Week 20 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Diamondbacks 1B/2B Wilmer Flores

.408/.431/.653 slash rate the last 28 days. Home for 3 vs. the Rockies and on the road for 3 against the Brewers. Not exactly the 90’s Braves rotations. Flores is worth a flier for daily players due to multiple position eligibility and power.

Padres 2B Luis Urias

The time has come for Urias to play everyday and develop. .313/.450/.438 slash rate the last 7 days. Urias has 3 on the road with the Reds and 3 at home with the Red Sox. Probably owned already in dynasty/keeper leagues. If he’s available scoop up Urias.

Astros SP Aaron Sanchez

2 home starts vs. the Tigers on Tuesday and on Sunday with the Angels. The Tigers have a .235 team batting average, while the Angels are a little better at .254. Ignore Sanchez’s last start of 6 earned vs. the Athletics and use him. The Astros handling of pitchers is among the best in baseball. I believe we’ll see the best of Sanchez in Houston.

Players I’m Swiping Right On This Season

I pay attention to fantasy football year-round. All of the offseason coaching moves, free agency, the draft, and camps all help me to formulate a strategery for the upcoming season.  These players fit into my age brackets and I anticipate will outperform their draft costs. These are the players I’m swiping right on this season.

Rams QB Jared Goff 

32 TD 12 INT only 2 games with multiple INT. Did have a 4 INT stinker in Week 13 vs. the Bears.  Improved from Year 2 to Year 3. Goff is terrific mid-round QB with upside. I’d take Goff over Mayfield, Wentz, Ryan, and Newton.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray

Will throw the ball all over the place to a variety of weapons and pick up stats with his legs. The Cardinals Defense is awful so Murray should score plenty of garbage stats.  Pair him with another solid QB if your concerned about injuries. 

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins 

Perception of Cousins as a player is different than reality.  Threw for 4,298 with a career-high 30 TD and 10 INT last season.  Completed a career high 70.1% of his passes. The Vikings didn’t win because of poor play calling and a defense that regressed in my opinion.  Cousins was sacked 40 times last season. Some of that is on Cousins, but more so on poor o-line play. I will absolutely swipe right on Cousins this season.     

Rams RB Todd Gurley

Don’t be that guy that let’s Gurley fall in drafts.  He won’t be the bell cow anymore, but doesn’t need to be to help the Rams and Fantasy Owners.  Plan ahead with possible load management. The Rams offense gives him elite TD scoring potential.  Swipe right on the Double Digit TD’s. 

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman

Way too low in rankings that I’ve seen. No way I’m drafting Josh Jacobs, Damien Williams, Aaron Jones, or Kerryon Johnson ahead of Freeman.  The Falcons made upgrades to the offensive line in the draft. Ito Smith may play a complementary role. I believe Freeman goes for a career high in yards and double digit TD’s.   

49ers RB Tevin Coleman

McKinnon’s knee isn’t right and Breida is questionable each week. Coleman played for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and has a 2-year deal. Coleman will out-perform his mid-round draft slot.  I own Coleman in a dynasty league.  

Eagles RB Miles Sanders

I’ve seen enough of Jordan Howard to know that Sanders should be the main back.  Sometimes teams make a young guy earn it. At the end of the year Sanders will be the Eagles back you want to own. 

Bills RB Devin Singletary

I find it hard to believe he won’t force his way into more playing time with his play in camp.  Worthy of the late round stash as I believe he’s the back to own long term in Buffalo.

Bears WR Allen Robinson

Easily outperforms the 55/754/4 from last season.  Matt Nagy is smart enough to know they Robinson needs to be more involved in the offense.  The pace of play in the Bears offense and progression from Trubisky leads to more output from A-Rob.  Criminally under-ranked in a lot of projections I’ve looked at this summer. 

Cardinals WR Christian Kirk

In Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, Kirk will blow past his 43/590/3 of his rookie season.  I anticipate Kirk being the Cardinals leading receiver for a pass happy Cardinals offense.  Takes a huge step forward in Year 2. 

Panthers WR’s DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel

Samuel is a better route runner, while Moore plays physical.  With Greg Olsen on his last legs and Ian Thomas not yet a finished product Moore and Samuel will make plays in Panthers passing attack.  I own Moore in a dynasty league.  

Chargers TE Hunter Henry

Had 8 TD as a rookie. Lost season with an ACL tear last year.  The Chargers spread the ball all over the place and Henry consistently saw red zone targets.  I’d take Henry over OJ Howard and Evan Engram. 

Ravens TE Mark Andrews

Hayden Hurst was drafted ahead of Andrews last season.  Injuries to Hurst along with Andrews play at the end of last season have Andrews atop the depth chart.  In a run heavy offense with a QB that doesn’t see the whole field, Andrews could be a solid PPR option.  

Rams TE Gerald Everett

As part of the Sean McVay offense, the scoring potential is there.  Everett only caught 33/320/3 TD last season. Those numbers were a significant improvement over year 1.  The Tight End position is one that can be a tough transition. Offseason reports on Everett have been positive and is worthy of a late round lottery ticket. 

49ers K Robbie Gould

Pace of offense could lead to plenty of scoring opportunities.  

Vikings K Kaare Vedvik

Hit a 55-yarder in the Ravens preseason opener and was promptly traded to the Vikings for a 2020 5th round pick.  Vedvik can also punt. Dan Bailey was erratic last season for the Vikings. If Bailey gets cut, I’m drafting Vedvik.  

Jaguars defense

Bounces back after embarrassing 2018 season.  A better offense will lead to a better defense this season.  

Colts defense 

Chris Ballard is a terrific evaluator of talent and builds a solid roster. With their offense putting up points, Colts defense will be able to put up fantasy points.   

Swiping Left On These Players

I study fantasy football year-round and have developed strategies as to why I will go after or pass on players in upcoming drafts.  I use coaching changes, personnel changes, age, injury history, and camp holdouts as determining factors. I have a strict age bracket in which I’ll draft players.  I’ll pass on RB 27 or older, Wide Receivers 32 or older, and avoid QB’s over 35. Players out of those age brackets can still possibly produce, I just take the Hugh Hefner approach of looking for younger. Tread on the tires is a huge factor for me. Not showing up for camp is big left swipe as well. Camp is important especially for younger players. Veterans can miss reps in camp, but still be around the team.  Staying out of camp and away from the team is a hard pass. Without further ado, here’s the list of players I will be swiping left on this season.  

Patriots QB Tom Brady

For the draft cost, I don’t see Tom being that Terrific.  I believe the Patriots will run the ball more and Brady’s passing numbers will go down.

Saints QB Drew Brees

Faded a bit down the stretch when I needed him the most at playoff time. It’s hard to crank it up for 16 games at any age let alone an advanced one. 

Lions QB Matthew Stafford

Matt Patricia is using a more run-based offense in the motor city. May help to keep Stafford upright and protect his defense. Does nothing for fantasy owners. 

Bills QB Josh Allen 

I play in leagues with points-per-completion.  Drafting Allen would set me up to being a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.  Completed just 52.8% of his passes.  

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette

Way too many missed games for Fournette in 2 NFL seasons.  Not sure how a player with his running style can avoid lower body injuries. Healthier options will be available at his draft cost.  

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott 

Missing camp and return date is unknown.  I don’t like unknown with a top 5 pick.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon

Missing camp and return date is unknown. I don’t like unknown with a top 10 pick.  Missed 4 games last season.

Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake

Role with team isn’t clear in a walk year.  Cost may be a bit too high for my liking. Too many donut games last season and lost carries to Frank Gore.   

49ers RB Jerick McKinnon 

Sad that he got hurt before being able to showcase his talents in a featured role. I don’t see McKinnon passing Tevin Coleman or Matt Brieda even if he is healthy. 

Raiders WR Antonio Brown

Missed a lot of camp.  Jimmy Buffett has a song called “Fruitcakes” sums up Brown’s behavior this offseason.  I’m fearful he gets deactivated like TO or Keyshawn for being too toxic.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Legend is 35 this season.  In a new offense with more weapons, I’m fearful Fitzgerald plays a complimentary role to Christian Kirk in 2019.  Back to back seasons of 10.6 YPC is a combination of QB play and Fitzgerald slowing a bit. More upside options will be there when Fitzgerald is picked.  

Texans WR Will Fuller

Played in just 17 of las 32 games.  Has scored TD potential and injury potential as well. Awesome deep threat, but I’ll let him blow up and blow out on someone else’s roster. 

Ravens WR’s in seasonal leagues

I find it hard to believe they will pass the ball enough to make a WR fantasy relevant.   

Bengals WR AJ Green

Return date to be determined as original diagnosis was 6-8 weeks. The cost of Green and when he’ll return can be someone else’s problem. Could use that roster spot on a player that could help me win games early in the season.

Patriots WR Josh Gordon

I’ve given up on figuring out if and when Gordon will play again. Why his reinstatement is always so vague is beyond my comprehension.  

Any Redskins WR’s 

Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, Trey Quinn are all off limits for me. I don’t see how the Redskins are going to score points this season. 

Week 19 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Reds OF Aristides Aquino

7 home runs in 9 games since getting called up with trade of Yasiel Puig.  28 bombs in 78 games for Triple A Louisville this season. At 25, Aquino may have figured something out after 9 minor league seasons. I own him in 1 of 4 leagues.  Owners looking for a hot bat should pick up Aquino. 

Yankees 3B Gio Urshela

7 home games this week 4 vs. the Orioles and 3 with the Indians. Urshela has a 1.011 OPS vs. the Orioles this season, but hasn’t done diddly vs. the Indians. Daily players can stream Urshela vs. the Orioles early in the week. I’m looking for hitters in play Baltimore if I need to stream.    

Braves RP Mark Melancon

The Closer Carousel in Atlanta continues to turn as now Melancon will get a shot in the 9th inning. Shane Greene has turned back into a pumpkin to the tune of a 13.50 ERA with the Braves.  Fantasy owners that are chasing Saves may want to roll with Melancon.

You Need To Calm Down On Gurley

Rams RB Todd Gurley is the most polarizing player entering 2019 drafts.  Some of the analysis is out of control. Take some advice from Taylor Swift, you need to calm down. Gurley finished the 2018 season with 256 attempts for 1,251 yards and 17 TD while catching 59 for 580 yards and 4 TD.  End of season game recap coming skip ahead if you like. The week 11 shootout vs. the Chiefs Gurley had 12/55 and 3/39. Followed by the bye week 13 then a 23/132 2TD and 3/33 vs. the Lions.  Gurley was stuffed to the tune of 11/28 and 3/33 by the Bears. His final regular season game saw Gurley get 12/48 2 TD but 10/76 as the Rams played from behind against the Eagles. The final 2 regular season games were vacation to rest up for the playoffs. The playoff opener saw the Rams gash the Cowboys on the ground. “Toddfather” went 16/115 for 1 TD and 2/3.  The NFC Championship was a dud 4/10 and 1/3 vs. the Saints. The Super Bowl loss to the Patriots was uneventful 10/35 and 1/-1.

There are multiple things to take away from looking at all of these game logs from 2018.  There were plenty of games in which Gurley was wildly productive in which he didn’t receive 20 carries.  With his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and TD potential, the 20 plus carries may not be necessary.  Gurley scored a TD in 12 of 14 games played. The Rams have a phenomenal offensive line and Sean McVay calling plays.  It was hilarious how many times McVay’s name was mentioned this offseason as new coaches that are his friends were getting hired.  If McVay truly is a super genius, I’m pretty sure he’ll find a way to put Gurley in situations to succeed while keeping him fresh for the playoffs.  Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson will be there to lessen the load on Gurley not take significant portions away. Gurley’s touches will go down closer to that of other backs in the NFL.  I can see those two being used as change of pace backs or spelling Gurley at midfield.     

The rankings among fantasy football analysts are all over the place.  I view Gurley as a top 10 RB and will gladly take him in the 2nd round possibly the end of the 1st in a 12-team league. 

I would draft Gurley over Nick Chubb, Devonta Freeman, Dalvin Cook, Kerryon Johnson, Aaron Jones, and Leonard Fournette.  I have read opinions that all of those backs should be drafted ahead of Gurley. Chubb and Freeman I can understand. The other 4 there’s no way I’m taking them over Gurley.  Cook has played 15 of a possible 32 games in his NFL career. Johnson was injury-prone in college and missed 6 games last year. Aaron Jones has had 3 Grade II MCL sprains in 2 years in the league. Fournette has played 21 of a possible 32 games in his NFL career.  Surely you can’t be serious. None of those 4 players play with the offensive line or the system that Gurley plays. All 4 have bigger injury concerns in my opinion.      

I realize Sean McVay does not care about my fantasy team (Fall Guy Stuntman Association)  and will draft accordingly. Gurley’s last 2 games of the season were played on field turf in New Orleans and Atlanta.  Turf technology has come a long way, but is it possible for Gurley his knee responds better to playing on grass than on turf?  My plan for Gurley is to play it as such. Looking at the Rams schedule Week 7 is a road matchup in Atlanta on Turf. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gurley missed Week 8’s contest in Cincinnati on turf in front of a Week 9 bye.  Load management will be built in just not to the obnoxious extent of Kawhi Leonard. Brian Westbrook frequently missed games in front of the bye during his Eagles career. I can see Gurley still getting enough touches to be an asset for the Rams and my fantasy teams.  The fear of a lesser workload shouldn’t mean lesser talent is taken in front of him. Gurley may not be the bell cow fantasy owners want, but will still be the type of player fantasy owners need.  

Always Improving My RB Situation

I am one of the few fantasy football players that doesn’t get obsessed with taking running backs early and often in the draft. It’s the most volatile position in football. Look back each season to the running backs that were taken early and the running backs used at the end of the season. Injuries and suspensions can often alter the fortunes of a team rather quickly.  How many Kareem Hunt owners were left scrambling last season. I reaped the benefits on that one.  

I won a league championship led by Travis Kelce, Davante Adams, Robert Woods, Stefon Diggs, and Alvin Kamara.  The cast of characters at the Running Back or bench spots on my team last season was a total of 20 players including one player twice.  Here’s how all those spots broke down and the strategery for the pickups.  

I drafted Kamara, Derrick Henry, Royce Freeman, Aaron Jones, and Jordan Wilkins as my Running Backs.  Kamara was a stud. I cut Henry the week of his explosion after getting frustrated with all the donuts.  I was so excited for Freeman in that system, was shocked he was useless. Aaron Jones helped win quite a few games during the season, but had yet another Grade II MCL sprain.  Jordan Wilkins was off my roster right away for the next big thing.

This list is almost as comprehensive as the list of drummers in Spinal Tap.  In order are my RB pickups. Corey Clement, Ronald Jones II, D’Onta Foreman, Raheem Mostart, Chris Ivory, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Chris Thompson twice, Justin Jackson, Spencer Ware, Rashaad Penny, Elijah McGuire, Damien Williams, Jamaal Williams, Kalen Ballage. That’s 20 running backs on my roster throughout the season.  There’s a variety of reasons I made that many moves. 3 of the guys I drafted were completely useless. Matchup plays, injury replacements, and potential upside were the reasons for all the pickups.   

Clement was a bye week fill in that could catch passes.  I viewed Jones II as an upside stash that ended up having no upside. Foreman actually rushed for less yards than I did last season. Another lottery ticket that busted.  Mostart was a bye week replacement that ended up getting hurt. The Ivory pickup was a cock block because that weeks opponent was short on RB. Josh Adams actually made my lineup a few times last season as an RB2.  I ended up using 3 Eagles RB last season as Wendell Smallwood was the next hot hand. Chris Thompson’s PPR upside never came to fruition as he couldn’t stay healthy. Justin Jackson helped me win one week filling in for an injured Melvin Gordon.  Spencer Ware was immediately picked up after the Kareem Hunt suspension. Penny’s upside never came to fruition. Elijah McGuire, Damien Williams, Jamal Williams, and Kalen Ballage were injury pickups/cock blocks in the playoffs. I have earned the nickname of “Captain Cock Block” in more than a few leagues, proud of that one.  Looking back at all of these RB moves a lot were busts. I continued to be aggressive on the RB market always looking to improve my situation. Learned that from Dual Survival. 

At the end of the season only 1 of the 5 RB I drafted were on my roster.  Keeping up with the Joneses for RB is counterproductive in drafts. Getting ahead of the Joneses at other positions is the way to go.  Why take a middle of the pack RB when at that spot an upper echelon player at another position is available? With committee backfields and how pass happy the NFL is at this point, matchup play RB are frequently available throughout the season.  If you don’t do your homework this strategery will not work. If you do it can pay off handsomely.

Week 18 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Brewers OF Trent Grisham

 1st round pick 15th overall in 2015 draft.  26 HR and 71 RBI between AA and AAA this season. .471 OBP in AAA. I would hope the Brewers didn’t bring him up to ride pine.  My guess is Ryan Braun will lose playing time to Grisham in the OF. Ben Gamel has also played well as a 4th outfielder this season.  Grisham could be a good source of power and OBP in daily leagues. Due to an uncertain role on club yet, don’t deploy Grisham in weekly locking leagues. 

Mariners 3B Kyle Seager 

.357/.471/.714 slash rate the last 7 days.  6 home games this week, the Padres for 2 followed by 4 with the Rays.  May be worth a roll of the dice in daily lineups this week. 

Diamondbacks RP Archie Bradley

I doubt Torey Lovullo goes back to Greg Holland as his closer.  Amazing Holland continues to find jobs each season. 12.2 SO/9 so far this season 1.606 WHIP is awful, but the reality is his WHIP is 0.955 in the last 28 days. Should be owned universally.

Week 17 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Orioles OF Anthony Santander

Batting .321 in the last 28 days.  Owners looking to stream an outfielder that can help in batting average with a lower strikeout rate may want to use Santander.  A rule 5 pick from the Indians in the winter of 2016. Career minor league track record of .270/.335/.450 in 8 minor league seasons.  Playing time shouldn’t be a problem as the Orioles will continue to see if they’ve caught lightning in a bottle with this 24 year old CF.  

Reds 2B/LF Josh VanMeter

.464/.531/.964 slash rate the last 28 days. Career .341 OBP in 7 minor league seasons.  The Reds may continue to move the 24-year-old around to get him At-Bats. I would recommend VanMeter in daily leagues, not quite weekly locking yet.  The trade deadline could possibly open up a more stable role for VanMeter in the lineup.    

Royals SP Brad Keller

2 starts this week Monday at home vs. the Blue Jays followed by a Sunday road tilt with the Twins.  I’m using Keller on Monday for the great matchup and hope Sunday’s performance doesn’t undo Monday’s. The Blue Jays have a .233 team batting average, which is the 2nd worst in all of baseball.  While the Twins .271 avg. is 2nd best in all of baseball. Thomas Pannone and his 6.39 ERA is Keller’s opponent on Monday. Faces Jake Odorizzi on Sunday. Odorizzi has displayed a most malodorous air his last 4 starts to the tune of a 9.35 ERA.  Keller out of the break is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA 0.938 WHIP and 7.2 SO/9 in 3 starts.

Fantasy Football Prep Strategery

Everyone studies for fantasy football drafts differently.   Some owners do research online, while some guys will just pick up a magazine at the grocery store right before the draft. I’ve made a good amount of money of those types of owners.  Mock drafts can be great tools for people to help project where players maygo. I personally don’t use them because it makes me spend more time thinking about where I can get a player instead of formulating why I like a player or team.  I focus all of my efforts figuring whether or not I like a player/team.   

All my efforts are spent figuring out the situation’s so I can definitively have an opinion on each team or player.  Let’s use Tevin Coleman as an example, I believe he will be the running back to own in San Francisco. Coleman was signed to a 2-year deal and previously played for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta.  Matt Breida is always hurt and Jerick McKinnon could be a cap casualty coming off an ACL tear. Coleman can also catch passes out of the backfield. He will lose touches to Breida, but still be a flex or solid RB 2 in PPR formats.  With the Niners playing at a faster pace, Coleman should provide a good middle round value for fantasy owners in 2019.    

Rankings will give me a rough idea of what range of the draft to select a player.  Ultimately rankings are just rankings and I don’t use them as gospel. The plan is always to go up for players that I think will break out.  I’ve watched owners become slaves to the rankings and have it sabotage their draft. If you’ve done enough research in believing a player will break out there’s no reason you shouldn’t go up for them.     

Moving onto another time wasting practice, I never spend time figuring out who’s going to be there with the draft slot I draw.  Counterproductive because it doesn’t help me formulate opinions on why I like players. Also I have to then spend time getting into the thought process of X number of people.  Totally pointless in my opinion. How does trying to figure out what someone else will do help me to figure out what I will do? Those options may not be there when I pick, also there’s typically a curveball thrown in the mix.   

Other owners know my draft strategy very well.  I approach drafts with the you know what’s coming try and stop it mentality.  Auctions are much different than snake drafts, for this piece I’ll just focus on the snake format.  Auction strategery will be later post. I tend to draft the best player available in my first few rounds.   I wait on quarterbacks because the depth at that position is the greatest. I’m usually the last person to draft a quarterback but the first to have two.  For years my QB’s were a duo of Tony Romo, Matt Stafford, or Eli Manning. Waiting on quarterbacks allows me to gain an advantage at Tight End, Wide Receiver and Running Back.  The difference between the top Tight End and the Middle Tier Tight Ends is massive. The difference between the top scoring Quarterback and the middle-of-the-pack Quarterback isn’t nearly as massive as Tight End.  Position scarcity is most apparent at the Tight End position.   

In the middle rounds, I’m looking for value and or upside to fill out my lineup.  There are players that have fallen thru the cracks and provide value. Last year I drafted Deshaun Watson and grabbed Pat Maholmes because he was still sitting there. That worked out well.  The final third of my draft is all upside picks regardless of position. I’m looking for as many lottery tickets as possible. The reality is if the lottery ticket doesn’t pan out those are the guys that I’m willing to cut early in the season to find the next one.  

Drafts can be lost by blowing your first 5 picks but I believe that leagues are typically won by nailing your middle and end picks.   I mentioned the Maholmes pick from another league earlier, but my favorite was my 26th gem, Colts WLB Darius Leonard. Bears MLB Roquan Smith was selected in the 8th.  I was proud of that one, knew Leonard was going to be on my roster once Antonio Morrison was traded to Green Bay. Fantasy football is much different today than it was years ago everyone really has access to all the information right at their fingertips.  I try not to believe I’m the smartest guy in the room, leads to arrogance and missed picks. Each person in the league has done as much homework if not more than me. That has kept me sharp in staying in flow with the draft and not missing out on players I wanted.

This is the strategery I’ve learned works the best for the way I play fantasy football.  May not work for everyone, but maybe it will help you win this season.        

Week 16 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Marlins 1B Garrett Cooper

11 Dongs this season 6 vs. RHP, 5 Vs. LHP.  .333/.436/.697 slash rate the last 14 days. A road series in the launching pad this is the south side of Chicago and home vs. the Diamondbacks.  Misses Giolito in White Sox Series, will see Greinke and Ray in Arizona matchup. Owners looking for OBP and Power may want to roll with Cooper. 

Giants OF Mike Yastrzemski

3 dongs in the last 7 days.  Yaz has a .375/.400/.917 slash rate in the last 7 days for the surging Giants.  With games in pitchers parks San Francisco and San Diego this week, the homers may go down.  In those spacious parks, Yaz may be able to still produce with extra base hits. Ride him while hot. 

Padres SP Chris Paddock 

2 starts this week on Tuesday vs. the Mets on the road and Sunday against the Giants 0.466 WHIP and 10.2 SO/9 during the last 28 days.  I’m really surprised Paddock isn’t universally owned in fantasy baseball.