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Sunday, August 31, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: TEXANS ACQUIRE RYAN MALLETT FROM PATRIOTS

                                                              

The Houston Texans acquired New England Patriots backup QB Ryan Mallet on Sunday, throwing some late chaos into their situation under center with the season opener a week away.  With Ryan Fitzpatrick slated to start and with Case Keenum as the backup, no word yet on where Mallet will sit on the QB totem pole.
UPDATE:  Keenum was released in the move. 

Analysis:  Interesting.  The Texans badly need a future QB as Fitzpatrick is nothing but a stopgap.  This move has little fantasy football impact as no Texans QB has much in the way of appeal. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: JACOBY ELLSBURY (ANKLE) OUT AGAIN SUNDAY

New York Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup again on Sunday due to the ankle he injured at the end of last week.  Manager Joe Girardi had said on Saturday that Ellsbury's ankle, injured during a home-plate collision, could possibly have required a DL stint if rosters had not expanded.  Ellsbury however maintains that he can gut through the pain and return as soon as allowed.

Analysis:  Very tough call here for the Yankees as Ellsbury has a long history of injuries and is signed for six more years which means weighing risk is imperative with this.  Even if Ellsbury does return, his stolen bases could be compromised due to the ankle.  Overall though Ellsbury has returned terrific numbers this season and up until now had finally remained healthy.  He remains an outfielder 1.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PADRES CLOSER JOAQUIN BENOIT SHUT DOWN WITH MORE SHOULDER ISSUES

San Diego Padres closer Joaquin Benoit was shut down by the team due to more pain in his pitching shoulder.  While the team didn't call it a setback, Benoit admitted that he has been bothered by the shoulder for the last month off and on.  Kevin Quackenbush will likely hold down the closing duties for the time being.

Analysis:  Quackenbush should have already been picked up in most leagues but if he was cut loose, by all means add him.  There is a good chance Benoit will not pitch again this season as the shoulder is not getting any better so Quackenbush could be a nice addition for September. 

 

RYAN STEELE SMASHED THE LINE WITH A 4-1 BEST BET MARK FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1

4-1 SLAMMING OF THE POINT SPREAD FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1.  THE WINNING GOT GOING THURSDAY NIGHT IN A HUGE VICTORY WITH TEXAS A@M AGAINST A VERY OVERRATED SOUTH CAROLINA.  IT CARRIED OVER TO A 3-1 SATURDAY AS OHIO STATE JUST GOT OVER THE -16 IN BEATING NAVY, NEBRASKA PREDICTABLY DESTROYED FLORIDA ATLANTIC, AND HAWAII ALMOST PULLED OUT THE UPSET OVER WASHINGTON IN LOSING BY ONLY 1.  THE ONLY THING STANDING IN THE WAY OF A PERFECT START WAS A HALF-POINT DEFEAT WITH TULSA.  I ALSO WENT 5-3 WITH MY FREE LEANS (SEE RESULTS BELOW).  IF YOU DIDN'T GET IN ON THE FUN FOR WEEK 1, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  SEASON PACKAGE IS ONLY $199.99 WHICH INCLUDES BOWL GAMES OR YOU CAN PAY BY THE WEEK FOR $19.99. 
 
PURCHASE RYAN STEELE'S 2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BEST BETS AND PRIME PLAYS SEASON PACKAGE FOR ONLY $199.99 (INCLUDES BOWL GAMES).
OR YOU CAN PURCHASE RYAN STEELE'S WEEK 1 BEST BETS AND PRIME PLAYS ACKAGE FOR ONLY $19.99 A WEEK. 



COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1
 
2014 Record Best Bets:  4-1

2014 Leans Record:  5-3
 
  
Week 1 in college football is finally here and that means my first batch of BEST BETS and STRONG OPINIONS are ready to go.  I went 48-34 with these picks last season which no doubt made my subscribers a solid amount of money.  I am ready to tackle the 2014 season and believe the Week 1 card is filled with some solid plays all the way around.  Use the BUY NOW tab above to purchase Week 1's picks for only $19.99 or purchase the season package of picks (includes Bowl Games) for $249.99.  All picks sent via e-mail. 
 
SOUTH CAROLINA (-10.5) VS. TEXAS A@M:********THIS GAME IS ONE OF MY BEST BETS/PRIME PLAYS FOR THE WEEK.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB ABOVE TO PURCHASE. 
 
Ohio State (-16) VS. NAVY:*******THIS GAME IS ONE OF MY BEST BETS/PRIME PLAYS FOR THE WEEK.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB ABOVE TO PURCHASE.
 
Ucla (-21) VS. VIRGINIA:  UCLA is a team that historically gets off to a terrific start and the Bruins certainly have high expectations for the season behind Heisman candidate QB Brett Hundley.  The Commodores are no slouch in this one due to their magnificent defense but UCLA qualifies fo a very solid 34-19-1 ATS opening week angle when favored by 21 or less. 
THE PICK:  UCLA (-21)
 
NEBRASKA (-21) VS. Florida Atlantic:********THIS GAME IS ONE OF MY BEST BETS/PRIME PLAYS FOR THE WEEK.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB ABOVE TO PURCHASE.
 
Alabama (-26) VS. West Virginia:  WHILE UCLA is a very profitable team out of the gate, the Tide is even more dominant as evidenced by a 17-2 ATS angle the first five games when not favored by 30 or more.  West Virginia grades out well on the offensive side of the ball as always but a Nick Saban defense in the opener is a rough way to get started. 
THE PICK:  Alabama (-26)
 
NOTRE DAME (-21) VS. Rice:  Very tough game to call here as Rice finally emerged from college football Siberia a year ago to put themselves back on the map.  Meanwhile Notre Dame gets back Everett Golson at QB after his 2013 suspension.  The number is right where it should be with no half point on most board which is potential problem.  The Irish clearly are the better team but there are angles going in both direction.  Figure Notre Dame has that extra spunk to maybe squeak out a cover but this is a very rough game to predict. 
THE PICK:  Notre Dame (-21)
 
AUBURN (-20.5) VS. Arkansas:  I really like Auburn again this season despite losing Tre Mason.  Nick Franklin will be that much better this season after his already nice 2013 emergence.  Meanwhile Arkansas has issues on both sides of the ball that will take a few weeks to work out.  Auburn is very driven this season to get back to the title game after last year's close call and under that scenario a team likes to bury their opening opponent.
THE PICK:  Auburn (-20.5)
 
GEORGIA (-7.5) VS. Clemson:  Tough to back a Clemson squad that pretty much lost everyone on offense to the NFL draft.  While the Tigers are incredibly coached, Georgia looks to be in another league despite losing QB Aaron Murray themselves. Cole Stoudt will likely face some growing pains early on for Clemson and that is a poor matchup against a Georgia defense looking to answer a ton of critics for 2013's woeful performance.
THE PICK:  Georgia (-7.5)
 
OKLAHOMA (-38) VS. Louisiana Tech:  Trevor Knight seems poised to be the next great Sooners QB and Louisiana Tech is the perfect patsy for him to hit the ground running with that venture.  Tech has very little going for them in this one other than the fact Oklahoma's defense is somewhat leaky.  This could be one of the biggest blowouts of the week when you stack up the talent.
THE PICK:  Oklahoma (-38)
 
USC (-22) VS. Fresno State:  When a non-BCS school like Fresno State loses a top QB like Derek Carr to the draft, it usually takes a few weeks to find their equilibrium the next season.  That is a bad recipe to have against a USC squad that is still loaded on offense despite all the BCS sanctions they have suffered from.  The Trojans should be one of the better offensive teams in college football this season as they lay the groundwork for a full title run a year from now.
THE PICK:  USC (-22)
 
Florida State (-17.5) VS. Oklahoma State:  Florida State was a collective man among boys last season as they stormed to the BCS championship.  Jameis Winston is back to defends his Heisman Trophy but he gets a stern early test against the always prepared Mike Gundy's OSU squad.  You always worry about some overconfidence from the previous season's champion their first time out and Gundy is very capable of throwing cold water on any repeat dreams.  FSU should come away with the win but this line is a bit high for my liking.  I would avoid if possible as the Seminoles do qualify for a tepid 44-32-2 opening game angle at less than 21.
THE PICK:  PASS
 
Lsu (-5) VS. Wisconsin:  No team is better at running the football and putting forth the best offensive lines year in and year out than the Badgers and that won't change for 2014.  LSU's defense looks improved this season and their special teams are magnificent which will help in a close game.  You never like to bet heavily against Wisconsin but LSU qualifies for a 55-24-2 ATS week 1 angle against a non-league opponent. 
THE PICK:  LSU (-5)
 
Washington (-15.5) VS. Hawaii:******THIS GAME IS ONE OF MY BEST BETS/PRIME PLAYS FOR THE WEEK.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB TO PURCHASE.
 
BAYLOR (-33) VS. Smu:  Baylor will score a million points this season as the offensive engine continues to churn under QB Bryce Petty.  One of the better bets at home recently, Baylor will do whatever they want against an overmatched SMU team.
THE PICK:  Baylor (-33)
 
TULSA (-6.5) VS. Tulane:******THIS GAME IS ONE OF MY BEST BETS/PRIME PLAY FOR THE WEEK.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB TO PURCHASE.

 
 
 

 
 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ALEX RIOS OUTFIELDER TEXAS RANGERS

The end came with just a whimper and little fanfare attached to it.  In the Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Experts League, the owner of Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios finally had enough after five months of underachieving numbers, which led to him cutting the former 5-tool stud outright.  Less than one season removed from a career-high 42 stolen bases season to go along with 18 home runs and 81 RBI, Rios has looked almost completely washed up at the age of 33 and while playing half his games in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.  Long a guy who ran hot and cold (and who you swore by or wouldn't touch), Rios goes into September hitting .280 with only 4 home runs and 52 RBI, to go along with 16 steals.  There red flags everywhere with Rios, with nothing standing out more than the severe drop in power.  While 33 is getting up there, home runs tend to hang around for a player more than the speed which has been the opposite for Rios.  Consider that Rios hit 25 home runs in 2012 which was followed by last season's 18 and now the 4 he has now with a month to go.  Again the fact Rios plays half of his games in Texas should have helped offset any loss of pop but that has been far from the case and in fact he looks worse than ever.  Throw in the fact now Rios will likely struggle to pass 22 steals and the result is a loss of around 20 bags from the season prior.  We all know that speed wanes as a player reaches their mid-30's and it surely looks like Rios peaked a year ago and will now go nowhere but south in that area.  Things have gotten so bad that now Rios is being released in more than a few fantasy baseball leagues and really no one can blame those owners.  Too many games Rios has wasted with next to no production for his owners and eventually we reach a point where enough is enough.  We are now there with Rios and there is no indication he has anything left in the tank to rally for the last month.  While yours truly has always been a fan of Rios and what he brought to the fantasy baseball table, there is no doubt that I have reached the point where I have moved on for good unless I get him as a bench guy.  We always have to ignore the name brand as owners and instead respect the numbers.  Owners of guys such as Dustin Pedroia, Joey Votto, and Justin Verlander can understand that strategy.

 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

RYAN STEELE'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 BEST BETS/PRIME PLAYS READY FOR PURCHASE

By Ryan Steele
 
All right gang we already got the year off to a fine start in winning my first BEST BET pick of the season with Texas A@M and new QB sensation Kenny Hill Thursday.  I have a slate of other BEST BETS and PRIME PLAYS for the rest of the weekend so use the BUY NOW tab below to purchase Week 1 for only $19.99.  Also free picks are posted on the College Football Picks Homepage. 



FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: DILSON HERRERA 2B NEW YORK METS

With New York Mets All Star second baseman Daniel Murphy hitting the 15-day DL with a calf strain, combined with the fact the team is way out of any type of postseason contention, the promotion of top infield prospect Dilson Herrera on Friday had sort of a "why not?" feel to it.  At a very young 20-yeares-old, Herrera will get a sort of audition for a possible 2015 role despite the fact Murphy is expected back with the team.  In looking at what made Herrera such a top prospect in the first place, as always we begin with his minor league numbers at Double-A.  A .340 batting average instantly jumps out which is impressive no matter the level.  While Herrera's 18.7 percent K rate is a tad high, his over .400 OBP is evidence that the kid knows how to work a count, take walks, and shorten his swing to continually get on the basepaths.  Now as far as the juicy numbers are concerned, Herrera slammed 10 home runs in only 287 at-bats which is a very solid total for someone his age.  When you consider a player doesn't usually hit their power peak until around the age of 27, one can see that Herrera is already on the path to being an above-average hitter at a shallow position.  In addition to the 10 home runs, Herrera has drive in 48 and stolen 9 bags.  Again not numbers that jump off the map but numbers that hint at more to come in the future.  Herrera has the look of a guy who can hit .280-.300 with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases when he fully matures and that has a fantasy baseball everyday home no matter the setup. 

With regards to the rest of the season, Herrera should be picked up in order to see if he can literally hit the ground running with his tools.  While we don't expect Herrera to be a difference-maker yet, the ability is there for him to help a bit as you look to get every stat you can in order to clinch your league title.  The future is bright.

 

Friday, August 29, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BILLY HAMILTON OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

                                                  Billy Hamilton

When looking back at the 2014 drafting season, perhaps the most hyped player in the game was known for his more speed and not how far he could hit a baseball or how fast he could throw.  Of course I am talking about Cincinnati Reds speed demon Billy Hamilton who broke all sorts of stolen bases record in the minors leagues and who the hype machine went into overdrive as some spoke openly about his chances of swiping 100 bags.  While that type of prediction proved to be more than a little off base, Hamilton overall has supplied very good numbers for his fantasy baseball owners this season after a rocky start and with a month left to go, justified the advice of reaching for him in the draft.  Before we go on any further, let's check out Hamilton's numbers through Thursday's games.

.267 AVG.
6 HR
46 RBI
69 R
51 SB

In looking at those numbers, the 51 steals easily jumps out and that is a top notch number for that category if the SEASON ENDED TODAY!   Outside of Dee Gordon, no one has been even remotely as dominant in the steals category so at least on that front Hamilton has lived up to the hype.  While it is not anywhere near 100 thefts, Hamilton should be able to finish in the 65 range which is still a monstrous number.

Now in looking at the rest of the package, the 6 home runs were a pleasant bonus as Hamilton was projected to be lucky to hit more than 1 or 2 given his slight frame.  Also the 69 runs are a very good number as well, with Hamilton likely to finish close to the 90 range which is considered to be on the high end for a player.  Forget about the RBI as Hamilton was never supposed to do much there given his spot in the lineup and for his lack of power.  Finally, the .267 average is a bit shaky but Hamilton has a bit of a K problem (95 in 484 at-bats) and not much in the way of patience (23 walks) which is a rough combination on that statistical front.  Still Hamilton figures to get a better handle on the strike zone as he gets older and he also will be able to tally some more walks as he gets out of his impatient youth years also.

When you put it all together, Billy Hamilton has been a very solid outfielder 2 in fantasy baseball for this season which is pretty much where he was projected to be anyways.  Again while the steals projections got out of hand over the winter, Hamilton has still been a dynamo there and supplied more than enough bang for the draft bucks it cost to get him onto your squad.  He should only get better as he goes on and investing in Hamilton as your main wheels guy for 2015 is a good way to go.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DEREK CARR "LIKELY" TO START WEEK 1

                                                 

After throwing for three touchdowns and 143 yards in the Oakland Raiders' preseason finale on Thursday, a team source confirmed that rookie QB Derek Carr is "likely" to start the team's opener in Week 1.  Considering how poor Matt Schaub has played after coming over in the offseason looking for a fresh start, Carr's excellent preseason has caused team brass to seriously change plans under center with just a little more than a week to go before the games count.

Analysis:  The Raiders have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this.  The team is not a playoff contender so it would just be wasting time with Schaub when they could be developing Carr.  While we wouldn't run out and pick up Carr in even two-QB formats, he deserves to be watched given his rapid release and powerful arm.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Jake Arrieta:  6 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 2.88.  Don't let this rough outing cloud the reality that Arrieta has been one of the best pitching values in all of fantasy baseball this season.  His K rate has been by far better than one could have expected and his 1.05 WHIP shows how stingy he has been with baserunners overall.  The best part is that the screen of doing all this with the woeful Cubs is likely to keep the draft price down a year from now.

Dylan Axelrod:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.64.  Yes please.  Axlerod has now struck out 15 batters in 11 innings with that tiny ERA.  Stop asking questions and do what you are supposed to do.

Yusmeiro Petit:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.44.  This guy is ridiculous right now and this is the second time in two years Petit has done stuff like this late in the year when no one is paying attention.  The guy has always had a big time arm but injuries and crowded San Francisco rotations prevented him from firmly taking hold of a spot.  Please don't ever let us see Tim Lincecum again.

Hiroki Kuroda:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.88.  By now most Kuroda owners have jumped ship in thinking another age-inflicted meltdown is on the way.  Truth be told Kuroda has been pretty good his last few starts but really don't temp fate any more than you may have already.

Mike Minor:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.70.  Minor has shown very little of the breakout pitcher he was in 2013, suffering from ongoing gopher ball and health woes.  The talent is there but Minor is almost like what Scott Baker was before his horrific run of injuries.

Evan Longoria:  1/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .255.  Not sure why we ever went so nuts for Longoria in the first place.  You can argue that new arrivals Anthony Rendon, Todd Frazier, and Nolan Arenado are all better picks and values at the hot corner instead of the perpetually overrated Longoria.

Steve Pearce:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .290.  How about this guy?  Pearce is now into his second straight month slamming the baseball after taking a tour around the majors with listless results.  Could be the classic late bloomer here but whatever is going on, Pearce's power in this era of pitching dominance is a huge difference-maker this time of year.

Josh Donaldson:  2/3 with his 26th HR while hitting .255.  Nailed this one all the way as I said Donaldson's average would drop from his 2013 breakout, while his power was legit.  Basically Donaldson is a more powerful Longoria.

Alex Gordon:  2/5 with his 17th HR while hitting .282.  It is always crucial for Gordon to reach the 20 home run mark in order to bring out maximum value and he should get there barring a late fade.  While he is a counting stats maven, Gordon is putting up his best season since 2011.

Lorenzo Cain:  2/4 with 2 steals (23 for season) while hitting .300.  I bet you didn't know Cain has 23 steals.  Or was hitting .300.  After years of disappointment, the speedier version of Steve Pearce is upon us.

Colin McHugh:  7 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.99.  The greatest thing about McHugh next season is that no one will believe he can do 2014 over again.  Which means value play.



 
 
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT SLEEPERS: TIM WRIGHT/TRAVIS KELCE TIGHT ENDS

                                                     Tim Wright
 
The tight end position continues to present some interesting sleepers this season, what with Zach Ertz shooting sky-high up boards with his splendid preseason work and primary role in the Philadelphia Eagles' passing offense.  However two other names have come into prominence this preseason, one early on and on in just the last 48 hours.  We are referring of course to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and New England Patriots new tight end Tim Wright who both carry some intriguing upside at an always dicey position.  So with that said let's check in on both and see what they could provide to their fantasy football owners this season. 
 
Travis Kelce
 
A former third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Kelce has yet to make his debut after missing all of last season with injury.  However the former Cincinnati Bearcat was drafted by the team due to his ability to catch the football and with only the lumbering Anthony Fasano as competition on the depth chart, Kelce had a prime opportunity presented to him this summer in training camp.  With the Chiefs operating a low-risk passing attack that has QB Alex Smith primarily throwing short, Kelce quickly showed he could be an asset to the offense in preseason games.  Kelce was clearly up to the task as he has caught 10 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in the team's three exhibition games.  With Kelce playing so well and with the Chiefs lacking an semblance of receiver help outside of Dwayne Bowe (who will be suspended in Week 1), there is prime sleeper potential here for these types of performances to continue.  At the very least, Kelce will likely be used on passing downs while Fasano perates with his blocking in the run game.  Kelce is worth a look as he is likely still sitting there on the wire and has upside that is untapped.  Again at tight end all sleepers are good investment like Jordan Cameron was a season ago.
 
Tim Wright
 
Unlike Travis Kelce, Tim Wright played during his rookie season in 2013 after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Rutgers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Wright wound up playing very well and eventually found himself on fantasy football rosters by midseason.  Showing a knack for scoring touchdowns, Wright caught a total of 54 passes for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns in limited action.  With the Buc's having drafted Austin Sefarin-Jenkins last May, the team now had the ability to trade Wright which of course they did to the New England Patriots Tuesday for OG Logan Mankins.  The move to the Patriots instantly made Wright a major person of interest as Bill Belichick has plans to possibly use him in the old Aaron Hernandez role as the team favors playing two tight ends.  At the very least Wright's arrival gives QB Tom Brady another viable weapon in the passing game which will help his fantasy football value as well.  With Hernandez having had some very solid seasons before he got into trouble, Wright can easily improve on his 2013 numbers and threaten the 80-catch/7-TD mark if all breaks right.  Wright should be added in all formats as a result of the deal and the upside he brings could be significant given his new locale.
 
As always let us hear your opinions on these two.  Post your arguments below.
 
 
 
 

2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON PREDICTIONS

With the 2014 fantasy football season now pretty much a week away, let's get off the pot and put out some predictions for the coming season.

MVP

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Peyton Manning
Eric C. Wright:  LeSean McCoy
Robert Carcaterra:  Peyton Manning
Joseph Cimino:  Drew Brees

MVP DARKHORSE

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Matthew Stafford
Eric C. Wright:  Giovani Bernard
Robert Carcaterra:  Dez Bryant
Joseph Cimino:  Julio Jones

RUSHING LEADER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  LeSean McCoy
Eric C. Wright:  LeSean McCoy
Robert Carcaterra:  Jamaal Charles
Joseph Cimino:  LeSean McCoy

RECEPTIONS LEADER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Demaryuis Thomas
Eric C. Wright:  Antonio Brown
Robert Carcaterra:  Dez Bryant
Joseph Cimino:  Demaryuis Thomas

TIGHT END GEM NOT NAMED JIMMY GRAHAM

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Julius Thomas
Eric C. Wright:  Julius Thomas
Robert Carcaterra:  Jordan Cameron
Joseph Cimino:  Rob Gronkowski

TOP DEFENSE

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Seattle
Eric C. Wright:  Seattle
Robert Carcaterra:  Carolina
Joseph Cimino:  Seattle

QB BUST

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Robert Griffin III
Eric C. Wright:  Russell Wilson
Robert Carcaterra:  Colin Kaepernick
Joseph Cimino:  Philip Rivers

RB BUST

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Zac Stacy
Eric C. Wright:  DeMarco Murray
Robert Carcaterra:  Marshawn Lynch
Joseph Cimino:  Zac Stacy

WR BUST

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Pierre Garcon
Eric C. Wright:  Pierre Garcon
Robert Carcaterra:  Larry Fitzgerald
Joseph Cimino:  Andre Johnson

TE BUST

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Vernon Davis
Eric C. Wright:  Antonio Gates
Robert Carcaterra:  Rob Gronkowski
Joseph Cimino:  Ladarius Green

TOP KICKER
Fantasy Sports Boss:  Stephen Gostowski
Eric C. Wright:  Steven Haushka
Robert Carcaterra:  Stephen Gostowski
Joseph Cimino:  Stephen Gostowkski

QB SLEEPER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Jay Cutler
Eric C. Wright:  Jay Cutler
Robert Carcaterra;  Ryan Tannehill
Joseph Cimino:  Josh McCown

RB SLEEPER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Ben Tate
Eric C. Wright:  Toby Gerhart
Robert Carcaterra:  Bishop Sankey
Joseph Cimino:  Joquie Bell

WR SLEEPER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Jeremy Maclin
Eric C. Wright:  Jeremy Maclin
Robert Carcaterra:  Michael Floyd
Joseph Cimino:  Emmanuel Sanders

TE SLEEPER

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Zach Ertz
Eric C. Wright:  Kyle Rudolph
Robert Carcaterra:  Kyle Rudolph
Joseph Cimino:  Jordan Reed

TOP ROOKIE

Fantasy Sports Boss:  Brandin Cooks
Eric C. Wright:  Bishop Sankey
Robert Carcaterra:  Bishop Sankey
Joseph Cimino:  Sammy Watkins

 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BENGALS COULD SPLIT CARRIES BETWEEN GIOVANI BERNARD AND JEREMY HILL

                                                    

One of the ongoing themes of this preseason has been the implementation by the Cincinnati Bengals of rookie power back Jeremy Hill to a team that already features the very promising Giovani Bernard in the backfield.  After a terrific third preseason game performance, reports coming out of Cincy indicate that the coaching staff is now considering a split timeshare between Hill and Bernard starting in Week 1.  While Bernard has the better speed and receiving ability, Hill figures to serve as the goal-line and power back.  In addition Hill also has shown he can catch the football as well which further complicates the issue. 

Analysis:  Ugh.  Everyone who invested heavily in Bernard are not going to like this.  There is no doubt Hill has been good and deserves a long look given his ability.  However in fantasy football terms, this is horrible news for Bernard in standard formats.  While Bernard's receiving ability will keep him as a very good RB 2 at the very least in PPR formats, the fact Hill could get the goal-line work and as much as 200 touches is a major problem for the speedster in standard leagues.  While it was looking like Bernard would be the breakout star among the running backs this season when camp started, he now currently has dropped to a RB 2 in all formats. 

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOSH GORDON SUSPENDED FOR ALL OF 2014

                                             

The sentence is in and it is a harsh one for Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon as he found out on Wednesday he would be suspended for the entire 2014 season due to a rash of violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy.   There was some hope that Gordon would be able to escape with as little as an 8-game ban but the appeal held up the initial ruling by the league.

Analysis:  Everyone who took a late round shot on Gordon can now safely drop him.  It is a real bummer that Gordon won't be seen at all in 2014 as he was arguably the most dominant receiver in the game last season.  Unfortunately he just couldn't keep his nose clean just one season away from free agency.  Harsh lesson learned.  The end result is that Jordan Cameron will likely be heavily featured in the Browns passing attack.



 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: TRADE FOR TIM WRIGHT NOT INDICATIVE OF 'GRONK NOT PLAYING IN WEEK 1

                                            

ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that the New England Patriots trade for tight end Tim Wright does not play any role in the availability of Rob Gronkowski for Week 1.  While the trade was the rare blockbuster during training camp, Schefter continues to report that Gronkowski remains on track to be ready for Week 1 and that Wright will serve the Aaron Hernandez role in the offense.

Analysis:  Gronk looks like he is ready to go which is terrific news for those who bought low on him in their drafts.  Meanwhile Wright instantly gains some significant fantasy football value as Hernandez was a huge weapon in the offense before his career hit the gutter due to his murder charge. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LAMAR MILLER TO START WEEK 1 FOR 'FINS

                                              

The Miami Dolphins will go with Lamar Miller and not Knowshon Moreno to start the team's Week 1 opener according to a team source.  This comes as head coach Joe Philbin said on Wednesday that Miller remains ahead of Moreno in the team's running back pecking order. 

Analysis:  Interesting.  Moreno really did not make a good first impression in Miami with his awful offseason shape and showing up to camp hurt.  Still Miller has not exactly lit the world on fire in his time in the saddle and Moreno is almost guaranteed to be on the field in all third-down plays.  Investing in either one as anything more than a bench RB 3 is a dicey proposition. 

 

RYAN STEELE'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 BEST BETS AND PRIME PLAYS READY TO GO

By Ryan Steele

All right gang it is time to make some money again like we did in 2013 in smashing the spread to the tune of a 48-34 mark against the spread.  Week 1 is always a bit dicey as we are still getting a read on how good teams really are but that just means the lines are a bit out of whack as well which means there are some prime betting opportunities.  My Week 1 picks are ready to go and you access them by either purchasing just this week's selections for $19.99 or subscribe to the whole season package (which includes the bowl games) for a bargain basement price of only $249.99.  Consider that most other cappers with less success than I have charge double that and there is not a better bang for your betting bucks.  Let's get on the winning train.  Also be sure to access the free picks from the other games on the schedule on the College Football Picks Page. 


PURCHASE RYAN STEELE'S 2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BEST BETS AND PRIME PLAYS SEASON PACKAGE FOR ONLY $249.99 (INCLUDES BOWL GAMES).

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1
 

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: JORGE SOLER OUTFIELDER CHICAGO CUBS

It is very rare that you get a crown jewel hitting prospect promoted this late in the summer but that exactly the situation that is at hand when the Chicago Cubs summoned their top outfield gem Jorge Soler late Tuesday night.  With the Cubs in clear rebuilding mode, now was the perfect time for the team to get a quick look at the 22-year-old hitting stud.  Soler's promotion absolutely is an actionable move for those fantasy baseball owners who have not already moved over to fantasy football and the tools the kid brings to the table are enticing indeed.
 
As far as Soler's minor league numbers are concerned, Double-A proved to be well below his hitting standards from the start of the season as he hit a ridiculous .415 with 6 home runs in only 79 at-bats.  Surely seeing that Soler needed an uptick in the quality of opposing pitching, the Cubs promoted him to Triple A where he hit a much lower .282 but slammed 8 home runs in only 127 at-bats.  If you do the extrapolating game, one can easily see that Soler has power that is burgeoning fast and his future as a 30 home run guy seems like it is only a matter of when and not if.  The K rate is a bit high as we see out of many young sluggers, with Soler falling between the 20-to-23 percent on the farm but he successfully counters that with walk rates that are also very good between 13-and-15 percent.  This is a power hitting prospect all the way as Soler has not shown much in the way of speed yet and comparisons to Yoenis Cespedes seem perfectly on point.  As we said earlier Soler is a guy you want to pick up and see where this goes as the future is bright.  The Cubs will give Soler every opportunity to claim an outfield job for next season and than it is sit back time and watch his development.  He will be a good one before you know it.
 
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

The receivers are up next as we update the 2014 fantasy football position rankings for the last time before the season begins.  Let's see where this group stands with the all-important third preseason game in the rearview mirror.

1.  Calvin Johnson:  As incredibly dominant as Johnson is, it wouldn't shock me if Demaryuis Thomas finished with better numbers.
2.  Demaryuis Thomas:  See above.
3.  Dez Bryant:  Have settled firmly on Bryant as the number 3 wideout ahead of A.J. Green as Scott Linehan as his OC should have him threaten the 100-catch mark for the first time in his career.
4.  A.J. Green:  Will still have tremendous numbers no matter if run-loving Hue Jackson is in town.
5.  Brandon Marshall:  Still the better bet to lead Bears in catchers despite emergence of Alshon Jeffery.  Touchdowns are another matter though.
6.  Julio Jones:  Looks completely healthy and ready to dominate.  As long as his body holds up which is always a shaky proposition.
7.  Jordy Nelson
8.  Antonio Brown:  Another 100 catches likely which is huge in PPR but lacks the TDs of some of the other top guys.
9.  Alshon Jeffery
10. Randall Cobb:  I see 90 catches from this slot dynamo.
11. Keenan Allen
12. Andre Johnson:  No matter who is at QB, this PPR monster will continue to rack up the catches and yards.  Not the scores though.
13. Victor Cruz
14. Roddy White:  Love the bounce back potential of a healthy White in a big time passing offense.  Still has gas left in the tank.
15. Vincent Jackson:  Never as high on Jackson as others are due to the fact his numbers tend to fluctuate from game-to-game and he lacks PPR upside.
16. Larry Fitzgerald
17. Pierre Garcon:  Don't pay for Garcon's 2013 career season.  Lots more mouths to feed in this offense for 2014.
18. Michael Crabtree
19. Julian Edelman:  Could lose 10 catches or so with a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski but Edelman is ready to hold down his place as the new Wes Welker in the New England Patriots offense.
20. Michael Floyd
21. Emmanuel Sanders:  With Wes Welker already having concussions problems, Sanders could turn out to be a monster PPR threat in the offense.
22. Kendall Wright:  Development of Justin Hunter has me more nervous about Wright than I did two weeks ago.  Should still at least be a good PPR help. 
23. Jeremy Maclin
24. Marques Colston:  Still like Colston a whole lot as talk of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
25. Reggie Wayne
26. Percy Harvin
27. Cordarelle Patterson
28. Mike Wallace
29. Wes Welker:  Not a misprint as Welker has already suffered another concussion and could be facing retirement soon.
30. Anquan Boldin
31. DeSean Jackson
32. Brandin Cooks
33. Golden Tate
34. T.Y. Hilton
35. Torrey Smith
36. Eric Decker
37. Terrance Williams
38. Mike Evans
39. Hakeem Nicks
40. Sammy Watkins
41. Cecil Shorts
42. Jordan Matthews
43. Riley Cooper
44. Dwayne Bowe
45. Andre Caldwell
46. Steve Smith
47. Reuben Randle
48. Danny Amendola
49. James Jones
50. DeAndre Hopkins
51. Greg Jennings
52. Tavon Austin
53. Kenny Stills
54. Markus Wheaton
55. Brian Hartline
56. Rod Streater
57. Harry Douglas
58. Mike Williams
59. Jarrett Boykin
60. Aaron Dobson

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Andrew McCutchen:  3/4 with his 20th HR while hitting .309.  To think I ever told you to draft Carlos Gonzalez over this guy.  Not my best work.

Pedro Alvarez:  2/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .234.  Even the Pirates are fed up with the .230 average.  I have been since he first arrived.

Francisco Liriano:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.98.  Yeah he is doing it again.  After washing out in the first half, Liriano has been money since the summer began.  Which means he is going to reclaim some draft value for next season and have a 6.00 ERA by the end of next April.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/3 with his 33rd HR while hitting .299.  Stanton is pretty much on pace to finish with the hallowed 40 home run mark.  And unless he goes into a massive slump, hit .290.  Truth be told the latter number is what we all are pleasantly happy about.

Ryan Braun:  3/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .282.  Well this is what we have now with Braun off the steroids.  He is now a .280 hitter with 20-23 home run pop and declining speed.  If Braun is not the poster boy for the powers of steroids than I don't know who is.

Aramis Ramirez:  3/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .307.  The home run rate is now finally slipping at the age of 36 so no surprise but the bat speed is still solid which is why ARAM is hitting .307.  I feel however that this is the last season to own Ramirez as a starter.  Know when to fold 'em.

Kyle Lohse:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Same old story for Lohse who should go into the Hall of Fame as an "SP 5." 

Jake Peavy:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.18.  Perhaps no other pitcher in today's game has  had his value qualifies more based on his home locale. 

Jeff Samardzjia:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Samardzjia needed this after two rough starts.  The Astros are no longer pushovers so he earned it.  Be that as it may, the move to the AL has not been a completely smooth one which is something to keep in mind for 2015.

Chris Carter:  1/4 with his 31st HR while hitting .227.  With Adam Dunn likely to retire, enter fantasy baseball's new "Dave Kingman King."

Josh Reddick:  1/2 with his 10th HR while hitting .256.  Yeah all those home runs Reddick hit a few seasons ago seem to be moving permanently into the "outlier" file.

Nick Markakis:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .285.  Markakis is now that guy who you pick up off waivers or draft in one of the last few rounds where you stick him in the OF 3 slot and don't look back.

Chris Davis:  1/3 with his 22nd HR while hitting .190.  Chris Davis has been so abominable this season that he can't even take the "Dave Kingman King" title from Chris Carter.

Steve Pearce:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .289.  I don't know about you but I am riding this Steve Pearce Train all the way to the end of September. 

J.J. Hardy:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .282.  The baseball was sailing out of the park in such ridiculous fashion last night that even Hardy homered.

Jake Odorizzi:  8 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 4.23.  YES!!!!!  Keep getting hammered Odorizzi so I can steal you in the draft next spring.

Chris Tillman:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.41.  Remind me next June to trade for Chris Tillman.

James Shields:  6 ER in 6.2 IP with an ERA of 3.45.  Now is a perfect time to revisit the "James Shields Is A Bust For 2015" post I did a few weeks ago. 

Michael Pineda:  6.1 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.95.  Either Pineda is hiding the pine tar really well or he continues to be a terrific pitching value on the odd times he is healthy.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .280.  Yeah he is not going to reach 20 home runs but Ellsbury overall has been everything we thought he would be in his first Yankee season.  And here we are almost in September and he has not hit the DL. 

Anthony Rendon:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .276.  I think Rendon can hit 30 home runs with a .300 average as soon as next season.  Mark it down.  

Wilson Ramos:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .290.  Yeah this is why I love Ramos so much.  Terrific potential but the body never goes along with the script. 

Jimmy Rollins:  1/4 with his 27th SB while hitting .240.  Those who have sworn off Rollins like I have would need to admit that the 16 home runs and 27 steals are shockingly great.  The man is not going away without a fight.

A.J. Burnett:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 4.30.  Not sure why the guy thought of retiring last winter but few pitchers are as dominant when everything is working right. 

Dustin Pedroia:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .280.  Pedroia's bat is showing better signs this summer but overall the guy has gone bust in a major way.  Not even sure where I will place him in the second baseman rankings next season but his days as even a third round pick are finished.

Mookie Betts:  1/3 with his second HR and fourth SB while hitting .258.  Well since we have seen the Red Sox trade away everything not nailed down, maybe Betts can get more than an at-bat or two he seemingly got the last time around.  Still like the potential here as the kid will have a firm slot on the 2015 sleeper roster.

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: WES WELKER (CONCUSSION) NOT THINKING ABOUT RETIRING

                                                 
 
Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker, having suffered his thirds concussion in the last three to go with more from earlier in his career, has not even considered the thought of retirement according to team reports.  Welker suffered a concussion on a hard hit by Houston Texans defensive back D.J. Swearinger last weekend and the team has not said publicly how much time he will miss with Week 1 quickly approaching.
 
Analysis:  Welker really should start thinking this through as he could become another statistic if he is not careful.  You can forget about Welker turning a profit this season as his days of 100 catches are history and his health is a constant issue.  I wouldn't touch the guy unless someone was giving him away. 
 
 

2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED TIGHT END RANKINGS

With Rob Gronkowski looking like he is going to be ready for Week 1, let's take a look at how the tight end rankings look with the season on tap.

1.  Jimmy Graham:  Already looks in mid-season form with some big exhibition performances.
2.  Julius Thomas:  As long as the ankle holds up, Thomas is set to even better his already excellent stats from last season.
3.  Rob Gronkowski:  We all know on talent along Gronk could be the number 1 guy among all tight ends.  There is the rub though as Gronkowski always has health concerns hovering over him constantly but at least he looks like he will be available for Week 1 which is significant. 
4.  Jordan Cameron:  Cameron is ready to be the main threat in a very thin collection of Cleveland Brown receivers.  The fact he did his bets work with Brian Hoyer who gets the Week 1 start is a bonus.
5.  Jason Witten:  Old reliable.
6.  Vernon Davis:  The 49ers offense looks horrible and relying on the extreme TD output Davis had in 2013 is always a very volatile stat to depend on.  Not in the league of the guys listed above him when it comes to catches.
7.  Jordan Reed:  Here is me predicting Reed stays healthy and has a huge breakout campaign.
8. Kyle Rudolph:  We all know Norv Turner loves throwing to the tight end.  Set for a career season. 
9.  Greg Olsen
10. Dennis Pitta
11. Zach Ertz:  Could make the jump this season that Jordan Cameron did a year ago.  Looking like a major red zone weapon and safety net for Nick Foles.
12. Charles Clay
13. Antonio Gates
14. Travis Kelce
15. Martellus Bennett
16. Jace Amaro
17. Heath Miller:  Always there in a pinch when needed.  Still a very good player.
18. Ladarius Green
19. Eric Ebron
20. Coby Fleener:  Could get squeezed some with Dwayne Allen back.
21. Tyler Eifert
22. Garrett Graham
23. Delanie Walker

 

RYAN STEELE BACK AGAIN WITH HIS NFL BEST BETS AND PRIME PLAYS, RECEIVER NCAA PACKAGE FREE IF YOU SIGN UP FOR SEASON NFL PACKAGE

NFL and college football professional handicapper Ryan Steele is back again for this third season with the Fantasy Sports Boss family to supply NFL and college football prime plays and best bets all season long.  Once again Ryan posted a winning record in both in 2013 and is looking to do even better this season.  What has always separated Ryan from the rest of the handicapping community is not wins (he will put his results up against anyone) but instead the price of his picks.  For only $19.99 you get Ryan's NFL Best Bets and Prime Plays.  Or if you want to subscribe for the whole season (which is a family that continues to grow), you can get all 17 weeks of NFL picks for $299.99 which is about two hundred dollars less than others in the handicapping community for an even better quality of picks. 

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FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEVAN RIDLEY COULD BE CUT BY PATRIOTS

                                           
 
ESPN Boston is reporting that there is some talk out of New England regarding the thought of possibly cutting RB Stevan Ridley loose due to his awful ball-security issues and lack of trust from head coach Bill Belichick.  Ridley played very limited snaps in the team's third preseason game when most starter's go into the third quarter which further lends credence to the speculation.  With rookie James White and veterans Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen around, Ridley may not be missed as much as some think.
 
Analysis:  Wow.  Ridley would last not even a day before someone picks him up but his 1,200-plus yard 2012 campaign is quickly becoming a distant memory under a hail of fumbles.  Bolden would likely move into the starting lineup and not White who has struggled this preseason if this does come down the way ESPN is reporting.  Belichick of course could just be playing some mind games here but those who bought into a bounce back campaign out of Ridley are not liking what they are hearing.
 
 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: MATT CASSEL BEATS OUT TEDDY BRIDGEWATER FOR STRATING QB JOB

                                                

Matt Casssel and not rookie Teddy Bridgewater will start for the Minnesota Vikings under center for Week 1 after a training camp battle that slanted toward the veteran's direction.  Both Casssel and Bridgewater played very well in the preseason, with the Louisville rookie sporting a 4/0 TD/INT ratio.  However it was widely assumed Bridgewater needed to drastically outplay Cassel to earn the job which was not the case as the former New England Patriot and Kansas City Chiefs veteran logged 367 yards and two scores with 1 INT in his preseason outings.

Analysis:  Norv Turner as the OC makes any QB at least mildly interesting but we have seen the Cassel Show before and it is not overly impressive.  While the Vikes can win a few games with Cassel, this has all the makings of a classic "keep the seat warm" situation before Bridgewater gets in there. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Alexei Ramirez:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .285.  As the season has gone on, Ramirez' average has sunk to where it should be after being well above .300 for awhile.  Another prime example of how guys in the prime almost always end up where they should be in the average department.  Still the uptick in power and the holding steady steals have made Ramirez a very good value play this season. 
 
Conor Gillespie:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .303.  Gillespie has found himself onto more than a few rosters post-All Star Break as he has hit nicely.  The power is light though which is not what you want from the third base spot.  Works best as a day off fill-in or injury replacement.
 
Brian McCann:  1/1 with his 15th HR while hitting .235.  If going to the Yankees is not going to prop up McCann's sagging since 2010 batting average, than nothing will.  Start to move McCann well down the catcher rankings to the bottom portion of the top ten.
 
Chris Sale:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.03.  The life of an ace pitching for a miserable team as Sale didn't get the hurt due to a bullpen explosion of the highest order. 
 
Billy Butler:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .277.  Butler's power finally showed up after a three-month vacation but at the 15-20 rate and not the 29 outlier of all outliers from a few seasons ago.  Still Butler has fallen to the point he is now barely draftable.
 
Andrew McCutchen:  1/4 with his 19th HR while hitting .305.  McCutchen's owners are lucky they got him back as quickly as they did.  No slippage to speak of this season which is all you can ask for our of your first round pick.
 
Starling Marte:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .276.  Marte was always miscast as a leadoff guy and being in the AL would be better for him.  However now that he was moved out of the pressure of being in the leadoff slot, Marte has done his best work.  Sometimes it is that simple. 
 
Mike Fiers:  7 IP 2 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.54.  Someone should be fired in the Milwaukee front office for not having the guy in the rotation from the start.  What Fiers is doing right now is ridiculous and is the stuff of second half legend so great is his dominance.  His delivery has always been funky enough to fool hitters despite not having top end speed on his heater.  One of the best difference-makers of the second half bar none.
 
Chris Archer:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.09.  Archer has been money in the bank for the second half of the season just like he did a year earlier.  That is the type of split you want as original owners like myself cut him loose in May and than someone else picks him up from August on and takes their league.
 
Trevor Bauer:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.18.  I know we have said it a million times already but maybe the light bulb has finally gone on.  The K potential is immense here and if in fact Bauer has figured something out, the sky is the limit in fantasy baseball parlance.  Very interested to see how he finishes things out.
 
Evan Gattis:  2/3 with his 20th HR while hitting .276.  If you can get 20 home runs from your catcher than you did great.  Anything else from than on is a bonus.
 
Todd Frazier:  2/4 with his 22nd HR while hitting .279.  Frazier is putting the finishing touches on a truly monstrous breakout season.  Top five all the way at third base next year and a late second round pick draft grade is also possible.
 
Ian Desmond:  2/5 with his 21st HR while hitting .247.  Clearly a step back with the average but Desmond has filled up the power/speed stats all season so not too much quibbling.  The most overlooked excellent part of his game however is the ultimate durability he brings among an injur-plagued group.
 
Bryce Harper:  2/5 with his seventh HR while hitting .265.  One has to wonder where Harper will be drafted next season after two disappointing years in a row.  The holes in the swing continue to get pounded by opposing pitchers but Harper remains incredibly young and capable of a massive bustout at a moment's notice.  Unfortunately the name value still vastly outstrips the production which is always a lose-lose proposition in fantasy baseball.
 
Steven Pearce:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .287.  Pearce is on another one of those power runs so get him back in the lineup if he has been on your bench.
 
Tsyioshi Wada:  6.1 IP 1 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.56.  Took a no-hitter into the seventh as Wada is yet another Chicago Cub starter who has been money.  It actually is quite amazing if you go back and look at the collective staff ERA's and WHIP's from the Cubbies.  Wada has a nice combination of control and K potential which is all you can ask bare minimum.  Pick him up.
 
Victor Martinez:  3/6 with his 25th HR while hitting .328.  Victor Martinez is hitting .328 with 25 home runs.  Another let it sink it moment. 
 
Rajai Davis:  2/6 with his 7th HR while hitting .280.  Damn I dropped him yesterday after the doubleheader tease since he played in only one of the two games.  For a guy known for his wheels, Davis has always been able to pop some odd home runs.
 
Justin Masterson:  5 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 7.43.  NL or AL it doesn't matter.  This guy is pure garbage.
 
Lucas Duda:  3/5 with 2 home runs (26 for season) while hitting .260.  This is not Billy Butler outlier power surge going on here as the massive Duda is extremely powerful and made to be a slugging first baseman.  While the average will always leave something to be desired, Duda is now fully on board as a top ten fantasy baseball first baseman which is something no one could have foreseen in April.
 
Travis D'Arnaud:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .228.  Hitting almost .280 since his demotion with power.   The first half was so rough that D'Arnaud will still come at a discounted price in 2015 where he will fit right in with my post-hype sleeper plan.
 
Bartolo Colon:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.82.  Why the Angels have not already completed a trade for the guy is a massive mystery.
 
Nolan Arenado:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .308.  I really can't wait until Arenado is on my roster in the third base slot next season.  Count on it.
 
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: CAM NEWTON HAS HAIRLINE FRACTURE IN RIB

                                               

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton suffered a hairline fracture in the team's third preseason game to go with his earlier ankle injury.  Head coach Ron Rivera expects that Newton will be able to go for Week 1 but as a precaution he will not play in the team's preseason finale.

Analysis:  Newton is a guy who I never have any interest in drafting due to his awful cast of receivers and the fact he doesn't compile top end passing TD and yardage numbers.  Also consider the fact Newton has ankle issues and a fractured rib, he is not likely to run as much.  Altogether a sizable problem with the season approaching.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RAMS CONFIRMD SAM BRADFORD HAS TORN LEFT ACL, OUT FOR SEASON

                                                        

Updating an earlier item, the St. Louis Rams confirmed that QB Sam Bradford suffered a torn left ACL Saturday night and is done for the season.  Shaun Hill is the backup and for the time being will assume starting responsibilities. 

Analysis:  Bradford is likely to have played his final game with the Rams on Saturday as they figure to cut him loose during the offseason.  Hill has some ability and was fantasy football useful at times during his Detroit Lions stint.  Figure on the Rams running the ball all day with Zac Stacy who will be given every chance to earn his high round draft slot.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: SIGNS POINTING TO RE-TORN LEFT ACL FOR SAM BRADFORD

                                                          

Reports out of St. Louis and from a team source close to the front office are hinting that starting QB Sam Bradford might have in fact re-torn his left ACL and thus will miss the entire 2014 season.  Bradford went down during the team's Saturday preseason game and there were conflicting reports afterwards regarding the severity.  While Bradford spoke optimistically early Sunday about his status, ESPN's Adam Schefter is saying the likelihood of a tear are growing. 

Anlaysis:  Wow.  Whether it was tearing his shoulder while at Oklahoma or ripping his ACL twice in his short NFL career, Sam Bradford can't catch a break.  This is horrible news for the team and for all fantasy football players surrounding him.  Zac Stacy, already in the midst of a terrible preseason, will now see tons of 8-man fronts as Shaun Hill gets pressed into action. 

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: COULD THIS BE IT FOR WES WELKER?

                                                      

Ugh.  Sometimes an injury hits even beyond the realm of fantasy football due to its seriousness and that is what we could be looking at now with Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker who suffered yet another concussion in a long history of them Saturday night after taking a shoulder to the head from Houston Texans DB D.J. Swearinger.  While Welker was able to get right back up and act as if he was all right, the Broncos immediately send him to the locker room for testing which is when the concussion was diagnosed.  Of course this comes not even a year after Welker suffered two concussions in a month which caused him to miss three games.  And even beyond that Welker had suffered some concussions during his stay with the New England Patriots as well.  There were strong rumors that Welker's family encouraged him to think about retirement after last season's concussions and the fact he couldn't even make it out of the preseason without coming down with another one is a huge problem.  Even if the concussions is not deemed serious (although any concussions he suffers at this point is a big issue), Welker is almost guaranteed to miss the opener and likely more as the team goes the extra mile to be cautious.  The fallout could be steep here as there is also an outside shot Welker calls it a career, although that would seem to be a bit unlikely right away.  The on-field repercussions are also noteworthy from the angle of fantasy football as free agent arrival Emmanuel Sanders would move into the slot where he would set up to catch a ton of footballs.  He gave a glimpse of that Saturday night when he caught 5 balls and two touchdowns.  In addition either rookie Cody Latimer or veteran Andre Caldwell will move into the other outside spot opposite of Demaryuis Thomas which gives them value as well worth checking out.  Either way this is a big time issue that needs to be watched closely.  An update is likely to come later in the day and none of it will be good.
Remember I told you all to stay far away from Welker going back to the spring as I noted one more hit to the head could finish him,  It looks like that already could be a possibility.  Terrible.





 

FANTASY FOOTBALL PREASEASON WEEK 3 WRAPUP: MATT RYAN/DREW BREES READY FOR SEASON

                                                        
 
-Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was completely locked in during his final preseason tune-up Saturday night as he completed 18-of-23 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Ryan carved up the Tennessee Titans with little difficulty and it was very encouraging that he had time to throw given the fact LT Sam Baker was lost for season last week.  Altogether Ryan finished the preseason completing 28-of-37 for 314 yards and two touchdowns with no picks.  I have spoken very highly of Ryan the last few years and remain very bullish on him for 2014 due to the explosive weapons at his disposal and for having the pass-loving Dirk Kotter as his OC.  With Ryan having the Saints in Week 1 and their shaky secondary, he should be in position to get off to a solid start.

-Despite missing the first two preseason games with an oblique injury, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees didn't miss a beat Saturday as he completed 9-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.  Showing no signs of the injury, Brees fired scoring strikes to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham.  Colston remains underrated as many have starter moving away from him due to turning 30 but Brees will likely focus in on him and Graham more than any other receiver in the offense.  Brees is likely the only QB in fantasy football who could finish as the number 1 scorer in the game over Peyton Manning.

-Knowshon Moreno opened eyes in his first action of the preseason with the Miami Dolphins Saturday as he rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries despite Lamar Miller getting the start.  The caveat is that his work came against the awful Dallas Cowboys defense.  Still Moreno is more talented than Miller and he should eventually end up with the majority of work before too long.  He just has to stay in shape and stay healthy which has been a challenge in his career.

-It was more of the miserable same for Colts RB Trent Richardson who rushed for only 14 yards on 4 carries Saturday.  For the preseason Richardson is now averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry which he did for all of 2013 as well.  This honestly can't go on much longer when it comes to Richardson as the worst starting running back in football and that means Ahmad Bradshaw has to start taking on more appeal. 

-Julio Jones was the best wide receiver by a wide margin the first month of 2013 before another broken foot finished him off early.  While the injury risk is as high as it is for any big name player in the game, Jones looks ready to build off of that September as he scored a 52-yards catch./run against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.  Jones for the game caught two balls for 63 yards and the one touchdown but the biggest development is that he is healthy from what we can see.  There is extremely high upside here and Jones is well worth the risk again.

-Potentially big problem for Zac Stacy owners as Benny Cunningham got the start in the all-important third preseason game.  This could be an indictment over the awful summer Stacy has had as he is averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry after gaining only 11 yards on 5 carries during the game.  Meanwhile Cunningham has averaged more than 5.0 yards a carry and seems the much better option at this point.  While we won't jump to conclusions yet and say a change is being made, this bears big time watching over the next week or so to see if the pecking order has been muddled.  After the game Fisher poured some cold water on the situation in saying he just wanted to see how Cunningham would be with the starters.  Still the fact he even wanted to take a look there is telling. 

-Mark Ingram is begging to be a factor this season in fantasy football after three washout years prior.  Ingram is averaging over 7.0 yards a carry as he gained 4 yards on only 8 carries Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts.  Ingram has even scored on a touchdown catch this season after he was a virtual nobody in the passing game after being drafted.  Right now one has to think Ingram is set for a nice increase in work this season given what we have seen and his value in standard formats is growing quickly.
 
-Matt Prater getting suspended for four games due to a banned substance gives us the rare chance to discuss a kicker in fantasy football terms.  Prater and the New England Patriots' Stephen Gostowski are the top two rated kickers this season from this peanut stand and the Broncos veteran missing four games is a bit of a problem for his owners.  Chief among them are holding a roster spot for Prater for a month before he returns.  His points total is tremendous in the Broncos offense so you can't just cut him loose but again holding two kickers on a rosters is a terrible way to manage it.  Tough call.
 
-Already a popular sleeper going into the season, Emmanuel Sanders all of a sudden could see his value go through the rook due to the latest concussion hitting Wes Welker.  With Welker now likely to miss at least a few weeks and maybe more (more on this in an Injury Fallout piece later), Sanders would move to the slot in his place and see a boatload of catches from Peyton Manning.  Sanders gave a glimpse of this Saturday by catching five balls for 128 yards and two big touchdowns.  It was a heck of a debut for sure and gives an idea of what Sanders could do with Welker out.  I already did a sleeper post on Sanders earlier in the summer and with Welker's injury it is probably a good idea to push up the numbers. 

There you have it.  As always let us hear what you think about what went on.

 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: WES WELKER EXITS AFTER SHOT TO HEAD

                                                       

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker was escorted to the team's locker room after taking a shot to the head from Houston Texans S D.J. Swearinger during Saturday's preseason game between the two clubs.  While Welker got right back up after taking Swearinger's shoulder to the head, the team trainers quickly took him to the locker room for testing. 

Analysis:  This is the exact scenario why I called Welker a major fantasy football bust this summer.  After suffering two more in a long history of concussions last season, it is felt that another one could end Welker's career.  It is much too premature to go that far after not knowing the results of the testing he underwent but still it goes to show you how razor thin the line is for Welker this season and his health.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: NO ACL DAMAGE TO SAM BRADFORD'S KNEE

                                                    

St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford did not suffer any ACL damage in the left knee that forced him out of Saturday night's preseason game.  Less than a year after Bradford tore the ACL in the knee that finished his 2013 season early, there was fear that a re-injury had occurred when he went down early in the game.

Analysis:  So far, so good for Bradford who still has to undergo an MRI.  Shaun Hill is the backup who has played solid football in the past while with the 49ers and Lions but the Rams season would already be likely finished if Bradford is out again.  While Bradford does have talent, ongoing injury woes continue to undermine his potential.

 

2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

With two preseason games in the books, let's take a look at the updated 2014 fantasy football running back rankings.

1.  Jamaal Charles:  Injuring his foot while moving out of the dorm's is a reminder that Charles tends to find injuries sometimes. 
2.  LeSean McCoy:  Like with Charles, McCoy is a bit nicked up with turf toe.  Still he should be raring to go in Week 1 and is aiming for 2,000 yards.  If anyone could do it outside of Charles this is the guy.
3.  Matt Forte:  Still prefer Forte's less mileage and PPR prowess over Adrian Peterson.
4.  Adrian Peterson
5.  Eddie Lacy:  This guy could be scary good this season.  Michael Turner who can catch the football.
6.  Marshawn Lynch:  Sorry but Lynch scares me with his massive workloads and age. 
7.  Giovani Bernard:  The one guy I wish I had but I don't.  Should be in line to be this season's Matt forte circa 2013.
8.  DeMarco Murray:  There is not a bigger risk/reward player in the game of fantasy football.
9.  Montee Ball:  Close to returning from the appendectomy.  Has enough time to get himself in shape.
10. Doug Martin:  A mystery to me as Martin will lose third-down looks this season and didn't run all that great before hurting his shoulder a year ago.
11. Andre Ellington:  I am coming around on the kid, especially after hearing the Cardinals want to use him like Jamaal Charles.
12. Arian Foster:  I am in the minority in being bullish on Foster who I think has one more big year left in the tank.  Will certainly get the chance as he has little competition for work.
13. Zac Stacy:  Has not looked all that impressive this preseason but being a bell cow back is nothing to sniff at.
14. Alfred Morris
15. Reggie Bush:  One has to wonder how much Joquie Bell eats into his work.
16. Toby Gerhart:  Count me among those who think Gerhart could finish higher on this list.
17. Ben Tate:  Tate is another guy I like more than others.  Preseason indicates he will get the ball a ton. 
18. Bishop Sankey:  Not likely to break out of the gates right away due to ball control problems.  Big time talent though.
19. Rashad Jennings:  Will catch a ton of balls in the new West Coast offense for the Giants.
20. Le'Veon Bell:  Yes I dropped Bell this far.  Having the worst non-injury preseason among all running backs.
21. Shane Vereen
22. Danny Woodhead
23. Ryan Matthews
24. Stevan Ridley
25. Frank Gore:  Great career but signs all pointing to decline and Carlos Hyde ready to get goal-line work.
26. Chris Johnson
27. Pierre Thomas
28. Darren Sproles
29. C.J. Spiller:  Wow what a waste of talent.  This is an indictment on the Buffalo coaching staff and not on the player. 
30. Ray Rice
31. Lamar Miller
32. Trent Richardson
33. Steven Jackson
34. Joquie Bell
35. DeAngelo Williams