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Week 1 Fantasy Basketball Circle Of Trust

Pacers SF/PF Thaddeus Young

3-game week at home with the Nets, and Blazers followed by a road tilt with the Heat. Young is a horrible free throw shooter, but helps with scoring, boards, and steals. I own Young in Weekly Points league.  Available in nearly 70% of fantasy basketball leagues his ownership is too low. The rebuilding Pacers will rely more on Young this season than fantasy players realize.

 

 

Jazz SG Rodney Hood

3-game week home against the Nuggets, Wolves on road, then back home vs. the Thunder. Hood is owned in only 7 percent of fantasy basketball leagues at the time of this post. Huge opportunity is there to become Jazz leading scorer this season. I was surprised Hood only cost me $1 at the draft.

 

 

Hawks SF Taurean Prince

3 games all on the road with the Mavericks, Hornets, and Nets. Owned in around 2% of fantasy basketball leagues. Prince is a 3 and D type player on a rebuilding Hawks squad. Daily fantasy owners may want to slide Prince into their lineups this week.

Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust Round 2

Astros OF Josh Reddick

Hitting .563 in the last 7 days.  3 games on the road vs. the Angels and 3 at home with the Mariners.  Great matchups this week as Reddick is hitting .438 this season against the Angels and only .327 vs. the Mariners.  Reddick is available in 32% of fantasy baseball leagues.

 

Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury

Batting .429 with 5 RBI in last 7 days.  Ellsbury plays 3 games on the road with the Rays and 4 at home against the Orioles.  Daily players should take notice of Ellsbury’s slash rate vs. the Rays.324/.375/.568, while in Tampa .391/.417/.696. His .344 OBP vs. the Orioles makes Ellsbury worth a play all week. Ellsbury is available in nearly 80% of fantasy baseball leagues.

 

Indians SP Mike Clevinger

3 straight scoreless starts of 6 frames including a win vs. this Wednesday’s opponent the Tigers.  The road hasn’t been kind to the Tigers as they’ve hit to just a .242 clip.  Clevinger is available in over 50% of fantasy baseball leagues.

Week 9 Fantasy Baseball Circle Of Trust

Twins 1B Joe Mauer

.347 avg in 3 dongs in May and a sluggish start in April .225.  Faces Astros SP Mike Fiers on Tuesday. Fiers has given up 18 dongs this season and 17 BB. Mauer owns a career slash rate of .361/.421/.521 in Angels Stadium. Mauer is available in almost 95% of fantasy baseball leagues.

Blue Jays 2B Devon Travis

May flowers for Travis to the tune of a .351/.364/.622 slash rate. Travis is hitting .333 vs. the Bronx Bombers this season. Can be added in nearly 65 percent of fantasy baseball leagues.

Nationals RP Koda Glover

3 saves in his last 4 appearances. The job finally looks to be Glover’s to lose in DC.  Glover has a 7.6 SO/9 this season, however that rate has jumped to 11.6 in the last 14 days. Glover is available in nearly 60 percent of fantasy baseball leagues. I own him in 3 of 5 leagues.

My Keepers for a 5×5 Categories League

These are my keepers for a 10-team 5×5 daily categories league.  The auction budget is $260 with 23 total roster spots 5 of which are bench spots.  The 7 keepers eat up $122 dollars of budget giving me $ 138 dollars to spend on 16 players. These are the 7 players I’m keeping based off their costs and what I perceive as upside.  WHIP, K, Speed, and Batting Avg are the categories to build around.

($36) for Madison Bumgarner is a little more than I wanted to spend, but I figured his draft cost would be close to that anyways in this league. Bumgarner is the most expensive starting pitcher kept in the league.  Bumgarner has 6 straight seasons of 190 plus K including 251 last season. The career high of 226.2 innings doesn’t both me too much. If I’m going to spend a lot on a pitcher it’s going to be Mad Bum.  ($20) Gerrit Cole is a value in my opinion since I believe he will bounce back this season. I’m willing to gamble that the 2015 Cole with 19 wins, 202 K, and 1.09 WHIP returns.  ($19) Carlos Martinez putting together a Cy Young caliber season is my prediction. At age 25 Martinez should continue to come into his own.  The 1.22 WHIP could drop into the 1.10’s this year.  ($11) Carlos Carrasco had a 9.2 SO/9 and a 1.148 WHIP last season. Carrasco has dominating stuff and pitches for the defending AL Champions. I doubt I could get Carrasco at that price if he was part of the draft.

Hitters I’ve decided to keep are based off value, versatility, and speed.  ($16) JD Martinez would be unrealistic in a redraft scenario at that price. Martinez has been a different player since coming to Detroit. I expect the high OBP and power numbers to continue. ($11) Ian Desmond will provide 1B/OF eligibility while playing in the launching pad that is Colorado. 20 plus steals along with more expected power numbers playing in Colorado is worth the cost. Steals from the 1B position are tough to find.  Only 3 1B eligible players had double digit steals last year. (Goldschmidt 32, Myers 28, Gonzalez 12).  My biggest gamble is ($14) Billy Hamilton. Is the 41-point jump in OBP from 2015 to 2016 a sign of progression? The 2nd half numbers of a .293 avg and .369 OBP have me willing to gamble that Hamilton may have turned the corner.

The keeper costs are too expensive for ($27) Wade Davis, ($25) Craig Kimbrel, ($24) Adam Wainwright, ($20) Zach Britton, ($20) Mark Melancon, (12) Marcus Stroman, and ($9) Tony Watson.  Hitters I’ve deemed too expensive are ($26) Jonathan Lucroy, ($24) Todd Frazier, ($16) Evan Longoria, ($16) Adrian Gonzalez, ($16) Jason Kipnis, ($14) Byron Buxton, ($6) Brad Miller.

Since I can’t attend this draft due to work, I’ve instructed my friend on which players to target.  My rotation features younger power arms with high strikeout rates and low WHIP’s. My strategy this year is to watch my team WHIP like a hawk.  Kyle Hendricks will be a priority add to this roster.  A late auction flier will be Jharel Cotton. The league as a whole didn’t keep too many closers so filling out the bullpen is possible without going nuts on costs.

Pairing Starling Marte with Hamilton would give me 2 elite speed options. Dee Gordon is another elite speed option to pair with Hamilton if Marte’s cost is ridiculous. Odubel Herrera will be a fall back option depending on costs.  Doubling down on elite speed is important. All of the big name power hitters were put back into the player pool due to high keeper costs. Filling out the roster with power hitters and multiple position eligibility is the goal.  Feel free to comment on my keepers or lack there of.

I Would Move On From Lacy

The Packers running game has been hindered the last 2 seasons with the inability of Eddie Lacy to stay healthy or in-shape.  The Packers as a team ran for 106.3 yards per game with a 4.5 avg on 374 attempts for 1,701 yards and 11 TD.  The Packers had 13 runs of over 20 yards with 2 over 40 yards.

The Packers have one of the top 3 QB in the NFL still in his prime. Without Aaron Rodgers last year’s squad doesn’t come remotely close to playing in the NFC Conference Championship. That team should be proud of how far they went. So much pressure is put on Rodgers for the Packers to win a game. More production from the running game in short yardage and goal-line should be one of the top priorities of Ted Thompson and Co. this offseason.  Too many 3rd and short plays end with Rodgers chucking the ball downfield for an incompletion. Green Bay often blows leads because they can’t run the ball to salt away games. The Packers are built around the passing game so pass protection is crucial to playing time for running backs.

Ty Montgomery led the team in rushing with 457 yards a 5.9 ypc and 3 TD. Eddie Lacy carried 71 times for 360 yards for a 5.1 ypc and 0 TD. Aaron Rodgers led the team in rushing TD with 4. Montgomery looked explosive after finally making the position switch to Running Back. Durability concerns for me keep Montgomery as a back that should play a significant part of a rotation instead of a bell cow role.

Lacy the last 2 seasons has disappeared in games with an inconsistent workload. The YPC is manipulated with a lack of carries. Lacy has scored 3 TD in the last 2 seasons and consistently been inconsistent. The ankle surgery was more complicated than originally reported as Lacy revealed. Multiple screws, wires, and a plate were added to his ankle to help with a deltoid ligament injury.  Reportedly Lacy should be ready to go by training camp.

Odds are Lacy will be back in Green Bay on a cheap 1-yr prove it deal. I would look to move on from Lacy completely. Spend that money on your defense or to help keep an offensive lineman. Playing in the NFL is a privilege and Lacy has proven to be out of shape each of the last 2 seasons. As an organization why settle? Your championship window is still open. I’ve dismissed Christine Michael as a contributing NFL Running Back at this stage of his career.

A high priced free agent running back would take away money from filling another need. Adrian Peterson and Latavius Murray may be out of Ted Thompson’s price range.  AP would have to come cheap to play in Green Bay while Murray is looking to break the bank.  A lower cost free agent paired with a mid- to late round pick would be the route I would pursue. Rashad Jennings looks finished, but if there is one veteran running back that I would pursue if released.  The Cowboys are reportedly trying to trade Alfred Morris for a late round pick. Morris doesn’t fit in as a backup to Zeke Elliott because of his inability to play in the passing game. Morris only rushed 69 times last season. With 3 seasons of 1,000 plus yards at age 28 I believe Morris can still play. Morris would give a different look next to Ty Montgomery and leave money to pursue other free agents.

This years draft provides potential backs to upgrade the position.  Young running backs often struggle in pass protection and blitz pickup, that’s where Montgomery comes into play.  LSU’s Leonard Fournette, FSU’s Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford are regarded as the top 3 backs of a deep class.  The Packers may have to trade up quite a bit to get Fournette or Cook. The Packers have other holes and may fill a need on defense instead of drafting McCaffrey that early.

Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon will probably be off some teams draft boards due to character concerns. At some point in this upcoming draft Mixon’s talent will outweigh the character concerns based off the draft slot. I don’t believe the Packers would take a chance on Mixon.  There are a lot of running backs eligible in this draft, but these are the few that I believe would fit draft cost wise for the Packers.

Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara is an all-around back could that make the adjustment quickly to blitz pickup in the NFL.  Kamara is an explosive runner-receiver. The threat of the screen has been missing in Green Bay for years.  Kamara needs improvement in setting up blocks reading lanes. The 4.56 40 yard time doesn’t change my opinion of him. I value game film more so than combine statistics.  Special team’s contributions would help as the Packers returners averaged 19.7 yards per kickoff return and 9.0 yards per punt return. Squeezing out a few more short fields would help the offense.

Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine is a banger that could be paired with Ty Montgomery in short yardage or goal-line situations. Perine would be more of a check down or screen threat than Lacy.  Speed isn’t his game, it’s running thru defenders. Perine avoided workload concerns by splitting time with Mixon in college.

Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T is one of the players I plan to follow closely this draft. Cohen is nicknamed “The Human Joystick.”  You can’t teach a player that type of footwork.  I believe many of the knocks on Cohen can be corrected with proper coaching. Lack of special teams experience may also hurt his draft stock.  I’m willing to gamble on coaching up Cohen.

There are plenty of options out there at Running Back if the Packers decide to move on from Eddie Lacy. Free agency and or the draft provide solid options. You now know where I stand on the issue.

Windlass Tip Ups Should Be In Your Arsenal

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.

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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.

 

 

 

White Sox Should Sell This Offseason

The Chicago White Sox are one of the most interesting clubs this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 78-4 finish, which featured a 17-8 start in April, the White Sox are a club at a crossroads. The club added new Manager Rick Renteria to replace Robin Ventura. The club could try to piece to their core of veterans to contend for 2017. The better option in my opinion is to blow up this whole roster and acquire as many assets as possible. Starting Pitcher Chris Sale has been linked to the Nationals, Astros, and Braves. A perennial Cy Young candidate should be able to bring in major league ready players in return. It takes two to tango however, as we shall see if clubs are willing to give up their top prospects. Whether the Sox could get Trea Turner, Lucas Giolito, Alex Bregman, or Dansby Swanson remains to be seen. GM Rick Hahn should be holding out for a franchise building block in return in any package. The time may come later this winter where lower level prospects with upside may be the route the acquiring clubs would be willing to go.

The White Sox are a viable option because they have assets to move as this is weak free agent class in 2017.  Take into account some of the contracts already signed this winter and compare those to players available in a trade.  Rich Hill signed a 3-year-deal worth $48 million dollars. The soon to be 37-year-old southpaw has 610.1 career innings and is getting paid for finding the fountain of youth.  While Sale is soon to be 28 and has 3-years of team control at $38 million dollars.  Sale has also finished in the Top 6 in AL Cy Young voting each season since 2012.  Which player is the better value?

Other players in Chicago could fetch solid returns in trade due to age and team control. None of these players are in the twilight of their careers.   Closer David Robertson has 2 years and 25 million dollars left on his deal. Clubs that don’t want to spend on Chapman, Jansen, and Melancon could pursue Robertson, who turns 32 next season.  Melancon signed a 4-years $62 million dollar deal with the Giants. Roberston is nearly the same age as Melancon on a shorter deal.  SP Jose Quintana has 4-years and $37.85 million dollars remaining on his deal. Quintana is a soon to be 28-year-old middle of rotation arm with a career ERA of 3.41 and 1.242 WHIP.  3B Todd Frazier has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left and is coming off a year with a career high in HR (40) and RBI (98). Frazier will turn 31 this offseason.  Right Fielder Adam Eaton has back to back seasons of a plus .280 avg and .360 OBP. A 28-year-old leadoff hitter under team control of 5-years for $38.4 million dollars could be attractive to clubs. Eaton is a terrific defensive right fielder, not so much in center field. At $15 million on the last year of his deal, Melky Cabrera should still retain value at his age 32 campaign.  Cabrera may be an add on in one of the blockbuster deals. An outfielder with a career .286 avg and .337 OBP should retain value.

Rebuilding and contending at the same time is tough to do in sports. The White Sox farm   system may have some talent that helps down the road in RHP Carson Fulmer, RHP Spencer Adams, C Zach Collins, RHP Zack Burdi, 3B Trey Michalczewski, and RHP Alec Hanson. GM Rick Hahn has to opportunity to acquire assets to help the White Sox get younger and possibly better.  I believe if the White Sox don’t take advantage of this weak free agent class and selloff, it will set the club back longer. After years of trying to contend and failing, its time for the White Sox to go in another direction.

Markieff Poised For A Big Year In DC?

Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is a player I will target in the later rounds of fantasy drafts this season.  The jury is still out if the Wizards got fleeced giving away a first round pick for Morris.  In 27 games 21 starts Morris averaged 12.4 points per game 5.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 assists while his percentages improved from Phoenix to Washington across the board.  The opportunity is there in DC for Morris to take another step forward.  Morris struggles on the defensive end could lead to Johnny O’Bryant taking away some minutes.  Andrew Nicholson is a decent shooter, but is more of a reserve. Morris is the type of stretch for that should be able to complement Marcin Gortat this season.

I believe the 2014-2015 statistics with the Suns are certainly attainable for Morris in which he averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, and shot 32% from 3-point range.  The Wizards have enough offensive weapons allowing Morris to slide in as the complimentary piece he is fit to be.  Having a whole off-season been removed from Phoenix and the turmoil that was not been able to play with his twin brother anymore, Morris should be able to bounce back for the Wizards.

Fantasy owners that are investing in Morris are doing so because of the change of scenery and the progress that they saw at the end of last season. I view Morris as a late round lottery ticket because of the situation and upside. The previous knucklehead behavior makes me not want invest too heavily in Morris.

Categories league’s owners look at Morris as a power forward that can hit a three, get a steal, and shoot 76% from the free-throw line. Sometimes fantasy owners get caught up in what player did for them last year instead of what they feel like you’re going to do for them this year.  Morris may provide some late round upside for those that evaluate on the situation this season.

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Don’t Sell Off Blount

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has been one of the more valuable players in fantasy football this season.  With Tom Brady out the first four games with a suspension, Blount has been a monster rushing for 352 yards and four touchdowns.  Blount has 22 or more rushing attempts in 3 of 4 contests this season.  That high volume workload won’t continue all season, however the Patriots adjust their game plan to what is better suited to go against each week’s opponent.  Tom Brady is the Patriots best talent and the passing game will return to being showcased each week.  The popular viewpoint is that the Patriots will throw the ball a lot more and abandon the running game.  I’m not buying into that school of thought.

Last season, Blount ran for 703 yards and 6 TD in 12 games. He was placed on IR with a hip injury in mid-December. In an earlier season matchup, which resulted in 30-24 Broncos win, Blount was a non-factor rushing 9 times for 27 yards. Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and 3 TD while getting sacked 3 times. The Patriots were exposed in the AFC championship game vs. the Broncos for their lack of a credible rushing attack. Tom Brady attempted 56 passes throwing for 310 yards a TD and 2 picks. The Broncos sacked Brady 4 times.  The Patriots attempted 17 rushes for 44 yards to the tune of a paltry 2.59 yards-per -carry.  In 2015, the Patriots ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 87.8 yards

I believe the Patriots learned from the 2015 season by upgrading their offensive line with better run blockers.  Brady’s suspension necessitated featuring the rushing attack to start the season, but I believe it will carry over for the rest of the season.  NFL history isn’t kind to 39-year-old Quarterbacks. Tom Brady is no ordinary 39-year-old Quarterback, but still could use more help from the running game.

I don’t believe the other Patriots running backs are truly a threat to Blount’s workload.  Brandon Bolden is more of a special team’s player.  DJ Foster is an experienced player that hasn’t taken any workload away yet.  James White is third-down-back while Dion Lewis may be the one to take away some of Blount’s workload.  Lewis is on the physically unable to perform list and could return anywhere from weeks seven to week nine depending on his health.

The NFL has shifted more towards committee backfields in the last few years.  Fantasy players really need to focus on their league set up and scoring in evaluating players.  Blount while not as valuable in a PPR league as in a standard scoring lead league still will carry a lot of value with Tom Brady’s return.  I find it hard to believe that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will completely ignore how effective the running game has been the first four weeks of the season.

Does Lawson Rebound in Sacramento?

Point Guard Ty Lawson looks to get his career back on track in Sacramento.  Lawson flamed out in Houston and Indiana last season with an offensive win share of 0.2 and a defensive win share of 0.7 for a total win share of 0.9. While two seasons ago his offensive win share was 6.0.  Playing in Houston along with James Harden was a complete disaster.  Lawson as a backup point guard was a misfit as his numbers dropped across the board.  Lawson is the type of player that needs to have the ball in his hands to be successful. Lawson’s outside shot isn’t good enough to be successful playing off the ball.  Lawson’s game is transition and setting up his teammates off dribble penetration.

This season Lawson will turn 29-years-old and still should be in the physical prime of his career.  Lawson’s personal issues are well documented, but his conditioning looked to be a problem last season as well.  The opportunity is there in Sacramento for Lawson to turn his career around.  Darren Collison will miss the first few games of the season due to a suspension and there’s a decent chance that Lawson could take away the starting point guard job.  Sacramento has weapons to complement Lawson’s drive and dish skills in DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, and Aaron Afflalo.

I hold a bit more stock in his Denver seasons than I do last season in evaluating Lawson as a fantasy player.  Kings head coach Dave Joerger may be better suited to you utilize Lawson’s talents than his last two stops.  Collison and Lawson have been in the league the same amount of time and for their careers Lawson has been the more productive player.  It would not surprise me in the least if Lawson was able to take the starting point guard job away from Collison this season in Sacramento.

Fantasy owners looking for a late round lottery ticket should consider Lawson.  Training camp reports, while often of the glass half full approach, may be able to provide insight into Lawson’s role with the Kings.  Fantasy owners that are targeting Lawson are not looking for percentages they’re looking for assists and points.  The Kings were a good career rehab spot for Rajon Rondo and could also be one for Ty Lawson.

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