Thursday, July 31, 2014



Zac Stacy:  All that initial talk that Tre Mason would eat into some of Zac Stacy's workload has been completely overblown as the hulking St. Louis back has gotten almost all of the first-team reps during camp.  Mason is a liability in pass coverage which is a big problem since the Rams just came off a ruined season where Sam Bradford was lost for half of it with injury.  While Stacy did average less than 4.0 yards per carry a year ago and is not the greatest receiver, he has volume on his side as the rare bell cow back.  Draft him as a solid RB 1.

Marquise Lee:  With Cecil Shorts injured, the rookie Lee out of USC is lighting up Jacksonville Jaguars camp. Lee caught a crazy amount of balls while in college and his ability in the slot seems a perfect fit for either Chad Henne or Blake Bortles at QB.  Here is me predicting Lee leads the Jaguars in receptions this season and gets into the PPR conversation.

Fred Jackson:  Signed a one-year extension worth $2.6 million which means he won't be cut due to the arrival of Bryce Brown.  While C.J. Spiller has the highest ceiling of any back in Buffalo, Jackson is trusted by Doug Marrone and in his defense, had an excellent season in 2013 scoring touchdowns and catching passes.  Still Jackson is only a low end RB 2 at best who could be a volatile own.

Darren McFadden:  McFadden currently leads Maurice Jones-Drew in the derby to see who will be the starting running back for the Oakland Raiders and truth be told his youth should win out in the end.  However it is only a matter of time before McFadden gets injured and he has failed to rush for 4.0 yards per carry each of the last two seasons.  Stay away from both guys if you can outside of using them as bench options.


C.J. Spiller:  Speaking of Spiller, his owners were hoping Jackson would go away but that obviously is not happening now due to the contract.  Spiller remains intriguingly talented but he won't be getting the workload needed for a true breakout that looks like it may not come yet again this season.




Saddled with a vastly underperforming Brian Roberts all season long at second base and a finished Ichiro Suzuki in right, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman knew that the July 31 deadline was his last chance to get some reinforcements for the stretch run.  Following in the footsteps in the solid but unspectacular acquisitions of Chase Headley, Chris Capuano, and Brandon McCarthy, Cashman completed two swaps Thursday that took care of both of those holes.  In a sign of the apocalypse, Cashman was able to make a deal with the Boston Red Sox of all teams by trading for struggling shortstop Stephen Drew straight up for fellow struggling infielder Kelly Johnson.  Cashman than followed that up by trading for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder/second baseman/third baseman Martin Prado.  Prado will take over in right for Suzuki and fill-in at times around the infield. 

With regards to fantasy baseball, not much is happening with these moves.  Drew has zero fantasy baseball value and that was before he failed to hit even .200.  Meanwhile Prado has some value, especially in AL-only formats as his bat is solid with the average and counting numbers.  However he is very light on the pop and steals which is a big no-no from a fantasy baseball angle. 



After a great deal of back-and-forth both publicly and privately about whether or not to trade ace SP David Price, the Tampa Bay Rays finally found an offer to their liking late Thursday as they agreed to be a part of a three-team deal where they sent their best pitcher to the Detroit Tigers.  The Rays wound up receiving Seattle Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin and starter Drew Smyly from the Tigers.  The Mariners meanwhile got back outfielder Austin Jackson from the Tigers.  The deal clearly is an all-in move by the Tigers to finally win the World Series this season and Price's addition to the rotation makes that group one of the best group of starters maybe ever.  To think that Price (with a Cy Young already under his belt), joins two more Cy Young winners in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.  In addition Anibal Sanchez has quietly been one of the more underappreciated big time starters in the game the last three seasons as well.  Put all together and the Tigers will be an absolute beast once the postseason arrives.

As far as how these moves impact fantasy baseball, Price's value pretty much stays the same as the ballparks are almost a wash from Tampa Bay to Detroit but he gets a boost from getting out of the AL East.  However the AL East was uncharacteristically weak this season as both Boston and the Yankees' offensive numbers were way down so the trade doesn't move the needle on Price's value all that much.

Meanwhile Franklin will get a long look in prospect-loving Tampa Bay to see if he can finally unleash his power/speed game at an offensively-starved position.  He has to get the strikeouts under control however in order to shed the Quad-A label.  Finally Jackson has flamed out the last couple of seasons to the point that he is a real stretch as an outfielder 3 at this stage due to the fact he doesn't do anything very good that stands out.  Smyly will remain the rotation-filler and AL-only pitcher he has been.



The St. Louis Cardinals picked up their second starting pitcher in two days Thursday when they acquired John Lackey from the Boston Red Sox for 1B Allen Craig and SP Joe Kelly.

Analysis:  Again great job by Boston who bought low on  very good hitter in Craig for the up and down Lackey.  Lackey is a proven postseason a starter.   


The Boston Red Sox are expected to trade Andrew Miller before the 4:00 trade deadline.  Multiple teams have checked in on Miller according to a team source as the Boston fire sale continues.

Analysis;  Miller never panned our as a prospect and is only a back end rotation guy at this stage.  Still he can help with a solid K rate. 


The Tampa Bay Rays are carrying on talks with multiple teams on David Price.

Analysis:  Interesting as the Rays keep going back and forth on this.  The Mariners and Cardinals remain in contention to add Price but the Rays insist on two top prospects.   


The Oakland A's traded SP Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld.  With the A's earlier trading for Jon Lester, they no longer had the need to keep Milone in the minors as insurance.

Analysis:  Makes sense as Milone was rotting away on Oakland.  He gets a nice chance to be a regular member of the Twins rotation and reclaim deep league consideration.  


A source close to the New York Mets front office said that second baseman Daniel Murphy is now off the trade block.

Analysis:  This is what we heard all along.  Murphy is a proven Citi Field hitter and top ten fantasy baseball second baseman.  Look for the Mets to stay quiet on the trade front.  


The Boston Red Sox traded SP Jon Lester and outfielder Johnny Gomes to the Oakland A's for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  Lester joins Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel as trade pickups for the Oakland rotation.

Analysis:  Wow Oakland is really going for it here.  The rotation is sick right now but they will regret moving Cespedes if they don't win the it all.  Meanwhile the Red Sox did terrific with the deal as they get a young and proven slugger for a free agent pitcher.    


The Washington Nationals are engaged with talks with the Cleveland Indians about shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.  The Nats are looking to improve their infield for a playoff run and the Indians have been willing to listen to offers since Cabrera is not part of their future.

Analysis:  Cabrera is a decent bat at a very weak position but his best days appear to be in the past.  Look for something to get done here.  


According to multiple reports; the Boston Red Sox traded ace SP Jon Lester to an unknown team.  The Baltimore Orioles were in heavy talks about Lester as were the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday.

Analysis:  Here we go.  No sense speculating until we get confirmation on the team but it would be something if they traded Lester in the division.   


Jimmy Rollins:  1/1 with his 15th HR while hitting .241.  It is not the biggest shock in the world Rollins is holding onto his power because often that is the last part of the game to go for a hitter, with the average and speed falling by the wayside first which has been the case here.  Still wouldn't touch him next season.

Lucas Duda:  2/5 with his 19th HR while hitting .262.  Duda would love for July to go on forever, so scorching hot has he been.  Right now Duda is on pace for 29 home runs and is entering close to top ten status at this rate.  If Duda could ever figure out how to hit lefties, we got the newest Anthony Rizzo. 

Daniel Murphy:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .295.  Yeah Murphy will be overpaid next season when he reaches arbitration but the fact he is on pace for 13 home runs to go with his usual stellar counting stats firmly cements his every day second base status as a top 7 or so option. 

Zack Wheeler:  6.2 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.60.  The lightbulb is really going on now for Wheeler and I will go on record right now in saying the move to at worst SP 2 status awaits a season from now. 

Yovani Gallardo:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Gallardo has been pretty darn good this season when it looked like his career was spiraling out of control due to a loss of velocity.  However Gallardo found a different way to get guys out like Dan Haren this season at the expense of the lost K's. 

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/3 with his 24th HR and 10th SB while hitting .293.  Stanton is slowly losing pace with regards to a 40 home run season which is about the only negative thing you can say about the slugger this season.

Tanner Roark:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.74.  Right now there are a lot of Roark owners who are regretting cutting him anytime during the first half of the season.  Just another starter to add to the extremely deep pool which means maybe we can wait until round 6 to draft our first pitcher next season.

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .301.  Goldschmidt has been so good for so long now that he is entering into that hallowed class of player where it is boring to talk about him.

Didi Gregorious:  2/4 with his 4th HR and third SB while hitting .254.  Another Knock and Run Special for Gregorious who was actually known for his average prior.  This is a funny game sometimes.

Devin Mesoraco:  2/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .295.  With Evan Gattis having missed a chunk of the season, Mesoraco is now taking over the mantle of "best breakout catcher story of 2014."

Wade Miley:  6.2 IP 7 H 0 ER 4 BB 1 K with an ERA of 4.14.  This outing is Miley in a nutshell in that he can't strike anyone out but the movement on his pitches induces weak contact to get outs.  Works for those in NL-only leagues.

Dallas Keuchel:  9 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.97.  Teams are calling about Keuchel and rightly so as this breakout story continues on uninterrupted.  Yeah sometimes bad teams can be sneaky sources of value.  Call it the 2014 Houston Astros Effect.

Josh Donaldson:  1/3 with his 24th HR while hitting .247.  Josh Donaldson has 24 home runs.  Repeat that Donaldson 2014 spring training critics?  It was I of course who said what he did a year ago was legit and that he would see just a drop in average.  Right.

Josh Harrison:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .297.  Maybe Harrison is not just a utility guy after all.  It really looks like Harrison was missed by a lot of people, including many in fantasy baseball with his overall talent.  Fits like a glove on this 5-tool Pirates team.

Corey Kluber:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.61.  In case anyone doubted for a second how awesome Kluber's breakout has been this season, this is what you call an exclamation point start.

Adam Jones:  2/4 with his 21st HR while hitting .294.  Consistency in the dictionary has a picture of Adam Jones next to the word.

Kevin Gausman:  7 IP 3 H 3 ER 3 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.70.  Every time Gausman comes up I am not impressed.  His stuff doesn't seem to totally come along for the ride when he does get promoted. 

Jesse Hahn:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.01.  While we all know Petco Park makes pitchers look better than they really are, Hahn looks like a mixed league every start guy to me,

Jedd Gyorko:  3/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .181.  Maybe Gyroko is a late starter.  Like really late.

Justin Upton:  3/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .287.  With only 7 steals in 9 attempts, it looks like Upton is going the Evan Longoria route of losing interest in running despite still being in prime.

Matt Kemp:  3/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .288.  Kemp has now three homers in the last two games amid his best stretch of the season.  Talent is never the question here but instead it has always been about the health which is cooperating in 2014.  However the steals (5 stolen bases in 10 attempts) look like a victim of all those leg injuries.

Alex Wood:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.30.  Wood is pretty much Atlanta's version of Jesse Hahn.  Right on down to the crazy fact that both were not starting every time out all season for their teams.

Zack Greinke:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 2.65.  Now has a ridiculous 153 K's in 139.1 innings.  Incredible stuff from the pitching love of my life.

Brett Gardner:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .283.  All of a sudden Gardner turned into Babe Ruth on us.  Remember when he was drafted barely as an outfielder 3 as recently as this past spring?  Yeah lots of regrets all around as I bet you he spent time on your team early on and than you cut him outright when you needed to pick up some guy off waivers who was hot for like two weeks.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .279.  While Ellsbury won't get to 20 home runs like I thought he could in his first season with the Yankees, he will likely reach 15 which is a nice haul combined with all his other runs and steals.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014



The New York Yankees have kept in touch with the Philadelphia Phillies about outfielder Marlon Byrd, with their latest talks coming early on Wednesday.  The Seattle Mariners pulled out of the talks earlier in the day which left the Yankees and possibly the Kansas City Royals as the only main parties still involved.

Analysis:  The Yankees and Byrd make a ton of sense but New York doesn't want to deal with his option in 2015.  Brian Cashman has been very active this trading season and knows he needs another bat for rightfield where Ichiro looks completely awful.



By Michael Wong

-Contrary to earlier reports, Jon Lester is not a lock to be going to the Baltimore Orioles in a trade.  This was also confirmed by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal as the two sides continue to hammer out details.  I have on good standing that the St. Louis Cardinals, despite having earlier landed Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians, remain in the mix as a fallback if the deal doesn't get done.  Shelby Miller will be a part of the return package and Kevin Siegrist is also being mentioned. 

-The Chicago Cubs getting Felix Doubront is confirmation that the Red Sox are trying to deal away pretty much everybody that is not nailed down.  Doubront was angry at the Red Sox for pulling him from the rotation and the Cubs basically got him for nothing which at this point is almost true since this will be a PTBNL deal.

-The Miami Marlins are NOT going after John Lackey which was told to me directly by a team official.  However they are monitoring the Jon Lester talks as that is one guy they would love to front the rotation a year from now with Jose Fernandez injured if they can work out a quick extension.

-Steve Cishek is getting interest from more than a few teams but the Marlins are not inclined to move him since his contract is affordable and the team thinks that they will be major factors in 2015.

-The Los Angeles Dodgers have called the New York Mets today about Bartolo Colon after saying to anyone who would listen they won't deal Joc Peterson for Cole Hamels, David Price, or Jon Lester.  You can never count the Dodgers out of any deal however but at the very least Peterson is not going anywhere.

-Speaking of the Dodgers, the move Joaquin Benoit and have stepped up their efforts to pry him away from the San Diego Padres since he is on a one-year deal.



                                                       Justin Masterson

The St. Louis Cardinals made a decent-sized move on Wednesday as they pulled off a trade with the Cleveland Indians for their ace SP Justin Masterson.  Currently on the DL with a knee injury, Masterson has been an ace in name only this season for the Indians as he sits with an ungodly 5.51 ERA and ridiculous 1.65 WHIP which helped collapse extension talks between the two sides.  This just one year after Masterson seemed to finally put it all together in 2013 when he put up an ace-like 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while striking out 195 batters in only 193 innings.  As I told you all this past winter however, that season was a gross outlier for Masterson's career and my advice to stay far away from his overrated name in drafts proved to be right on target.  With stuff that was more hittable than ever and shoddy control, Masterson was a complete joke this season.  However like with the Jake Peavy trade from the Boston Red Sox to the San Francisco Giants, Masterson's move from the AL to the NL is instantly a bon to his fantasy baseball value.  Once Masterson is back in action, he figures to up the K rate a bit and lower his hit rate in the much weaker National League which will decrease his WHIP and ERA.  Masterson is worth an add in most formats due to this transaction alone but again keep expectations in check for a guy who has made a career out of defying them, mostly in a bad sense.




More of the latest 2014 fantasy football stock changes as training camps continue to get underway in full force.


Chris Ivory:  New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Tuesday that power back Chris Ivory will be the team's goal-line back this season and not newly arrived Chris Johnson.  This is what was expected going into the season and Ryan also indicated Ivory would get more than just the goal-line carries.  Still Ivory will be a volatile fantasy football stock and is only a RB 3 in standard formats.  In PPR he is even worse as a RB 4.

Rashad Jennings:  Just a few days ago Jennings was on the Stock Down section due to David Wilson being cleared for training camp.  Now not only a week into camp, Wilson has come down with a stinger in his neck and the team will send him for testing.  If Wilson has to go on IR again, Jennings goes right back to firm RB 2 status with only rookie Andre Williams possible taking some touches.


Marshawn Lynch:  No short-term one-day holdout for Lynch like was the case for Jamaal Charles.  Lynch has already racked up over $455,000 in fines for his holdout and no end seems in sight.  Not only for the fact Lynch is missing valuable camp time and reps but he is only hurting himself in that the Seahawks have no problems going into the season with Christian Michael and Robert Turbin splitting time at running back.  This could get real ugly and Lynch's current second round ADP should slide even more as this continues on.

Chris Johnson:  The news that Chris Ivory would be getting the goal-line work is not a total shock and is something CJ2K has always dealt with going back to his early Tennessee Titans days.  Still anytime goal-line scores are formally taken out of the equation, it can't be looked at as anything but a negative.

Steven Jackson:  There was some hope that Steven Jackson would have one last hurrah season in him after his 2013 injury-marred disaster for the Atlanta Falcons but so far no good as the veteran came down with a hamstring problem Tuesday.  The Falcons are saying Jackson is out indefinitely but that he should be back for Week 1.  Rookie Devonta Freeman moves up to somewhat intriguing territory.




After initially coming in quietly on the Jon Lester talks, the St. Louis Cardinals have stepped up their efforts to acquire the Boston Red Sox lefty by jumping to the lead of the pack with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Red Sox are insisting on two top prospects for Lester of which the Cardinals are very deep in.  Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A's remain in talks but are not close to any sort of deal.

Analysis:  It is now likely 75/25 that Lester gets dealt by the looks of things.  The Red Sox have the hammer as David Price is likely staying put and thus they have the best pitcher on the market up for sale.  With the trade deadline tomorrow at 4:00, expect this to go down to the wire.



By Michael Wong

-The Boston Red Sox are protecting their asset in Jon Lester, having scratched him from his Wednesday start in anticipation of a trade before the 4:00 PM ET deadline on Thursday.  A Red Sox official said that "best offer gets him" in regards to the Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Dodgers who are all involved in the talks.  The St. Louis Cardinals have also checked in during the last 24 hours but are not moving as aggressively.  Meanwhile the Royals continue to scout out John Lackey and Andrew Miller.

-Speaking of the Red Sox, they continue to throw around the idea of trading for Matt Kemp, possibly in a deal for Lester. 

-A New York Mets official says the team will likely "stand pat" at the trade deadline, noting that Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee are all staying put.  In addition the offers for Bartolo Colon apparently have been underwhelming to the point that the Mets have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact he will stay.

-Despite getting back into semi-postseason contention, the Tampa Bay Rays have let it be known that they are still listening to offers for David Price.  However the smart money says Price stays and the Rays move to deal him over the winter.

-A day after saying Cole Hamels was available in trade, the Philadelphia Phillies are not actively pursuing anything on that front.  Cliff Lee has also failed to generate much chatter due to all the money left on his deal and this season's elbow issue.  Meanwhile Jonathan Papelbon remains the most likely to go as the Phillies have a good replacement liked up in the form of Ken Giles.



                                                       James Shields

Say it ain't so.  One of the recent favorites among the starting pitching fraternity has been Kansas City Royals SP James Shields.  Vastly underrated each and every season, Shields has quietly elevated himself into a low end fantasy baseball ace starter going back to his years with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The strengths that highlight Shields' game was a very high K rate that resulted in 225 and 223 K seasons from 2011-12 and impeccable control that makes his solid stuff look even better to the hitter than it is.  Thus since 2011 Shields seasons ERA's have been 2.82, 3.52, and 3.15 leading into the 2014 season.  Which brings us to the present day as Shields went into his Tuesday start with a good but somewhat elevated 3.52 ERA and a WHIP of 1.27 that is nearing ugly territory.  Overall there are some red flags that are beginning to emerge around Shields which calls into questions his future as a top level fantasy baseball pitcher. 

As far as the concerns that I have for Shields both this season and going forward, let's start with that shoddy 1.27 WHIP.  That number marks the second season in a row Shields' WHIP has been elevated as he put up a 1.24 mark in 2013 during his first stint with the Kansas City Royals.  This after Shields WHIP from 2011 and 2012 read 1.01 and 1.17.  The fact of the matter is that Shields is getting more hittable by the year and that is double shocking since he went from the much tougher AL East to an easier AL Central prior to 2013.  There has been some loss of velocity for Shields which is alarming and he fits into the mold of a high innings starter who is entering the danger zone of all the accumulated frames likely taking its toll on his arm.  We have already seen what this has done in sometimes horrible fashion to similar pitchers such as Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabbathia, Jered Weaver, and Dan Haren and the same is looking like it is starting to happen with Shields as well. 

The second big time concern is the falling K rate of Shields.  As I mentioned earlier, Shields truck out 225 and 223 batters from 2011-12.  In 2013 that number felt to 196 and this season Shields went has only punched out 120 batters in 143.1 innings which is a very sizable drop.  Again it comes back to all of the innings Shields has thrown in his career and the possible erosion that is being seeing in his arm's potency and in his stuff.  The numbers don't lie when you break it all the way down lately.

When you put it all together, James Shields looks like a starter on the cusp of a major drop in numbers and status.  This is coming from a guy who has always preached how good a pitcher Shields was and how I made it a point to always draft him every season.  Sadly it is looking like he is heading the wrong way overall and that a year from now in 2015, I may shy away form him altogether in anticipation of more problems ahead.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014


By Michael Wong

-The Boston Red Sox have now firmly committed to trying to trade ace SP Jon Lester after finally deciding the gulf between the two parties on contract talks made that the best avenue to take.  The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to carry on dialogue with the Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners have now also gotten into the discussion.  The Pittsburgh Pirates though have emerged as a real threat to getting Lester as their very potent farm system interests the Red Sox.  In addition the Red Sox are also offering up Andrew Miller. 

-You can forget the A.J. Burnett reunion in Pittsburgh as the Pirates told anyone who would listen that they are finished talking about possibly bringing in the Philadelphia Phillies righthander, especially after getting involved with Lester.  In fact the Pirates never really got past the initial stages in talks about Burnett from all indications.

-There has been a lukewarm market thus far for Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler but his best hitting stretch of the season has come in the last week with 2 home runs so there is still a chance he could find a new home.

-The Royals and Giants continue to look into what it would take to possibly land New York Mets SP Bartolo Colon.  GM Sandy Alderson is prepared to keep Colon and deal him over the winter if he doesn't get an offer he likes. 

-No word still from the Colorado Rockies over what they will do with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and injured SS Troy Tulowitzki.  The front office is split over who to trade and when to do it.  Right now the odds are that a move won't be done until the winter and that it will be Tulowitzki who will be sent packing.



                                                            Toby Gerhart

As we have noted many times in discussing fantasy baseball and fantasy football draft sleepers over the years, one of the biggest factors influencing such a player is opportunity.  Most often that opportunity with a draft sleeper comes in the form of a promotion to a starting role after serving as a backup the season or two prior.  Such is the case in 2014 for new Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart who served for four years as the backup to All Pro Minnesota Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson.  Talk about a thankless job.  The former Heisman Trophy candidate out of Standford dutifully did his job however, picking up the scraps left over from Peterson and making some starts when his counterpart was injured.  Overall though Gerhart remained nothing but a curiosity as he never got an extended look to see if he could be an every week guy.  Well the Jaguars certainly think Gerhart can be that guy as they handed him a rich free agent contract to serve as their bellcow back starting in 2014.  And since Gerhart performed very well the times he was on the field the last five seasons, he carries some interesting sleeper appeal as drafts continue to go on leading up to Week 1.  With all that said let's dig in a bit deeper in order to get a better read on what Gerhart could supply his fantasy football owners this season.

As we noted earlier, Gerhart was a very productive runner while with Stanford which got him an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.  While Gerhart didn't win the award, he picked up a lot of praise for all the terrific numbers he put up in the Cardinal uniform.  It was during that time and through his five seasons with the Vikings where Gerhart showed a power running game that was highlighted by some underrated speed.  In addition Gerhart showed a nice set of hands that made him a weapon out of the backfield in the passing game.  It is these skills that make Gerhart so interesting this drafting season, especially in PPR leagues.  In addition, the Jaguars are a team that has always preferred using a primary ballcarrier to dominate the touches and already we are hearing talk that he will get 20-25 totes this season.  While Gerhart has to prove he can physically hold up under the strain of such an increase in workload, again the opportunity is top notch.  The one negative is that the Jaguars will face a slew of 8-man fronts due to their league-worst passing game but that is offset some by Gerhart's allotment of carries.

Overall Toby Gerhart is absolutely worth drafting as a low end RB 2 with solid upside this season.  While we cant guarantee or even expect a major breakthrough, we do think Gerhart can be a nice asset to your team at an affordable price tag during your draft.

2014 PROJECTION:  1,102 yards 8 TD 41 catches 235 yards


Monday, July 28, 2014



The Philadelphia Phillies have now decided to put SP Cole Hamels on the trading block as Cliff Lee continues to get lukewarm interest.  With the Phillies looking to rebuild and realizing the older Lee and his massive contract are not likely to get moved, the decision to offer up Hamels instead was made.

Analysis:  Wow.  Hamels is still young and pitching at the top of his game right now despite his own big contract.  The lefty will instantly draw interest from all corners.



By Michael Wong

-The New York Mets have called the Colorado Rockies each of the last five days in order to continue dialogue regarding SS Troy Tulowitzki.  After initially offering Rafael Montero and catching prospect Kevin Plawicki, the Mets have now reportedly offered up top pitching prospect Noah Syndegaard in a deal for Tulo.  Currently on the DL with a quad issue, the Mets are looking long-term in trying to full a chronic need for the team.  Up for debate is how much money the Mets are willing to take on with Tulo's contract which has over $100 million left on it.  The Rockies meanwhile have decided to hold onto Carlos Gonzalez and instead will look to move Tulowitzki in order to get out from his onerous contract.

On a related front, the Rockies are prepared to trade closer LaTroy Hawkins and the Pittsburgh Pirates are known to have made a few calls there.

-The Boston Red Sox are now having meetings about trading Jon Lester before the July 31 deadline as both the team and player are not close to bridging their contract gap.  The Los Angeles Dodgers immediately jumped on the news, engaging Ben Cherington late Sunday night. 

-Both Chris Denorfia of the San Diego Padres and Josh Willingham of the Minnesota Twins will be traded any moment now.  The Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays are involved.

-Ben Zobrist continues to be brought up by a few teams, most notably the San Francisco Giants.  The Rays however have once again put a post-All Star break run to get themselves thinking of the postseason.  They also will not trade David Price until the offseason.



Carolina Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin is headed for an MRI after injuring his knee during a collision with a teammate in Monday's practice.  Benjamin went out after attempting to make a catch and was in noticeable pain.  Once back up, he limped noticeably. 

Analysis:  Uh-oh.  Benjamin is being counted on to be the primary receiver in the shaky Carolina passing attack.  This can be nothing but bad news for Cam Newton who already has to deal with one of the worst batch of receivers in the game.  Stay tuned.




Once again it is time to take a look at the latest up and down stocks of various fantasy football players around the league as the season gets closer.  Let's take a look.


Frank Gore:  First Kendall Hunter tears his ACL which finishes him off for 2014.  Than LaMichael James dislocates his elbow which could keep him out for more than a month.  All of a sudden a potentially crowded 49ers backfield has shrunk to Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde.  While Hyde will get a solid amount of work, it is looking more and more like old reliable Gore will not see such a drastic drop in carries like many mentioned just a week ago.

Lamar Miller:  This guy could be the steal of the draft as the latest word out of Miami is that new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor wants Miller to serve as the LeSean McCoy of the offense.  While  Miller has been generally disappointing since coming into the league, Knowshon Moreno has not made any friends in Miami after showing up to minicamp overweight and out of shape.  In addition Miller has vastly outplayed Moreno every step of the way since which means he clearly has the inside track to the starter's role which no one could have foreseen months ago.  Miller can run and catch the football so he all of a sudden has very interesting upside.

Teddy Bridgewater:  Bridgewater and veteran Matt Cassel are already splitting reps amid talk the Louisville QB could start in Week 1.  Of course preseason games will determine how this shakes out but with Cordarelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, and Kyle Rudolph around, to go along with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Bridgewater could be a smart last round pick with upside.


DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart:  Both guys were RB 4's coming into the season and that was before Stewart hurt his hamstring.  Word out of Carolina is that Mike Tolbert will continue to serve as the goal-line back and QB Cam Newton is likely to pick up the rest of the in-close touches.  Altogether both Williams and Stewart should not be drafted as anything more than deep bench insurance.  And it is not even good insurance at that.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis:  Jeremy Hill is destined to be the goal-line back for the Cincinnati Bengals this season which means the Law Firm is going to be out of a job in that locale real soon.  Meanwhile Giovani Bernard takes a hit in standard formats as he won't get many prime touchdown opportunities with Hill around.



Chase Headley:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .348 with Yankees.  Told you all to pick Headley up in all leagues after the trade from San Diego and that was from one of his harshest critics.  Sometimes it all about the ballpark and the change of scenery.

Rick Porcello:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.24.  When the 2015 fantasy baseball starter rankings come out next season, Porcello will be up into the Kyle Lohse/Tim Hudson realm as very good starter who lacks the K's. 

Jacob DeGrom:  6.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.79.  The future is very bright in New York and for all the pub Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndegaard, and Rafael Montero get, DeGrom could be the best of them all.  I noted when he first came up that DeGrom was very intriguing due to his top end control and power fastball that got better after TJ surgery.  Way too much time has past now to not think of DeGrom as legit and the only obstacle he has now is an innings issue.  I am fully buying this a year from now.

Lucas Duda:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .259.  It turns out the Mets really have something with Duda after all.  While he remains useless against lefties which is annoying, Duda should clear 25 home runs which is the benchmark for all fantasy baseball starting 1B.  Ideally though he grades best as a CI or UTIL bat.

Jimmy Nelson:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.30.  Once Nelson got his first game jitters out of the way, he has lived up to the billing as a near-K/IP guy.  Some edges have to be smoothed out which is to be expected but Nelson is already on my radar for 2015.

Carlos Santana:  3/3 with 2 home runs (20 for season) while hitting .233.  I guess we can firmly retire the 2014 Carlos Santana Bust post.  There is hot and than there is Carlos Santana hot the last two weeks.  I have maintained all along that the home runs and counting stats were right on par with his career but just the average needed work.  Santana has a bunch of holes in his swing which means hitting more than .270 would be terrific for him and cold spells are going to happen each season.  If you stayed true to him though, it was only a matter of time before he got the latter number up which he is doing heavily right now.  A veteran guy like Santana in his prime can never be a true bust unless they are injured as the numbers almost always come around.

Yan Gomes:  3/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .281.  Even Gomes is getting into the average act.  Generally Gomes has been very good all season and has not had any type of sustained ruts where you thought of dropping him,.  Best comparison is the new Miguel Montero.

Danny Salazar:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.96.  Not too late for Salazar to make me not look completely foolish for stumping for him so badly but I can't bring myself to get back onto this saddle.  Too many horrific memories.

Adam Wainwright:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.92.  Wainwright always makes me a tad uneasy with all of the innings he throws but obviously you can't argue with the results.  Onward we go.

Garrett Jones:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .252.  I bet you didn't know Jones had 11 home runs.  Or you didn't care.  Always there when you need him. 

Marcell Ozuna:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .270.  Has done a nice job with little fanfare this season.  Classic outfielder 3 you plug in and not pay any attention to as he puts up numbers.

Jose Altuve:  3/4 with his fourth HR and 42nd SB while hitting .344.  Altuve is hitting .344!!!  Allow that to sink in as we sit here on July 28.  And he is going to blow well past his career-high in steals.  In a season where there has been a lot of second base letdowns (looking at you Dustin Pedroia), Altuve has turned a nice profit for a guy who was already an established name.

Ryan Howard:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .227.  Howard is doing some nice work lately as the trade deadline beckons.  If a deal doesn't get done, a buyout could be in the offing which than means Howard can pick and choose his next destination.  Remember when I said guys with bid bodies fade out quicker than other hitters back in 2011?  Just wanted to remind you of that chat.

David Ortiz:  1/3 with his 25th HR while hitting .251.  I think by now what we are going to see from Ortiz from one season to the next is more slippage in the average but not much in the way of power considering he is still going very strong there.  Literally.

Doug Fister:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.69.  That is now 10 wins in 14 starts for Fister who has already earned back almost all of the value he lost when injured. 

 Adrian Beltre:  2/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .324.  Beltre continues to hit for a very high average at 37 and the power is holding steady.  Hall of Famer or no?

Scott Kazmir:  5 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.37.  August is almost here and that is when I believe the numbers will start going the wrong way due to being in uncharted innings territory for the always fragile Kazmir.  Sell now. 

Buster Posey:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .280.  Along the same lines of Evan Longoria going into this season, Posey should finally see his value adjusted to where it should be in the draft for 2015.  Very good player no doubt but his 2011 season is going down as a big outlier. 

Josh Harrison:  4/6 with his 6th HR and 2 SB (13 for season) while hitting .294.  The newest utility gem along the lines of Ben Zobrist a few years ago in his prime with some more speed.  Harrison kind of snuck up on all of us but looks here to stay.  With Andrew McCutchen, Greg Polanco, and Harrison, the Pittsburgh Pirates have cornered the market on power/speed five-tool monsters.

Greg Polanco:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .247.  The average is wayyyyyy down from his minor league showing but no worries here.  Tools are as good as they get and I think one day we will debate between McCutchen and Polanco about who is the better fantasy baseball outfielder.  How is that for going out on a limb?

Nolan Arenado:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .286.  Arenado is hitting a home run on a daily basis lately and reclaiming the shine that he lost when he got injured.  He is back to being a top five player at third base and if he had gotten a full season, 25 home runs were likely. 

Greg Polanco: 

Saturday, July 26, 2014



Updating an earlier item, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to trade SP Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for two minor league hurlers. 

Analysis:  This was the rumor all morning and the deal seemed to come together rather quickly.  Peavy has some interesting fantasy baseball value the rest of the season in going to the NL and the pitcher's park in San Francisco.  Add him in all formats immediately.




The Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants continue to move closer on a deal that would send Jake Peavy out West according to a team source.  With Matt Cain injured and the Giants looking to make a late-season push, the talks have intensified in the last few days.  Earlier last week the Giants were close to a deal for New York Mets SP Bartolo Colon but pulled out when the Mets wouldn't pick up enough 2015 money.

Analysis:  Makes perfect sense that the Giants would be pursuing this as Peavy would be a nice addition for their suddenly vulnerable rotation.  Peavy would gain back some solid fantasy baseball value being back in the easier NL and especially the weak NL West.  Stay tuned.




We will begin running a new feature today called "Fantasy Football Stock Up/Stock Down" where we examine training camp happenings that have a positive or negative effect on a certain player's value both draft-wise and post-draft.  With that said let's take a look at some players whose values changed one way or the other in the last 24 hours.


Trent Richardson:  We already have heard head coach Chuck Pagano say that he wanted a "bellcow" back this season for the Indianapolis Colts which hinted that Richardson would get another long look as the starter after the team stupidly gave up a first round pick for him at the start of last season.  However the competition for carries in Indy got smaller as Vick Ballard suffered a torn achillies tendeon on Friday which will finish him for 2014.  That leaves only the constantly injured Ahmad Bradshaw as a threat to Richardson.  While there is no defending how awful Richardson was a year ago, the opportunity is there in an explosive offense for him to post some low end RB 2 numbers if all breaks right.

Andre Ellington:  Speaking of bellcow backs, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talked about Andre Ellington as his workhorse runner for the 2014 season.  While slight of frame, Ellington has massive explosive ability that makes him a threat from anywhere on the field.  Adept at both running and catching the football, Ellington could be a major breakout candidate for the upcoming season if all breaks right.  However expecting 300 touches on his slight frame would be foolhardy and Jonathan Dwyer is a real threat to get goal-line work.  Don't overdraft Ellington but don't sell him short either.

Toby Gerhart:  The Jacksonville Jaguars want Gerhart to be their everyday down who will get 20-25 touches per game.  Currently being drafted in the fifth round of 12-team leagues, Gerhart is in line for a huge bustout season with his power running and soft hands in the passing game.  I personally am very high on Gerhart and have no issues with the fifth round price tag.  Overshadowed for years in Minny behind Adrian Peterson, Gerhart has underrated ability that will be able to be unleashed this season.  Go get him.

Brian Hoyer:  Those who play in two-QB formats who are looking for possible upside can look at Cleveland Browns starter Brian Hoyer who is expected to get the nod in Week 1 over Johnny Manziel.  Hoyer was pretty good before his season ended early with injury a year ago and so those who wait really late to pick their second starter could look this way.

Jordan Cameron:  The news that Hoyer could be the starter for the Browns out of the gate is nothing but a boon to Cameron who was unstoppable in September/October before he faded late. Cameron's fade coincided with Hoyer being lost for the season as the two had a nice rapport.  The Browns tight end should be ranked third among his class behind Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham.


Rashad Jennings:  The news that David Wilson is healthy and making plays all over the field is not good news for fantasy football owners of Jennings who was signed to be the primary ballcarrier in the offseason.  The signing of Jennings represented the doubts the Giants had about Wilson being medically cleared to resume his career after next surgery but the speedster got that clearance and is lighting up camp.  Wilson's game-breaking speed will force himself onto the field and combined with the nice start for rookie Boston College RB Andre Williams, it is starting to look like Jennings will have to share much more of the rushing load than was expected.  This could drop him to RB 3 status.



Before I delve into this post any further, the premise of the article concerns fantasy football leagues that play only 1 QB and not those that play 2.  With that out of the way, I am here to tell you why drafting Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning in Round 1 or any other passer for that matter is not a smart idea.  Now how can I possible say this in lieu of the fact Manning comes off the most dominant passing season in NFL history when he threw for a video-game total of 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards?  Allow me to explain.

First off, one of my sacred rules is NEVER to pay for a career-season no matter who the player is.  The only given in that scenario is that the numbers will go down the next season whether we are talking about Tom Brady's 50 touchdowns (drop to 28 his next healthy season) or Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson's 2,000-yard rushing campaigns.  Those in fantasy baseball this season who drafted Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis know what I am taking about.  Manning flat out has nowhere to go but down which means you are buying a stock at its height with nothing but possible volatility added to it.  While there is no doubt Manning will still have a monster season capable of 40 touchdowns, what is interesting is that as the 2013 season went along, his TD rate decreased.  In addition, Manning is one big hit away from being finished with his pronounced history of neck issues. 

Now this advisement of not drafting Manning in Round 1 also includes Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees who are the only other passers who are likely to go among the first 12 picks.  Again this is not the smart way to go in leagues that have one passer playing every week.  In this era of the passing game, the QB list of every week starters goes quite deep and easily first in 15 guys who I list below:

1. Manning
2. Brees
3.  Rodgers
4.  Matthew Stafford
5.  Cam Newton
6.  Tom Brady
7.  Robert Griffin III
8.  Nick Foles
9.  Philip Rivers
10. Tony Romo
11. Matt Ryan
12. Colin Kaepernick
13. Andrew Luck
14. Russell Wilson
15. Andy Dalton

There are some immense potential values this season in the form of Ryan, and Rivers and especially Romo and Griffin III as the latter two come off injury-plagued seasons.  While outside of Brees and Rodgers and maybe Stafford, none of the remaining guys will throw for 40 TD's, the dropoff from Manning to Dalton is not as steep as the dropoff from the top wide receiver or running back to the 15.  That's where the key to this argument takes shape.

The top four running backs in Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Matt Forte all have immense run/receiving skills that are not seen in guys like Alfred Morris, Zac Stacy, and Andre Ellington, and Montee Ball.  Likewise with Calvin Johnson compared to a Victor Cruz or a Roddy White.  In addition, you need to fill out likely 2 starting RB spots and between 3-5 wide receiver spots which makes addressing this group paramount over the QB since you only need one.  The argument makes itself.

In conclusion, resist the temptation to draft Peyton Manning or any other QB in Round 1 as you stock up on top end backs and wide receiver options.  Your team will be much better for it.


Friday, July 25, 2014



After seeing how his running back counterpart in Kansas City in the form of Jamaal Charles need only one day of holding out before he got his long-awaited contract extension, Seattle Seahawks bruising back Marshawn Lynch had decided to take on the tactic with the team on Thursday.  Lynch confirmed on Thursday that he was in fact holding out as he looks to be taken care of after putting up big time rushing and touchdowns numbers for the defending Super Bowl champs the last four seasons.  This of course is never what you want to hear if you are currently a fantasy football owner of Lynch or were planning to draft the power back.  What is also starting to circulate which could make this situation one big mess is that the Seahawks don't seem inclined to bend to Lynch's wishes since they are well-covered with both Robin Turbin and Christine Michael who have intriguing ability.  Also since Lynch has a ton of mileage on his legs, especially since coming to Seattle, the Seahawks will likely hedge against giving him big money since a dropoff could occur as soon as 2014.  Thus the holdout could go well into the summer which is nothing but a detriment to Lynch and his fantasy football value.  We all saw how poorly Chris Johnson played the year he held out for almost the entire preseason and the same could happen to Lynch also.  That doesn't even take into account the threat of him possible missing regular season games if he is ready to dig in against the team.  For now Lynch's fantasy football value has to take a hit as this news should knock him out of round 1 consideration.  The longer it goes on, the more Lynch will continue to drop in value. Stay tuned.


By Michael Wong

The latest from around the leagues as more trade deadline talks continue:

-The New York Mets have privately decided to hold onto 2B Daniel Muphy unless they are blown away by an offer.   The team continues to try and move Bartolo Colon and it looked like they were moving close to the San Francisco Giants to a deal late Tuesday.  The Giants ultimately pulled out when the Mets failed to agree to pick up some of the $11 million owed in 2015.

-Speaking of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson has opened up talks with the Colorado Rockies about SS Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.  The Rockies have stated publicly that both are staying put but since both guys are habitually injured and owned a ton of money, there is the feeling the front office could be persuaded to make a move if the price is right.  Noah Syndegaard was mentioned as a target of the Rockies which the Mets won't do.  It is likely that the Mets would have to agree to take on most or all of the contract of whichever guy they acquire and surrender a lower prospect like Rafael Montero or maybe veteran SP Dillon Gee.

-The New York Yankees are 6-1 since the break and have gotten contributions from recently traded for infielder Chase Headley and SP Brandon McCarthy.  That has emboldened GM Brian Cashman to stay active as he picked up rotation depth in SP Chris Capuano Thursday.  Reports also surfaced that they are in talks with the Rockies about Jorge De La Rosa and the San Diego Padres about Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy is a former Yankee whose home run tendencies may not be the best fit, while De La Rosa has long had control issues.

-Justin Masterson is another name who has been mentioned with increased frequency in the last few days.  After extension talks have stalled amid Masterson pitching miserably in 2014, the Indians have no decided that moving him could be their best play there.




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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, July 24, 2014



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

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

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

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

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

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



By Michael Wong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, July 23, 2014



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

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




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

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




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

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




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

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



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

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




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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Only one day into NFL training camps and the news is always significant.  The biggest story of the day (and really only an injury to Peyton Manning would be more noteworthy) was the news that Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro RB Jamaal Charles is holding out for a new contract.  The consensus number 1 running back in fantasy baseball, this is certainly not the news that those who already drafted Charles want to hear.  Every training camp though we hear stories such as these but by the time Week 1 rolls around, the player is almost always back on the field due to the pull of missing games in an already short 16-game season.  While no one can get into Charles' head in order to determine how serious he is about the holdout, his immediate draft value gets a hit no doubt because of it.  While most had Charles as the number 1 back in the game, this bit of gigantic news puts LeSean McCoy as the clear new number 1 runner in fantasy football, with Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and Matt Forte all passing Charles as well until more clarity is lent to the issue.  Stay tuned.

-The New York Giants have the biggest glut of running backs in the game as camp begins.  Not only do they have the just recently cleared David Wilson rejoining veteran Peyton Hillis, the team also signed Rashad Jennings to a sizable free agent deal and drafted Heisman Trophy candidate Andre Willliams as well.  As camp began on Tuesday, Giants coach Tom Coughlin reported that he could employ a dreaded "three-man committee" between Williams, Wilson, and Jennings.  This would be awful news for fantasy football owners of all three backs, especially Jennings who was a high-end RB 2 prior to this report.  If the team does employ the committee, Jennings drops to a RB 3 and down a few rounds in drafts. 

-Another crowded backfield is in San Diego where free agent signee Donald Brown joins the solid Ryan Matthews and PPR gem Danny Woodhead.  According to Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo, Matthews will be the prime ballcarrier and Woodhead the main receiving back as they were in 2013.  That means Brown will pick up the scraps like he did in Indy.  This is kind of surprising since Brown signed a three-year deal but Garafolo is pretty good with his tidbits.