FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LIKE THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS ON FACEBOOOK

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL TRADE FALLOUT: CARLOS HYDE SENT PACKING, NICK CHUBB COULD BE MID-YEAR MAJOR DIFFERENCE-MAKER

Every year in fantasy football we get situations where a running back suddenly goes from little-to-no playing time and then just like that falls into a tremendous workload based on an injury or a trade.  Think C.J. Anderson a few years ago as a guy who came in for the Denver Broncos in November and then rattled off huge games the rest of the way to tilt leagues on its head.  Such a scenario could now be unfolding in Cleveland where rookie Nick Chubb all of a sudden has a huge workload in his future starting with a very plush assignment Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team traded veteran Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday.  The move was a surprise since T.J. Yeldon had done pretty much in the injured Leonard Fournette's place but it likely had more to do with the never-ending injury woes of the latter who could return in Week 9 from a bum hammy.  Either way, this is bad news for Yeldon, Hyde, AND Fournette who will now have to share a crowded backfield.  Also remember it was just Week 1 where Fournette was working as the clear workhorse until injuring his hamstring and the rest as they say is history.  As far as Hyde is concerned, a nice September where he surprisingly got the lion's share of touches in Cleveland has turned into a very mediocre October which likely prompted the move.  Hyde now sees a drop from RB 2 status to RB 3. 

As far as Chubb, the electric former Georgia star can have as big an immediate impact as former teammate Sony Michel is having in New England in terms of running the ball at least.  Chubb can go zero to sixty in a flash as we saw when he ran for two scores on only 3 carries versus the Oakland Raiders at the end of September.  Chubb is a huge get for anyone who picked him up or who held him the whole season waiting for this moment.  Not to be overlooked is Duke Johnson who will now have more of a chance to contribute his impressive receiving skills.  So all in all, adjust accordingly here as this is one mid-season move that really has shaken up the game. 


Friday, October 19, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: PHILIP LINDSAY SHOWING STAYING POWER

Another week and another game where Denver Broncos speedy running back Philip Lindsay continued to open eyes and cause almost all NFL personnel executives to re-think why he went undrafted last spring.  Thursday night it was Lindsay rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while also catching one pass for another six yards.  Lindsay actually did score a second touchdown but it was called back on a penalty.  Be that as it may, Lindsay now sits with the following numbers:

436 rushing yards
5.8 per carry
2 TD
15 catches
119 receiving yards
1 TD

What quickly jumps out above is the supreme rushing average and it is build mainly on tremendous instant acceleration that gets Lindsay from 0-to-60 in a flash.  This is a very crucial skill for Lindsay as he is slight of build at 5-8 and 190 but is is overall easy to see the home run ability he brings to the field on any given touch.  Unfortunately for Lindsay's owners, fellow rookie Royce Freeman remains in a clear timeshare capacity and that doesn't look like it will change anytime soon.  It is actually probably for the best as Lindsay probably would not be able to handle a full rushing load given his lack of size and Freeman does perform well near the goal-line.  So going forward both Lindsay and Freeman work as RB 2's in fantasy football leagues; with the former having the more potent upside.  Either way, Lindsay looks like a gem not only for the Broncos but for his very happy fantasy football owners this season. 

UPDTAE:  With Freeman having suffered an ankle injury last week, Lindsay may be in line for even more work in the immediate future.  


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: DAVID JOHNSON

This just has to stop.  Please I can't be tortured anymore.  Run after run right into the middle.  Behind a line that was missing their two starting guards.  No imagination.  No movement out in space.  No play action.  Only as severe a case of player neutering I have never seen before in fantasy football.  The madness needs to end Friday morning when Arizona Cardinals OC Mike McCoy gets canned before Week 8 for the second season in a row.  There can be no other way when your best player by a mile David Johnson gets most of his brutal 10 points in garbage time.  A guy who has single-handily destroyed my Experts League team to such a humiliating degree that I am in uncharted territory in terms of futility.  The madness has to end right here, right now.  My season in Experts is over because of this man and thousands of others have fallen by the wayside as well.  Hey, let's run up the middle again! 

Seriously though it has now gone beyond ridiculous with David Johnson who rushed 14 times for 39 yards and caught 3 balls for another 31.  Two of those catches came in garbage time as there was nothing doing here at all which will likely sink me to yet another loss in the Experts League (went from 50 percent chance to win down to 40 with ONE player).  Also condolences to those who picked up Arizona's defense for this one which looked like a decent play on paper considering they have played well lately and Case Keenum and the Denver Broncos offense couldn't get out of their own way.  Here is hoping against hope Steve Wilks reads the tea leaves that he too will be fired by the end of the season if he doesn't make a change but Johnson's utter disgrace of a year so far means it will arrive too late to save out teams. 


Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 7 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 7 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Pat Mahomes
2.  Tom Brady
3.  Matt Ryan
4.  Jared Goff
5.  Cam Newton
6.  Jameis Winston
7.  Andy Dalton
8.  Philip Rivers
9.  Drew Brees
10. Kirk Cousins
11. Andrew Luck
12. Joe Flacco
13. Carson Wentz
14. Matthew Stafford
15. Baker Mayfield
16. Eli Manning
17. DeShaun Watson
18. Mitchell Trubisky
19. Dak Prescott
20. C.J. Beathard
21. Blake Bortles
22. Alex Smith
23. Marcus Mariota
24. Brock Osweiler
25. Case Keenum
26. Sam Darnold
27. Josh Rosen
28. Derek Anderson


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 7 ISSUES: JERMAINE KEARSE SHAPING UP AS TERRIFIC VALUE PLAY GIVEN JETS' INJURIES

It is only Wednesday but already the New York Jets is filled with injuries that will likely reshape the offense for the team in going against the Minnesota Vikings at home in Week 7.  Having already lost top wideout Quincy Enunwa to an ankle injury, deep threat Robert Anderson didn't practice on Wednesday due to a sore hamstring.  Making matters more troubling was that Terrell Pryor also sat out with a sore groin which means Jermaine Kearse is the only man left standing in terms of a Jets wideout having fantasy football value.  Kearse does come off a nice Week 6 where he caught 9 passes from Sam Darnold and those in PPR formats should especially be intrigued regarding his fortunes against the Vikings.  For the time being, add Kearse given the fact Enumwa is definitely out and Anderson's suddenly looking a bit murky to go. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 7 ISSUES: COOPER KUPP (KNEE) RULED OUT WEEK 7

It was no surprise on Wednesday when Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay announced that second-year wideout Cooper Kupp would miss Week 7's game versus the San Francisco 49ers due to the MCL sprain he suffered last Sunday.  It was shocking to see Kupp return to the game after going down in a scary fashion via a horsecollar tackle and one has to wonder if that caused further damage.  Be that as it may, this is good news for Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods who are both in the WR 1 region in a plush matchup against a San Fran defense that just got sone getting strafed by Aaron Rodgers Monday night.  Given the short week to prepare for the nuclear Rams offense, Cooks and Woods figure to put up a bunch of points.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: KRIS BRYANT 3B CHICAGO CUBS

What on earth is going on here?  Just two short years from being in consideration for a top 2-3 pick in fantasy baseball drafts and at a time when he is just reaching the prime years, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is in the process of trying to halt two straight years of declining offensive numbers.  While it was bad enough that Cubs manager Joe Maddon planted Bryant in the second spot in the team's order in 2017 (which robbed him of RBI chances), it is concerning that he still saw declines in 4 out of the 5 standard ROTO categories (all but batting average) that were just the undercard to what became an even more horrifying performance a year later.  Even though this publication and pretty much everyone else in the fantasy baseball community gave Bryant a mulligan for his 2017 dip, no one could have foreseen him hitting just .272 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI in 447 at-bats last season.  Now right off the bat, it does need to be said that Bryant was severely impacted by a persistent shoulder injury that lingered almost the entire second half of the year.  Any shoulder ailment almost always negatively hurt prospective power and so Bryant's sizable decline in homers and RBI can at least partly be explained on that front.  Bryant does need to take some blame though for striking out more often (K/9 going from 19.2 in 2017 up to 23.4 last season) and at the same time drawing fewer walks (14.3 BB/9 down to 10.5 during the same span).  Perhaps the extended slump Bryant dealt with contributed to him being more aggressive at the dish and falling out of his swing more often but the numbers were a complete letdown considering the spring cost.  Finally, Bryant already seems done with stealing bases as he has now gone from a high of 13 in 2015 all the way down to just 2 a year ago.  So after digesting all the negativity, what happens next?  Well let's start with Bryant going into just his age-27 season in 2019 and we all know that is when the prime years begin and often the offensive numbers take off.  We also firmly believe the shoulder was a big problem that both Bryant and the Cubs minimized to the public and was directly responsible for the numbers decline.  So figuring Bryant enters into 2019 spring training with a clean bill of health, we could be looking at a return to around 30 homers, 100 runs/RBI, and an average that will be in the neighborhood of .290.  That would certainly be a mighty valuable batch of numbers and be worthy of a second round pick in drafts.  The best part is that Bryant may slip to Round 3 coming off such a tough season and there we would not hesitate for a second jumping back into a fantasy baseball relationship with the guy.  The talent is just too obvious.
2019 PROJECTION:  .288 28 HR 95 RBI 110 R 7 SB

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: DEVONTA FREEMAN DONE FOR 2018 AS THE INJURY WOES CONTINUE

So in essence Atlanta Falcons running back and former Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman looks completely shot at the age of 26 after it was learned Tuesday he would be headed to IR due to needing groin surgery.  With Freeman having also dealt with knee and foot problems already this season which has kept him to just 14 carries for 68 meaningless yards, pretty much the entirety his 2018 campaign has gone bust and already we have clear evidence the guy serves as an example of a running back who has declined at a rapid rate due to the rough nature of the position.  While no one can take away how good Freeman was his first two years in the league, the troubling signs began in 2017 when he seemingly was hurt all year and didn't run very well when he was actually on the field.  Having always had an upright running style and an all-out approach that invited contact going back to his college days, the cumulative amount of punishment he received hastened this decline.  So now with Freeman out of the way, we get Tevin Coleman serving as the 1A to rookie Ito Smith's 1B and that means pretty much the same division of work in the past when Coleman was 1B to Freeman's 1A.  This obviously means Coleman is the guy to own primarily but Smith has had a knack for collecting touchdowns so far this season so he is worth an add as well.  Also when you think back to Coleman being far from a health marvel, Smith takes on even more long-term upside.  As for Freeman, obviously cut him loose but the Falcons may already be faced with cutting him loose after signing the guy to that big contract prior to 2017. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: JOSE RAMIREZ 3B CLEVELAND INDIANS

One of the major themes heading into fantasy baseball drafts last spring centered on whether or not the jump to 29 home runs for Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez in 2017 was sustainable or not.  Having made a jump from just 11 long balls to the 29 that year, this became a major topic of discussion since Ramirez was being selected in the very pricey Round 2-3 range.  Well one MVP-type season later, we can firmly state that Ramirez is not only a power-hitting dynamo but also a complete five-tool monster as he absolutely went bonkers in all five standard ROTO categories.  Taking another sizable leap in homers with 39, Ramirez also set career-highs with 106 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases.  Even though the average dipped a bit to .272, that was a fluke number due to Ramirez suffering from an unlucky .254 BABIP.  Basically no matter where you looked, Ramirez was exemplary and the fact he made a solid run at a 40/40 campaign speaks to how tremendous a player he has developed into.   Already universally acclaimed for possessing one of the best hitting approaches in the game going into the year, Ramirez dazzled in the advanced metrics world as well with a splendid 15.2 BB/9 and 11.5 K/9 rates.  Really, the only issue was the average but we already talked about how unlucky Ramirez was there with the batted ball.  Driving the latter point home, Ramirez has hit .312 and .318 the two seasons prior and with such exceptional patience/contact ability, there is no reason he can't go back to being a .300 hitter.  So while Mike Trout and Mookie Betts are set as the 1-2 picks in 2019 fantasy baseball, Ramirez is every bit in the discussion to go number 3.
2019 PROJECTION:  .304 37 HR 109 RBI 115 R 27 SB

Sunday, October 14, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: LE'VEON BELL STILL NOT IN TOUCH WITH STEELERS

In what has been nothing short of a ridiculous drama to this point in the season, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell still has not had contact with the team as he continues his holdout amid indications he will finally report during the Week 7 bye.  There are rumors Bell is not happy that the Steelers plan on using him in a committee with the emerging James Connor but this entire episode is a big issue for those owning fantasy football stock in both players.  Those who have shares in Connor want Bell to stay as far away from the team as possible since his arrival would eat into his workload by a decent margin.  Meanwhile, those who own Bell hope to get SOMETHING out of what has been a colossal draft bust pick at the top of Round 1 this past summer.  The best case scenario for both players would be if Bell were to get traded but there is nothing happening on that front yet.  As the drama unfolds heading to the Week 7 bye, hopefully, some more clarity will be found on this mess.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL EARLY HEALTH WATCH FOR SUNDAY'S GAMES

While the ACTIVE/INACTIVE lists won't be released for the 1:00 games until around 11:30 ET, we already are getting word on the following key health-related news:

-Washington Redskisns wideout Jamison Crowder won't be active due to a bum ankle.  It is no big loss since Crowder has been tremendously disappointing this season as he failed to come through as a potential PPR guy with Alex Smith at QB.

-Houston Texans QB DeShaun Watson will be a go.  Watson was never in any jeopardy of missing the game with a chest injury and he should be started with confidence vers Buffalo. 

-Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard will play versus the Atlanta Falcons despite dealing with a knee injury but the return of Jameis Winston at QB who loves to target Cameron Brate at the position is bad news for his fantasy football outlook.

-Once again Redskins running back Chris Thompson can't stay healthy as he will sit Sunday with both a rib and knee injury.  Thompson is a big loss in PPR given his pass receiving chops and he will be replaced by Kapri Bibbs who only has moderate appeal as a deep-league FLEX option.

-New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell will start despite being limited during the week with an ankle injury.  This is a bummer for those who picked up Bilal Powell hoping for a swell workload against a brutal Indianapolis Colts defense. 

-Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will be active Sunday but will be on an annoying snap count of between 20-25 which barely makes him worth starting.  This hamstring thing is becoming a major season-long issue that is turning Cook into a sizable bust.

-Matt Breida will be a game-time decision for the San Francisco 49ers with an ankle injury but given the Monday night start, he should be a no-go for all his owners.

-Greg Olsen will return to the Carolina Panthers today which is a big development for those who snagged him off the waiver wire (there were a decent amount who did) but the re-injury risk is very high.  A true boom-or-bust guy in every start the remainder of the season. 


Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 6 ISSUES: RUNNING BACK SITUATIONS IN FLUX

Week 6 is already underway and we have seen the current chaos at the running back position as the Philadelphia Eagles had to split work between Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood which made it a guessing game among the fantasy football community wondering which guy to use.  There are some other setups at hand for the remaining slate of games to throw further chaos at the position.  Let's take a look:

-It looks like Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will return to a plush matchup versus the Arizona Cardinals but the player then threw some shade on that when he said to reporters Friday he won't go until he is "100 percent."  There is still the chance of re-injury here so Cook is far from a sure thing but it looks like he will be a go.

-The New York Jets have listed Isaiah Crowell as a game-time decision which means Bilal Powell needs to be scooped up everywhere since he is a very capable running back who also is a supreme pass catcher.  Powell would be looking at a tremendous matchup versus a brutal Indy Colts defense but a late report Friday suggested Crowell will give it a go which leaves both in RB 2 territory. 

-San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida was said to have a chance to play Monday despite an ankle injury but there is almost no chance of that happening.  Also given the Monday night start, his owners can't deal with the potential headache of a late scratch.

-Already those who own Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette are pulling their hair out about him missing so much time with an injured hamstring but he was said to have gotten in some work Friday.  Either way Fournette is out Week 6 and maybe even Week 7 by the looks of things.  T.J. Yeldon remains a big RB 1 in PPR.

-There is at least some mild concern that New England Patriots running back Sony Michel is being listed as questionable with a knee issue considering the Sunday night start time and the plush matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs possible being missed.  All signs do point to Michel going but this is something to keep tabs on. 


Friday, October 12, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: SCOOTER GENNETT 2B CINCINNATI REDS

Anyone who took a look at overall 2018 fantasy baseball drafts would have quickly realized that there was very little respect coming Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett's way after what was a very good career-year performance the season prior when he smacked 27 home runs, drove in 97, and batted .295.  What likely stirred this trend was Gennett absolutely sailing past his previous norms in the power categories as he served mostly as a doubles hitter who could post decent averages but also not steal bases while working the middle infield.  While Gennett still doesn't steal bases, his power game was in fine working order again in 2018 as he clubbed 23 home runs, drove in 92, and posted a .310 average in 638 at-bats.  The numbers don't lie as they always say and they read Gennett cementing himself as a mid-20's home run guy who also posts 80-plus marks in runs/RBI, and an average hovering around .300.  That type of four category production works nicely on any fantasy baseball roster despite the small demerit of not much in the way of steals from a position you like to get a decent haul in that category from.  Still, only 28 as 2019 arrives, Gennett was a classic case of a hitter who put it all together when the prime years arrives. Stamp him as 100 percent legit folk and take advantage of any league that overlooks him again. 
2019 PROJECTION:  .304 25 HR 93 RBI 84 R 6 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY WRAPUP: EAGLES/GIANTS

While the NFC East went into Week 6 with no team over .500 and everyone at least having a somewhat legitimate chance to claim the crown, you can now scratch off the New York Giants after what can only be described as a monstrously pathetic effort in losing 34-13 to the Philadelphia Eagles last night.  Still they had one major bright spot:

-Boy Saquon Barkley is the real deal.  In what was a nationally televised coming out party, Barkley was beyond electric in evoking Barry Sanders memories as the former Penn State star rushed for 130 yards and a score on 13 carries; while also chipping in 9 catches for 99 more yards.  Making a literal run at a Marshall Faulk-like season (including possible 100 catches), Barkley already is in the conversation as the most dominant offensive player in football and MAYBE takes a backseat to just Todd Gurley among running backs.  Maybe!

-On the flip side for the Giants, wideout Odell Beckham Jr. failed to build off his terrific Week 5 performance as he caught 6 balls for 44 yards.  With the Giants and QB Eli Manning unable to throw deep, Beckham was effectively neutered in this one from the jump.  So far Beckham's fantasy football owners are not getting what they paid for to secure the first-round talent and now let's see if the next outburst arrives.

-Speaking of Manning, the embattled Giants QB completed just 24-of-42 passes for 281 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT.  Manning is quickly earning a "Checkdown Eli" label as that is all he seems to do nowadays and the passes he was missing were downright scary last night.  Already Manning looks like one of the worst passers in the league and while Barkley has been beyond terrific, it is becoming more apparent by the day the team messed up not taking QB Sam Darnold last April.

-Eagles QB Carson Wentz is now looking like he has knocked off the rust as he was in complete control last night in completing 26-of-36 passes for 278 yards with 3 TD and 0 INT.  Throwing well on the move and showing great timing with his receivers, Wentz looks almost all the way back to his MVP form of last season.

-The main target for Wentz on his big night was wideout Alshon Jeffery who snagged 8 balls for 74 yards and 2 scores.  Once again Jeffery showed a knack for scoring touchdowns but he has been a PPR monster two of the last three games as well.  All the guy has to do is stay healthy which has been his biggest challenge. 


Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1B ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Reaffirming how the fantasy baseball season is six months long and not three, we present to you the maddening 2018 campaign of Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.  A locked-in superstar who had been an incredibly dominant five-tool fantasy baseball for years, Goldschmidt was almost universally seen as one of the most stable prospective first-round picks given the fact he was flat in his prime at the age of 30 and was as durable a player as there is.  What happened next almost defied comprehension as a slow start to the season in March/April (.273, 4 HR, 30.3 K/9) soon morphed into a comically inept May (.144, 3 HR, 31.5 K/9) that actually elicited outlandish talk that Goldschmidt was going through a premature decline or that he was maybe on steroids previously.  While we were as shocked as anyone about how poorly Goldschmidt was swinging the bat, patience was preached from this peanut stand given his youth and for the fact, the veteran was simply fighting through an extended slump which happens to everyone at various times.  Thus, it was no shock when Goldy proceeded to go absolutely nuclear with the bat from that point onward as he batted .364 in June, .317 in July, and .356 in August to completely re-establish himself as the premier first baseman in fantasy baseball.  Despite those rough first two months, Goldy still ended up with another overall dominant campaign as he batted .290 with 33 home runs, 95 runs, and 83 RBI while making it four seasons in a row accruing at least 665 at-bats.  In terms of the advanced metrics, Goldschmidt's K/9 went up a bit to 25.1 but that was skewed by the 30.0-plus marks the first two months of the season.  The remaining four months saw Goldy back to around career norms which means there is no need to say there are some growing holes in his bat.  Really, the only quibble we have with Goldy was the massive drop in stolen bases as he swiped just 7 in 2018 (down from 32 and then 18 the two years prior) but this is no shock when you consider that bigger-bodied players like the D-backs slugger tend to lose their speed quickly when they reach the age of 30.  So while we need to project the loss of steals in Goldy's price tag moving forward, he is still top-shelf in the other four categories which place him again in first-round territory.
2019 PROJECTION:  .295 34 HR 107 RBI 104 R 8 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 6 ISSUES: BAD SEASON JUST GOT WORSE FOR DEVONTA FREEMAN

As 2018 fantasy football drafts got underway, yours truly had the nagging suspicion that Atlanta Falcons running back Deonvta Freeman was someone you may want to avoid.  While Freeman was healthy as training camp got underway, he was coming off a rough 2017 where he missed time with a knee injury and also rushed for fewer than 1,000 yards for the first time since he was a 2014 rookie.  Then there was Freeman's history of concussions and a violent running style that seems to invite contact and thus put the guy in constant additional injury jeopardy.  With very capable backups in Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith behind him, Freeman was also not guaranteed as big a piece of the carry pie as he was from his big years in 2015-16.  

Fast forward to present day and it looks like Freeman will miss Week 6 with a foot injury, which of course follows missing 3 other games with a bum knee.  With just 68 yards rushing, 5 catches, and zero total touchdowns to this point, Freeman has been a gigantic fantasy football bust is every sense of the word.  Already it is beginning to look like Freeman is not able to stay healthy and going back to his days in college, his upright running style has taken a major toll on his body.  While Freeman is still in his prime for a running back, the fact he can't stay on the field is a terrible omen for the rest of the season.  Add in the decent play of both Coleman and especially Smith and Freeman's days in Atlanta could be numbered in terms of 2019.  So while Freeman's owners can't simply just cut the guy loose given the high 2018 price tag, we can't say that things will be getting a whole lot better as we move along.  


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 6 ISSUES: NEW LIFE POSSIBLY ON TAP FOR LeSEAN McCOY

The rumors began in earnest on Monday and by early Wednesday they were beginning to take on a life of their own in terms of social media hype and attention.  We of course are talking about reports indicating the Philadelphia Eagles have engaged the Buffalo Bills about reuniting with running back LeSean McCoy who would presumably fill the void left by Jay Ajayi being lost for the season with a torn ACL.  With McCoy wasting away on a rebuilding Buffalo team, this report makes a ton of sense as the veteran showed in Week 5 that he still has some juice left in the tank and he surely would be rejuvenated going to an Eagles team who have one of the best offensive lines in the game.  It has been a rough go of it so far for both McCoy and his fantasy football owners but this could be a big light at the end of the tunnel if the rumors become a fact.  What is likely happening is that the Eagles want to take a look to see if Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement can adequately handle being the co-starters at running back for the team Thursday versus the New York Giants and if they don't come through, a deal could be completed quickly.  So for those owning stock in McCoy, stay patient as a sizable move upward in value be arriving soon.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: JOSE ABREU 1B CHICAGO WHITE SOX

For the first time in five MLB seasons since coming over from Cuba, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu went down as a fantasy baseball disappointment.  Having established himself the previous four years as one of the most consistent players in the game, Abreu saw his offensive numbers fall across the board as a barren White Sox lineup lent little support and health woes that cropped up during the second half of the season furthered the trouble.  In the end what we got out of Abreu were just 22 home runs, 78 RBI, and a .265 average which all went down as career-low totals for the slugger.  While those numbers fell short of what was anticipated, some perspective is needed here on a number of key fronts as we look toward his potential impact for the upcoming fantasy baseball season.  For one thing, Abreu will still be just 32 when the 2019 season gets underway which still represents prime years for a power-driven player.  In addition, Abreu’s advanced metrics show a hitter who is still the same guy he has always been since making his debut in 2014 when he slammed 36 home runs, collected 107 RBI, and batted .307.  Both Abreu’s BB/9 (6.7) and K/9 (19.7) rates were in the middle range of his historical performances in those categories and one of the main reasons the batting average fell to .265 last season (after previously never going under .290) was due to the fact his .294 BABIP was a major outlier compared to those career norms.  Digging into that crucial last point a bit more, Abreu’s BABIP during his first four years in the majors ranged from .327 and .356 which right there tells you last season’s .294 was a primary cause for the batting average tumble.  Taking this a step further, if you were to throw out the highest and lowest BABIP’s of Abreu’s five-year career (see you later .294 and .356), the remaining three marks would be .333, .327, and .330 which are almost clones of one other.  So it stands to reason that Abreu’s typical BABIP is around .330 which is a sizable leap from the .294 of a year ago and this also means a batting average uptick in 2019 to around .290 is likely.  What will also help the average and the rest of Abreu’s counting numbers would be good health and that was not part of the equation for the first time in his career last season as well.  Having previously never had a season without at least 622 at-bats, Abreu’s paltry 553 total in 2018 compared to his career norms is an easy to spot indicator of why he fell away from the 30-HR/100-RBI mark.  In the midst of what was his best hitting stretch of the season during the month of August, Abreu first was forced to undergo emergency surgery for a strangled testicle (it hurts just typing this).  Things then got even more bizarre in mid-September when Abreu was hospitalized due to complications from an ingrown hair and that proved to be the final nail in the coffin for his 2018 season.  So as you can see, Abreu’s injuries were not of the baseball variety and really were as fluky as can be which means we don’t have to worry about him being a constant source of DL frustration going forward.  With Abreu hopefully having better luck on the freaky injury front, the counting totals should rebound to where they should be.  So in putting this all together, it is easy to make a case that Abreu will go right back to the upper-tier fantasy baseball first baseman he historically has been before his very difficult 2018 clouded the picture a bit.  With some very unlucky health and a tough BABIP combining to do an unfair number on Abreu a year ago, our advice is to take advantage of the draft discount this spring and dive back in here without hesitation. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .288 26 HR 98 RBI 84 R 1 SB  

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: BACK UP AND RUNNING

All right so for those who didn't already notice the new posts from yesterday, we are officially back up and running on a daily basis both on the site and through Twitter (@RotoBoss).  I have to say that we were bombarded with requests and pleas to keep the site going and a few donors helped get things back up and running in terms of the costs I talked about earlier.  So with yesterday being the starting point, we are once again ready to share the latest fantasy football/fantasy baseball news, notes, and features here on a daily basis.  Glad to be back!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: J.T. REALMUTO CATCHER MIAMI MARLINS

J.T. Realmuto:  Meet the new number 1 catcher for 2019 fantasy baseball!  With previous top options Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants both coming off a bad year to differing degrees in 2018, it was the Miami Marlins' J.T. Realmuto who set the bar offensively at the position last season by reaching career-highs in home runs (21), RBI (74), and runs (74); while also batting a solid .277 in the magical age-27 campaign.  While Realmuto had to deal with a severe lack of support in the Miami lineup, he continues to reach new offensive levels every season which is the path you want your prospective fantasy baseball players to be traversing.  The fact Realmuto can combine a good batting average with 20-home runs power makes him extremely valuable due to the utter lack of offensive contributors at the position but of course, the debate about using an early-round pick on a catcher is one of the more pronounced discussions each spring.  By now you all know that our stance is firm in suggesting not to use an early round pick on a catcher and we only have to see the hurt that Posey and Sanchez put on their fantasy baseball owners the year prior as evidence of the risks in making such a move.  With that said, Realmuto is the guy you take if you do choose to go that route and since he is just getting into his prime, there should be nice offensive stability here despite the high risk of injury when manning the tools of ignorance.  About the only other quibble we have here outside of the injury factor is that Realmuto's days of running already appear to be over as he swiped just 3 bags in 531 at-bats last season.  After swiping 12 bases in 2016, Realmuto has sharply declined in that area in taking just 8 and last year's 3 since.  Considering how unmatched the rest of Realmuto's numbers are at the position compared to the rest of the catchers, this is not a major deal by any means in terms of the guy's 2019 value.
2019 PROJECTION:  .279 19 HR 75 RBI 77 R 4 SB 

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: MARK INGRAM USAGE A CONCERN FOR ALVIN KAMARA OWNERS?

Hmmmmm.  When one were to look at the final score of New Orleans Saints 43 Washington Redskins 19 from Monday night's game, fantasy football owners of running back Alvin Kamara had to expect at least one touchdown and maybe two considering the high score.  Add in a bunch of rushing yards and receptions and Kamara would add another layer to what has been a monstrous 2018 fantasy football campaign.  Alas, Kamara's owners had to be at least a bit uneasy seeing the returning Mark Ingram grab 10 more carries than his counterpart (16-6), while also catching one fewer pass but for more yards.  Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the Saints' attack Monday night was Ingram getting all of the goal-line work when it came to a running back getting the carry and the veteran made good on two rushing scores.  Then there was the nott-to-be-overlooked aspect of Saints QB Taysom Hill getting 5 carries for 23 yards and a score himself as the former BYU star is now being featured as a goal-line runner.  Add it all up and Kamara's 6.00-plus points in fantasy football last night was a pure dud.  Now the question is whether or not this was a one-game deal or an indication of how the future attack will look.  As far as my thoughts, I think Ingram is a very real goal-line threat to Kamara and it will only help the former that he made good on two rushing scores from in-close.  Add in Hill's growing role around the goal-line and this is not the development Kamara's owners want.  On the flip side, Kamara was a monster last season with Ingram in the lineup and his receiving back responsibilities don't figure to change much.  So in PPR formats I think Kamara will be just fine at maybe a bit of a reduced RB 1 price but in standard formats there is a concern here for sure.  Stay tuned as the Saints have a bye in Week 6 but this is something to monitor going forward. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DANNY AMENDOLA EXITS WITH UPPER BODY INJURY

Miami Dolphins wideout Danny Amendola was forced out of the team's Sunday game versus the New York Jets after suffering an apparent upper body injury.  Amendola took a hellacious shot to the chest after hauling in a second quarter pass and was in immediate pain while staying down writhing on the ground.  He was tended to by trainers and then exited the field.

Analysis:  Amendola is no stranger to injury and this looked to be a big hit.  Maybe Amendola got the wind knocked out of him but stay tuned for an update.

UPDATE:  Amendola was taken to the tent on the sidelines to possibly be evaluated for a concussion. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES RB JAY AJAYI HEADS TO LOCKER ROOM WITH LEG INJURY

Coming off a big Week 1 performance, Philadelphia Eagles starting RB Jay Ajayi was forced out of the team's game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an apparent leg/knee injury.  Ajayi went out after taking a six-yard loss on an early carry and then was in clear pain as he quickly went to the locker room.  

Analysis:  This did not look good at all so already we have to wonder if Ajayi is seriously hurt.  Remember he has a bone-on-bone condition on one of his knees so it could be related.  Either way, Corey Clement now looks like a big potential add this week.  


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 2 ISSUES: OPEN SEASON ON TITANS OFFENSE

Wow things are already looking downright putrid for the Tennessee Titans offense as they are down not one, not two, but now THREE offensive tackles for Sunday's game versus the ferocious pass rush of the Houston Texans and with tight end Delanie Walker done for the year and QB Marcus Mariota unable to adequately grip the football, this could get downright ugly.  Last night it was backup Titans tackle Dennis Kelly who ended up in the hospital with some sort of virus which follows the loss to starters Jack Conklin (knee) and Taylor Lewan (concussion) that has forced the team to turn to the practice squad to fill the ranks along the starting line.  With Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt, and company licking their chops, those who own the Texans defense have as good a matchup as possible.  Just look away Tennessee fans as it will be comical out there. 






2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL LINEUP WATCH: AARON RODGERS (KNEE) TO START SUNDAY

                                                                

Despite missing almost the entire week of practice, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will START Sunday versus the Minnesota Vikings.

Analysis:  This is a matchup that doesn't make you feel good if you are a Rodgers owner like yours truly is.  The Vikings defense is very capable of knocking Rodgers out early and making this knee situation even worse and also the running part of his game figures to be non-existent as well which is another negative.  I picked up Case Keenum this past week off waivers and am tempted to start him versus the woeful Raiders as a hedge but will likely play this out in my mind until 1:00.  Way too many things can go wrong here.  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: PRIME CHANCE FOR TEVIN COLEMAN TO PUSH DEVONTA FREEMAN ASIDE

It has become increasingly clear over the last season or so that Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman might have reached a tipping point with his all-out hard-charging running style given the fact that he is now slated to miss the next 2-3 games with a knee injury.  Already having a history of concussions that go back to his college days, Freeman will miss games for the second season in a row due to knee trouble.  Still just 26, Freeman was knocked a bit coming out of college due to an upright running style that makes him a big target to hit by defenders and perhaps now we are seeing the physical fallout.  What this means now is that backup Tevin Coleman has a prime chance to shine and show what he could do for an extended run and this carries with it some terrific upside given the fact he has the ability to start for most teams in the NFL.  Coleman is a very good combination of speed and pass-catching ability and he should be graded as a strong RB 2 for the time that Freeman is out.  Also like in New Orleans with Alvin Kamara playing over the suspended Mark Ingram, Coleman has the chance to steal the gig if he can light things up.  Since Coleman is fresh with not a lot of wear on his tires, we like his chances to at least be an impact player for the next few weeks while Freeman is out. 


Saturday, September 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: CLAY BUCHHOLZ SP ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Count longtime veteran starter Clay Buchholz as another member of the pitching "reinvention" club as the 2014-17 punching bag turned in what can only be described as a surprisingly very good 98.1 innings with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.  Things didn't start off so hot in 2018 for Buchholz however as he was forced to accept a minor league deal with Kansas City as a last resort effort to hang around in the majors and even that failed as he got his release on May 1st after the rebuilding Royals decided they had no use for him.  It was when Buchholz signed a minor league pact with the Arizona Diamondbacks soon after his Royals release that the statistical planets aligned for the righty as he shockingly pitched to a splendid 2.01 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and a .217 BAA.  Buchholz pitched so well and so in control (2.01 BB/9) that is hard to even believe this was the same pitcher who almost nobody wanted to even look at prior to the start of the 2018 season.  Having previously lost his strikeout ability (pathetic K/9 rates under 7.00 in three of his previous four MLB campaigns), Buchholz made it a point to rely more on his offspeed stuff and pitch to contact at a higher rate than ever before with Arizona.  Things obviously worked out for the better as Buchholz actually became a big mid-season add in fantasy baseball leagues given his string of dominant outings during the summer before the fun ended in mid-September due to a strained elbow.  Now it does need to be noted that Buchholz' .255 BABIP was well into the lucky range but even his FIP (3.40) and XIP (4.00) ERA's were very good to decent enough respectively.  We worry more about Buchholz' very small margin for error going forward due to the fact his average fastball velocity sank to a career-worst 90.7 last season despite all his positive results.  Thus, it is imperative Buchholz continue down his pitching-to-contact path and that old home run troubles don't resurface.  Finally, considering his age (35 this August) and increased propensity for getting injured, Buchholz should only be graded as an SP 5 for fantasy baseball purposes in 2019.  While it was a fun story last season, we suggest you not go out of your way hoping for an encore.
2019 PROJECTION:  9-7 3.97 ERA 1.22 WHIP 143 K 

Friday, September 14, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL GUYS I LIKE/HATE WEEK 2

Week 2 is already underway as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals took care of the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday and so let's take a closer look at the remaining games to identify the players I like and hate in terms of fantasy football:

Falcons VS. Panthers:  Really like the potential of Devin Funchess in what could be a shootout-type game against an always leaky Atlanta secondary that lost Keanu Neal.  On the flip side, it seems like C.J. Anderson can be released outright in leagues as Christian McCaffrey is going to be force-fed the ball by Ron Rivera.

Chargers VS. Bills:  Mike Williams already looks like he is taking off in his sophomore campaign and Philip Rivers loves to sling it deep as we all know.  Meanwhile pretty much bench every Bills position player including LeSean McCoy for another week. 

Vikings VS. Packers:  I would go heavy on Randall Cobb for a second week in a row even if DeShon Kizer gets the start over Aaron Rodgers.  Kizer will be leery of throwing downfield given his struggles with INT's and this will play right into Cobb's strengths in the slot.  Along the same lines I would bench Geronimo Allison is Rodgers sits out.

Texans VS. Titans:  Derrick Henry has to earn back the confidence of the fantasy football community before using him again and his limited offensive game (almost a zero in the passing side of things) will be up against it versus what looks to be a potent Texans defense.  I would check out Jonnu Smith in place of Delanie Walker as QB Marcus Mariota will continue to fixate on his tight ends. 

Browns VS. Saints:  Dial up Duke Johnson in a matchup that will likely have the Browns playing catch-up in the second half and thus being forced to throw a bunch.  While the Saints did get completely torched on defense last week, they have a history of defending tight ends well which means look beyond David Njoku. 

Dolphins VS. Jets:  Quincy Enunwa seems to be the number 1 target of rookie QB Sam Darnold and this is especially the case near the red zone.  While the resurgent Jets defense doesn't rush the passer well, their athletic linebackers are very good in coverage which could put a cap on Danny Amendola's production. 

Chiefs VS. Steelers:  Both defenses should be benched in this one as the points and the passing offenses will be in high gear.  This applies more to the Steelers unit then the Chiefs' since the latter is not a highly-owned commodity.  Tough to find anyone to really bench here under the premise above.

Eagles VS. Buc's:  Sorry but I am not going to go back to the well on Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Remember that if you weren't there for the wedding, don't be there for funeral.  Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor is becoming quite the PPR gem and he is in line for another big day this week.

Colts VS. Redskins:  Jamison Crowder has a great opportunity to get his season going in a potential shootout versus a brutal Indy defense.  Stay the course with the guy.  We don't feel as strongly for Ryan Grant who needs to concretely show he can be a contributor before we throw him out there. 

Cardinals Rams:  With Larry Fitzgerald likely getting double-teamed, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones has a good chance to bust out with a decent game.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, we think Robert Woods is going to be the one who loses out the most in terms of numbers between he, Cooper Kupp, and Brandin Cooks. 

Lions VS. 49ers:  Dante Pettis should be dialed up everywhere with Marquise Goodwin likely out this week with a quad injury.  In terms of the Lions, Marvin Jones Jr. seems to be getting hurt the most with Kenny Golladay breaking out in Week 1. 

Raiders VS. Broncos:  Leery of Marshawn Lynch this week since the Broncos will likely stack the box after Derek Carr's horrendous performance a week ago.  Speaking of Carr's ugly outing, that puts a major hurt on Amari Cooper who needs to sit until he gets himself going.

Patriots VS. Jaguars:  Chris Hogan was brutal last week and now it is a tall order asking him to get on track versus Jalen Ramsey.  That also means Philip Dorsett is worth trying out again off his nice performance in Week 1. 

Giants VS. Cowboys:  It looks like Cole Beasley will be the main target of QB Dak Prescott and the Giants have a history of struggling to contain him.  Also with the massive amount of targets now at the disposal of QB Eli Manning, wideout Sterling Shepard is looking like he will be the odd man out. 

Seahawks VS. Bears:  Tough to depend on Chris Carson going against a ferocious Bears defensive line when Rashaad Penny remains involved.  One guy we do like is Brandon Marshall who is now the Seahawks' number 1 receiver. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY WRAPUP: BENGALS/RAVENS

-Bengals QB Andy Dalton is now 2-for-2 in putting up very good performances to begin the 2018 fantasy football as he completed 24-of-42 throws for 265 yards with 4 touchdowns in the team's win over the Baltimore Ravens.  Dalton has been exceptionally on target with his throws so far which is no small thing since he has been INT-prone at times in his career but clearly the fact he now has some fresh and healthy receiving weapons to join ace wideout A.J. Green has made all the difference for the guy.  Obviously in two QB formats you need to continue to ride out this Dalton run for as long as it goes and even in single passer leagues Dalton should at the very least be owned as a top backup.  We have seen good seasons out of Dalton in the past that have made an impact in fantasy football which makes what he is doing not a total surprise but keep in mind his history of inconsistency.  

-John Brown has made a nice initial impact with the Ravens as he caught four balls for 91 yards and a score Thursday night.  The history on Brown is that of a big-play threat who is in the mold of a DeSean Jackson and that goes right to their injury history as well.  Brown has much more value in standard leagues given his lack of big receptions campaigns but even in PPR he can work for now as a WR 3.

-Alex Collins fantasy football owners are getting very antsy now after seeing him carry the football just 12 times for 35 yards; while adding 3 catches for 55 more.  Buck Allen received a goal-line carry which he converted early in the game and that is a big potential problem long-term for Collins' fantasy football value.  I myself had good things to say about Collins coming into the season but now things look murky to the point he may only be able to be classified as a RB 3.  

-The bad Joe Flacco returned Thursday night as the Ravens QB completed 32-of-55 throws for 377 yards with 2 TD's, 2 INT's, and a lost fumble.  Flacco missed some easy throws throughout the game and once again held the football too long in taking sacks.  Already Flacco's opening game against Buffalo is being taken with a grain of salt given how bad the Bills are and the chorus for Lamar Jackson will only grow if this continues.  

-Bengals running back Joe Mixon gutted through a knee injury to rush for 84 yards on 21 carries; while catching one ball for 3 yards.  The knee injury cropped up early in the game which sent Twitter ablaze with concerned Mixon owners but he came back to finish it out.  Mixon has gotten bellcow work so far which his owners are happy about and the results have been very good.  Overall, the investment in Mixon has been a good one so far.

-Yeah I personally played the A.J. Green owner in the Experts League last night and it was tough to watch as the Bengals ace wideout caught 5 balls for 69 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Green hauled in the three scores in the first quarter and then went a bit quiet as the Ravens D doubled him.  Either way, it was a tough one to endure facing Green.  On the bigger picture, the health and impact of the Cincy supporting cast of offensive players has done nothing but help Green's upside.  


Thursday, September 13, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY WATCH

Lots of injury talk for fantasy football Week 2 as already many lineup are in flux.  Let's get to all the latest:

-Already with QB Aaron Rodgers not practicing this week and look quite iffy for Week 2, top wideout Davante Adams has been limited with soreness in his shoulder. Adams did say he felt "great" on Thursday which speaks to the likelihood he will be able to give it a go.  Still, if Rodgers were to miss the game, Adams would drop to WR 2/3 status.

-It didn't take long for New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead to get hurt as the oft-injured speedster is in serious jeopardy of missing Week 2 due to a concussion.  This is par for the course for Burkhead who has been an intriguing running/receiving talent but he can't ever seem to be able to hold up to NFL pounding. 

On the flip side, top rookie back Sony Michel got in a limited practice on Thursday but he may not be able to get enough reps to be a go himself in Week 2.  That means James White all of a sudden becomes a major RB 2 asset if both Michel and Burkhead can't go. 

-Tennessee Titans wideout Corey Davis is dealing with some hamstring soreness that kept him from putting in a full practice on Thursday but he claimed he was good to go for Sunday versus the Houston Texans.  Davis finally looked like a potent wideout in Week 1 as he drew a high amount of targets from QB Marcus Mariota and the latter should be good to go himself as his thumb injury from Week 1 is healed enough for him to go out there. 

-Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins was limited again Thursday with an injured foot but there are zero indications that he won't be able to go.  As a result, Hopkins will once again be the second wideout in all of fantasy football behind only Antonio Brown. 

-Marlon Mack continues to be plagued by the hamstring he injured in the preseason and he is iffy at bets to go in Week 2 because of it.  Even if Mack were to go, Nyhiem Hines and Jordan Wilkins will both be involved which keeps each as a RB 3/4. 

-Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is now dealing with an elbow injury after a concussion issue plagued him during the summer.  Big Ben doesn't seem at risk to be a no-go Sunday but his availability at practice tomorrow should tell more the story of what will take place with the veteran. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 2 QUARTERBACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 2 quarterbacks rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Drew Brees
2.  Ben Roethlisberger
3.  DeShaun Watson
4.  Patrick Mahomes
5.  Philip Rivers
6.  Aaron Rodgers
7.  Alex Smith
8.  Andrew Luck
9.  Kirk Cousins
10. Cam Newton
11. Tom Brady
12. Case Keenum
13. Jared Goff
14. Jimmy Garoppolo
15. Russell Wilson
16. Matthew Stafford
17. Ryan Fitzpatrick
18. Matt Ryan
19. Andy Dalton
20. Tyrod Taylor
21. Blake Bortles
22. Nick Foles
23. Mitch Trubisky
24. Joe Flacco
25. Dak Prescott
26. Sam Darnold
27. Marcus Mariota
28. Eli Manning
29. Ryan Tannehill
30. Sam Bradford
31. Derek Carr
32. Josh Allen 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: GREGORY POLANCO OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

It was yet another year of unfulfilled expectations for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco in 2018 as his first half was marked by some horrendous batting slumps and then was followed by him missing the last month of the season due to a deep knee bone bruise that overshadowed a decent second half with the bat.  Then once Polanco was officially done for year with the knee injury, he surprisingly underwent surgery to remedy a dislocated left shoulder in the middle of September.  Having made his debut at the age of 22 back in 2014, Polanco looked destined to be the next version of his then-teammate Andrew McCutchen in terms of possessing five-tool ability and in the process reaching a top-tier status in yearly fantasy baseball leagues.  Alas, it has been nothing but a bumpy road since that time for Polanco as ongoing injuries, inconsistent offensive numbers, and a reputation for not being the hardest worker have made him one of the more volatile players to own in the game.  With that said, Polanco's talent is still obvious and 2018 was a decent overall season as he hit 22 home runs, stole 12 bases, and collected 81 RBI.  Polanco has established a 20-25 home run baseline to go with 10-15 steals which is certainly quite valuable in today's fantasy baseball but there are also negatives in terms of a batting average that has yet to top the .258 he hit in 2016.  The average red flag is certainly being dragged down by a putrid .218 career mark versus lefties but his .263 output against righties is certainly nothing to write home about.  Digging into the numbers a bit more, Polanco is a very rare and strange case of a player who has good speed and who also draws walks (excellent 11.4 BB/9 in 2018) but who for some reason can't reach .300 in the BABIP realm.  With strikeouts not overly concerning either (generally in the 20.0 range in his career), Polanco is actually doing what he should be doing in terms of his approach at the dish but the batted ball luck has not been there.  That could certainly change in 2019 and with some good health, Polanco may finally put forth that upper-level campaign we all have waited for.  While the odds say that won't happen, Polanco can still be a decent OF 2 capable of a 23/12-ish output in homers/steals to go with decent counting numbers in runs and RBI.  Any average uptick would then be treated as a bonus.  If you can snag Polanco at an OF 3 price (and you should be able to given the negative narrative surrounding his stock), then you did well.
2019 PROJECTION:  .263 24 HR 86 RBI 84 R 14 SB  

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 2 ISSUE: INJURY AND BAD HISTORY VERSUS VIKES CLOUD AARON RODGERS; WEEK 2 OUTLOOK

If there were one person who could write a book (non-fiction and nothing of the fantasy variety) about how to try and stop Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from ruining a game for your team under a hail of passing yards and touchdowns, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer would be the guy.  Going back to his days as the team's defensive coordinator and now as the coach, Zimmer has been a decent source of frustration for Rodgers not only in putting a cap on his numbers but also through injury (having been the team that knocked him out with a broken collarbone a year ago).  It is under this premise where we take a closer look at what to do with Rodgers for Week 2 in fantasy football.  Ordinarily you wouldn't waste one second deciding whether to start Rodgers or not but this week we at least need to have a discussion considering Rodgers' shaky history versus Zimmer defenses and now for the fact he is dealing with a knee injury suffered last week versus the Chicago Bears.  Rodgers already failed to practice on Wednesday as he rests the knee and GReen Bay head coach Mike McCarthy has said he is not not anywhere near 100 percent as of this past Monday.  So while the thinking is that Rodgers will be able to go, there is some risk involved here as the Vikes defense looks as potent as ever and one big hit could send him out of the game and ruin his weekly point total.  Now yours truly is invested here as I own Rodgers in the Experts League and his big second half last week allowed me to win my opener.  However I picked up Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum off waivers today and given his very good matchup versus the Oakland Raiders in Week 2, I have myself covered in case I decide to go away from Rodgers.  Again,. I would never ordinarily think of not going with Rodgers in any given week but considering the issues I noted earlier, the conversation should be had.  

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: SEAN MANAEA SP OAKLAND A'S

It was a tale of two halves for Oakland A's starter Sean Manaea in 2018 as he opened up the first month of the season with arguably one of the most impressive outings of the year when he no-hit the Boston Red Sox with 10 strikeouts and that splendid performance helped fuel him to a composite 3.42 ERA and .212 BAA prior to the All-Star Break.  The second half would be nothing but frustration for Manaea however as his ERA during that span shot up to 4.14 and the BAA was not so hot either at an ugly .284.  The bottom then completely fell out in August when Manaea hit the DL with a left shoulder impingement and that ailment ultimately led to season-ending arthroscopic surgery in early September.  As far as the overall numbers were concerned, Manaea actually had a really nice season as he logged an ERA of 3.59 and a WHIP of 1.08 which played well for his fantasy baseball owners.  However if you were to dig deeper on the numbers, you would see that Manaea really didn't pitch as well as his surface ratios suggested.  For one thing, Manaea's .247 BABIP was well into the "lucky" range and when adjusted, his FIP (4.26) and XFIP (4.33) ERA's were quite shaky.  In addition, Manaea didn't miss a lot of bats (his no-hitter notwithstanding) as shown by a very poor 6.05 K/9.  With Manaea not having the ability to extricate himself from trouble via the strikeout, he could see a lot more trouble in 2019 if his BABIP luck goes back toward the mean as expected.  Add in an elevated 1.18 HR/9 and Manaea is looking like a sizable regression candidate this season.
2019 PROJECTION:  14-10 3.85 ERA 1.17 WHIP 155 K  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 2 ISSUES: NO COMMITTEE FOR CARLOS HYDE

As 2018 fantasy football drafts were just getting underway this past summer, I went on record saying how Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde was shaping up as an excellent value play given my belief about how talks of a three-headed committee involving he, rookie Nick Chubb, and pass-catching back Duke Johnson Sr. were overblown.  I felt the Browns singing Hyde to a sizable free agent contract suggested they wanted him to be the primary runner and coming off a terrific 2017 where he showed decent improvement both in running and catching the football, reduced draft ADP was presenting the guy as someone well worth investing in.  Fast forward to present day and everything I said about Hyde over the summer came to fruition in Week 1 as the breakout in carries came out looking as follows:

Hyde:  22 carries for 62 yards and 1 TD
Chubb:  3 carries for 21 yards
Johnson Sr.:  5 carries for 17 yards

As you can see, it was pretty much Hyde dominating carries as Chubb and Johnson Sr. both made cameo appearances toting the football.  While Hyde was not great in terms of average, he picked up where he left off in terms of dominating touches in the preseason as well which means he is the guy to own and carries firm RB 2 value in all fantasy football leagues for the time being.  Now Hyde should be treated as such going in Week 2 and he should even see an uptick in receptions as well given the gains he made in that area last season.  So while Hyde won't win you any leagues by any means, he surely looks like someone who can do his part in claiming your league title. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY NIGHT WRAPUP

Already Week 1 is in the books in 2018 fantasy football as Monday brought up the Detroit Lions absolutely getting destroyed at home by the New York Jets; while the Oakland Raiders came up short in Jon Gruden's return to the team also at home versus the Los Angeles Rams.  As always, let's get to the pertinent fantasy football happenings.

-New York Jets fans you finally have a quarterback.  While things didn't start off well as rookie QB Sam Darnold's first pass was picked off and returned for a score, the USC product was terrific from that point onward in completing 16-of-21 throws for 198 yards and two TD's with the one pick.  Darnold showed great poise throughout the game and deftly scrambled out to complete throws on the run to add another dimension to the Jets passing attack.  Despite it being only one game, Darnold should be added where available as he could gain QB 1 value before too long if this keeps up.

-Not to be overlooked in Sam Darnold's big debut was the smashing performance of running back Isaiah Crowell who rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries in his first game with the team after coming off in free agency.  What is interesting is that Bilal Powell drew the start and got more snaps than Crowell and so this looks like a strict 50/50 committee despite the latter's big game.  That keeps both Crowell and Powell as firm low-end RB 2's.

-Quincy Enunwa made his own return to the Jets after missing all of 2017 with a neck injury and he seemed to quickly become Sam Darnold's number 1 target as he caught 6 balls for 63 yards and one touchdown.  We saw Enunwa do some good things in 2016 in a WR 3 sense and that seems to be where he resides for now in terms of 2018 fantasy football. 

-You couldn't draw up as worse Week 1 for Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford who completed 27-of-46 passes for 286 yards with 1 TD and FOUR INT's while getting banged up on numerous occasions.  At one point Stafford went to the bench after taking a big hit in the first half as veteran backup Matt Cassel came on in relief but he was able to return to what was an epic blowout.  This looks like simply a rough game for Stafford as he has been incredibly productive and consistent throughout his underrated career and so don't cut him loose or jump to any massive conclusions here. 

-While Golden Tate caught the one TD pass from Matthew Stafford, second-year man Kenny Golladay was very good himself in catching 7 balls for 114 yards Monday night.  We all know Golladay has big-play potential and his presence will likely do more damage to Marvin Jones Jr. than Tate.  If available, Golladay should be added where available. 

-The Lions run game was a complete joke last season and so far it seems nothing has changed as starter LeGarrette Blount rushed for just -3 yards on 4 carries before injuring his knee.  While Theo Riddick remains the locked-in receiving back, rookie Kerryon Johnson now has a prime chance to steal the starter's gig with Blount looking unlikely to go in Week 2. 

-Picking up from his insane fantasy football MVP campaign in 2017, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was a monster again in Week 1 as he rushed for 108 yards on 23 carries, while adding 3 catches for another 39 yards and a touchdown.  If you own Gurley, you should at WORST make your league's playoffs. 

-Just when you thought Matthew Stafford took the title of worst quarterbacking performance for Week 1, the Oakland Raiders' Derek Carr gave him a run for the money as he completed 29-of-40 passes for 303 yards and 3 INT's.  While the overall accuracy was good, when Carr missed it was a complete disaster.  While Carr looked like a star in 2015, he has really taken a firm step backwards in his development since then and so he has little to no current fantasy football value.

-Raiders tight end Jared Cook had a game for the ages Monday night despite his QB's struggles as he hauled in 9 passes for 180 yards.  Cook has always had uncanny athletic ability for a tight end but never has found much consistency.  It looks like Jon Gruden wants to feature Cook however and so he should be right there as the top add this week and that goes for those who owned stock in Jimmy Graham or Delanie Walker. 

-Another year and another letdown from Raiders wideout Amari Cooper who managed just one catch for 9 yards to go with one carry for another 9.  This is a reminder of how bad Cooper was a in 2017 and despite his terrific overall talent, he looks set to disappoint again this season. 


Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 INJURY REPORT

Monday is Injury Report day where we look at some of the key injuries from the games the day before in terms of its potential impact for Week 2.  Let's get right to it.

-Obviously the biggest injury news of the day was the knee injury suffered by Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers but amazingly, he came back to the field for the second half and engineered a monumental comeback that included three scoring tosses.  Rodgers admitted after the game there was some "damage" in the knee and head coach Mike McCarthy spoke on Monday about how he has to be looked at by the doctor's again in terms of whether he can go for Week 2.  The key is what the actual damage is and this is no doubt going to remove the running aspect of Rodgers' game which is a decent negative in terms of his immediate fantasy football outlook.  Also the Packers have to weigh whether sitting Rodgers for a game or two to fix the issue is worth it long-term here.  For now all Rodgers owners should be looking at Case Keenum on the waiver wire as a good replacement option. 

-Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will have to try and come back from Sunday's hamstring injury which has his Week 2 status a bit cloudy but backup T.J. Yeldon played well in his place and is right there as one of the top adds off waivers.  As far as Fournette is concerned, he has a history of being a slow healer and so his status for Week 2 can't be anything better than 50/50.

-Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota suffered an elbow injury that knocked him out early in the team's opener to the Miami Dolphins.  While head coach Mike Vrabel said Monday it seemed like Mariota would be all right, he took is likely looking at a 50/50 deal for Week 2 which means the woeful Blaine Gabbert would be under center.  The latter would be very bad news for Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews.

-You can already go ahead and cut loose Titans tight end Delanie Walker who is done for the season after suffering a broken ankle and ligament damage in the joint Sunday.  Jonnu Smith will take over for Walker and he has some deep league appeal given his decent receiving ability. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 WRAPUP

-On a day that included some shockingly great performances by passers who were almost completely ignored in summer fantasy football drafts, Baltimore Ravens veteran Joe Flacco had a day in the park as he completed 25-of-34 passes for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Clearly the additions of John Brown and Michael Crabtree (one TD a piece) boosted Flacco in this one and this was a good way for him to quiet the Lamar Jackson chorus for a bit.  Despite the big game, Flacco is still just a backup QB in single passer leagues but he may be worth a look now in two-passer setups.

-Even the biggest fantasy football novice knew that Buffalo Bills QB Nathan Peterman was no good and he actually made it a debate about whether his outing in Week 1 was just as bad as his five-INT meltdown in his one 2017 start.  Peterman completed just 5-of-18 throes for 24 hours and two INT's before mercifully being sent to the bench.  This has to be the Josh Allen show now but the bigger story has to be how running back LeSean McCoy was completely bottled up in facing stacked defenders in the box.  Anyone who owns stock in McCoy can't be feeling very good about their investment.

-The sophomore campaign of Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is off to a smashing start as he rushed for 95 yards and a score with one TD; while also adding 5 catches for 54 yards.  This is the kind of monster PPR output expected of Mixon in his disappointing rookie campaign but the talent was never in question here.  Those who bought low on Mixon this summer are already well ahead of the game.

-It was a very successful return to the field for New York Giants ace wideout Odell Beckham Jr. Sunday as he hauled in 11 balls for 115 yards in the team's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.  After missing almost all of 2017 due to a broken ankle, Beckham looked none the worse for wear in quickly getting back on the same page with QB Eli Manning.

-Typical Tom Brady Sunday as the ageless wonder completed 26-of-39 throws for 277 yards with 3 TD and 1 INT.  No matter how old he gets, Brady doesn't seem to ever drop-off statistically and 2018 looks no different.  After Aaron Rodgers, Brady is right in the conversation as the second-best QB in all of fantasy football.

-We spoke for much of the summer about how Houston Texans QB DeShaun Watson was concerning to us coming back from the second torn ACL going back to his college days and he struggled badly Sunday as he completed just 17-of-34 throws for 176 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Clearly there is a rust factor here as Watson hardly played at all in the preseason and he missed almost all of 2018 after that amazing but short-lived debut run.  Have patience here as Watson looked good running in picking up 40 yards on 8 carries but there could be some short-term growing pains.

-Having lost his favorite receiving target in Marquise Goodwin early in the game, San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo was terrible Sunday in a tough matchup versus a top Minnesota Vikings defense.  Garoppolo completed just 15-of-33 throws for 261 yards with 1 TD and 3 INT but we can overlook this one a bit given the level of defensive competition.  Still, we advised you all not to pay teh exorbitant cost on Garoppolo in drafts this summer as he could be going through some growing pains in his first full season as a starter.

-While he was bottled up for most of the day, New York Giants superstar rookie running back Saquon Barkley got his big-play TD as part of his 18 carries for 106 yards and a score outing versus the tough Jaguars defense.  He also added two catches for 22 yards in showing off his pass receiving game as well.  Considering that Barkley still went for over 100 rushing yards against the toughest defense in the league, bright days are ahead.

-Cincinnati Bengals ace wideout A.J. Green had a typical day at the office for him as he caught 6 balls for 92 yards and a score versus the Indianapolis Colts.  With the Bengals now having some weapons to help Green out in the offense, he could be headed back toward 80-plus catches and around 10 scores.

-It was the stuff of legend Sunday night as Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took his fantasy football owners on a roller coaster of emotions.  First it looked like Rodgers was done for the season before even playing a half as he injured a knee and then went to the locker room, on a cart. Rodgers would return for the second half though and would throw three touchdown passes to lead the Pack to the win over the Chicago Bears.  Overall Rodgers completed 20-of-30 passes for 286 yards and the 3 scores basically on one leg.  While Rodgers may be limited in practice this week, he should be ready to go in a tough matchup versus the Minnesota Vikings.

-Packers wideout Randall Cobb was the main target of Rodgers in the great second half comeback last night and the slot man looks to once again be a top WR 3 who could maybe reach 2 status in PPR formats.  Cobb wound up catching 9 ballsfor 142 yards and a score and for now should be placed as a firm every-week guy as long as Rodgers is upright. 

-Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton has never been someone I actively chased in yearly fantasy football given his inconsistency the last two seasons and the fact only once in his career has he been a big passing numbers guy.  Sunday was no different as he completed 17-of-26 throws for just 161 yards but Newton did pick up a rushing score in rushing for 58 yards on 13 carries.  As always, it comes down to what Newton does in the run game that makes a big difference in his weekly outings and I still would not feel comfortable having him as my weekly starter. 

-With the Seattle Seahawks having seen tight end Jimmy Graham leave for Green Bay and ace wideout Doug Baldwin not even be able to finish the opener, veteran wideout Brandon Marshall may have a fantasy football role to look into as he caught 3 balls for 4 yards and a score.  While the last two seasons have been rough, Marshall could be back as a number 1 wideout in an offense if Baldwin sits this week.  Pick him up.

-It was a mixed bag outing for Tennessee Titans wideout Corey Davis on Sunday as he hauled in 6 balls but for just 62 yards.  Now with QB Marcus Mariota banged up, Davis remains a shaky WR 3 going forward.

-Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had arguably the most impressive preseason of any offensive player in football which caused his stock to soar in summer drafts but he was back to his more usual self on Sunday in catching 6 balls for 45 yards and adding 50 yards rushing on 10 carries with a lost fumble.  Ron Rivera has made it a point to get McCaffrey more involved in the run game but C.J. Anderson got 7 carries and of course Cam Newton got the rushing score.  McCaffrey is still a top RB 2 in PPR formats but in standards his weekly output may not be as conducive to that format. 

-The Miami Dolphins backfield setup was a hot topic during the summer drafting season and the opener gave credence to the notion that Frank Gore would split work with Kenyan Drake.  Gore wound up rushing for 61 yards on 9 carries as he showed terrific burst and cutting ablility despite his advanced age and he was much better on that side of things than Drake who rushed for just 48 yards on 14 carries.  Now Drake did add 3 catches for 18 yards which helps in PPR but this looks like a frustrating setup for the latter. 

-I said all week that Dolphins wideout Kenny Stills was a big play with Devante Parker out injured and he came through by catching 4 balls for 106 yards and 2 scores.  Stills has always had a knack for scoring touchdowns and Sunday was no different.  He remains on the WR radar in all leagues. 

-Let's not go overboard with Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissley who known for his blocking in college and not much else.  Yes the 3 catches for 105 yards and a score was a nice surprise Sunday but Dissley likely just caught Denver defenders off guard.  For now just monitor Dissley's progress but an add is not yet needed. 

-Alex Smith has a new favorite toy in the Washington Redskins offense and it is running back Chris Thompson as the latter caught 6 balls for 63 yards and a score; while also adding 5 carries for another 65 on the ground.  Thompson has already stamped himself as a very good RB 2 in PPR formats and this just confirms such a notion. 


Sunday, September 9, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LEONARD FOURNETTE (HAMSTRING) TO GIVE IT A GO IN SECOND HALF

Updating an earlier item, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will give it a go to begin the second half after getting his injured hamstring wrapped. 

Analysis:  Good news I guess for Fournette's owners but no guarantee this will work.  Also the Jags have been in control throughout the game as well so maybe no need to throw Fournette back out there as well. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARQUISE GOODWIN EXITS WITH INJURED QUAD

San Francisco 49ers wideout Marquise Goodwin was forced out of the team's opener versus the Minnesota Vikings with an injured quad and is questionable to return. 

Analysis:  Just minutes after Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette exited with his own injury, Goodwin goes out with the quad.  Having failed to even catch a pass prior, we could be a looking at a complete waste of a game for Goodwin depending on if he can return.  There were great expectations attached to Goodwin this season given his rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo but now his immediate outlook is dicey at best. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LEONARD FOURNETTE NOW HEADED TO LOCKER ROOM, DOUBTFUL TO RETURN

Updating an earlier item, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette went back into the team's locker room due to the hamstring injury he suffered in the second quarter of the team's game versus the New York Giants.  Fournette was first being stretched out on the field but then quickly went back to the locker room when that failed.  T.J. Yeldon is now working as the primary back. 

Analysis:  Wow already.  Fournette is a magnificent talent but can't ever stay healthy.  Yeldon would be the add this week if Fournette were to miss time but obviously this is an early blow to all the LSU product's owners. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LEONARD FOURNETTE HEADS OFF WITH APPARENT INJURY

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette hobbled off the field with an apparent hamstring injury during the first quarter of the team's game versus the New York Giants and is uncertain to return. 

Analysis:  Forunette was off to a nice start before limping off clutching his hamstring and so his loss would be big.  He has a long history of injuries though so this is also par for the course here.  Stay tuned for an update.  


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 LINEUP ISSUES: CAMERON MEREDITH AND RONALD JONES INACTIVE HAVE MAJOR RAMIFICATIONS

Some surprises came down the pike when it came to the inactive lists for the early 1:00 games and the two that really stood out were New Orleans Saints wideout Cameron Meredith and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie back Ronald Jones being placed in street clothes.  Now in terms of Meredith, I said from the beginning to pick up rookie wideout Tre'Quan Smith who was excellent all summer and really opened the Saints coaching staff's eyes.  Smith could have a big Week 1 and then stake his firm hold on a starting WR 1 role in a loaded offense.  Meanwhile, the Buc's will now make Peyton Barber a workhorse back which means he should be started everywhere in Week 1 as a big runner/receiving option.  Two guys I told you all summer looked like major values and the early inactive news point both in that direction. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: NO CHARGES FOR LeSEAN McCOY

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy will not be charged due to a lack of evidence from the offseason home invasion of his former girlfriend and ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports he is not likely going to be suspended for any games by the NFL as well. 

Analysis:  McCoy has a terrible Week 1 matchup versus the Baltimore Ravens and he needs Josh Allen to get under center quickly in order to not have so many stacked boxes to face but at least he is in the clear in terms of possible charges.  Try and avoid his Week 1 matchup and then proceed with him as just a RB 2 beyond. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 LINEUP NEWS: WILL FULLER (HAMSTRING) OFFICIALLY OUT

Updating an earlier item, Houston Texans wideout Will Fuller is OUT Sunday due to a hamstring injury. 

Analysis:  Apparently things didn't go well during warmups as Fuller can't give it a go.  Fuller has a world of talent but he has never been able to stay healthy going back to his college days.  His loss is a big one for his fantasy football owners in an anticipated shootout versus the New England Patriots on Sunday.  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 LINEUP NEWS: JOSH GORDON (HAMSTRING) TO START SUNDAY

Despite battling a sore hamstring leading up to the game, Cleveland Browns wideout Josh Gordon will start Sunday for the team versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Analysis:  Gordon has had a tough offseason as he missed extensive time in the summer with off-the-field issues and now is battling the bum hammy.  While he is starting today, Gordon will be on a snap count and there is brutal weather in Cleveland which will make throwing tough.  Your best course of action then is to bench Gordon if you can.  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 TIGHT END RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 1 tight end rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Rob Gronkowski
2.  Jimmy Graham
3.  Travis Kelce
4.  Trey Burton
5.  Delanie Walker
6.  Jordan Reed
7.  Kyle Rudolph
8.  Evan Engram
9.  David Njoku
10. Jack Doyle
11. Greg Olsen
12. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
13. Ben Watson
14. Ricky Seals-Jones
15. George Kittle
16. O.J. Howard
17. Tyler Eifert
18. Ryan Griffin
19. Eric Ebron
20. Cameron Brate
21. Jared Cook
22. Antonio Gates
23. Charles Clay
24. Mike Gesicki
25. Jake Butt


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 WIDE RECEIVER RANKNGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 1 wide receiver rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  DeAndre Hopkins
2.  Keenan Allen
3.  Antonio Brown
4.  Michael Thomas
5.  A.J. Green
6.  Davante Adams
7.  Adam Thielen
8.  Stefon Diggs
9.  Odell Beckham Jr.
10. Larry Fitzgerald
11. Tyreek Hill
12. Golden Tate
13. Chris Hogan
14. Jarvis Landry
15. Mike Evans
16. Amari Cooper
17. Brandin Cooks
18. Emmanuel Sanders
19. Marvin Jones Jr.
20. JuJu Smith-Schuster
21. Demaryuis Thomas
22. Doug Baldwin
23. Robert Woods
24. Allen Robinson
25. Corey Davis
26. Jamison Crowder
27. Cooper Kupp
28. Josh Gordon
29. Michael Crabtree
30. Marquise Goodwin
31. Kenny Stills
32. Devin Funchess
33. Mike Williams
34. Pierre Garcon
35. Robby Anderson
36. John Ross
37. Danny Amendola
38. John Brown
39. Kenny Golladay
40. Jody Nelson
41. Sterling Shepard
42. Keelan Cole
43. Sammy Watkins
44. Randall Cobb
45. Tyler Lockett


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 LINEUP NEWS: TEXANS WIDEOUT WILL FULLER (HAMSTRING) UNLIKELY TO BE A GO

                                                              

Houston Texans wideout Will Fuller will test out his injured hamstring during pregame warmups but the expectation among various reports is that he will be OUT Sunday. 

Analysis:  If Fuller does sit as anticipated, this is a big loss for his fantasy football owners as he developed a tremendous rapport with QB DeShaun Watson a year ago and the game versus the New England Patriots figures to be a major shootout.  With Fuller out and DeAndre Hopkins getting double-teamed, Bruce Ellington and tight end Ryan Griffin should have a chance to be decent DSF options and for those in deeper leagues. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 LINEUP NEWS: DEVANTE PARKER (FINGER) OUT SUNDAY

                                                                  

As anticipated given the doubtful label heading into Sunday, Miami Dolphins wideout Devante Parker will be OUT due to an injured finger.

Analysis:  Those in PPR formats should be all over Danny Amendola as he will get a bunch of targets from QB Ryan Tannehill working in the slot and also rookie tight end Mike Gesicki has a golden opportunity to hit the ground running with a solid receiving game as well.  In addition, look for running back Kenyan Drake to be heavily involved in catching passes out of the backfield which makes him a prime RB 2.  For those who are in standard formats, Kenny Still is the big-play man in the Miami passing offense and should have a good chance to reach the end zone given the injuries on the Tennessee defense.  


Saturday, September 8, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 GUYS I LIKE/HATE EACH GAME

Today we unveil a new feature where yours truly zeroes in on guys I LIKE or HATE in each game of the NFL slate in terms of fantasy football.  This will mostly be a list of guys who are not considered top guys and possibly available on waiver wires since we all love Antonio Brown or David Johnson every game.  So let's get to it:

Steelers VS. Browns:  I LIKE David Njoku a ton for the Cleveland Browns not only for this game but long-term.  This optimism will only go up once Baker Mayfield is installed as the starting QB.  One guy I HATE is Jarvis Landry who I don't think sniffs 100 catches this season given the proclivities of Tyrod Taylor under center and the vast arsenal of receiving weapons on the Browns.  

Bengals VS. Colts:  I LIKE John Ross to finally show his breakneck speed and big-play ability in a game that could have shootout tendencies.  On the flip side, avoid Eric Ebron as I think Colts QB Andrew Luck will be keying on more on Jack Doyle.  

Titans VS. Dolphins:  I really like Miami Dolphins wideout Danny Amendola and especially in PPR formats with Devante Parker our injured.  Try to avoid Corey Davis as Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews figure to be the primary receivers for QB Marcus Mariota.  

49ers VS. Vikings:  In another game that could have a ton of points, Marquise Goodwin should get a ton of looks from QB Jimmy Garoppolo and this is especially true with since the 49ers will likely be coming from behind later in the game.  This scenario hurts 49ers running back Alfred Morris who doesn't catch the football and could be looking at a quiet game.

Houston VS. New England:  James White is going to catch 5-8 balls for sure in this one as the Texans and Pats will be marching up and down the field all game long.  Just be sure not to go overboard with Philip Dorsett after a decent preseason.  The guy stinks.

New Orleans VS. Tampa Bay:  Peyton Barber should be started everywhere as the Buc's will lean on the run game to try and keep this one close and that also means a bunch of short throws from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Also, while I do like the long-term outlook on Tre'Quan Smith, Cameron Meredith seems like he is healthy enough now to hold him off.  

Jacksonville VS. Giants:  Keelan Cole is now the new number 1 wideout for the Jaguars with Marqise Lee out for the season and his skill set torched the Giants defense a year ago.  I do think Sterling Shepard should be benched for Week 1 just to see how things play out given the massive competition for catches on the Giants now.  

Buffalo VS. Ravens:  I am not liking most offensive players in this one but John Brown seems ready to do his big-play thing again now that he has his health in order.  Just do yourself a favor and bench anyone in a Bills uniform who plays offense.  

Kansas City VS. Chargers:  Mostly big-name players all around in this one but I do think Mike Williams is well worth starting since the shootout scenario is in play here and he is the team's top red-zone weapon.  Meanwhile, Antonio Gates needs to work off a bunch of rust before we go down that road again.  

Seattle VS. Denver:  I'm a Chris Carson fan all the way and he needs to be in your lineup Week 1 since the Broncos are horrible stopping the run.  Just be careful with Tyler Lockett who does have a prime spot now in the Seattle offense but needs to prove he can do it before entering the circle of trust.  

Washington VS. Arizona:  Jamison Crowder will catch 80 balls at least this season.  Mark it down.  Just don't fool around too much with Adrian Peterson.  

Dallas VS. Carolina:  Michael Gallup looks to honestly be the only competent receiver on the Cowboys this season which is telling how bad this group is.  That makes him a decent play in PPR leagues.  Just leave Dak Prescott on the bench for the reasons stated above.

Chicago VS. Green Bay.  Liking Randall Cobb a bunch now that he is healthy and working the slot with Aaron Rodgers slinging it.  Mitchell Trubisky has all the toys now but again we got to see him do before diving in.

Jets VS. Detroit:  Bilal Powell has always been underrated and he can also catch the ball very well which will help in a game that could see a bunch of points.  Just don't go back to the well on Kenny Golladay just yet before seeing if there is enough leftover behind Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate.  

Rams VS. Oakland:  Jared Goff is the real deal and he will show that once again this season as he looks out at a tremendous batch of receivers.  As far as Oakland is concerned, Marshawn Lynch is gimpy and running into a fierce Rams defensive line that is legit.  


Friday, September 7, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 INJURY REPORT: CHARGERS DEFENSE A SHELL OF ITSELF VERSUS CHIEFS

Friday is always Injury Report day in the world of fantasy football so let's get to the pertinent health questions going into Week 1.

-On paper the Los Angeles Chargers had one of the best defenses in the NFL and they often went as a top-five unit in summer fantasy football drafts.  That defense has been decimated however going into Week 1 as top corner Jason Verrett was already now and now star pass rusher Joey Bosa will join him on the sidelines.  With the Kansas City Chiefs and their plethora of offensive players staring back across from the Sunday, the Chargers defense now looks like a shaky play.  In fact, this one has shootout written all over it. 

-Miami Dolphins wideout Devante Parker is doubtful to go on Sunday which means Kenny Stills takes on firm WR 3 appeal and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki has a prime opportunity to come firing out of the gates with his massive potential.  Both guys should be started. 

-Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald will join holdout running back Le'Veon Bell on the sidelines Sunday which removes two key weapons for QB Ben Roethlisberger.

-All signs point to the knee injury suffered by Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman Thursday night as nothing major but still we have to be a bit concerned about how banged up he has been going back to the start of 2017.  Freeman runs very hard and upright as well which lead to big hits and the injury problems and so this is something that bears watching going forward.

-Cleveland Browns wideout Josh Gordon is no longer on the injury report despite being limited by a sore hamstring this past week but he will remain on a snap count according to head coach Hue Jackson.  This makes Gordon a very risky WR 3 in all formats as it makes it imperative he scores on the few plays he will be in for. 

-Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack is questionable for Sunday with a sore hamstring of his own but he got in practices both Thursday and Friday.  If Mack does play, he will split work with Jordan Wilkins which makes them both non-starters in terms of fantasy football usage.  If Mack sits, Wilkins has some FLEX appeal but not much. 

-Hoston Texans wideout Will Fuller will be a game-time call with his own hamstring injury but the signs point to him sitting out.  Like with Gordon, Fuller would be on a snap count if he does play so it is best to go with more stable options for Week 1.

-New England Patriots rookie running back Sonny Michel is questionable for Sunday but even if he goes, Rex Burkhead is expected to get the majority of carries for the team during the game.  Michel carries good long-term upside but for now his usage will likely be unpredictable to begin the season.