Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fantasy Football Dossier 6.0

"Ohhhh, I've been missing you
And the way you make me feel inside."

What it is, what it is? So great to be back in the football mix in this, the year of our Lord, 2014. This is especially true for Pats fans, as we are gearing up towards a year of perhaps historical significance (everyone back home is expecting 13-14 wins and a Super Bowl birth, and really no one can definitively say they can't, so yeah, it's nice).

Well I'm no good at intros...or drawing...or ice skating...or cohesive thoughts, so let's dive right in shall we? As always, I'm doing a random ESPN draft with people I don't know on my F'd up laptop that still kinda functions (so long as you don't try and open another window or do anything outside of typing in Microsoft Word). I'm choosing to do a 12-teamer snake draft with a Flex and D/ST, which is essentially the no limit hold 'em, or the Cadillac, of fantasy football. You can make a much better team via auction drafts and managing budgets and all that good stuff, but still, the vast majority of people are doing snake drafts, so we're going to be leaning pretty heavy on that (also all the drafts I do are snake...why can't my friends get with it?)

Along the way, I'm going to go through my team, which of course, is gonna be super duper (at least in the present tense...we can only hope I know what I'm talking about), and also I'm going to mention a few guys that I missed out on, or that I wanted to miss out on. In any event, like I always say, this is ultimately your team and your decisions, but I am glad that you decided to check me sexy minx...whoa, whoa what just happened there? Okay moving right along...

Team Name: SCLSU Mud Dogs: So I feel like there are not enough references in team names to The Waterboy, and I kinda just wanted to throw that out there. This isn't the greatest name of all time, but I'm just trying to make a point...and I am mostly not clever with that shit at all.

Draft Pick #: 3: Okay this is nice to know. While I certainly love Eddie Lacy, Megatron, Forte, and Jimmy Graham...theory time (da-duh, da-da-da-da-da, dahhhh dahhh, bum-bum-bum bah...that's the phonetics for the intro to Simon Says by Pharoahe Monch by the way...if you look it up, or if you already know, yes, I do need that sound to drop right here, but no, no clue how to make that happen...somebody help me!)

Theory #1: AP, LeSean McCoy, and Jamaal Charles Must Go Top 3: Hey, like I've said before, you gotta start off with the easy stuff and work you're way from there. I would probably go McCoy #1. I just think even without DeSean Jackson, Philly will have a fairly dynamic offense. Maclin, Cooper, and Ertz are going to take plenty of pressure of McCoy (who also has his fair share of catches). Next I would go Peterson, because who the hell is going to say "Adrian Peterson?...that was dumb" ever?

#3: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia: Okay at this moment I want to point out Peyton Manning went #2, and while that's bogus, the rest of the draft was fairly well accounted for...and also it's a draft with a bunch of strangers for a team I probably won't keep up with, so whatevs. So yeah, getting the best player at #3 is always nice.

Okay, so there's a fairly lengthy amount of picks before my next selection, so I'm going to go ahead and make you aware of the "Dudes That I Like/Don't Like" section. In between picks, if there's a dude who I like or who I think was of good value, I'll let you know, and there's a dude I don' know I think you're smart enough to figure all the rest out...anywho...(pick taken is in parentheses, just like this statement!)

Dudes That I Like: Essentially a facsimile of the aforementioned group, but Lacy (7th), Megatron ( 9th? Really??), The Jimmy (6th), Forte (4th), A-Jizzle (AJ Green, 12th), Demaryius (13th), Le'veon (17th), Brandon Marshall (18th) Zac Stacy (19th), Big Al (Alfred Morris, 21st)

Dudes That I Don't Like: Marshawn Lynch (10th), DeMarco (15th), Arian (17th)...literally for all of these guys, I think they're going to get hurt. I don't wish it on them, but I can just see it all going down. I had this instinct about Troy Tulowitzki in baseball this year. Despite drafting him in the first round last year, I decided not to keep him for this year because I just had a gut feeling about it. So the first three months, he was literally having one of the greatest fantasy seasons (and real ones) of all that was not sitting well with me. Anyway, fast forward to now, he just had successful hip surgery, but he's done for the year. Obviously it would have been nice to have those first few months, but long-term, I knew I needed someone to help me when the playoffs hit that I was at least a little assured that they would remain healthy and playing in those crunch time games. So again, I don't wish this on any of them, but just call it a feeling.

Oh, and Doug Martin (21st)...his value has gone kerplunk.

#22: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta: I would consider using a top 10 pick for him. I don't know what it is, but Julio Jones does it for me. He's just cool and composed...Dez Bryant's got that Michael Irvin bad attitude on the sidelines shit coursing through his veins from that #88...makes it tough to root for (oh did I mention he plays for Dallas too?). I don't know why I had to mention Dez Bryant here. I guess it's because he's so talented and I loved him at Okie State, but now, it's like man, we get it, you're really good. They should throw the ball to you. Understood. You should talk to the coach in private about that, and not make a scene. That just doesn't sit well with me. I get pissed when people don't do their jobs, he gets pissed because he doesn't get enough's like oil and vinegar. Anyway, love Julio. I want him across the board on all my teams, because I draft guys I like to root fact, that sounds like theory potential:

Theory #2: Don't Draft Guys You Hate Or From A Team That You Can't Stand Because Ultimately, They Will Probably Screw You Over: That's actually a lot more fact than fiction from my early days of playing fantasy (when you were young, and your heart was an open book...)

#27: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England: Yes I'm a total homer, but I'm pretty sure if you're actually reading this, you probably already knew that. The top 3 TEs have to be Graham, Gronk, and Julius Thomas. Those are the only guys worthy of top 30 picks because they could all end up outgaining the likes of an A.J. Green or a Dez Bryant...not saying it will happen, but it's possible. As you see my team unfold, you'll start to realize what a lynchpin Gronk could potentially be. It's a big if, but if healthy, he's a top 10 player for certain.

Dudes I Like That Random Anonymous People Drafted And, Ergo, Are Dickbags: Alshon Jeffery (29th...oh GD you don't even know how proud I am of AJ1 making his talents transition so smoothly from USC to the NFL...he's a ballllllleeeeerrrrrrr...GAMECOCK!), Montee Ball (33th...this is strictly value...if you do Yahoo! (oh help you God if you forget that exclamation point), he's going top outside top 30 here...that's enough of a disparity to take a gamble), Larry Fitzgerald (37th...he will resurrect to a top 5 receiver), Andrew Luck (43rd...what is all this talk of he has no one to throw to?...everyone knows they have T.Y., Reggie Wayne...AND Hakeem Nicks now? He was 9th overall in points last year on Yahoo!...AND he has Hakeem Nicks now?), Ryan Mathews (44th...tremendous value)

Dudes I Said "You Go Right Ahead And Destroy Your Team By Taking": Ben Tate (30th...again, gut feeling...I do not like the future here...I almost liked him more as Arian Foster's backup honestly), Reggie Bush (36th...he will have games that will make him worthy of going this high, but he will also likely have more games where he's so not, and you are basically inclined to draft Joique Bell as a handcuff...and it gets to the point where it's like "why am I drafting a guy that I almost HAVE to draft his backup?"), Trent Richardson (38th...holy shit people are taking him this high?...I made the mistake of banking on him last year, and wow does he look suddenly like a #2 on his own team, let alone on a fantasy team).

#46: Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee: 

Theory #3: Drafting Rookie RBs, Especially In Keeper Leagues, Is Imperative: The reason you are able to get a guy like Sankey this low is the great unknown. I mean if you say to anyone, no matter if they know anything or everything about football "hey, here's a guy who ran for 1,870 yards in what was arguably the best two to three conferences in the you think he'll be any good now?"...wouldn't you think they would say yes? Sankey has zero competition, and considering how well top flight rookies have been doing lately (Lacy, Le'veon, Stacy, Doug Martin two years ago), I would expect him to be in the keeper conversation come next year.

Two Dudes In A Row That I Wouldn't Touch With A Ten Foot Pole: Frank Gore (47th), Toby Gerhart 48th...noooooooooo thank you)

#51: Julian Edelman, WR, New England:

Theory #4: Julian Edelman Will Finish In The Top 3 In Receptions This Year: In somewhat of poetic irony, Wes Welker went the pick before at 50...and then I take the "Welker Clone" who is now simply known as Julian Edelman. Not only will I not be surprised if he's in the top 3 in receptions, but I believe he will have a better year than Welker, and furthermore, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he led the whole league in receptions. You just have to trust me on this (especially if you're in PPR leagues...oh man is he going to be dynamite there).

Dudes I Like Here: Matthew Stafford (52nd), Keenan Allen (53rd), Cordarrelle Patterson (62nd), T.Y. Hilton (66th)

Dudes That, Yeah, Not So Much: Michael Crabtree (58th), Ray Rice (59th...not so much for the fact that he's a wife-beater...oh I'm sorry...fiance-beater, but his game took a turn for the worst last year, and Bernard Pierce is essentially on the same level, if not more valuable than Rice right now), Sammy Watkins (65th...great talent, but he's going to have to be the man immediately, and I'm not sure he's going to be able to make it happen).

#70: Tom Brady, QB, New England:

Theory #5: Tom Brady, Yes That Tom Brady, The First Ballot Hall Of Famer, Is The Most Underrated Player In Fantasy: In ESPN's rankings, they have him #111 overall...111? That's a three-digit number...I'm sorry, but Brady should be in the top 100 even if he's throwing to armless receivers because he's Tom Brady. This is insanity that he is this low. Obviously he is coming off a "down" year (I know, only 4,343 yards..what a bummer), but he has all his receivers back for another year in the system, and, again big if, but if Gronk stays healthy, he should be tipping 5,000 yards this year. Now Tom Brady has a fantasy football chip on his shoulder...what's next?

Quick sidenote: I've been thinking about this recently, but it's amazing how the careers of Tom Brady and David Ortiz have intertwined. Both are viewed as almost god-like by their respective fan bases. They have three titles a piece, including winning that first title that seemed like the unreachable star for literally my entire life up to that point, and in line with that, they both participated in the wildest series of events to win that first title (The Snow Game, Down 3-0 to NY) They were essentially cast off and wound up becoming future Hall of Famers (Brady for sure, Papi...I mean I think he's in. This whole "a DH can't be in the HOF" thing is totally ridiculous), and both were supposed to have slowed down by now. Papi just hit his 400th home run in Boston, giving him 459 for his career, so you have to believe 500 is well within reach, and Brady could be a Pro Bowler again this year...good stuff.

#75: Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego: Our old friend of Patriots nation has found a home in San Diego, and is now one of the best flex options there is based on two things. First, he fills it up with rushing and receiving yards so that he is good for at least 80-90 total yards a game, and second, there is always the possibility of a Ryan Mathews injury, which would give him even more touches.

Dudes You Can Label Me Intrigued By: Brandin Cooks (80th...LOVE him), Michael Floyd (82nd), 

Dudes Who Are Extremely Questionable: Maurice Jones-Drew ( can argue value here, and I can argue that I think he only plays half a season), Jeremy Maclin (83rd), Pierre Thomas (88th)

#94: Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets: Okay so I kinda broke my theory here by taking a Jet, but the guy is going to be on my bench anyway, and getting a guy with Decker's credentials this late is a steal.

#99: Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans: I absolutely think Robinson takes the starting job away from Pierre Thomas sooner rather than later, and could potentially be a nice flex option this year.

Dudes I'm Rocky Mountain High On: Charles Clay (103rd), Riley Cooper (109th), Bernard Pierce (115th)

Dudes I'm Death Valley Low On: Deangelo Williams (110th), Dwayne Bowe ( can tell that guy smokes a ton of weed)

#118: Patriots D/ST: Pats D? No way!! Look, this wasn't the best unit last year, but this is how much confidence I have in how they will come together this year. With Mayo and Wilfork back, and the additions of Revis and Browner (coming Week 5), this should be a top 10 D. Also, with Edelman returning punts, there is the potential to double down if he were to score a TD on a's-ah-nice, high five! (you loving these dated references?).

#123: Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco: The Niners may have found the heir-apparent to Gore. I was really hoping it would be Marcus Lattimore, but he is continuing to work his way back into at least attempting to become a professional. I really hope he can return to his former glory, but in the meantime, Hyde is making it look like a potential time-share situation, as he is becoming what they always wanted Kendall Hunter to be: Someone to take the load off of Gore.

Dudes I'm Considering: Darren McFadden (124th...he's actually the backup now, which could be the best thing for his career if you can believe that), Zach Ertz (135th...I'm HUGE on fact, I kind of wish I drafted him instead of Hyde, but oh well), Tavon Austin (137th), Mike Evans (139th...hmmm...another guy I probably should have taken over Hyde...well, that's why it's a mock draft I guess)  

Dudes That I'm Like Hall And Oates Being All I Can't Go For That, No Can Do: Mark Ingram (132nd), Antonio Gates (141st)

#142: Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland:

Theory #6: Buy In On Johnny Football: Most likely, someone is going to pick him way above his ranking, but I would suggest that if you do draft him, just know that it may take some time for him to actually become the guess is after their bye week in Week 4, Brian Hoyer (assuming he gets the starting job to begin the season) plays okay, but not spectacular, and the Browns go 1-3 and they have no choice but to put him in. Once that happens though, this guy could be a fantasy juggernaut. Also, because Brady doesn't have a bye until Week 10, it gives me time to see where Manziel is at, and if need be, I'll find someone else, but the risk/reward is too great here.

#147: Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis: Gamecock! Getting Cook this low brings yet another theory:

Theory #7: The Tight End Position Is Surprisingly Deep: Cook will be a backup on my team, but in actuality, he's a borderline top 10 TE. The same can be said about a ton of guys you can get in the 100s...Ertz, Ebron, Delanie Walker, Ladarius Green (in the likely event he becomes the starting TE in San Diego), Kyle if you miss out on the big three, fear not. I would scoop up some skill players and wait until the 9th or 10th round to start looking at a tight end.

At this juncture, I'm just gonna keep it to dudes I like because when you're this far into the draft, everything is relative.

More Dudes I Like: Ronnie Hillman (148th), Justin Hunter (149th), Ladarius (152nd), Andre Williams (160th)

#166: Rod Streater, WR, Oakland: I actually don't like how many people have listed him as a sleeper. Usually when that happens, we're all left with egg on our face. Hopefully this is not the case, but to get him this late, I figure what the hell right?

#171: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina: He's in a very similar situation as Sammy Watkins in that he's a rookie, but yet he's the essentially the de facto #1 receiver for the Panthers. The difference is that the pressure will be much less on Benjamin, and he also has a much better QB throwing him the ball. This guy is definitely a guy to look for towards the end of the draft as becoming a major steal.

#190: Ryan Succop, K, Kansas City: Wooooooo Succop! Gamecocks baby!!

The Last Drafted Dude I Like: Ka'Deem Carey (191st...really looking forward to see how the Bears implement him...dynamic back here)

The Undrafted Dude I Really Like: Blake Bortles (he may get the job out of camp, but if he doesn't, it should read very much like how it will in Cleveland if Manziel doesn't start Week 1...if the Jags start off slow, they're going to go to the rookie, and by all accounts, he should be just fine considering he has absolutely no real expectations...nothing even close to Johnny Cleveland)

So of course that went really well...probably too well. Here's the squad in case you were scoring at home...

QB: Tom Brady
RB: LeSean McCoy
RB: Bishop Sankey
WR: Julio Jones
WR: Julian Edelman
TE: Rob Gronkowski
FLEX: Danny Woodhead
D/ST: Patriots
K: Ryan Succop

BN (QB): Johnny Manziel
BN (RB): Khiry Robinson
BN (RB): Carlos Hyde
BN (WR): Eric Decker
BN (WR): Rod Streater
BN (WR): Kelvin Benjamin
BN (TE): Jared Cook

So yeah, that's pretty much everything I could have wanted. Tons of star power, tons of Pats, tons of value. If you do enough of these, you can really get a feel for how drafts are unfolding. My suggestion would be to do a few mock drafts before hitting the real thing. You want to have contingency plans in place once you're actually on the clock for real. There's nothing worse than hearing that stupid countdown clock as you're trying to make a decision on who to take. Check out ESPN's ADP calculator (right here) before the draft to find out which guys are moving up or slipping in drafts and plan accordingly.

Well, it's about time to hit the old dusty trail. Thank you so much for taking your time to read this, or tolerating this link popping up on your Facebook news feed. Hope it was somewhat entertaining and insightful. Also, I mean most of you are at work...what else do you have to do? Oh come on! Anyway, best of luck to all of you (unless you're in a league with me...then you can suck a D). Enjoy this season. LET'S GO PATS!! Peace.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft

"Rumors follow everywhere you go
Like when you left and I was the last to know."

What it is football fans! We have finally reached Draft Day (thank you so much NYC for having to push this back another two if this wasn't late enough to begin with). This is a special day for me not just because I may get the distinct honor of watching the draft for three and a half hours only to have the Pats trade down and get someone, and not because my Bruins hope kick a little Montreal ass tonight (actually they really need to do that), but because we may see a Gamecock go #1 overall tonight for the first time in almost 35 years, when the legendary, Heisman Trophy winning George Rogers was picked by the New Orleans Saints, or as they were referred to then, the Aints, in 1981.

Jadeveon Clowney for some reason does not have a contract right now despite being arguably the greatest defensive prospect to ever go through the draft process. That's right...EVER. This is irking me a little bit, not gonna lie. What else does he have to do really? I still think for Houston to either not take him, or for someone to not move into the top spot to take him, is completely insane, but that's just my incredibly partisan view of the whole situation.

So, with that being said, it's onto the mocking of the draft. Over the years, I had posted mock drafts in February and March and a few weeks before the draft, but suddenly it's donning on me that those are complete wastes of time. Instead, I'm just doing this one...on Draft Day, because really this is the only one that matters. The intel on most of the top prospects is in, so we have a much better sense of what teams think about players and who is sliding up/down draft boards. So, with out further ado, here's the 2014 Draft as predicted by moi, the best qualified superstar (that's an EPMD line for those who were unaware...if you ever have some free time, check out their catalog on Spotify or'll be glad you did).
  1. Houston - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, THE USC: Again, it would be utter madness if anyone else went here. I certainly dig Khalil Mack's game, but Clowney was impressive against SEC opponents (and Clemson, where he terrified Tajh Boyd for three years), whereas Mack was impressive against Ohio State, and literally that is the only non-D1AA school (or whatever the abbreviation is for the league that is under Division 1 is now) that he played against. What may be even more perplexing is if Atlanta does not make the move up to get him. In no way are the Texans going to receive an RG3-like deal in return should they decide to move down, but I think the bounty will be something like trade spots, a 2nd, 4th, and a first next year. This is a win-win for both teams. Atlanta gets JC7, who wants to go there anyway, and least we forget the recent run of success Gamecock defenders have had there (most notably John Abraham and Dunta Robinson). Plus, the Texans will move down to #6, where Blake Bortles, who many speculate is the Texans' #1 QB, will likely still be available. In getting back to Houston, I think two things are perhaps getting overlooked: The owner is from USC, and they also have one of JD's teammates, D.J. Swearinger, already on defense, so in terms of comfort level, Houston and Atlanta would be the top 2.
  2. St. Louis - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: In what could be the lightning rod of the draft if the Rams decide to go Johnny Football here, I think ultimately, Sam Bradford remains the QB, and they sure up his blind side with Robinson, who has become the unanimous #1 offensive lineman in the draft.
  3. Jacksonville - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: This was brutal between Watkins and Mack. Ultimately, I think the Jags go with a receiver here. They just signed Chris Clemons, and the receiver situation is a mess with Blackmon likely done there, and Cecil Shorts being the only guy of note.
  4. Cleveland - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Nope, no Johnny Manziel here either. The Browns will be between whoever is the #1 receiver on the board and Jake Matthews. Evans is finally getting the boost up draft boards that he deserves, and now will likely not make it by Oakland's pick at #5.
  5. Oakland - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: If ever there was going to be a steal at #5...
  6. Atlanta - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: The Falcons will likely stay put and snatch the best available tackle at #6...come on, where's your balls Atlanta? Trade up for Jadeveon!
  7. Tampa Bay - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: At this point, the Bucs will be seriously looking to trade down, especially with Watkins and Evans off the board. Lovie Smith really likes Donald, and that usually wins out in the War Room (unless the owner gets overzealous here and demands they take Manziel).
  8. Minnesota - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: There was a lot of speculation that the Vikes would go Blake Bortles here, but that doesn't seem to be the case (in fact, if the Rams take Manziel at #2, look out for Sam Bradford heading to Minny). Instead, the Vikings are likely to go with someone in the front 7, whether it be Barr or if Donald fell to them.
  9. Buffalo - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Lewan rounds out the consensus OTs in the top 10. The Bills have been rumored to try and be moving up to take Clowney, but I expect they stay put and go tackle, a la Atlanta.
  10. Detroit - Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU: Beckham is perhaps the most fluid receiver in the draft in terms or route running and ability to operate in space. He has gone from borderline first round to absolute top 15 pick.
  11. Tennessee - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: Gilbert is believed to be the top corner, and the Titans have been starved for help in the secondary, as it seems to be a fluid changeover aside from Jason McCourty.
  12. New York Giants - Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: Martin represents the last of the "elite" linemen. Like 90% of the mocks I looked at had Eric Ebron going here, but there seems to be enough information out there to suggest the G-Men will not be looking to go after a tight end this high.
  13. St. Louis - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Let me first just say that I think it's going to be someone else besides the Rams who trade up to take Johnny either here or perhaps somewhere in the top 10. This would be a dream scenario for St. Louis though. They could either take Manziel here and trade the albatross known as Sam Bradford, or they could trade out and once again accumulate picks based on a team's glaring QB need.
  14. Chicago - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Seems to be the thought that they will go DB, but they really can trade down and get a quality guy in the low 20s. I'm calling this the Manziel/Bortles some point, someone's going to make a move on these guys.
  15. Pittsburgh - Darquese Dennard, CB, Michigan State: If the Bears and Steelers for whatever reason stay put, I would be very surprised if it's not DB-DB, and setting off somewhat of a run on the secondary towards the end of the first round.
  16. Dallas - HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: Sure, taking Johnny Manziel as the heir apparent sounds like a good idea in theory, but Romo was actually great last year. It was their defense that was so atrocious, they missed the playoffs yet again. I mean their defense was historically bad, so as tempting as Manziel would be if he were around here, they need to scoop up someone to help them defensively. Dix is also a potential Pro Bowl caliber player, so it's not as though the consolation prize would be all that bad...HaHa!
  17. Baltimore - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: With the departure of Ed Dickson, Ebron could fill in right away and make for an exciting combination with Dennis Pitta to set Flacco up for the future.
  18. New York Jets - Marqise Lee, WR, Southern Cal: I think Lee has star potential, which is why I have him ranked ahead of Brandin Cooks and Cody Latimer. Really though, I'm hoping they botch this pick so they can add it to their choke picks (Kyle Bundy over Warren Sapp...smooth move ex-lax...that joke is time-related as well).
  19. Miami - JaWuan James, OT, Tennessee: Odds of Miami moving up after last year: One trillion to your bets!
  20. Arizona - Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: Not saying he will go here necessarily, but this would probably be his floor I'm thinking.
  21. Green Bay - C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: They've addressed their need at pass rush by adding Julius Peppers, now they need help on the inside to go along with A.J. Hawk.
  22. Philadelphia - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oklahoma State: After losing DeSean Jackson to DC, I would have to believe they're going to be going in the way of a receiver sooner rather than later.
  23. Kansas City - Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA: In our annual "Logan Mankins/Must Have An Interior Lineman In The First Round" pick, Su'a Filo presents the Chiefs to load up along the left side of their line after taking Eric Fisher #1 last year. There has been talk of a QB just in case they can't ink Alex Smith to a deal.
  24. Cincinnati - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Bengals have a general need at CB and DE so I would think they go with either/or here. Kony Ealy from Mizzou is another guy to watch for here.
  25. San Diego - Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: When Danario Alexander went down before the season started and without Malcom Floyd for most of the year, the Chargers' receiving depth was exposed (although Eddie Royal did have a nice resurgeance).
  26. Cleveland - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: Of all the QBs that I have being taken in the first round, this is the one I can see actually happening. I feel like the Browns know that they can stay put here at the tail end of the first round and still get the guy they want (the feeling is that they think drafting Carr at #4 is too high, which I tend to agree with).
  27. New Orleans - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Seems like size is the only thing that is a con about Verrett, as many say he is the most talented of all the corners in the draft.
  28. Carolina - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: The Panthers have to be desperate to get a receiver after watching their two best from last year, Steve Smith (Ravens) and Brandon LaFell (Pats) skip town.
  29. Your New England Patriots - TRADE DOWN: I mean is it even worth thinking about who they would take here?...Is it? The only problem is I just don't know if the kind of buzz exists for teams wanting to move back into the first round (this is assuming that the top 3 QBs are gone), so having said that, I guess I'll make a pick against my own will...Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: It's about time we get Tom Terrific some weapons.
  30. San Francisco - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: The Niners have to be looking at Seattle and just say "okay so big dudes on the outside is the way to go." Jean-Baptiste's measurements: 6'3, 218lbs...yeah. I will say this though: SF has to be at least throwing out some kind of deal to move up because they really covet Odell Beckham, so I would not be surprised if they hatched out a deal if he were to slide out of the top 10.
  31. Denver - Ryan Shazler, LB, Ohio State: Gotta be 100% lock.
  32. Seattle - Joe Bitonio, G, Nevada: Seattle is in the sweet position of not only being the champs, but being loaded basically across the board. Now may be the time to start focusing in on the trenches. Bitonio is extremely versatile, and can play both tackle and guard at the NFL level.
Well, I hope your Draft Day is an epically amazing one (except if pull for the Jets, then I'm really hoping it all comes crashing down on you). Take care everyone. Stay safe. GO BRUINS!!



Friday, March 14, 2014

Fantasy Baseball Dossier 7.0

"He's the kind of guy that would say
Hey baby let's get away
Let's go some place, huh
Well...I don't care."

Well, here we are again. In only a few weeks, baseball's regular season will officially be open for business (in Australia of all places), and what would be a baseball season without doing a long, rambling, semi-coherent fantasy preview (semi-coherent is being generous, but when you are the sole writer, editor, publisher, and creator of a page, you can afford to use some self-generosity...if there is such a thing/word). Well shit man, let's get right on after it before you roll-bounce to another site...especially to that dreadful Matthew Berry, who sits on literally the highest metaphorical horse known to man.

So, as you may have been accustomed to seeing if you have read any of my prior dossiers, the preview will revolve around a real mock draft that I did with real people I've never met before on a fucked up laptop. The reason again that I do this is that as the draft progresses, it's easier to point out the trends. I have to stress that before we dive into this that ultimately this boils down to who you want on your team and not what some Yuengling drinking, really good looking guy from Boston tells you to do. This is like making picks, and then saying "for entertainment purposes," which in essence absolves you from having to take any responsibility for anything you's pretty great actually:

Roster Setup: Standard ESPN League: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 1B/3B, 2B/SS, 5 OF, UTIL, 9 P's, 3 BN

Team Name: It's Koji Time Bitch!: Even if I don't land Koji on my team, it still is representing the defending champs and a guy who, in one year's time, went from cast-off reliever, to early 90s Eckersley in six months...pretty freggin' great if you ask me.

Draft Position: #2 of 10: So here, I'm either getting Mike Trout or Miggy Cabrera. You could argue Goldschmidt, McCutchen, even Kershaw could go 2, but to me...

Theory #1: Mike Trout and Miggy Cabrera Are Still The Only Sure Things: Hey, you gotta start off with the easy ones and work your way down...that's good business. But in all seriousness, Goldschmidt had a monster year, but he's still below this group. Basically the same with McCutchen, Car-Go, and Clayton Kershaw, who rightfully deserves to be the best fantasy baseball pitcher by far right now.

#2: Mike Trout, OF, LAA: If you get Mike Trout, feel free to do cartwheels and flips...or at least attempt to do them. This guy literally prints fantasy money. So I'm excited, and I have no inhibitions on hiding it.

So I have about 15 picks to do flips and other lucha libre maneuvers. In this time, the usual suspects to the top 20 (Tulo, HanRam, Prince, Adam Jones) go by, and new standbys (Bryce, Chris Davis, Carlos Gomez) go by as well. Bryce is near and dear to me because you really can't tell me that it wasn't worth it at the time to take him wherever he ends up going (potentially a top 10 pick this year). His ceiling is the best player in baseball...there's not a whole lot of guys you can say that about. Carlos Gomez is another guy I'm huge on. He's a .300-30-100-30 player potentially. and finding that outside the top 10 is usually pretty difficult. So of course, both of these guys go in succession before my next pick, so I went pretty safe...

#19: Yu Darvish, SP, TEX: I would be surprised if Yu doesn't win the AL Cy Young this year. Outside of Kershaw, few dominated like Darvish...and he has to face a DH.

#22: Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD: 

Theory #2: Nothing Can Be Said To Not Take Yasiel Puig In The Top 25: Puig had a, dare I say, Mike Trout-like effect on fantasy teams in the second half of last year, and in just doing that, there's no way I would pass on Puig here. In my eyes, fantasy usually comes down to the players that jump off the page at you, and know that it is entirely possible that one guy could take a matchup over. Puig is absolutely one of those elite players in this game, and his potential is scary and exciting at the same time.

#39: Jose Fernandez, SP, MIA: 

Theory #3: All I Want Is Jose Fernandez And Forget The Rest: I actually got to see this guy throw most of his starts. I would be the only one at the bar I worked at that was eager to throw the Marlins games on with Jose starts at first, but as the season progressed, everyone understood that this guy is must-see TV. My theory within this theory is that the fact he plays on the Marlins is why he's not closer to the the top 20-25 in rankings. Otherwise, if you had actually watched this guy pitch, you could argue he was the best pitcher in the second half of last year...and that includes Kershaw. This guy is 21 years old (turns 22 in July). and already, he seems to have a tremendous amount of poise and command both on and off the mound. He is a special, special player.

#42: Craig Kimbrel, RP, ATL:

Theory #4: I Still Love Closers: No matter what, I continue to be convinced that if you surround your team with a few elite closers and other guys who will rack up saves, more often than not, you are going to win your pitching categories. Obviously you can't have all closers, but just know that, at least in this situation, you are rolling with nine pitchers at a time, and rather than have mostly starters who only go one, maybe two times a week if you're lucky, I think that closers, who can sometimes pitch three, four, even five games a week (five is in pretty limited circumstances...but it could happen) have a bigger impact, and because they throw one inning or less an appearance, if they screw up, not only is it less circumstantial on your overall ERA, but they have other attempts to make it up. I feel like I say this every year, but I enjoy being the pied piper of closer domination.

Kimbrel continues to be the gold standard of closers, and even though I love Aroldis Chapman (i.e. the Cuban Missile Crisis), there's no way you can convince me that Kimbrel's #1 in that category.

#59: Kenley Jansen, RP, LAD: Chapman went two picks before here...if I had a Kimbrel/Chapman 1-2 at closer...well that wouldn't even really be fair would it? Jansen is a pretty good consolation prize. Let's see, a 9th inning guy who pounds the shit out of the strike zone with a cut fastball...sound familiar? It's like Mariano reincarnated...into a really big dude.

#62: Wil Myers, OF, TB:

Theory #5: This Will Be The Last Time Wil Myers Goes Outside The Top 50 For A Long Time: I'm convinced after last season that Myers is ready to explode this season, and once that happens, good luck getting him this low. It's quite possible he makes a jump into the top 30 by the end of the year.

#79: Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN: 

Theory #6: Anytime A Guy Could Conceivably Steal 100 Bases, Take Him: It was at this point when I really felt like I had the league by the balls and that if I took any interest in this team, it would be curtains...curtains I say! Like the theory mentions, it is quite possible Hamilton goes for 100 steals. He is going to have a never-ending green light on the basepaths, so try and jump on a guy who could single-handedly win the SB category for you (by the by, 18 teams had less than 100 stolen bases for the season last yeah, he is a big-time difference maker).

#82: Carlos Santana, C/1B, CLE: Santana is great for me because he allows me to be flexible in terms of the next spot I need to fill, whether it be catcher or first base. He is a solid option at both spots.

#99: Manny Machado, 3B, BAL: 

Theory #7: I'm Still All-In On Manny Machado: Despite recovering from that horrific knee injury, I still can't get past what he did last year, and it sounds like he is on the way to recovering at least close to the start of the season, so right now, I still consider him a borderline top 50 player, and getting him around #100 is a big steal.

#102: Trevor Rosenthal, RP, STL: People were practically begging the Cardinals to give Rosenthal the closing gig last year, but after Edward Mujica did such a good job in that role, Rosenthal was relegated to set-up duties. However, Mujica faded down the stretch, and Rosenthal was able to step up in a big way, and now is the incumbent Cards closer dating back to his playoff run from last year in which he allowed no runs in 20 1/3 innings.

#119: Everth Cabrera, SS, SD: Shortstop is going to be a fairly weak position every year, so it would be wise to plan according and don't wait and think someone remotely decent will fall to you late in the draft. Cabrera has shown elite speed which could propel him to the 45-50 stolen base mark, and also showed much improved discipline at the plate, spiking his average up from .246 in 2012 to .283 in 2013.

#122: Michael Wacha, SP, STL: Well if you didn't know about him before, Wacha's performance in September and in the playoffs was certainly an eye-opening experience. He's got all the tools and plays on the favorite to get back to the World Series. This is yet another guy who I'm finding it hard to believe is going this late, but, as I've explained before, rankings are for suckers, so take advantage while you still can.

#139: Xander Bogaerts, 3B/SS, BOS: The expectations are big here as Bogaerts could represent stability at a position the Sox haven't had since...NOMAH!...and yet we've won three championships since then...crazy...anyway, his position eligibility will become SS/3B within a matter of a week or so (depending on how many games at a position your specific league requires...ESPN is I think 10 games?). I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm excited because this is by far the Sox' best option at the position they've had since Alex Gonzalez (no offense Stephen Drew).

#142: Jurickson Profar, 2B/3B/SS, TEX: So Profar finally has a clear path to the Rangers' everyday lineup with the Ian Kinsler trade to Detroit. I think he's going to be great in his first full year. He has a realistic shot of making the top 10 2Bs next year if he can package together what he showed us in flashes last year. These last two picks are representing a pretty common thread:

Theory #8: Basically No One On My Team Is Over 25: This current wave of players hitting the majors is probably the most exciting crop to come along since I've been watching baseball. These guys are pushing the game to new heights, and I'm doing everything in my power to cash in on it. Green is the new black.

#159: Danny Salazar, SP, CLE: The guy throws 100 MPH on the reg...I mean what else is there? I've never heard of a guy throwing that fast and not having made at least some kind of dent on the stat sheet. Even if he might get touched up here and there, his K/9 will be north of 10, so in that value alone, Salazar is of tremendous value here.

#162: Sonny Grey, SP, OAK: Not only does he have the best name in baseball, and the thought of his name wants me to transition into random Donnie Brasco references (forget about it), but Grey showed that he was ready for the jump and was great down the stretch.

#179: Christian Yelich, OF, MIA: Another one pretty near and dear to me. Yelich was thought all along to be the Marlins' best prospect until Jose's swift takeover last year. Still, Yelich has the makeup of a potential batting champ. I'm expecting at least .290 with a good possibility he puts it into the .300-.310 range by the end of the year.

#182: Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX: There have been concerns about Feliz' velocity in spring so far, but considering he was throwing 98 in the Dominican League, it seems like he's saving some MPHs for the regular season, which seems like a smart decision. Also, he is finally back in the bullpen after a so-so attempt to become a starting pitcher.

#199: Jason Castro, C, HOU: This is where Santana's position flexibility pays off for me. I've been able to hold off getting a catcher, and if Castro went off the board, I could simply draft a 1B (Mark Teixeira's ADP is 180.7...I know he's not the same player, but doesn't that seem really low?). I really like Castro and his 30 homer potential for the lowly, but soon to be pretty good Houston Astros.

#202: Nate Jones, RP, CWS: His fastball rarely dips under 97 MPH and he's the frontrunner to become the closer on the south side...where do I sign up?

#219: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, WSH: Rendon is a very intriguing player for the Nats, as they seem poised to take over the NL East. In that lineup, Rendon could do some serious fantasy damage.

#222: Alex Wood, SP, ATL: While he still does not have a starting spot locked up, Wood has looked great this spring, and it would appear like he will be in the rotation over Freddie Garcia. The Bravos did pick up Ervin Santana after Kris Medlen appears likely to miss a significant amount of time (I never like hearing "elbow injury" and "Dr. James Andrews" appearing too close to each other).

#239: George Springer, OF, HOU: I would be surprised if Springer is not starting for the 'Stros right away. He's too good to keep down right now. Sure it was between AA and AAA, but his minor league line last year is staggering (.303-37-108-45). He will provide immediate dividends in every stat category.

#242: Taijuan Walker, SP, SEA:
For my final pick, I take another risk/reward guy in Walker, who, due to shoulder inflammation, was shut down earlier this spring and is now just getting back to throwing long toss. Even if Walker ends up on the DL to start the year, it sets up for you to use a DL spot (hopefully your league has at least one) and pounce on a player who gets off to a hot start. Then, once Walker returns, you can further evaluate him without feeling pressure to actually put him in the starting lineup. To me, if Walker gets back to where he has been at, he could have a tremendous strikeout impact for the suddenly prospering Mariners.

So, to recap, here's the lineup:

C: Jason Castro
1B: Carlos Santana
2B: Jurickson Profar
3B: Manny Machado
SS: Everth Cabrera
2B/SS: Jurickson Profar
1B/3B: Xander Bogaerts
OF: Mike Trout
OF: Yasiel Puig
OF: Wil Myers
OF: Billy Hamilton
OF: Christian Yelich
UTIL: Anthony Rendon

BN: George Springer

P: Yu Darvish
P: Jose Fernandez
P: Craig Kimbrel
P: Kenley Jansen
P: Michael Wacha
P: Danny Salazar
P: Sonny Grey
P: Neftali Feliz
P: Nate Jones

BN: Alex Wood
BN: Taijuan Walker

This draft really couldn't have gone much better. Maybe if I could have paired Bryce Harper and Mike Trout together, but otherwise, this team is going to do some major damage in every conceivable category you can come up with. The emphasis on the hitting side is on speed and average. I figure if you focus on those two aspects, the power numbers along with runs will fall into place. Plus, if you have Mike Trout and don't make the playoffs, you should be ashamed of yourself.

I continue to emphasize strikeouts and pitchers who can get a lot of them. If you just go by the K/9 stat line, it really makes drafting pitchers much easier. No stat can tell how well a pitcher dominates a game more than the K/9 stat. I'm feeling incredible about this one, and really wish my friends could just for some reason allow me to replicate this and beat them out of their money...I would really appreciate that.

As always, I love to talk about guys who may not be getting drafted, or may be slightly off the 2014 radar but could make an impact either at the end of this year or in 2015 and beyond.

The All 260.0 (Undrafted) Team:

Mike Zunino, C, SEA: Hey who really knows what the Mariners are going to be capable of this the very least, they seem to be attempting to progress. I think Zunino is like the only righty in this lineup...I'm not sure what that does for his fantasy value, but I just wanted to point out that this team has like eight lefty hitters (Justin Smoak (GAMECOCK!) is a switch hitter for the sake of maybe 1.5 righties)...that's got to be some kind of record right?...anyway, Zunino's got serious potential, and the only question now becomes if he will fulfill it this year or will he need a full year to adjust. I know I'm not betting against it.

Travis d'Arnaud, C, NYM: This is finally going to be the put up, shut up time for d'Arnaud, who I swear I've been looking up his page on for like five years (made his first minors appearance is '07 with the Phillies organization, so even longer). I'm excited to see what he does with Zack Wheeler and, ultimately, Matt Harvey.

Kolten Wong, 2B, STL: Wong will become the everyday second baseman with Matt Carpenter moving to third full time. There could be some Jurickson Profar/Dustin Pedroia-like slow adjustment to start, but once he gets locked in, he will be a run-scoring machine.

Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, DET: With the Fielder/Kinsler trade, Miggy Cabrera is shifting back to first while Castellanos, who had been transitioning to become an outfielder, will return to his natural third base spot, which could mean he may have the always intriguing 3B/OF eligibility.

Javier Baez, SS, CHC: He may not make it to the majors this year, but he's worth officially adding to the radar. Last year's line between A and AA: .282-37-111-20...and he's a shortstop! This is some epic stuff, and the hope is that Baez tears up whatever level he ends up at and Theo has no choice but to pull the trigger (Note: Because Starlin Castro is the SS of the present and future, Baez may be in for a position change to third base).

Byron Buxton, OF, MIN: Like Baez, there is a chance Buxton doesn't play in the majors at all this year, but he's already the #1 minor league player after only playing one year in A ball. Perhaps not this year, but next year could be the debut of Mike Trout 2.0, so get ready for that.

Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, BOS: So obviously JBJ is basically the easiest guy for me to root for...he's a Gamecock and he plays for the Sox...what's not to like? I may be a homer in saying this, but Jackie's going to have a really strong year. He's not going to replicate what Jacoby will do in the Bronx, but expect a high .200s average and plenty of runs scored, and maybe a stolen base and homer sprinkled in along the way.

Archie Bradley, SP, ARI: Bradley is the #1 pitching prospect, and judging on how filthy he was in AA last year, you may want to make a note around May or June, whenever Bradley's arbitration clock runs out, and pick him up in hopes that he's anywhere close to how well he has played in the minors.

So in essence, the all undrafted list is looking a lot more like a top prospect list. You have to credit the fantasy community for unearthing most of the gold mines (I recall last year's list being hella long)...damn you internet.

In all seriousness, the draft I went through went too well, but it does display pretty much everyone I have any intention on are some notable guys besides Bryce Harper and Carlos Gomez that I just missed out on:

Matt Carpenter, 2B/3B, STL (selected 58th): This guy was a huge pickup for me last year. He had an amazing amount of position flexibility, with second, short, third, and outfield. In addition, he led the NL in hits and runs. Still is eligible at second along with third base, and should have no problem putting up at least comparable numbers this year.

Greg Holland, RP, KC (selected 76th): He started off so dreadful that is widely thought that hard-throwing phenom Kelvin Herrera would unseat Holland. Fast forward six months, and Holland is wrapping up one of the most dominant stretches ever for a closer. He ended with the second best K/9 of closers with a 13.84. He was absolutely unhitable to close out last year, and is probably the third closer going off the board.

Matt Adams, 1B, STL (selected 101st): Ideally, I wanted Santana at catcher and Adams playing first, but Adams went a pick before I went, sullying that plan. In any event, this will be Adams' first full season starting, and considering he had so much success in the power numbers department, Adams is an enticing, high ceiling player who doesn't come with too much risk.

Tony Cingrani, SP, CIN (selected 149th): Cingrani is a big part of my continued emphasis on youth, especially in dealing with starting pitching. Cingrani put up big strikeout numbers in his two stints in Cincinnati, and he's a southpaw...that's a winning combo right there.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, LAD  (selected 155th): Ryu is another lefty who had huge strikeout numbers in his first go-around in the majors. Being out in LA, he's going to get a bunch of wins, so look for Ryu's numbers to be even better this year.

Chris Archer, SP, TB (selected 217th): I just re-watched his start against the Yankees where he threw a complete game shutout on the road, and it's just burned in my memory. I know I shouldn't judge based on one start, but he was that good, and his numbers overall last year were also pretty good having only pitched about 130 innings.

So, of course, you're not going to get everyone, but I'm still very happy how things went, and hoping when that actual live draft happens, I'll be looking somewhat like can only hope.

Well please feel free to leave a comment about anything you read on here...or anything en general, and I'll be more than happy to entertain them. As always, good luck, happy drafting, and cheers everyone. Peace.