2016 Fantasy Football Previews
Robert Kohnfelder has been previewing the 2016 fantasy football season by taking a look at the top fantasy weapons in each of the NFL divisions over the the last several weeks, and here are links to the divisions he has previewed to date:
Robert recently published his early June position rankings as well:
Matias Wonder took a look at some under valued and over valued players according to current ADP rankings this week:
Robert Keeley ranked his early quarterback rankings for Dynasty leagues as well:
Clayton Kershaw out indefinitely
Early on Thursday afternoon we heard that the Dodgers had placed ace Clayton Kershaw on the 15 day disabled list with a lower back injury. After their afternoon game in Milwaukee, we learned the following from Andy McCullough, Dodgers beat reporter from the LA Times:
The official diagnosis on Clayton Kershaw is a mild disc herniation. The Dodgers say he will not require surgery.
And then this:
The Dodgers do not have a timetable for Kershaw's return.
So basically, he is out indefinitely. No timetable tells me that he won’t be activated once his 15 day DL stint is up. Not good news for Dodgers fans or fantasy owners.
You can’t replace the best pitcher in baseball, so if you own him in your fantasy leagues, grab the best available starter off of your league waiver wire, or the best available reliever so the starter you planned on grabbing doesn’t kill your ERA and WHIP while Kershaw is out.
Kershaw isn’t the only starting pitcher who is injured. Mets young starter, and near ace, Steven Matz, is dealing with a bone spur in his left elbow, and has considered surgery, according to Jon Heyman at Fan Rag Sports:
I give New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz credit for pitching through pain since at least about May 12, and for going out there again Thursday night. He was seriously considering surgery, and maybe even leaning that way, before a meeting with the Mets brass.
It’s a gallant change-of-heart by Matz, the hometown kid who doesn’t want to disappoint. But surgery remains a viable option if he continues to feel such pain. He got one cortisone shot already, as was reported here first. But at some point, enough is enough. He’s already taken one for the team.
He had a decent outing last night facing the Cubs, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeout in 5.1 innings, and is now 7-3 in his 14 starts, with a 3.40 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, while striking out nearly a batter per inning, walking less than two per nine and inducing ground ball outs at a near 54% rate.
Losing Matz would be a big loss for the Mets rotation, especially since they are now six games behind division leading Nationals in the National League East, and started a four game series vs the Cubs last night.
The Yankees are on the fence on whether to be buyers or sellers at the July trade deadline, and Michael Pineda made an emphatic "buyers" statement with his performance vs the Rangers on Thursday afternoon. Pineda limited the Rangers to one run on 2 hits, 3 walks and 12 strikeouts in 6 innings in the Yankees 2-1 win. Pineda has struggled this season, but has pitched better since the beginning of June. In his six June starts, Pineda has given up just 10 earned runs on 27 hits and a 49-8 strikeout to walk rate in 36 innings. He is now 3-7 win 5.24 ERA, 3.83 FIP, a 1.38 WHIP and a 108-23 strikeout to walk rate in 89.1 innings.
The fantasy owners beating the drum for the Nationals to call up Trea Turner to replace Danny Espinosa at shortstop will have to wait a while longer. Actually, they will have to wait for quite awhile after Espinosa's performance last night. Facing the Reds pitching staff, a staff that is on record pace to break the home runs allowed record, Espinosa went 2-3 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI through the first five innings last night (the score is 13-4 as a I write the Roundup). Espinosa is now hitting .236-.339-.451 with 15 home runs, 36 runs scored and 41 RBI in 78 games. Among qualified fantasy shortstops, Espinosa ranks in the top 12 in runs scored and the top six in home runs and RBI. The Trea Turner hype train can take a break for a bit.
I made an appearance on The Fantasy Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Radio on Wednesday night, joining Kyle Elfrink and Ry Flowers to chat some fantasy baseball. One of the players we discussed was Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez, as Kyle asked if I thought he could be a 20-20 hitter this season. He asked whether Nunez, Melvin Upton Jr. or Leonys Martin could reach the 20 home run, 20 stolen base club this season. I think Upton has the best shot, as he has 12 home runs and 18 stolen bases as I write this, plus he is a three time former member of the club. Nunez is right behind him, as he has 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases. I think he could fall short, but 11 home runs at the halfway point in the season puts him on pace for 20 home runs, assuming he can stay healthy and in the Twins lineup. Last night, Nunez went 2-4 with 2 RBI in the Twins 6-5 loss to the White Sox. He is now hitting .319-.347-.487 with 11 home runs, 39 runs scored, 32 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 23 attempts. He is on pace for a 23 home run, 37 stolen base season, and should he reach the 20-20 club, he might be the most unlikely member in recent memory as he has never hit more than 5 home runs in any one big league season.
The Braves have two of the best middle infield prospects in the game in Dansby Swanson and Ozhaino Albies. On Thursday, the Braves moved Albies from Triple A to Double A. In most cases, this would be seen as a demotion. But the Braves did this to allow Albies, who has been playing second base for about the past month, to play alongside Swanson, as it appears Swanson will be the Braves long term shortstop and Albies their long term second baseman, and both should be up in the big leagues either later this season or in 2017. In their first game together, Albies led off and was 2-3 with a run scored, and Swanson batted third and went 3-3 with a triple and a run scored through the first five innings. We will be hearing more from these two for a long time, and the question is just a matter of when. I think Albies can be a mini-Dee Gordon after a few seasons in the big leagues, while Swanson could be Brandon Crawford type hitter with more speed.
Who has been the most disappointing fantasy player on your fantasy teams this season? I might have to do a separate post on this over the long weekend. One hitter who comes to mind is Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward. Through last night's game, he is hitting .235-.326-.325 with 4 home runs, 37 runs scored, 26 RBI and 4 stolen bases, and is on pace for just 8 home runs, 25 doubles and 54 RBI. Among qualified hitters, his .325 slugging percentage is the fourth worst in baseball. Wow. The Cubs spent how much for that?
We all knew the Indians pitching staff was good, but not THIS good, right? Last night Carlos Carrasco absolutely dominated the Blue Jays, giving up just one run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 14 strikeouts over 7.1 innings in yet another Indians win. The Indians have won 13 straight games now and lead the American League Central by six games over the Royals. Carrasco is now 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and a 63-15 strikeout to walk rate in 63.1 innings. Carrasco's home runs allowed are skewing his FIP at the moment, but I imagine that will come down as the season goes along. You have to think that the Indians go out and trade for an outfielder like Jay Bruce or even Carlos Gonzalez, should the Rockies make him available.
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