Week 3 Fantasy Football Circle Of Trust

Bengals QB Joe Burrow

Road matchup with the Eagles isn’t as daunting as in years past. The Eagles have given up an opponent’s passer rating of 110.2 so far this season. The back 7 of the Philly defense isn’t what it once was even with the addition of Darius Slay. 

49ers RB Jerick McKinnon

There’s a reason McKinnon was an expensive free agent signing 2 years ago.  Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty may also see work, but McKinnon is a worthy ppr flex play. 

Bears WR Allen Robinson

Only 8 catches through 2 games. However 9 targets in each contest.  Robinson’s due for a market correction vs. the Falcons. Bear Down.

Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas

In the NFL since 2014 originally getting drafted as a QB by the Cardinals. Thomas switched positions in 2016 and has bounced around the league as a practice squad player.  Finally getting a full-time opportunity, Thomas has received 17 targets through 2 games.  Cleveland gave up 11 catches for 87 yards and a TD last week to Bengals TE’s. 

Falcons K Younghoo Koe

More field goal attempts in a tougher matchup vs. the Bears. 

Colts Defense

Home matchup with the Jets. Not sure who gets fired first Dan Quinn of the Falcons or Adam Gase. 

Bengals Defense End Sam Hubbard

The Eagles have allowed 8 sacks through 2 games. Pass Rusher from “The Ohio State University” wrecks havoc with the Eagles offensive line. 

Week 2 Fantasy Football Circle Of Trust

Patriots QB Cam Newton

Congratulations to everyone that took the plunge on drafting Newton late this year.  The buy-low trade window will soon close.  Newton will shine on Sunday Night Football. 

Ravens RB Mark Ingram

The Texans gave up 166 yards on the ground last week. Ingram’s usage Week 1 is misleading as I believe in a blowout the coaching staff wanted to get Dobbins work since there were no preseason games. Don’t jump ship on Ingram, he will remain a solid flex play.

Colts WR Parris Campbell

I own him 2 keeper leagues. Also drafted him for Tobin.  Tied for team lead in targets in the opener.  Was an explosive playmaker at The Ohio State University.  Will be a season-long playmaker for the Colts. 

Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki

Buffalo will be without starting linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. Gesicki played 32 snaps lined up in the slot last week. 

49ers K Robbie Gould

I can see the Niners offense stalling more drives than usual with so many missing pieces to their offense. 

Titans Defense

Jaguars offensive line will have problems with the Titans front 7. 

IDP 

Rams Linebacker Micah Kiser 

7 total tackles in Week 1 and seems to have a prominent role in the middle of the Rams defense.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Circle Of Trust

Raiders QB Derek Carr

The Panthers will have one of the youngest and worst defenses in the NFL this season regardless of timezone.  Normally a west coast team playing a 1pm game on the east coast is concerning, not in this matchup.  

49ers RB Raheem Mostert

Should stay in fantasy lineups until Kyle Shanahan gives us a reason to say otherwise. 

Steelers WR Dionte Johnson

Giants pass defense looks to be awful again in 2020.  If Johnson could perform with Hodges and Rudolph, imagine what he can do with Big Ben. 

Titans TE Jonnu Smith

4th year player will set career highs in catches, yards, and TD’s this season. Worthy streamer vs. the Broncos. 

Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship

Should be busy vs. the Jaguars

Eagles Defense

Plenty of Sacks and Turnovers in the Nation’s Capital 

IDP

Browns SLB Sione Takitaki

Listed as the starting Sam Linebacker on the depth chart. Matchup with the Ravens should provide tackle opportunities.

10-Team PPR Snake Draft

This is a 10-team PPR Snake draft with the 1st overall pick.  The positional setup doesn’t require a Tight End.  QB’s also get a point for a completion and lose a point for an incompletion. QB scoring is much higher in this league than other ones I participate in.  The QB’s went so early in this draft I was able to load up on RB.  

RB Christian McCaffrey Panthers

RB Josh Jacobs Raiders

WR Kenny Golladay Lions

WR Terry McLaurin Washington Football Team

WR D.J. Chark Jaguars

RB Cam Akers Rams

WR Julian Edelman Patriots

RB JK Dobbins Ravens

RB Kareem Hunt Browns

RB Zack Moss Bills

QB Derek Carr Raiders

QB Kirk Cousins Vikings

WR Jalen Reagor Eagles

K Rodrigo Blankenship Colts

Bears Defense

Eagles Defense

This is not how I anticipated this team ending up.  I stayed to my strategy of taking the best player available and didn’t try to keep up with the Joneses on QB’s.  Kyler Murray was drafted 1 spot ahead of Cam Akers to end Round 6.  To start Round 7 I took Julian Edelman.  

In between my Edelman pick and JK Dobbins pick 5 QB’s were drafted.  By taking Edelman, I missed out on Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Carson Wentz, and Cam Newton.  My plan was to take Cam Newton with the Dobbins pick.  After the run on QB’s I 

thought the RB’s would start to go.  Daniel Jones was my target for Round 10. Not to be as Jones went a few picks after Kareem Hunt.  I really thought Jones would be there when I took Zack Moss. Many of the teams drafted 2 QB’s before I had 1.  

I’m not thrilled with the combo of Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins.  I also considered drafting Ryan Tannehill or Baker Mayfield and carrying 3 QB’s to start the season.  Carr was drafted because of a Week 1 matchup with the Panthers.  I anticipate Carolina having one of the worst defenses in the league this season.  I’ve often stood up for Cousins as he’s a better QB than given credit for by some fans.  The hope is Cousins numbers in 2020 are closer to his 2018 campaign than 2019.  Having Adam Thielen for a full season and not having Stefon Diggs yelling at him may help matters.       

The plan going forward is to actively pay attention to the waiver wire and see if the teams that drafted 3 QB’s end up dropping 1 due to bye weeks. I also may end up cashing 1 of my 6 RB’s as part of a QB upgrade. This team has a good baseline of players, but will need more work done on waivers than my usual to be successful. 

Dynasty IDP Draft

This is a 10-team Dynasty IDP league draft. Maximum keeper value is the name of the game in this league.  Keepers start Round 5 or later. A players keeper value goes up one round every season.  I went RB heavy to start the draft since I didn’t keep a RB.  I had the 7th pick in each round of the draft.  The superflex roster spot allows for 2 QB lineups.  Here’s a breakdown of the picks and keepers.  

RB Josh Jacobs Raiders

RB David Montgomery Bears

RB Cam Akers Rams

RB Zack Moss Bills

QB Kyler Murray Cardinals Keeper

WR Jalen Reagor Eagles

WR DJ Moore Panthers Keeper

WR Dionte Johnson Steelers

TE Mark Andrews Ravens Keeper

RB Damien Harris Patriots

QB Daniel Jones Giants Keeper

WR Courtland Sutton Broncos Keeper

DT Chris Jones Chiefs Keeper

LB Devin White Bucs Keeper

TE Devin Asiasi Patriots

DE Sam Hubbard Bengals

RB Ryquell Armstead Jaguars

LB Deion Jones Falcons Keeper

QB Carson Wentz Eagles Keeper

DE Josh Allen Jaguars

LB Khalil Mack Bears

SS Jamal Adams Seahawks Keeper

SS Jonathan Abram Raiders

LB Darius Leonard Colts Keeper

LB Rashaan Evans Titans

SS Chuck Clark Ravens 

RB Anthony McFarland Jr. Steelers

WR Parris Campbell Colts

TE Logan Thomas Washington Football Team

RB Rashaad Penny Seahawks

WR DJ Chark Jaguars Franchise Tag

TE Rob Gronkowski Bucs Franchise Tag

RB was the glaring weakness on this roster so I went four in a row.  Keeper options of Damien Harris, Ryquell Armstead, Anthony McFarland, and Rashaad Penny leave a lot to be desired. I was reaching for any RB I thought had value at those stages of the draft.  This has become a tougher league to snag keepers as new league members have risen the overall collective league IQ.   Finding those late round keepers is tougher than ever before.  

My WR keeper and QB’s options are the strong point of this roster.  This is the last season I can keep Kyler Murray, while I can own Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz for multiple seasons.  DJ Moore and Courtland Sutton are a good starting point while Reagor and Johnson provide me with other high upside options.  Sadly, Reagor can only be kept for next season then has to go back into the player pool.  I do own Reagor in a few leagues and believe he emerges as Wentz to WR threat.  Campbell is one of my late round WR lottery tickets.  I also own him in multiple leagues.  Andrews is a great keeper while I’m hoping Asiasi can emerge as a threat in the Patriots offense.  Logan Thomas at that stage of the draft is worth the gamble.  Washington signed him to a 2-year deal and there’s very little competition for playing time.  The IDP’s fit into my mindset of grabbing younger players with upside. My oldest IDP drafted is Khalil Mack at 29,  which was a homer pick at that point.  Every other IDP is 26 years-old or younger.  Football’s a violent sport and a young man’s game.  The age bracket of my collective roster shows such.  I’m happy with the draft, but this team will struggle if the young RB’s drafted at the top don’t emerge.     

10-Team PPR Snake Draft

10-team PPR snake draft from the 7th pick. Yahoo gave this team a B grade for the draft. 

RB Dalvin Cook Vikings

WR Davante Adams Packers

WR Allen Robinson Bears

RB Melvin Gordon Broncos

WR Keenan Allen Chargers

TE Darren Waller Raiders

QB Kyler Murray Cardinals

WR Will Fuller V Texans

RB Jordan Howard Dolphins

RB Antonio Gibson Washington

QB Matt Ryan Falcons

RB Damien Harris Patriots

RB Sony Michel Patriots

Bills Defense

K Harrison Butker Chiefs

WR Bryan Edwards Raiders

RB KeShawn Vaughn Bucs

I can honestly say Michael Thomas was the player I wanted at pick 7. However he went with the 4th overall pick in the draft. With the Davante Adams pick I passed on Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins. I’m willing to stand by that pick because of Adam’s target share and TD potential in the Packers offense. I knew going in that if I passed on Kelce/Kittle there I would need to be prepared to go up for Zach Ertz or Darren Waller. Having an elite TE is always a priority for my fantasy football teams. Allen Robinson was drafted ahead of JuJu Smith-Schuster, DJ Moore, Odell Beckham Jr, Adam Thielen, and Robert Woods. My Bears fandom aside, Robinson is the number 1 threat in the Bears offense. Robinson puts up WR2 type numbers despite less than stellar QB play.  Melvin Gordon is the pick I received the most heat for because I passed on James Conner. Gordon was the pick for me because he’s scored 8 or more TD in 4 consecutive seasons. I don’t want to have early round picks bust and Gordon has less bust potential than Conner.  The plan in Round 5 was either a TE or a WR depending on positional depth.  Keenan Allen was the selection ahead of Courtland Sutton. Again I know what I’m getting with Allen, Sutton didn’t perform that well with Drew Lock under center.  I own Sutton in a dynasty league, however this year I believe Allen performs better. My 3 top WR are all potential 90 plus catch players.  Zach Ertz went at the end of Round 5 and I knew Waller had to be my pick in the 6th.  Cam Akers was my target in Round 7, but went 2 picks ahead of mine.  Time to pivot to my must have QB Kyler Murray.  JK Dobbins was the hope in Round 8 yet again went 2 picks in front of me.  Will Fuller V was the selection of Raheem Mostert.  I saw more RB’s I liked late so I went with Fuller V.  Jordan Howard became my selection as Zach Moss went earlier in the round.  In Round 10 or later I’m looking for value or upside. Gibson fits into the upside category.  Everyone is told to wait on QB’s because there’s so much depth. I say Bullshit. Matt Ryan in Round 11 is a great value.  I like having 2 great QB’s for multiple reasons. 1. Kyler Murray is a smaller running QB, I have a high-end replacement if he gets dinged up. 2. Matt Ryan can’t be used to defeat me. Opponents may have to stream a lesser QB against me. 3. If I have an area of my team to address, Matty Ice is a valuable trade chip to fill holes.  Having Damien Harris and Sony Michel means I have a strong chance of owning the top Patriots runner. Another thing fantasy analysts say to do is wait on defense and kicker until the last 2 rounds. I say Bullshit. Why fall behind on those 2 spots when going up a round or two earlier may give you a positional advantage?  Defense and Kicker are point scoring roster spots so I’m not waiting.  My last 2 picks were lottery tickets in Bryan Edwards and KeShawn Vaughn.  This draft was done before Leonard Fournette was released by the Jaguars.  If Edwards and or Vaughn don’t pan out so be it. I’ll cut them for the next best option of waivers.  I had to pivot a few times in this draft as players went off the board.  I’m happy with the talent on this team. My regret in this draft is not getting Cam Akers, JK Dobbins, or Zack Moss. 

12-Team IDP Keeper League Draft

This is a 12-team IDP keeper league where you have to keep 3 on each side of the ball with a breakdown of 2 veterans and 1 rookie. I am taking over an existing team so the keeper options were not to my liking. 

Here’s a breakdown of the keepers and picks. 

Keepers

Carson Wentz QB Eagles

Matt Breida RB Dolphins 

Parris Campbell WR Colts

Nick Bosa DE 49ers

Benardrick McKinney LB Texans

Leighton Vander Esch LB Cowboys

From 2 pick in a 12-team snake draft

Ezekiel Elliott RB Cowboys

George Kittle TE 49ers

Allen Robinson WR Bears

Raheem Mostert RB 49ers

Tyler Boyd WR Bengals

Sterling Shepard WR Giants

Damien Harris RB Patriots

Cam Newton QB Patriots

Antonio Gibson RB Washington

Jalen Reagor WR Eagles

Steelers defense

Will Lutz K Saints 

Aaron Donald DL Rams

Jessie Bates III DB Bengals

Matt Judon DE/LB Ravens

Rashaan Evans LB Titans

Ronnie Harrison DB Jaguars

Blake Jarwin TE Cowboys 

Jeremy Chinn DB Panthers 

In the 8th round, I took George Kittle and swung back to grab Allen Robinson in the 9th. In the process I passed on Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr., and James Conner. Round 10 and 11 saw me pass on Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott to grab Raheem Mostert and Tyler Boyd. I was strongly considering Julian Edelman at the time I drafted Boyd. Round 12 Sterling Shepard could have been Henry Ruggs III or Deebo Samuel. When this draft took place Samuel was still projected to make the PUP list. Drafting today there’s no way I’m taking Damien Harris over Deebo Samuel as I did on this one. I believe the best picks of this draft were Cam Newton in the 14th and Antonio Gibson in the 15th. Gibson and Jalen Reagor are my options for rookie keepers next season. I like both players upside for this season. Reagor will miss September with a shoulder injury, but I believe will play a big role in the Eagles offense this season. The IDP’s are all value or upside. The reality is IDP’s come off the waiver wire every week.  I’m happy with the overall talent and depth of the roster. I may end up kicking myself for not drafting Deebo Samuel instead of Damien Harris.

Evaluating Pitching For 2020

The strategeries for drafting in a normal MLB season may not apply in 2020.  My fear is pitching is going to be even more challenging to predict with a condensed schedule.  This is going to be a sprint, not a marathon.  I am anticipating quicker hooks for pitchers with the expanded rosters and condensed schedules.  The new 3-batter rule for pitchers along with possibility of a Universal DH will also impact pitching usage in 2020.   Wins may be more difficult to come by for back end starting pitchers than ever before.  Playing winning matchups with back-end starting pitchers is often a key to fantasy baseball success.  

That task became much more difficult late last season as some back-end starters were getting pulled after 4 innings.  Why wouldn’t managers apply their September managing style to the shortened 2020 season?  A 4-inning start from a back-end pitcher is virtually useless. The problem is the strikeouts often aren’t there and the metrics aren’t clean.  With less potential starters to choose from I will have to find my production elsewhere.     

My plan to combat this problem for 2020 is two-fold. First, I plan on ignoring everything I usually do in terms of service time manipulation and limiting pitch counts.  This season is going to be short so I anticipate teams sending out their best guys no matter what.  I would rather draft a young pitching prospect late and gamble on his role over drafting a back-end starter.  If the prospect doesn’t make it, I can cut bait for the next best thing.  Take Dustin May of the Dodgers, the Phillies Spencer Howard, Forrest Whitley of the Astros, or the Blue Jays Nate Pearson.  These are pitchers that in a normal season may have had their workload kept down and the service time manipulated.  The Dodgers, Phillies, and Astros are each in win-now mode. All 3 hurlers could both provide valuable innings as starters or multiple inning relievers for their respective clubs.  Pearson on pure talent alone is the best pitcher on the Blue Jays major league roster.  I would think Pearson would benefit more from pitching in the MLB over a minor league academy.  Conversely there are some huge names in MacKenzie Gore, Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and Sixto Sanchez that I don’t see starting the season in the Majors.  Not enough innings in higher level minor league ball.  Why ruin their confidence in a going nowhere campaign.   

Step 2 later in drafts, I will fill out the last few spots of my pitching roster with SP/RP pitchers or high strikeout relievers that go multiple innings.  The K’s and metrics should be better and supersede the potential of getting a Win.  These pitcher’s will help in 3 categories instead of just chasing one.  I have to balance reaching innings limits and moves limits so I won’t be able to use all swing pitchers.  Pitchers I plan to target as part of this plan are Drew Pomeranz of the Padres.  His 15.4 SO/9 was something to behold in 25 appearances with the Brewers last season.  His 17 starts with Giants gives SP/RP eligibility.  As a 7th or 8th inning guy in San Diego sign me up.  Brewers hurler Freddy Peralta had a 12.6 SO/9 as a reliever and often worked multiple innings picking up 5 of his 7 wins as a reliever.  My guess is manager Craig Counsell uses Peralta as a swingman again.   

Another young Brewers pitcher I have a hunch on is Corbin Burnes.  32 appearances last season with an 8.82 ERA for this RP eligible pitcher.  However, Burnes 12.9 SO/9 may make him a worthy late round gamble.  Remember in 2018, Burnes won 7 games in 30 relief appearances.  A.J. Puk is only RP eligible, but had a 10.3 SO/9 in 11 appearances as a reliever last season.  His status as a starter or reliever is yet to be determined.  In a relief role, Puk may be able to go multiple innings.  The Astros Josh James is listed as an RP at the moment, but he was competing for a role in the rotation before the shutdown.  James had 14.7 SO/9 as a reliever last season.  What would provide more value for the club using James once maybe twice a week or using him 3 times a week in high leverage short roles?                  

Just for 2020, I plan to target high strikeout low metric swingmen or prospects more so than ever before. Pitching is often a crapshoot. When you think you’ve got the answers, the managers change the questions.    

Winston Rehabs Career In The Bayou

Jameis Winston has a career 19,737 yards and has already surpassed the career totals of “The Mad Bomber “Daryle Lamonica (19,154), “The Ruston Rifle” Bert Jones (18,190), and “The Punky QB” Jim McMahon (18,148).  Numbers don’t mean as much as the eras of football have changed significantly.  Winston’s 5,109 yards in 2019 are the 8th highest single-season total in NFL history. His 33 TD and 30 INT was a roller coaster ride for the Buccaneers.  Winston set an NFL record with 7 interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in 2019.  If memory serves me correctly 2 of Winston’s first 3 passes vs. the Texans interceptions with the first one being returned to the house.  I received multiple texts from upset friends that I recommended to play Winston.  The 84.3 Passer rating made Winston the 27th rated passer.  Bruce Arians is a solid offensive coach that couldn’t reign in Winston.  Teams passed on Winston in favor of other free agents and or draft choices.  Reportedly Winston had more lucrative offers on the table, but took the 1-year cheap deal with the Saints.

The Quarterback carousel is full of lost causes that turned it around with a change of scenery.

There’s a myriad of reasons why QB’s find success elsewhere, development as a player, better coaching, better scheme, better surrounding players and so on and so forth.  Here’s a few Quarterbacks that went from Heroes to Zeroes and back to Heroes.      

Before the draft in 2019, Ryan Tannehill was traded with a 6th rd pick in 2019  from the Dolphins to the Titans for a 4th 2020 and 7th 2019.  The Dolphins had decided to move on from their former first round pick and hit the reset button.  Tannehill far outperformed expectations, led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game, and won the Comeback Player of the Year award in the process.  Jim Plunkett flamed out in New England and San Francisco before winning a pair of Super Bowls with the Raiders.  Randall Cunningham sat out a year before returning to the Vikings and leading the team to an NFC Championship Game appearance.  Steve Young was discarded for Vinny Testaverde in Tampa Bay.  Young was traded away for a 2nd and a 4th in 1987 to the 49ers.  The rest is history in a Hall Of Fame career.  Testaverde flamed out in Tampa as well and went on to have a lengthy NFL career that included 2 Pro Bowl appearances.                   

After 5 seasons in the league, the book is out on Winston.  Bad decision making far outweighs the rocket arm.  The Saints are a great landing spot for the 26-year-old Winston to rehab his career.  The Saints have played Winston twice a year for 5 years. Their coaching staff knows his strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies.  Working with Sean Payton, Joe Lombardi, and Drew Brees in theory should assist in Winston cleaning up some of the bad decision making in his game.  Winston has the opportunity to put together good tape in the preseason and get considered for another job.  Winston also has the opportunity to force his way into the Saints Post-Brees plans.

Closer Strategery

Closers are the position where I’m often looking to draft as late/cheap as possible. Every fantasy owner manages their team differently. I am of the belief of why spend an early draft choice or high dollar auction money on the most volatile position in all of baseball. Closers often lose their jobs to a string of sub-par performances. One club’s disposed closer is another club’s reclamation project.  Starting Pitchers who no longer have the repertoire to go through a lineup multiple times are sometimes put in the bullpen.    

6 pitchers came out of nowhere in 2019 to be among the league leaders in Saves.  In preparing drafts no of these pitchers were on my radar. Entering 2019, Liam Hendricks had 1 Save in 8 major league seasons with 4 clubs.  Hendricks at age 30 appeared in a career-high 75 games. Along with 8 Holds, Hendricks took over for an injured Blake Treinen and finished with 25 Saves.  Hendricks is now the undisputed closer in Oakland. As quickly as Hendricks found it, Treinen lost it.   

Treinen’s roller coaster ride the last few seasons can show how quickly relievers get turned over.  2014-2016 Treinen pitches in lower leverage roles for the Nationals. Treinen wins the closers job in 2017 in Washington and is ineffective.  He’s moved to the Oakland A’s in July and ends up with 13 Saves in Oakland. Goes on to Save 38 games in 2018 in an All-Star Campaign. 2019, Treinen has 16 Saves then promptly loses his job due to injury and ineffectiveness. The 2020 offseason is granted free agency and signs with the Dodgers.

Taylor Rogers in his 4th season with the Twins figured it out in 2019.  30 Saves, 10 Holds, 11.7 SO/9, and 1.000 WHIP. Because the Twins do so much mixing and matching in their bullpen it took a while to lock into Rogers as the closer.  Sometimes clubs are reluctant to put a lefty in the closer’s role.      

In 4 seasons, Hansel Robles worked in lower leverage situations in the Mets bullpen before getting released mid-season in 2018.  Robles pitched much better in LA in 11 appearances. Entering the 2019 campaign, Cody Allen’s $8.5 million dollar contract put him in the closer’s role for the Angels.  After 4 Saves, the wheels came off for Allen and he was never able to regain the closer’s job back. Allen appeared in 25 games and was released in June. Robles finished with 23 Saves for the Halos.    

Ian Kennedy signed with the Royals in 2016 to help stabilize the starting rotation to the tune of 5-years and $70 million dollars.  Kennedy was decent his first season in KC 11-11 3.68 ERA. The next 2 seasons saw Kennedy go 5-13, 5.38 ERA and 3-9, 4.66 ERA. For 2019, it was determined Kennedy would work out of the bullpen going forward.  Kennedy was in a camp battle with Wily Peralta for the closer’s job. Kennedy took over early in the season and saved 30 games. He also posed a career-high 10.4 SO/9. 2020 is the final year of the contract and he may actually have trade value now.  

Emilio Pagan is on his 4th team in 4 seasons.  He ended up with 8 holds and saving 20 games as Jose Alvardado and Diego Castillo both got injured and imploded.  In 3 major league seasons Pagan owns a 0.982 and a 10.6 SO/9. Gopher balls are a problem for Pagan as he’s allowed 7, 13, and 12 in respective years.  Now with the Padres, Pagan is projected to set up Kirby Yates. In terms of contract status, Yates is in a walk year and Pagan won’t be a free agent until the 2024 campaign.  Maybe Pagan will be in line for Saves again if the Padres fall out of contention.       

Carlos Martinez has been an enigma during his time in St. Louis.  Entering his age 27 season, Martinez was projected to remain a mainstay in the Cardinals rotation.  Unfortunately, a shoulder injury threw off the start of his season. Arriving in the middle of May, Martinez was brought back in the bullpen.  Jordan Hicks saved 14 games until being shut down for the campaign with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Martinez ended up eventually taking over as closer and saved 24 games.  The 9.9 SO/9 and 1.179 WHIP ended up being career bests for Martinez.  

Entering fantasy drafts in 2019, Liam Hendricks, Taylor Rogers, Hansel Robles, Ian Kennedy, Emilio Pagan, and Carlos Martinez were not on my radar.  However they were each on one or more of my fantasy rosters in 2019. There’s no guarantee last seasons’ success will carry over to 2020. Closer is one of the most volatile positions in all of baseball and owners need to be prepared to pursue the next best thing.

Below are the Saves leaders for the last 3 seasons.  There’s some stable names on this list and more than a few one-hit wonders.     

2019

Kirby Yates SD 41

Roberto Osuna HOU 38

Aroldis Chapman NYY 37

Josh Hader MIL 37

Brad Hand CLE 34

Raisel Iglesias CIN 34

Will Smith SF 34

Kenley Jansen LAD 33

Alex Colome CWS 30

Ian Kennedy KC 30

Taylor Rogers MIN 30

Sean Doolittle WSH 29

Hector Neris PHI 28

Felipe Vazquez PIT 28

Edwin Diaz NYM 26

Liam Hendricks OAK 25

Carlos Martinez STL 24

Ken Giles TOR 23

Shane Greene ATL 23

Hansel Robles LAA 23

Emilio Pagan TB 20

Sergio Romo MIN 20

2018 

Edwin Diaz SEA 57

Wade Davis COL 43

Craig Kimbrel BOS 42

Kenley Jansen LAD 38

Blake Treinen OAK 38

Felipe Vasquez PIT 37

Brad Boxberger ARI 32

Aroldis Chapman NYY 32

Shane Greene DET 32

Brad Hand CLE 32

Raisel Iglesias CIN 30

Bud Norris STL 28

Cody Allen CLE 27

Ken Giles TOR 26

Sean Doolittle WSH 25

Fernando Rodney OAK 25

Sergio Romo TB 25

Keone Kela PIT 24

Brandon Morrow CHC 22

Robert Osuna HOU 21

2017                                                       

Alex Colome TB 47

Greg Holland COL 41

Kenley Jansen LAD 41

Corey Knebel MIL 39

Robert Osuna TOR 39

Fernando Rodney ARI 39

Craig Kimbrel BOS 35

Edwin Diaz SEA 34

Ken Giles HOU 34

Wade Davis CHC 32

Cody Allen CLE 30

Brandon Kintzler WSH 29

Raisel Iglesias CIN 28

AJ Ramos MIA 27

Kelvin Herrera KC 26

Hector Neris PHI 26

Sean Doolittle WSH 24

Aroldis Chapman NYY 22

Jim Johnson ATL 22

Brandon Maurer KC 22

Brad Hand SD 21

Felipe Vasquez 21

Seung Hwan Oh 20