Fantasy Football: Fantasy Woes Week 12

Unless someone in your fantasy league started one of the following players against you, the players below didn’t offer a whole lot to be thankful for.

Just as any other week consists of inconsistent fantasy play, Week 12 didn’t present us with anything different, as some of the top performers this season offered up their worst performances of the year.

The most exciting game of the season gave Patriots fans some hope for the season but may have put some Denver fans into a mini-depression as Denver QB and MVP candidate, Peyton Manning had his worst game of the season in New England. Peyton looked like Eli in the frigid climate, scoring the least amount of points that he’s had all year. However, if you started Knowshon Moreno, his 200-plus yard performance may have saved your week.

Fantasy Woes Week 12

Pats running back Stevan Ridley put the ball somewhere that he shouldn’t have last week and now he finds himself in the doghouse. Coming into the game against Denver, Ridley managed to reach the end-zone five straight games. I’d expect Ridley to come out of a week of practice with surer hands and a strong motivation to get his sixth score in seven games.

Eric Decker and Danny Amendola sucked in a similar fashion, with Amendola catching three balls for a measly 17 yards while Decker had just one more catch for five more yards than anybody sitting in the stands Sunday night.

In a game where you would have expected Andre Johnson to score at least 20 points against a Jacksonville football team that has looked like a junior varsity powder puff team at times, Johnson scored just over 5.6 points (PPR) against Jacksonville. The same number of points that Detroit receiver Kris Durham and Carolina receiver Brandon LaFell scored in their respective games. He’s been on a mean streak as of late, catching 24 balls for over 350 and five scores in the three games prior to his disappearing act against Jacksonville. Don’t let that performance deter you from starting Andre though.

Giants wideout and salsa dancing enthusiast Victor Cruz was unable to perform well against Dallas, scoring just 2.7 points in the game. His not-so-giant performance is the sixth game in which he’s been held under 11 points and it’s that boom or bust type of game that prevented me from drafting him in the first place. If you’re willing and able to ship him elsewhere, I’d deal him for someone like Wes Welker or Harry Douglas who has an easier schedule coming up and is more likely to see the end zone. After a three-score game Week 1 against Dallas, Cruz has scored just one touchdown.

Jordan Cameron, a player that I traded DeSean Jackson for at the early part of the season (of course he wouldn’t get hurt the year I trade him) had a bad week last week but has had 10 catches for 65 yards in the last three weeks. Sure he’s the third highest scoring tight end in the league, but over the last month he’s began to look more and more like a Cleveland Brown.

49ers halfback Frank Gore has struggled since the San Francisco bye week, but it hasn’t been because of poor play. Harbaugh and his staff have cut his carries in the recent weeks. Gore has rushed for games of 82, 48 and 31 yards in that span. But in that span he has maintained his yards per carry average of 4.1. Be sure to keep him in your lineup. Don’t consider replacing him with someone that’s not the all-time rushing leader for their team. At least not this year.

The No. 1 ranked Chiefs defense dropped a -6 against San Diego this past week. So if you started them and lost by a margin of that size don’t let that performance lead you to dropping them for another D/ST. Missing pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will hurt them but I wouldn’t bench them for any game other than the one against Denver this weekend.

Antonio Gates had his worst performance of the season last week, yielding just three catches for 21 yards. Like clockwork, Gates has been dealing with injuries and that should be no surprise to anyone. There’s no place to go for him now but up, so keep an eye on that injury and be sure to add another tight end if you don’t already have one.

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2013 Fantasy Football – WR Sleepers

Of all the positions in fantasy football, wide receiver is one that is rostered more than any other. More players drafted means more players targeted as sleepers. But with more options to go with late in your draft, finding the right wideouts to target isn’t necessarily an easy objective.

Titus Young, Golden Tate and Brian Quick were three athletes advertised as go-to sleepers last season by some (not by me) who never lived up to the billing. Last season, I presented you a group of five sleepers that was highlighted by Randall Cobb, Demaryius Thomas and Torrey Smith. This year I hope to offer up similar results with a few more options in the mix.

T.Y. Hilton, Ind

Like Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton was an impressive rookie last season that garners serious attention in your draft. The two of them were an impressive duo last year under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. However, with Arians hired as head coach in Arizona, some are expecting a sophomore slump from the both of them. Don’t buy into that. This WR3 had a better season last year than Darrius Heyward-Bey has had his entire four-season career so don’t write him off for the former first-round pick. That pick WAS made by the Raiders…

Hilton has 4.34 speed and made good use of that speed with double-digit plays of 25-plus yards. Hilton also had 100 yards receiving or more in five games and should be able to repeat that with the schedule he and Luck have lined up. At times last year he was a bit up and down. But with another year beside Luck and Reggie Wayne collecting social security in the not-so-distant future, Hilton should be able to warrant more consistency this year. He racked up 506 receiving yards and 5 TDs in the last seven games of last season. Expect T.Y. Hilton to start producing Week 1.

Hilton can be had as early as the 6th round and that is exactly where you should grab him. Call me crazy, but I’d rather have Hilton instead of Mike Wallace, Eric Decker and Jordy Nelson, who are often being selected ahead of arguably the best WR3 in football.

2013 Fantasy Football – WR Sleepers 

2013 Fantasy Football – RB Sleepers

Unlike the previously covered positions; tight end and quarterback, the running back position seems to always offer up some of the most rewarding sleepers. While the wide receiver position similarly offers its fair share of productive sleepers, the talent pool at running back is thinner in comparison and often times harder to predict.

After your Arian Foster’s, Adrian Peterson’s and Doug Martin’s of the world are drafted, there are a number of under the radar backs who will be available late. Plenty of those running backs will spend the majority of their season on a bench, only worth a spot start. Others go on to have seasons that propel them up future draft boards, and in many cases, take their team far in the playoffs. Value picks at this position specifically, are crucial when it comes to long term success in fantasy football.

The following five running backs are players I feel strongly about given their ability and new environment. Those deemed “Honorable Mention” are deep sleepers who are an injury away from being a productive starter.

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Giovani Bernard is an elusive back who can catch balls just as well as carries it. The rookie back out of North Carolina had 1,228 yards in 10 games last season and caught 92 passes over the last two years. Pair that with the 31 touchdowns scored the last two seasons and you have yourself the first running back taken in the draft.

Bernard won’t be the starter Week 1 but he’ll certainly get the chance to prove himself in Cincinnati. Of any rookie running back in the NFL, Bernard is the most likely RB to finish the season as a starter in my opinion. Bernard’s incumbent, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 28, has been consistently average over the last three years and his job security instantly came into question when the Bengals decided to draft a running back in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 205 lb. back is seven years younger and does many things Green-Ellis has never done. Don’t shy away from taking a chance on this rookie. He’s someone who, when given the chance, could put himself atop the draft board as soon as next season.

David Wilson, New York Giants

With Ahmad Bradshaw gone, David Wilson takes over as the starting running back in New York. The 22-year-old sophomore back is a former track star who happens to be a tantalizing breakout candidate this season. Wilson was able to do a lot with a little last year and the Giants are hoping he can do even more with the added workload.

Wilson had five touchdowns in just 75 touches last season. A solid rate of return for any rookie back. To put that in perspective, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, DeMarco Murray and Steven Jackson all reached the end zone the same amount or less than Wilson did despite 100-150 more touches last year. In the 71 rushing attempts Wilson had last year, he accrued 358 yards; which gave Wilson a yards per carry average of 5.04 yards.

If he’s able to do anything close to what he did last year with the added workload, there’s few limits to what he could finish with this year. If you can make him your second running back in the third or fourth round take a chance on Wilson. Handcuffing his backup Andre Brown is highly recommended given the investment you would have to put in Wilson.

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos

The only situation that would have been better for rookie running back Montee Ball would have been him getting drafted to play behind Peyton Manning five years ago. Ball offers an array of skills that make the transition from NCAA to NFL a rather smooth one. He’s got the receiving and blocking skills necessary to play three downs, while also having a nose for the end zone that put him atop all rushers in FBS history with 83 scores.

Ronnie Hillman was named the Broncos’ “starter” but we all know that won’t last for long. Hillman didn’t live up to his hype of being fantasy relevant in 2012 and also has been disappointing during the preseason thus far.

Denver will certainly be a team that focuses on the pass game but an aging Manning could use a decent running back that instantly becomes the best back Manning has had since Edgerrin James. Don’t be surprised if Ball rushes for over 1,000 yards and scores double-digit touchdowns. The Mile High City has found their running back of the future in Montee Ball. If you’re in a keeper league, mirror their investment and grab Ball early.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams

St. Loius Rams running back Daryl RichardsonWith Steven Jackson trading in his blue and gold for some black and red, Daryl Richardson will get every chance to be an every-down back. Richardson is more Faulk than Jackson, given his smaller size and speed, but backups Isiah Pead and Zac Stacy will function as motivation to sustain his new title.

Similar to Wilson, Richardson averaged nearly five yards a carry last season. An added workload should mean great things if he can maintain that pace. Pead and Stacy offer legitimate promise at the next level so buyer beware. But if Richardson can continue to prove his worth to head coach Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff, Richardson may be one of those backs that have people scratching their head wondering how they missed him? The offensive line is a work in progress but better than years past. There aren’t many guys worth drafting from this Rams team, but Richardson is one Ram I have gone after and will go after in the 9th-10th round range in my leagues.

Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals

New coach Bruce Arians made it known early on how excited he was to be adding Rashard Mendenhall to his backfield–and for good reason. Before he gave us a reason why he shouldn’t be on Twitter, Mendenhall was a tough, hard-nosed runner who had 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010. The following year was a bit of a letdown but he still managed to reach the end zone nine times. For whatever reason, Arizona has struggled to produce an elite fantasy running back. And because of that I think he’s being ruled out strictly based on association.

I’ve seen him ranked and/or drafted behind guys like Jonathan Stewart, Chris Ivory and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. This shouldn’t be happening. Injuries are a concern with Mendenhall but most backs taken around the same time as him have similar track records. Arians also doesn’t plan on using a running back by committee, so you don’t have to worry aboutvultured carries and goal line scores. Mendenhall is the ideal third or fourth back to have on your roster.

Honorable Mention

Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons

Jacquizz Rodgers has added some bulk to his 5-foot-6 frame and in a backup role last year he had 53 catches for 402 yards. If starting running back Steven Jackson were to go down, Rodgers instantly becomes a must start in PPR leagues.

  • Ben Tate, Houston Texans
  • Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens

These three are must-drafts if you take the running back starting ahead of them with your first pick. Taking one or two of them to block a handcuff is never a bad thing to do either. Using a late-round pick in this way is great fantasy football insurance and highly recommended, especially in deep leagues.

2013 Fantasy Football – QB Sleepers

With the emergence of young quality quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Matt Ryan, the dividing line in the quarterback talent pool is a lot closer than it has ever been.

The older, more weathered quarterbacks, who are nearing the end of their careers offer more concerns (minus RG3) and in Tom Brady’s case, his receiving core isn’t what it used to be. For Peyton Manning; the only Manning worth starting on a consistent basis, it’s hard to ignore the major surgery done on his neck a year ago. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers should go one and two sometime between the latter-first and second round. Here’s the order quarterbacks were taken in a mock I did the other today:

1. Aaron Rodgers (GB, pick 10)
2. Drew Brees (Ind, 14)
3. Peyton Manning (Den, 21)
4. Tom Brady (NE, 29)
5. Cam Newton (Car, 36)
6. Matt Ryan (Atl, 42)
7. Colin Kaepernick (SF, 45)
8. Robert Griffin III (Was, 57)
9. Matt Stafford (Det, 63)
10. Russell Wilson (Sea, 73)

This gives you two or possibly three tiers to work with and 10 quarterbacks already off the board. This leaves you with a player some may not consider a sleeper now, that in my opinion, should be a guy taken before some of the guys already mentioned. In a ten or twelve team league, this leaves you with a late-round pick–sometime after the eight or ninth round to take your top 10 quarterback and this would allow you to invest more time in every other position.

However, unlike any other position, Luck is the only quarterback worth starting outside that list. Tony Romo has gone before him in some leagues, but because of my overwhelming passion for the 49ers I find it impossible to draft him (but you can eat your Tony Romo heart out). After Romo the usual suspect is Andrew Luck to go next in mock drafts and quarterback rankings. But if there was one player at the position you could deem a sleeper and start; Luck is that guy.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The 23-year-old second-year quarterback out of Stanford is the last of a third tier at his position. He’s is a player I’ve drafted, so I’m just as invested in him as you would be and despite the loss of an offensive coordinator, there’s not a big risk. He is going much later than he should be which will allow you to stuff your skill positions with talent, while sitting back to swipe Luck. He lived up to expectations in 2012, throwing for 4,374 yards and 28 scores (five on his feet). Luck also had six 300-yard games through the air, which was more than Griffin, Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton and the same number as Aaron Rodgers.

Unfortunately for Luck the Colts focused on defense in the draft so the only noticeable addition at wide receiver was Darrius Heyward-Bey. Consider the fact that Reggie Wayne improved his numbers with Luck as a rookie with 31 more receptions, 395 more receiving yards and 10 more 20-plus yard receptions. T.Y. Hilton is also a receiver to highlight, underline and put a star next to in your rankings. Hilton has wheels on par with the fastest receivers in the league and was able to grab seven scores, 50 receptions and 861 yards in Luck’s inaugural season. An additional reason I like Luck this year is because of his schedule. Indy starts off the year with Oakland at home and finishes the season hosting Jacksonville. They also play San Diego (twice), St. Louis, Tennessee (twice), and Kansas City.

Let others invest a second-fifth round quarterback in the draft. Luck will be available after the eighth round and I’ve observed via mock drafts, the great teams that assemble when picking at the tail end of the snake draft.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer may be the second happiest guy in Arizona (behind teammate Larry Fitzgerald) now that he’s out of Oakland. Palmer is a definite upgrade for Bruce Arians and his new coaching staff. Fitzgerald may have been bored the last couple seasons, playing for awful quarterback after awful quarterback. For that reason Fitzgerald owners will be happier [than I was last year] and Rashard Mendenhall is an added bonus that also improves a position. If Palmer can stay off his back this season, Arizona may be competition for San Francisco and Seattle. It’s easy to forget the 4,000 yard, 22-touchdown season he had in Oakland. With an environment like Arizona Palmer is a reliable backup for any QB without the week 9 bye.

I’d expect Palmer isn’t a guy you would draft to start, but being that he’s a quarterback ranked outside the top 20 he’s a great backup to have behind Luck…or whoever else you decide to go with on draft day.

Geno Smith, New York Jets

Don’t let Geno Smith become an afterthought during your draft. Ranked outside the top 30 quarterbacks in most QB rankings I’ve seen, the 22-year-old rookie is the most likely backup to start a few weeks into the season. Rex Ryan’s Mark Sanchez is beginning to loosen up a bit and so is the USC quarterback’s grip of the starting job.

Smith has been impressive in camp and I wouldn’t be surprised if he outplays Sanchez well enough in pre-season. Don’t sleep on Smith, make him a sleeper. He’s got the tools to become a strong pro and if started now he’d easily make his way into the top 25 strictly because of the potential he offers. Smith is looking to become a “franchise quarterback” like he stated after the draft. And with goals as high as that and a quarterback ahead of him named Mark Sanchez, Smith will certainly get a chance to prove his worth and those who passed on him wrong.

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

Schaub is similar to Palmer in that he’s a guy that tends to be ignored in mock drafts/rankings. Like Palmer, he too is being draft and ranked outside of the top 20 quarterbacks. He’s got one of the best RB/WR combo’s in the game with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. Schaub also just became teammates with arguably the best receiver taken in the draft. DeAndre Hopkins is a large athletic receiver that will make Johnson’s job a bit easier in Houston. No disrespect to Kevin Walter, but Hopkins will most likely be the best No. 2 receiver Houston has had since they become a team in 2002. If you haven’t already, mark Hopkins down as a sleeper and do the same with Schaub.

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub

Like Luck and the Colts, Houston faces the same cupcake schedule that their AFC South counterpart will face. It’s an added bonus worth notice come draft day. Don’t make Schaub your starter but if your starting quarterback goes down Schaub is one of the best backups you can have this season.

Honorable Mention

E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills

There’s a reason the Bills shocked everyone by taking Manuel over Smith with their No. 16 pick. He is considered a longterm project that projects to be a solid starter at some point. He’s well worth a late-round flier and should definitely be owned in leagues that have 12 or more teams.

2013 NFL Fantasy Football -TE Sleepers

Tight end tends to be a position that yields great rewards at the top of it’s rankings, but when it comes to sleepers they’re a hard crop to forecast.

Often times, the ware and tare of the position keeps the elite tight end’s off the field for a segment of the season and you’re left with a guy like Marcedes Lewis or Fred Davis–hoping that the couple weeks you have him, are the weeks he just so happens to grab a score.

Although it would be ideal to have a third primary receiver like Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, the unfortunate reality for everyone is that there are only two guys like that available. Graham has only missed two starts in the last three years but the hits he’ll take could definitely catch up to him. If you aren’t in a position to draft one of them, Vernon Davis and Jason Witten are the most likely players off the board. This leaves you with, in most cases, either six or eight tight end vacancies to fill.

If you aren’t able to stash an elite tight end in the first few rounds of the draft you will most likely have to draft a third tier tight end in the 6th or 7th round. The following tight ends will be available late in your draft, and although they aren’t in the top 10 of any tight end rankings I have seen, they could put up top 10 numbers during the 2013 NFL fantasy football season.

Brandon Myers, NYG

Despite an injured shoulder last season, Myers had a breakthrough year in Oakland receiving passes from quarterback Carson Palmer who established him as the go-to-guy in the black and silver passing attack. Despite that offense being anemic and lost at times, Myers still allowed himself to catch 79 passes for 806 yards. To put things in a bit of perspective, Myers had a better year as a receiver than Cardinals’ wideout Larry Fitzgerald and Packers’ receiver James Jones. Pair that with the fact that Eli Manning loves to throw the direction of his tight end’s and Myers could be a hidden gem in a myriad of late-round options.

Jared Cook, StL

Cook has burned me before but I feel that if he were to ever turn things around St. Louis would be the place where he makes that happen. Sam Bradford has struggled in similar fashion as he has been asked to take on a giant with a slingshot and pebbles the last few years playing in the strongest division in football. Cook will be playing alongside young speedsters Tavon Austin and Brian Quick which should give Bradford and Cook opportunities neither have been able to have before. Of the players I’ve named, Cook is the most popular sleeper among them, but be sure not to take him too early.

Martellus Bennett, Chi

Bennett enjoyed a breakout campaign for the New York Giants last season after years of playing under the shadow of Witten in Dallas. Bennett had 55 receptions for five scores and 626 yards in 2012 and may very well be set to repeat or increase those numbers in Chicago’s passing attack. With Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte being the focal point of an opposing defense’s game plan, Bennett joins an offense that recently added West Coast guru Marc Trestman. This offensive style will lean on Cutler’s arm and with Marshall being one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL, Bennett should be able to take advantage of defenses that are more focused on slowing down Marshall.

Tyler Eifert, Cin

Eifert has great size (6-foot-6, 251 lbs.), athleticism, agility and speed (4.68 40-time) for a tight end. This has allowed the Bengals coaches to line him up at receiver in training camp–similar to that of Marques Colston when he was drafted by New Orleans. This shows you the potential his coaches see in him and with A.J. Green playing alongside him, Eifert could benefit greatly. What makes Eifert hard to draft is the fact that Jermaine Gresham is still the starting tight end in Cincinnati. As nice as it would be to expect Eifert to be used as a wideout in games, I wouldn’t expect him to be used in those sets very often to start the season. He fits the term deep sleeper to a tee given his situation, but Eifert could be more boom than bust if Gresham goes down or Eifert just proves to the coaches that he’s just better. He’s a great second tight end to draft and if you draft Gresham, be sure to finish your draft with Eifert.

Honorable Mention

  • Rob Housler, Ari – Palmer may help Housler put up some decent numbers
  • Dustin Keller, Mia – Check down and end zone target for Miami
  • Tony Moeaki, KC – Deep sleeper in 16 and 20-man leagues

Power Moves

The trade: Chris Davis for Max Scherzer.

One player leads the league in both home runs and runs batted in with 37 jacks and 97 RBI on the season. The other has the best record in baseball at 14-1 and is tied for second in strikeouts at 157.

But only one of those players is coming my way in a deadline deal that could make or break my season.

I’m currently 8-8 (3rd place, second highest scorer) in a 10-team keeper league that has a complicated head-to-head scoring system. Chris Davis has scored 396.5 points so far this season and Max Scherzer has totaled 370.17 fantasy points. Both have been great at what they do this year, while also being two of the biggest surprises in the first half of the season. Yet, I expected a solid season from Scherzer and the Detroit offense that plays behind him.

I expected a good season from Scherzer but was unable to take him as my Uncle drafted him a round before I was hoping to. I’m convinced he read my sleeper article for pitchers…However, I happened to draft Davis. I was unsure as to whether or not he’ll amount to much but I felt he could impress in Baltimore. I never thought he would amount to this. If anyone else tells you they saw this season coming, they’re lying through their teeth–Ryan Braun style.

If Davis was able to continue raking at the pace he is, the Baltimore first baseman would finish 2013 with about 60 homers, 160 RBI and 120 runs. If we were talking about a guy like Miguel Cabrera this deal would have most likely not been made. Cabrera has had a career of excellent play and amazing consistency. Unfortunately, based on the earlier part of his career, I don’t see Davis reaching those heights.

Davis is now 27-years-old and hasn’t necessarily fit the profile of his most recent seasons. The left-handed hitter struggled mightily in 2010-11 with a combined six homers and 23 RBI in a total of 364 plate appearances. Davis spent the first five years of his career in the minors before making his way through the Rangers’ farm system. His struggles forced the Rangers to deal him to Orioles during the 2011 season, and now in his second year in Baltimore, the team is looking like a legitimate contender.

The past tends to be a solid indicator of the future and I strongly feel that if either player were to see a drop in performance, it wouldn’t be the player that has been backed up by the best offense in baseball.

If you looked at Scherzer’s pi-like 3.14 earned run average, you might expect a record less than the 14-1 record that currently stands. The Detroit offense has steadily improved over the last few seasons and has amounted to a league-leading .280 batting average, a second-place ranking in both OBP (.346) and OPS (.780). Tigers are also in the bottom six when it comes to striking out, which means they’ve got a lineup of patient, yet, powerful bats.

Scherzer is the second-highest scoring pitcher in my league behind the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright–who I owned prior to the trade. The fact that this deal gives me the second-highest scoring pitcher is something that should bode well for me in the playoffs. Last year my pitching failed me in the playoffs and the team that won the league yielded impressive pitching staffs. It’s impossible to know at this point what will happen, but based on the law of averages, it is more likely to see a decline in Davis’ numbers the rest of the year. There’s also a fifty dollar bonus for the team with the highest scoring pitcher for the season, which is just some additional incentive.

Scherzer notched win No. 14 this past week and scored 21.5 points for me in a 7-3 win vs. All-Star pitcher Chris Sale and the White Sox. Davis has scored just 8.5 points so far this week.

I doubt my Uncle is regretting the deal right now, but I’m hoping come playoff time that points ratio stays in my favor and the bats I’ve got behind my pitching staff will be just as effective as those backing Scherzer in the Motor City. Only time will tell as to who got the better end of this deal.

My team:

Yadier Molina-C
Robinson Cano-MI
Hanley Ramirez-MI
Eric Hosmer-CI
Coco Crisp-OF
Wil Myers-OF
Bryce Harper-OF
Yasiel Puig-DH
Andrelton Simmons-U
Max Scherzer-SP
Adam Wainwright-SP
Stephen Strasburg-SP
Kenley Jansen-RP
Jim Johnson-RP
Koji Uehara-b
Mark Trumbo-b
Dexter Fowler-b
Jason Heyward-b
Alcides Escobar-b
Evan Gattis-b
Mike Minor-b
Jake Westbrook-b
Kyle Lohse-b
Francisco Liriano-b
Jorge De la Rosa-b
Matt Cain-b
Brandon Beachy-b

His team:

Joe Mauer-C
Everth Cabrera-MI
Johnny Perala-MI
Chris Davis-CI
Pablo Sandoval-CI
Domonic Brown-OF
Andrew McCutchen-OF
Starling Marte-OF
Mike Trout-OF
Justin Masterson-SP
Justin Verlander-SP
Matt Harvey-SP
Shelby Miller-RP
Glen Perkins-RP
Ian Desmond-b
Jed Lowrie-b
Adam Lind-b
Austin Jackson-b
Giancarlo Stanton-b
Daniel Nava-b
Michael Bourn-b
Jose Fernandez-b
Gio Gonzalez-b
Zack Wheeler-b
Bobby Parnell-b
Mark Melancon-b

NBA Rookie Projections

A combination of college and international basketball prospects made up the 60 players that have found out where the next chapter of their lives will begin. Given the underwhelming draft that it was and the consensus idea that this draft lacked a superstar, there are a handful of players that bring a lot to their respective teams and could bring that same game to your fantasy team.

As a whole, this draft could be one of the worst talent crops seen in the last few years and it showed when Cleveland surprised the NBA with their selection of UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. Bennett, who didn’t workout with a single team because of a shoulder injury, doesn’t even make the list of rookies to target come draft time. Bennett could be a very good player to come out of this draft but I don’t expect him to show No. 1 value ten years down the line. There are a few names called early that I expect to make an immediate impact at the next level paired with a few guys called later in the draft that people should keep their eye on.

If it wasn’t for an injury this past season to Nerlens Noel, the Cavaliers would have picked him with the No. 1 pick, without question. If he can prove this injury wrong and come back like Adrian Peterson instead of Derrick Rose, the 76ers have a future star in Philadelphia. If he can’t, they may have a guy like Kwame Brown (before he added weight). I’m an advocate for the former and not the latter, but no draft pick is a sure thing in the NBA. He averaged 10 points, 11 boards and 4 blocks in his freshman season prior to the ACL injury. If Noel can mimic anything close to that in the NBA, Philadelphia just traded for something they won’t plan on trading anytime soon.

NBA Comparison (ceiling/floor): Anthony Davis/Greg Oden


Victor Oladipo was taken by Orlando with the second overall pick. Oladipo brings a solid set of NBA-ready skills that should have been considered as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate. Oladipo will be the top player in Orlando and should be able to average 15 points, 5 rebounds a couple assists per game. The strength that he offers at his size allows him to get to the hoop and grab an above average amount of boards for a guard. He’s a sure a thing there was in the draft and should have one of the better careers of those taken in the top five.

NBA Comparison : Dwayne Wade/Tony Allen


Ben McLemore was the player expected to go to Orlando and many even considered McLemore to be the top player in this draft. The fact that he slid so far was the second biggest surprise in the draft and Sacramento, who admitted that they had him as their No. 1 guy on their draft board, was pleasantly surprised to know they could draft him without having to move up in the draft. McLemore has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen as a shooter but he still has a lot to prove before he warrants that comparison. With the new coach at the helm in Michael Malone, it’s hard to say whether he’ll start immediately or come off the bench. We do know that he will receive a good share of playing time and if all things go well he should be able to fill the stat sheet and average 13-14 points per game.

NBA Comparison: JR Smith/Gerald Green


Utah was able to add the best point guard in the draft. If the Rookie of the Year were to repeat at a position it will most likely find it’s way back to Trey Burke. Burke is a floor general who improved greatly in his two years at Michigan. He brings an ability to score, lead and pass in a way that should turn the Jazz around just how Deron Williams did it early on in his career. Burke will slide right into a starting job and should average 10-11 points per game and 6-7 assists per game. Utah needs a lot of help but Burke is there point guard of the future and that’s a great start.

NBA Comparison: Kemba Walker/Jarret Jack


C.J. McCollum was one of my favorite players in this draft and like many, I was surprised to see Portland draft him with Lillard already manning the point. Yes, McCollum is bit of a tweener at 6-foot-3 but he can score. At a smaller school in Lehigh, McCollum averaged more points per game than any player in the draft (23.9) and was able to play facilitator when asked. I think McCollum is in a bit of a box given that he won’t be starting over Lillard, but I think the two of them in the same backcourt will be fun to watch and McCollum will be able to learn from him. I’d expect McCollum to average close to 10 PPG this upcoming season and make a run in the Rookie of the Year race. Those four years of college will go a long way for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s considered the better point guard after his first season.

NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry/Randy Foye


Other guys that I expect to do well in the future but not in their first year:

  • Otto Porter, SF, Washington Wizards
  • Shane Larkin, PG, Dallas Mavericks
  • Tony Snell, SF, Chicago Bulls
  • Dennis Schroeder, Atlanta Hawks
  • Giannis Adetokoubo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks