2014 NFL Draft: Post-draft analysis and rankings
The 2014 NFL Draft is over...finally. How many of you watch all four days of the draft? I watch round 1 and some of day 2...maybe. But day 3? Not for me. Especially on a weekend. Anyway, our new fantasy football writers were all over the draft and here are a few articles addressing the fantasy impact of round 1 of the draft, the winners and losers from round 1, and our post-draft running back rankings:
Homer Bailey returning to form?
It is safe to say that coming into the season that I was pretty high on him. Even though his win totals don't reflect it, Bailey has improved in each of the last two seasons, and I expected that growth to continue into this season. Well, we certainly haven't seen any growth in him, except for his home runs allowed/HR/9. Bailey has already given up eight home runs in his eight starts this season, and is giving up 1.5 home runs every nine innings, which is way above league average.
Yesterday, he showed us that he might be close to righting the sinking ship that is his 2014 season. He limited the hot Rockies lineup to one run on four hits, two walks and six strikeouts in 7.1 innings in the Reds 4-1 win. Bailey moved his record to 3-2 with a 4.79 ERA with a 4.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP....not good, but an excellent 44-16 strikeout to walk rate in 47.2 innings thus far this season. His Sunday start was only his second start this season where he has given up less than three runs.
Bailey is pitching better than his ERA indicates, but he is going to have to limit the walks and the long ball before we see his ERA drop below 4.00.
For more on Bailey and the Reds, check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
Derek Norris reaching his potential?
Athletics catcher Derek Norris was once one of the better catching prospects in baseball, but injuries and some talk that he was not aggressive enough at the plate pushed his prospect status down so much that the Nationals to trade him a few seasons ago. It appears moving to the A's has rejuvenated his career a bit. Playing in a part time role, Norris is taking advantage when he does start, and he had a huge day on Sunday, going 2-4 with two home runs and six RBI in the A's 9-1 win over the Nationals.
On the season, Norris is now hitting .385-.467-.603 with four home runs, 10 runs scored, 19 RBI and an excellent 10-12 strikeout to walk rate in 78 at bats. He has also tossed in a stolen base. He is barely owned in most mixed leagues, and should be picked up in deeper mixed leagues right now, as he hits for power and gets on base quite a bit, and he is much better than a lot of catchers rostered right now.
For more on Norris and the A's, make sure you check out Athletics Nation, SB Nation's A's fan site.
Back in preseason, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick was on the outside of most top 10 fantasy second base rankings, but the way he is hitting thus far in 2014, he could be a top 5 fantasy second baseman at midseason. Yesterday, Kendrick went 3-4 with a walk, three runs scored and two stolen bases, raising his slash line to .313-.393-.451 with two home runs, 25 runs scored, 18 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 11 attempts. He is on pace for 41 stolen bases this season and is assured to set a career high.
Another second baseman who is surprising some fantasy owners this season is Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy put up a breakout season in 2013, and is proving his doubters wrong thus far in 2014. Yesterday, Murphy went 3-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI in the Mets 5-4 win over the Phillies. Murphy is now hitting .317-.367-.455 with two home runs, 25 runs scored, 13 RBI and 7 stolen bases in eight attempts. He is on pace for 100+ runs scored and 30+ stolen bases this season. What are the chances he reaches one of the two?
A friend of mine called me last night asking if he should trade Dee Gordon and Francisco Liriano for Cole Hamels and Brandon Phillips, as his main interest is to improve his pitching by trading for Hamels. On Sunday, Hamels had a decent outing, giving up just one run on seven hits, three walks and ten strikeouts in seven innings. The performance was his best since returning from the disabled list in late April. Since his return, he is 0-2 with a 5.32 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and a 24-10 strikeout to walk rate in 23.2 innings. His peripheral stats indicate he has pitched better than his ERA indicates, so maybe he is just shaking off the rust and will return to being the Hamels that was ranked in my Top 20 starting pitchers in the preseason, but I told my buddy I would want to see how Hamels pitches in his next outing before pulling the trigger on this offer.
The deadline to submit your FAAB bids in the Tout Wars mixed league is midnight on Sunday night, and I was talking trade with Fred Zinkie from MLB.com last night as the midnight deadline approached (Thus the reason why the Roundup is late this morning). He has been asking for my Gregory Poianco over the past two weeks, offering one of Matt Joyce, Alejandro De Aza and Gerardo Parra. I own Reds outfielder Jay Bruce and needed to replace him with an outfielder on the waiver wire, thus his reasoning for looking to deal with me. My offense is pretty good, but I have a big need for starting pitchers as I drafted just two starters on draft day. Since draft day I have traded for Alex Cobb (for Brandon Belt) and Jon Lester (for Chase Utley). Fred owns John Lackey, who I am interested in and he was willing to part with Lackey, along with Dustin Ackley and $8 in FAAB for Polanco. I declined for now, but think I really should make this deal for Lackey.
On Sunday, Lackey limited the Rangers to two runs on seven hits, no walks and nine strikeouts in the Red Sox 5-2 win. The win moved Lackey's record to 5-2 with a 3.57 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 3.18xFIP, a 1.21 WHIP and a 52-11 strikeout to walk rate in 53 innings this season. He is striking out nearly a batter per inning, limiting his walks to under 2.00 BB/9 and inducing ground balls at a 43% rate in his eight starts thus far, and ranks tied for 10th in fWAR amongst starting pitchers. I am thinking I really need to pull the trigger on this offer, as Lackey is having a very good season, and I need another starter to go with Lester, Cobb, James Shields and Clayton Kershaw to balance out my pitching staff.
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.