- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade3 hrs ago
Everyone knows Jimmy Graham is the cream of the tight end crop, the man, the No. 1 target, Top Jimmy. But things really get interesting when you get to the No. 2 spot on this year's tight end board. We polled four Yahoo scribes and actually came up with four answers, which is what we'll discuss today. Who's Sundance to Graham's Cassidy? Help us figure it out.
Del Don stumps for Thomas : I’ll acknowledge Julius Thomas has an injury history and that Rob Gronkowski likely has more upside, but he’s safely the No. 2 tight end on my board regardless. This a raw player who has just 15 career starts in the NFL (14 coming last year) after never playing football until his fifth year in college. Despite that, he hauled in 12 TD catches last season over just 14 games, and again, there’s room for plenty of growth as Thomas continues to improve his route running.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade7 hrs ago
But maybe the Reds will be just fine. Time to watch Billy Hamilton run through that door, and around the bases as well.
Hamilton was a standout in Cincinnati's doubleheader sweep Tuesday, collecting four hits, two steals and one knock-off strike (lucky as it might have been). He went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in Monday's win. He's turning into a fantasy overlord right before our eyes.
To be completely fair to Hamilton, he's turned out to be a much better real-life player than most expected. Back in March, the consensus said Hamilton would be a speed demon but a poor ballplayer in real life; someone much more valuable to fake baseball than the Reds.
- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade1 day ago
Coming off a Super Bowl season, Baltimore's offense was a cruel joke in 2013. The running game averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, ranking dead-last in the NFL. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce had a combined 366 carries, only three of which gained 20-plus yards. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw 22 interceptions, the highest total in the AFC, and he passed for a career-low 6.4 yards per attempt. He was also sacked 48 times, the second-highest total in the league.
It was ugly, almost always. The nicest thing we can say about the Ravens last season from a fantasy perspective is that kicker Justin Tucker had a really, really good year — or at least it was going well until he posted a zero in Week 16, when you needed him most.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade1 day ago
If you like to take chances with your pitching plays, Monday was your kind of night. All sorts of long shots came in on this slate, from the mound anyway.
There was Daisuke Matsuzaka spinning seven scoreless innings, Ian Kennedy laughing in the thin Colorado air. Scott Carroll was next to untouchable at Fenway, recording 20 outs against one hit. Kevin Correia was sharp for seven innings in Seattle. Chase Anderson was terrific, too.
This isn't to suggest the name brands didn't uphold their end of the bargain. My two favorite pitchers to watch, Adam Wainwright and Hisashi Iwakuma, combined for 14 bagels. James Shields got off the skids, mowing down the Rays with ease (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 10 K). Mike Leake keeps rolling along; he might be the most underrated pitcher around. Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels had the strong outings you'd expect. (Some of these guys got wins, some didn't. The balls roll funny for everybody, kid.)
- Brad Evans at Roto Arcade3 days ago
Every walk of 21 st century life is tracked, dissected and analyzed by computers. Weather observations banking transactions, twitter reactions, sporting events, tooth fairy payments, the alcohol content scrawled on your beer can – everything, everywhere has a number attached to it providing consumers with multiple angles on a particular subject.
This, after all, is the age of advanced understanding, though some Neanderthals, namely your antiquated mother-in-law and the backwards thinker who penned this column, fail to grasp the importance.
Naturally, fantasy sports, and those who feverishly play them, have certainly benefited.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade3 days ago
You need a plan for the upcoming week, so let's take a look at the double-dipping pitchers for the period Monday-Sunday. As always, consider everything on this list tentative: sometimes pitchers get scratched, sometimes plans change, sometimes it rains.
1. Masahiro Tanaka (at CLE, at BAL): Wipeout splitter, good luck. 2. Johnny Cueto (CHC, PIT): A classic exception to rules. 3. Adam Wainwright (PIT, at MIL): Is this his Cy season? 4. Stephen Strasburg (BAL, at PHI): Road issues, but it's just Philly. 5. Julio Teheran (at NYM, at CHC): Evan Salfino believes now. 6. Doug Fister (BAL, at PHI): Why did Tigers give him away? 7. Hisashi Iwakuma (MIN, OAK): Might be a tiny buy-low window. 8. Madison Bumgarner (at OAK, ARI): Home/road splits likely fluke. 9. Cole Hamels (at MIL, WAS): Terrific year on lousy team. 10. Sonny Gray (SF, at SEA): That curve should be illegal. 11. Jered Weaver (TOR, at TEX): Arlington not as fearsome anymore. 12. Hyun-Jin Ryu (at DET, SD): Oddly, the road numbers are the stingy ones. 13. Jesse Chavez (SF, at SEA): Keeps his spot, Milone to Triple-A. 14. Jake Odorizzi (KC, TOR)
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade4 days ago
Forget about the firecrackers and roman candles for a second. That racket you heard Friday night was the sound of the MLB trading season getting underway. Buckle up for an exciting month.
Two of the brightest men in baseball got together on a deal Friday, and it's a blockbuster. Theo Epstein's Cubs sent starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, in exchange for buzzy shortstop prospect Addison Russell, first-round pick Billy McKinney, pitcher Dan Straily, and a player to be named later.
If Samardzija and Hammel had to move to the American League, Oakland is a friendly spot for fantasy purposes. While they'll miss the NL style of play (and all those hapless pitchers trying to bat), they'll get a much better overall context in Oakland. The Athletics are the top-scoring team in the majors (Chicago is 25th), and the A's also offer better relief pitching and defense (per the advanced metrics, anyway) than the Cubs did. I dare The Shark to start off 2-7 with his new team.
- Brad Evans at Roto Arcade6 days ago
Beef, pork, mechanically separated turkey, water, corn syrup cubes, hydrolyzed beef stock, sodium phosphates, questionable "flavorings," bat shards, broken dreams and extractives of suck — these are ingredients that comprise baseball's biggest wieners. Just ask the poor bastard who's choked on Justin Verlander.
Coming off savory 2013 campaigns, this year's soured group of tubed meats were expected to exceed or at least meet last year's totals. Acquire them, experts and seasoned owners professed in March, and investors were sure to relish consistent production. As the old saying goes, players, in terms of statistical contribution, are supposed to get plumper when you draft 'em.
However, these Lil Smokies have shriveled in the Crock-Pot.
- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade6 days ago
We begin with the undeniably good news regarding Justin Verlander: He earned a win against the A's on Wednesday (his first since May 30), working out of trouble at various points, striking out four and issuing no walks over six innings. In Verlander's last three starts, he's delivered 20 Ks while walking only two batters. Those are solid numbers, no question.
And still, I gotta say, owning Verlander would terrify me. He came out throwing 90-92 mph against Oakland, allowing a pair of first-inning home runs, giving up nine hits over his six frames. To his credit, he found a few extra ticks on the fastball in his final inning (95-96), but overall, his performance was something less than dominant.
Check the postgame comments from opposing catcher Derek Norris, who finished 2-for-4 on Wednesday:
"It’s definitely weird to see him pitching in the upper 80s and low 90s when you’re used to 97 at your hands," catcher Derek Norris said of Verlander’s velocity dip this year. "But MVP, Cy Youngs ... he’s still going to be tough."
Well, not always.
- Dalton Del Don at Roto Arcade6 days ago
Jose Altuve has stolen a whopping 11 bases over the past nine games and leads the A.L. with a .343 batting average while also recording the second most doubles in the league (when talking about leaders in doubles in the AL, here’s something that shocked me: Eduardo Escobar is tied for the fourth most. What?!). Altuve has the second most steals in MLB, but his success rate (92.5%) is well above the stolen base leader (Dee Gordon at 81.6%). He also recently became the first player to steal multiple bases in four consecutive games since Ray Chapman in 1917, including this steal of home. His 6.3 K% is the lowest among all qualified batters in 2014, which doesn’t appear to be much of a fluke considering his 4.3 SwStr%. Altuve is currently the No. 13 ranked player in fantasy baseball, which is hard to do with two home runs and 26 RBI. He’s been successful on each of his past 24 stolen base attempts, and it’s increasingly difficult not to argue he’s the No. 1 fantasy second baseman moving forward.