2018 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust American League

Baltimore Orioles SP Dylan Bundy

13-9 last season after finally being somewhat healthy.  4-0 with an 11.3 SO/9 in the month of August.  Bundy is a solid bet to take another step forward in 2018.  Middle to end of rotation target for fantasy players.

 

Boston Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers

10 Homers 30 RBI .284/.338/.482 slash rate in last season call up for Red Sox.  Will turn 22 after the season.  This will be the latest or cheapest Devers will be drafted for a very long time.  Keeper league owners should make sure to acquire Devers.  Seasonal owners should go up and get Devers in the middle rounds.  

 

Chicago White Sox RP Joakim Soria

The White Sox are absolutely loaded with prospects already in the majors and down on the farm.  Putting Soria at the end of the bullpen could help build a winning culture, while creating trade value.  If Soria wins the closers job over Nate Jones, could have some early season value.     

 

Cleveland Indians C/1B/3B Francisco Mejia

.293/.349/.447 career slash rate in 5 minor league seasons. If Indians find room in the lineup for Mejia watch out. One of the more interesting names I will track in spring training.  

 

Detroit Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera

16 homers and 60 RBI last season in 130 games. Yup that happened.  This future HOF’s body broke down last season as Cabrera played thru a myriad of injuries including a back problem.  How much Cabrera is able to play in spring training will dictate if and where I’ll draft him.  At age 35 league leading numbers may not be realistic, but don’t write off Cabrera just yet.

 

Houston Astros 1B Yuli Gurriel

.299 avg. 18 HR 75 RBI last season is a solid value in the middle rounds. The Batting Average may not be repeatable but the power numbers should be in that ballpark.  Just remember there’s a short suspension from the playoffs that starts in 2018.

 

Kansas City Royals DH Jorge Soler

Total bust in 2017 after being acquired from Cubs for Wade Davis. Still just 26 years-old, the Royals have incentive to give Soler a long look.  Playing in Triple A in the PCL Soler blasted 24 homers with a slash rate of .267/.388/.564.  The PCL is known as a hitter’s league, but it provides a glimmer of hope.  Pay attention in spring training as Kansas City could run on Soler Power.  

 

Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim 3B Zack Cozart

Had a .77 point jump in OBP from 2016 .308 to 2017 .385.  Highly unlikely Cozart repeats that high of a number.  The multiple position eligibility may be worth the regression back to the mean.  

 

Minnesota Twins OF Eddie Rosario

27 homers out of nowhere in 2017.  I lost an opening round playoff matchup because I played CarGo instead of Rosario. Hit 17 homers and 52 RBI in the 2nd half last season.  Numbers are repeatable as his slash rate last season is on par with his minor league track record.  

 

New York Yankees 1B Greg Bird

Availability has been the major problem with Bird.  I’m buying the .2d83/.397/.486 career minor league slash rate. Look at his playoff run last season .364 OBP in ALDS, .464 OBP in the ALCS.  I plan to target Bird with one of my late round picks or late auction dollars. Certainly plan on getting him on all of my teams in 2018.  Hitting in the Yankees lineup Bird has the potential to do damage.  

 

Oakland Athletics OF Stephen Piscotty

http://thebaseballgenius.com/podcast/targeting-piscotty-in-2018/

 

Seattle Mariners OF Dee Gordon

Gordon is expected to play CF and bat leadoff in Seattle.  I put a premium on multiple position eligibility players. The flexibility allows me to take a chance on another prospect or stash a pitcher.  Grab Gordon a round or two earlier than usual to reap the rewards of position eligibility.

 

Tampa Bay Rays 3B Christian Arroyo

Minor league career slash rate of .300/.345/.434 in 5 seasons. Coming back as part of package for Evan Longoria, Arroyo should have a long leash in Tampa.  May have some ups and downs, but worth a late round flier.    

 

Texas Rangers SP Mike Minor

Pitched very well out of the Royals bullpen last season with 17 Holds, 2.55 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.  I believe Jon Daniels is very good at what he does. So if Daniels is willing to give Minor a 3-year-deal worth $28 million, I should be willing to spend a late round pick on him.  

 

Toronto Blue Jays SP Aaron Sanchez

Went 15-2 with a league leading 3.00 ERA in an All-Star campaign in 2016.  Last year was a lost cause in just 8 starts Sanchez went 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA.  Blister problems were a recurring problem.  Sanchez is a stud go up and get him in drafts.  I plan to get him in every league. Major bounceback in 2018.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Kings PG De’Aaron Fox

Scored in double figures in 4 of his last 5 games, while during that stretch has a pair of 10 assist games.  A Dynasty league stash, Fox should look to play more minutes as the Kings embrace tanking.  Fox is owned in just 38.3% of ESPN leagues.  3-games this week on the road with the Thunder, home vs. the Jazz, then back to the road with the Grizzlies.  

 

Clippers SF Tyrone Wallace

3 games this week home with the Rockets and Nuggets followed by a road tilt with the Jazz. Wallace has seen 30 or more minutes of 4 of his last 5 games. Has also scored in double figures in 4 of 5 games.  Owned in 5.9% of ESPN leagues. Wallace can be used in the short term with Austin Rivers and Danilo Gallinari out.   

 

Suns PF Dragan Bender

Owned in 7.2 % of ESPN leagues. His short-term run is due to Marquese Chriss missing time. Bender was a very high draft choice and the tanking Suns should look to see what they have in Bender.  DFS players could use Bender this week if Chriss remains out.  Owners looking to fill out their rosters in Dynasty formats may want to pick up Bender.  Plays the Blazers and Nuggets on the road this week.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust National League

Arizona Diamondbacks RP Archie Bradley

63 appearances 1.73 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 9.7 SO/9 25 Holds.  Brad Boxberger was brought in and has closing experience.  Bradley has better stuff and should slide into the 9th inning role.  

 

Atlanta Braves SP Luiz Gohara

4.91 ERA with a 9.5 SO/9 in 5 starts last year for the Braves. There’s a bit of a logjam in rotation spots at the time of this post.  Watch in spring training to see if Gohara breaks camp with the Braves.  If not be prepared to track his minor league stats in preparation for a call up.

 

Chicago Cubs OF Kyle Schwarber

30 bombs last season with a batting average that was less than his playing weight last season.  Ill-fated move to leadoff spot compounded matters.  Schwarber will bounce back in a big way in 2018. Should be a target to go after regardless of position eligibility.  

 

Cincinnati Reds SP Luis Castillo

http://thebaseballgenius.com/podcast/all-in-on-reds-sp-luis-castillo/

 

Colorado Rockies 1B Ryan McMahon

Played 1B, 2B, and 3B in Double and Triple A last season.  Slash rate of .355/.403/.583 in 519 plate appearances.  Faces an uphill battle in spring training for playing time.  Could force way into lineup with a hot spring.  McMahon is a potential late round flier in deeper leagues.

 

Dodgers 2B Logan Forsythe

Was a popular mid round target last season with the move from the Rays to the Dodgers.  Burned owners with a .224 avg, but actually posted a career high .351 OBP. In line to start again for the defending NL Champs.  Should provide decent value as a backup infielder in fantasy leagues.

 

Miami Marlins RP Kyle Barraclough

10.4 SO/9, 22 Holds, 3.00 ERA, 1.38 WHIP for the Marlins last season.  I find it hard to believe the cost cutting Marlins will hold onto 38-year-old Brad Ziegler to be their closer for all of 2018.

 

Milwaukee Brewers OF Brett Phillips

.276/.351/.448 slash rate in 87 late season AB for the Crew last season.  Creating playing time for Phillips is something to watch for in spring training. Has a rocket arm in the field and enough range to play CF over Keon Broxton.  I live in Milwaukee, switch should have been made much sooner in 2017.

New York Mets SS Amed Rosario

I love Rosario’s skill set. I tried and failed to acquire him in a dynasty league. Looked overmatched in limited action last season, but I’m banking more on his minor league track record (.291/.336/.405)  I hope to draft him in every league I play based off his speed and OBP.   

 

Philadelphia Phillies SP Aaron Nola

12-11 3.54 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 9.9 SO/9 in 27 starts. Nola has taken his lumps in 60 major league starts. I plan to target him as a pitcher to help fill out my rotation.  I believe Nola takes a step forward in 2018.  

 

Pittsburgh Pirates SP Jameson Taillon

8-7 4.44 ERA 1.481 WHIP in 25 starts in 2017.  Also missed time after winning a bout vs. Testicular cancer.  Taillon is a talented arm with 43 major league appearances.  Pitching coach Ray Searage is one of the best in the business in my opinion.  A healthy Taillon with another year of tutelage from Searage breaks out in 2018.  

 

Padres SP Bryan Mitchell

Acquired in the deal that brought back Chase Headley to San Diego.  Marshall didn’t get a chance to start in a crowded rotation in the Bronx. The Padres are lacking arms in the rotation and Marshall could be worth a late round flier.

 

San Francisco Giants SP Johnny Cueto

Huge bust on rosters last season with 8-8 record, 4.52 ERA, 1.45 WHIP.  At age 32 it’s possible Cueto bounces back in 2018. If he falls far enough in drafts, I’ll gladly take a chance on a rebound.  

 

St. Louis Cardinals 1B Matt Carpenter

Had a .384 OBP despite a .241 avg. I find it hard to believe Carpenter hits .241 again.  Weekly locking league owners may want to drop him down a bit on draft boards due to recurring back problems.  

 

Washington Nationals LF Adam Eaton

Missed most of last season with an ACL tear.  Career .358 OBP should play well batting leadoff for the loaded Nats lineup.  Eaton easily could score 100 runs, steal 20 bags, and bat over .280.  Owners in categories leads should target Eaton more so than points leagues.         

Week 13 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Wizards PF Markieff Morris

4 consecutive games with double figures in rebounds.  Morris has also scored in double figures in 3 straight. Streamer while on his recent hot streak.  Owned in 29.2% of ESPN leagues. Has 3 home games this week with the Jazz, Magic, and Nets.

 

Nets C Jarrett Allen

Has a block in 6 consecutive games. Allen is inconsistent with his minutes and production.  With the Nets playing 4 games this week home with Raptors and Pistons, followed by road tilts with the Hawks, then Wizards.  Worth a streamer for owners looking for blocks and free throw percentage. Could be worth a dynasty league stash. Owned in just 1.4% of ESPN leagues.    

 

Bucks PG Matthew Dellavedova

5 straight games of 5 or more assists. Shoots 39% from downtown. Streamers looking for assists and the possibility of 3’s should look to Dellavedova.  4-games this week on the road with the Pacers, home with the Magic and Warriors, then back on the road vs. the Heat.  Owned in just 1.2 % of ESPN leagues.  

Week 12 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Pistons PG Ish Smith

16 PPG 4 APG 4 RPG during the last 7 days. Smith is a plug and play with Reggie Jackson gone for 6 to 8 weeks with an ankle injury. Owned in 24.5% of ESPN leagues. 3-games on the docket this week on the road with the Heat and Sixers followed by a home tilt vs. the Rockets.

 

Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

4-game slate this week home with the Lakers, on the road vs. the Nets, on the road with the Celtics, while ending the week at home vs. the Pelicans.  Jones will see more playing time in the shorter term while Jeff Teague is out 2-4 weeks with a knee injury.  Jones has 7 steals and 11 assists combined in his last 2 games. Owned in 12.8% of ESPN leagues.

 

Kings C Willie Cauley-Stein

2 home games on the docket this week vs. the Hornets and Nuggets.  WCS has scored in double figures in 8 of his last 10 games. In the last 7 days WCS is averaging 15.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG.  49.6% ownership in ESPN leagues. WCS is a long term stash as hopefully he as turned the corner.   

Week 11 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Warriors PF/C Jordan Bell

4 game slate all at home with the Cavs, Jazz, Hornets, and Grizzlies.  Over the last 7 days, Bell has averaged 24.3 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 2.0 BPG.  10 rebounds in back to back contests. Daily categories leagues should look to Bell as a streamer that will help across the board.  Bell is owned in just 12.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

Wolves SG Jamal Crawford

Former Sixth Man of the Year is heating up in Minnesota. Crawford has scored in double figures in 3 straight games. 4-games this week on the road with the Lakers, home vs. the Nuggets, back on the road with the Bucks and Pacers. Owned in just 5.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

Blazers SF Maurice Harkless

Just a 2-game slate this week home with the 76ers then to the road vs. the Hawks. Harkless has returned with 2 blocks in each of the last 2 games. Daily fantasy players may want to stream Harkless this week. His outlook long term is tough to predict because of the Blazers constant tinkering with the rotation.  Owned in just 1.6% of ESPN leagues.  

Stashing For Next Year

The end of the fantasy football season shouldn’t mean the end of filling out your roster for keeper league players. Owners should always be looking to improve their situation.  Grabbing lottery tickets for next season is one way to do just that.  

At the end of the 2010 season I decided to flush deadweight on the roster and picked up Saints TE Jimmy Graham. As a rookie Graham caught 31 balls and had 5 TD. I figured in the Saints high powered offense Graham could do some damage in 2011.  I was correct in that estimation to the tune of 99 catches 1310 yards, and 11 TD.  All because I grabbed a lottery ticket before the season ended. The end of the 2012, I grabbed a lottery ticket in Browns TE Jordan Cameron. In 2 seasons he had just 22 catches.  Following reports on the club, Cameron was projected to be a focal point of their scheme in 2013.  I was correct again as Cameron had a career season 80 catches 917 yards and 7 TD.  Those are my 2 biggest success stories in grabbing end of the season lottery tickets. I have missed on more than actually got correct.   Point being it only increases your chances of improving your roster for the next season.  If that lottery ticket busts, so what you didn’t lose anything anyways.  Opportunity is the key in rostering these players thru the offseason.    

Seahawks RB Chris Carson was the best looking running back in Seattle in preseason and the regular season in 2017.  The Seahawks looked to insert Carson as the bell cow, unfortunately it lasted just 4 games due to a season ending ankle injury.  Mike Davis, JD McKissic, Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Prosise didn’t pose a threat to take the job away.  Davis was added off the practice squad later in the season and hasn’t done much to impress.  McKissic is a gadget player. Rawls and Prosise can’t stay healthy. Whatever burst Lacy had looks to have left. If Seattle doesn’t add a big name in the offseason, Carson should have a good shot at being a bell cow in 2018.  

49ers RB Carlos Hyde hasn’t relinquished the lead job to Matt Breida as many fantasy analysts predicted this season.  Hyde is a free agent this offseason and could leave the Bay Area.  Matt Breida and Joe Williams would have a chance at a lead job. Williams was placed on IR with an ankle injury in training camp.  The 49ers offense looks pretty good with Garoppolo at the helm.  Fantasy points from the 49ers top running back will be commodity in 2018.  I’m going to burn roster spots on my dumpster fire of a roster to find out.

Bears General Manager got killed in the media for trading up one spot to draft QB Mitch Trubisky, but drafting TE Adam Shaheen with the 45th pick was also a head scratcher.  Shaheen was a walk-on at Division II Ashland University after playing basketball at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  26 Touchdowns later Shaheen decided to forgo his senior season.  Shaheen’s learning curve was apparent during his rookie season.  The Bears are completely devoid of weapons in the receiving corps.  3 of his 12 catches in 2017 have gone for Touchdowns.  I’ll gladly burn a roster spot to see if Shaheen takes a step forward in 2018.    

The Cardinals drafted a receiver in the 3rd round that didn’t make much of an impact in 2017.  Talent, coaching and opportunity could change things in 2018.  Chad Williams has 3 catches for 31 yards in 6 games played at the time of this post.  This Grambling State product hasn’t been able to beat out Jaron Brown, John Brown, or JJ Nelson to make much of an impact.  Larry Fitzgerald’s status for 2018 is yet to be determined. If Fitzgerald does return, Williams is a higher ceiling player than anyone else in the receiving corps. Downgrades on Williams were off the field issues in college and playing in a smaller conference.   Williams has 4.3 speed and was a red zone threat with 21 touchdowns his last 2 seasons.  Bruce Arians is one of my favorite coaches in the NFL. I respect his football IQ and the path he had to take to get a head coaching job.   2017 was almost a red-shirt year for Williams getting acclimated to the NFL.  Spending a season with Fitzgerald also should have assisted with the learning curve.  With another offseason to work on his craft with Arians and possibly Fitzgerald, I believe Williams has a chance to make an impact in 2018.  

By the time I have to select keepers and draft in August of 2018, I’ll know if any of these lottery tickets are worth holding onto.  My recommendation would be to flush out dead weight on your keeper league rosters and grab some lottery tickets.       

Week 16 Fantasy Football Circle Of Trust

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles

Played like Trash by throwing 7 TD combined in his last 3 games.  Jadaveon Clowney with quote of the year.  

 

Giants RB Wayne Gallman

13 catches combined in the last 2 weeks. Deep league PPR Flex vs. the Cardinals.

 

Patriots RB Mike Gillislee

Gets dusted off being inactive in the last 6 games. Facing former team wouldn’t surprise me if Hoody and McHoody don’t try to get Gillislee up to speed in case Burkhead can’t return for postseason.

 

Ravens WR Mike Wallace

Scored in double figures in PPR formats for 3 consecutive weeks. Colts have allowed 61 completions of 20 yards and 11 over 40 yards. Deep speed is Wallace calling card.

 

Chargers TE Antonio Gates

3rd on team in red zone targets since Week 10. Future Hall of Famer will dazzle us with his play vs. the Jets. Next Stop Canton.

 

Rams K Sam Ficken

Takes over with Greg Zuerlein going on IR. Titans provided enough of a challenge to stall some drives.  

 

Bears Defense

Home vs. the Browns. DeShon Kizer has thrown for 9 TD 19 INT and a 59.3 Passer rating.

 

Bears LB Lamarr Houston

Best known for tearing his ACL celebrating a sack dance, then getting cut by the Bears. Has returned to the Windy City with 4 sacks in his last 3 games.  

Week 10 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Nuggets PF Trey Lyles

4-game week with three road games. Thunder, Wolves, Blazers, Warriors. Lyles is a big that has hit 13 from downtown in his last 4 games.  Also a solid free throw shooter.  Will help with shooting and do enough in the defensive stats meriting the pickup.  The return of Nikola Jokic didn’t cut into Lyles minutes as they shared the floor.  Short term add they should be owned until Paul Millsap returns. Available in 90% of ESPN leagues.

 

Suns SG Isaiah Canaan

15 points 7 assists and 5 boards in his Suns debut.  Injuries are the path to Canaan’s playing time. Daily fantasy owners may want to roll the dice on Canaan while he’s getting minutes. Phoenix is a disaster, but there are fantasy relevant.  Canaan is owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues. 4-games this week on the road with the Mavericks and Clippers. Then at home with the Grizzlies and Wolves.

 

Jazz C Epke Udoh

4-game this week on the road with the Rockets and Thunder. Returns home for matchups against the Spurs and Thunder. Udoh is a short-term add with Derrick Favors dealing with an eye injury along with being in NBA concussion protocol.  Daily players looking for Blocks and Boards may want to roll with Udoh. Owned in 2.2% of ESPN leagues.