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Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL QB POSTSCRIPT

With the 2018 fantasy football season in the books, now is the time to check in on all of the positions with a look towards 2019.  Today we begin with the QB's where the offensive numbers were truly insane and were led by 50 touchdown throws.  With most leagues correctly operating with just one QB in their starting lineups, here are some tidbits from yours truly with a look towards next season.

-First off, every single one of us will have a strong temptation to draft Mahomes in Round 1 and especially in Round 2.  The numbers were absolutely insane throughout the 2018 season and it is likely he was on more league champions than any other player (he was on the runner-up squad in our Experts League).  While the allure is there, I will suggest not going down that road as it is still a very dumb idea going QB in Round 1 or 2 when everyone else is stocking up on the supreme running backs and wideouts.  You will really be putting yourself behind the rest of your league using such a strategy and since the depth at QB is so deep in going about 14-15 players deep in terms of starting-caliber guys, it makes it double a bad choice to tab Mahomes.  Those in your league who get a Christian McCaffrey in Round 1 and then a JuJu Smith-Schuster in Round 2 can easily get a Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield, or a Carson Wentz in the middle rounds are in so much better shape than those who go Mahomes in Round 1 and then go a shaky back like a David Johnson on Round 2.  So while we all would love to have Mahomes, it still is not a good idea to go a passer early on no matter who it is. 

-Once again, I will be all over value at QB as I historically have done but I will admit to breaking my own rule this past summer when I took Aaron Rodgers at the start of Round 3.  While it was not the first two rounds, I really hurt myself in terms of not stocking up more on backs and wideouts and then sat back and saw those who took Ryan, Rivers,Mayfield, Mitch Trubisky, and Jared Goff all end up with monster values.  I will not make that mistake again. 

Now in terms of 2019, guys who should come nicely priced and who could pay off significantly include once again Ryan and Rivers; not to mention Carson Wentz who is coming off a second straight season where he failed to finish the year on the field.  While Wentz' injury woes are becoming a major concerns, he remains a supremely talented passer when on the field and I will take a shot here and back him up with a Trubisky or a much more affordable Jimmy Garoppolo to be safe.

Another guy I love for 2019 in terms of upside/price if Mayfield who just set the rookie TD passing record with 27.  Mayfield has the "it" factor that will make him a stud for years and the fact the Browns already trust him to air it out is a major bonus to his value.  Sign me up. 

-Guys who will likely be past my price point next season figure to be Mahomes, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, DeShaun Watson, Rodgers, and Russell Wilson.  A few things here:  I already did a separate post about the December fades Brees has had each of the last two years and his ongoing struggles on the road now make this old favorite of mine someone I will gladly pass on.  Wilson is also concerning in that he threw at a drastically lowered rate in 2018 as the Seahawks ran the ball like in the old Marshawn Lynch days.  So while Wilson was excellent with his 35 passing scores, his margin for error was very low each week given the low amount of overall throws.  Finally, Rodgers dealt with groin and knee injuries last season and also another concussion for a guy who has had a history of them.  Rodgers is squarely on the back nine of his career now and outside of Davante Adams, is lacking in weaponry.  He has never been with more question marks than he is now coming off a somewhat rough 2018 campaign. 


Saturday, December 29, 2018

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL INITIAL TOP 24 PPR LOOK

Yes we haven't even put the 2018 fantasy football season to bed for those who have games scheduled for Week 17 but this is how we view the top 24 overall players for 2019 PPR leagues.

1.  Todd Gurley
2.  Saquon Barkley
3.  Christian McCaffrey
4.  Ezekiel Elliott
5.  Alvin Kamara
6.  Le'Veon Bell
7.  Antonio Brown
8.  Michael Thomas
9.  Melvin Gordon
10. James Connor
11. Davante Adams
12. Julio Jones
13. Adam Thielen
14. DeAndre Hopkins
15. Travis Kelce
16. Patrick Mahomes
17. Zach Ertz
18. Odell Beckham Jr.
19. Tyreek Hill
20. JuJu Smith-Schuster
21. Mike Evans
22. Keenan Allen
23. Philip Lindsay
24. Stefon Diggs

  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL POSTCRIPT: ODELL BECKHAM JR. WR NEW YORK GIANTS

For the fourth time in five NFL seasons, New York Giants ace wideout Odell Beckham Jr. will fail to play in all 16 games as he wound up sitting the last four contests of 2019 due to a serious quad injury.  Injuries and missed time have gone hand-in-hand with Beckham's stellar receiving ability and it is this setup that he will take into drafts next summer where he should drop into firm Round 2 territory for the first time since bursting onto the NFL scene.  In terms of his 2018 production, Beckham was every bit the WR 1 he always has been when on the field as he grabbed 77 balls for 1,052 yards and 6 scores but again we are talking about more missed time undermining the overall product.  Since Beckham's injuries are becoming more than a trend, it is impossible to make him a first round pick in fantasy football drafts next summer given this crucial negative.  As it is, we initially already have Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones all ranked ahead of Beckham for 2019 and you could make the argument that JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyreek Hill should be above him as well.  Thus, a second round grade should be a certainty for Beckham next season and even then he carries tremendous risk to continue missing outings. 


Saturday, December 22, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: DOMINGO SANTANA OUTFIELDER SEATTLE MARINERS

Perhaps unfairly lost in the shuffle that was the crowded Milwaukee Brewers outfield in 2018 was multi-category contributor Domingo Santana who actually spent time back in the minor leagues despite hitting 30 home runs, swiping 15 bases, and batting .278 in what was a terrific breakout campaign the year prior.  Alas, the arrivals of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich last winter pushed Santana out of the picture last season but he received new life last December when the Brewers traded him to the Seattle Mariners.  As a result of the move, Santana will now move into a firm starting outfield spot for the Mariners for the start of the new season and that will put him back in play as an intriguing power/speed upside pick in spring drafts.  While Santana really needs to get the strikeouts under control (29.3 and 33.8 the last two seasons), the power/speed game makes him well worth a speculative pick in the late middle rounds.  

2019 PROJECTION:  .255 22 HR 67 RBI 75 R 14 SB  

Friday, December 21, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: REDS TO ACQUIRE YASIEL PUIG, MATT KEMP, ALEX WOOD FROM DODGERS

Wow.  Having hinted at a bit of a change in direction this offseason in an effort to finally break through in winning a prospective World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the verge of trading outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp; plus starting pitcher Alex Wood to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Homer Bailey and prospects.  The move is a potentially big one for the Dodgers who could be clearing the outfield decks in order to make a run at Bryce Harper and thus, take that big stab at finally winning a World Series that has been so close the last few seasons.  As far as the Reds are concerned, they have made it no secret their desire to not only find an outfield bat this winter but also a decent starter and this deal more than addresses both needs.  Taking this from each player's perspective:

Matt Kemp:  More of a throw-in for the deal, the veteran Kemp comes off a 2018 where he hit 21 home runs, drove in 85, and batted .290 in his second go-round with the Dodgers.  Far from the super five-tool player he once was during his earlier stint with the Dodgers, Kemp has dropped down to just a three-category now (homers, RBI, average) and health has become a big issue of late for the 34-year-old.  Moving to the launching bad ballpark in Cincy is certainly a positive though and this will help keep Kemp as a top OF 3 for 2019 fantasy baseball.

Yasiel Puig:  Always very high on talent but short on maturity/health, Yasiel Puig has been an annual temptation for those in the fantasy baseball community.  Despite his earlier troubles, Puig's talent is undeniable and he was very good at times in 2018 as he batted. 267 with 23 home runs and 15 steals in just 405 at-bats.  The fact Puig hit 23 homers in so few at-bats is telling here and moving to the offensive haven in Cincy will only increase his success there.  Add in the 15-20 steal speed and Puig could finally be set to explode into the five-tool monster we all thought he could be.  While you still have to worry about his off-the-field issues, Puig is a guy who will be on bold letters on my personal draft sheet this spring.

Alex Wood:  The very solid but underappreciated Alex Wood now goes to Cincy which is not ideal for his fantasy baseball value but the talent remains here in a strong SP 3 sort of way.  Wood has put forth some very good strikeout rates in the past and his ratios usually are solid as well.  Health has been an annual problem though and Wood has also struggled to pitch deep into games which takes away some of his win potential.  Despite all of this, Wood looks like an SP 3 talent who can be had at a nice SP 4 price this spring. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: JURICKSON PROFAR ON THE MOVE TO OAKLAND

The story of Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar and his MLB comeback after years of endless injuries/surgeries was one that should have gotten more ink than it did.  The number 1 consensus prospect a number of years ago based on five-tool potential Profar was nothing but a rumor from 2014-17 as he couldn't stay healthy and then struggled badly when given a chance by the Rangers.  Alas, 2018 finally brought the health planets in alignment as he accumulated 594 at-bats and put up the following numbers while playing all over the diamond as one of the most versatile players in all of fantasy baseball:

.254
20 HR
77 RBI
82 R
10 SB
14.8 K/9
9.1 BB/9
.269 BABIP

Looking at the numbers above, the 20/10 split in homers/steals brought back memories from the power/speed chatter that encircled Profar when he was first coming up the minor league ladder and he also was a nice contributor in runs and RBI as well.  While the .254 average was ugly, Profar's .269 BABIP helped unfairly drag that number down a bit.  So in essence, Profar should have hit for a higher average to go with the nice contributors in the other four categories.  The only obvious negative is the fact Profar will be moving from one of the very best hitting parks in the majors to one of the worst in Oakland but that is as far as the bad news goes.  In addition, the arrival of Profar in Oakland signals the end of Jed Lowrie's tenure there and also could push prospect Franklyn Barreto back to the farm.  Be that as it may, Profar should be a guy you target in the middle rounds to help all over the field when needed and who retain some nice upside.  


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ANDREW MILLER LOOKING LIKE CLOSING SOLUTION FOR CARDINALS

To say that the St. Louis Cardinals had massive instability at the closer position throughout 2018 would be a gross understatement and the crucial struggles there wound up dogging the team all season.  It began when prospective closer Trevor Rosenthal succumbed to Tommy John surgery and then a succession of replacements failed to hold things down such as what we saw out of Bud Norris or Jordan Hicks.  Given that remaining glaring hole, the Cards apparently are on the verge of signing top lefty setup man Andrew Miller to serve as their closer to begin 2019 and on stuff alone the guy is certainly capable.  Last season 's injury-fueled struggles aside (4.24 ERA), Miller has arguably been the most dominant setup arm in the game from 2014 through 2017 as he logged the following insane numbers:

2014:  2.02 ERA, 14.87 K/9
2015:  2.04 ERA, 14.59 K.9
2016:  1.45 ERA, 14.89 K/9
2017:  1.44 ERA, 13.64 K/9

Those are some seriously mind-boggling numbers as Miller has virtually been unhittable when healthy which he wasn't a year ago.  Be that as it may, Miller apparently has checked out on the health front for the Cards to be close to signing him and so graded him out as a closer to begin 2019 certainly looks like a very fantasy baseball-friendly thing.  If Miller is right physically, he can easily go back to his 2014-17 numbers and overnight become a top-five closer for 2019 fantasy baseball.  While there is not likely to be much of a discount on Miller given his glowing rep in the fantasy baseball community, he should be right there as one of the very best in the game nailing down saves this season. 


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL CRISIS POINT: DREW BREES QB NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Talk about feeling a sense of deja vu.  It was a year ago at this time when New Orleans Saints perennial top-tier superstar QB Drew Brees absolutely hit the statistical skids at the worst time; going bellyup when the 2017 fantasy football playoffs came around which in the end cost most of his owners their league titles.  Already with a reputation for being a dominant at home passer who on the flip side became quite ordinary on the road, Brees has virtually repeated the same struggles he went through a year ago this month.  After arguably being the most productive QB in the game outside of Patrick Mahomes leading into December, Brees has been nothing but a liability since as his last three games have looked like this:

@Dallas:  18/28 for 127 yards 1 TD 1 INT
@Tampa Bay:  24/31 for 201 yards 1 TD 1 INT, 1 rushing score 1 lost fumble
@Carolina:  23/35 for 203 yards 0 TD 1 INT

That is a grand total of 2 passing scores, 3 INT's, and nothing more than 203 yards passing in any one game.  And yes all three games came on the road which further validates the criticism of Brees as being an extreme road/home split guy in the latter stages of his career.  As a result, this all has to be factored into Brees' 2019 fantasy football draft cost where he figures to be in the mix as the top passer to come off the board once Mahomes is picked.  Brees certainly is not alone in struggling as a big-name passer as both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have had disappointing seasons but the fact of the matter is he will be 40 in 2019 which further adds to the concern here.  The silver lining in all of this though is the fact Brees will be home for the championship round versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in what is shaping up to be a huge shootout.  On the fast turf at home, Brees is a monster so throwing him back out there in that game is actually advised but he may not have many owners left in contention given what we have seen of late. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MICHAEL BRANTLEY OUTFIELDER HOUSTON ASTROS

Given that veteran outfielder Michael Brantley had been nothing but a monumental health mess the previous two years, it was no great surprise when the veteran hitter found himself in the late-round territory when it came to spring drafts prior to the start of 2018.  While this publication was running out of patience with Brantley and all the missed games like everyone else, we also made it a point to say that the guy remained one of the very best pure hitters in baseball.  Continuing on that point, we also made sure to point out if Brantley could ever just scratch out 500 at-bats again, he could prove to be a tremendous value play.  So whether Brantley was praying to the health gods or not, all the planets aligned on that front as he amassed 631 at-bats in what turned out to be a nice comeback season in 2018.  Capable of hitting for average in his sleep, Brantley predictably batted .309 and still showed himself to be a power/speed asset by cracking 17 home runs and stealing 12 bases.  When you add in the 89 runs scored and 76 RBI, it was an all-around impressive haul of numbers by Brantley.  With all that being said, however, we still need to be cautious regarding an investment in Brantley this spring since he still carries an injury-prone label which will only grow at the age of 32.  On the flip side, Brantley is almost a lock for another .300 average and a near 15/15 output in homers/steals which means if you can snag him at an OF 3 price, be sure to do so.  Finally, Brantley signing a two-year deal as a free agent with the Houston Astros places him in a slightly better offensive ballpark which lends some more optimism to the overall picture. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .310 15 HR 74 RBI 83 R 11 SB  

Sunday, December 16, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL FREE AGENT SIGNINGS: WILSON RAMOS LANDS WITH THE METS

If you were to take out the never-ending injury problems that have plagued his very underrated career to this point, New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos would universally be looked at as a top option at the position in almost all fantasy baseball leagues each spring.  The fact of the matter though is that Ramos' well-documented history of getting hurt has made him nothing more than a mid-round pick each season but if you were to follow our lead like we annually suggest in these pages, you took the plunge here anyways given the vast upside.  None other than the forward-thinking Rays made such a choice and were rewarded with a performance out of Ramos that served as the impetus for them to flip him to the Philadelphia Phillies at the July 31 deadline for solid prospect haul.  In terms of the numbers, Ramos hit 15 home runs, drove in 70, and batted a collective .306 to finish as one of the best catchers in 2018 fantasy baseball.  So while we don’t love the move to pitching-leaning Citi Field with the Mets, we can confidently say that the 31-year-old will hit for a very good average for a catcher (above .300 two of the last three seasons) and supply around 15-20 home runs.  Yes, the injury risk remains high (especially with no DH in the NL) but Ramos has few peers right now at the position this season. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .288 17 HR 74 RBI 53 RBI 0 SB  

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER MEETINGS TRANSACTIONS: YONDER ALONSO SENT TO WHITE SOX TO POSSIBLE ENTICE MANNY MACHADO

Another hitter who the fantasy baseball community felt the regression police would drag down during the course of the 2018 season was at-the-time Cleveland Indians first baseman (he was traded to the Chicago White Sox last week) Yonder Alonso but it was sort of a mixed bag on that front.  While Alonso did take a jog back on the power as anticipated (going from 28 homers in 2017 to 23 a year ago), the lefty swinger posted a career-high 83 RBI in the stacked Cleveland lineup.  Beyond the homers and RBI, however, Alonso was a liability as he batted just .250, scored 64 runs, and had a bagel in steals.  It does need to be said that Alonso has at least cemented 20-25 home run power after serving mostly as a doubles first baseman during the first 7 seasons of his career and an unlucky .283 BABIP last year did help to depress the average a bit below where it should have been.  With that said, Alonso only nets starting usage as a UTIL or CI bat in mixed leagues as guys with his profile can be had at a dirt cheap rate.

2019 PROJECTION:  .264 24 HR 79 RBI 65 R 1 SB  

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: CARSON WENTZ UNABLE TO FINISH SEASON YET AGAIN

A year ago at this time it was a torn ACL in his knee.  This time around it is a back fracture.  Combined together, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz has now been unable to finish a season for the second year in a row; putting a major hurt on those fantasy football owners who trusted in his ability to deliver league glory.  Now in terms of 2018, Wentz was very good for long stretches of his 11 games as he tossed 2 or more touchdowns in 8 of those contests and also went for over 300 in five.  Alas, Wentz' worst stretch of games came late as he was shaky in two of his last four and then he suffered the back fracture which adds more legitimacy in terms of his fragile physical state.  After all, when you can't finish a season for the second year in a row, the injury-probe label gets slapped on the player no matter what and this is what Wentz will carry with him into the offseason.  Now the flip side of this is that next summer Wentz should carry a very attractive fantasy football draft cost which should get the attention of those who like to look for value at the very deep QB position.  The talent is certainly not in question here but Wentz as an early mid-round pick next summer appears to be a very tantalizing proposition and pairing him with someone like a Jimmy Garoppolo or even a likely discounted Tom Brady would be a swell idea.  So while Wentz once again let his fantasy football owners down in the stretch run, the outlook is still quite enticing. 


Thursday, December 13, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER SIGNINGS: FLURRY OF ACTIVITY WEDNESDAY

While the biggest names remained on the market, there were still a bunch of signings Wednesday at the Winter Meetings which will impact respective fantasy baseball values:

Charlie Morton:  Morton heads to the Tampa Bay Rays for two years and $30 million and will look to pick up where he left off as a monster first half performer in 2018 for the Houston Astros.  By now we all know how Morton unleashed additional velocity midway through his career which greatly upped his K/9 rate and he was cruising with a sub-3.00 ERA last season before injuries derailed things.  Morton has never been the picture of health and his home run problems will likely be exacerbated a bit in the AL East.  That will push Morton down from SP 2 territory to more of an SP 3. 

Lance Lynn:  3 years and $30 million was the freight the Texas Rangers handed Lance Lynn which is surprising considering he was brutal for almost all of 2018.  With a K/9 rate that has cratered after Tommy John surgery a few years back, Lynn logged a 4.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP but he is still only 31 which lends hope he can come back a bit.  Be that as it may, going to the offensive haven in Texas is a potential recipe for disaster and so Lynn is really just AL-only fodder for now.

Jeurys Familia:  The New York Mets bring back long-time closer Jeurys Familia but this time to work in setup in front of newly-acquired monster closer Edwin Diaz.  The cost was three years and $30 million which is a lot for setup but the Mets are not paying Diaz much will offsets things.  In the end though, Familia only has moderate value in holds leagues.

Justin Bour:  One of our favorites for a number of years, first baseman Justin Bour inked a one-year deal worth $2 million with the Los Angeles Angels. Unfortunately, Bour had a rough 2018 and now will likely share first base/DH duties with Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani.  Not much value here outside of AL-only leagues.

J.A. Happ:  While you never like to get in bed with pitchers who operate in the AL East, J.A. Happ has proven he can succeed here as he was excellent during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and then with the New York Yankees last season.  The Yanks brought Happ back on at hree-year deal at $17 million per and so he will remain in the top SP 4 range off a 2018 where his K/9 was at his highest level ever. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING WINTER MEETINGS NEWS: YANKS BRING BACK J.A. HAPP ON THREE-YEAR DEAL

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--Lots of drama here this morning with free agent starter J.A. Happ who has come to agreement to return to the New York Yankees on a three-year deal.  The drama centered on the fact Happ got the Philadelphia Phillies to go three years on a prospective deal last night and the Philly media contingent said they deal was pretty much done.  Not so fast as Happ's representation took the offer to Yanks GM Brian Cashman this morning to see if the team would match.  While it may not have been a straight match all the way down the line in terms of dollars, the Yanks went from two to three years on their original proposal which was enough to land Happ.  Happ only has to pass a physical for it to get done.  Good stuff here as the Yankee reporters were circled in a cluster this morning waiting for updates as this was going on.  With Happ now in the fold, look for Cashman to quickly move to trade Sonny Gray and also possibly step up his pursuit of Manny Machado. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: INCREASED CHATTER THE YANKS WILL GET MACHADO

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--With the majority of personnel departing Thursday, these Winter Meetings so far have fallen well short of expectations in terms of big deals being signed or trades consummated.  With that said, there are some embers burning that could turn into a transaction inferno before too long.  Specifically speaking, the general consensus here is that it is only a matter of time before the New York Yankees reel in Manny Machado.  GM Brian Cashman has already met TWICE with Machado's agents since arriving here and there has been mutual interest for awhile here.  Where there is smoke, there is fire and the fact that word publicly got out that the Yanks are willing to move 2018 rookie sensation third baseman Miguel Andujar means a framework could already be in place here.  Finally, there has not been any other team other than the Phillies and the White Sox who have been overly aggressive on Machado like the Yankee have.  Stay tuned.

-Speaking of the Yankees, they remain very interested in top setup men Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller and last night met with Ottavino's agent.  Ottavino has stated publicly his affinity for New York and the Mets are also engaged here as well.

-In terms of the J.T. Realmuto talks, the three-team deal with the Mets, Marlins, and Yankees never really went anywhere and those talks morphed into Miami asking the Mets straight up for Amed Rosario for the All-Star backstop.  The Mets don't want to move Rosario since it would be just moving pieces around and in fact, they began peddling back to Martin Maldonado last night as now the Phillies are becoming more of a prime factor in the Realmuto talks.

-There were instantly raised eyebrows regarding the three years and $50 million the Phillies handed aging outfielder Andrew McCutchen.  While McCutchen is still productive, he is a level down from his past MVP days with the Pirates and is not the kind of move that Phillies fans were expecting going into the winter. 

-The Cincinnati Reds have been quite active here as they look to engage the Dodgers in talks for outfielder Yasiel Puig and the Yanks for pitcher Sonny Gray.  They also are open for bringing back Matt Harvey on a short-term deal. 




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER MEETINGS SIGNINGS: ANDREW McCUTCHEN NETS A THREE-YEAR DEAL WITH THE PHILLIES

As he gets set to likely join his fourth team in the span of two years after coming to agreement on a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, former MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen is having a tough time holding his offensive numbers at the age of 32.  In a 2018 season split between the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees, McCutchen batted a career-worst .255 with a paltry 20 home runs and 65 RBI in a massive 682 at-bats.  Yes, a bunch of those plate appearances was in the spacious San Francisco ballpark but McCutchen's numbers started sliding a few seasons which is a trend that seems to be picking up speed.  Speaking of speed, McCutchen's 14 stolen bases last season was his most since 2014 which is at least encouraging for his overall value but we saw the effects of age through another personal-worst 21.3 K/9.  With McCutchen posting a neutral .304 BABIP last season and still drawing walks in the process (13.9 BB/9), we are getting a true reading of the type of player he has become of late.  While McCutchen can still help you hold down an everyday starting spot this season as he remains in a prime hitter’s park, it centers mostly in the OF 3 range.

2019 PROJECTION:  .262 20 HR 75 RBI 79 RBI 11 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL QB RANKINGS

With the 2018 fantasy football playoffs now into the semifinal rounds, let's see where the QB's stand as we get ready to put the finishing touches on the proceedings. 

1.  Patrick Mahomes:  Meet the new no-doubt top QB for present and 2019 fantasy football.  Not even close for second.
2.  Drew Brees:  Tremendous season until Brees has hit the skids in December for the second year in a row.  Still showing troubling road issues as well. 
3.  Andrew Luck:  It goes to show you that when healthy, Luck is still as good as there is.  His days of running however may be finished given that he has just 101 on the ground for the season as of this writing. 
4.  Aaron Rodgers:  Not the year Rodgers' owners were anticipating but a new offense tailored to his strengths should ensure a nice rebound in 2019. 
5.  Jared Goff:  Give me Sean McVay's QB anytime. 
6.  Cam Newton:  Newton was having an MVP season until his shoulder went bad.  Still the premier run/pass QB in all of fantasy football.
7.  Philip Rivers:  A lifetime underrated achievement award belongs here.
8.  Matt Ryan:  Ryan is back in the fantasy football good graces with his second monster year in three seasons.
9.  Ben Roethlisberger:  The numbers are phenomenal but we put Big Ben here given the uncertainty of his coming back for 2019.
10. Russell Wilson:  There are some razor-thin margins here given that Wilson has thrown it at a rate below everyone listed above him but high TD total and continued rushing contributions make him worth being placed higher.
11. Carson Wentz:  Take full advantage of any Carson Wentz discount next season. 
12. Tom Brady:  It goes to show you how deep QB is now that we have Brady this far down.  The overall numbers are down this season and Brady may lose Gronk for 2019 due to retirement as he heads into his age-42 campaign.  A smidge less confidence than we previously have had here. 
13. Mitchell Trubisky:  Yes the interceptions have spiked lately but other than Cam Newton there is not a better run/pass QB in the game.  Also gets bonus points for being in a Matt Nagy offense.
14. DeShaun Watson:  We always have to worry about injuries but Watson has generally been very good this season coming off the ACL tear.
15. Kirk Cousins:  Given the offensive weapons at his disposal, there is no reason Cousins should have the mediocre numbers he is carrying along all season. 
16. Matthew Stafford:  Rough season for sure here but Stafford has generally been a very good buy throughout his career.  Don't count out a nice rebound.

THE REST
17. Jimmy Garoppolo
18. Baker Mayfield
19. Josh Allen
20. Marcus Mariota
21. Jameis Winston
22. Lamar Jackson
23. Dak Prescott
24. Josh Rosen
25. Eli Manning
26. Josh Rosen
27. Andy Dalton
28. Derek Carr
29. Blake Bortles
30. Case Keenum


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: THREE-TEAM DEAL FOR J.T.REALMUTO/THOR JUST TALK FOR NOW

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV.--It generated a ton of headlines late Monday night but no deal is close regarding the New York Mets/Miami Marlins/New York Yankees trade entering on Noah Syndergaard and J.T. Realmuto.  Besides the obvious challenge of the Mets doing a deal with the Yanks, the Marlins are not very keen on doing another deal with Brian Cashman considering how much grief they got over the Giancarlo Stanton swap.  In addition, the Mets only will deal Thor in a trade where they are overwhelmed and getting just Relamuto doesn't qualify according to team sources.  In terms of where this deal is from Miami's end, they are willing to take Brandon Nimmo for Realmuto if it is a deal involving just the two squads but then they also want shortstop Amed Rosario which Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen won't do.  So as of now, there is nothing concrete here other than some rumors that could serve as posturing.

-The catcher market is heating up here as Wilson Ramos and Yasmany Grandal are meeting with various teams and the Boston Red Sox are floating around Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez in trades.  Also, the Toronto Blue Jays will basically give Russell Martin away if they can.

-Yanks GM Brian Cashman reiterated he is not interested in meeting with outfielder Bryce Harper which removes a big possible destination for Scott Boras' client.  There is much more chatter here regarding Manny Machado who Cashman will meet with Tuesday.

-The Tampa Bay Rays are in ongoing talks to bring in Nelson Cruz to be their everyday DH and there is interest from both sides.  They also are interested in chatting with Adam Ottavino to possible serve as their closer since he will likely come much cheaper than Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, and David Robertson. 

-J.A. Happ is in talks with the Phillies, Braves, and Yankees at this point but the Noah Syndergaard talks are at least quieting his dialogue with the latter right now.

-The Dodgers continue to mull whether to dive fully in on Machado but they also are exchanging some ideas with the Detroit Tigers for Nick Castellanos. 




Monday, December 10, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE SIGNINGS: BILLY HAMILTON HEADED TO THE ROYALS

The first signing of the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas will likely become official by the time you read this and it centers on the rebuilding Kansas City Royals bringing in outfielder Billy Hamilton on a likely short-term deal.  After being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds earlier this winter in coming off a rough season at the dish (.236, 4 homers, 74 runs), the Royals snatch him up to fill an outfield spot on a team expected to be one of the worst in the majors in 2019.  Now in terms of Hamilton the player, he obviously is known for his massive stolen base potential and the 34 thefts he had a year ago snapped a string of FOUR straight years of going for over 50 in that category.  Unfortunately, Hamilton has pretty much proven himself to be a one-trick pony as he has hit .250 or worse in four of his last five full seasons and he is an almost complete zero in home runs and RBI.  So in essence what we have is a two-category guy (runs, steals) whose ugly averages and non-contributions in the power categories remove some shine from the all the stolen bases.  That means Hamilton remains just a low-end OF 3 based almost solely on his ability to pick up a high number of steals but in actuality you can snag someone off waivers who may be able to do contribute a similar haul of numbers. 


Sunday, December 9, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: LOTS OF BIG NAMES SHOULD FIND NEW HOMES

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV.--Ready for some action?  The trades and signings should come fast and furious over the next five days as the much-anticipated Winter Meetings gets underway.  We will be here to provide all of the transactions as they occur and the thought is that some major movement will be seen in all directions.  With that said, let's check in on some key names before the moves get going:

Bryce Harper/Manny Machado:  These two will continue to be linked together due to the expected $300 million-plus price tags expected to be gleaned by both.  Right now the Machado market seems a bit more crowded than Harper's; with the New York Yankees interest in the former driving a lot of that.  The thought here is that since the Yankees saved so much money in losing out on Patrick Corbin, that they now have more to spend on a potential Machado deal. 

Complicating matters for both is that the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be out on both given their trade for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt so that takes some leverage away.  Additionally, Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said publicly that his team is likely moving on from Harper.  Finally, the Yanks have no scheduled meeting with Harper will further limits his market.  It is currently unknown whether Harper erred in not taking $300 million from the Nats but as of right now, there doesn't appear to be many teams beyond the Phillies and maybe the Dodgers who seem inclined to take on such a mammoth deal for the outfielder. 

Starting Pitching:  With Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi off the board, the competition will heat up for remaining available arms Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Madison Bumgarner, Sonny Gray, Charlie Morton, and J.A. Happ.  The Yanks will likely move Gray sometime this week; with the Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland A's serving as current favorites.  Meanwhile, Kluber is getting a ton of attention as the Indians seem very inclined to deal him after re-upping Carlos Carrasco through at least 2021. 

As far as the rest of the arms, almost everyone believes Happ and the Yanks will find common ground on a deal this week, while the Braves and Cardinals will be heavily in on Keuchel and Morton. 

-Relievers:  The bullpen market has yet to get going as the industry waits to see what closer Craig Kimbrel will receive.  Right behind him are Zach Britton, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, and Andrew Miller.  Once Kimbrel is signed, the rest should go quickly. 




Friday, December 7, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT MAY SEE SLIGHT DIP IN NUMBERS MOVING TO ST. LOUIS

With just one more year left on his contract and the team showing no interest in re-signing him, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier in the week as the rebuild is now fully underway.  It certainly was a roller coaster ride season for Goldy in 2018 as a truly horrific first two months brought forth questions regarding where he was possible declining at an early stage.  This was then followed by vintage Goldschmidt for the final four months as he looked like his annual first-round self.  Now at the age of 31, Goldschmidt has to start over on a Cardinals team that is looking to shake things up in order to get back into contention in 2019.

Now in terms of Goldschmidt, he finished 2018 with the following numbers:

.290
33 HR
83 RBI
95 R
7 SB

Considering how bad Goldschmidt was the first two months of the season, it was double impressive how good he was the last four months.  The 33 homers were also the third time in four years he reached such a level and he has hit .290 or better each of the last six seasons.  Still in his prime years, Goldschmidt looks safe to trust again as a top-five fantasy baseball first baseman for 2019 but there are some small caveats to discuss.

The first is that Goldschmidt is not running as much anymore as the 7 steals he had a year ago were down from 18 the season prior and at the age of 31, his contributions there may not be very potent from here on out.  In addition, Goldschmidt moving to St. Louis puts him into a much better pitcher's park from the launching pad he previously operated in while with Arizona.  So it stands to reason Goldschmidt will lose some homers, RBI, and runs with the Cards this season but mostly in the small range. 

So in the end, Paul Goldschmidt remains a top fantasy baseball first baseman who can be take in the late first round or sometime in Round 2 range.  The move to St. Louis was not great for his numbers but also not a disaster either. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE SIGNINGS: JONATHAN SCHOOP LOOKS FOR NEW START IN MINNY

How do you go from being one of the brightest hitting youngsters in baseball one year and then devolve into a journeyman the next?  Just ask new Minnesota Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop who was forced to settle for just a one-year deal with the team worth $7.5 million on Thursday.  For Schoop, the short-term deal was a direct result of what became a truly rough 2018 campaign where he put up the following numbers in a year split between the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers:

.233
21 HR
61 RBI
61 R
1 SB
.261 BABIP
3.8 BB/9
23.0 K/9

Those numbers above came just a year from when Schoop became an overnight sensation with the Orioles in 2017 when he slammed 32 homers with 105 RBI and 92 runs scored at the age of 25.  As a result of that type of rare power production from a second baseman, Schoop became a popular target in 2018 fantasy baseball drafts.  The end results for those who took such a plunge were not positive however and that has caused his 2019 fantasy baseball stock cost to sink as far as his new contract terms with the Twins. 

So what went wrong last season and can Schoop go back to his 2017 numbers?  First of all, it did fell like we were witnessing a bit of an outlier campaign from Schoop in 2017 as he had only hit 15 homers the year prior and was not looked at initially as a top prospect.  The big problem for Schoop in every season since becoming a pro has been an utter lack of walks and we saw that again a year ago with his pathetic 3.8 BB/9 mark.  With Schoop not drawing walks, it leaves him susceptible to an ugly batting average and even more so due to the fact he has little speed to overcome any BABIP curves.  So in essence it is all about power here as Schoop really needs to hit 25 homers or more to be an everyday fantasy baseball second baseman and this is now far from guaranteed now that he will be calling spacious Target Field home.  While Schoop does have impressive natural power, his negatives in stolen bases and likely batting average don't make him stand out much in terms of his 2019 outlook. 




Thursday, December 6, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE BREAKING NEWS: NATHAN EOVALDI BACK WITH RED SOX ON FOUR-YEAR DEAL

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to bring back starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on a four-year deal worth around $17 million a year which removes yet another name from the quickly-drying pitcher market.  Just two days after top starter Patrick Corbin inked a mammoth six-year deal with the Washington Nationals, Eovaldi got his new pact with the Red Sox which surely was helped by some epic postseason performances that helped the team claim the 2018 World Series.  After logging a 3.33 ERA with the team after coming over in a midseason trade, Eovaldi went nuts to the tune of a 1.61 mark in the postseason to help further cement his status as a late blooming pitcher.  Having undergone two Tommy John elbow surgeries, Eovaldi's previous seasons spent in various MLB locales were filled with ugly ratios and a K/9 rate that fell way below expectations considering his potent fastball.  While Eovaldi's fastball coming in a bit straight has always been seen as a big reason for the lagging K's, he began to change that narrative last season both with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Red Sox due to fine-turning his offspeed stuff.  Eovaldi now has the payday to prove he has broken through in the minds of the MLB industry and so we need to figure out where he goes from here in terms of prospective fantasy baseball value.  On that front, Eovaldi looks capable of being a decent SP 3 since he will win games on a very strong Red Sox squad and his recent uptick in performance could include an ERA in the mid-3.00 range.  Still, Eovaldi has to prove he can be a consistent strikeout guy over the course of a full season and also stay healthy.  Ideally he looks more of an SP 4 from this vantage point but the Red Sox glare means he won't come that cheap at the draft table.  Ultimately we think Eovaldi has in fact reached a new level of performance that can be trusted. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE NEWS: YANKS MOVING ON TO J.A. HAPP, NATHAN EOVALDI, MADISON BUMGARNER

With the New York Yankees refusing to go to a sixth year on Patrick Corbin which essentially handed him to the Washington Nationals, the team and GM Brian Cashman quickly pivoted to engaging with fellow free agents hurlers J.A. Happ and Nathan Eovaldi in order to fill the last opening on the starting staff.  The consensus all along was that the Yanks would be able to bring back Happ with around a three-year deal as both sides were very satisfied with how their relationship went the last two months of last season but Cashman remains enamored of Eovaldi who put himself into postseason lore by coming up big for the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs and into the World Series this past October.  Then there is the Madison Bumgarner issue as the San Francisco Giants seem hell-bent on moving their ace and getting back a prime return to help replenish what is widely considered one of the worst farm systems in baseball.  Bumgarner is receiving a ton of attention though from other clubs such as the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Milwaukee Brewers and so it likely will take a prime young player/prospect in order to get that deal completed.  

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE FALLOUT: NATS WILLINGNESS TO GO TO SIXTH YEAR NETS THEM PATRICK CORBIN

Well that certainly went beyond what was originally anticipated.  The shock regarding the massive six-year deal worth $140 million that the Washington Nationals handed to free agent starter Patrick Corbin was still the talk of baseball last night and into Wednesday morning as the numbers and even length of contract went well above what was originally anticipated.  As we tweeted out Tuesday morning, Corbin had eliminated the Philadelphia Phillies from his pursuit but was angling offers from the Nats and New York Yankees in order to try and gain a sixth year and additional dough.  The Yankees reportedly refused to go to a sixth year in Corbin due to their strong belief they can fall back on J.A. Happ for half that contract length and so when the Nats did go that route, they won the sweepstakes despite the player himself growing up a fan of New York.  In the end, six years and $140 million was seen as a gross over-payment by the Nats for a guy already with a Tommy John surgery under his belt and who relies very heavily on a slider that often leads to more health trouble.  

So in terms of the fallout, Corbin will now slide into a very potent Nationals rotation that already has multiple Cy Young winnner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.  With regards to Corbin and his immediate fantasy baseball outlook, he actually gets a boost going from a prime offensive park in Chase Field in Arizona to a pitching-dominant pad in Washington which will help lower the ratios a bit in ERA and WHIP.  Last season Corbin earned his big payday by posting a 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and punching out 246 batters in just 200 innings which make him a swell SP 2 in all fantasy baseball leagues this spring.  The only thing holding Corbin back from ace-level is a penchant for getting injured and even last season he frightened his owners a bit when his velocity began to dip in May after a big April.  While that fixed itself once June arrived and there were no issues from that point onward, Corbin should still be graded as a strong SP 2 and nothing more.  


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: TIGHT END POSITION AS ROUGH AS EVER

It goes without saying that when it comes to constructing annual fantasy football rosters, the tight end position is the most frustrating spot to deal with given the lack of depth going back years.  While this was known by all in the fantasy football community, the 2018 season has driven this point home like never before as there has been nothing but disaster here when you move past the unbelievable campaigns of Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz; and to a lesser extent Eric Ebron. 

Things certainly got off to a rough start when popular Los Angeles Chargers sleeper Hunter Henry was lost for the season during summer minicamp and when the actual games got underway, the disappointment was everywhere.  For starter's, consensus number 1 Rob Gronkowski looked old overnight as he has been simply brutal this season as all those years of injuries appear to finally have destroyed his game.  Then there were the injuries and letdown numbers of guys like Evan Engram, Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, and Trey Burton.  Burton, Engram, and Graham in particular were colossal busts considering the hype that surrounded all of them, while Olsen and Reed simply got too old and once again hurt.  Even early nice stories such as David Njoku, Jared Cook, and more recently George Kittle have failed to sustain themselves which means Ertz and Kelce's tremendous production is even more valuable than one may think.  In fact, I am fully on board for those who choose to use a second-round pick on either guy next summer given the crazy advantage they will supply to you at the tight end position.  Yes things have gotten that bad for a tight end avoidance guy like yours truly suggesting such a plan for next season.  So while there will likely be some more sleepers or upstarts to look at next summer (Henry will be back, Kittle and Engram remain attractive), it is looking like Kelce/Ertz and everyone else in terms of high-end players here for your draft.


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY NIGHT WRAPUP: EAGLES/REDSKINS

The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins finished off Week 13 in fantasy football with a dud of a game overall as the playoff schedule comes into shape in most leagues.  Here are some of the more noteworthy performances that came out of the game:

-After a few weeks of struggles, Eagles QB Carson Wentz got back on the positive statistical track Monday night as he completed 27-of-39 passes for 306 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT in the win.  While Wentz is still not running much coming back from last year's knee injury, this game is a firm reminder that he remains one of the better overall passers in the leagues who decrease in overall numbers this season may make him a nice bargain in 2019.

-Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had a spectacular 90-yard TD during the first half for the team but only 8 other yards the remainder of the game as the Eagles stacked the line once QB Colt McCoy went out with a broken fibula.  It will be especially tough sledding going forward for Peterson who no doubt has had a tremendous comeback season overall in 2018 but with Mark Sanchez under center behind a line with some third-stringers playing, things could get ugly. 

-Eagles wide receiver Golden Tate looked much more at home with the team Monday night as he hauled in 7 balls for 85 yards and a score.  In other words, this is the Tate who made catching 90 passes a year routine during his Detroit Lions days.  Clearly, Tate needed some time to get acclimated to the Eagles offense but he could be back in the WR 2/3 mode given how good he looked in this one.

-On the flip side of Tate, Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery was terrible as he caught just 3 balls for 31 yards and he has been brutal for the better part of a month now.  With Wentz continuing to favor short to intermediate throws, that really hurts Jeffery's big play potential and makes him especially tough to trust in the playoff weeks.

-Redskins running back Chris Thompson has had yet another season destroyed by injury and he failed to put forth even an adequate outing last night when the team was in obvious passing situations during the second half as he rushed for just 3 yards on 3 carries and caught only 3 passes for another 18.  Keep him nailed to the bench.

-Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is making a run for the NFL record for receptions by a tight end and it looks like he will get there as he caught 9 balls for 83 yards last night.  Ertz is now up to 93 catches for 978 yards and 6 scores and there are still four games to go.  At this rate, Ertz is likely to pass the 110 catch plateau which is really something else.  What I will say too is that Ertz and Travis Kelce are both worth second-round picks in all fantasy football drafts next summer given how massive their numbers trump the rest of the tight end hierarchy. 


Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 14 ISSUES: UNDERWHELMING START BY SPENCER WARE CALLS HIS FUTURE STATUS INTO DOUBT

Even though it has been a few days, the news that the Kansas City Chiefs released star running back Kareem Hunt after a video surfaced of him putting his hands on a woman still are reverberating in the world of fantasy football.  Not only did Hunt's owners lose a slam-dunk top player in all of the game just as the playoff week draws near, the installation of backup Spencer Ware into the starter's role created a feeding frenzy on the waiver in those leagues he was still available.  Right off the bat Yahoo projected Ware for 15.5 points in PPR formats and those who were lucky enough to snag him off waiver began to crow about their good fortune.  Alas, Ware's performance in Week 13 was anything but impressive as he rushed for just 47 yards on 14 carries against a miserable Oakland Raiders defense and he managed to catch just one pass for another 5 yards.  Luckily for Ware, he was able to score a rushing touchdown which saved his day as his PPR total came in at just 12.20.  Making matters more concerning was the fact Andy Reid gave 5 carries for third-stringer Damien Williams and also two receptions as well.  Then after the game Reid said he envisioned somewhat of a committee going forward along with UDFA Darrel Williams and that was before the team brought back Charcandrick West who had shown flashes for the team the last few seasons.  Combining all of this together, it doesn't paint the best picture for Ware going forward into Week 14 and other than original Hunt owners who are left in the lurch, the better idea is to probably see what his usage is like this Sunday before going to the well here again.  While Ware is very capable, the workload has to be there for him to make an impact. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: JEAN SEGURA TO GET OFFENSIVE BOOST HEADING TO PHILlY

Not wasting any time this offseason as they sit on an endless supply of money to spend during the Hot Stove season, the Philadelphia Phillies will announce sometime on Monday that they have acquired All-Star shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners along with reliever Anthony Swarzak for a package of shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford, veteran outfielder Carlos Santana, and perhaps another minor leaguer.  The biggest name in the deal though is Segura who has quietly been one of the better offensive shortstops in yearly fantasy baseball leagues and comes off a 2018 campaign where he put up the following numbers:

.304
10 HR
91 R
63 RBI
20 SB
5.1 BB/9
10.9 K/9

Now going to Philly and their launching pad ballpark, it stands to reason that Segura's numbers that are listed above are just a floor for what he could do in 2019 as he turns just 29 in March.  Long one of the better contact hitters in the game, Segura remains a very good power/speed shortstop who also has the knack for hitting .300.  Having hit 20 home runs as recently as 2016, Segura could easily reach 15 in his new locale and remain in the 20-25 stolen base range with the good average.  So in the end, Segura will remain a locked-in prime shortstop for 2019 fantasy baseball as the trade begins what should be an eventful offseason for his new club.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE ISSUES: INDIANS PREFER TO UNLOAD COREY KLUBER, SIGN CARLOS CARRASCO

Heading into the MLB Hot Stove Season, the Cleveland Indians made it no secret their desire to unload one of their prime three starting pitchers that included two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and power aces Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer.  Since the start of the offseason, it has become quite clear that the Indians prefer to part ways with Kluber, keep Bauer, and sign Carrasco to a new deal.  The latest has the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers engaged in Kluber talks but the whole endeavor makes sense on a number of levels despite the fact on numbers alone he remains as good as there is in the game.  As we noted a few weeks ago, Kluber in 2018 ran his streak to five in a row in terms of seasons throwing over 200 innings and as we all know, the piper eventually has to be paid in terms of such a workload.  We already are beginning to see this with Kluber in actuality as 2018 marked the fourth straight year his average fastball velocity declined and this time it was down to 92.4 which lessens the margin for error here.  Less velocity means Kluber will likely be giving up more hits and home runs overall which in turn will spike the ratios.  Want more?  How about the act Kluber will be 33 in April and began to deal with some health woes last season.  Combine everything together and it makes sense the Indians are trying to get out from under the final two years of Kluber's deal.  In terms of 2019 fantasy baseball, we went on record in this year's draft guide to avoid paying the freight on Kluber given all of these issues and in fact would prefer the upside of Bauver over the veteran. 


Saturday, December 1, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE REPORT: RED SOX ZEROING IN ON ZACH BRITTON AND DAVID ROBERTSON

By Michael Wong

With the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners finishing up their deal for Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz, let's move on to some other pressing issues going in on the MLB Hot Stove season.

-Not liking the initial request for a six-year deal, the Boston Red Sox are already looking beyond incumbent closer Craig Kimbrel and have now zeroed in on free agents Zach Britton and David Robertson.  Britton in particular seems to be the main target for the Red Sox who are not overly warm to continuing their relationship with Kimbrel.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are looking closely at both Andrew Miller and Adam Ottavino and feel confident they can bring one of them in if they lose Britton, Robertson, or both. 

-Speaking of the Yankees, Sonny Gray has drawn interest from 11 teams according to GM Brian Cashman and in particular the Reds, Brewers, and A's seem to be the most ardent in their pursuit.  Given how many teams are currently involved, it looks like Cashman will get a nice haul for Gray who actually pitched quite well on the road last season.

-All seems quiet on the Noah Syndergaard front for the Mets and it will likely take an overwhelming haul for them to even consider trading him.  Since the Sam Diego Padres won't move Fernando Tatis Jr., they are not going to get Syndergaard according to a team source. 

-Patrick Corbin is expected to sign his free agent deal sometime this week before the Winter Meetings get underway and the Yankees are the clear favorites with the Phillies second and the Nationals third according to sources. 

-The Nationals are preparing to pivot right back to Bryce Harper if they lose out on Corbin as expected.

-The catching market in terms of free agency has not gotten going yet as both Yasmany Grandal and Wilson Ramos are not receiving a high amount of attention just yet.  That is due to teams going the trade route like the Nats did with Yan Gomes and cheap options like Kurt Suzuki and Brian McCann getting scooped up instead. 


Friday, November 30, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: KAREEM HUNT LIKELY DONE FOR 2018 AFTER BEING PLACED ON EXEMPT LIST

Updating an earlier item, the Kansas City Chiefs have placed running back Kareem Hunt on the commissioner's exempt list late Friday due to the video released by TMZ earlier in the day showing him in a physical altercation with a woman last winter.  Multiple reports indicate Hunt will likely miss the remainder of the season and likely the playoffs as the league investigates and due to the seriousness of the issue.  With the NFL having been rightfully destroyed by the public after the ridiculously poor handling of the Ray Rice case, there is no day Roger Goodell will not do everything he can to send a statement that this type of behavior won't be tolerated.  In terms of fantasy football, Hunt's loss is beyond massive given the fact the playoffs weeks are almost here and his replacement Spencer Ware is a clear level or two below in terms of ability.  Be that as it may, Ware is a decent RB 2 who has shown flashed of solid production in the past but he is in no way what Hunt was as a top RB 1.  Unreal. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: YAN GOMES TO ENTER TIMESHARE WITH KURT SUZUZKI ON NATS

                                                                

For the second time in two weeks, the Washinton Nationals addressed their catching hole from the previous season on Friday when they came to an agreement with the Cleveland Indians to acquire veteran backstop Yan Gomes.  Still, under team control for three more seasons, Gomes will enter into a timeshare with Kurt Suzuki which will ultimately cap both of their prospective 2019 fantasy baseball value.  This is somewhat of a shame since Gomes had a nice comeback campaign in 2018 when he batted .266 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI in 403 at-bats for the Indians but again his numbers will be hurt a bit by splitting time with Suzuki.  On a larger front, the additions of Gomes and Suzuki signal that the Nats have given up on their ongoing pursuit of Miami Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.  In terms of Gomes, he is really just a second option in two-catcher formats and has some more value in NL-only leagues given the lack of options there. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 ISSUES: KAREEM HUNT COULD BE IN MAJOR TROUBLE AFTER TMZ VIDEO SURFACES

Oh boy this is not good.  Fantasy football owners of Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt got slammed with the Friday revelation that shows him in a physical altercation with a woman that will bring the whole domestic violence issues once again to the forefront of the league.  On the heels of the endless disgrace that is Reuben Foster, we now have the video of Hunt that all of a sudden could have him in some serious trouble with the law and the league.  Bringing back memories of the Ray Rice video assault on his wife, Hunt is shown kicking an unidentified woman on the ground and earlier lunging at her.  A placement on the commissioners list while the league sorts out the issue could happen at a moments notice and so Hunt's owners are in a major hurt right now with him possibly not being around for the playoff weeks.  This is an issue so much bigger than fantasy football though and so that should be a secondary concern.  Be that as it may, shares of Spencer Ware are about to go through the roof.  

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ALEX COLOME ENTERS SAVES PICTURE FOR WHITE SOX AFTER TRADE

Seattle Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto was at it again on the trade front Friday and this time it was not with the New York Mets for second baseman Robinson Cano.  Instead, DiPoto dealt setup man/closer Alex Colome to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Omar Navarez which throws the team's ninth-inning situation for 2019 further into chaos as incumbent stopper Edwin Diaz is still expected to land with the Mets sometime soon.  As far as Colome is concerned, the former solid stopper for the Tampa Bay Rays lost almost all of his fantasy baseball value last season when he was traded to the Mariners to set up for Diaz but he now has a chance to reclaim saves on a White Sox team that doesn't have a firmed up solution to the spot just yet.  While the White Sox still could turn to part-time closer Nate Jones, Colome has the longer track record of earning saves and so he should be considered the favorite for the gig going into the spring training.  The problem with Colome however centers on the fact he is not a big-time strikeout guy for a closer and that got him exposed as he struggled badly the first part of 2018 before he eventually settled down.  Be that as it may, Jones can't seem to stay healthy which overshadows some intriguing ability on his part and so again Colome seems to be the guy to target for saves with the White Sox with spring training still months away.

Meanwhile, the Mariners may have to go with Juan Nicasio for saves to begin the season with Diaz headed out the door and Colome already in a new locale.  While Nicasio has some decent swing-and-miss stuff, he is far from a proven guy himself and would be one of the last closers to go off the board in spring drafts.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: GRADING PROSPECTIVE FUTURE VALUES OF KEY PLAYERS IN METS/MARINERS ROBINSON CANO TRADE

It seems like all of MLB baseball is in a holding patterns waiting for the much-discussed trade between the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners centering on former All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and top closer Edwin Diaz to be completed.  The latest on Friday was that all the players have been agreed upon and that the last hurdle is working out how much money the M's will cover on Cano's remaining five contract years.  So with all that said, let's see how the key players involved will fare in their new homes:

Robinson Cano:  Coming off a stupid and disturbing PED suspension in 2018, Cano is trying to work to reclaim his good name which he began to do by hitting .303 in the 80 games he did suit up for last season.  Be that as it may, Cano is now 36 and with a ton of mileage on his body for a guy who has a history of not always hustling.  It stands to reason that Cano will see some decline in his numbers on a per game basis as given his advancing age and for the fact he will likely face physical problems given that he won't be able to DH in the NL.  Now in terms of the actual level of performance, Cano is still capable of hitting 20--25 home runs and collecting 80-plus runs and RBI with an average near .300.  It is crucial Cano stay around the .300 realm as any dip there would make him just another flawed slugger in a current MLB that has an unending supply of such players.  Digging into the advanced numbers in his 80 games a year ago, Cano's 13.5 K/9 and 9.2 BB/9 remain superb and that certainly bodes well in the .300 venture.  Add to the fact Cano will have first and second base eligibility in most leagues this season and the immediate picture for 2019 doesn't look terrible.  Anything beyond that though is up for debate as Cano will strictly be on a year-to-year basis on terms of fantasy baseball value.

Edwin Diaz:  There is no debate that Edwin Diaz is the best closer in the game as he logged a 1.96 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and a truly insane 15.22 K/9 a year ago.  Whether he is with the Mariners or the Mets, Diaz should be the top closer off the board this season in all fantasy baseball drafts.

Jay Bruce:  The move out west could help[ rejuvenate Jay Bruce who was absolutely horrible in 2018 as he missed a major portion of the season with injury and batted just .223 with 9 home runs and 37 RBI.  Be that as it may, Bruce is a proven 25-30 home run hitter who can easily go back to those numbers in 2019 if he can stay on the field.  On the negative side, Bruce is a bad batting average hitter who also no longer steals bases.  That makes him a very mediocre overall hitter for fantasy baseball purposes and thus Bruce should only be a late-round pick this spring. 


Thursday, November 29, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE FALLOUT: LOTS OF MOVING PARTS TO ROBINSON CANO/EDWIN DIAZ DEAL TO METS

The reports have come quickly and non-stop on Thursday as it appears the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners are getting ready to hit the stretch run in trade talks centering on second baseman Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz.  Multiple outlets have already reported that the Mets and Mariners are moving closer to a deal and Friday seems to be when something may be announced.  What we do know at this point is that the Mariners will send BOTH Cano and Diaz to the Mets but what is still yet to be figured out is how much money New York will send West to help offset the five years left on Cano's deal and what prospects may also be involved.  Since the initial reports began to circulate that the Mets may be willing to include second baseman 2018 revelation Jeff McNeil who has drawn comparisons to Daniel Murphy. In addition, the Mets may also have to include top hitting prospect Jarred Kelenic which is already sending Twitter ablaze from the team's fans and also pitching farmhand Justin Dunn.  As if this deal was not already all-encompassing, the Mets are insisting that the Mariners take back Jay Bruce and the two years left on his deal to help offset some of the Cano money and that outfielder Mallex Smith may also be included in a deal.  Got all that?  This is truly a monstrous deal and one that can shape both teams' current and immediate futures.  As far as Cano is concerned, we all know he is coming off a PED suspension but he hit .300 when he returned to the team.  At the age of 36 though, Cano's power declined a bit last year and his ability to hit .300 again coming off the juice is certainly up for debate.  Diaz meanwhile is the most dominant closer in the game and should be the top stopper off the board for 2019 fantasy baseball drafts no matter which team he is with.  Stay tuned on this deal as it keeps changing by the minute. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE REPORT: PATRICK CORBIN TALKS HEATING UP WITH PHILS/YANKS

By Michael Wong

The New York Yankees have made it no secret their strong desire to being aboard free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin this winter and those plans have not changed one iota after swinging a massive trade for Seattle Mariners ace James Paxton.  What the Yanks may not have fully realized though is the zeal with which the Philadelphia Phillies are going after Corbin which will only serve to help further boost the bank account of the lefty.  Flush with spending cash this offseason, the Phils are seemingly in on every prominent name this winter; with the latest being trade talks with the Arizona DIamondbacks for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and holding a meeting with Corbin on Tuesday.  Given the stiff competition from the Phils, it is likely the price tag on Corbin has moved into the $100-$120 million range over five years which is much more than what the Yanks planned on spending for a guy with a Tommy John in his history and with a heavy slider reliance.  The Yanks are still well in pursuit of Corbin though and will bank on his public statements of being a former fan of the team while growing up to help maybe save some dollars on a deal.  If that does not materialize, a Yanks source has said the team would then quickly pivot towards bringing back J.A. Happ.  As far as Happ is concerned, the lefty is said to want to return to the team and he is willing to wait out the Corbin sweepstakes in order to see if this is possible.  Either way, the Phils and Yanks will likely split the two All-Stars.  

-The Seattle Mariners are in full rebuild mode and have the most active trading GM in the business in Jerry DiPoto anxious to move some more names after swapping Paxton to the Yankees.  The latest is that they are practically begging teams to take disraceed first baseman Robinson Cano off their hands and are desperate enough to include All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in a deal to sweeten things up.  The Diaz inclusion is being meant as a way to not have to eat Cano money and DiPoto has gone so far as to personally call the Yanks, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals to try and get the ball rolling on talks.  

-Speaking of the Phils, it is only a matter of time before they bring in either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or even BOTH; not to mention their talks for Corbin and Goldschmidt.  The Phillies are clearly the center of the winter chatter and also are looking to add a lockdown reliever such as Andrew Miller or Craig Kimbrel.  As the Phillies go, so will the hot stove season.  


Monday, November 26, 2018

2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 ISSUES: LOSS OF ANDY DALTON TO IR SPELLS TROUBLE FOR A.J. GREEN AND TYLER BOYD

When the Cincinnati Bengals signed brutal veteran free agent QB Tom Savage earlier in the day Monday, it was only a matter of time before we learned that the team would be without starter Andy Dalton for a stretch after he left Sunday's game with a thumb injury.  Well that extent was Dalton being placed on I.R. which means he is done for the year.  The loss of Dalton is not such a big one in terms of his fantasy football loss but it does really put a hurt on wideouts A.J. Green (when he returns) and Tyler Boyd.  Jeff Driskell is not anything but a borderline NFL quarterback and so a severe downgrade should be made on both Green and Boyd. 


2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: LEONARD FOURNETTE SUSPENDED ONE GAME

                                                              

After getting thrown out of this past Sunday's game after throwing a punch at an opposing Buffalo Bills player, the NFL suspended Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette one game for the incident on Monday.  While Fournette is expected to appeal, he is unlikely going to be successful given the ugly nature of the incident. That means Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon will likely split work in Week 13 which will make both guys a shaky bet in terms of fantasy football.  In terms of Fournette, his absence comes at a rough time given the fact playoff spots will be clinched in a majority of leagues this week.  


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: BRIAN McCANN REUNITES WITH BRAVES ON ONE-YEAR DEAL

                                                                   

Feeling perhaps nostalgic, the Atlanta Braves took a page out of their past when they brought back free agent catcher Brian McCann on a one-year deal worth $2 million.  A former perennial All-Star with the team before departing for the New York Yankees a number of years ago, McCann's is clearly in the final stages of his career as he was essentially pushed to the side by the Houston Astros during the second half of 2018 in favor of Max Stassi and Martin Maldonado.  Turning 35 in February, McCann is expected to work in a timeshare with fellow veteran backstop Tyler Flowers and that will neuter both of their fantasy baseball value for 2019.  As it is, McCann comes off a 2018 campaign when he hit just .212 with 7 home runs in 189 at-bats as his bat is growing slower by the day and the K's pile up.  As always, you can't live in the past when it comes to evaluating former top-tier fantasy baseball hitters or pitchers and this goes for McCann this season.  

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE SIGNINGS: BRAVES BUY LOW ON FORMER 3B MVP JOSH DONALDSON

                                                                  

Feeling that they are on the cusp of contending for the World Series in 2019, the Atlanta Braves had a very busy day on Monday as they not only reunited with former All-Star catcher Brian McCann on a one-year deal but also brought aboard former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson for the same terms of length.  While no one will debate how awesome an offensive players Donaldson was during his Oakland A's and early mostly throughout his stay in Toronto with the Blue Jays, the last two seasons have been filled with nothing but serious injuries and sliding numbers as he is now considered to be an "old" 33.  Operating the hot corner with an all-out style has clearly taken a physical toll on Donaldson and that has also taken a major chunk out of his output as well.  Consider that in 2018 Donaldson managed all of 8 home runs and a. 246 average in 219 at-bats as he couldn't stay on the field.  Add in a K/9 rate that shot up to 24.7 last season and isolated power that is also sliding and Donaldson is all of a sudden a very shaky starting fantasy baseball third baseman as we look towards 2019.  Not to be overlooked is the fact that Donaldson will now have to figure out new pitching in moving to the NL after being primarily an AL guy throughout his career and this is no small fact to gloss on by.  When you break it all down, there are a slew of question marks and red flags enveloping Donaldson as we head towards spring training and while his 2019 draft price will likely be as cheap as ever, the headaches that likely will be on the way here make him one to avoid. 


Thursday, November 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 ISSUES: THEO RIDDICK COULD BE USED EXCLUSIVELY IN SLOT FOR SUNDAY'S GAME GIVEN POTENTIAL MARVIN JONES ABSENCE

The Detroit Lions are heading into their Week 11 game versus the Carolina Panthers down a bunch of receiving weapons for QB Matthew Stafford as not only did the team trade away Golden Tate two weeks ago to the Philadelphia Eagles but Marvin Jones may not be able to go due to a knee injury.  With Jones having not practiced all week and also with the Lions having a short week for Week 12 due to their annual Thanksgiving commitment, it is likely the veteran will sit out which leaves the team's offense in a major bind.  Enter in pass catching back Theo Riddick who long has been a darling of the PPR crowd but who has almost zero impact as a pure runner.  With Tate having been traded, Riddick has seen 13 pass targets from Stafford the last two games and a Jones absence will likely make him an even bigger part of the offense in Week 11.  In fact, Riddick could work as the main slot guy in Tate's place this week and play on almost every snap which would add even more potential looks in the passing game from Stafford.  As a result, those who are down a key back this week due to all of the teams on a bye should absolutely take a look at Riddick given this development as there could be a very sweet payoff here for those in PPR. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 ISSUES: JOE MIXON LATE ADDITION TO INJURY REPORT CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Oh boy.  One of the more tried-and-true fears when it comes to the fantasy football community is when your key players get added or are downgraded on the injury report late in the week.  Often this means such a player will wind up sitting out the upcoming game and leave their owners scrambling.  Such a scenario may be unfolding with Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon who was added to the injury report on Thursday with a knee issue and this is doubly concerning for the fact that he had just returned a few weeks ago from the same injury.  As a result, all Mixon owners should have already grabbed Giovani Bernard where available as the latter has more than proven himself very capable in the past in terms of performing as a RB 1 in at least PPR formats.  Now the Baltimore Ravens run defense is certainly a formidable challenge for both Mixon or Bernard this week but at the same time, the fact the former is looking very shaky health-wise makes his potential absence a big one as the playoff weeks loom and the seedlings get set to be firmed up.  Check back on Friday for an update on Mixon as this could be a while bit of nothing but also get prepared to work in a replacement if needed. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS 2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE EARLY EDITION NOW ON SALE

That's right we are already looking ahead to 2019 with the release of our first of two offseason 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guides as our 230 page "Early Offseason Edition" has hit the shelves.  You can purchase the guide using the Amazon link below and our later "Post-Free Agency Edition will be out by the end of January.  As always our player previews go deeper than any other publication out there and we also left no stone uncovered with separate features such as top rookies, busts, sleepers, Tommy John 2019 risk report, position eligibility, and much more.  So use the link below to get your copy today! 

https://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-Sports-Baseball-Draft-Guide/dp/1729467792/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542138481&sr=8-1&keywords=2019+fantasy+baseball

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ADALBERTO MONDESI SHORTSTOP KANSAS CITY ROYALS

                                                              Image result for adalberto mondesi

For the kid once known as "Raul Jr.", it is not an understatement to say that Kansas City Royals shortstop prospect Adalberto Mondesi will be among the most-hyped "have to have him" players entering into 2019 fantasy baseball drafts.  While Mondesi's ugly hitting struggles prior to last season were well-documented, it appeared that a change in his stance at the dish while in the minors have unlocked what can only be described as tremendous pure physical talent.  It is very rare to find a player who is built both for high-end power and speed like Mondesi is and his 75-game run with the Royals a year ago (.276, 14 home runs, 32 stolen bases) was a league-clincher for many who were lucky enough to pick him up off waivers.  Even though it is far from an exact science, extrapolating Mondesi's half-season run with the Royals last season would result in absolutely silly numbers and that will fuel the hype train as 2019 drafts arrive.  So in terms of what to do with Mondesi in such a crazed environment, it is would be an impossible sell to avoid paying what is expected to be a very high price for the power/speed marvel this spring but we also need to remind you of the endless cases of guys with similar half-year explosions falling on their faces the following year.  It is under this conservative breath where you need to really focus in on the fact that despite all the beautiful surface numbers last season, Mondesi's plate approach remain very ugly as his 3.8 BB/9 was pathetic and the 26.5 K/9 were nothing to write home about either.  So that .276 Mondesi hit last season is unlikely to be repeated going forward if those advanced metrics don't improve and remember this is still the same guy who hit .170 and .185 during trial looks with the team from 2016-17.  In the end, you really don't want to get caught up in the craziness that will be Mondesi's 2019 draft cost because the jury is still out here on what kind of overall offensive player he can be. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .253 23 HR 65 RBI 77 R 44 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 WAIVER ADDS

It is a very lean week in fantasy football as Week 11 brings a slew of bye weeks that will take a out a slew of prime players who need to be replaced by some slim wire pickings at this late stage of the season.  Still, we will always strive to look for value where it presents itself which brings us to this week's waiver wire adds.

Marcus Mariota:  Somewhat of an injury-prone enigma since coming into the league, it appears that Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota has found some solid footing as he has tossed two touchdown passes in each of the last two games.  With the always brutal Indianapolis Colts defense on tap for Week 11, Mariota is our top streaming QB play of the week.

Eli Manning:  Finally getting some semblance of protection Monday night versus the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants QB Eli Manning had a turn-back-the-clock outing in tossing three touchdown passes in bringing his team behind late to get the win.  Manning now gets the simply horrendous Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense for Week 11 and the addition of OG Jamon Brown may just help further keep his QB upright to do some more damage. 

Josh Adams:  It is last call on Eagles running back Josh Adams who was in this space a week ago and now has a public endorsement from head coach Doug Pederson to be used more freely in Week 11.  Adams is a bruising back who can be an instant goal-line gem and has deceptive speed in averaging over 6.0 per carry his past two games as well.  This could be another big mid-season add for those who are aggressive here. 

Theo Riddick:  This obviously applies just to PPR leagues as Riddick has gotten a ton of targets the last two weeks since Golden Tate was sent packing.  Riddick has always had some good RB 2/3 value in PPR when he is featured like this and so he is an especially good add in those formats given the light schedule for Week 11.

Rashaad Penny:  It has been nothing but frustration trying to figure out the Seattle backfield this season and more of the same is on tap for Week 11 as rookie Rashaad Penny finally looked like a first-round pick last Sunday.  The injury return of Chris Carson figures to cap the output of Penny though and so this is likely a RB 3 situation for all involved.

Anthony Miller:  Basically any Chicago Bears offensive player is worth an add given how great this unit has been this season and that goes for rookie wideout Anthony Miller who comes off his best game of the year in Week 10 and who has firmly passed Taylor Gabriel on the depth chart.  Given how much the Bears have been throwing of late, Miller is a big add for this week. 

John Ross:  While we are still waiting for the consistently explosive play that made John Ross a college star, he remains in a good spot on a Cincinnati Bengals offensive unit that is in desperate need of consistent receiving production given the injuries to A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. 

Josh Reynolds:  The season-ending injury to Cooper Kupp moves Los Angeles Rams wideout Josh Reynolds up a notch and that alone makes him a somewhat intriguing option in a major shootout game on tape versus the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Jonnu Smith:  Going along with the recent solid play of QB Marcus Mariota has been tight end Jonnu Smith who has caught a touchdown in each of the last two games.  Given how much Mariota ;iked to throw to Delanie Walker in the past, Smith should be a top tight end priority. 


Friday, November 9, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 THURSDAY WRAPUP: STEELERS/PANTHERS

So life is good this week for Ben Roethlisberger owners huh?  Wow the Pittsburgh Steelers veteran QB was beyond magnificent Thursday night as he completed 22-of-25 passes for 328 yards and 5!!!! touchdowns in completely dissecting the woeful Carolina Panthers defense.  It was almost comical how easy Roethlisberger had it in the game and he is in the midst of one his greatest fantasy football numbers season ever.  While Big Ben does tend to fall off a bit on the road, his fully trustworthy of being a top-tier fantasy football passes into the playoff weeks.

-Coming off a recent run-in with the law after being stopped for driving 100-mph, Steelers wideout Antonio Brown was no worse for wear on the field as he caught 6 balls for 96 yards and a score.  Still without peer as the top wideout in all of fantasy football, Brown is as good as ever in giving his owners a massive advantage heading into any contest.

-Even though he gets overshadowed by his much more heralded position mate, Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster is no slouch as he caught 3 balls for 90 yards and a score Thursday night.  Smith-Schuster got the fun started for Ben Roethlisberger by catching a 70-yard bomb on the team's first drive and only a lopsided score kept his night from becoming even more potent.  With the Steelers offense as explosive as any unit in the league, Smith-Schuster should continue being graded as a top WR 2. 

-While he got destroyed in pass protection all night, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was a TD machine as he rushed for 77 yards and a score on 14 carries; while also adding two more scores on 5 catches for another 61.  McCaffrey has been every bit the fantasy football monster he was projected to be this season coming off a big summer exhibition performance and the fact he has not worn down from the additional workload is another big plus. 

-A possible concussion marred what was looking to be another splendid outing for Steelers running back James Connor who rushed for 65 yards and a score on 13 carries and was looking at a big second-half workload with them up by so much.  Unfortunately, Connor went into the tent to be checked out for the concussion and then proceeded to go back to the locker room to finish his night after a brief return.  With Le'Veon Bell expected to return next week, Connor all of a sudden looks very shaky in the immediate future after a truly outstanding performance leading up to this. 

-A big start for Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton quickly dissolved into a sack-filled disaster as he completed 23-of-29 passes for 193 yards with 2 scores and 1 INT.  While the numbers were not terrible overall, Newton failed to capitalize on obvious passing opportunities in the second half due to a never-ending Steelers rush.  Still, Newton has been very good almost all season and should continue to be looked at as a prime QB 1 the rest of the season. 


Thursday, November 8, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: MIKE ZUNINO HEADS TO THE RAYS

Another season and another all-or-nothing campaign put forth by new Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino in 2018.  Already carrying the reputation for being one of the most pronounced strikeout-prone hitters in the game, Zunino's 37.0 K/9 last season was laughable and the corresponding .201 average was predictably terrible.  The real shame of Zunino's high-K approach is that it almost completely overshadows some very impressive power as the former third overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft has cracked 25 and 20 home runs the last two seasons.  Unfortunately, we just can't stomach the brutal average under a level of strikeouts that make even Joey Gallo recoil with disgust.

2019 PROJECTION:  .205 23 HR 57 RBI 44 R 0 SB  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 INJURY WATCH: SAMMY WATKINS (FOOT) IN JEOPARDY OF MISSING WEEK 10

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins could sit out Week 10 due to the foot injury he suffered in last Sunday's game that needed an MRI in order to rule out a break.  While the MRI came back clean, Watkins reportedly was in quite a bit of discomfort on Tuesday and could be headed for a questionable tag.  Chris Conley would then move up into Watkins' spot for Week 10 if needed. 

Analysis:  Watkins has been your classic WR 3 in 2018 fantasy football almost throughout the entire season so far as he sits clearly behind Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce in the receiving pecking order on the team.  Be that as it may, he has established a dependable weekly floor that will be missed if he were to sit out.  Anyone owning stock should grab Conley right away in order to protect themselves if Watkins were in fact to sit out.  This is one injury situation worth monitoring as we head through the remainder of the week. 


THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS 2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE: EARLY OFFSEASON EDITION OUT THIS WEEK

Yup already.  We have gotten a ton of emails asking when the first of our two annual fantasy baseball draft guides go on sale and we are happy to say the "Early Offseason Edition" will be available hopefully by this weekend.  As always, our early offseason edition has profiled over 700 players and ranked them all before those who are free agents find new homes.  However our annual sleepers, all-value team, top rookies, Ten Burning Questions, Tommy John report, and so much more are included in this massive 233!!!! page book-style guide.  So if interested, be sure to reserve your early copy by using the BUY NOW tab on the top of the homepage as they will go quick. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING SET TO SHINE DOWN THE STRETCH

With the 2018 fantasy football season down the stretch, we are always on the lookout for prime difference-makers players who can help solidify a league championship or tilt the balance of power in your league.  Under this premise, we take a closer look at Green Bay Packers numbers 2 wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling who could be ready to be such a player after the news that former second option Geronimo Allison was done for the year due to a groin injury.  The 2018 fifth-round pick from South Florida was already turning heads before this news took place as he had caught either a touchdown pass or went over 100 receiving yards in four straight weeks including this past Sunday night versus New England.  Blessed both with top-end speed and a mammoth 6-4 frame, Valdes-Scantling now becomes the second option over Randall Cobb and behind only Davante Adams for the remainder of the 2018 fantasy football season.  Anyone who is prime position to catch balls from QB Aaron Rodgers is always a potentially explosive receiving option and so Valdes-Scantling should already be owned in your league based on this potential.  With the Packers facing the awful Miami Dolphins defense in Week 10, Valdes-Scantling should be started everywhere.  


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: C.C. SABATHIA TO RETURN TO YANKEES ON ONE-YEAR DEAL FOR $8 MILLION

Having openly stated that the team was going to concentrate heavily on the starting pitching market this winter, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman quickly to work by bringing back veteran lefty C.C. Sabathia on a one-year deal worth $8 million.  With Sabathia having successfully reinvented himself from a power pitcher to one who succeeds now pitching to contact, he comes off another solid campaign in 2018 when he registered an ERA of 3.65 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.  In terms of his future fantasy baseball value, Sabathia should only be graded in the SP 5 realm in mixed leagues given his fragile health and mediocre K output.