Monthly Archives: July 2014

“The Hugh Hefner Approach To Linebackers”

I’m the type of fantasy owner that holds off as long as I can before drafting linebackers. I stay away from gambling on repeat production at an unstable position. The safer route is to stack your offense and build quality depth. Because linebacker is such a physically demanding position, I tend to target youth. I take the Hugh Hefner approach to drafting linebackers, I’m always looking for newer-younger models. Khalil Mack will be on the minds of most IDP players so I didn’t put him in this list. I’m looking for young 3-down linebackers with the opportunity to make an impact.

The Steelers are known for having a rich tradition of linebackers. Spending a first-round pick on Ryan Shazier caught my attention. Some analysts believe Shazier lacks leg drive and will struggle with the physicality of playing in the NFL. The Steelers track record paired with Shazier’s athleticism makes me a believer. Dick Lebeau is still a tremendous football mind and will find ways to fit Shazier in his defense. Lawrence Timmons is still a solid player, but Shazier’s physical gifts should help elevate the Steelers front-7.

Cardinals MLB Kevin Minter is a 2nd year player that has the opportunity to take a job and run with it. Darryl Washington is gone for the season with a drug suspension and Karlos Dansby has joined the Browns. There’s an opportunity for MInter to step into a 3-down role in the middle of the Cardinals defense. A lack of surrounding playmakers gives Minter the opportunity to rack up a high number of tackles.

Zach Brown should be a monster in the Titans revamped defense led by Coordinator Ray Horton. Brown is a 3rd year player that is best known for having 2 pick-six in the season finale in 2012. The previous regime didn’t view Brown in high regard. I expect Horton to make Brown the centerpiece of his defense. Horton is a tremendous defensive mind that will get the most out of Brown.

Bears MLB Jon Bostic is another player to keep track of this summer. D.J. Williams has played well in spurts throughout his career, the problem has been injuries. Betting on Williams being able to stay healthy isn’t a wise choice. Bostic looked lost at times during his rookie season, but with a year under his belt could possibly take over the middle in the Windy City.
Rookie 5th rd pick Lamin Barrow out of LSU is another IDP player to track this summer. Will Barrow get reps in training camp with the opportunity to take over the MLB spot in Denver? Nate Irving is in a contract year and doesn’t play all 3 downs as Von Miller and Danny Trevathan stay on the field in sub packages. Irving is listed as the starter right now, but Barrow may have the skill set to force the issue for more playing time.

These are young linebackers that IDP owners should keep track of this summer. FIguring out players you can take later allows you to load up offensive depth. Knowing who’s next is a better strategy than settling for old name brand.

Buy Low Wide Open For Segura

Brewers SS Jean Segura is one of the most dissappointing players of the 2014 season for fantasy owners. 2013 saw Segura make an All-Star appearance with a .294 avg, .329 OBP, and 44 steals. Segura’s BABIP for 2013 was .326 above league average. So far this season its been tough sledding as Segura is batting only .239. Young players sometimes struggle the year following a breakout year as opposing teams get a book on the player. The dropoff from 2013 to 2014 isn’t too difficult to figure out.

The league has certainly adjusted properly to Segura’s attacking style at the plate. Some of the numbers for this year to last are staggering. Segura feasted on southpaws in 2013 and this year its the complete opposite. Segura is batting .145 vs. southpaws, which isn’t even close to his weight (205). 2013 saw Segura feast vs. lefties to tune of a .317 avg. A 172 point drop in batting average from one year to the next is an astronomical drop. First pitches are also an area where the league has adjusted to the Brewers Shortstop. 2013 saw Segura attacking first pitches to the tune of a .406 avg. While in 2014 the league has adjusted and Segura has a .182 avg. Deeper in counts where he should have the advantage are a problem as well. 2-1 counts are no longer an advantage for Segura. It’s a .125 avg on 2-1 counts in 2014 compared to a .324 avg last year. 2 strike counts Segura was better last season as well. In 1-2 counts Segura’s batting .191 while in 2-2 counts the avg. drops to .105. Last season Segura hit .271 in 1-2 counts and .292 in 2-2 counts.

The Brewers coaching staff has a long way to go in getting Segura back on track as he’s hitting just .176 in the last 28 days. The Brewers can’t just hit the eject button on Segura like fantasy owners may be tempted to do. I own Segura in 4 of my 7 fantasy baseball leagues. I have trade offers out in the leagues in which I don’t own Segura. My belief is that Segura will turn it around at some point this season. The BABIP stat is one that projects how lucky or unlucky a player has been during the season. Segura’s BABIP is .265 right now which is below league average. WIth a better approach at the plate and a little luck Segura could be back to producing more at the dish. Since Segura’s numbers are rock bottom right now the buy low window is wide open. Shortstops with speed don’t grow on trees for fantasy owners, the time to buy is now.