stadium he should be able to reach 25 home runs with good health.  In addition, McCann should also see a slight uptick in RBI and runs again due to his park and for the increase in starts while DHing on some days.   Whereas it once looked like McCann's fantasy baseball was pointing downward after his awful 2012 campaign with the Atlanta Braves, the arrow is now sharply facing the other direction given his new digs.

REVISED 2014 PROJECTION:  .267 25 HR 77 RBI 62 R 2 SB

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING HOT STOVE NEWS: ANGELS SIGN SETUP MAN JOE SMITH TO THREE-YEAR DEAL

                                                                

The Los Angles Angels signed free agent RP Joe Smith to a three-year contract worth $15 million.  Smith will serve as the chief setup man to closer Ernesto Frieri according to a team source.  Smith comes off a terrific 2013 season when he pitched to a 2.29 ERA and 25 holds.

Analysis:  Smith has the stuff to close but the Angles have stated that Frieri is their clear closer to begin the season.  Frieri is far from a sure thing tough so Smith would be a major person of interest if he gets off to a slow start.

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: CARDS TO SIGN SS JHONNY PERALTA TO FOUR-YEAR DEAL

                                                             

The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed in principal to sign free agent SS Jhonny Peralta according to a team source.  The Cardinals will sign Peralta to a four year deal in the neighborhood of $52 million.

Analysis:  The Cardinals certainly have been busy in trading for outfielder Peter Bourjos Friday and inking Peralta Saturday.  Peralta will play either shortstop or third base for the Cards and it follows the Yankees' signing of Brian McCann to a five-year deal for $85 million.

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: YANKS INK CATCHER BRIAN MCCANN TO FIVE YEAR DEAL FOR $85 MILLION

                                                               

The New York Yankees reeled in the first big fish of the Hot Stove season as they signed free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year deal worth $85 million.  There is also a vesting option for a sixth year which could bring the total package to $100 million. 

Analysis:  This is big news for McCann's 2014 fantasy baseball value as he will now get to hit in a tremendous home run park in Yankee Stadium and also have the ability to DH at times which will help boost his counting stats.  McCann hit .256 with 20 home runs in only 102 games last season while playing half of his outings in a pitcher's park.  He should be able to better those numbers easy this season and McCann is a sure fire top five fantasy baseball catcher. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 12 wide receiver rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Calvin Johnson
2.  Vincent Jackson
3.  Andre Johnson
4.  Demaryuis Thomas
5.  Brandon Marshall
6.  Dez Bryant
7.  Jordy Nelson
8.  Victor Cruz
9.  Josh Gordon
10. Antonio Brown
11. Eric Decker
12. Pierre Garcon
13. Larry Fitzgerald
14. Torrey Smith
15. Wes Welker
16. Danny Amendola
17. T.Y. Hilton
18. Reuben Randle
19. Kendall Wright
20. Cecil Shorts
21. Alshon Jeffrey
22. Dwayne Bowe
23. Kennan Allen
24. Jarrett Boykin
25. Michael Floyd
26. Aaron Dobson
27. Steve Smith
28. Hakeem Nicks
29. Anquan Boldin
30. Terrance Williams
31. James Jones
32. Mike Wallace
33. DeAndre Hopkins
34. Emmanuel Sanders
35. Brian Hartline
36. Miles Austin
37. Brandon LaFell
38. Denarius Moore
39. Jerricho Cotchery
40. Tavon Austin
41. Santonio Holmes
42. Rishard Matthews
43. Nate Burleson
44. Chris Givens
45. Greg Jennings
46. Marlon Brown
47. Julian Edelman
48. Rod Streater
49. Cordarelle Patterson
50. Dexter McCluster
51. Donnie Avery
52. Aldrick Robinson

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE REPORT: JHONNY PERALTA IN HIGH DEMAND

By Michael Wong

Lots of news to get as some of the bigger names look to get more free agent clarity.

-Free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta is getting a ton of attention right now, with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles the most aggressive in pursuing him.  That means Peralta may be able to snag the coveted four-year deal all free agents wants when they out to secure a pact.  Peralta has been mentioned anywhere from a third baseman to a shortstop to an outfielder as far as how teams wants to deploy him.

-Robinson Cano may have met privately with the Detroit Tigers which is a curious report considering they just traded for Ian Kinsler.  Cano has not gotten much attention so far as the Yankees stick to their offer of $170 million for 7 years.  The report that Cano met with the Mets has been completely ignored given the fact the Mets themselves acknowledged they were being used to drum up talk that Cano was in demand.

-Grant Balfour is now the hot closer name out there as the Seattle Mariners have been an aggressive pitch to the former Oakland A's stopper.  Danny Farquhar was the guy down the stretch for the Mariners last season but the front office wants him to go back to setup as they don't think he will hold onto his numbers over the course of a full season.  In addition Brian Wilson has also been looked at for their closer role.  As far as Wilson is concerned, it appears now that teams view him as closer-worthy again off his truly dominant return to the Dodgers last season.

-There is talk that Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is already well ahead in his rehab schedule which could have him ready for Opening Day.  Machado went under the knife for a torn ligament in his left knee that was going to have him out six months.

-The New York Mets want to sign Nelson Cruz but the price is not there yet.

More on this later. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: ANGELS DEAL PETER BOURJOS TO CARDS FOR DAVID FREESE

                                                        Peter Bourjos

The Los Angeles Angels finally found a taker for outfielder Peter Bourjos on Friday, sending him to the St. Louis Cardinals for RP Fernando Salas and 3B David Freese.  Not a blockbuster deal by any means but one to discuss either way.  Let's get right to it.

David Freese:  Stating the obvious, it was a very rough season for Freese in 2013 as injuries and a cold bat combined to send his numbers plummeting from his nice 2012 campaign.  Overall Freese hit .262 with only 9 home runs and 60 RBI in 462 at-bats which had him squarely on the waiver wire by the summer.  Freese failed to build on the 20 home runs he hit in 2012 when it appeared he had finally arrived after some other injury-plagued years ruined his first few attempts to stick with the Cardinals.  At 31-years-old, we are well past the time period where Freese could be expected to improve.  At his best, Freese can possibly replicate his 2012 numbers.  At worst you get more injuries which has been a career long problem and underwhelming power numbers.  The change of scenery should help but Freese is really only a bench guy in mixed leagues and a low end starter in Al-only formats. 

Peter Bourjos:  Blessed with top end speed, Peter Bourjos was never able to break through as even a low end fantasy baseball starter during his four seasons with the Angels.  With a high K rate not making Bourjos ideal for the leadoff spot where his speed would fit best, the speedy outfielder was historically batted ninth when he was in the lineup as he failed to put up anything significant as far as numbers was concerned.  Bourjos' best season perhaps came in 2011 when he hit .271 with 22 stolen bases and 12 home runs in 502 at-bats.  However Bourjos hit only six total home runs the next two seasons while stealing only 9 bases and hitting .220 and .274.  He will get a fresh start though with the Cardinals who will likely deploy him in centerfield and who have a need to fill a spot with Carlos Beltran departing.  The speed again is the most interesting part of Bourjos but there is also some pop here as well.  If all breaks right Bourjos could swipe 30 bases and hit 10 home runs.  In addition, his arrival could keep top prospect Oscar Taveras in the minors once again to begin the new season.

There you have it.  As always let us hear your thoughts.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 12 running back rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Jamaal Charles
2.  Matt Forte
3.  Zac Stacy
4.  Eddie Lacy
5.  Andre Brown
6.  Adrian Peterson
7.  Rashad Jennings
8.  Frank Gore
9.  Reggie Bush
10. Ben Tate
11. Knowshon Moreno
12. Alfred Morris
13. Chris Johnson
14. Andre Ellington
15. Shane Vereen
16. Bobby Rainey
17. Stevan Ridley
18. Maurice Jones-Drew
19. DeMarco Murray
20. Ryan Matthews
21. Le'Veon Bell
22. Danny Woodhead
23. Ray Rice
24. Donald Brown
25. Chris Ivory
26. DeAngelo Williams
27. Chris Ogbonnaya
28. Rashard Mendenhall
29. Joquie Bell
30. Montee Ball

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 12 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Peyton Manning
2.  Matthew Stafford
3.  Cam Newton
4.  Tony Romo
5.  Tom Brady
6.  Andrew Luck
7.  Colin Kaepernick
8.  Eli Manning
9.  Case Keenum
10. Ben Roethlisberger
11. Robert Griffin III
12. Carson Palmer
13. Mike Glennon
14. Josh McCown
15. Joe Flacco
16. Alex Smith
17. Scott Tolzien
18. Philip Rivers
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick
20. Jason Campbell
21. Ryan Tannehill
22. Kellen Clemens
23. Matt McGloin
24. Christian Ponder
25. Chad Henne

FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: METS SIGN OUTFIELDER CHRIS YOUNG TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

                                                 

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has reported that the New York Mets have signed free agent outfielder Chris Young to a one-year deal pending a physical.  Terms of the deal were not announced at this time.  Young is coming off a rough 2013 season that was filled with injury as he hit only .200 with 12 home runs and 10 stolen bases. 

Analysis:  The Mets did fine here as Young is a three-time 20/20 guy who they bring in on a one-year no-risk deal.  Of course all Mets fans want to see something bigger head to town after the team vowed they would be spending money this Hot Stove season.

FANTASY FOOTBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY SAINTS/FALCONS

                                                    

Wow fantasy football Week 12 is already here as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons kicked off Thursday night.  Let's get to all of the noteworthy performances that came out of this game.

-It is actually boring to talk about Drew Brees due to the fact he is so consistently great each week.  Standard operating procedure for Brees Thursday night as he threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns.  What I guess could be slightly disappointing for Brees owners is the fact that those two scores came in the first quarter which started visions of a monsters 4 or 5 TD game.  However Brees was shut down from that point on which was a minor bummer.

On the other side, Matt Ryan once again came up with a shoddy bottom line game with ZERO touchdown passes despite throwing for 292 yards.  Ryan could not get the football down the field and instead was left to play the dump off game.  Again I will reiterate the fact that there is a clear line of demarcation of Ryan the stud from the first six weeks and than Ryan the zero since that point which of course coincides with the loss of Julio Jones for the season.  Roddy White has been horrendous despite finally getting back on the field after his myriad of injuries.  White caught only 2 balls for 24 yards as he can't seem to even get off the line at times.  Ryan owners need to seriously look for a better alternative if they already haven't done so.

-It wasn't all bad for the Falcons as Harry Douglas continued his PPR gem ways with 9 catches for 79 yards.  The fact Douglas could only net 79 yards on all of those catches was a letdown for sure when it comes to owners in standard formats.  Douglas however got little help from anyone as we already talked about White to go with Tony Gonzalez catching only 4 balls for 43 yards.  Gonzalez is playing with a toe injury and like with Ryan, has been very shoddy with the numbers since Jones went out.  Opposing defenses are ganging up on Gonzalez since he is the best remaining target for Ryan and when combined with injury, we could be looking at a very rough finish to the season.

-On the Saints' side, Jimmy Graham was a monster with 5 catches for 100 yards and a score.  I tell you what the one guy I would dread seeing more on the other side in a fantasy football matchup right now other than Calvin Johnson is this guy.  Outside of Graham, Marques Colston was hot early but than cooled as he caught only 4 balls for 40 yards.  Kenny Stills meanwhile grabbed only 2 balls for 22 yards.  With only three catches the last two games, Stills should be sent to the bench.

-Steven Jackson showed a bit of life as he rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown.  However he looks completely shot and the Falcons already have to be regretting that contract they gave him.  Meanwhile Pierre Thomas had his one big game a month as he rushed for 73 yards on 10 carries while also catching 5 balls for 57 yards.  Thomas was featured with Darren Sproles out injured. 

That's all for now.  Let us know your thoughts on the game.