Archive for May, 2011

Dynasty League: Trade Bait

Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

The lockout doesn’t halt leagues that are continuous, as is the case with dynasty leagues. Owners get to nag each other for an entire year. There is literally no off season. After the NFL Draft, that’s when things become even more interesting. Owners sense who they want with their projected rookie draft picks, and are willing to give up certain players. It’s all projection based, where the hit/miss can fall back hard just like an NFL teams busted pick.

Numerous trade offers are likely filling your inbox. As tempting as they may be, draft picks, multiple player deals, etc. Do not get too entangled that you get Atlanta Falcon’d. Remember you’ve built your team up over several years. The factor waiver wire athletes still pop up each year out of no where. Your key areas that you need help in, aren’t going to fall in place with one trade. Positioning yourself over a two to three year period like a true general manager does, can be the better route. Unless you absolutely outsmart an opposing owner, do not get to over zealous in making a move.

Here are some players that you can leverage well to boost your team, whether with draft picks or necessary depth.

Quarterbacks

Josh Freeman- Freeman is the new big deal. He had a breakout year and seems undaunted as an every week NFL starting quarterback. He developed last year with rookie wide receivers, and a running game that didn’t come on until undrafted rookie, LeGarrette Blount took the job. The Tampa Bay organization believes in him, and he has been a catalyst in many fourth quarter come backs.

Mark Sanchez- As the season progressed, the heat on Sanchez started to wane. Reason being, he was starting to look like a legitimate starting quarterback. He was making proper adjustments under pressure and reading defenses quicker than he had been. Was he just in a stretch of games that he was playing well, or has he transformed to the next step?

Kyle Orton- Rumors are surrounding that Orton could be dealt. to possibly the Arizona Cardinals. A scenario like that could make Orton a top seven to ten fantasy quarterback. What he did as a Bronco just last year, makes him a steady quarterback that a dynasty league owner could be looking for.

Running Backs

James Starks- With Starks you have a few positives that you can entice owners into falling for. He is on a Super Bowl winning team with the best quarterback in football. Towards the end of last season he became the dependable factor back. Even if Ryan Grant returns, he’ll likely be relegated in carries and for measures to protect his health.

Ahmad Bradshaw- The Giants had something clicking when Jacobs lost his full time carries, and Bradshaw took on the bulk. The only problem with Bradshaw is that his fumbles picked up past the midway point of the year. Still, the Giants did nothing in the draft to make you think that Bradshaw’s job will be threatened. Teams in dire need of a second running back on their team, would and will settle for Bradshaw.

Matt Forte- As a dynasty league owner hopefully you stuck it out with Forte, and didn’t trade him for nothing last off-season. Now Forte is back near the top in terms of his involvement with the Bears offense. Not many running backs will get the carries and receptions as Forte does. Will he be worn down or can Mike Martz utilize him even more?

Wide Receivers

Anquan Boldin- Boldin is a veteran but he will be entering just his second season as a Raven. Any time an athlete of Boldin’s caliber makes a switch of teams, it’s going to take time to readjust. Flacco and Boldin seemed to be hit/miss all season last year. If they were on, Boldin had a field day. If not, Boldin went MIA in the fantasy point total column. This year should be different, as Flacco should be much more consistent.

Marques Colston- Colston is a notch below where you would want him to be. Owners know he can be a strong force, but the numbers do not lie. The last three years he has been a number three fantasy receiver on most squads. Drew Brees is spreading the ball around much more, and it has hurt Colston. That, and the fact that Colston has battled through injuries and slowed down a tad. Extended rest through the lockout could boost a player like Colston. Proper rest, and reloading in the Saints offense, could produce Colston’s strongest numbers since 2007.

MLB: Trend or Mirage?

Wednesday, 11 May, 2011

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

The Minnesota Twins are off to an atrocious start. A new ballpark and bolstering their team by resigning mega contracts with their stars has thus far backfired. Joe Mauer is out for an extended length of time until mid-May, and Justin Morneau has struggled to regain his former self at the plate.

They were the studs that the lineup fed off of. Instead of timely hits being made by the rest of the Twins, they’ve all faltered. Their batters from the three to seven spot have lacked any type of consistency, even Cuddyer who has risen over the last few years. Pitching was supposed to ride on the arms of Francisco Liriano. Sure he had a no hitter, but besides that start he has been rocked. This is not the direction the Twins were expected to go with their big three. Are they stuck with the mega contracts of these players? It appears so. An overhaul with their farm system, or trades for other teams prospects is likely.

One pitcher that has been able to manage outings well is Scott Baker (2.97 ERA). Minnesota’s defensive efficiency has struggled, but not when Baker has been out there. Baker has had solid command, and is making owners satisfied for drafting him in later rounds. He is getting his bang for his buck, but you’d have to say his first six starts are a mirage. Baker has been known for getting hit around and having short outings on the mound on a regular basis.

You can pick your spots with Baker, but he definitely shouldn’t be starting each time he is due to pitch for your fantasy team. Depth at pitcher is vital but you also need to manage your innings pitched. Having a pitcher like Baker can make that easier. The outing where Baker lasts three innings and gets lit up was just a matter of time. Today against Detroit he lasted just four innings. Unable to command his pitches, which led to five walks and six hits. Giving up a total of five runs.

Likely if you were trying to sell Baker high, no other owner bought it. They’ll definitely not now. Use Baker as an occasional starter and you’ll be fine. Just don’t expect him to put together five to six solid outings like he started the year off with.

What To Do With Mat Latos?

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

When an ace is inconsistent you know it’s only a matter of time before he snaps out. They get that solid start and from there build upon it. An 0-5 start though, won’t just get into the pitcher’s head, it’ll also drive fantasy owners crazy. This is definitely a tough scenario to deal with as a fantasy owner.

You can trade him now, but what will you get back for him. Likely not much. So instead of selling him high, maybe you should break down his statistics. He is on a San Diego Padres team that has offered little to nothing in terms of run support. They’re obviously digging and searching for replacements since the Adrian Gonzalez departure. Heck, even with Gonzalez in the lineup, they often struggled for runs. Their team leader for batting average is Chase Headley at .245.

So the frustration shouldn’t be pinned completely on Latos. A young lineup like the Padres is going to take time to develop. It may not happen this year, but the bats should come out and spike at a more frequent rate.

Breaking down Latos statistically is where you can see that he still can be a strong factor. His WHIP is up but it has more to do with a few extra walks than it does hits. The hits have also been big blows, as six of the thirty one giving up have been home runs. What jumps out at you, is that he is still averaging a strikeout per inning.

Latos should not be giving up on just yet. His last three starts have been atrocious. Not lasting barely past the sixth inning and giving up a combined five home runs. So he could be headed down a bad lane for fantasy owners. Most of you should be over your projected season totals for innings pitched. Instead of throwing Latos out each start, sit him and see how he does.

Being in the NL West, he’ll get to face favorable matchups throughout the season. So far he has pitched against dynamic offenses, including the Phillies, Braves, and Reds. Tough outings for any pitcher. Don’t sell him low. When September comes around, you’ll forget that Latos was even in this poor stretch.

McNabb To Go Where?

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Bouncing around as a veteran quarterback is common place. Endings seem premature in the athletes mind, and franchises are willing to take the gamble on declining skills. In the case of Donovan McNabb, no one really knows what he has left.

The Philadelphia Eagles basically traded him to move on and go with a younger talent in Kevin Kolb. Just like when he was drafted too booing Philadelphia fans, he exited as if he meant little to a franchise. It was just a few years before that he led the Eagles to their fourth NFC championship game under McNabb. They were a Kurt Warner drive away from going to another Super Bowl.

What happened last year as a Redskin was undeserving. McNabb gutted out many performances for a front office and coach that expressed their displeasure in McNabb. It was as if, Daniel Snyder was being over rode more and more as the season went on. No athlete is too tired to take a beating an entire game and not want to attempt a game winning drive. The fact that Rex Grossman took over the final few games for the Redskins was a true slap in the face move.

So McNabb is basically a free agent at this point with zero suitors because of the lockout. You have to believe that once the lockout is lifted, McNabb will be a highly sought after quarterback. Even though teams were able to stock pile youth with a high talent pool of quarterbacks in the draft, there are still many teams that need dire help.

Two teams that pop out at you are Minnesota and the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota addressed their future quarterback hopes in Christian Ponder. Drafted as the number twelve pick, Ponder will be expected to jump in. How soon though? Do the Vikings want to try and recapture the same thing they did with Brett Favre? They’re talented enough to attempt to make a strong run with a veteran quarterback, and Adrian Peterson. It’s always tempting as a new head coach to perform now rather than later.

Arizona though could be the best option and most realistic. The Cardinals have discussed names of Marc Bulger and Kyle Orton more, but McNabb would seem to be the top selection amongst the three. Arizona’s year without Kurt last year was as bad as their pre-Jake Plummer quarterback shuffling days. Derek Anderson’s press conference rant, will join the ranks of Dennis Green’s in Cardinals fans YoutTube favorites.

Throwing out a lowly touted third day drafted quarterback in Jon Skelton, and also undrafted Max Hall last season, started to turn the career hard worker Larry Fitzgerald into a Randy Moss. You could see him giving up on routes and not into it, because he couldn’t trust the quarterback. He knew they couldn’t throw the tight throws or stick him deep with an accurate pass. Not going after a quarterback in the draft was one of the more puzzling moves of the NFL Draft.

If the Cardinals want to keep one of the best receivers in football they better go after a solid veteran quarterback. Who is currently throwing the ball to Fitzgerald in off-season workouts? Yes, that’d be Donovan McNabb. An athlete that has trained every off-season in Arizona and has developed a relationship with some of the Cardinals.

McNabb has loved Arizona since he came as a senior for the Syracuse Orangemen vs. Kansas State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl. Everyone wants to say McNabb is too old, injury proned, and lacks the proper effort for a full football game. Quarterbacks are going to make mistakes. The success McNabb has had can’t be overlooked. Veteran quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are right up there in age with McNabb.

He has a solid two to three years left, and he will be seeking to land with a team that he can fully utilize those years. Arizona seems to be the best fit for that.. Their organization made the right move with a similar veteran quarterback that had been rode off, and spun it very close to a Super Bowl.

McNabb’s third uniform in three years should sport pure red and white, and occasional pure black.

NFL: Analysis of Rookie Quarterbacks Drafted

Tuesday, 3 May, 2011

By Vidur Malik

 notjustagame23@gmail.com

Cam Newton – Getting picked at No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers wasn’t much of a surprise, and now Newton will have to learn how to capitalize on his athleticism without relying on it. He doesn’t have many weapons to throw to, making his task much more difficult, so it will be interesting to see how his career unfolds. Newton has the potential to be successful if he can become a Ben Roethlisberger-type quarterback who can pass in the pocket and also have the ability to move in the pocket and run if necessary.

Jake Locker – While Newton’s early selection in the draft didn’t shock anyone, the Tennessee Titans taking Locker and eighth overall is one of the most surprising picks of the draft. Though he went much earlier than anyone thought, Locker does have a chance to be a solid quarterback. The Titans have an elite running back in Chris Johnson and a great defense, giving Locker the luxury of not having to lead the team if he becomes the starter. Like Newton, Locker will need to quiet his many doubters and prove that he can play quarterback in the NFL.

Blaine Gabbert – The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in need of some excitement, and Gabbert could give it to them. Gabbert seems to have more NFL readiness than Newton or Locker, so there aren’t as many questions surrounding his selection. With a versatile running back in Maurice Jones-Drew and an emerging star in tight ends Marcedes Lewis, Gabbert does have some targets to go to. Based on current projections, it seems like Gabbert will be the most prepared to have a successful pro career.

Christian Ponder – The Minnesota Vikings selecting Ponder at No. 12 was easily the most surprising pick of the first round and probably of the entire draft. The Vikings could definitely use some competition at quarterback, and Ponder should probably have a chance to compete for the starting job. There is no shortage of talent on Minnesota’s offense, with running back Adrian Peterson in the backfield and Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe giving Ponder several downfield threats to throw to.

Andy Dalton – With their quarterback situation in limbo, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Dalton early in the second round to take a shot at leading their offense. Dalton’s collegiate success at TCU should translate well to the NFL. He may not be as athletic as other rookies at his position, but he should be able to make the mental adjustment. With rookie receiver A.J. Green also coming to Cincinnati and joining Chad Ochocinco and running back Cedric Benson, Dalton should have a good nucleus of weapons to lead.

Colin Kaepernick – Another surprise quarterback pick, Kaepernick will go from leading Nevada’s pistol offense to trying to make it as a leader of a pro-style offense. At 6-foot-5 and 233 lbs., Kaepernick has the physical tools to make the transition, but having to learn a professional offense will be a daunting task for him. As part of a team that hasn’t had a consistent starting quarterback for almost a decade, Kaepernick might get the chance to prove himself soon.

Ryan Mallett – The New England Patriots made an intriguing selection by picking Mallet in the third round. The Patriots won’t be having a quarterback controversy anytime soon, but Mallett gives the team a chance to prepare for life after Tom Brady is no longer under center. Physically, he’s got everything he needs to be a good NFL quarterback, and there is enough young talent on the Patriots’ offense to help him find success whenever he gets his chance.