Week 12 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Tigers C/1B John Hicks

.400/.455/.567 slash rate the last 14 days. The Catcher eligibility is the key to adding Hicks.  Owned in 21.5% of ESPN and 45% of Yahoo leagues.  At age 28, Hicks should get an extended look with Miguel Cabrera out for the season.  Ride the hot streak and premium position eligibility.

Pirates 1B/3B Colin Moran

Has scored a run in 5 straight games.  Hitting .345 at home this season and has 7 home games this week. The Brewers and Diamondbacks have limited damage to opposing left-handed hitters. Owned in 9.1% of ESPN and 5% of Yahoo leagues. Moran is a solid daily play during this hot streak.

Angels SP Jaime Barria

2 home starts this week vs. the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays. Barria has a 2.61 ERA and 1.11 WHIP so far this season.  Barria is a shutdown candidate at the end of the season, but that doesn’t matter right now.  Owned in 18.7% of ESPN and 31% of Yahoo leagues.

Week 11 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Rays OF/1B Jake Bauers

Slash rate of .263/.368/.412 last season in AAA.  Similar slash rate going this season, so Bauers has been called up to play 1B everyday.  I picked him up in a weekly keeper league. Was one of the return pieces in the 3-team deal involving Wil Myers, Trea Turner, and Steven Souza back in 2014.  Bauers is a recommended pickup for owners looking to add a multiposition bat. Owned in 4.4% of ESPN and 4% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Angels 2B Ian Kinsler

Last 14 days slash rate of .388/.434/.837. I picked up Kinsler in a daily categories league, where I needed to cut down on my K at 2B.  Owned in 48.1 % of ESPN and 52% of Yahoo leagues. At age 36 I am fearful of using Kinsler in a weekly lock league, but feel comfortable deploying him in daily formats.

 

Astros RP Hector Rondon

Has 3 consecutive Saves for Astros. 1.57 ERA and 1.08 WHIP for Rondon so far this season. The harsh reality is the Astros may need to move Giles into a lower leverage role and deal with it.  Giles had 34 Saves in 2017, but went thru control problems. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’d use Rondon as my closer until he proved otherwise. I picked up Rondon on waivers yesterday and this morning in a daily league as well. Owned in 9.7% of ESPN and 35% of Yahoo leagues.   Ownership should increase in short order.

Tight End Strategery

My plans for TE this season have completely changed with the ACL injury to Chargers TE Hunter Henry.  I planned on drafting him in every league. The situation and draft slot would allow me to select him in the middle rounds and get what I believed to be high-end production. I can’t justify spending a high pick on Gronk due to age and injury concerns.  Since I live in Wisconsin, Jimmy Graham will go earlier than usual. Jordan Reed is always hurt and I can’t take him with a mid-round pick anymore. Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, or Delanie Walker will be my starting TE. I also love Dolphins rookie TE Mike Gesicki in a dynasty format. Rookie TE’s often struggle to make an impact due to adjusting route running and blocking schemes.  Gesicki in a seasonal league is a TE2 with upside. The players listed below are guys I will track in camps to see where to slot them on my draft board.

Bears TE Trey Burton

There are $32 million reasons Burton should be on your radar this season. Burton is projected to play the Travis Kelce role in Matt Nagy’s offense.  Just because Burton is playing the Travis Kelce role in the offense doesn’t mean he’s going to produce like Travis Kelce. I’m a fan of Burton, but will certainly have another solid TE on my roster.  Mitchell Trubisky didn’t seem to be able to read the whole field last season. A Jared Goff type jump in Year 2 is possible. I like Burton more as my TE2, than TE 1.

 

Rams TE Gerald Everett

2nd round pick from South Alabama caught just 16 balls for 2 TD in his rookie season. The Rams have weapons in the receiving crops with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Everett offers more size and could emerge as a red zone threat in 2018. I’m targeting him in a dynasty league and as a late round flier in seasonal leagues.

 

49ers TE George Kittle

5th round pick did some damage in Weeks 15 (4-52), 16 (3-42-1), and 17 (4-100). I picked him up late after Hunter Henry was knocked out for the season.  The 49ers with Jimmy G at the helm look to have an emerging offense. Pierre Garcon has never scored more than 6 TD in a season. Marquise Goodwin played well late, but at 179 lbs could struggle in the red zone. I plan to target Kittle in PPR leagues as a TE2.  

 

Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones

Popular waiver wire claim after catching 3-54-2 against the Texans in Week 11.  The following week RSJ dropped 4-72-1 vs. the Jaguars then poof the production was gone.  RSJ is a converted WR from Texas A&M and scored a 27 on the Wonderlic. How much of the workload RSJ, Christian Kirk, and Chad Williams can take is something to track closely in camp.    

 

Lions TE Michael Roberts

Scored 16 TD in his senior season at Toledo.  With Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo as the main competition on the depth chart, Roberts has a chance to carve out a role in the Lions passing attack.  Improvements in blocking will be the key to more playing time.

Week 10 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Tigers 3B Jeimer Candelario

9 RBI since coming off the DL including an RBI in 4 straight games. Playing on the Tigers Candelario should see plenty of playing time. Owned in 31.6% of ESPN leagues and 31% of Yahoo leagues. .370 OBP may not be sustainable, but has a career minor league .349 OBP.  Candelario is worthy of ownership in season leagues and a must in dynasty formats.

 

Royals OF Jon Jay

Owned in 11.2% ESPN and 11% Yahoo leagues.  Jay is running hot playing everyday for the rebuilding Royals. Strong possibility Jay is flipped at deadline to a contender to serve as a 4th OF. Right now use his slash rate .304/.360/.374 in daily leagues. On a daily categories league I have some high strikeout players and using Jay helps to balance out the K’s.

 

Dodgers SP/RP Ross Stripling

2-start week Tuesday on the road with the Pirates and home Sunday vs. the Braves. 7 or more Strikeouts in 4 consecutive starts. Stripling’s ownership is 67% in ESPN and 69% in Yahoo leagues.      

Week 9 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

 

Giants OF Gorkys Hernandez

8 game hitting streak at time of this post. Has scored 6 runs in last 7 days. As the left side of a platoon with Austin Jackson, Hernandez is worthy of daily league play at this point. Owned in 2.3% of ESPN and 4% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Pirates OF Austin Meadows

Starling Marte has returned from injury and the Pirates may go with a 4-man outfield rotation.  Meadows has hit safely in 7 of 9 games. I believe Clint Hurdle will find ways to keep Meadows .433 avg. in the lineup.  I picked up Meadows in a daily league and plan to hold him until the lineup shakes out.  Owned in 45.8% of ESPN leagues and 39% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Cardinals SP Alex Reyes

Faces Brewers in Milwaukee on Wednesday.  44 strikeouts in 23 Innings during his rehab assignment.  Sadly I was unable to acquire Reyes in any of my four leagues.  Owned in 50.8% of ESPN and 63% of Yahoo leagues.

Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

A’s OF Dustin Fowler

5 RBI in his last 4 contests. Best known for gruesome knee injury, but Fowler is a power/speed combo. In 70 games last season at AAA, Fowler had 13 HR and 13 SB. There should be plenty of AB’s for Fowler in CF with Oakland going forward. I picked him up in a daily league in which I needed to improve my team’s SB potential. Owned in 5.8% of ESPN and 4% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Brewers 1B Jesus Aguilar

A man without a position is getting regular playing time with Eric Thames and Ryan Braun on the DL.  Aguilar is owned in 17.3% of ESPN and 39% of Yahoo leagues. Aguilar has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. Coming off a series where he crushed Twins pitching to the tune of 4 HR and 6 RBI. Ride Aguilar while he’s hot, it’s possible he could carve out more of a substantial role in Brewers lineup.  

 

Phillies SP Nick Pivetta

Home vs. the Braves on Monday and Sunday with the Blue Jays. Pivetta has a 1.13 WHIP on the season along with 6 or more strikeouts in 6 starts this season. Owned in 43.1% of ESPN and 51% of yahoo leagues. I’m streaming him this week in a daily league. Is a pitcher that I plan on holding due to his upside.

Hugh Hefner Approach to RB

I take the Hugh Hefner approach to Running Back in fantasy football. I’m always looking for newer younger models.  Running Backs have the shortest career span of any other player. There’s a few impact players out of this draft class and a few late round gems. Training camps are a few months away, but here’s how I view the rookie running backs of 2018.  

Giants RB Saquon Barkley

The number 2 overall pick in the draft should be a first round pick in all fantasy formats. Barkley is a 3-down back in an offense with premier complimentary weapons in the receiving corps. Taking Barkley is a no-brainer.  Could have a Kamara type impact to Giants offense.

Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny

Kind of a surprise with the 27th overall pick in the draft.  Fixing the running game has been one of the top priorities in Seattle this offseason.  Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Solari were brought in to replace Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable as OC and O-line coach.  Solari has a long history of working as an O-line coach around the NFL. Previously worked as Seahawks O-line coach in 2008 and 2009. Moved on to San Francisco to work under Jim Harbaugh.  Is tasked with fixing the squeaky wheel that has been Seattle’s offensive line. San Diego State product slides into a featured role with the Seahawks. C.J. Prosise hasn’t been available. Chris Carson looked like a late round gem last season, then got hurt. Mike Davis didn’t do much with a bell cow workload. J.D. Mikissic is more of a gadget player.  Seattle signed D.J. Fluker in March and added C/G Ethan Pocic with the 58th pick. Fluker’s move from Right tackle to Right Guard and Pocic move to Left Guard are developments I will track in training camp. The reality here is Seattle has 3 first round picks and 2 second round picks along the offensive line. “Rushless in Seattle” shouldn’t see a sequel in 2018.  I’m bullish on Penny stock in all formats.

Patriots RB Sony Michel

Drafted with the 31st pick overall. There were concerns about his medicals as the draft approached. If the medicals are good enough for the Patriots, they’re good enough for me. I anticipate Michel playing the Dion Lewis role in the backfield.  There’s enough production in the Patriots backfield to make Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James White fantasy relevant. Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill are short yardage plodders that may have to win a roster spot. I would feel comfortable drafting Michel as a late RB2/RB3.  I believe Michel’s skills will carve out a significant role.

Browns RB Nick Chubb

35th overall pick.  Didn’t play on passing downs at Georgia, but broke tackles and pushed piles ahead.  Chubb will lose work in the passing game to Duke Johnson, while Carlos Hyde was signed early in free agency.  Hyde could provide an obstacle for Chubb getting a lion’s share of the workload. Chubb is a draft for me in the dynasty format. Seasonal drafts I may pass due to concerns over usage.

Bucs RB Ronald Jones

38th overall pick goes to a fast track situation for playing time.  Jones has speed to burn, but work to do adjusting to the NFL game. Speed backs sometimes try to outrun defenders as in college, instead of putting a foot in ground and pushing upfield.  Jones doesn’t seem to set up blocks well and will need to work on pass protection. Peyton Barber, Charles Sims, and Jacquizz Rodgers don’t pose much of a threat. I’ll take Jones as an RB4 in seasonal drafts, and higher in dynasty formats.

 

Lions RB Kerryon Johnson

43rd overall pick. Detroit gave up the 51st and 115th picks in the draft to go up and get this Auburn product.  The Ameer Abdullah era should be over. Legarrette Blount was signed to contribute in short-yardage and goal-line, while Theo Riddick will be involved in the passing attack. Johnson should be able to carve out a significant role right away.  Detroit added C Frank Ragnow with the 20th overall pick and FB Nick Bawden with the 237th overall pick. Johnson will be the Lions first 100 yard rusher since Reggie Bush. If drafting today I would take Johnson over Chubb in a seasonal league.

 

Redskins RB Derrius Guice

Surprisingly selected 59th overall by Washington. I was surprised to see a few of the backs listed above drafted before Guice.  Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine won’t take away much of a workload from Guice, but Chris Thompson will take most of the passing game work.  Was Thompson’s increased role last season due to ineffectiveness from Kelley and Perine? Or is Thompson just that good in the passing game? Guice will start off seeing a 2-down role and eventually more. Based off league format I’d feel comfortable drafting Guice as an RB2 in seasonal leagues.

Broncos RB Royce Freeman

71st overall by the Broncos and my favorite player on this list. Freeman isn’t nearly as talented as other backs on the list.  However his skill set meshes with the system Denver runs. Freeman is an RB2 that I will target in each of my drafts this season.  If Devontae Booker were that great, Freeman wouldn’t have been drafted. De’Angelo Henderson and David Williams shouldn’t pose much of threat to Freeman’s workload.  

Colts RB Nyheim Hines

104th overall pick is known for his abilities in the passing game. Should carve out a role in Colts offense right away. Lottery ticket in 16-man leagues (yes I’ve played in those) for his pass catching ability.  

Bengals RB Mark Walton

112th overall pick from the U.  Looked much better at Miami than at the combine.  Walton is a back fantasy owners should know of in case of injury to Mixon or Bernard.  

Falcons RB Ito Smith

126th overall pick should provide depth for Atlanta behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Dynasty players may want to draft Smith if Coleman is allowed to leave in free agency.

Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage  

131st overall pick can be viewed as a handcuff for Kenyan Drake. Ballage has a lot of work to do in terms of pass protection and more importantly ball security. I see Frank Gore as a 3rd down back and mentor for the team at this stage of his hall of fame career.   

Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds

134th overall pick will likely serve as a change of pace back behind David Johnson.  16-man league players may want to take a flier on Edmonds for his PPR value. Seasonal owners should be familiar with Edmonds in case Johnson gets hurt again.

Colts RB Jordan Wilkins

169th overall pick in the draft will look to carve out a role at the expense of Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin and Nyheim Hines.  I kept waiting for Mack to take over the backfield last season and it never happened. Evaluating Mack is tough with how inept the Colts offense was last season.  Mack also played with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Wilkins is an interesting name to track this summer and a possible late round lottery ticket.

Trackable players in case of injury.

176th RB John Kelly Rams

201st RB Boston Scott Saints (Ingram out 4 games with suspension)

204th RB Trenton Scott Jets

226th RB David Williams Broncos

236th RB Bo Scarbrough Cowboys

251st RB Justin Jackson Chargers

Week 7 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Orioles 1B/OF Trey Mancini

Owned in 56% of Yahoo and 64.7% of ESPN leagues. Crushed me in a few matchups this week with 8 Runs 3 Ding-Dongs 6 RBI and a 1.096 OPS.  Faces the Phillies at home for a pair followed by 4 on the road with the Red Sox. Owns a 1.266 OPS in 42 career plate appearances at Fenway. Ride Mancini in all formats while he’s hot.

 

Mariners 3B Kyle Seager

3 HR 8 RBI this past week. I resisted a few trade overtures trying to buy low on Seager. Owned in 81% of Yahoo and 84.3% of ESPN leagues. Starting to play to the back of his baseball card. Has 6 consecutive seasons of 20 or more Ding-Dongs. Has a makeup game on the road with the Twins followed by home matchups with the Rangers and Tigers. Buy low window for Seager more than likely is closed, but a solid player in DFS.

 

Pirates Trevor Williams

2-home starts this week vs. the White Sox and Padres.  Williams has a 1.17 WHIP thru 46 innings this season. Owned in 49% of Yahoo and 50.2% of ESPN leagues.  White Sox are hitting .242 as a team while the Padres check in at .227. Not exactly Murderers’ Row.

Week 6 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Giants 2B/OF Alen Hanson

.333/.368/.611 slash rate the last 7 days. With Joe Panik on the DL, Hanson could carve out a role.  Owned in 1.7% of ESPN and 6% of Yahoo leagues. Multiple position eligibility will help out for daily league players.

 

Rangers OF Delino DeShields

.353/.389/.529 slash rate in the last 14 days. Offers owners stolen base and run scoring potential as the Rangers leadoff hitter.  Owned in 38.5% of ESPN and 47% of Yahoo leagues. Still just 25 years old. I’m putting more weight in this recent hot streak. Pick up DeShields if you need speed.

Dodgers SP Walker Buehler

Owned in 48.7% of ESPN and 62% of Yahoo leagues. The Dodgers rotation is decimated with injuries giving Buehler the opportunity to seize a rotation spot. One of the top pitching prospects in baseball, this is a no-brainer. Faces the Reds on Thursday.