2016 Fantasy Football Rankings
Fantasy football season is here and our fantasy football writers have published their early position rankings, some breakout candidates and some ADP analysis from the early mock drafts, and you can find all of these articles in one spot. Check out the articles in the link below.
Note: Our fantasy football writers will be updating their position rankings beginning on Monday.
Garrett Hobgood authored his 2016 tiered rankings to help you in your drafts as well.
In addition, Robert Kohnfelder took a look at the top fantasy players for each NFL team in the fantasy football team previews linked below.
Anthony DeSclefani: Emerging Ace?
The Reds are in a rebuild this season, and like most teams, they are trading for young pitchers. One young pitcher they traded for a few seasons ago was Anthony DeSclefani. After returning from an oblique injury that cost him a few months, DeSclefani has been the Reds best starting pitcher, and his peripheral stats indicate he could be a top 40 starting pitcher.
On Saturday night, DeSclefani dominated the Diamondbacks lineup in Chase Field, throwing a complete game shutout, limiting them to just 4 hits and a walk while striking out 9. The win moved his record to 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.16 WHIP and a solid 84-20 strikeout to walk rate in 94.1 innings of work. He has given up two runs or fewer in 9 of his 15 starts this season, and is looking like an emerging fantasy ace.
DeSclefani is striking out just over 8 batters per nine, is limiting his walks to just under two walks per nine, and is inducing ground balls at a 41% clip. Those rate stats indicate that he has taken that next step into becoming the Reds ace, and a starter that you want to target in drafts next year. He is still available in about 40% of leagues right now, so grab him for the last month of the season if you are still making a run for the title.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz was nearly as dominant as Desclefani was last night, limiting the Giants to just one run on 5 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 7.2 innings in the Braves 3-1 win. Foltynewicz is the definition of a young starting pitcher, as he is very inconsistent in his performances, mixing disaster starts with some gems. Of his 18 starts this season, he has given up four runs or more in seven of those starts.....not good, but has eight starts of two runs or fewer. He is now 7-5 with a 4.30 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 1.29 WHIP and a promising 89-29 strikeout to walk rate in 102.2 innings of work this season. He appears to be making strides on the mound, but is very tough to own due to the inconsistency of performance.
Dodgers young starter Julio Urias has had some growing pains on the mound this season, but in his last two starts he has shown us why he has been atop the prospect rankings over the last few seasons. Yesterday, after a rough first inning he settled down and limited the Cubs to just one run on 6 hits, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts in 6 innings in the Dodgers 3-2 win. In a matchup that we could see in the playoffs, Urias showed poise in getting out of a first inning jam with only one run allowed. Urias is now 5-2 with a 3.71 ERA, 3.16 FIP, a 1.51 WHIP and a 70-25 strikeout to walk rate in 63 innings. He has given up just 5 earned runs on 31 hits, 8 walks and 26 strikeouts over his last 26.2 innings of work stretched across six starts. The Dodgers were watching his pitch count in earlier starts, but have allowed his to throw 97 and 94 pitches over his last two starts, and it will be interesting to see how they handle him down the stretch. With all the pitching injuries the Dodgers have dealt with this season, there is a chance he could remain in the rotation as the Dodgers battle the Giants for the NL West title. He has thrown 108 innings between Triple A the the big leagues this season after throwing 72.2 innings last season. It’s possible we see him make a few more starts and the Dodgers shut him down for a few starts to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro had a big day at the plate on Saturday, going 4-6 with a home run, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Yankees big 13-5 win over the Orioles. Castro is having the best power season of his career as he is slashing .269-.303-.431 with 18 home runs, 56 runs scored and 60 RBI. He is making more hard contact and hitting more fly balls this season, resulting in a career best 18 home runs. That said, he still doesn’t walk, but he makes enough contact to be a regular 15-20 home run hitter at the keystone.
White Sox starter Jose Quintana continues to be one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball. On Saturday, he limited the Mariners to one run on 5 hits, a walk and 8 strikeout in 7.2 innings in the White Sox 9-3 win. The win moved his record to 11-9 with a 2.77 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 1.10 WHIP and a 150-39 strikeout to walk rate in 172.1 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 18 of his 26 starts this season, and has given up just 11 earned runs over his last eight starts. He is a top 20 starter for me due to how consistent he has been over the last few seasons. If the White Sox ever decided to rebuild, he could bring back just as much as Chris Sale would in a trade.
His teammate, shortstop Tim Anderson is going to be an interesting case when ranking shortstops in the offseason. He has a solid power and speed mix that is very enticing. This season, he is hitting .285-.304-.442 with 7 home runs, 41 runs scored, 21 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 8 attempts in 281 plate appearances. The problem is that he is striking out in 27% of his plate appearances and rarely takes a walk. His ceiling is high, and if he can reduce his strikeout rate, he could approach 15 home runs and steal 20+ bases in 2017. Very intriguing player.
Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes made his first major league start on Saturday, and as I wrote yesterday, he had control problems. Reyes allowed just one run on 2 hits, but walked 4 while striking out 4 in just 4.2 innings. He needed 89 pitches to get 14 outs, and was in line for the win if he could have gotten that 15th out. He was pulled after walking Marcus Semien and was replaced with Zach Duke, who promptly hit and walked the next two batters, allowing a run to score and charged to Reyes. Once Reyes gets over his control issues, he is going to be a top 20 starting pitcher. When that happens is the question.
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