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Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 16 ISSUES: JAMES WHITE COULD BE SNEAKY GOOD PLAY

While 95 percent of fantasy football championship game rosters are mostly ironclad (due to the fact those players who got those rosters to the final contest of the year will likely be lead on again), there still could be some late-week decisions which need to be addressed like a RB 2 or a WR 3.  On that front, we bring you New England Patriots forgotten running back James White who should be dusted off for Week 16 due to the injury absence of fellow back Rex Burkhead.  It was Burkhead after all who became the apple of Bill Belichick's eye during the second half of the season and combined with starter Dion Lewis; there left little in the way of touches for Super Bowl-hero White.  This after White was a PPR dynamo the first two months of the season where he usually put forth 4-5 catches and 40 yards rushing with the occasional score.  Once Burkhead pushed his way into prominent snaps, White became pushed aside.  Well, White will be needed this week and those who take part in PPR formats should be all over this.

With Lewis remaining the clear-cut starter for the Patriots this week, there is little chance Mike Gillislee will be dusted off by Belichick this late in the year off such a long time on the pine.  Also, Gillislee has been in the doghouse since October due to fumbling problems which likely is still on the mind of Belichick.  So that means White should be highly targeted in this one and 5 catches for 60 yards is very possible.  Throw in a batch of rushing yards and a possible score and White looks like a better play than someone with similar skills such as Theo Riddick or Duke Johnson Sr.


The Hot Stove Season kept on moving Wednesday when USA Today reported that first baseman Yonder Alonso had agreed in principle to a two-year deal worth $16 million with the Cleveland Indians.  With the Indians having just lost incumbent first baseman Carlos Santana to the Philadelphia Phillies, Alonso will simply replace his counterpart; with Edwin Encarnacion continuing to man the DH slot.  So in terms of 2018 fantasy baseball, let's take a closer look at what was a strange year for Alonso in 2017.

Of course the big thing with Alonso last season was his sudden and out-of-the-blue power spike during the first half of the year while with the Oakland A's.  While there is no debating Alonso's previous standing as a top hitting prospect (7th overall pick in 2008) with the Cincinnati Reds, it also is not up for discussion how disappointing he was there and then with the San Diego Padres.  While Alonso had a decent line drive swing, his power never developed as he went into the 2017 season with a career-high of just 9 home runs set in 2012.  That made Alonso a pariah to the fantasy baseball community since it is mandatory that big power comes with the position.  Thus no one paid attention early on when Alonso starting hitting home runs at the jump of 2017 but soon that would change as he went into the All-Star Break with 20 long balls, 43 RBI, and a .275 average.  Impressive stuff and it seemed like Alonso was the new Daniel Murphy in terms of tapping into power midway through a career by changing his approach.  Well Alonso failed to sustain that run and in fact he was a major liability the rest of the way as he hit all of 8 home runs, collected 24 RBI, and batted .254 during the second half of the season (which included a run with the Seattle Mariners after getting deal during the late summer).  Thus it was tough to totally trust what Alonso produced as a whole last season (28 homers, 67 RBI, .266) and so his standing in 2018 fantasy baseball should remain that of a backup first baseman in mixed formats.

What does need to be noted is that it seemed like Alonso did swing for the fences like never before since his 22.6 K/9 was a career-worst and his .302 BABIP was right in the neutral area code.  However buying into the power fully is foolish given the small sample size and so again grade out Alonso as a backup fantasy baseball first baseman and hope for another uptick this season.  Another run like last season would be an added bonus.




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