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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.  


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ASTROS' LANCE McCULLERS TO UNDERGO TOMMY JOHN, DONE FOR 2019

The offseason got off to a brutal start for the Houston Astros as we learned late Tuesday that power pitcher Lance McCullers will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery which will sideline him for all of 2019.  The fact McCullers will have the surgery is not a total shock in that he made up the classic case of a young pitcher who had an average fastball above 94 and so this once again adds credence to the notion that hurlers who make up such a class need to be treated with extreme caution in fantasy baseball drafts next spring.  On another front, McCullers' loss likely means the Astros will now be contenders for some of the top arms on the market led by Patrick Corbin. 

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 ADDS

Week 10 is already upon us as we head towards the stretch run of the 2018 fantasy football season.  Here are some of the prime pickups for this week's slate of games.

Baker Mayfield:  While Mayfield has looked like a rookie the last few weeks, he gets the always forgiving Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 10 that will likely develop into a shootout. 

Mike Davis:  It look like Chris Carson will miss Week 10 with more injuries and so very capable backup Mike Davis is in play again as a terrific plug-in option against just an average Los Angeles Chargers run defense. 

Duke Johnson:  Speaking of the shootout versus Atlanta, the re-emergence of Duke Johnson as a passing option out of the backfield for Mayfield should result in another swell batch of catches in Week 10. 

Josh Adams:  Now that they are coming off a bye, the Philadelphia Eagles had plenty of time to include Josh Adams as a possible staring option for a listless run game.  Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement are nice players but neither has distinguished themselves as reliable runners.  You always want to get in on the ground floor in situations like this and so go get Adams. 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling:  The big-play ability of Valdes-Scantling is a great match for Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers the wideout has now either caught a TD or gone for over 100 yards in each of the last four games.  Meanwhile, Geronimo Allison is likely headed for surgery which means Valdes-Scantling will continue to produce. 

John Ross:  With ace Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green expected to miss two games, deep threat John Ross is slated for a big uptick in targets. 

C.J. Uzomah:  Along the same lines as Ross, Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah becomes a big potential outlet target of QB Andy Dalton. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL GM MEETINGS REPORT: YANKS/METS SET TO BATTLE FOR ANDREW MILLER

By Michael Wong 

Carlsband, CA.--The New York Mets and New York Yankees plan to battle it out for relief pitching this winter and the biggest name among them will be free agent power arm Andrew Miller.  GM Brian Cashman has always said trading away Miller was a big personal regret a few summers ago and a reunion could very well be in the cards.  Meanwhile, the Mets and new GM Brodie Van Wagenen are also big Miller fans as manager Mickey Callaway has a history with the player and they have him high on their priority list.  Also regarding the Mets, they are weighing whether or not to pursue a reunion with former All-Star closer Jeurys Familia but the optics of bringing him back a year after the failed returns of Jay Bruce and Jose Reyes make it a concern in terms of the fans not being on board.  Adam Ottavino menawhile is a big Mets target and he reportedly is interested in making the trip East. 

-Speaking of the Yankees, there is a big market for starting pitcher Sonny Gray who pitched very well on the road last season but bombed so badly at Yankee Stadium that it is impossible for him to return there. 

-Bryce Harper will be courted heavily by the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies but the Yankees will not be in on those sweepstakes. 

-Patrick Corbin to the Yankees seems to be a lock according to the various reporters and league execs here. 

-The Los Angeles Angels will likely let Matt Shoemaker walk given his rash of injuries the last few seasons. 

-If Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers is forced to undergo elbow surgery as is looking like the case, don't count them out for J.A. Happ or C.C. Sabathia as a fallback option. 

-Speaking of the Cardinals, they are also willing to get involved with Craig Kimbrel and to a lesser extent Familia and Ottavino in looking to fix their ongoing closer issues. 


Saturday, November 3, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE ISSUES: INDIANS LISTENING ON COREY KLUBER IS TELLING

Publicly, the Cleveland Indians and their front office personnel will tell you that reports they are interested in dealing away two-time Cy Young ace pitcher Corey Kluber has more to do with the $17 million price tag in 2019 and not as much on numbers.  While the money issue is certainly a big one, we are not totally buying this explanation as Kluber is carrying around some red flags with his advanced numbers that could hint at trouble ahead.  We already got done on our Kluber concerns in our 2019 fantasy baseball draft guide due out later this month and we are going to tell you now that drafting him this season may not go swimmingly.  One reason for such concern is the fact Kluber has now logged five straight seasons of 200-plus innings which is a very heavy workload for a pitcher and especially one who is now turning 33 in April.  Driving this worry home is the fact that Kluber's average fastball velocity has declined every single season since that run began; going from 94.6 in 2014 down to just 92.4 a year ago.  The two items are certainly related and so anyone looking to use a second or third-round pick on Kluber this spring should tread carefully.  We saw some injuries pop up last season as well for Kluber which again goes with the age and innings totals and so it makes total sense the Indians are looking to jump ship.  We will go more into this as the winter unfolds but already start putting Kluber down a few spots on your 2019 cheat sheets.  


Friday, November 2, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: MICHAEL BRANTLEY OUTFIELDER CLEVELAND INDIANS

Given that Cleveland Indians 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.  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.
2019 PROJECTION:  .310 15 HR 74 RBI 83 R 11 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY NIGHT WRAPUP: RAIDERS/49ERS

-Kurt Warner anyone?  Wow it was certainly an impressive debut for San Francisco 49ers undrafted third-string QB Nick Mullens who completed 16-of-22 passes for 262 yards with 3 touchdowns to torch the Oakland Raiders in the lopsided win.  Despite not having much in the way of size, Mullens was very decisive with his throws and showed very good accuracy as he was in completely control throughout.  I tweeted last night that I had flashbacks to Kurt Warner's debut when he exited the grocery store where he stocked shelves and then engineered one of the greatest rags-to-riches careers in NFL history.  Now I am certainly not suggesting this is where Mullens is headed but the confidence and accuracy was very apparent and operating in a Kyle Shanahan offense always has its pluses.  The fun should continue too as Mullens will get the decimated New York Giants defense the next time out (there is no decision for Shanahan to make here other than to give the kid another start) and so those in two QB formats should absolutely take a look here.

-Welcome back to the end zone Pierre Garcon.  The always underrated San Francisco 49ers wideout caught three balls for 56 yards and a score Thursday as he quickly became a key target of QB Nick Mullens.  While it has been a tough go of it for Garcon of late due primarily to injuries, he should be watched next week to see if he can build off such an outing and become useful again for fantasy purposes.

-We said from the start of the season that San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle was set to be a huge sleeper and boy has the kid come through.  While injuries are always a threat here, Kittle has been terrific when on the field as he was Thursday in catching 4 balls for 101 yards and a score.  Think Zack Ertz with better speed here as a lofty comparison and already we can grade Kittle as a top-five tight end given what we have seen so far this season.

-The Raiders are giving the Giants a firm challenge for the number 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft as QB David Carr and the entire offense was abysmal last night.  As far as Carr was concerned, he completed 16-of-22 throws for 171 yards with no TD's or INT's and took six sacks.  Carr can't take all the blame since the Raiders O-line can't block your grandmother but bout has his career spiraled out of control to the point a benching could be imminent for backup A.J. McCarron.  Obviously Carr has zero fantasy football value but this is becoming quite the horror show even the biggest Raiders haters couldn't have anticipated.

-Tough break literally for 49ers running back Raheem Mostert who suffered an ugly broken arm Thursday night that will finish his season.  The real shame is that Mostert was terrific before the break as he rushed for 86 yards and a score on just 7 carries but now this puts more value on Matt Breida and gets the slow as molasses Alfred Morris back into some carries.

-Nothing doing for Raiders tight end Jared Cook who despite the nice matchup on paper, caught just two balls for 20 yards Thursday.  By now it has become common knowledge that Cook can't ever find consistency but his occasional big games always keep us coming back.  Resist this urge going forward if you can.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER FREE AGENT

While shortstop Manny Machado may have something to say about it, free agent outfielder Bryce Harper is ready to set records in terms of the massive contract he is expected to ink sometime over the winter in entering the open market at just 26.  Harper certainly did what he could to maximize his earnings potential in 2018 as he hit 34 homers, drove in 100 batters, and scored 103 runs for a surprisingly listless Washington Nationals team.  What was also encouraging to see was Harper stealing 13 bases which were the second-highest total of his career and came just a year after compiling only 4 in 2017.  It wasn't all positive however as Harper's average struggled to reach even .220 during the early summer and he needed a hot to finish to post a still ugly .249 mark.  What is really shocking is that this is the second time in the last three seasons Harper has failed to hit .250.  A lot of that volatility has been as a result of some rapidly fluctuating BABIP marks and in 2018 that number was slightly in the unlucky realm at .289 but also WAY down from .356 the season prior when Harper batted .319.  What we do then is look at some of the advanced metrics and here it is mostly good as Harper walks at some of the highest rates in baseball which will only help a batting average but his strikeouts have trended up of late in rising to 24.3 last season.  Since it is tough to get a true gauge here given all the conflicting numbers, we instead should fixate on the supreme power game and remaining speed in keeping Harper as a late first-round or even early second-round pick given the addition of some new names at the top of the overall rankings.
2019 PROJECTION:  .288 35 HR 97 RBI 104 R 11 SB 

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 9 ISSUES: NICK CHUBB SET FOR BIG GAME VERSUS K.C.

Already the workloads have been impressive in the two games started by Cleveland Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb since veteran Carlos Hyde was dealt to the Jacksonville Jaguars but things are looking like they will take another turn for the better as the Georgia product gets a date with the brutal Kansas City Chiefs defense in Week 9.  Having surrendered the most points in all of fantasy football to opposing running backs so far this season. the only thing that can hold Chubb back from a monster day would be the score quickly getting out of hand which would then increase the usage of Duke Johnson in the passing game.  While this is a real threat, count on the Browns playing one of their better games of the season as the team should have some added juice behind their backs after the firing of Hue Jackson a few days ago and so Chubb should be graded out as a top RB 2 play for Week 9 when all of these factors are taken into consideration.  With Chubb receiving 18 carries in each of the last two games, the explosion that made him such a star in college has been evident so far and the Browns have no plans to alter the workload distribution with him and Johnson at least for the time being.  Even tough Chubb can't really gain RB 1 status in PPR formats due to the lack of receptions (think former teammate Sony Michel in New England for a similar scenario), the athletic ability and speed are there to make him a weekly high-end RB 2 as long as the Browns can resist being blown out early.  With Week 9 looking as enticing a matchup as you can get, Chubb should be started everywhere.