Fantasy Football coverage begins today
I announced on Friday that I added seven new fantasy football writers for the 2014 season, and we kick off our coverage today. Our new writers will begin the 2014 fantasy football coverage with their pre-draft rankings of the players we will see selected in the 2014 NFL Draft later this week.
The writers will offer their pre-drafrt rookie rankings for quarterback, running back and wide receiver over the next few days, along with a piece on analyzing one of the expert mock drafts from a fantasy perspective. Once the draft is completed, we will re-rank the rookies drafted based on what team they were drafted by, and what kind of fantasy impact they could have in 2014.
We hope you enjoy our fantasy football coverage this season, as our goal is to help you win your leagues this season. Let us know if there is something you would like us to cover this season and we will do our best to meet that need.
Fake Teams Fantasy Baseball Podcast is back!
Zack Smith and I recorded the first podcast of the season last night, where we spent almost two hours talking about a bunch of guys including Dee Gordon, Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka, so American League young pitchers making an impact, and much more.
Make sure you check out the podcast when published over the next few days.
Corey Kluber dominates the White Sox
Corey Kluber has had an up and down season to date, as he has been knocked around in several outings, with some dominating outings mixed in as well. Coming into Sunday's start, Kluber had given up three runs or less in half of his start, with a ,293 batting average against, and a .367 batting average of balls in play. He has pitched better than his 4.14 ERA indicates, as he is striking out 8.5 batters per nine, walking a little over two batters per nine, and inducing ground balls at a 48% clip.
Yesterday, he was dominating, limiting the White Sox to one run on three hits, two walks and 13 strikeouts. He had his A+ stuff yesterday, getting 16 called strikes, 23 swinging strikes and induced seven ground ball outs. But, his bullpen let him down, as closer John Axford gave up three runs in the ninth inning to take the loss in the Indians 4-3 loss. Kluber did not factor in the decision, but dropped his ERA to 3.60 with a 1.36 WHIP and a 48-12 strikeout to walk rate in 45 innings. He is owned in just 16% of leagues, so grab him off your league waiver wire if you need a starter. He gets the Rays in Tampa in his next start on Friday.
For more on Kulber's terrific start, check out Let's Go Tribe, SB Nation's Indians fan site.
Desmond Jennings: Is this the year he puts it all together?
Desmond Jennings was once one of the top prospects in the game, blessed with the tools to be an All Star, but he has failed to reach his potential, disappointing Rays fans and fantasy owners alike. We all know he has the speed to steal 30+ bases, but he has struggled to hit for power or get on base on a consistent basis, despite a solid eye at the plate. He added muscle in the offseason, and the offseason work is starting to show up in box scores this season.
On Sunday, Jennings went 3-4 with a run scored in the Rays 5-1 win over the Yankees. He raised his slash line to .294-.386-.505 with four home runs, 18 runs s scored, 10 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 7 attempts thus far. Prior to Sunday's game, Jennings had homered in three straight games. He is on pace to hit 20 home runs and steal 30 bases at this point in the season. I think he has the power to approach 20 home runs this season, and we know he can steal 30 bases. Is this the year he puts up a 20 home run, 30+ stolen base season?
For more on Jennings and the Rays, check out DRaysBay, SB Nation's Rays fan site.
It is becoming more and more evident with each start that Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia is not the pitcher he was two years ago. He is coming off a 2013 season where he won 14 games, but those wins came with an ERA that approached 5.00. He has seen his velocity drop in each of the last three seasons, and his fastball velocity is down from 91 mph last season to 88.6 mph this season. As a result, he is getting hit harder than ever before. On Sunday, he was knocked around for five runs on 10 hits, a walk and just 3 strikeouts in the Yankees 5-1 loss to the Rays. The loss moved his record to 3-4 with a 5.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, but with an excellent 44-9 strikeout to walk rate in 40.2 innings. He is looking more and more like Tim Lincecum, who lost velocity a few seasons ago.
Sabathia is owned in almost 100% of leagues right now, but I think he is droppable in shallower mixed leagues, and even deeper mixed leagues if you can deal with a drop in the strikeout category.
I warned you in the offseason that once I traded Giancarlo Stanton in one of my keeper leagues that this would be the year he puts up a monster year at the plate. Yesterday, Stanton went 2-3 with a walk, two home runs, and three RBI in the Marlins 5-4 win over the Dodgers. Stanton is now hitting .285-.362-.602 with 10 home runs, 22 runs scored and 36 RBI. Unlike previous seasons, he has been injury-free this season, and owners hope this continues all season. He still strikes out a ton, but this might be the year he hits 40+ home runs.
Reds outfielder Jay Bruce will miss the next 3-4 weeks due to surgery he had on his left knee to repair a meniscus tear. Chris Heisey and Skip Shumaker will platoon in right field in his absence. The first thing I thought of when i heard the news was "did he injure the knee stealing more bases this season?"
Zack and i talked about Prince Fielder in the podcast last night, as he is one hitter who has been a big disappointment to date. But, yesterday, he showed signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, going 3-4 with two walks, two doubles, three runs scored and two RBI in the Rangers 14-3 thumping of the Angels. Fielder, who now has hit in five straight games, raised his slash line to .228-.349-.342 with two home runs, 17 runs and 11 RBI on the season. He is walking more than he is striking out, but his .253 BABIP indicates he has been a little unlucky at the plate this season. He is hitting more ground balls than ever, so that will have to change for his batting average and power to return to expected levels.
Dillon Gee has been the Mets best starting pitcher this season, and he pitched a heck of a game yesterday in Coors Field. Gee shut out the Rockies on six hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings in the Mets 5-1 win. Gee moved his record to 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 32-14 strikeout to walk rate in 46.2 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over his last four starts, covering 27 innings, earning three wins in those four starts. He is available in more than half of the leagues out there, so don't be afraid to grab him off your league waiver wire should you have a need for a starter. He will face the Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers and Pirates in his next four starts this month.
Outfielder Melky Cabrera is quietly having a very solid season for the last place Blue Jays. Cabrera went 3-5 with a home run and two RBI in the Blue Jays 7-2 win over the Pirates on Sunday, raising his slash line to .336-.364-.560 with six home runs, 19 runs scored, 14 RBI and 3 stolen bases in 134 at bats thus far. He is hitting for more power thus far in 2014, and has seen his power improve in three of the last four seasons. He is on pace for 31 home runs this season. I don't see him hitting 30 home runs, but I wonder if he could hit 20 or more this season.
For more fantasy baseball (and football) news and rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop for all the fantasy news you need on a daily basis.