The Chicago Bears reportedly will not use the franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery for the upcoming season. Using another franchise tag would have netted Jeffrey $17.5 million dollars for the 2017. Coming off a 3-13 record the Bears have spent a lot of money in free agency recently, yet still have a lack of talent across the roster. Jeffery in 5 years has missed 17 of a possible 80 games played. 4 games were lost due to a suspension in 2016. Lower body soft tissue injuries have plagued Jefery for his NFL career. Those injuries happen to all football players, but Jeffery is on the injury report too much for my liking. At age 27, this South Carolina product should be able to command a sizeable contract in free agency.
Supporters will point to the 2013 and 2014 campaigns of 89 catches for 1421 yards, 7 TD and 85 catches 1,133 yards, 10 TD. Imagine what numbers Jeffery would put up with a top flight NFL QB instead of Jay Cutler. (That’s an argument for another time.) Jeffery has great ball skills in traffic and can help take the top off a defense. This skill set should be in high demand on the free agent market. Chicago has so many holes that paying Jeffery premium dollar wouldn’t solve the problem. The free agent class for Wide Receivers this year is also thin with DeSean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, and Terrence Williams all looking for work. Connect the dots reporting would link the Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Browns, Bucs, and Titans to Jeffery.
Many fantasy football analysts view Jeffery as a WR 2 in drafts. His value theoretically should go up in a new situation. The new QB Jeffery gets to play with has a direct impact on his value. Conversely, I’ve always avoided him in drafts due to injury concerns. I hate having to check Alshon’s status nearly each week. I will drop Jeffery even farther down draft boards if he signs with a team that plays on turf. Maybe a new training staff can help keep Jeffery healthy. Risk-reward isn’t there for me with that high of a draft choice or auction cost.
The two worst 3-pt shooting teams in the NBA made a deal at the deadline involving multiple players that specialize in perimeter shooting. The Bulls trade of Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 2nd round pick to the Thunder for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface. The Bulls shoot a league worst 31.6% from downtown while the Thunder shoot next to last in the league in 3-pt shooting at 32.1%. The players involved in the trade should fit better in their new respective teams to improve those 3 pt percentages. Gibson should help provide the Thunder some toughness up front with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. McDermott should be able to break thru as the starting small forward in OKC. His 37.6% from downtown should improve playing alongside Russell Westbrook.
The 2014 NBA Draft saw the Bulls give away the 16th and 19th overall pick along with a 2015 2nd rd pick to the Nuggets for the rights to Doug McDermott. The Nuggets ended up getting the better end of that deal drafting Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, and moving the 2nd rd pick to the Cavs. (Nurkic has since been moved to Portland in another weird trade.) McDermott’s Bulls career was marred by injuries and a lack of athleticism to play on the defensive end. With the additions of D-Wade and Rajon Rondo, McDermott was blocked from starting this year in Chicago. I wasn’t a fan of the trade of McDermott at the 2014 NBA Draft and hope the Bulls can muster something out of Cameron Payne. I’d take Nurkic over anything that was drafted or acquired at this point. However I’m not relevant.
Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne have the opportunity to battle to be the “Point Guard of the Future”. The exodus of Gibson allows the Bulls hopefully unleash Bobby Portis. Nikola Mirotic and Lauvergne will be fighting for backup minutes off the bench to fling 3’s. Lauvergne is shooting 35% from the 3-pt line this season. Morrow will help in the short term as an effective perimeter shooter to help in floor spacing off the bench. Having started just 142 of 555 career games played, Morrow should be comfortable in his role. Morrow is only shooting 29.4% from downtown this year, but is a career 41.7% shooter. The trade should help the Thunder immediately while defining roles on the current Bulls roster and providing hope for the future.
Fantasy implications of this trade are that daily fantasy players or categories leagues players may view McDermott in a better light. Portis’ value goes way up with the opportunity to start. Payne was road blocked behind Westbrook, but keeper league owners out of the playoffs should instantly cut bait on a filler to speculatively add Payne.
Starting Pitcher Wily Peralta has consistently been inconsistent during his time with the Brewers. A 42-48 career record 4.18 ERA and 1.415 WHIP show a bottom of the rotation pitcher that club’s would look to upgrade. Flashes of brilliance have taken place in Peralta’s time in the Majors. Peralta was phenomenal in 2014 going 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.304 WHIP. How do you explain 2015 and first half of 2016? I believe what happened to Peralta happens to many young players around professional sports. The league gets more tape on you and makes adjustments accordingly. Then Peralta failed to adjust to what the league was doing to him. The first half of 2016 was atrocious 4-7 6.68 ERA, 1.879 WHIP, 5.7 SO/9 in 13 starts.
Making 10 starts at Triple A Colorado Springs helped Peralta get his groove back. The 6.31 ERA at Colorado Springs isn’t pretty, but that’s a hitter’s park. Coming back to Milwaukee in August, Peralta seemed to have much better command. A 3-4 2.92 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 7.4 SO/9 in 10 starts upon his return gives hope for this season.
My eyeball test showed Peralta came back from his demotion with more command and more of a willingness to attack hitters. Early in the season, Peralta didn’t have command and got rocked coming over the plate to get back into the count. The overall numbers in 2016 of 7-11 4.86 ERA, 1.527 WHIP, and 6.6 SO/9 in 23 starts don’t jump out to fantasy owners.
Is it possible Peralta is back to being the pitcher he was in 2014 with a 17-11 record? Entering his age 28 campaign Peralta could possibly gain sizeable raises in arbitration before reaching free agency in 2020. A rebuilding club like the Brewers can use cost effective pitching. If Peralta takes a step forward this year at the deadline possibly GM David Stearns could flip Peralta for another asset.
I believe its well within the realm of possibility that Peralta’s 2nd half resurgence carries over into 2017. I plan to spend more time this winter researching 2nd half performances and gambling on those players late in fantasy drafts this season. Fantasy owners may want to consider a late round flier on Peralta or be prepared to track him as an early waiver wire claim.
HT’s Windlass Tip up is one of my favorite setups to use for ice fishing. I love watching that pan move with the wind. The slow pull of the pan down and the flag popping off can’t be beat. I try to use at least 1 of my 3 Windlass tip ups each time I go out ice fishing. I can easily target Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass or panfish by switching out bait.
My strategy in fishing is to fish differently from everyone else and consistently experiment with different techniques. I’m always trying to present as many options as I can when out there to trying to catch fish. The Windlass allows me to fish many different ways. I’ll target Walleye with a fluorocarbon or superline leader. More often times than not I’m fishing with superline leader even for Northern Pike. Often I’m attempting to catch a Walleye, but hauling in a Northern Pike. On days where I’m actually targeting Northern Pike, I’ll put a smaller steel leader on the Windlass. Dead shiners also work well on a Windlass. One concern with catching Pike on a Windlass is the line coming off the spool so fast and tangling up. I’m an attentive fisherman so that’s yet to have been an issue. Vertical jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads for Crappies, Perch, and Walleye have also been presented. The jig size dictates which spring setting I’ll use. My next route will be to see how smaller crank baits work with the Windlass.
Just because game fish season closes, doesn’t mean my ice fishing stops. I’ll change out baits and set up my Windlass for panfish. In Wisconsin we are allowed 3 lines so I’ll use 3 lines. One line is set for jigging while the other 2 are often a Windlass with a smaller spoon and a wax worm. Another route I’ll go for targeting Crappie is fluorocarbon leaders tipped with rosie reds.
Temperature and wind conditions play a huge part in which days to use the Windlass tip ups. I’ve used them in the low teens with minimal wind without the line freezing. The holes may freeze, but I’ll use a hole cover along with a line tube to keep the Windlass in the game. 15mph winds are my wind limit for the Windlass tip ups. High winds force me to spend too much time keeping the Windlass upright.
If you’re looking to try new techniques to try to catch more fish thru the ice, invest in an HT Windlass tip up. I can attest it’s worth adding to the arsenal and made my time on the ice more enjoyable.