FANTASY FOOTBALL REVIEW – WEEK 2 WAIVERS AND PLAYER OUTLOOK


We’re through two weeks in the NFL season and what a ride!!!  The world seems topsy-turvy with the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, and Tampa Bay Bucs at 2-0.  Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans are winless, and we’ve already seen two games end in a tie.  But how crazy has the fantasy season been???

  • QB – The top 3 fantasy scoring QBs are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Mahomes, and Kirk Cousins
  • RB – Matt Breida leads the NFL in rushing yards
  • WR – DeSean Jackson leads the NFL in receiving yards
  • TE – The top 3 fantasy scoring TEs are Jared Cook, Jesse James, and Will Dissly

Remember, we’re only 2 weeks into the season.  Starting this week, you will see fantasy owners panic and drop good players because they had 2 bad games.  Don’t overreact and try to cash in when other owners do.  After 4 weeks of poor play, then you can assess if a player needs to be cut.

So onto the “Fantasy Smoke & Fire” for week 2, where we read beyond the stat lines to determine player values moving forward.

Here are the four categories of players we look at each week:

  • On Fire – These are players that are exceeding expectations (or ADP), and we expect it to continue. Think waiver wire adds!
  • Smoke (and mirrors) – These are players that have performed well recently, but we do not expect it to continue. Don’t buy into the hype; pass on the waiver wire pickup.  Possibly look to trade them away with the value is high.
  • False Alarm – These are players that are underperforming recently, but we expect them to turn around. Don’t cut bait too early.  Possibly look to acquire them in a trade while the value is low.
  • On Ice – These are players that have not performed well, and we expect a poor season to continue. They should stay on the bench (or be cut depending on the player/circumstances).

On Fire – Obviously all of these players aren’t on waivers, but they have impressed and I expect it to continue.

Fire
Pos Player Comment
QB Patrick Mahomes 23/28 326-6-0.  I doubted Mahomes entering the year.  He’s the real deal and his decision making is quick/sharp. Never been a question of his cannon arm.
QB Kirk Cousins 35/48 425-4-1.  Same old slinging Cousins, just on a new team.
RB Chris Thompson 4-1 (13-92 on 14 targets).  He doesn’t always get the most touches, but I’m finally starting to buy into him.
RB Tevin Coleman 16-107 (4-18 on 4 targets).  Anytime Freeman (or Coleman) is out, the other is a great fantasy play.
RB Phillip Lindsay 14-107 (1-4 on 1 target).  Is Lindsay really the lead back of the Broncos?  We would all like to see them stick with one.
WR Will Fuller 8-113-1 on 9 targets.  Outside of Fuller and Hopkins, nobody else had more than 3 targets.  Fuller is 30-40% of the passing game.
WR Sammy Watkins 6-100 on 7 targets (1-31 rushing).  Looking like a resurgence as long as Mahomes keeps up his game.
WR Juju Smith-Schuster 13-121-1 on 19 targets.  He got more looks than AB.  It’ll continue with so much defensive attention payed to Brown.
WR Nelson Agholor 8-88-1 on 12 targets.  Outside of Ertz, he’s the most heavily involved in the passing game.  Will it continue with Wentz back next week?
WR Quincy Enunwa 7-92 on 11 targets.  Looks like Darnold’s go to guy.
WR Kenny Golladay 6-89-1 on 9 targets.  Just keeps pushing for looks from Stafford.  It will continue, but he’s still the #3 receiver til Marvin Jones falters.
WR Allen Robinson 10-83 on 14 targets.  Trubisky’s certainly looking his way.  I doubted his ADP this year but he may come through.
TE Will Dissly 3-42-1 on 5 targets.  He’s building trust from Wilson and should see looks with Baldwin out.

 

Smoke – They had a good start to the season, but I’m not sold on it continuing.

Smoke
Pos Player Comment
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 27/33 402-4-1.  Fitz-Magic is rolling.  He’s on a hot streak and may keep the QB job from Winston.  But his career proves that he’s certainly not this good.
QB Andy Dalton 24/42 265-4-0.  Week 2 may be the only 4 TD game he has all year.  He’s no more that a low-end QB2 matchup play.
QB Blake Bortles 29/45 377-4-1 (6-35).  Bortles did everything he needed to do to beat the Patriots.  He’s not a fantasy QB that you want to lean on all season.
RB Matt Breida 11-138-1 (3-21 on 4 targets).  He had one great long run; the rest was mediocre.
WR DeSean Jackson 4-129-1 on 4 targets.  Jackson can’t keep this up all season.  He’ll always catch a few long ones, but the week to week consistency isn’t there.
WR Brandon Cooks 7-159 on 9 targets.  Goff spreads the ball around and I don’t expect a top 5 passing attack.  I don’t expect big games consistently.
WR Keelan Cole 7-116-1 on 8 targets.  Everyone will talk about the spectacular 1 handed catch.  That doesn’t get you extra fantasy points; and neither will Bortles.
TE Jesse James 5-138-1 on 5 targets.  Had some big plays, but the Steelers offense uses him as a safety valve more than a playmaker.

 

False Alarm – Don’t overreact to these players just because of a slow start; they’ll be fine moving forward.  If they get cut in your league, be quick to scoop them up.

False Alarm
Pos Player Comment
QB Aaron Rodgers 30/42 281-1-0.  The knee injury will only slightly impact his fantasy production over the next month.  Expect 90% of typical Rodgers.
RB Alex Collins 9-35 (3-55 on 4 targets).  Collins is still the man, but Bal was behind 21-0 early.
RB Adrian Peterson 11-20 (3-30 on 3 targets).  Surprising stat line against a bottom tier Ind def.  I expect a rebound.
RB Kareem Hunt 18-75 (1-5-1 on 1 target).  Don’t panic, but pounce if there’s a worried owner out there.  Also see Dalvin Cook…
RB Kenyan Drake 11-53-1 (4-17 on 4 targets).  I still believe in Drake, but need to see a big game by week 4.
RB Dalvin Cook 10-38 (3-52 on 5 targets).  Don’t panic, but pounce if there’s a worried owner out there. Also see Kareem Hunt…
RB Jordan Howard 14-35 (3-33 on 4 targets).  Still the workhorse; TDs will come.
WR SF Wide Receivers No one targeted more than 4 times.  Goodwin was out week 2.  Someone will step up, but who?
WR Odell Beckham Jr. 4-51 on 9 targets.  Still one of the best in the league.
TE Rob Gronkowski 2-15 on 4 targets.  Just because Jacksonville shut him down, it doesn’t mean other teams can replicate.

 

On Ice – These guys are not performing and I don’t expect it to turnaround any time soon (compared to expectations).

On Ice
Pos Player Comment
QB Andrew Luck 21/31 179-2-2.  I didn’t trust him as a top 5 QB before his shoulder injury in 2016; he’ll be up and down all year.
QB Sam Bradford 17/27 90-0-1.  How pitiful!!!  Is it time for Josh Rosen?
QB Case Keenum 19/35 222-0-1 (3-16-1).  Can any QB be successful in Denver these days?  Not looking good for Keenum
QB Russell Wilson 15/27 139-1-1.  Sacked 6 times in each of the first 2 games.  It’s gonna be tough sledding this year.
RB Derrick Henry 18-56.  Until teams respect the passing game, Henry won’t be a fantasy starter.
RB Dion Lewis 14-42 (1-1 on 1 target).  I like his chances at a rebound more than Henry because of his receiving ability, but the passing game stinks!!!
RB LeSean McCoy 9-39 (4-29 on 4 targets).  Terrible team, cracked ribs, age, nuff said…
RB Jamaal Williams 16-59 (3-12 on 4 targets).  I expected Williams to run with the RB job the first 2 wks.  Didn’t happen and here comes electric Aaron Jones back from suspension.
RB David Johnson 13-48 (1-3 on 2 targets).  That offense is beyond terrible.  DJ won’t improve until Bradford is benched (or turns around his career which is unlikely).
RB Royce Freeman 8-28-1 (1 target).  Overdrafted in many fantasy leagues (I didn’t buy in).  Lindsay looks like the preferred option and was already the 3rd down back.
RB Chris Carson 6-24 (1 target).  The Seattle backfield has been bad for years.  Looks like they’re ready to turn the page and see what their rookie RB has.
WR Robby Anderson 3-27 on 5 targets.  Looks like Enunwa is his go to option.
TE David Njoku 4-20 on 7 targets.  He’s an athletic freak, but hasn’t put it all together yet.

Hit me up on Twitter with any questions/comments @PghJohn36

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Fantasy Football Review – Week 1 Waivers and Player Outlook


Fantasy football season has kicked off and many owners are already faced with tough decisions.  We’re here to read between the stat lines and help you determine the value of players moving forward.  We recommend waiver wire pickups, players you should pass on, and trade targets to exploit.

Here are the four categories of players we’ll look at each week in the “Fantasy Smoke & Fire”:

  • On Fire – These are players that are exceeding expectations (or ADP), and we expect it to continue. Think waiver wire adds!
  • Smoke (and mirrors) – These are players that have performed well recently, but we do not expect it to continue. Don’t buy into the hype; pass on the waiver wire pickup.  Possibly look to trade them away with the value is high.
  • False Alarm – These are players that are underperforming recently, but we expect them to turn around. Don’t cut bait too early.  Possibly look to acquire them in a trade while the value is low.
  • On Ice – These are players that have not performed well, and we expect a poor season to continue. They should stay on the bench (or be cut depending on the player/circumstances).

On Fire – Obviously all of these players aren’t on waivers, but they impressed week 1 and I expect it to continue.

Fire
Pos Player Week 1 Stats / Comment
QB Tom Brady In mid-season form; nuff said!
QB Philip Rivers 34/51 424-3-1:  Usually puts up QB1 stats.
RB James Conner 31-135-2 (5-57 on 6 targets):  Le’Veon who???
RB Adrian Peterson 26-96-1 (2-70):  Use him now and trade mid-season before he wears down.
WR Tyreek Hill 7-169-2 on 8 targets:  Maybe they will utilize him in enough gadget plays to make him useful all year.
WR Emmanuel Sanders 10-135-1:  Expecting a great year and drafted him accordingly
WR Kenny Golladay 7-114 on 12 targets:  He just may break through in year 2; at Marvin Jones expense
TE Jared Cook 9-180 on 12 targets:  Carr couldn’t hit the WR’s at all.  He may be a top 6 TE year; especially with Olsen and Walker injured.
TE George Kittle 5-90 on 9 targets:  See Jared Cook above…
TE Baltimore (3 TE’s) Boyle/Williams/Andrews 13 targets combined for 9-103-0.  How will Hayden Hurst fit in and when will he return?
TE Indianapolis (2 TE’s) Jack Doyle 7-60 on 10 targets, Eric Ebron 4-51-1 on 5 targets

 

Smoke – They had a good first week, but I’m not sold on it continuing.

Smoke
Pos Player Comment
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 21/28 417-4-0 (7 incompletions):  Don’t expect a repeat; but could take job from Winston.
RB Lamar Miller Don’t expect 20 carries and 5 ypc every week.
RB Chris Thompson 5-65 (long of 16) & 6-63-1 on 7 targets:  He’ll get 10-15 touches per game, but I don’t see a consistent 10 yards per touch.
WR Kenny Stills Don’t count on Stills 4-106-2 on 5 targets weekly.  2 TDs on 5 targets isn’t sustainable.  And DeVante Parker is returning soon.
WR DeSean Jackson 5-146-2:  See Stills above…
WR Randall Cobb 9-142-1:  Rodgers spreads the ball around.  I’m not sold that Cobb will be the guy week to week.
TE Will Dissly 3-105-1 on 5 targets:  This guy isn’t a pass catcher and won’t get another 66 yd TD in his career.

 

False Alarm – Don’t overreact to these players just because of a slow start; they’ll be fine moving forward.

False Alarm
Pos Player Comment
QB Ben Roethlisberger 355-1-3 (5 turnovers total):  Tough week against a hungry team. Ben is always good for a few stinkers and plays better at home.
QB Matthew Stafford 27/46 286-1-4:  See Ben above…
RB Alex Collins 7-13-1 (1-6 on 1 target):  The week 1 game was a blowout, Dixon got garbage time, he’ll be just fine.
RB Kareem Hunt 16-49 & 1 target:  He’s a fantasy 1st round pick for a reason.  If he has a tough week 2 @ Pittsburgh, I’d try to buy low from his owner.
RB David Johnson 9-37-1 (5-30 on 9 targets) – The offense is definately suspect, but DJ is too good!  Look for a big bounce back game in week 2.
WR Josh Gordon 1-17-1 on 3 targets – He will win contested balls; he just needs the QB to throw them.
TE Zach Ertz 5-48 on 10 targets:   Wentz will be back soon and Ertz is still the teams receiving crutch.
TE Trey Burton 1-15 on 6 targets:  Better things to come.

 

On Ice – These guys are not performing and I don’t expect it to turnaround any time soon compared to their draft spots.

On Ice
Pos Player Comment
QB Nick Foles 19/34 117-0-1:  Still doesn’t look good and Wentz might be back for week 3.
QB Matt Ryan 21/43 251-0-1:  Overrated for fantasy since his Superbowl season; becoming more of a game manager not a slinger.
QB DeShaun Watson Will he live up to his top 5 QB draft status?  Maybe in a few weeks.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 15/33 261-1-3:  Played against a tough Minnesota defense, but I think he was overrated going into the season.  He’s a high QB2.
RB LeSean McCoy We all knew it was going to be a tough year.  It may get ugly.
RB Ronald Jones Inactive and can’t block.
RB Duke Johnson 9-37-1 (5-30):  He’ll catch some balls, but it’s Hyde’s backfield.
RB Ezekiel Elliott 15-69-1 (3-17):  Looks like a tough year and that’s what I expected.  He won’t be a top 5 RB, but he’ll still get 1,200+ yards and 10+ TDs.
RB Jamaal Williams 15-47-0 & 2 targets:  I was hoping for more going into the season.  He better turn it around quickly before Aaron Jones steals the job.
WR John Ross 1-3-1 on 2.  Will he show up this year?  Doesn’t look like it as of now.
WR Robby Anderson 1-41-1 on 1:  Probably the best WR on the Jets. He was only targeted once, but it was a 41 yd TD.  Should be Darnold’s bff!
WR Amari Cooper 1-9 on 3:  Another dreadful game.  The team doesn’t look good.
TE Jimmy Graham 2-8 on 4 targets:  Aaron Rodgers didn’t utilize his new target in week 1.  Can’t count on Graham til the chemistry develops.

Hit me up on Twitter with any questions/comments @PghJohn36

Outfield Rankings – Balance Your Team


In most leagues, you are required start 5 outfielders.  While I always want the best player available at each position, sometimes it’s a close call between a few guys and I focus on category needs here.  Your #4/#5 outfielders will not be elite.  I like to utilize those spots to make up for a category deficiency.  If I didn’t secure a Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve, or Trea turner, I’ll probably go after a speed guy in the OF as one of my later picks.  If I’m short on power, I may target a 30+ HR bat that will bat .220 (think Adam Dunn).  With 5 slots to fill, there are plenty of ways to construct an outfield.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

I have 10 players in my top tier for outfielders.  All of these players except for Mookie Betts projects to hit at least 33 HRs.  They may not all be 5 category studs, but they’re exceptional in the things they do well.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Mike Trout – The best player in fantasy baseball.  Nuf said!
(2)  Bryce Harper – Over his 6 yr career, he’s only hit 30 HRs once, scored more than 100 runs once, never had a 100 RBI season, and is a career .285 hitter.  He’s getting over drafted in the top 5 based on potential.
(3)  Giancarlo Stanton – He probably has the biggest home run bat in the MLB and just went to a better home ballpark in New York.  Can he really hit more than the 59 he smashed in 2017?  Gotta stay healthy.
(4)  Charlie Blackmon – In Colorado and expecting a 30/10 season batting above .300.
(5)  Mookie Betts – He just might put up a 25/25 season and lead the AL in runs scored atop the lineup.
(6)  Aaron Judge – Is 50 HRs in his future for 2018?
(7)  George Springer – The reigning World Series champs won’t have a lack of offense, and Springer will be in the heart of it.
(8)  Jose Martinez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
(9)
  Cody Bellinger – He had a fantastic rookie campaign, but will he see a sophomore slump?
(10)  Justin Upton – Don’t write him off.  He’s not in an improved Angels lineup and should deliver a 30/10 season and close to 100 Runs and RBIs

 

Fire Bombs (Power Tier expecting 30+ HRs)

There’s plenty of power to be found in the outfield if you are willing to deal with a few shortcomings (usually batting average).  35+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

Rhys Hoskins – I like Hoskins and expect around 35 HRs, but I typically like to see more of a track record before putting a player in the top tier.  How will the revamped lineup play out in Philly?
Khris Davis – This guy crushes the ball and should hit 40 HRs.  The A’s lineup has improved.
Marcel Ozuna – His 37 HRs last year were a career best by far.  I’m not sure that he’ll match that number, but expect 30+ with the Cardinals.
Jay Bruce – He should have another 30 HR season with the Mets.  He’s done it in 5 of the past 7 years.
Adam Duvall – The outfield in Cincinatti is crowded with Schebler, Hamilton, Duvall, and Winker.  Duvall should reach the 30 HR plateau.
Scott Schebler – See above regarding Adam Duvall.  30 HR possibility.
Kyle Schwarber – His batting average will kill you, but he should get enough playing time to amass 30 HRs.

Lightning (Speed Tier expecting 20+ SBs)

These guys may not provide much power, but they’ll definitely help some in the stolen base category.

Lorenzo Cain – He won’t wow you in any one category, but the SBs and runs can help.
Billy Hamilton – 50+ SBs are almost a lock.  So is a deficiency in RBIs and batting average.
Delino DeShields
– Looks like he’ll be leading off for the Rangers.  I can see 30 SBs and 100 Runs.
Rajai Davis – He’ll get about 30 SBs as the 4th outfielders for Cleveland.
Hernan Perez – We have to see how much playing time he’ll have after the Brewers outfield acquisitions.
Cameron Maybin – Can’t stay healthy, but he runs.
Jarrod Dyson – He will get more playing time with Souza out; expect 30 SBs

Combination Platter (Power/Speed Combo expecting 15/15)

These guys provide a little bit of power and speed to help in both categories with projected HR/SBs.

Andrew Benintendi – 20/20
Tommy Pham – 24/19
Starling Marte – 15/36
A.J. Pollock – 17/26
Eduardo Nunez – 15/28
Chris Taylor – 21/16
Byron Buxton – 20/32
Ian Desmond – 20/19
Gregory Polanco – 20/15
Brett Gardner – 15/20
Bradley Zimmer – 15/26
Michael Taylor – 19/23
Kevin Kiermaier – 18/21
Manuel Margot – 15/22
Carlos Gomez – 16/15
Keon Broxton
  19/25

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Will the Phillies Have to Wait for 2019 to Compete?


heatratiocrop

The National Pastime is just getting underway and the Phillies are looking to compete for a playoff spot. They have spent over $200 million in the offseason and have a lot of hope placed in their youth. However, longtime Baseball Executive Pat Gillick seems to think we are ahead of ourselves and 2019 will be the year. Are you siding with Pat? Could 2019 be the year of Bryce Harper in a Phillies uniform?

Fantasy Baseball drafts are going on as we speak and not everyone is looking at the closer position. When drafting a closer, what are the specifics you adhere to in order to get your guy? Who is the top closer in the game today? Who is your favorite from years past?

Ah, a day in the life of the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Coming into this offseason, the biggest opponent of the Philadelphia Eagles was the cap. However, Howie and company showed the power to overcome the confines of a financial squeeze and come out ahead. Are the Eagles a better team now as constructed?

The NFL offseason has become must see TV. With the new stress put on the trading market and constant release and resigning period always sparking up interest, organizational moves always seems to be plentiful. Kirk Cousins getting a guaranteed deal, Talib/Peters forming a dominant CB tandem we haven’t seen in years, McKinnon becoming Mr. Shanahan’s new toy and the Arizona Cardinals signing two underwhelming arms to throw the ball to Fitz. What move was most surprising to you?

Can anyone say they have been disappointed in the NCAA Tournament so far? This year has been as unpredictable as ever and has busted more brackets earlier than I can remember. From UMBC’s improbable slaughtering of #1 Virginia to Nevada’s ridiculous comeback win against #2 Cincinnati, what have been your favorite moments so far?

 

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories making it to the top of the headlines. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says the NFL should have guaranteed contracts as John (@PGHJohn36) says they could leave too much dead money in the later years to become successful. From Fantasy draft positioning to our favorite MLB closers of all- time, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

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As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates.

My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.

Shortstop Rankings – Elite 8 or Wait


Elite Eight is what I’m targeting at shortstop.  I feel that the top 8 players at the position are a cut above the rest in terms of production and/or consistency.  I’ll be happy if I can get a player from one of the top two tiers, otherwise I’ll take a chance late in the draft.  When drafting your SS and/or middle infield spots, remember that 20 HRs are what 15 HRs were in the past.  Unless you’re stealing 20+ bases, I don’t want a middle infielder with less than 20.  There’s plenty of guys that can fill the void if you miss out on the best.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for shortstops.  There’s a handful of guys that are difference makers, and the rest can be had later in drafts.  Starting your team off with one of these 4 players will have you in a good place, but you’ll likely need to get them by the second or early third round.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Trea Turner – I’m a big fan of Turner.  I see 15+ HRs and 50+ SBs hitting atop the potent Nationals lineup.
(2)  Carlos Correa – At only 23 yrs old, he should hit 25+ dingers but fall short of 30.  Batting avg over .300.
(3)  Francisco Lindor – For a kid that supposedly didn’t have power, his 33 HRs in 2017 isn’t too shabby.
(4)  Corey Seager – He’s averaged 95-24-74 over the past two years.  Hopefully he’s over the nagging injuries.
Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for shortstops.  If you miss out on the top 4, I feel that there are 4 other guys that you can count on at shortstop.  Then there’s a drop off to the rest of the bunch that all have questions.

(5)  Alex Bregman – He’ll help in all 5 categories; possibly a 20/20 season.
(6)  Elvis Andrus – Say what you want, but the guy’s on the field and consistent.  Played at least 145 games since 2009!  Look for around 25 SBs but he’s light on power.  Don’t believe in the 20 HRs from 2017.
(7)
  Jean Segura – He should pair up with Dee Gordon atop the Mariners lineup.  Expect 15 HRs / 25 SBs with 90 runs.
(8)  Xander Bogaerts – He’s only 25, but he may never turn out to be a top tier shortstop. He’ll get you runs and a 15/15 season.
Red Embers (Other Options That I Like)

This is a group of players that I like in the late rounds to fill out my middle infield spot…

  • Didi Gregorius – Can he repeat 2017?
  • Trevor Story – He can still hit HRs at Coors Field.
  • Marwin Gonzalez – Eligible at 1B, 2B, SS, and OF.
  • Paul DeJong – Getting drafted too high, but 25 HRs is possible.
  • Orlando Arcia – He should have a 15/15 season with much more upside, especially if he moves up and out of the bottom third of the lineup.
  • Marcus Semien – Consistently underrated; expect a 20/10 season but the batting average will be bad.

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Third Base Rankings – Hit or Miss!


Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Third Base is a position that I feel will be very hit or miss.  Many of the players have question marks and this includes the veterans as well as younger players.  While third base doesn’t have quite the same power products as first base, you still want to target players getting at least 25 HR, preferably 30.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for third basemen.  These players are the clear cut studs at the position.  These guys should go 90-30-90 and bat .280+.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Nolan Arenado – He’s a consensus top 5 overall pick and a foundation for a fantasy team.
(2)  Kris Bryant – Averages 106-31-91 over the past 3 years, chips in about 10 SBs, and is a career .288 hitter.
(3)  Josh Donaldson – He’s not getting enough love.  Averages 103-37-100 over the past 3 years and should hit .280.
(4)  Jose Ramirez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
(5)  Manny Machado – Consistent, young, and one of the best.  He’s so good that he could be the top 3B by years end.

Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for second basemen.  There’s a slight drop from the top, but solid contributors that you can count on.

(6)  Anthony Rendon – He’ll give you all around production, but not quite top tier caliber.
(7)  Rafael Devers – He’s young and expected to bat in the middle of Boston’s lineup.  He could hit 30 dingers, but I’m expecting slightly less.  He has ton’s of upside.
(9)
  Alex Bregman – Another all around player.  He should deliver 80-20-80-15.
(10)  Travis Shaw – He had his first 30 HR season last year with over 500 at bats.  Will he repeat?
(11)
  Jake Lamb – He’s averaged 85-29-98 over the past 2 seasons.  You could do worse.
(12)  Eduardo Nunez – Averaging 32 SBs over the past two years and also in that same Boston lineup.
(13)  Kyle Seager – This guy is consistent, but unspectacular.  He’ll be around 80-28-90 again.
(15)  Adrian Beltre – How much does this guy have left at age 38.  20 HRs -> Maybe?  .300 hitter -> Yes!
(20)  Justin Turner – I’m expecting him to miss the first month of the season which drops him down.

Fire Bombs (Power Tier)

There’s some power to be found at 3B, but these guys may drag you down in batting average.  35+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

(8)  Miguel Sano – He’s one of the biggest mashers at 3B.  He has yet to top 30 HRs, but has never had over 440 at bats in a season.  The power is for real, but the batting average needs to improve.
(14)  Joey Gallo – If you can stomach his low batting average (career .201), his HRs will make you happy.
(16)  Mike Moustakas – Until last year, he never hit more than 22 dingers in his first 6 seasons.  He busted out with 38 last year.  Don’t look for a repeat, but it’s obvious he’s capable.
(22)  Todd Frazier – This guy has a 40 HR season and averages 34 over the past 3 years.  Batting average killer!
(30)  Matt Chapman – He crushes the ball and his low batting average crushes that category.
(37)  Matt Davidson – See Matt Chapman above…

Hot Lottery Tickets (3B Sleepers)

(17)  Evan Longoria – I can see an 80-25-90 season; not too bad.
(21)  Ryon Healy – He’s locked down the starting 1B job in Seattle coming off of his 25 HR campaign in Oakland.
(23)  Maikel Franco – Can he return to form now that Carlos Santana has taken him under his wing?  This is a make or break season for the Phillie.  Can he reach his 30 HR potential?
(24)  Nick Senzel – This is only minor leaguer that is worth a ticket.  It won’t be long til he’s in the majors.

Second Base Rankings – Deeper Than In The Past, I’ll Wait!


Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Second Base is a deep position, unlike in the past.  When drafting your 2B and/or middle infield spots, remember that 20 HRs are what 15 HRs were in the past.  Unless you’re stealing 20+ bases, I don’t want a middle infielder with less than 20.  There’s plenty of guys that can fill the void if you miss out on the best.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for second basemen.  There’s a handful of guys that are difference makers, and the rest can be had later in drafts.  Starting your team off with one of these 5 players will have you in a good place, if you get them at the right price.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Jose Altuve – Frequently a top 2 overall pick, he’s the best at the position (and just got paid!).
(2)  Jose Ramirez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
(3)  Brian Dozier – He’s the best power hitter at 2B.  He’s averaged 35 HRs over the past 3 years.
(4)  Dee Gordon – Forget power for a minute.  He should run away with the AL stolen base crown and lead your team a high ranking in that category.
(5)  Jonathan Schoop – He’s averaged 87 runs, 28 HRs, and 93 RBIs over the past two years.  I’m higher on him than most people.

Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for second basemen.  There’s a slight drop from the top, but solid contributors that you can count on.

(6)  Daniel Murphy – He’s 32 and not fully recovered from knee surgery last October.  He’ll miss opening day and I’m not sure when he’ll return to form.  He’s fallen out of the top tier for me.
(7)  Robinson Cano – Since 2009, he’s only had 1 season under 20 HRs, averaging 28 over the past 3 years.  He’s a plus in 4 categories.
(8)  Rougned Odor – He’s basically gone 30 HR / 15 SB in back to back years.
(9)  Whit Merrifield – I’m not as high on Merrifield as others.  He led the AL in stolen bases last year with 34, but don’t expect a repeat of 19 HRs.  Look closer to 15 HRs.

Lightning (Speed Tier)

These guys may not provide much power, but they’ll definitely help some in the stolen base category.

(10)  Eduardo Nunez – Averaging 32 SBs over the past two years and in a potent Boston lineup.
(13)  Ozzie Albies – I think this youngster is going to have a great year and should approach 20 SBs.
(21) 
Jonathan Villar – He’s battling for a starting gig, but he’ll get about 30 stolen bases this year.
(23)  Cesar Hernandez – He should be hitting atop the Phillies lineup for now, but has Scott Kingery breathing down his neck in the minors.  HRs and RBIs are a big deficiency.
(33)  Jose Peraza – He should start at SS and could flirt with 30 SBs if he improves his OBP.

Keep Me Warm (The Rest – That I Like)

This is a group of players that I like in the late rounds to fill out my middle infield spot…

  • Chris Taylor
  • Ian Kinsler
  • Yoan Moncada
  • Ian Happ
  • Marwin Gonzalez
  • Paul DeJong
  • Jason Kipnis
  • Neil Walker

Cold As Ice (The Rest – I Don’t Like)

  • Scooter Gennett
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Eric Sogard
  • Joe Panik
  • Brad Miller

First Base Rankings – Better Get Your Power Here!


In my first positional ranking article, I want to lay out that all rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  It’s important that you understand your league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Whether drafting for fantasy football or baseball, I’ve had the most success building tiers of players by position.  As the draft goes on, I can see by position when a “tier” of players with similar projections are getting thin.  Then a decision is to be made if I pounce on the last one of a tier, or if I need to focus on a larger positional need.  This approach helps you to have a few players to target before your draft pick comes up.  Don’t be that guy at the draft who’s constantly late with their picks and annoying everyone else.  On to the rankings…

First base is a deep position and there are sleepers and value late.  Make sure you get power numbers from this position.  If you don’t, you’ll be behind the league in this day and age of power bats.

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for first basemen; and it’s deeeeeep.  I want one of these top 8 guys on my roster.  If I miss out, then I’m going to wait in the draft to find value.  Rhys Hoskins just made the top tier as of this writing.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Paul Goldschmidt – He’s at the top, but falling in some drafts to the middle/late 1st round.  Snag him up and don’t worry about the “humidor” effect.
(2)  Joey Votto – Just keeps ticking.
(3)  Freddie Freeman – Looking to be a consensus top 3 1B.  He’ll do fine; even with that Braves lineup.
(4)  Anthony Rizzo – Consistently produces; and I like consistency!
(5)  Cody Bellinger – He had a fantastic rookie campaign, but will he see a sophomore slump?
(6)  Edwin Encarnacion – This guy will be a DH, but still eligible at 1B in many leagues.  He may be 35, but he’s averaged over 38 HRs over the past six years and got 42 twice!
(7)  Jose Abreu – Another consistent producer.  He’s not the biggest masher, but he’ll get you about 30 HRs and is a career .301 hitter which gets overlooked.
(8)  Rhys Hoskins – I like Hoskins and expect around 35 HRs, but I typically like to see more of a track record before putting a player in the top tier.  How will the revamped lineup play out in Philly?

Fire Bombs (Power Tier)

These guys may have deficiencies, but they can flat out mash the ball.  That often comes with a low batting average, but 40+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

(12)  Matt Olson – This guy is undervalued and should be at the 35 HR range.  Cheap version of Cody Bellinger / Rhys Hoskins.
(13)  Joey Gallo – If you can stomach his low batting average (career .201), his HRs will make you happy.
(16)  Justin Smoak – Was the 38 HRs from 2017 all “smoak” and mirrors?  It was his first year over 30 HRs, but also his first year with 500+ at bats.
(24)  Chris Davis – In the past 5 years, he has seasons of 53, 47, and 38 HRs.  The two other years he only got 450 at bats and blasted only 26 in down years.  He’s averaged 37 over the past 3 years.  For how late you get him, it’s worth a shot.

Warm Embers (Middle Tier)

This group of guys aren’t the most exciting, but they fall outside of the top tier, are veterans, and will provide value.

(9)  Eric Hosmer – He’s not going to get you the HRs you need, but fills out other categories.
(10)  Wil Myers – He may flirt with 30 HRs and he’s one of the few 1B eligible players who will get double digit steals.
(11)  Miguel Cabrera – This perennial first round pick has fallen, probably too far.  Expect a bounce back to about 30 HRs and a .300+ batting average with better health.
(14)  Carlos Santana – The new Philly brings his veteran presence to the young lineup and should flirt with 30 dingers.
(15)  Ryan Zimmerman – He resurrected his career last year, will he repeat after 3 down years?
(17)  Matt Carpenter – Another veteran coming off of a down year.  Don’t let him slip too far.

Lottery Tickets (I Like With Potential)

This is a group of players that I like in the later rounds; let’s see what they can do…

  • Justin Bour
  • Josh Bell
  • Ryan McMahon
  • Trey Mancini
  • Logan Morrison
  • Ryon Healy
  • Greg Bird
  • J. Cron

Cold As Ice (Likely Won’t Draft)

  • Eric Thames
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Brandon Belt
  • Danny Valencia

Is Playoff Baseball a Possibility for the Phillies?


heatratiocrop

On the way to being competitive, we all knew it would only be a matter of time before the Phillies opened up their wallets. But did they open it up on the right guy at the right time? Does Jake Arrieta make them an instant contender in the National League?

In a move to show they are ready to compete for a second title, the Eagles pulled off a stunner. With the addition of Michael Bennett, are they better than last year? Does bringing in another CB in Worley signal another move on the horizon?

Tiger Woods showed the poise of a Champion once again as he sunk a 44 foot putt on the way to a 2nd place finish. Is he back? Is there another athlete who is as powerful in society as Tiger? Is he the favorite to win the Masters?

With the recent trades of Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, is Cleveland now a Fantasy safe haven? With the trio of Taylor, Gordon, and Landry teams will finally have to respect the offense. Will the Browns finally play meaningful football this year?

March Madness is here and the brackets are ready to be busted. How many pools do you play? With all the famous memoires of the NCAA Tourney, what do you remember best? What teams, players and coaches signify your upbringing?

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories making it to the top of the headlines. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says teams and players should have no excuse for not playing well together in week 1 as John (@PGHJohn36) says they need some time to form a cohesive unit. From the Fantasy Firebox updates to the famous NCAA players of the 90’s, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

Android: http://wildfireradio.com/heat-ratio-episode-13/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/heat-ratio-episode-13

***Don’t forget to subscribe to us and give us a rating……Thanks!

As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates.

My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.

Who is Your Favorite Fantasy Player of all Time?


heatratiocrop

With the constant Cap troubles of a Super Bowl winning team, how will the Eagles survive? Howie Roseman has worked his magic once before, but this offseason will need a little more work. It seems inevitable that Torrey Smith will be on the inside looking in. If so, is Mack Hollins ready to step up?

Ben Simmons is having a historic season, but still is caught up in controversy. Has anyone ever shared Rookie of the Year honors? Could someone really challenge Ben for the award? Furthermore, can the Sixers compete as constructed for the Eastern Conference Title?

The NFL combine is underway and Saquon Barkley has been turning heads. What will the Browns do at #1? If the Eagles were in possession of the #1 and #4 picks in 2016 like the Browns have in 2018 and Barkley was available, would you have picked him over Carson Wentz first?

When did you start playing Fantasy sports? Over the years, Fantasy Football and Baseball have become synonymous with the everyday sports fan. Who was you favorite player to pick over the years? What were some of the historic seasons put together for both sports?

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories making it to the top of the headlines. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says Carlos Correa is the #1 SS in Fantasy while John (@PGHJohn36) Trea Turner should be drafted first. From Fantasy Baseball updates to NFL draft scenarios, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

Android: http://wildfireradio.com/heat-ratio-episode-12/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/heat-ratio-episode-12

***Don’t forget to subscribe to us and give us a rating……Thanks!

As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates.

My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.

….brought to you by Fantasy Sports Addiction

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