We Talk Fantasy Sports: July 2013 We Talk Fantasy Sports: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Searching for Speed

Have power to spare on your roster and looking to enhance your potential in the stolen base department? Lets take some time to look over some options that should be on your radar. These three players are most likely sporting a very low price tag in your league. For most cases, a simple waiver wire transaction should place them on your lineup in the very near future.

Eric Young Jr. (OF,NYM) - After bouncing in and out of the starting lineup for the Rockies over the last 4+ seasons, Young was dealt to New York on June 18. The Mets easily made room in their lackluster outfield for the speedy 28 year old. Stepping  right into the leadoff role, he has not disappointed the fans or front office at Citi Field. Young has put up a solid .357 OBP and swiped 14 bags through 35 games since the trade.

Jonathan Villar (SS,HOU) - Posting a .277/.341/.442 batting line with 32 extra base hits and 31 stolen bases at AAA Oklahoma City, Villar forced the Astros hand to bring him to the bigs and place him atop the lineup. The Dominican native has already picked up five steals through just eight games. The most impressive of those came July 30th with a steal of home. With an average of nearly 40 stolen bases per year from 2010-12, the speed potential is at an elite level for the young shortstop.

David Lough (OF,KCR) - Yes, he has already been at the plate over 200 times this season and only manged two stolen bases. Yes, he has been batting from the middle to back end of the Royal lineup. However, it seems possible that Lough will move up Ned Yost's batting order if he continues to hit around the .291 clip shown to this point. If that happens, the 27 year old rookie should have a better chance to display the minor league form that saw him average 18 steals per season from 2009-2012.

Bud Norris Traded to Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired Bud Norris to help them make a playoff push. Norris is just 6-9 this season but has pitched for a bad Houston Astros ball club since 2009. Over the course of his 5 seasons in the Majors, Norris has piled up 34 wins and owns an 8.4 K/9 ratio. His strikeouts are way down this season (6.4 K/9) but he owns a respectable 3.94 ERA. Pitching for the Orioles is a clear boost in fantasy value and should become a regular in streaming pitching. Bud was 42nd in American League run support as a member of the Astros, and will now be granted the same support Chris Tillman and Jason Hammel have received all season long.

The Orioles sent outfielder L.J. Hoes to the Astros, and without a doubt will be the winner of this trade.

The Orioles and Astros have agreed to a trade that will send Bud Norris to Baltimore for L.J. Hoes and another piece, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).- MLBTradeRumors

Ian Kennedy Traded to San Diego Padres

Division rivals rarely make deals, especially when they are separated by just 4 games in the win column. But the San Diego Padres got the starter they needed in Ian Kennedy, in exchange for Joe Thatcher.
The Padres have bolstered their rotation for the present and future, acquiring righty Ian Kennedy from the division rival Diamondbacks for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, Double-A reliever Matt Stites, and a compensation round B draft pick, according to a tweet from MLB.com's Corey Brock. - MLBTradeRumors

Believe it or not the Diamondbacks and Padres have scored the 14th and 15th most runs in the Majors, with Arizona scoring 8 more runs, but in two less games. The Padres and Diamondbacks both do a good job of giving their starters run support, with each team having 3 of the top 25 in the National League, so the only thing really changing here for Kennedy is the ballpark. Petco Park, home to the Padres, allows the third least amount of runs so Kennedy could see his ERA drop ever so slightly. All in all, a change of scenery can't hurt the guy, but it doesn't truly make him any more valuable.

Yadier Molina Lands on 15-Day DL

The St. Louis Cardinals and fantasy owners alike will be without catcher Yadier Molina for the next two weeks. Molina sprained his knee in the second game of a double header on Tuesday. Molina currently ranks 2nd amongst catchers behind only Buster Posey. It will be difficult to replace him for the next two weeks but here a few guys we like:

CBS - Russell Martin, John Buck, J.P. Arencibia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Alex Avila
ESPN - Salvador Perez, A.J. Pierzynski, J.P. Arencibia, Miguel Montero, Jason Castro
Yahoo - A.J. Pierzynski, Miguel Montero, Evan Gattis, J.P. Arencibia, Jason Castro

Let us know what your plans are!

Jake Peavy Traded to Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have announced a three-team trade with the Tigers and White Sox that will send right-handers Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston and shortstop Jose Iglesias to Detroit. The White Sox will receive outfield prospect Avisail Garcia as well as minor league right handers J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas and shortstop Cleuluis Rondon. - MLBTradeRumors

This is a great deal for Boston and Peavy as they gave up very little and got back a very good starting pitcher. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Felix Doubront were all receiving more run support than Peavy, so there is no reason to believe the bats won't continue to hit for Peavy. As a member of the White Sox, Peavy was 51st in the AL in run support, so we should see him win a bit more often pitching for Boston.

Jose Iglesias has done nothing but hit this season, but with Stephen Drew on board, there is no room. The Tigers need a replacement for Jhonny Peralta, and they got him here. Iglesias is a nice pick up in fantasy at the moment, especially if you won Peralta!

As far as the White Sox go, I feel like they go pennies on the dollar here. Avisail Garcia is a nice piece, but they got two relievers and no starters as well as a SS that can't hit. If there was no market for Peavy then you can only get what is offered, but it seemed as if the Orioles, Diamondbacks and Pirates all were in on him so I can't believe this was the best deal out there. That being said, if Alex Rios does indeed get traded, Garcia would most likely play everyday for the rest of the season, making him a somewhat valuable fantasy player, depending on your league. But Rios fouled a ball off his foot last night and it could prevent a trade from happening before this afternoon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Detroit Pistons Acquire Brandon Jennings

The Milwaukee Bucks have completed a sign and trade with Detroit Pistons, sending Brandon Jennings to the Motor City in exchange for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov.  Jennings will sign a 3 year $24mil extension with the Pistons.  I think we will see the best of Jennings this season, as he will be playing with his friend Josh Smith.  The Pistons are going to be competitive in the Eastern Conference while the Bucks end up at the top of the lottery.

I can't understand why the Bucks Front Office has made the moves they made over the past 2 seasons.  First, they trade Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors for Monta Ellis, who is no longer with the team and Ekpe Udoh.  They signed Ersan Ilyasova to a 5 year $40mil extension and are now forced to build around him, when in reality he was the one that should have been dealt.  Next, they traded for J.J. Redick and sent Tobias Harris to the Magic.  Redick is now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for two 2nd round picks.  Then they go out and sign OJ Mayo to the exact same deal that Jennings just signed with Detroit and Zaza Pachulia for 3 years and $15mil.

I do like the potential of their front court with Larry Sanders and John Henson and 1st round draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo has drawn huge raves, but they are SO FAR removed from being competitive, that Mayo, Ilyasova and most like one of Henson/Sanders wont even be a part of the club once he is ready to contribute on the NBA level.

I am glad I'm not a Bucks fans these days!

How Will the Ravens Operate on Offense

Last season, the Baltimore Ravens passed the ball 560 times.  205 of those targets went to Anquan Boldin (traded to 49ers) and Dennis Pitta (injured).  Joe Flacco only threw 22 TDs and 11 of those went to Boldin and Pitta.  This season, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice are going to have to demand they become more involved in the offense.  Jacoby Jones is what he is, a deep threat that will get a few looks a game and Bernard Pierce is Ray's backup, not his equal!  And let's not forget, Vonta Leach is a free agent and no longer leading the way for the Raven backfield!Vonta Leach signed a 2 year deal to return to the Ravens. This is great news for Ray Rice fantasy owners!

If Baltimore wants to win, they will have to score more points.  There defense is going to look BRAND NEW without Ray Lewis (retired) Ed Reed (Houston Texans) Bernard Pollard (Tennessee Titans) Dannell Ellerbe (Miami Dolphins) and Paul Kruger (9 of teams 37 sacks) now a member of the Cleveland Browns.  They were in the bottom half of the league in defense last season with all them!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sports Broadcasting Camp

Play by Play Sports Broadcasting Camps

As a teenager, when you find out that you can do something you love for a week, you jump on that opportunity. When I saw the ad in SI I knew I HAD to do it. The name of the camp was Sports Broadcasting Camp Atlanta. At camp, there were others that I made good friends with like Peyton (Based out of Knoxville) and David (Based out of Atlanta) and many more. After arriving at the Frat House (where we would be staying) the camp started with radio shows, broadcast tips and tricks, podcasts, and even PTI! We also interviewed TV and Radio personalities like Steve Holman, John Kincade, Terrence Moore, and Anthony Amy. And if there is one thing I learned at that camp, its NOT EASY. We all want to be on Sports Center, and the only way we can get there? WORK, and lots of it. With practice (and some talent), maybe one day I can get there to!

Check out my interview on ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast (starts at 29:48)

Harrison L Football Update

The Sad Decline of Albert Pujols

The Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim are preparring to be without Albert Pujols for the remainder of the season.  Pujols could undergo surgery to repair a partial tear of his left plantar fascia.  Albert signed a 10 year, $240mil contract with Angels prior to the 2012 season.  Over the course of 253 games, Pujols has hit .275 with 47 home runs, 69 doubles and 169 RBI.  Those are not terrible number by any means, but for Albert Pujols, they are disappointing.  For $240mil they are terrible.  If he is done for the year, Albert Pujols will finish with a .258 batting average over 99 games in which he hit 17 home runs and drove in 64 runs.

The last time Pujols didn't hit 30 home runs? NEVER.  Even in his rookie season, he hit 37 home runs and last seasons total (30) was the only time in his career he didn't hit at least 32 of them.  Last season, Pujols used a strong month of August in which he hit 9 of his 30 homers and drive in 24 of his 103 RBI.  I am sure many fantasy owners were just waiting for that same production out of their 1st round draft pick, in a lineup that features Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo

Friday, July 26, 2013

FSWA Member Mike Braude Interview

In addition to being a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Mike Braude is a writer for TheFakeFootball.com and Founder/Owner of APEX Fantasy Football Money Leagues. He was kind enough to give his time to provide insight on some questions and issues currently on the minds of fantasy football players. Take a look at Braude's thoughts before heading into your draft.

Could you give a quick overview of Apex Fantasy Football and what it offers?

Combining a skill-based format with industry-leading payouts, Apex Fantasy Football Money Leagues are designed to reward the best fantasy football owners for their prowess. As a fantasy addict who played in 16 fantasy football leagues last season, I was disappointed in my options for leagues to play in last year and decided I could create a format that provides fantasy addicts with a better platform to play on – mainly by minimizing the random luck elements of fantasy football.

If Adrian Peterson is a given at #1 overall, Arian Foster or Doug Martin? Is there anyone else to consider at #2?

Coming off a big rookie year with almost 2,000 total yards and 12 touchdowns, Doug Martin is my guy. With David Joseph and Carl Nicks returning, the Buccaneers will bolster an even stronger offensive line and Martin will return a year older and more experienced. 

Fantasy Football - Yahoo ADP Mock Draft

The first thing I did was remove Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez from the list as any owner in their right mind would not bother drafting Gronk within the first 7 rounds.  Then I removed all D/ST and kickers.  That being said there are still a TON of guys that went "undrafted" in this 10 team Yahoo Mock Draft based on ADP and each team drafted consists of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, and 1 TE. 

Just like last weeks ESPN ADP Mock Draft, there were no WR/QB combo picks drafted in the 1st round, and while Calvin Johnson still went 7th overall, Aaron Rodgers fell to the 1st pick of round 2.  Just 1 more QB (Drew Brees) & 4 more WRs were drafted in the 2nd.  Jimmy Graham jumped from the third round to the middle of round 2 at pick 16.  So out of the first 20 draft picks, 8 were not a RB, one more than the ESPN Mock. 

Again, Team 7 was the lone team to go WR/WR in rounds 1 and 2.  This time they draft Megatron and Dez Bryant, as A.J. Green moved up 2 slots.  Two teams drafted a RB/QB combo (Team 3, Doug Martin & Drew Brees) (Team 10, Alfred Morris & Aaron Rodgers), three teams went RB/WR (Team 4, Jamaal Charles & Julio Jones) (Team 6, C.J. Spiller & Brandon Marshall) (Team 9, Ray Rice & A.J. Green) and Team 5 was the only RB/TE with Marshawn Lynch & Jimmy Graham.

As teams are shifting to running back by committees, the stud backs are slowly diminishing!  Grab them while you can!  Don't be silly and draft your QB or WR or TE in the first two rounds!  After the jump we break down each round and discuss the MANY available QBs and WRs which will help you understand why there is no need to rush into drafting a player of that position!

Team 1Team 2Team 3Team 4Team 5
Adrian Peterson (Min - RB)Arian Foster (Hou - RB)Doug Martin (TB - RB)Jamaal Charles (KC - RB)Marshawn Lynch (Sea - RB)
Matt Forte (Chi - RB)Steven Jackson (Atl - RB)Drew Brees (NO - QB)Julio Jones (Atl - WR)Jimmy Graham (NO - TE)
Demaryius Thomas (Den - WR)Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR)Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB)Peyton Manning (Den - QB)Cam Newton (Car - QB)
Russell Wilson (Sea - QB)Colin Kaepernick (SF - QB)Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR)Marques Colston (NO - WR)Jordy Nelson (GB - WR)
Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR)Wes Welker (Den - WR)Hakeem Nicks (NYG - WR)Danny Amendola (NE - WR)Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)
James Jones (GB - WR)Pierre Garcon (Was - WR)Dennis Pitta (Bal - TE)Vernon Davis (SF - TE)Lamar Miller (Mia - RB)
Kyle Rudolph (Min - TE)Greg Olsen (Car - TE)Cecil Shorts (Jac - WR)Le'Veon Bell (Pit - RB)Danario Alexander (SD - WR)

Team 6Team 7Team 8Team 9Team 10
C.J. Spiller (Buf - RB)Calvin Johnson (Det - WR)LeSean McCoy (Phi - RB)Ray Rice (Bal - RB)Alfred Morris (Was - RB)
Brandon Marshall (Chi - WR)Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)Trent Richardson (Cle - RB)A.J. Green (Cin - WR)Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB)
Roddy White (Atl - WR)Victor Cruz (NYG - WR)Randall Cobb (GB - WR)Percy Harvin (Sea - WR)Andre Johnson (Hou - WR)
Tom Brady (NE - QB)Frank Gore (SF - RB)Vincent Jackson (TB - WR)Chris Johnson (Ten - RB)Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)
Jason Witten (Dal - TE)Matt Ryan (Atl - QB)Robert Griffin III (Was - QB)Tony Gonzalez (Atl - TE)Mike Wallace (Mia - WR)
Darren McFadden (Oak - RB)DeMarco Murray (Dal - RB)Steve Smith (Car - WR)Antonio Brown (Pit - WR)Eric Decker (Den - WR)
DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR)Owen Daniels (Hou - TE)Antonio Gates (SD - TE)Matthew Stafford (Det - QB)Martellus Bennett (Chi - TE)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Injuries in the Outfield!

Both Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers left their respective games today with injuries.  Gonzalez seems to re-aggravate his middle finger, which bothered him before the All-Star break and Hunter has a sore Achilles.  CarGo has been the best OF in the National League this season while Hunter continues to be one of baseballs best and most consistent hitters. 

Stay tuned for news on both players!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tim Hudson Watch: Fractured Right Ankle

The Atlanta Braves needed a break, but not of this kind!  Tim Hudson was carted off the field in the 8th inning after Eric Young Jr. stepped on his foot at first base.

GIF (dont watch if squeamish)

Le'Veon Bell vs Montee Ball - Who Would You Rather Have?

UPDATE (8/21) - Le'Veon Bell has Lisfranc injury!

This is the year of the running back and many of us will be relying on rookie RBs this fantasy football season.  You will need to draft 3 RBs that you can trust and without reaching!  Some of the better teams in the league will feature a rookie and you will need to make sure you draft the right one!  The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Le'Veon Bell with the 48th overall pick in the 2nd round while the Denver Broncos drafted Montee Ball at 58.  Neither of these guys were even the first running back to be drafted, that honor goes to Giovani Bernard and the Cincinnati Bengals, but Bell and Ball were drafted just 10 picks apart and are the highest drafted rookie running backs across the board in fantasy football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers can not win football games without establishing the run.  That is the way they operate, always have, and it seems like they always will.  Last season, as a team, they rushed for just 1537 yards and 8 touchdowns.  The season before?  1900 and 13 TDs.  That is where the Steelers need to be to stay competitive in the AFC North and Le'Veon Bell has the skill set to get them there.  We have all seen the highlight reels of him leaping over defenders, but he is only going to be as effective as his offensive line is healthy.  Included in that line is TE Heath Miller, and he is not going to be around for a while it looks like.  The Steelers do not own a top notch pass attack and teams will force them to throw the ball while stacking the box.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Orleans Saints Fantasy Team Preview

At the QB position, the Saints have a fantasy BEAST. Drew Brees is our second ranked QB and you will have to commit at quarterback to get him in your draft. On ESPN average draft position, he is going early second round. Is he worth it? Honestly, NO! QB is so deep and an example is Tony Romo at pick 80! Romo was the 8th ranked quarterback last season and is going 6-7 round later, and you are only giving up three points a week on average.

At, running back, the Saints position is a little bit more murky. While Darren Sproles is the most dangerous receiving running back in the NFL (and a low end #2 RB), the traditional running backs behind him are questionable. After the Saints drafted Mark Ingram in the first round of the NFL draft in 2011, he has been disappointing with his top finish being fantasy's 33rd RB.  Now, with Chris Ivory gone, the situation is similar to the Carolina situation (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) with Ingram and Pierre Thomas sharing carries. When alone, both have the potential to be RB2s but together? My only advice is stay far away from both.

Upon Further Review with Josh Essig

Talk NFL with Josh Essig tonight on Blog Talk Radio.  I have known Josh for 27 years and he is one of the funniest guys you will ever talk too!  Make sure you call in to his radio debut tonight at 9pm EST.  (646) 564-9713 is the number to call in!

From Josh's Facebook page:
I will be talking everything NFL, but most importantly want to hear from you!!! If you call tonight I will definitely get you on. If you are interested please comment below or message me for details. If you don't want to call in but would like me to discuss a specific topic, please comment below. Hope to hear from as many of you as possible tonight!!!

Listen to internet radio with The Fanspeak Radio Network on BlogTalkRadio

Braves Knock on Wood

Back on June 18th, following just six big league appearances out of the bullpen, the Braves saw fit to give left-handed prospect Alex Wood his first start in the Majors. The young southpaw struggled with command throwing just 38 of his 73 pitches for strikes and lasting only three innings in the first game of a double dip against the Mets. However, he did show some of the form that earned the call-up received just three weeks earlier by striking out five and holding New York to one earned on just two hits that afternoon. After the one start and nine more outings in relief, Wood was optioned to AAA Gwinnett on July 13 in order to be "stretched out" for rotation depth down the stretch.

Wood was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Georgia. Since then, the 22 year old has put up a 9-5 record with a 1.73 ERA over three minor league levels and been ranked the franchise's #5 prospect according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Add to those numbers a .99 WHIP and an outstanding K/9 of 8.97, it is easy to understand the front office turning to him so quickly when there was suddenly a lack of bullpen arms in Atlanta.

Jason Grilli Watch: Sore Right Forearm

Jason Grilli left last night's game, after throwing a pitch and immediately calling for the trainer to come out, which is never a good sign.  Those involved believe this could be a long term injury!  Mark Melancon is next in line to close games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and has been just as good as Grilli this season, be it not in a save situation.  He has 23 career saves and a 0.97 ERA this season with a 0.82 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched.  Go grab him while you still can!

Alfonso Soriano is Headed Back to the Bronx

The New York Yankees have a deal in place to bring Alfonso Soriano back to where his career first started. Soriano still has fantasy value left in him and has hit at least 20 home runs in every season since 2002. He already has 17 long balls this season and could add another 10 at Yankee Stadium. Also, considering how much trouble the Yankees have had scoring recently, it's safe to assume Joe Girardi will place him in the middle of the lineup, increasing his RBI chances. Can't imagine they would bat him at the top of the lineup, since he owns a career .321 OBP, but that seems to be his place in lineups.

Soriano, 37, would be joining the team with which he broke into the Major Leagues back in 1999. The Dominican native played with the Bombers from 1999-2003 before being traded to the Rangers along with Joaquin Arias for Alex Rodriguez. In 378 plate appearances for the Cubs this season, Soriano is batting .256/.286/.471 with 17 home runs. - MLBTradeRumors

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ryan Braun Suspended for 2013 Season

Ryan Braun has admitted to PED use and will be suspended without pay for the remainder of the season.  Never thought we were going to see this happen!

“I realize now that I have made some mistakes," he said in a statement. "I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.” - CBS Sports

The way Marlon Byrd has been playing makes him a solid option to add for the time being.  He is owned in just 56% owned in CBS leagues and 39% of Yahoo leagues.  He is 89% owned in ESPN leagues, so sorry guys.  That being said, Carlos Quentin is probably your best option if you play ESPN.  It's either him or Eric Young JR.  Let us know who your 3 best options are and we will help you decide how to replace Ryan Braun!

Chicago Cubs Trade Matt Garza to Texas Rangers

The Chicago Cubs have traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers!  This is the second season in a row the two clubs have made a deal at the deadline.  Last season they sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers.  Clearly Garza's value increases as his run support should be like nothing he has ever seen before in his career.  Mike Olt might actually make some waves in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season!  Can't hurt to stash him!

The Cubs will receive Mike Olt, right-hander C.J. Edwards and one other player, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. - MLBTradeRumors

Danny Amendola vs Wes Welker - Who Would You Rather Have?

One thing you can bet on Danny Amendola doing this season is matching his career touchdown total of 7.  That is of course if he can stay healthy and play an entire season, which he has only done once in 4 NFL season and has managed just 42 career games.  Amendola's best season was in 2010 when he caught 83 passes for 689 yards and 3 touchdowns.  I am thinking that 32 receptions is a pretty good number for a prediction this season but the way the Patriots score, he is bound to have more than 3 TDs.  It's hard to imagine Amendola ever putting up a previous Welker type season, even if the Pats had Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski.  Look for the Patriots to shift back to the run a bit this season.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Buy Low Candidate: Doug Fister

Typically taken in the middle rounds of most drafts heading into the season, Doug Fister appeared to be a steal after the first month. Going 4-0 with a 2.38 ERA in April, the Tigers righty was among the top of all American League starters and on his way to another solid year in Detroit. The story has been very different since then, as he has taken fantasy owners on a roller coaster ride of inconsistency.

Fister does have nine quality starts over the last two and a half months, but has been uncharacteristically knocked around in his other five appearances. The results have been a 3-5 record and a lofty 4.65 ERA.

With an ownership rate as high as 84% in Yahoo! Leagues, Fister really has a large number of owners scratching their heads over his last five starts leading into the break. He has been hammered for six earned runs three different times over that stretch. Even considering a solid performance against the Rangers last time out, the frustration is at a season long high for those who have stuck with him.

The reason to go after Fister right now, aside from the fact that he is simply under performing, can be found in his post all-star break numbers with the Tigers. He has sported a combined 16-5 record with an outstanding 2.31 ERA in the second half over the last two seasons. Couple that with the following tentative schedule breakdown of his next seven starts, it is very easy to see why Fister should be high on your target list.

July 21 at Royals
July 26 vs Phillies
Aug. 2 vs. White Sox
Aug. 7 at Indians
Aug. 12 at White Sox
Aug. 17 vs Royals
Aug. 23 at Mets

Buy Low Candidate: B.J. Upton
Buy Low Candidate: Starlin Castro
Buy Low Candidate: Ian Kennedy

Fantasy Football - ESPN ADP Mock Draft

The first thing I did was remove Rob Gronkowski from the list as any owner in their right mind would not bother drafting him within the first 7 rounds.  That being said there are still a TON of guys that went "undrafted" in this 10 team ESPN Mock Draft based on ADP and each team drafted consists of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, and 1 TE.  Just a single WR and QB were drafting in the 1st round and just 2 more QBs and 3 more WRs in the 2nd.  So out of the first 20 draft picks, just 7 were not a RB.  We had one team draft two WRs (Team 7, Calvin Johson and A.J. Green), two teams draft a RB/QB combo (Team 2, Arian Foster and Peyton Manning) (Team 8, C.J. Spiller and Drew Brees), one team went QB/RB (Team 9, Aaron Rodgers and LeSean McCoy) and two teams go RB/WR (Team 1, Adrian Peterson and Brandon Marshall) (Team 5, Ray Rice and Dez Bryant). 

That is going to be the norm this season, as teams are shifting to running back by committees, the stud backs are slowly diminishing!  Grab them while you can!  Don't be silly and draft your QB or WR or TE in the first two rounds!  After the jump we break down each round and discuss the MANY available QBs and WRs which will help you understand why there is no need to rush into drafting a player of that position!

Team 1Team 2Team 3Team 4Team 5
Adrian Peterson, Min RBArian Foster, Hou RBMarshawn Lynch, Sea RBDoug Martin, TB RBRay Rice, Bal RB
Brandon Marshall, Chi WRPeyton Manning, Den QBStevan Ridley, NE RBMatt Forte, Chi RBDez Bryant, Dal WR
Tom Brady, NE QBJulio Jones, Atl WRDemaryius Thomas, Den WRJimmy Graham, NO TEFrank Gore, SF RB
Montee Ball, Den RBDavid Wilson, NYG RBMatt Ryan, Atl QBVictor Cruz, NYG WRWes Welker, Den WR
Marques Colston, NO WRReggie Wayne, Ind WRJordy Nelson, GB WRColin Kaepernick, SF QBMike Wallace, Mia WR
Torrey Smith, Bal WRAntonio Brown, Pit WREric Decker, Den WRSteve Smith, Car WRMatthew Stafford, Det QB
Dennis Pitta, Bal TEKyle Rudolph, Min TEOwen Daniels, Hou TEPierre Garcon, Wsh WRAntonio Gates, SD TE

Team 6Team 7Team 8 Team 9Team 10
Jamaal Charles, KC RBCalvin Johnson, Det WRC.J. Spiller, Buf RBAaron Rodgers, GB QBTrent Richardson, Cle RB
Steven Jackson, Atl RBA.J. Green, Cin WRDrew Brees, NO QBLeSean McCoy, Phi RBAlfred Morris, Wsh RB
Percy Harvin, Sea WRChris Johnson, Ten RBMaurice Jones-Drew, Jac RBRoddy White, Atl WRAndre Johnson, Hou WR
Randall Cobb, GB WRDarren McFadden, Oak RBLarry Fitzgerald, Ari WRVincent Jackson, TB WRCam Newton, Car QB
Russell Wilson, Sea QBDanny Amendola, NE WRTony Gonzalez, Atl TEDeMarco Murray, Dal RBJason Witten, Dal TE
Vernon Davis, SF TERobert Griffin III, Wsh QBDwayne Bowe, KC WRVernon Davis, SF TEHakeem Nicks, NYG WR
James Jones, GB WRGreg Olsen, Car TETavon Austin, StL WRGreg Jennings, Min WRCecil Shorts, Jac WR

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buy Low Candidate: B.J. Upton

This is the absolute epitome of a "buy low" player. Having the worst overall season of his career up to this point, B.J. Upton has fantasy owners and Braves fans alike in a heightened state of frustration. Given the inherent difficulty that comes with attempting to secure a player with a three year average of 23 home runs and 36 stolen bases, drafting the dual threat center fielder this year typically came with the cost of a 4th or 5th round pick. Time to take advantage of those who are still paying the price.

You are definitely not looking for batting average from a player that has not finished above .250 since 2008, but a .177 mark at the break is just too much to handle. Combine the average with just eight homers and seven steals, you have a player that most wish they would not have drafted at all.

The soon-to-be 29 year old was placed on the disabled list just before the break. A right adductor strain looks as if it will keep Upton out for at least the first nine games of the second half. The injury is not thought to be too serious. However, it does make your opportunity to deal for him all the easier.

Being drafted in 100% of Yahoo! Leagues and still owned in 74%, B.J. Upton owners across the board have to be chomping at the bit to get rid of him. Most will simply ask for anything of low to moderate value in exchange. With that in mind, your outlook should be that this is a "low risk/high reward" type deal.

Considering that he is managing a fairly solid walk rate with the lowest BABIP of his career, it is a safe bet that Upton will not get any worse. The high end potential is that he returns to the 2012 post-break form that resulted in 21 long balls and 16 stolen bases. If that happens, you have pulled off the trade of the season.

Buy Low Candidate: Doug Fister
Buy Low Candidate: Starlin Castro
Buy Low Candidate: Ian Kennedy

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Robinson Cano Watch: Right Quad Contusion

Robinson Cano stepped up to the plate against National League starter Matt Harvey and took a pitch right off the knee.  He went to first after walking it off, but was forced to leave the game after Harvey struck out Miguel Cabrera.  The way the season has gone for the Yankees, Cano will probably end up on the disabled list to start the second half of the season.  Let's hope not!


Brian Hartline - PPR Gold?

Mike Wallace burst onto the fantasy football scene during the 2010 NFL season when he caught 60 passes for 1257 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He did so with a 34 year old Hines Ward lining up next to him.  Ward went on to catch 59 passes for 710 yards and 5 touchdowns.  There were only a handful of WRs who had those kind of numbers last season, at the point in the draft where you can select #82.  If Brian Hartline can play the Hines Ward role this season for the Miami Dolphins, he is due to have a great season.  The 2013 Dolphins have a similar offensive depth chart to that 2010 Steelers team that finished 12-4.  Dustin Keller will be playing the roll of Heath Miller and Brandon Gibson will play Emmanuel Sanders.  Granted the Dolphins defense is not nearly what the Steelers defense was, they have a very good chance to finish with 10 or more wins, especially in a weak AFC East division.  But it will depend on Hartline transitioning into a secondary receiver (which is who he truly is) and if Ryan Tannehill makes smart decisions and doesn't force the ball to Mike Wallace, who will most likely be doubled at all times. 

Buy Low Candidate: Starlin Castro

Coming into the 2013 season, many believed the Cubs young shortstop was headed for even bigger things than his all-star form from the previous two years. Castro did have a decent first month, batting .277 and driving in a dozen, but it has been a down hill slide since. May and June saw him manage just a .210 average while his strike out rate ballooned to nearly 19%. These two months have resulted in a very deflated overall stat line to this point in the season.  A career low BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) has definitely not helped matters. With marks of just .243/.280/.351, the 23 year old is not close to his career line coming into the season of .297/.336/.425. However, Castro went 8 of 16 in a a four game set with St. Louis immediately heading into the all-star break and is hitting a solid .302 with a normalizing K rate since June 26th.

The turnaround has started and the window on your chance for a below value acquisition will start to close very quickly once fantasy managers begin to take notice. Some already have. Now is the time to make an offer. If career patterns hold firm there will be no regrets.

Castro is a career .300 hitter after the break. When you compare his career first half OPS of .710 to a .781 second half mark, it is easy to see that he is just simply a better hitter later in the season. A disappointing 7 stolen bases to this point has also been a frustration to owners. As his on base percentage increases, that number should rise drastically. Racking up 47 steals over the last two seasons, speed is typically part of the package.

Keep in mind that Castro has largely achieved his level of production without much in they way of a supporting cast. Do not be scared off by trade rumors swirling around Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano. Make your trade offers with confidence. At such a shallow position, Starlin Castro can be a real difference maker.

Buy Low Candidate: Doug Fister
Buy Low Candidate: Ian Kennedy
Buy Low Candidate: B.J. Upton

Casto was our #1 ranked SS coming into the season.  Click here to see where he ranks at the All-Star Break!

MLB Midseason Awards

The 2013 MLB season has been flying by and it's hard to believe it's already the All-Star break. There have been a lot of surprises so far this season, from the Pittsburgh Pirates going into the break 19 games over .500, to Matt Harvey giving the Met fans hope for the future, to Chris Davis tying Reggie Jackson with 37 home runs in the first half. We have also seen a fair share of disappointments as well, like the Los Angeles Angels being 5 games under .500 despite having Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the same lineup, and the defending World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants being 8 games under .500 with their ace Matt Cain supporting a 5-6 record with a 5.06 ERA in 19 starts.

It's fun to take a look back at what has happened in the first half of the season and give out meaningless awards to those who deserve it, IF the season was to end today.

In the American League

MVP - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

  • Miguel Cabrera was hands down the MVP in 2012 as he also won the triple crown, but this year he has some competition with Chris Davis. Cabrera is hitting .365 with a .458 OBP and has hit 30 home runs, while driving in 95 runs, and scoring another 73. He has also drawn 60 walks. Davis is hitting .315 with 37 home runs and 95 RBI. But the fact that Cabrera has an extra 50 points on his batting average and Davis does not even have a .400 OBP makes Cabrera the favorite here
    • Runner Up - Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fantasy Baseball All-Star Break Rankings - Pitchers & Catchers

MLB All Star Game Logo
Max Scherzer is the clear cut favorite for the AL Cy Young Award, but in the NL its a tight race between Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw. Wainwright is getting more run support, leading to more W and if he reaches 20, then there is no debate. Wainwright also has walked 20 less batters in 1.1 more innings pitched, and by 20 less batters I mean he has walked 15 batters all season! Some of the biggest surprises here Patrick Corbin, Bartolo Colon, Hisashi Iwakuma, Chris Tillman and Eric Stults who have combined to win 50 games! R.A. Dickey (4.69) and Jon Lester (4.58) are the only two pitchers on this list with an ERA above 4.07.

Spring Training RankAll-Star BreakNameTeamGS W L CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP BAA Fantasy Points
131Adam WainwrightSTL2012542146.213343406151302.451.010.244437.4
212Max ScherzerDET1913100129.296474612311523.190.980.206418.4
23Clayton KershawLAD208632145.19736327351391.980.910.188407.7
54Felix HernandezSEA2010400138.2126433911261402.531.100.244407.4
125Cliff LeePHI1910311138.2117474413211252.861.000.227394.9
266Jordan ZimmermannWAS1912431132.111042381018952.580.970.222393.7
#N/A7Patrick CorbinARI1911110130.19735349331092.351.000.206390.7
808Justin MastersonCLE2010733135.1112565610541373.721.230.227382.7
439Matt HarveyNYM197200130.09134347281472.350.920.196369.5
#N/A10Bartolo ColonOAK1912322126.21263838915702.701.110.262369.4

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