The idea is 5x5 value for rest of season. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. I didn't rank anyone on the DL, or anyone in the minors. Everyone seems to be more optimistic on injury returnees and hot prospects (hi, Buxton) than I am.

This week, we sort the fantasy outfielders.

The prices are unscientific in nature, and players at the same price are considered even. I'm just looking for a way to show the pockets of value as I see them. I don't look at old prices when I construct these -- it's all from scratch. I don't even see the point of looking back there; live in the present, look to the future.

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I welcome your respectful disagreement. Obviously you will feel passionate about what you don't agree with, that's why we have a game. The discussion can be deep and illuminating if you want it to be.

And remember the golden rule -- a player doesn't gain value because you like him, nor does he lose value because you don't like him.

Prices now, comments later today. I reserve the right to make changes in this list during the first 24 hours. Win the debate, win the rank.

If I missed someone, let me know. I'm on Twitter, @scott_pianowski.

$33 Mike Trout
$32 Mookie Betts
$30 Kris Bryant
$28 Bryce Harper
$26 Charlie Blackmon
$26 Ian Desmond
$25 Carlos Gonzalez
$24 Wil Myers
$23 George Springer
$22 Nelson Cruz
$21 Chris Davis
$20 Adam Jones
$20 Mark Trumbo
$20 Ben Zobrist
$19 Starling Marte
$19 Yoenis Cespedes
$18 Jay Bruce
$17 Carlos Beltran
$17 Lorenzo Cain
$17 Marcell Ozuna
$17 Adam Duvall
$17 Gregory Polanco
$17 Andrew McCutchen

May we all age as well as Carlos Beltran, who is far and away New York's best offensive player in his age-39 season. His stats are wonderfully portable to most situations — he has an .873 OPS against righties, a .966 OPS against lefties; his home OPS is .936, his road OPS is .861. Beltran is no longer able to steal bases or do much on defense, but we’ll pay up for a four-category contributor. Methinks he’s already filled in a Hall of Fame resume, but every little bit helps . . . . . . Does McCutchen look healthy to you? Are you confident he'll start running anytime soon? McCutchen is just 21st in offensive fWAR among outfielders over the last calendar year . . . Jones jumped back into the Circle of Trust with a bang-up June: .315/.348/.639. 10 homers. His low walk rate, that’s just something we have to deal with. He’s always been a “swing at anything” guy and he’s proven he can succeed that way . . . Everything we needed to say about Myers came on the blog a few weeks back

$16 Danny Valencia
$16 Melvin Upton
$16 Matt Kemp
$16 Ryan Braun
$16 Kole Calhoun
$16 Brandon Belt
$16 Giancarlo Stanton
$15 Jackie Bradley Jr. 
$14 Matt Holliday
$14 Odubel Herrera
$14 Jacoby Ellsbury
$13 Mike Napoli
$13 Justin Upton
$13 Hanley Ramirez
$13 Adam Eaton
$13 Michael Saunders

Everyone likes Stanton more than I do. I’ve made peace with it. I try not to chase after spectacles, guys who are made for highlights. I like versatile players, quiet four and five-category contributors. And Stanton hasn’t looked close to full health all year . . . I can’t go higher on Saunders given his .238/.310/.404 career slash and his injury history . . . Valencia earned his stripes last year, proving he just wasn't a short-platoon guy. The A's will get plenty of calls about his availability, between now and the trading deadline. It's at least 50-50 Valencia will be traded, and leaving Oakland is almost always a good thing for a hitter.  

$12 Rajai Davis
$12 Stephen Piscotty
$12 Christian Yelich
$11 Shin-Soo Choo
$11 Khris Davis
$11 Leonys Martin
$10 Jayson Werth
$10 Billy Hamilton
$10 Brett Gardner
$10 Kevin Pillar
$9 Yasiel Puig
$9 Curtis Granderson
$9 Melky Cabrera
$9 Whit Merrifield
$9 Carlos Gomez
$9 Brandon Moss
$7 Jose Ramirez
$7 Mark Reynolds
$7 Jason Heyward
$7 Nomar Mazara
$7 Josh Harrison
$7 Alex Gordon
$6 Brad Miller
$6 Tyler Naquin
$6 Byron Buxton

Puig was on the Non-Wallet list before the year, so he hasn't been my problem. Maybe I have him too high here; all I know is I delete the trade offers I get involving him, then move along with my day . . . Gomez has been a little better since the DL stint, but still nothing close to what we expected pre-season . . . Moss is a  .275/.365/.688 monster against righties, with all 16 of his homers. He’s struck out in 23 of his 56 at-bats against lefties, en route to a .196/.286/.286 slash . . . Buxton since the recall: .215/.247/.354, with one homer, four steals in 23 games. The lightbulb hasn’t come on yet.  

$5 Ryan Rua
$5 Colby Rasmus
$5 Ben Revere
$5 Cameron Maybin
$5 Angel Pagan
$5 Corey Dickerson
$4 Marwin Gonzalez
$4 Ichiro Suzuki
$4 Robbie Grossman
$4 Franklin Gutierrez
$4 Ender Inciarte
$4 Nick Markakis
$4 Max Kepler
$4 Hyun Soo Kim
$4 Trayce Thompson
$4 Kolten Wong
$3 Lonnie Chisenhall
$3 Adonis Garcia
$2 Derek Dietrich
$2 Howie Kendrick
$2 Denard Span
$2 Joc Pederson
$2 Yasmany Tomas
$2 Eduardo Escobar
$2 Travis Jankowski
$2 Oswaldo Arcia

If anything happened to Jay permanently, I'd be temped to chase Jankowski up to the $5-7 range. He's capable of running and the Padres let their guys run as much as they want . . . The average is lovely with Maybin, but more pop would be nice. Actually, some pop. He’s slugging .345 in June, with three extra-base hits (zero homers). 

$1 Jon Jay
$1 Michael Bourn
$1 Peter Bourjos
$1 Cody Asche
$1 Seth Smith
$1 Sean Rodriguez
$1 Michael Taylor
$1 Matt Joyce
$1 Steven Moya
$1 Ryan Raburn
$1 Jake Smolinski
$1 Peter O'Brien
$1 Chris Owings
$0 Coco Crisp
$0 Gregor Blanco
$0 Ryan Flaherty
$0 Ezequiel Carrera
$0 Jacob Marisnick
$0 Chris Coghlan
$0 Desmond Jennings
$0 Avisail Garcia
$0 Mike Aviles
$0 Brandon Drury
$0 Enrique Hernandez
$0 Jarrod Dyson
$0 Jeff Francoeur
$0 Kelly Johnson
$0 Aaron Hicks
$0 Daniel Santana

Courtesy Injury Ranks - I wil not debate these

Josh Reddick $14

Dexter Fowler $14

J.D. Martinez $12

Jose Bautista $12

David Peralta $11

Hunter Pence $9

Michael Brantley $9

Miguel Sano $9

Gerardo Parra $6

Steve Pearce $4 

Steve Souza $4 

Mallex Smith $2

Brock Holt $1

Jorge Soler $1

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 28, 2016, 10:54 am

Volatility is the name of the game in bullpens. Ask St. Louis fans, they can relate. 

Brandon Funston and Scott Pianowski are here to discuss the mess that is the Cardinals ninth inning. Can Trevor Rosenthal get his gig back, or is there a new sheriff under the arch? The guys also discuss Washington’s rotation, the future value of Steven Wright, Pittsburgh’s fork in the road, and some intriguing pickups. 

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

And to start off with some international flavor, there's some Lionel Messi soccer talk at the jump. We put that over the crossbar, too. 

Give it a listen, you might just like it 

And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 27, 2016, 4:09 pm

Watch the lineups and weather, set a DFS lineup, watch them go.

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Dalton Del Don 

SP Clayton Kershaw, at Pit, $63
SP Sonny Gray, at LAA, $36
C Nick Hundley, vs. Ari (Corbin), $15
1B Hanley Ramirez, at Tex (Perez), $10
2B Neil Walker, at Atl (Norris), $14
3B Todd Frazier, vs. Tor (Stroman), $12
SS Jean Segura, at Col (Bettis), $12
OF Bryce Harper, at Mil (Nelson), $18
OF Giancarlo Stanton, vs. CHC (Hammel), $11
OF Colby Rasmus, at KC (Kennedy), $9

I can’t bring myself to fade Kershaw with how dominant he’s been, and there are still some affordable options to fill out the rest of a lineup, with Harper and Stanton especially looking underpriced.

Scott Pianowski

SP Johnny Cueto, vs. Phi, $56
SP Nathan Eovaldi, vs. Min, $39
C Nick Hundley, vs. Ari (Corbin), $15
1B Hanley Ramirez, at Tex (Perez), $10
2B Joe Panik, vs. Phi (Hellickson), $15
3B Nolan Arenado, vs. Ari (Corbin), $23
SS Jean Segura, at Col (Bettis), $12
OF Corey Dickerson, at Bal (Wilson), $11
OF Colby Rasmus, at KC (Kennedy), $9
OF Peter O’Brien, at Col (Bettis), $10

I didn’t pay up for Kershaw, but I still have two heavy pitching favorites and a bunch of possible goodies at Coors Field. That works. Hanley’s bat is also warming of late, with three homers in his last four games.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:52 am

Edwin Encarnacion entered June with a .240/.313/.447 line, yet a major hot streak (he’s hitting .307 with nine homers, 23 runs, 26 RBI and 17 walks over 75 at bats this month) suddenly has him on pace to finish with 41 home runs and an MLB-high 141 RBI. His strikeout rate has been higher this year than usual (his has always been very low for a slugger), but EE currently owns a .267 BABIP and is obviously one of the hotter hitters in all of baseball right now. He should be treated as a top-12 asset moving forward.

Headlines of the Week: Match-Predicting Koala Sacked For Poor Results...‘Sea Monster’ Spotted On Google Earth...X-ray Machine Foils Attempt To Sneak Iguana Into Boulder Courthouse...Woman Woken Up By 16ft, 30kg Snake That’s Been Living In Her Roof...Mom Goes Into Freakout Mode, Thinks Daughter’s Head Turned Into A Square...Man Collapses, Dies Next To $12M Worth Of Pot.

Quick Hits: Over his last four starts, Trevor Bauer has a 1.42 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with a 32:6 K:BB ratio over 31.2 innings. He hasn’t allowed multiple homers in any outing this season. The 25-year-old has improved his control, and there’s little reason the former No. 3 overall pick is owned in just 66 percent of Yahoo leagues...Here’s Kevin Pillar making yet another terrific catch...J.J. Hoover has surrendered eight homers over 17.2 innings this season...Melvin Upton Jr. is on pace to finish with 23 homers and 36 steals yet is barely owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues...Shin-Soo Choo has a .414 OBP and a .241 batting average... Here’s Eugenio Suarez faking himself out on a grounder...Entering May 13, Bryce Harper had a 1.095 OPS. Since then, he’s hit .230/.338/.357over 126 at bats...Pedro Alvarez has six homers (and a 1.032 OPS) over 51 at bats in June...Danny Duffy has a 23.1 K-BB%, and he’s now starting. That would rank No. 6 among all SPs if he qualified.

Police Blotter: Man Charged With Bank Robbery Tried Crowdfunding...Thirsty Thieves Steal 78K Bottles Of Beer.

Quick Hits Part Deux: Jonathan Villar leads MLB both in stolen bases (25) and in caught stealings (eight)...Michael Conforto had a 1.118 OPS at the end of April, so it’s pretty crazy he’s been sent to the minors. He’s hit .148/.217/.303 with 48 strikeouts over 142 at bats since then...Huston Street’s average fastball velocity (87.8 mph) and SwStr% (10.2) are both by far career worsts, and his 7:8 K:BB ratio is a disaster, so it’s actually kind of impressive he’s been able to record an ERA under 4.00 with a 1.61 WHIP. Fantasy owners who drafted Street and backed him up with the DL’d Joe Smith have to be furious right now...Here’s Yasiel Puig walking off the Dodgers while somehow scoring on his own single....And here’s a nifty Adrian Gonzalez catch aided by Chase Utley...Edinson Volquez gave up 12 runs (11 earned) in one inning during Friday’s start. His ERA has risen from 3.90 to 5.15 over his last two starts...The Diamondbacks won Friday despite being just the second team in history to use nine pitchers in a nine-inning game that took place before the September roster expansion (hat tip RotoWorld)...Michael Saunders is hitting .301 and is one pace to slug 32 homers in a strong lineup yet is available in more than a quarter of Yahoo leagues.

This Formula 1 Pit Stop Is Fairly Fast.

Here’s a “Dog-Bot” doing dishes. I would say we are all done for, but it later slips on a banana peel.

Song of the Week: CHVRCHES - "Bury It"

Longread of the Week: FIGHT

Quick Hits Part Tres: Go pick up A.J. Reed (who had a .340-113-34-127 line over 135 games in the minors last season) in any league in which you’re in and he’s available now that Houston has called him up...And for those in deeper formats, Alex Reyes is someone to stash right now...Jake Peavy had an 8.21 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP over his first nine starts this season. He owns a 1.91 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP over his last six starts with a 3.9:1 K:BB ratio...Here’s Javier Baez making a sensational leaping catch...Aroldis Chapman was throwing decently fast Friday night...Ryan Rua has hit .400/.477/.636 against left-handers this season and sure looks like a bargain in DFS (and he’s owned in fewer than 10 percent of Yahoo leagues as well for those in daily transaction formats)...Joe Panik is a middle infielder on pace to finish with 95 runs scored, 15 homers, 78 RBI and 11 steals. He’s owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues...Clayton Kershaw currently has a 32.4 K-BB%. Pedro Martinez beat that mark once in his career.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 25, 2016, 11:54 pm

With a couple of big trades and the draft recently taking place, there have been numerous changes in players’ fantasy values. The biggest name on the move is Derrick Rose, who’s headed to the Knicks. He won the MVP as recently as 2010/11 and is beloved in a rare way to most Chicago sports fans. But thanks to injuries, he’s been mostly an afterthought to fantasy owners, as he’s ranked No. 180 or lower each of the past three seasons, including last year when he came in at No. 204 while staying relatively healthy. He now joins a Knicks team that ranked 24th in Pace last season and will be sharing the ball with Carmelo Anthony, who annually is among the leaders in Usage Rate.

Rose’s fantasy value doesn’t change much with this move, and the Bulls’ point guard situation remains up in the air for now (the addition of Robin Lopez all but assures Joakim Noah leaving town), but the biggest news here is for Jimmy Butler’s value. Already an elite fantasy option (he ranked No. 14 last year), he’ll be a legitimate top-five option in drafts in 2016/17 now with Rose gone.

STOCK UP

Dennis Schroder: Arguably the biggest value boost among all players this week is Schroder, as Jeff Teague was shipped to Indiana. Schroder has his faults as a fantasy player (turnovers), but he’s going to be unleashed in Atlanta, which should come as no surprise if you watched the team turn to him in crunch time during the playoffs. He’s 22 years old and was the No. 28 fantasy player on a per-36 minute basis over the final two months last season (albeit in a small sample). He’ll be treated as a top-10 fantasy point guard entering 2016/17. Meanwhile, Teague’s move seems lateral for his value, while the addition of George Hill in Utah is a buzz kill for Dante Exum, although Hill is capable of playing off the ball.

Serge Ibaka: With the move to Orlando, he’ll no longer be sharing the court with players who finished No. 1 (Russell Westbrook) and No. 9 (Kevin Durant) in Usage Rate like he did last season. Ibaka finished as a top-20 fantasy player the previous four seasons before last, and he’ll be a focal point on offense more so than ever with the Magic.

Rookie Rundown: Ben Simmons should obviously get a ton of run immediately in Philadelphia, although it’s fairly crazy he made just one three-pointer last season...Brandon Ingram needs to gain weight, but he might find himself in the best situation of all rookies and looks like the favorite to be the first taken in fantasy drafts...Buddy Hield might be the most NBA ready for 2016/17, and Eric Gordon could very well leave via free agency. Hield should be able to make an immediate fantasy impact...The Kings made the curious decision of trading out of the No. 8 spot in what was widely considered an eight-player draft...The Timberwolves drafting Kris Dunn gives a big question mark to Ricky Rubio’s future in Minnesota. That team is extremely interesting moving forward, with a ton of upside.

STOCK DOWN

Thaddeus Young: He’s heading from a depleted Nets team to a Pacers squad that features a player who had the No. 13 Usage Rate in the NBA last season (while returning from a catastrophic injury). Indiana also acquired Teague and has an emerging Myles Turner and chucker Monta Ellis, so Young’s going to have an awfully hard time trying to come close to the fantasy value he produced last season.

Jahlil Okafor: Maybe a trade will help offset this, but the addition of Ben Simmons and the return of Joel Embiid should really hurt Okafor’s fantasy value if he stays in Philadelphia. He was a top-100 player as a rookie last season, but he’s an extremely limited defensive player and will be looking at fewer shots in 2016/17.

Victor Oladipo: He was a top-35 player last year but now joins a Thunder team with the aforementioned two players ranking in the top-10 in Usage Rate. Oladipo is 24 years old and still improving, but his new situation is a big downgrade for his fantasy value. Others poorly affected by this trade include Dion Waiters, Aaron Gordon and Ersan Ilyasova. Of course, this is assuming Durant stays in OKC.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 25, 2016, 8:26 pm

You can fix a sandwich. You can fix a television set. Maybe you can even fix a soccer match. 

Can the Cardinals fix closer Trevor Rosenthal? That remains to be seen.

Rosenthal’s been a mess for most of the year, and the mess continued Friday at Seattle. Asked to protect a two-run lead in the ninth, he quickly blew up. Kyle Seager smoked a double. Dae-Ho Lee worked a walk. And then Adam Lind ended the proceedings, crushing a low fastball into the right-field seats, a no-doubter all the way

Although Rosenthal is a reasonable 14-for-17 on save conversions this year, that doesn’t mean he’s pitching well. He’s carrying an ugly 5.63 ERA and 2.04 WHIP. His strikeout rate was ridiculous in April, but it’s fallen for two straight months. He’s walked 21 batters (none of them intentional) over 24 innings.

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A silly .439 BABIP explains part of Rosenthal’s problems, but it’s not all bad luck. His struggles to find the strike zone have led to hitters taking advantage of better counts (they're also laying off borderline pitches more than ever). He’s allowed hard-hit contact on 40 percent of batted balls, easily the worst clip of his career. He’s also been more homer-prone than ever before. Go check the Lind blast again, let me know when and where it lands.

You might worry about Rosenthal possibly pitching through an injury, though his velocity has been good and consistent all year. Perhaps his problems could be rectified with a mechanical fix or two, but if it were easy, the Cardinals would have made the adjustment several weeks ago. 

Manager Mike Matheny didn’t want to commit to any role changes immediately after Friday’s game — that’s how most skippers handle this sort of thing — but he didn’t endorse Rosenthal, either. “I don’t know,” Matheny said, when asked about the closing gig. “I don’t have an answer right now.” 

The Final Boss (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)If and when a change needs to be made, the Cardinals have two strong options. Rookie right-hander Seung Hwan Oh has been mowing people down all year, and lefty Kevin Siegrist has some closing experience from the past. 

If I had both of them available to me in a Yahoo pool, I’d go after Oh first. He’s posted a 1.66 ERA and 0.79 WHIP for the year, with eight walks against 51 strikeouts in 38 innings. Everything about him screams out “future MLB closer.” He worked a clean eighth inning Friday (including an impressive strikeout of Robinson Cano), needing just 12 pitches.

And don't mistake Oh's rookie status for inexperience; he's 33, and has extensive closing experience from his career in Korea and Japan (he even picked up a closing nickname: "The Final Boss"). The Cardinals signed him to a one-year contract in January. 

Siegrist has been solid but nowhere near as dominant this year; he’s allowed five homers over 29 innings, and his K/BB ratio is around three. A 2.79 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, those are roster-worthy. For his career he’s been effective against both righty and lefty batters, though lefties, oddly, are slugging .467 against him this year

Obviously the frame of the save chase varies greatly, league to league. In some pools, Oh and/or Siegrist are already rostered. In other pools, your last chance to get them was Friday night or sometime Saturday. In shallower formats, you might have the luxury of letting the situation play out, seeing what the Cardinals say publicly, considering what happens with the next ninth-inning lead. 

I just want you to know the tipping point might have come in this gut-punch loss at Seattle. For all of Matheny’s patience, he can wait forever with Rosenthal. The Cardinals expect to be a playoff team every year; at the moment, they're one game out of a Wild Card spot. A Rosenthal timeout, be it short-term or long-term, seems inevitable. 

Check out your waiver wire, do what you have to do. Oh is owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Siegrist trades at 15 percent. They’re widely available.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 25, 2016, 12:30 pm

The Juggernaut Index is our annual ranking and review of NFL teams for fantasy purposes — repeat: FANTASY PURPOSES. Here, we concern ourselves with a franchise's likely contributions to the fantasy player pool. We are not concerned with projected wins and losses. Instead, we're focused on yards and points. As always, we're beginning with the league's least useful teams, working our way toward the elite fantasy juggernauts.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now!]

Philadelphia currently has three quarterbacks under contract for over $80 million, and the team's opening week starter is likely to be Sam Bradford. Kids, this is no way to operate your franchise in a salary cap league.

The Eagles hemorrhaged talent at the offensive skill spots during the Chip Kelly years, leaving the team with an unimpressive collection of names atop the depth chart at various positions. Kelly, of course, was fired last December, prior to the season's end. Under new head coach Doug Pederson, Philly will play slower — probably much slower — and place more decision-making and play-changing responsibility on the quarterback. Pederson served as Kansas City's OC from 2013 to 2015, steering an offense that finished 27th, 25th and 21st in total yardage. And again, this year's starting QB is likely to be Sam [profane] Bradford.

So yeah, this is kind of a big green mess. Bradford has averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt over his five NFL seasons, completing only 60.1 percent of his throws. He has no exceptional quarterbacking traits by NFL standards, and he's coming off a mostly ugly season. He threw only 19 touchdown passes and 14 picks over 14 games last year, plus he put the ball on the ground 10 times. Not good. But we think he's the guy to open the season...

Doug Pederson reiterates that Sam Bradford will be his starting QB, barring injury, for Game 1 in September.

— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) June 3, 2016

...so you should probably find a spot for him on your cheat sheet in very deep two-quarterback leagues. Elsewhere, you can forget him. Veteran backup Chase Daniel is next up on the depth chart, and he has years of experience in Pederson's offense, though he's shown us very little over six pro seasons (80.2 rating, one TD).

Carson Wentz at rookie minicamp (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Of course the biggest storyline for the 2016 Eagles will be Carson Wentz's development. Back in April, the team traded five draft picks to Cleveland, including two first-rounders and a second, in order to move up six spots to acquire Wentz. As most of you know, Wentz was adored by scouts and draft pundits and pretty much anyone who's interacted with him. He has a big arm and he owned the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, he certainly looks the part. He's drawn a few Andrew Luck comps, which is just ... well ... wow.

For all of his physical and intellectual gifts, Wentz's collegiate numbers and his tape from North Dakota State won't blow you away. He completed 62.5 percent of his throws over seven games as a senior at NDSU, averaging 7.9 Y/A — nice enough stats for a college QB, but they don't scream, "MUST DRAFT!" Let's keep in mind that Wentz was playing his home games in a dome, facing an FCS schedule. I can guarantee that the collegiate version of Andrew Luck would have absolutely eviscerated Montana, Weber State and UNI. For a guy with a huge arm, Wentz wasn't particularly accurate throws 20-plus yards downfield (38.5 percent). He occasionally processes plays at David Carr-speed, too.

I hope Wentz works out well for the Eagles, because I've got no beef with Philly and the league isn't overflowing with star quarterbacks. But this is not a Luck-level prospect in my view. Wentz has reportedly picked up the offense well, which is great. But he's making such a massive leap in quality-of-competition. Ideally, he'd get a redshirt year in Philly. Patience, please.

Jordan Matthews returns as the Eagles' clear No. 1 receiver, and he's coming off a quality season, considering the lousy team context. Matthews caught 85 balls for 997 yards on 128 targets, finding the end-zone eight times in 2015. He was generous to the fantasy community in the most important weeks of our season, delivering four of his touchdowns and 317 of his yards over the final three games. There's been talk that Matthews will see more snaps as an outside receiver in the year ahead, but he's primarily a slot guy.

Philadelphia's Bradford-Wentz-Pederson passing game seems unlikely to produce a second wide receiver with fantasy relevance, and the options at this position aren't great. Rueben Randle has nice enough size (6-foot-2) and durability, but he lacks explosion and after-the-catch ability. Nelson Agholor had a quiet rookie season featuring multiple drops, and he might soon be facing criminal charges. Josh Huff apparently dropped everything that came his way in OTAs. Tight end Zach Ertz signed a five-year extension during the offseason after producing career highs in both receptions (75) and yards (853) in 2015, and you should continue to view him as a reliable if unspectacular fantasy option. But in leagues of standard size, you can probably leave this team's non-Matthews wideouts alone.

DeMarco Murray is no longer in the team picture for Philly, which of course is not a bad thing. He was a notable fantasy and real-life bust last season, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on 193 rush attempts. He's now Tennessee's worry. Ryan Mathews is in line to see the largest share of backfield touches for the Eagles this season, following a season in which he averaged 5.0 YPC and crossed the goal-line seven times. Ball security and injury risk are the longtime issues for Mathews, as everyone knows, but those concerns are baked into his current ADP (54.1, RB25). He's an excellent pick for the ZeroRB crowd, and a nice flex/bench option for the rest of us. Darren Sproles remains in Philly, and he's still a reasonable end-of-draft asset in PPR formats and best-ball leagues. (Anywhere else, he's simply an emergency/bye-week placeholder; it's so hard to know when the twice-a-year big game is coming.) West Virginia rookie Wendell Smallwood is the sleeper in this team's backfield, and he's earned early praise from Pederson:

"Here is a guy I think can be explosive, has shown some explosiveness," Pederson said. "I really like the fact how he catches the football out of the backfield. I think that is something that is just a gift that he has. He's a natural, a natural pass catcher."

Smallwood has size enough to handle a significant workload (5-foot-11, 200), and he rushed for 1519 yards at WVU last year (6.4 YPC), adding 26 catches. He's the handcuff to Mathews. Snag him in the final round of deeper formats, and a bit earlier in dynasty.

No member of the Yahoo fantasy team ranked the Eagles defense higher than No. 14 among all D/STs, but we all ranked 'em somewhere. They were dreadful last season in terms of yards and points allowed (401.6 YPG, 26.9 PPG), but they also intercepted 15 passes, forced 18 fumbles and scored four defensive TDs, so they weren't a terrible fantasy unit. Fletcher Cox is the best of the IDPs here (71 tackles, 9.5 sacks), and Brandon Graham is on the radar as well. This group opens against the Browns and Bears, so Philly is at least ownable in the early weeks.

---

2015 Offensive Stats & Ranks
Points per game – 23.6 (13)
Pass YPG – 255.4 (12)
Rush YPG – 108.9 (14)
Yards per play – 5.3 (23)
Plays per game – 68.9 (2)

---

Previous Juggernaut Index entries: 32) Cleveland, 31) San Francisco

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 24, 2016, 8:00 pm

The Yahoo Fantasy Baseball '16 season is nearing the halfway point of the season. As we cross over into the official summer starting line, the Yahoo pundits (Brandon Funston, Scott Pianowski and Dalton Del Don) take a look at the the movers and shakers on the waiver wire that should pique the interest of fantasy owners. Let's get to it ...

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

Top 5 hitters owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Dalton Del Don
Scott Pianowski
1. Devon Travis, Tor -  Has caught fire in past 9 games (.400 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI), leading to a promotion to the leadoff spot
1. David Peralta, Ari - Back on the DL, but Peralta is still a player who had an .893 OPS in '15 with a bunch of upside when healthy
1.Derek Norris, SD — Bat has woken up; .881 OPS in June 

2. Melvin Upton Jr, SD In a class of 11 players w/ 9+ HRs and SBs, and he's been a top 15 roto bat over the past two weeks
2. Joe Panik, SF - He's a middle infielder on pace to finish with 94 runs scored, 15 homers, 79 RBI and 11 steals
2. Didi Gregorius, NYY — Known as a glove man, but consider this last month: .323-14-3-17-2; on pace for 14 homers, 73 RBIs
3. Leonys Martin, SeaAlso one of just 11 players w/ 9+ HRs and SBs, and he has at least 50 fewer ABs than any of the others because of a DL stint

3. Cameron Maybin, Det - He's batting .339 with eight steals over 32 games since returning to action

3. Joe Panik, SF — Slots second for underrated Giants offense; 21 runs and 17 RBIs over last month

4.  Danny Espinosa, Was Has 10 HRs since May 26 (2nd-most in MLB) and eligible at every infield position save Catcher

4. Brandon Moss, Stl - He's hitting .273/.366/.697 against right-handers, making him a must use in DFS and daily transaction leagues against RHP

4. Whit Merrified, KC — John Hughes made him up, but Ferris Bueller can’t play every day 


5. Brandon Moss, StLHe crushes righties (all 16 HRs vs. RHP) - in daily transaction leagues, teaming him w/ a bat that kills southpaws would yield elite returns
5. Melvin Upton Jr, SD - It remains bizarre someone on pace to finish with 20 homers and 35 steals is still available in so many leagues
5. Melvin Upton Jr, SD — On pace for 20 steals, 35 RBIs, along with a passable average 


   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Dalton Del Don
Scott Pianowski
1. Jerad Eickhoff, Phi -  Top 20 in Quality Starts (10) and owns a 2.01 ERA in 5 June starts 1. Wei-Yin Chen, Fla - All signs point to him being much better moving forward 1. James Paxton, Sea — He will break your radar gun; another post-hype story makes good
2. James Paxton, Sea -  Throws effortlessly in the upper 90s - health and consistency always threaten, but talent stands out 2. Shawn Kelley, Was - Owns a 12.65 K/9 rate and is the current closer for the Nationals 2. Jerad Eickhoff, Phi — Probably not a six-month story, but curve is divine and he’s held up a second time around league
3. Shawn Kelley, Was -  Great ratios and K rate in set-up role, and interim closer opportunity has another 3 weeks of run time

3. Danny Duffy, KC - He has a 23.1 K-BB% and is starting now (that would rank No. 6 overall among starters)

3. Mike Leake, Stl — Took a while to settle in, but he’s been good for six weeks, with better strikeout numbers than you might think
4.  Seung Hwan Oh, StL -  Among RPs (min. 30 IP) ranks top 8 in Ks, ERA and WHIP 4. James Paxton, Sea - He's now throwing 98 mph and has a ton of upside 4. Danny Duffy, KC — Much like Paxton, a post-hype lefty with a silly fastball  
5. Tony Cingrani, Cin - Has closed out 5 of past 6 for Cincy and should have at least a few more weeks before Iglesias moves in on the territory 5. Blake Snell, TB - One of the brighter pitching prospects is now up for Tampa Bay. His ownership should be much higher
5. Zach Davies, Mil — Hard to know how real it is, but strikeout rate is good and he’s starting to work deeper into games 

   

Top 5 hitters owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Dalton Del Don
Scott Pianowski
1. Steven Moya, Det -  High K, low BB guy, but looks like Darryl Strawberry and had 13 HRs in 50 Triple-A games (and already 3 HRs in 15 MLB games)
1. Angel Pagan, SF - He remains an injury risk but is well worth using when on the field 1. Steven Moya, Det — Fills out uniform nicely and sure to conk some homers while J.D. Martinez is out

2. A.J. Reed, Hou - You know me, always stumping for a Reed promotion - finally starting to push that envelope in Triple-A - .372, 3 HRs in past 10 games 2. Nick Hundley, Col - He's back healthy now and hit .355/.393/.563 at Coors Field last season
2. Nick Hundley, Col — Catcher is an ugly position, so why not take some Colorado hacks? 

3. Marwin Gonzalez, Hou — Ultimate utility knife has been hot in June, leading to a cushy spot in the order between Altuve and Springer

3. Chase Utley, LAD - Has a .371 OBP against right-handers and often hits leadoff for the Dodgers

3. Marwin Gonzalez, Hou — Play him anywhere but pitcher and catcher; on pace for 11 homers and 18 steals despite modest playing time
4. Peter O' Brien, Ari -  Huge HR upside (4 HRs in 10 games) who, while likely to remain a BA liability, should come up quite a bit from his current .171 mark 4. Pedro Alvarez, Bal - He has six homers (and a 1.032 OPS) over 51 at bats in June
4. Mark Reynolds, Col — Three positions, buoyed by the thin air 

 
5. Max Kepler, Min — Fan of his minor-league profile - currently riding tidy nine-game hit streak 5. Ryan Rua, Tex - For those in daily leagues, here's someone widely available with a .396/.476/.642 line against southpaws this season 5. Pedro Alvarez, Bal — Finally getting his swing tuned up; .314/.345/.686 in June, six homers 

   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Dalton Del Don
Scott Pianowski
1. Alex Cobb, TB -  In deeper leagues, I'd be looking to slide him into a DL spot about now as he's targeted for late July return 1. Hector Neris, Phi - Depends on format, but 48 Ks over 38.1 innings (with a 1.07 WHIP) sure are valuable in cap leagues 1. Lucas Giolito, Was — After a slow start, he’s been electric of late 

2. Tom Koehler, Mia — Has a 2.59 ERA over his past 9 starts - has allowed more than 3 ER in only 2 of his 14 starts this season 2. Daniel Hudson, Ari - It's tough coming up with options here, and he has a 1.55 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP 2. Kevin Siegrist, Stl — No one trusts Trevor Rosenthal at this point
3. Junior Guerra, Mil - I thinkj he's the definition of serviceable - always around a Quality Start with decent K rate and ratios

3. Joe Smith, LAA - If you have a DL spot, he's worth stashing given Huston Street's performance

3. Tom Koehler, Mia — ERA doesn’t match the WHIP, but team is solid and the strikeouts are sneaky
4.  Joe Blanton, LAD - Hey, don't laugh: Bazooka Joe has the 2nd-best WHIP among RPs (min. 30 IP) behind only Andrew Miller 4. Alex Reyes, Stl - Fantasy owners will be running to the waiver wire when he's called up
4. Addison Reed, NYM — He’s been a consistent reliever ever since he joined the Mets (2.46 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
5. Jake Diekman, Tex -  Texas gets tons of save opportunities, so Diekman sits in a good spot to continue to vulture some saves when Dyson needs a break 5. Matt Wisler, Atl - There's some upside here, albeit not much when it comes to wins
5. Ryan Buchter, SD — The second in command for the Padres; Rodney could be a July trade piece 

   

Top 5 mid-season fantasy MVPs (based on ADP) at each infield position (C/1B/2B/3B/SS)
Brandon Funston
Dalton Del Don
Scott Pianowski
C Wilson Ramos, Was - Who else could it be? Top roto catcher was draft-day afterthought (picked in just 27% of Y! leagues) C Wilson Ramos, Was - He's a top-100 player at a position with no other as such. Batting .330, Ramos has been a huge value for those who drafted him C Wilson Ramos, Was — Got his eyes fixed, body has help up, everything else is groovy


1B David Ortiz, Bos - Based on ADP, Wil Myers should get nod, but gotta tip the cap to Big Papi, who was also a draft-day steal, enjoying one of his greatest seasons at age 40 1B Wil Myers, SD - His preseason rank was No. 239, and he's been the No. 2 fantasy first baseman so far in 2016

1B Wil Myers, SD — It’s always been a matter of staying healthy, though a fairer Petco also boosts the cause


2B Daniel Murphy, Was -  No. 4 roto 2B was taken No. 12 at position in preseason ADP - since '15 AS break, hitting .317 with 27 HR, 100 RBI and 91 R (148 games, counting playoffs)

2B Daniel Murphy, Was -  He was a bargain at draft tables and leads the NL with a .347 batting average

2B Daniel Murphy, Was — Lots of make-goods at the keystone; Murphy’s breakout year was foreshadowed during 2015 playoffs 

3B Jake Lamb, Ari - Could have picked him up on waivers in almost any league after 1st month of the season - only Kris Bryant has been better at 3B in roto since then 3B Eduardo Nunez, Min - Talk about someone coming out of nowhere 3B Nick Castellanos, Det — BABIP can’t stay afloat all year, though hard contact is up and he does have some pedigree 


SS Ian Desmond, Tex - Could go with Story or Villar here, but Desmond has long been a roto Rodney Dangerfield - he needs some love for his top 5 overall 1st-half fantasy finish SS Jonathan Villar, Mil - He's on pace to finish with 14 homers and 56 steals
SS Trevor Story, Col — Strikeout rate is still worrisome and he’s not running a lot, but he can hit the ball out of any ballpark, to any field as well 
Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 24, 2016, 6:21 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

My full lineup:

SP: Masahiro Tanaka $46

SP: Jake Peavy $32

C: Welington Castillo $14

1B: Paul Goldschmidt $27

2B: Joe Panik $12

3B: Todd Frazier $12

SS: Jean Segura $14

OF: Gregory Polanco $19

OF: Peter O’Brien $13

OF: Melvin Upton Jr. $11

Tanaka has a 2.91 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and an 11.0 SwStr% this year, and the Yankees are big favorites (-200)...The Giants are even bigger favorites (-210), which makes Jake Peavy at $32 quite a bargain. There are 17 more expensive pitchers than him Friday, and Peavy has a 2.65 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP this month after a rough start to the season.

I’m stacking Diamondbacks (Castillo, Goldschmidt, Segura, O’Brien) against a lefty in Coors Field, and all seem underpriced. The over/under in that game is 11 runs. Goldschmidt is one of the top plays, and O’Brien is a sleeper...Panik is on pace to finish with 94 runs scored, 15 homers, 79 RBI and 11 steals and there are 18 more expensive second basemen Friday.

Frazier also remains affordable for someone on pace to combine for 58 homers/steals...Polanco is hitting .317/.394/.543 against righties this season, and he faces a pitcher Friday in Nick Tepesch making his first start since 2014...Upton Jr. remains underpriced (and underowned in season long leagues) for someone with a combined 25 homers/steals over 73 games. He’s slugging .493 against southpaws this season as well.

Good luck with your contests Friday.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 24, 2016, 5:24 pm

Ten years into the Mark Reynolds experience, we should have a good idea of what he is — and what he is not. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fantasy story worth kicking around here. 

Reynolds has seen more of the USA than Rand McNally. He’s cashed a check from seven teams over his career, and only two of those stops were more than one season. It’s the takeaway from Everybody Wants Some — here for a good time, not for a long time.

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When it comes to Coors Field, everybody certainly wants some (you want some, too). Reynolds has been useful in his partial role this year, a .290/.357/.455 slash with seven homers in 224 at-bats. And things get especially interesting if you have the flexibility to take the center cut of his production, to use Reynolds at his best. 

The first thing we look at with any Colorado hitter is the home/road splits. Reynolds hasn’t been a full pumpkin on the road (.763 OPS), but he’s certainly getting the best of it at home: .314/.391/.480. He had a homer in Thursday’s loss to Arizona, taking a Zack Greinke pitch just over the right-field wall

Reynolds has been platoon-neutral for his career, though that hasn’t followed in 2016. He’s slugging .523 against righties this year, just .315 the other way. 

The next six games should be Reynolds-friendly, as Colorado has six home games and four of them come against right-handed pitching. Reynolds has never been a plus fielder, but he’s a heavy qualifier in our game: you can slot him at first, third, or the outfield. He’s ready for your call in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Brad Ziegler picked up the victory in Arizona’s win, though it came after a blown save. It’s the first red ink from Ziegler in a while; he had 43 straight conversions before Thursday’s hiccup. Raise a glass for the seventh-longest save streak in MLB history

It doesn’t seem right that Ziggy’s run ended as it did. The Snakes summoned him in the eighth inning with a perilous situation: one run lead, one out, runners on first and third, meat of the order up. The Rockies tied the score on Ziegler, but he did well to limit the damage to one run. 

To be fair, Ziegler has been living right most of the year. His 2.51 ERA is the beneficiary of some good fortune (zero homers allowed, plus an uptick in walks). SIERA suggests a 3.63 mark, while the FIP brothers push over three. Ziegler’s game is always going to be heavy on ground balls — we’ll always welcome that — but he also needs to live through contact. Interestingly, he’s allowing the most hard contact of his career, and the highest BABIP. 

I’m fine with Ziegler as a fantasy closer because the Snakes aren’t looking to replace him. It’s going to take an extended slump for him to lose the gig. And, heck, it’s fun to see different styles succeed. Not everyone has to be a fire-breathing, fastball-chucking, beard-growing behemoth in the ninth. If Ziegler kills them softly in the ninth, what’s the harm in that? 

Didi stepping up (Rich Schultz/Getty)• I’m pretty sure we haven’t talked Didi Gregorius all year, so let’s break the seal and have a brief little chat. I’m even willing to throw both of his names into custom dictionary. 

Gregorius is a field-first player for the Yanks, in the lineup for his glove at shortstop (a marked improvement over the guy he replaced, who’s name escapes me). But he’s also turned into a passable hitter. Gregorius is hitting a career-best .286, and he’s on pace for 14 homers, 73 RBIs and seven steals. Solid improvement in an age-26 season.

Gregorius doesn’t walk a lot, but he also puts his bat on the ball — his strikeout rate is the sixth-lowest among regular players. He’s also having a ball at Yankee Stadium this year, posting a .304/.344/.504 slash there. Sounds like someone who should be owned in more than 18 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

• The Athletics might not be doing the fantasy-friendly thing, but cheers to their bullpen usage. Oakland summoned Ryan Madson for the eighth inning on Thursday — the right-handed meat of the Anaheim lineup — then let Sean Doolittle handle the easier ninth, en route to a save. Doolittle actually lost his way a bit, allowing a homer and two runs, but all’s well that ends well. Madson went 1-2-3 in his stint, with two strikeouts. 

• I didn’t get in on the Willson Contreras madness; he went quickly in all of my pools, and in the two-catcher formats, I wasn’t altogether stuck at the position. But Contreras might wind up playing more than I initially expected. The Cubs are currently giving him some run at first base while Anthony Rizzo heals up, and Joe Maddon is also willing to consider Contreras for occasional outfield play

Mind you, everyone remembers what happened when Kyle Schwarber — clearly not an outfielder — was asked to man left field. But maybe Contreras can sneak on the field about half of the time. He’s off to a 5-for-13 start for the Cubs, with a couple of homers. And his Triple-A audition speaks for itself

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 24, 2016, 3:29 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

My full lineup (for all games starting after 4 pm PT):

SP: Jon Lester ($54) -  With a 2.06 ERA, five consecutive Wins and 0 ER allowed in his past two road starts (15 IP), Lester is easily the surest thing on the hill among a limited afternoon slate on Thursday

SP: Tim Lincecum ($37) -  Let's see if Lincecum can work some magic yet again against Oakland, a team he beat in his '16 debut on June 18 with 6 IP of one-run ball - the A's have scored just 12 runs in their past six games

C: Welington Castillo ($13) -  Make sure to tune in early to verify if it is Castillo or Chris Hermmann behind the dish for the Diamondbacks, because you'll want whoever it is (Hermmann is just $1 more) - Arizona faces Colorado RHP Eddie Butler, who has allowed 17 ER in 16.2 IP at Coors Field this season

1B: James Loney ($8) - Going cheap here with Loney, who has hit in nine of his past 10 games and was 2-for-3 in his previous meeting with Atlanta RHP Matt Wisler

2B: Ben Zobrist ($18) -  Zobrist is 15-for-40 (.375) lifetime against Miami LHP Wei-Yin Chen, who owns a 5.98 ERA in eight home starts this season

3B: Eugenio Suarez ($10) -  Not a bad price for a guy who owns a .993 OPS against southpaws this season, and is facing San Diego LHP Christian Friedrich

SS: Addison Russell ($8) - Going with a Cubs contingent up the middle as the bargain-basement priced Russell comes into this contest having collected four hits in his past six ABs - and, of course, there's also the benefit of facing Miami LHP Wei-Yin Chen

OF: Carlos Gonzalez ($25) - CarGo has had a lucrative career against Arizona RHP Zack Greinke, with four home runs and 12 hits in 31 ABs (.387)

OF: Matt Kemp ($17) - Kemp is hitting .370 this month, and he's produced a 1.097 OPS against southpaws - he'll face Cincy LHP John Lamb

OF: Yasmany Tomas ($10) -  Tomas relishes the Coors Field environment as much as any hitter in the league, owning a .483 BA mark in his 29 career ABs in the most offensive park in the league - As mentioned in the Catcher note above, Tomas will face Colorado RHP Eddie Butler, who has allowed 17 ER in 16.2 IP at Coors Field this season

Follow Brandon Funston on Twitter.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 23, 2016, 4:48 pm

When the 2016 season opened, Trevor Bauer wasn’t even in the Cleveland starting rotation. Now it looks like he’s finally giving us a breakout season that we’ve been dreaming about for five years.

Bauer came to professional baseball with a ton of hype, the third pick in the 2011 amateur draft. Decorated kid from UCLA, made radar guns pop. The first year he qualified for the inner-circle prospect rankings, everyone had him in the Top 12. 

When Bauer’s quick run through the minors was merely good, not outstanding, we made excuses for him. Maybe he’s bored. Maybe he’ll actually be better at the top level of competition. Bauer eventually debuted with the Diamondbacks in 2012, a mountain of expectations at age 21. 

Alas, it’s taken a while. Bauer was kicked around in his brief 2012 debut, then was shipped to Cleveland in the three-team deal (Shin Soo-Choo the most prominent player; he landed in Cincinnati). Bauer eventually became a part of Cleveland’s primary rotation in 2014 and 2015, but the results were not fantasy-worthy most of the time (4.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP). When the 2016 season opened, Bauer and his ear buds were in the bullpen. 

Bauer was forced into the Cleveland rotation in late April, a replacement needed when Carlos Carrasco suffered a hamstring injury. His first two turns were ordinary, but consider what he’s done over the last nine starts: 2.56 ERA, 1.07 WHIP. He’s striking out just under a batter per inning, and he’s giving us more than three whiffs for every walk.

The June starts have been the most fun of all. Bauer has made it through seven innings in all of them, striking out 38 and walking just nine. It shakes down to a 1.86 ERA and 0.88 WHIP; the No. 9 fantasy starter this month. I guess this is growing up. 

Bauer went the route in Wednesday’s victory over Tampa Bay, allowing just three hits and one run. He walked one, struck out 10. With that, fantasy owners seem to finally be on board. Bauer’s Yahoo ownership finally crept over 50 percent this month. 

So what’s been different this year? Bauer’s velocity is improved from 2015, that’s nice to see. His swinging strike rate is the same. He’s ditched his slider for a cutter and he’s getting more ground balls, which certainly works for us. His fastball and curve grades are at all-time highs (the curve was really dancing Wednesday). 

If you’re in the 44 percent of leagues where Bauer isn’t owned, what are you waiting for? You can jump on board for a double-dip next week, when he faces the Braves and Blue Jays. 

Cadillac Trot (Duane Burleson/Getty)— Steven Moya is one of those two-true outcome players, with the walks missing in action. He strikes out a lot, and sometimes his connections go an awfully long way. Moya clubbed two balls over the fence in Wednesday’s victory over Seattle, giving him three homers in 53 at-bats with the Tigers. He’s walked once, struck out 15 times.

You’ll have no trouble locating Moya on the field, he’s the 6-foot-7 guy in the corner outfield spot. He’s owned in eight percent of Yahoo leagues, which is low for the moment. He's needed while J.D. Martinez rehabs. 

— I don’t think I’ll be writing much about Michael Taylor for a while, after he gave us the Point Shaving Moment of 2016 (or maybe it’s a topic for Chris Patrick Morgan’s excellent In-Play Lose blog). Taylor struck out in all five of his at-bats Wednesday at Los Angeles, then ended the game with a lackadaisical ninth-inning error, gifting the two deciding runs to the Dodgers. This doesn’t mean I trust Ben Revere’s bat all of a sudden, but it certainly clears the path for Revere to get more playing time forward. Dusty Baker wanted a platoon here, anyway — at least until someone takes the job and runs with it. That favors Revere, the left-hander. 

— Pitching prospects have been a mixed bag in 2016 (consider everything we said about Bauer a few graphs ago), but we can’t ship this edition without at least mentioning what Tyler Glasnow is up to. 

Glasnow, one of the gems of the Pittsburgh system, threw seven no-hit innings at Triple-A on Wednesday. There were some dicey moments — five walks, along with eight strikeouts — but no one denies the monster stuff here. He’s now sitting on a 1.61 ERA, albeit that doesn’t completely jibe with a 1.14 WHIP (and when those numbers disagree, trust the WHIP). Nonetheless, Glasnow has pedigree to the moon and is likely going to be in Pittsburgh fairly soon. The Pirates are below .500 and it's a team designed to win now; something needs to be done. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 23, 2016, 4:29 pm

On this uptempo edition of the program, Brad Evans welcomes back his brother from another mother, Brandon Funston, with open arms. The pigskin prognosticators touch on several topics including worries about Jamaal Charles, rising confidence with Sammy Watkins and the building hype surrounding Tyler Lockett. 

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now!]

Additionally, they declare whether Derek Carr, Jeremy Hill, Chris Ivory, Donte Moncrief and Kevin White are overvalued or undervalued at their current ADPs and answer your pressing Twitter questions.

Give it a listen, you might just like it 

And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: June 22, 2016, 7:43 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

With more options available for contests starting at 7:05 ET, I’m going to concentrate on Wednesday’s later batch of games.

My full lineup:

SP: Cole Hamels $47

SP: Ubaldo Jimenez $25

C: Buster Posey $19

1B: Hanley Ramirez $9

2B: Jason Kipnis $12

3B: Todd Frazier $12

SS: Tim Anderson $13

OF: Mookie Betts $24

OF: Adam Jones $21

OF: Justin Upton $18

Hamels’ 1.77 GB/FB ratio this season is the highest of his career, and the Rangers are big favorites (-203) Wednesday. The Reds are 11-24 on the road this year...Jimenez has an ugly ERA in 2016, but it’s rare to be able to use the cheapest pitcher on the day’s slate who’s throwing for a team who are the second biggest favorites (-175). And there’s some strikeout upside as well (the Padres have the third-most Ks in MLB).

Even in a down year, Posey has continued to hit lefties well (.292/.382/.477 with a 10:10 K:BB ratio), and the catching options are especially rough here...Ramirez is at home and facing a southpaw (in which he has a .976 OPS against this season), and there are 18 more expensive first basemen. He’s a bargain even against Jose Quintana...Frazier also has the platoon advantage, is cheap for someone on pace to hit 46 homers (with 91 runs scored and 103 RBI) and will be hitting in a park that’s increased run scoring more than any other than Coors Field over the past three seasons.

Anderson remains an affordable option at a thin position while hitting leadoff. The over/under for the White Sox/Red Sox game (9.5 runs) is the highest of all Wednesday...Jones is at home (and the wind should be blowing out) facing a pitcher with a 7.66 ERA who’s allowed a .364 BAA versus righties this year...Upton has doubled his home run total for the season over his past 17 at bats.

Good luck with your contests Wednesday.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 22, 2016, 5:53 pm

The Juggernaut Index is our annual ranking and review of NFL teams for fantasy purposes — repeat: FANTASY PURPOSES. Here, we concern ourselves with a franchise's likely contributions to the fantasy player pool. We are not concerned with projected wins and losses. Instead, we're focused on yards and points. As always, we're beginning with the league's least useful teams, working our way toward the elite fantasy juggernauts.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now!]

The Niners roster is absurdly short on talent, a potentially toxic mix of reclamation projects and bad ideas. There's really nothing on this team that should interest you for fantasy purposes, with the possible exception of Carlos Hyde — and if you owned Hyde at any point in the past two seasons, then you probably aren't interested in him, either.

I'm only willing to dive so deep with this team, because I don't want to leave any of you with the impression that San Francisco's depth chart is somehow rich with sleepers. Honestly, if you avoid all Niners on draft day, you will likely have a more enjoyable fantasy experience. Don't enter this carnival of pain.

Chip Kelly (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

San Francisco's biggest offseason addition was head coach Chip Kelly, who'd been fired by the Eagles after a disastrous campaign in which he controlled both play-calling and personnel decisions. Under Kelly, Philadelphia's offense ranked middle-of-the-pack in both total yardage and scoring last season, and of course last year's Eagles had considerably more talent than this year's Niners. Let's not assume Kelly's system, despite its uncommon pace, can elevate a faulty, substandard roster to fantasy relevance.

Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick will enter camp in a battle for the starting quarterback role for San Francisco. The previous sentence is among the saddest I've written in my nine years at Yahoo. Gabbert was unexpectedly not-terrible in his eight games with the Niners last season (7.2 Y/A, 86.2 rating), but let's not confuse real-life competence with fantasy upside. He threw exactly one touchdown pass in six of his eight appearances, and delivered three games with less than 200 passing yards. These are uninspiring numbers. He probably has a slight edge over Kaepernick in the starting competition at the moment, but this means very little in June. Kaepernick is returning from multiple surgeries and multiple years of inadequate play, so he has everything to prove and a new system to master at age 28. (Gabbert, for the record, is two years younger than Colin.)

We tend to think of mobility as a prized quarterback trait in Kelly's offense, but it's not as if he's running the wishbone. Kelly's Eagles put the ball in the air 623 times last year. Accuracy and decision-making are everything in the NFL at the quarterback position, and these have not been strengths for either Gabbert or Kaepernick. Neither has a career completion percentage above 60.0. You won't be drafting this team's opening week QB in standard 10 or 12-team fantasy leagues, no matter which player gets the nod. There's a very good chance that the starting quarterback for the 2017 Niners is currently enrolled at Clemson or Miami.

Kelly's offense produced a pair of top-25 fantasy receivers in both 2013 (D-Jax, Cooper) and 2014 (Maclin and Matthews), plus another last year (Matthews), so I can understand if you feel moderately tempted by Torrey Smith. He won't cost much on draft day, presumably, since he's coming off a miserable 663-yard, four-spike season. Smith was targeted just 61 times over 16 games in 2015, catching 33 balls and producing the worst numbers of his five-year career. He's more of a go-route receiver than an every-route guy, and he's obviously not tied to a quarterback who can consistently take advantage of his one great skill. There are issues here, no question. But he's also the No. 1 receiver on a team that will play fast and attempt 580-plus passes, so he remains in the fantasy conversation.

Torrey Smith (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Beyond Smith, San Francisco's receiver depth chart is abysmal. It hardly seems possible for an offense led by Gabbert or Kaepernick to produce a second ownable fantasy wideout, but perhaps third-year slot receiver Bruce Ellington can make some low-level PPR noise. Kelly seems fond of him, and someone is going to see all the short-range targets that won't go to Smith. Quinton Patton remains an uninteresting supporting receiver in a brutal passing game, so there's no need for his name to appear on your cheat sheet. Eric Rogers is kinda/sorta interesting, because he has nice size (6-foot-3) and athleticism (37-inch vertical), and he's coming off a tremendous year in Calgary (87-1448-10). Rogers has found his way to the NFL after a detour through arena football and the CFL, which makes him easy to root for, if you'll be stuck watching this team. Tight end Vance McDonald could very well finish as the Niners' second-leading receiver, coming off a respectable second-half in 2015. McDonald and Gabbert worked reasonably well together, as Vance closed his season by topping 60 receiving yards in three of his final six games. If you play in a league that starts two tight ends (a rare format, but it exists), give him a look.

Depending on your tolerance for injury risk, Carlos Hyde is either the safest Niners skill player — he's the team's unrivaled featured runner — or he's the most dangerous, because he's only rarely not hurt. Hyde appeared in only seven games last season, eventually landing on I.R. due to a stress fracture in his foot. He was a monster in the team's season-opener against the Vikings, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, but that was the sell-high point. He made only one additional visit to the end-zone before the October injury. There's little question that Hyde will see all the touches he can possibly handle in Kelly's offense — no other back on the roster is in his tier, talent-wise — but he really needs to remain active, avoiding unnecessary contact.

Kelly certainly sounds like he's fond of his new workhorse back:

“I’ve only seen one Carlos Hyde, and the Carlos Hyde I know has been healthy and full go,” Kelly said. “Our style and scheme adapts to whoever it is,” Kelly added, “but he certainly has the skillset to be an outstanding running back at this level, because he can do everything.”

Chip's scheme did not, in fact, fit DeMarco Murray particularly well last season, despite all the good vibes during the offseason. We should also mention that there's little evidence to support the claim that Hyde can "do everything," because he's only caught 23 passes in 21 career games in the NFL, plus another 34 in his four years at Ohio State. Shaun Draughn remains the backup/handcuff in San Francisco, and he could emerge as a 45-55 catch RB. But unless you play in a monstrously deep league, you really shouldn't handcuff a good-not-great back who's tethered to a low-yield offense.

The Niners defense wasn't anything special last season following various defections, allowing 387.4 total yards per game, ranking No. 29 in the league. NaVorro Bowman is still around, however, coming off a 154-tackle season, and the team used the No. 7 overall pick in the draft on Oregon beast DeForest Buckner. So things aren't entirely bad on that side of the ball. Still, you aren't going to actually draft this group in a fantasy league of any size or shape. San Francisco's team D is strictly a streaming option.

Perhaps Kelly can reanimate a team that flat-lined last season, but the Niners certainly appear to requite a multi-year rebuild. Last season's team stats were horrendous (see below). Playing at a faster pace may simply result in a hurry-up-and-punt approach that wears down the defense, frustrating fans and fantasy investors.

---

2015 Offensive Stats & Ranks
Points per game – 14.9 (32)
Pass YPG – 207.3 (29)
Rush YPG – 96.5 (21)
Yards per play – 5.0 (30)
Plays per game – 60.6 (30)

---

Previous Juggernaut Index entries: 32) Cleveland

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 22, 2016, 3:38 pm

Much of the fantasy chase in this column is about who to pick up, who to trade, who to target, who to embrace. But sometimes we have to flip the script and talk about who to get rid of, who to kick to the curb.  

Ben Revere and Gerardo Parra, come on down.

The obvious disclaimers apply to any fantasy discussion — it’s all contextual and your league shape and team needs will drive decisions, yada yada yada. You’re going to have to season this to taste, somewhat. I’d like to assume you go into every column with that disclaimer well in mind, but every so often it bears repeating. 

Okay, back to our curbside outfielders, who are both owned in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Let's fix those bloated ownership tags.  

Not much has gone Revere’s way this season. He suffered an oblique injury on opening day and missed a month, and he hasn’t hit a lick since returning (.206/.256/.271, one homer). Other than seven steals, he’s been just about worthless as a fantasy player. He took another collar in Tuesday’s loss at Los Angeles. 

Teammate Michael Taylor is not a perfect player by any means, but I wonder if the Nats would consider turning center field over to Taylor at some point. He’s got considerably more power than Revere, and he’s about three years younger. Taylor is probably a better defender, too, in part because Revere has one of the worst throwing arms in the majors. 

A platoon might sound like a viable option, since Taylor is a right-handed bat and Revere hits lefty, but that doesn’t really fit. Taylor’s crushing lefties this year, but Revere’s the odd lefty who has a reverse split — he’s better against lefties, too. 

Maybe it’s coincidental, but Revere didn’t steal a lot after the Blue Jays acquired him late in 2015; he swiped just seven bags in nine attempts over his last 56 games. You’re encouraged by his career .290 average, but with no power to speak of and Taylor looming around for playing time, I’m concerned on the downside. I don’t own any Revere shares, and I won’t be angling to pick him up where he’s been dropped. Shoot for higher upside. 

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Parra, of course, is currently on the 15-day disabled list (ankle), so a lot of fantasy owners will use up a DL spot for him. If you’re in one of those crazy leagues with unlimited DL spots, fine, knock yourself out — but if your stash comes with an opportunity cost, I’d strongly consider moving on completely. 

Rico SuaveI’ll admit I thought Parra was a good play entering the year because Coors Field was likely to buoy him, and the ADP was outside the Top 200 in many instances. Alas, he’s been just about a flop. A .263 average is a mild drain, but he’s not helping himself with his awful plate discipline (four walks). He’s only hit five home runs, and merely stolen six bases (while being caught four times). I didn’t expect him to finish well under his career batting average and OBP while moving to the party park. 

The lefty/righty splits don’t make any sense with Parra this year. He’s traditionally had common splits for a lefty, but this year he’s .250/.257/.417 in the advantage, .302/.323/.444 against the southpaws. Last year his OBP was over .800 against RHPs; this year it’s in the 600s. 

Generally I’m all about grabbing any piece of Colorado that I can and letting the chips fall where they may. And Parra does have a .310/.325/.513 slash at Coors, which certainly plays if you’re capable of jostling him in and out for home starts when he happens to be in the lineup. But the road tax also comes with the territory (.223/.229/.575), and he’s merely a contributor in the power and speed cats, not a dominator. 

Again, it’s a case of your mileage will vary, but I’ve found healthier, more playable options for the majority of my rosters. I’ve moved on. And who’s to say how quickly Parra will come back from this ankle problem, or how it will affect his production going forward? 

If you want an objective sense of how disappointing Revere and Parra have been this season, consider the offensive fWAR rankings of every outfielder over 100 plate appearances. You’ll get 127 players in such a search, with Parra rankling dead last and Revere just in front of him. The rest of the Shameful Seven: Chris Coghlan, Billy Burns, Jake Marisnick, Aaron Hicks and Carlos Gomez. Perennial tease Jason Heyward is at 94. Yasiel Puig, 105. 

-- Does Huston Street look right to you? He’s been in six games since returning from his oblique injury and here are the results: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 6 BB, 2 K. He didn’t retire anyone in Tuesday’s mess at Houston, turning a one-run lead into a one-run loss. 

The Angels are generally patient with Street (and they’re paying him well to close), so I doubt they’ll be knee-jerk with their closing situation. Is a fastball at 87.9 mph finally an issue? Street generally lives in the 80s, so that’s not a new thing, but it is a dip from last year. 

Joe Smith, the nominal understudy, is currently on the DL with a hamstring injury. Cam Bedrosian might be worth a look in deeper pools.

D-Train (Kent Horner/Getty)-- Catcher has been a wasteland for most of the year, even in leagues that require just one starter. So let’s stop and appreciate how Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki have rallied of late. Both players homered Tuesday, and Suzuki rolled up six RBIs. 

Norris is on a .275-13-5-15-1 wave over the last month, which makes him the No. 6 catcher in 5x5 value. Perhaps he’s finally healthy after some hand problems in May. I don’t understand why he’s unowned in about 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. There’s a track record of reasonable production here. 

Suzuki is more of a filler for leagues that go deep, but let’s tally his last month, too, even if it’s the arbitrary endpoint game: .319, three homers, 15 RBIs. There’s something about a Suzuki homering on June 21 that warms my heart. Perhaps Suzuki wanted to celebrate the birthdays of Mr. and Mrs. Keaton. Sha-la-la-la. 

If you're in a deeper format and need that second backstop, you'll find Suzuki ready to go in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

-- In case you missed it, the Starting Pitcher Shuffle Up went live on Tuesday. Check out the prices, and consider the extended commentary on several players, including Jeff Samardzija, Steven Wright and Aaron Nola. In the words of Fantasy Baseball legend Teddy Bell, "pitchers are the worst." Let's be careful out there. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 22, 2016, 3:18 pm

Today we tackle the big one, the elusive one, the erratic one, those maddening starting pitchers...

The idea is 5x5 value for rest of season. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. I didn't rank anyone on the DL, or anyone in the minors. Everyone seems to be more optimistic on injury returnees and hot prospects than I am.

The prices are unscientific in nature, and players at the same price are considered even. I'm just looking for a way to show the pockets of value as I see them. I don't look at old prices when I construct these -- it's all from scratch. I don't even see the point of looking back there; live in the present, look to the future.

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I welcome your respectful disagreement. Obviously you will feel passionate about what you don't agree with, that's why we have a game. The discussion can be deep and illuminating if you want it to be.

And remember the golden rule -- a player doesn't gain value because you like him, nor does he lose value because you don't like him.

I reserve the right to make changes in this list during the first 24 hours. Win the debate, win the rank. Some extended comments have been added. 

If I missed someone, let me know. I'm on Twitter, @scott_pianowski.

$35 Clayton Kershaw
$32 Madison Bumgarner
$31 Jake Arrieta
$30 Jose Fernandez
$30 Noah Syndergaard
$30 Max Scherzer
$28 Stephen Strasburg
$28 Johnny Cueto
$28 Chris Sale
$27 Jon Lester
$22 Zack Greinke
$21 Jacob deGrom
$21 David Price
$20 Cole Hamels
$20 Corey Kluber
$20 Julio Teheran
$19 Jeff Samardzija
$19 Carlos Martinez
$19 John Lackey

More cutters and more ground balls have driven Shark’s comeback, along with all the advantages that come with life in San Francisco. As much as we talk about obvious things like AT&T Park and the Giants infield defense, I think the Buster Posey effect gets underrated at times. Posey’s only Top 5 MVP year was the season he won it, which doesn’t sit well with me. But it could be decades before the defensive metrics figure out a way to truly measure what a catcher is worth. 

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I don't see the need for a lot of Kershaw think pieces. Everyone has a sense of how ridiculous he is. I will share my rule of thumb for trading Kershaw: if the offer isn't an obvious and immediate yes, just say no. I don't believe in untouchables in this game, but in instances like this, you need to be bowled over. 

$18 Masahiro Tanaka
$18 Danny Salazar
$17 Justin Verlander
$17 Jose Quintana
$16 Steven Matz
$16 Kenta Maeda
$15 Kyle Hendricks
$14 Adam Wainwright
$14 Dallas Keuchel
$14 Jake Odorizzi
$14 Jason Hammel
$14 Matt Harvey
$14 Carlos Carrasco
$13 Marco Estrada
$13 Chris Tillman
$13 Matt Shoemaker
$13 Drew Pomeranz
$12 Trevor Bauer
$12 Chris Archer
$12 Jordan Zimmermann
$12 Steven Wright
$12 Sonny Gray
$12 Drew Smyly
$11 Michael Fulmer
$11 Aaron Nola

As much as I love Nola and his curveball, I wonder if his fastball is good enough to develop him into a star. He’s throwing the bender about a third of the time, third-most in the league. Maybe he eventually turns into an Adam Wainwright type (that would be the high end); the ground-ball rates are in the same neighborhood. I also wonder how many innings the Phillies will let Nola throw this year in a non-contending season, though he did get into the 180s last year. Still, at 23, I don’t see any reason to overly extend him. 

I know I have Shoemaker higher than some are comfortable with, but two things make be believe in him -- how good he was in 2014 (he's done it before, for an extended period of time), and the strikeout rate he's sailed to since he recaptured the command of his splitter. 

I’m conflicted with Wright, and I’d love to rank him higher. I love the story. I also think Wright has an advantage playing for Boston, since it affords him extra time to work with Tim Wakefield. There aren’t that many minds who truly understand the knuckler. 

From season to season, we generally understand the volatility at play. Look how Wakefield followed up his best seasons, or what R.A. Dickey did after his Cy Young season (albeit some part of that was the league change). Unless the Regression Police go to the moon against Wright next year (and make him a giveaway price), I’ll certainly be leery of him. The knucker is a feel pitch and you worry about what’s lost over the winter. But in-season, it’s a different set of concerns. 

Ultimately I have Wright priced this conservatively because he had a modest track record before this year and a knuckleballer presents a rockier floor when things go bad. The downside has to be minded here. That said, he’s on a couple of my fantasy teams (and he’s also on my favorite real-life team, for whatever that means) and I’d love for the flutterball to keep dancing. I wish we had more pitchers throwing this pitch, even if it’s merely as a last-ditch attempt to stay in the majors.  

If you want to stump for Wright, though, please don't quote his current banked-stats rank and drop the mic. We consider what's happened, sure, but this exercise is never intended to be a rolling out of the current stat rankings. The idea is how we view players if everyone started from scratch today. 

$10 C.C. Sabathia
$10 Colby Lewis
$11 Michael Wacha
$11 Aaron Sanchez
$10 Doug Fister
$10 Danny Duffy
$9 Zach Davies
$9 J.A. Happ
$9 Hisashi Iwakuma
$9 Scott Kazmir
$9 James Paxton
$9 Joe Ross
$9 Gio Gonzalez
$8 Mike Leake
$8 Josh Tomlin
$8 Jerad Eickhoff
$8 Taijuan Walker
$8 Jaime Garcia
$7 Tanner Roark
$7 R.A. Dickey
$7 Jameson Taillon
$7 Francisco Liriano

I love the Sabathia story, and although I wasn't initially invested in the returns, I'm now up to three or four shares. He's conquered some much-documented demons in his personal life, and the cutter is agreeing with him. Obviously the HR/FB rate has nowhere to go but up, but he's too deep in the season for us to write this off as a fluke. No one expects the sterling ratios to continue, but I fully expect him to be roto-relevant for the balance of the year. Welcome back, lefty. 

$6 Ian Kennedy
$6 Archie Bradley
$6 Collin McHugh
$6 Blake Snell
$6 Rick Porcello
$5 Julio Urias
$5 Tom Koehler
$5 Dan Straily
$5 Mike Fiers
$5 Yordano Ventura
$5 Wei-Yin Chen
$5 Jon Gray
$5 Lance McCullers
$4 Bud Norris
$4 Bartolo Colon
$4 Jimmy Nelson
$4 Junior Guerra
$4 Tyler Anderson
$4 Patrick Corbin
$4 Nathan Eovaldi
$4 Michael Pineda
$4 Cody Reed
$4 Marcus Stroman
$3 Tim Lincecum
$3 Daniel Mengden
$3 Christian Friedrich
$3 Brandon Finnegan
$3 Matt Moore
$3 Martin Perez
$3 Shelby Miller
$3 Miguel Gonzalez
$3 Carlos Rodon
$3 Anthony DeSclafani
$3 Adam Conley
$3 Derek Holland
$3 Kevin Gausman
$3 Nathan Karns

A friendly reminder to you radio chaps — there are only three syllables in Eovaldi . . . I generally don’t trust shorter pitchers, which had me out on Stroman from the jump. Good luck turning it around in that nightmare division . . . When McCullers stops walking the ballpark, I’ll consider a price increase. And if I’m late to that story, so it goes . . . I generally am less optimistic about prospects right out of the box, which I why I have very grounded prices on Taillon, Reed and Urias. In the case of Urias, we know for sure the team is going to handle him with the gentlest of kid gloves. 

$2 Chase Anderson
$2 Matt Garza
$2 Jeremy Hellickson
$2 Jake Peavy
$1 Chris Young
$1 Ricky Nolasco
$1 Jorge De La Rosa
$1 Jered Weaver
$1 Clay Buchholz
$1 Michael Bolsinger
$1 Eduardo Rodriguez
$1 Hector Santiago
$1 John Lamb
$1 Collin Rea
$0 Aaron Blair
$-3 James Shields

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 21, 2016, 9:49 pm

Mookie Betts had just a .693 OPS entering May 10, yet he’s somehow still on pace to finish with an absolutely absurd line of .290-143-35-117-26. The right-handed batter has hit .175/.209/.400 against southpaws this season, which can reasonably be expected to improve greatly moving forward. Betts has been the No. 2 fantasy hitter in 2016, and that’s with a modest .300 BABIP (he’s also a plus base runner and defender). Leading off for a team lapping the field in runs scored helps, but Betts very well could hit better, given his age and slump in April, making his rate stats all the more remarkable. He’d be a top-five overall pick if a draft were held today and maybe higher.

Headlines of the Week: Fight Over Fart Leads To Blows At Sloppy Joe’s...Dogs Not Allowed In Pompton Lakes Dog Park...India Puts 18 Lions On Trial For Murder, And The Culprit May Get A Life Zoo Sentence...Woman Accused Of Impersonating Elderly Mom For Driving Test...Naked Man Exposes His Sausage At Waffle House.

Quick Hits: Madison Bumgarner and Steven Wright combined to allow one earned run over 17.0 innings Monday, yet both San Francisco and Boston lost (and funnily, MadBum actually pitched one fewer inning than Wright yet was the only one credited with a complete game). Wright leads the American League with a 2.01 ERA. Here’s the only run scored in the aforementioned Giants game...Over his first six starts, Drew Smyly had a 2.72 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP with 47 strikeouts over 39.2 innings. Since then, he has a 6.60 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP over 45.0 innings. One glimmer of hope for owners though is he has a 17:0 K:BB ratio over his last two outings, and six of his last eight starts over this span have come on the road...Michael Conforto was batting .365/.442/.676 with four homers, 18 RBI and 15 runs scored through April. He’s hit .157/.212/.321 with 44 strikeouts over 134 ABs since then...Hopefully Stephen Strasburg’s back injury isn’t serious, because he’s quietly lived up to expectations this season, with a 2.90 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He’s always pitched much better at home, but this year his road ERA is 2.11, and his 25.4 K-BB% is his best since his rookie season.

Police Blotter: Hours-Long Police Standoff Ends With Raid On Empty House...Avocado Shortage Fuels ‘Black Market’ Crime Wave In New Zealand...11-Year-Old Attempts To Kill Mother After Being Grounded For Smoking...Yellowstone Tourist Fined $1,000 For Walking Off Boardwalk...Cows Help Cops Catch Suspect.

Quick Hits Part Deux: Noah Syndergaard has been good wherever he’s pitched this season, but at home he owns a 1.80 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP with a 64:3 K:BB ratio over 45.0 innings...Yoenis Cespedes hit .223/.297/.439 against lefties last season. He’s hit .349/.491/.674 against them in 2016...Justin Turner had three homers (with a .649 OPS) over his first 184 at bats this season. He has seven home runs (with a 1.209 OPS) over 50 at bats since then...Speaking of slumping players picking it up, Justin Upton has doubled his home run total on the year over his last 14 at bats...Ben Zobrist’s .423 OBP is the second highest in MLB...I was high on Hanley Ramirez entering the year, thinking he should have an easier time staying healthy playing 1B, but he’s hit .250/.319/.340 against right-handers and owns a .686 OPS at Fenway Park. He hasn’t been a disaster for fantasy owners, as he’s still on pace to finish with 92 RBI and 82 runs (with just 12 homers) thanks to hitting in the Red Sox lineup, but the 32-year-old suddenly can’t hit (he’s batting .190 in June)...Here’s Odubel Herrera forgetting how many outs there were in an inning...Lucas Giolito is back on the radar in redraft leagues after an impressive last few starts (he struck out 12 during his last outing). He’s the next prospect in which everyone will be running to the waiver wire as soon as he’s called up...All eight runs during the Marlins/Rockies game Monday were scored via solo home runs, setting an MLB record.

Here’s someone burying an 850-foot shot in disc golf, which would make George Costanza proud.

Longread of the Week: The Zebra  

Bonus Longread of the Week: In Conversation – Louis C.K.

Quick Hits Part Tres: Jay Bruce is on pace to finish with a line of .274-93-35-118-7 and has been a more valuable fantasy hitter than Bryce Harper and Miguel Cabrera...It’s odd Jose Altuve is so good at all other aspects of baseball but so bad at base running while being fast...Brandon Moss has 16 homers in 128 at bats against right-handers and a 1.342 OPS in June. He’s typically an undervalued asset in DFS and is currently owned in just 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. That number should be 100 percent in daily transaction formats...Here’s Adonis Garcia somehow getting a hit off a pitch in the dirt...Here’s Trevor Story swinging and missing on a pitch that hits him (and should be strike three) and then homering right afterward...Fernando Rodney has somehow allowed zero runs over 25.1 innings this season despite walking 10 batters. The 39-year-old had a 4.74 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP last season. I’m predicting regression moving forward...Clayton Kershaw is sporting a 141:7 K:BB ratio. He’s the most valuable player in baseball, and it’s not particularly close.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 21, 2016, 9:12 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

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My full lineup (for all games starting after 4 pm PT):

SP: Noah Syndergaard ($56) -  A top 5 fantasy ace, and the hardest-throwing one at that. Even against a surging Royals team, pay the premium

SP: Colby Lewis ($39) -  Has delivered a Quality Start in nine of his past 10 outings, and a Win in four of his past six turns

C: Yadier Molina ($8) -  7-for-16 (.438) in his career against Cubs RHP Jason Hammel

1B: Paul Goldschmidt ($24) - Has homered in three of his past six games, and is 1-for-3 with a HR in his career against Toronto RHP Marco Estrada

2B: Devon Travis ($12) -  Bat has caught fire with 12 hits in his past six games, including two home runs and four doubles - faces Tampa Bay rookie LHP Blake Snell, who allowed eight hits and three walks in 3.1 IP in his last outing (his second MLB appearance)

3B: Todd Frazier ($13) -  Has been ice cold of late, but he does have 19 home runs on the season and is facing Boston RHP Clay Buchholz, who has allowed 12 home runs in his 56.2 IP as a starter this season

SS: Corey Seager ($16) - Enters contest on a five-game hitting streak that includes multiple hits in each of his past three games - he'll host Washington RHP Tanner Roark, who owns a 4.07 ERA on the road (vs. 2.25 at home)

OF: Joc Pederson ($13) - Pederson has 13 home runs on the season, including five in his past nine games - he's also hit 12 of his long balls against righties, and he'll face Washington RHP Tanner Roark

OF: Michael Taylor ($9) - Taylor has been hot in June, with a 1.026 OPS for the month, and he's been especially strong against southpaws on the year (.912 OPS) - he'll face Dodgers LHP Scott Kazmir (4.64 ERA)

OF: Brett Gardner ($8) -  Gardner gets a home tilt (where he owns an OPS mark that is more than 250 points higher than his road clip) against Colorado RHP Chad Bettis, who has produced the eighth-highest road ERA (5.52) among starters this season

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Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 21, 2016, 5:19 pm

Ketel Marte was an obvious play in daily contests on Monday, as were all other Mariners. Big Pelf was on the hill for Detroit, and no special expertise is required when you see a dude with a 1.7-something WHIP listed among the day's scheduled starters. Picking on Pelfrey is a fairly obvious strategy.

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Not surprisingly, Marte went 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles on Monday, scoring two of Seattle's seven runs and driving in another. He's now batting .275 for the season with eight steals in 53 games. Marte was understandably mass-dropped back in May when he was dealing with a thumb injury, but he's back on the fantasy radar, owned in just 22 percent of Yahoo leagues. The 22-year-old shortstop was a reliable 20-steal player in the minors, and he isn't going to be a batting average liability. He's approved for use wherever you need a speed boost.

And while we're adding middle infielders...

• Jonathan Schoop delivered his third straight multi-hit game for Baltimore, raising his season slash to .281/.308/.490. He's batting .324 in June and he's homered four times in his last 10 games, giving him 12 bombs for the season. Schoop cleared the fence 15 times in just 86 games last year, so the power is real. He should really be owned in most mixers, but he's still unattached in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

• Justin Upton has been refreshingly not terrible in the month of June, slashing .288/.358/.562 with five homers, 20 RBIs and three steals. He hit a pair of bombs against Seattle on Monday, with an extra-inning walk-off included. The key to enduring a season of Upton ownership, of course, is understanding that the experience is a carnival ride of extreme highs and lows. Definitely not for everyone. Check his month-to-month batting averages since April, 2014: .288, .213, .221, .239, .270, .162, .196, .343, .259, .169, .291, .319, .226, .277, .326. Enjoy the current binge; understand that a collapse is coming.

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• Rajai Davis swiped another bag on Monday, his tenth in the month of June and No. 21 on the season. Davis is an everyday player for Cleveland these days, leading off and running at will. No reason to leave him un-owned.

• Willson Contreras finally got a start behind the plate for the Cubs, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single in Chicago's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. Contreras is expected to start two out of every five games, which, unfortunately, isn't quite often enough to make him a must-own in one-catcher mixed leagues. He belongs on a roster in any other format, however, and he should have been long gone in dynasty leagues. Contreras was hitting a ridiculous .350/.439/.591 at Triple-A before his promotion.

• Monday's much anticipated Strasburg-vs.-Kershaw matchup never materialized, because the Nats ace was scratched with a back strain. No reason to panic just yet if you're a Stasburg owner, because it sounds like he should be good to go in his next start.

Pat Neshek picked up a save for Houston on Monday night, but circumstances were odd. Nothing to fret about, Harris owners.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 21, 2016, 3:47 pm

Yes, we're smack-dab in the middle of the fantasy baseball season, and we talk a lot of hardball on this episode, as usual. But the opening segment begins with NBA talk. Some stories are too big to ignore. 

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Listen in for a wrap on the NBA Finals, Brandon Funston's brush with pro basketball greatness, and a talk about the fantasy values of Kevin Love, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. We'll then transition to the diamond, where hot topics are Willson Contreras, the Cardinals bullpen, and Pianow's ongoing (and perhaps misguided) love affair with Michael Taylor. After the break, it's all pickups, all the time. 

Give it a listen, you might just like it 

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Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 20, 2016, 4:12 pm

As always, you are advised to check the game-time MLB forecasts before finalizing lineups. Let's review the Monday slate...

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P Madison Bumgarner, SF, $59 (at Pit) – Strasburg and Kershaw oppose each other on Monday, which is a blast in real-life but a small inconvenience when choosing an ace in daily. Bumagerner has a much friendlier draw, facing Jeff Locke and his 5.92 ERA. MadBum hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his last 11 starts.

P Doug Fister, Hou, $38 (vs. LAA) – Fister hasn't dropped a game since April (6-0), and he's lowered his era by over two runs over the past two months. He's a solid favorite here, facing Jhoulys Chacin (5.00 ERA).

C Miguel Montero, CHC, $9 (J. Garcia) – Garcia has been something less than unbeatable lately, allowing 17 ER over his last 25.1 innings. Montero is 3-for-4 against Garcia in his career with a homer and one walk — and still, I wouldn't mind seeing Willson Contreras ($7) in this spot.

1B Hanley Ramirez, Bos, $13 (M. Gonzalez) – Gonzalez was rocked in his last start (7 ER in 3.1 IP) and he's carrying a 1.53 WHIP for the year. Hanley is 3-for-7 in his career against the right-hander with a pair of homers.

2B Jose Altuve, Hou, $18 (J. Chacin) – Do I really need to explain my thinking with an Altuve-vs.-Chacin matchup? Jose is slashing a ridiculous .390/.486/.492 in June.

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3B Travis Shaw, Bos, $12 (M. Gonzalez) – Shaw has done nearly all of his hitting against RHPs this season (.299/.364/.490), and he's not facing a particularly good one on Monday.

SS Ketel Marte, Sea, $15 (M. Pelfrey) – If Big Pelf is on the schedule, I'm gonna go ahead and pick on him. Marte has seen Pefrey three times, reaching base three times.

OF Seth Smith, Sea, $13 (M. Pelfrey) – Smith has absolutely owned Pelfrey, going 7-for-17 lifetime with four walks and four XBHs, with a homer included. Guaranteed points right here.

OF Giancarlo Stanton, Mia, $13 (C. Bettis) – Stanton is 6-for-12 with a walk and two RBIs over his last three games, and he's facing a dreadful pitcher here. Bettis has been just as poor on the road as he has in Coors this year.

OF Albert Almora, CHC, $10 (J. Garcia) – Almora certainly hasn't struggled in his first tour of the big leagues, going 9-for-25 with four doubles. I'll happily take him at this price, facing a struggling LHP.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 19, 2016, 8:37 pm

Watch the lineups and weather, set a DFS lineup, watch them go.  

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Dalton Del Don 

SP Jacob deGrom, vs. Atl, $50
SP Gio Gonzalez, at SD, $41
C Stephen Vogt, vs. LAA (Weaver), $13
1B Adrian Gonzalez, vs. Mil (Garza), $14
2B Starlin Castro, at Min (Santana), $12
3B Travis Shaw, vs. Sea (Walker), $12
SS Addison Russell, vs. Pit (Taillon), $12
OF Yoenis Cespedes, vs. Atl (Teheran), $16
OF Giancarlo Stanton, vs. Col (Anderson), $14
OF Joc Pederson, vs. Mil (Garza), $16

The Mets are big favorites, and Gonzalez seems like a bargain pitching in Petco Park. Stanton’s price has officially reached rock bottom. 

Scott Pianowski

SP Jacob deGrom, vs. Atl, $50
SP Tom Koehler, vs. Col, $37
C Chris Herrmann, at Phi (Eflin), $11
1B Alex Rodriguez, at Min (Santana), $15
2B Phil Gosselin, at Phi (Eflin), $7
3B Nick Castellanos, at KC (Young), $16
SS Carlos Correa, vs. Cin (Finnegan), $17
OF George Springer, vs. Cin (Finnergan), $20
OF Giancarlo Stanton, vs. Col (Anderson), $14
OF Peter O’Brien, at Phi (Eflin), $11

DeGrom is too good to pass up in this spot, and I’ll take another shot with the Houston right-handed bats against a lefty. I still think Alex Rodriguez has a fantasy final kick to offer us; he hasn’t been a monster in June, but he’s batting .293 with a couple of homers.

 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 19, 2016, 4:17 pm

OK, you know the drill: A pair of Yahoo fantasy experts are taking a shot with Saturday's slate....

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Andy Behrens
P Steven Matz, NYM, $50 (vs. Atl)
P Zack Greinke, Ari, $54 (at Phi)
C Yadier Molina, STL, $10 (N. Martinez)
1B Adrian Gonzalez, LAD, $13 (C. Anderson)
2B Brandon Phillips, Cin, $11 (D. Keuchel)
3B Matt Duffy, SF, $13 (M. Moore)
SS Addison Russell, CHC, $11 (J. Niese)
OF Bryce Harper, Was, $19 (C. Rea)
OF Billy Hamilton, Cin, $11 (D. Keuchel)
OF Joey Rickard, Bal, $8 (R.A. Dickey)

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Brandon Funston
P Steven Matz, NYM, $50 (vs. Atl)
P Edinson Volquez, KC, $41 (vs. Det)
C Salvador Perez, KC, $17 (M. Boyd)
1B Matt Adams, StL, $13 (N. Martinez)
2B Brandon Phillips, Cin, $11 (D. Keuchel)
3B Kyle Seager, Sea, $19 (R. Porcello)
SS J.J. Hardy, Bal, $8 (RA Dickey)
OF George Springer, Hou, $20 (C. Reed)
OF Giancarlo Stanton, Mia, $12 (T. Chatwood)
OF Albert Almora, ChC, $8 (J. Niese)

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: June 18, 2016, 6:39 pm

STOCK UP

Madison Bumgarner: He’s allowed two runs or fewer in all of his last 11 starts, producing a 1.38 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP with an 86:19 K:BB ratio over 78.0 innings. Bumgarner has been dominant this season despite the lowest fastball velocity since his rookie season (90.9 mph). His 28.1 K% is the highest of his career. Bumgarner has been the No. 5 fantasy pitcher in Yahoo leagues so far in 2016.

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Adam Duvall: His 19 homers are the second most in MLB, and he’s still available in nearly 20 percent of Yahoo leagues. Duvall was a total unknown at draft season – a throw in when the Giants traded for Mike Leake last year – but he’s become a very good hitter and one fantasy owners shouldn’t overlook. He’s on pace to finish with 45 homers and 110 RBI.

Shawn Kelley: With Jonathan Papelbon serving his first trip to the disabled list of his career, Kelley is now Washington’s new closer. He owns a 2.45 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP and a 35:6 K:BB ratio over 25.2 innings this season, as he’s been one of the best relievers in MLB. The Nationals have the second most wins in baseball, so Kelley will be plenty valuable while closing.

Danny Espinosa: Over the last 20 games, he has eight homers with 19 runs scored (with a .962 OPS). Trea Turner remains in the wings, but Espinosa is now hitting well (and we know manager Dusty Baker loves his veterans) and has been one of the dozen best shortstops defensively this season.

Kevin Pillar: Over his last 11 games, Pillar is batting .391 and sports a 1.211 OPS with five homers over 46 at bats. The Blue Jays have scored the sixth most runs in MLB this season, and Pillar is owned in just 51 percent of Yahoo leagues.

STOCK DOWN

Adrian Gonzalez: He was an early draft pick before the season started and has now been dropped to fifth in the Dodgers’ lineup after a slow start in which he’s hitting .268/.347/.381. Gonzalez has been the No. 311 fantasy player so far in 2016.

Alex Rodriguez: I’m not ready to declare him totally done, but A-Rod sure looks it at this point. He has a .204/.250/.355 line against right-handed pitchers this season, which isn’t encouraging.

Randal Grichuk: Normally Cardinals players produce beyond expectations, but Grichuk has been the opposite. He’s been a big fantasy bust, including hitting .164/.263/.284 against lefties this season. Grichuk has been the No. 331 fantasy player so far in 2016.

Yan Gomes: Here are his OPS marks dating back from 2013 until this season, respectively: .826, .785, .659 and .543. Gomes is now batting .134 over his last 127 at bats, so he’s been a contributor to the big deficit at the catcher position.

James Shields: There was a problem with Shields’ fantasy value before he was traded to the White Sox, and now he’s a total disaster pitching in a park that’s increased homers by 11 percent over the past three seasons. His average fastball velocity (90.2 mph) is his lowest since 2007, and his 8.2 K-BB% is by far a career worst and ranks 87th in MLB. Shields has become borderline droppable in even shallow mixed leagues.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 18, 2016, 5:21 pm

The Juggernaut Index is our annual ranking and review of NFL teams for fantasy purposes — repeat: FANTASY PURPOSES. Here, we concern ourselves with a franchise's likely contributions to the fantasy player pool. We are not concerned with projected wins and losses. Instead, we're focused on yards and points. As always, we're beginning with the league's least useful teams, working our way toward the elite fantasy juggernauts.

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We can't yet say who will get the starting nod at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in the season opener, but we absolutely know — firmly and without doubt, as deeply as it is possible to know anything in the NFL — that this team's starting QB will be pretty bad. For that reason, as well as the general lack of draft-worthy skill players on Cleveland's roster, this team was an easy choice for dead-last in the 2016 Juggernaut Index.

But before we discuss the various things that are wrong/regrettable with the Browns from a fantasy perspective, I'd like to mention that Cleveland had an offseason that should seriously encourage the team's fans. From the hiring of head coach Hue Jackson back in January to the hoarding of draft assets in April, this franchise has made several splashy and sensible moves, fully understanding that a multi-year rebuild is ahead. Cleveland traded its way into a whopping 14 draft picks in 2016, plus the team owns two first-round and two second-round selections in 2017. Well done, Browns. Next year's rookie QB class looks a whole lot better at the top than this year's group, at least to me, and Cleveland will be well-positioned to land, say, Deshaun Watson (or Kaaya or Kelly or whoever we're buzzing about in ten months). Without question, things are looking up long-term.

Robert Griffin III (AP Photo/David Dermer)As for the short-term, um ... well, it's not great. Here's a look at Cleveland's updated quarterback depth chart for 2016:

1. Robert Griffin III
2. Profound despair
3. Josh McCown
4. Deep misery
5. A coldness like death
6. Cody Kessler

So there are no terrific options on this roster. Griffin was of course a massively productive QB back in 2012, his rookie season, when playing in an offense tailored to his skills and limitations. In the years that followed, post-injury, he really hasn't been at all impressive, struggling with turnovers and inefficiency. He ran for 815 yards and seven scores as a rookie, but just 665 and one spike over his next 22 games.

Jackson seemed happy enough with RG3's performance during OTAs...

"He's made tremendous strides,'' Jackson said. "He's getting better and growing each and every day. I'm very proud of the work he's put in. It hasn't been perfect all the time, but it's been really good, and I see glimpses of it being extremely good and that's what we're chasing and that's at every position.''

...but not so happy that he was willing to officially and irrevocably name Griffin the starter. That's very likely where this mess is headed, however. It helps that Griffin will have Joe Thomas, an upper-tier left tackle, protecting his blind side. Still, RG3 has thrown 20 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions since his rookie season, averaging just 7.31 yards per attempt. Meh. He's not a draftable player in fantasy, except in two-quarterback leagues — and even there, he's not an ideal starter.

Corey Coleman, post-pick. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)Cleveland's receiving corps is headlined by last year's Biletnikoff winner, Corey Coleman, a Steve Smith-ish wideout who was utterly unstoppable at Baylor. Coleman was deservedly the No. 15 overall pick in the draft after catching 74 balls for 1363 yards and 20 scores for the Bears. He's special, a play-maker. He has 4.37 speed and a 40.5-inch vertical, which is just silly. In dynasty leagues, you absolutely want Coleman. But in redraft leagues, it's complicated. He's tied to a low-yield offense and a sketchy passer, so his path to a top-25 fantasy finish at his position involves extreme volume. Draft him anticipating something like, say, 70 catches for 975 yards and five scores.

The supporting wideouts in Cleveland aren't particularly interesting, fantasy-wise — and yeah, I'm assuming that the Josh Gordon era has ended. (Gordon's decision to hang with Manziel was really not a great look. He can reapply for reinstatement on August 1, so we wait. He hasn't played in the NFL since 2014 and hasn't played well since 2013. When you read Coach Jackson's comments on Gordon, it hardly seems he's making plans with Josh in mind.) The Browns selected four wide receivers in the draft — Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Payton, Rashard Higgins — further suggesting the team isn't banking on a Gordon return. Andrew Hawkins and Terrelle Pryor remain in the team picture for Cleveland, but this passing offense doesn't seem capable of serving up multiple roster-worthy fantasy receivers. Consider Coleman in the mid-rounds and ignore the rest.

Gary Barnidge had your classic eighth-year, age-30 breakout in 2015, hauling in 79 balls for 1023 yards and nine touchdowns — totals that represent most of his career production. He was peppered with targets last season (125), and the stats naturally followed, along with a few ridiculous highlight catches. Barnidge ranked top-5 at his position in every meaningful receiving category, and his employer rewarded him with a four-year, $13.5 million deal. He was a gift from the waiver wire last season, and it's great that he got paid. Would I draft him as a no-doubt fantasy starter next season? Nope, I would not. He certainly remains in the fantasy conversation, but he's a holdover in an offense full of new pieces — new coaches, new QB, new receiving weapons. If he can simply deliver a 60-750-5 line in this offense, that would seem heroic. Don't draft him in a spot that demands more. Fourth-round rookie Seth DeValve should be the team's tight end of the future, but he's not on the radar in year one.

Isaiah Crowell (AP Photo/David Richard)

Cleveland's ground game will again be led by Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, a pair that produced 1801 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns last season. This team's O-line didn't grade out as a dominant run-blocking unit last year, and neither back managed to average even 4.0 YPC. Crowell should open the season as the team's primary early-down runner, with Johnson again serving as the featured backfield receiving threat. These guys won't cost you much at the draft table, so they're going to favorites of the ZeroRB community, I'm fairly sure. Crowell has a reasonable shot at 900 rushing yards and 6-8 TDs, assuming good health, and Johnson should again be good for 60-plus receptions and 800-1000 total yards. Your preferred Browns RB should have everything to do with your league's scoring system (Crowell in standard, Duke in PPR). Basically, these two are like a lower-calorie, less-satisfying version of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard (which of course sounds unappealing). I would suggest limiting yourself to no more than one Cleveland running back.

Only one member of the Yahoo fantasy crew ranked the Browns' DST as a top-20 unit, so you can ignore that group on draft day. All things considered, there's really not a lot to love about this squad in 2016. It's a team that only a deep dynasty drafter can appreciate. But when Deshaun Watson is flinging darts to Corey Coleman in a couple years, perhaps we'll all feel better about the Browns.

---

2015 Offensive Stats & Ranks
Points per game – 17.4 (30)
Pass YPG – 236.4 (21)
Rush YPG – 95.6 (22)
Yards per play – 5.1 (29)
Plays per game – 65.1 (14)

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 17, 2016, 6:01 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

With more options available for contests starting at 7:05 ET, I’m going to concentrate on Friday’s later batch of games.

My full lineup:

SP: Matt Harvey $42

SP: Joe Ross $42

C: Chris Iannetta $13

1B: David Ortiz $23

2B: Neil Walker $14

3B: Travis Shaw $12

SS: Tim Anderson $12

OF: Yoenis Cespedes $16

OF: Christian Yelich $17

OF: Ichiro Suzuki $9

Harvey has a 0.90 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP with a 17:3 K:BB ratio over his last three starts (20.0 innings) while showing increased velocity. He faces a Braves team that has by far the lowest OPS in baseball (.627), and the Mets are massive favorites (-196), yet there are 10 more expensive pitchers Friday...Ross sports a 3.01 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP and pitches for a Washington team with the second best record in baseball and will be throwing in Petco Park on Friday night.

Iannetta has a .344/.462/.500 line against left-handers, and Fenway Park has increased runs scored more than any other than Coors Field over the past three seasons (and benefits RHB more than LHB)...Ortiz is on pace to finish with 42 homers and 142 RBI (while batting .344) and will be at home against a righty...Meanwhile, Walker is on pace to slug 35 homers, and there are 15 second basemen more expensive Friday.

Shaw sports a .931 OPS at home this season, while Anderson continues to be underpriced while hitting atop the lineup at a thin position...Cespedes destroys lefties, but 12 of his 16 home runs have come against RHP, and he remains extremely affordable for someone on pace to finish with 40 homers, 92 runs scored and 102 RBI...Ichiro is batting .349 this season (.410 in June) with a 7:13 K:BB ratio over 126 at bats.

Good luck with your contests Friday.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

The Yahoo Fantasy Baseball '16 season is cruising towards the All-Star break. With that in mind, Brandon Funston, Scott Pianowski and Andy Behrens take a look at the current movers and shakers on the waiver wire that should pique the interest of fantasy owners. Let's get to it. 

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Top 5 hitters owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Scott Pianowski
1. Willson Contreras, CHC - Cubs have magic prospect touch, he was killing it in the minors and, have you seen the Catcher waiver crop? 1. Willson Contreras, CHC - An obvious add following the callup. Contreras has raked in the minors for two years. He's easily the Cubs' best hitting backstop.  1. Rajai Davis, Cle - Pop and speed, regular playing time, what else do you ask for? 

2. Steve Pearce, TB Has 3-position eligibility, destroys lefties but also hitting righties too (.900+ OPS)
2. Whit Merrifield, KC - Can't say I saw this coming, but it's tough to argue with the YTD numbers. Merrifield has usually given us two hits per night. 
2. Whit Merrifield, KC - Team has made a committment to him, and usually parked in the No. 1 or 2 spot 

3. Trayce Thompson, LAD Just got the manager nod as an everyday starter, as well he should have

3. Jose Reyes, FA - You don't have to like the guy, but he's gonna play somewhere. Maybe KC, maybe elsewhere. If you'd stashed him, hold. 

3. Steve Pearce, TB - Covers three positions, hitting .395 over last month. Rays have many LHP crushers.  

4.  Brandon Moss, StL All 15 HRs have come against LHP - if you could pair Moss and Pearce, you'd have a lethal platoon

4. Steve Pearce, TB - Eligible at three spots, including 2B, and he's hitting a ton. We know the power is plentiful.  

4. Trayce Thompson, LAD - Average dipping of late, but has pop, some speed, and finally a secured lineup spot
5. Melvin Upton, SD C'mon, this guy deserves some more love - he's pushing a 20/40 pace
5. Joe Mauer, Min -  He's quietly on a hot streak, on pace for 15-17 homers on the year.  5. Melvin Upton, SD - Ignore the average, the category juice makes him the Good Upton in 2016 

   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Scott Pianowski
1. Tony Cingrani, Cin -  Has saved 4 of past 5, which is what qualifies as stable in Cincy this season
1. Jerad Eickhoff, Phi -  His stuff is filthy, and he's coming off back-to-back wins against the Cubs and Jays 1. CC Sabathia, NYY - Hasn't allowed more than three runs all year; keep cutting, cutter 

2. CC Sabathia, NYYMay have received some tips from former Yanks Clemens and Pettitte about how to thrive in old age - 0.82 ERA over past 7 starts
2. Doug Fister, Hou -  No, he's not a high-K guy, but he has the Angels up next, a friendly opponent. Worth a test-drive.
2. Jerad Eickhoff, Phi - That curve is a daisy to watch, and he's in the right league and division 
3. Trevor Bauer, CleGetting right at a K per IP, and has produced Quality Starts in 6 of past 7 turns

3. Trevor Bauer, Cle -  You won't roll with him in every start, but he's approved for use against the White Sox in his next turn.

3. Tyler Glasnow, Pit - Callup can't be far away, and he'll be comforted by the womb of Pittsburgh 
4.  Tyler Glasnow, Pit - With Locke and Nicasio sucking on ERAs north of 5.00 and Cole on the DL, a call-up coming soon
4. Tyler Glasnow, Pit -  The minor league stats are still phenomenal, in case you were wondering: 1.90 ERA, 86 Ks in 71.0 IP. 4. Tony Cingrani, Cin - Please do not watch him, but the handshakes play well in the saves column
5. Seung-Hwan Oh, StlOnly NYY dynamic set-up duo of Betances/Miller have more Ks in relief - No. 101 in Y! game
5. Julio Urias, LAD He's a kid, so not every start will be a gem. But he's also a lefty with a triple-digit fastball, so the Ks will be there. 5. Archie Bradley, Ari - Chasing the strikeouts and the post-hype case  

   

Top 5 hitters owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Scott Pianowski
1. A.J. Reed, Hou - Houston facing righty-heavy slate to close out June, so expect Reed to get a call very soon
1. Mallex Smith, Atl - After Thursday's two-steal game, he's up to 13 on the season. Smith swiped 57 in the minors last year.
1. Nick Hundley, Col - It's a horrible year for catcher, so we go back to Hundley, healthy and tied to Colorado 
2. Dae-Ho Lee, Sea -  10 HRs in 114 ABs - his playing time continues to increase - that's what a .909 OPS and no platoon split issues will do for you
2. A.J. Reed, Hou - We'll see him this season. Hopefully soon. Reed hit 34 bombs in the minors in 2015.
2. Mallex Smith, Atl - Perfect 7-for-7 on steals this month, now owns leadoff spot. Bag upside is ridiculous here; stole 88 in minors back in 2014. 
3. Mallex Smith, Atl - Hitting .288 with 11 SBs over past 41 games

3. Ryan Rua, Tex - He's giving us power, speed and average, and he's been streaking in recent days.

3. Ryan Rua, Tex - Best used against the lefties, but he'll be somewhat of a factor against RHPs, too. 
4.  Albert Almora, CHC - Athletic young Cub is making it hard to keep him on the bench with a .353 BA thru 1st 17 ABs 4. Alex Bregman, Hou - Bregman is slashing .308/.406/.577 at Double-A with 13 bombs. When he arrives, he'll help.  4. Alex Bregman, Hou - Astros are pot-committed for 2016 and he has several possible paths to playing time 

5. Ichiro, Mia - Never been a player I loved owning more - If he even sniffs fantasy relevence - and he has with a .370 BA in past month - you can count on me being a buyer
5. Ichiro, Mia - The all-time Hit King is hitting north of .340. And c'mon, it's always fun to have an Ichiro share. 5. Ichiro Suzuki, Mia - Just a three-category guy, but the 3,000 chase has reinvigorated his bat

   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Scott Pianowski
1. Tom Koehler, MiaHas posted a 2.90 ERA and 44 K in his past 8 starts (49.2 IP)
1. Cody Reed, Cin Not on a Taillon/Glasnow prospect level, at least for me. But he's been plenty good in the high minors (1.18 WHIP, 63 Ks in 64.2 innings).  1. Kyle Barraclough, Mia - His strikeout rate reads like a misprint 
2. Junior Guerra, MilHad his worst outing of season last time out but I still think he's just about as good a starter as you can find in this %-owned range
2. Jake Diekman, Tex -  Next-man-up for a closing gig, and his ratios have been brilliant (1.40 ERA, 0.82 WHIP).
2. Cody Reed, Cin - Park won't be easy to beat, but was mowing them down in Triple-A 

3. Edwin Diaz, Sea Has electrifying stuff - wouldn't surprise me if he ends up getting some save opps at some point this season

3. Nate Jones, CWS - Wicked stuff with a 0.83 WHIP, striking out a batter per inning.

3. Junior Guerra, Mil - More consistency would be nice, but has dual eligibility and can get swings and misses 
4.  Kyle Barraclough, MiaI'm no Barraclough expert , but knowing that he's getting nearly 17 K/9 IP is all you need to know
4. Kyle Barraclough, Mia - The man has struck out 47 batters in 25.0 frames, which is insane.  4. Christian Friedrich, SD - Another excape from Colorado story, like Drew Pomeranz 

5. Alex Reyes, StLHas 39 Ks in 1st 21.2 IP at Triple-A Memphis - think he has good chance to arrive by AS break
5. Felipe Rivero, Was - Far from perfect lately, sure, but he has 37 Ks in 29.0 inning on the season and a 1.00 WHIP.  5. Kevin Siegrist, Stl - Plus man for ratios and K/9, gets occasional win and save 

   

Top 5 players you'd like to see change teams before the MLB trading deadline
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Scott Pianowski
1. Wade Miley, Sea - Sorry, no fantasy spin here, this is one is all personal
1. Andrew Miller, NYY - Let's find this man a closing role, please. Preferably in Chicago.  1. Aroldis Chapman, NYY - Wipeout closer is a luxury for a team not built to win now 
2. Andrew Miller, NYY - At $9 million a year, he should be closing for a contender as opposed to setting up for an also-ran 2. Ichiro, Mia - It won't mean much for fantasy purposes, but I'd love to see Ichiro get a taste of the postseason before he's done.
2. Andrew Miller, NYY - Team can reload quickly if it moves the best lefty reliever in the game 
3. Julio Teheran, AtlHe's been damn good but has lowest Run Support among all SPs (2.21) - he could use the backing of a new offense

3. Jay Bruce, Cin - No matter where he lands, we basically know what he'll be. Cincinnati has plenty of outfield talent behind him.  

3. Danny Valencia, Oak - Covers multiple positions, finally beat platoon label 

4.  Danny Valencia, Oak OPS is decent at home (.807) but so much better on the road (1.077)
4. Danny Valencia, OakHe's been hitting a ton, but we'd love to see him find a better park and run-scoring environment. 4. Jon Lucroy, Mil - Catching is such a wasteland and the Brewers need to start over
5. Adam Lind, SeaI'd like to see a full-time serving of Dae-Ho Lee at 1B in SEA

5. Dan Vogelbach, CHC - An obvious trade chip for the Cubs. He's hitting a ton in the minors, but he's a DH in a league that won't allow it. 5. Freddie Freeman, Atl - I hate to see him stuck in this ugly situation 
Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 17, 2016, 5:16 pm

If you saw this Colby Lewis story coming, you’re a better man than I. It didn’t take me long to discount him before the season. 

Although Lewis posted 17 wins last year, I didn’t see a lot of fantasy worth tied to the story. A 4.66 ERA doesn’t play in any format, and his strikeout rate tumbled to 6.24/9 last year. His ERA was over 5 in the previous year, and he was stepping into his age-36 season. With a fastball in the high 80s, this had “must avoid” written all over it. 

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Fast forward to the middle of this season, which has been mostly sunshine and lollipops for Lewis. He’s off to a 6-0 start with a 2.81 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, making a strong push for the AL All-Star team. The best start of all came Thursday at Oakland, when Lewis took a no-hit bit into the ninth inning at Oakland. He eventually settled for a two-hit complete game, cruising to win No. 6 (1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). 

How is Lewis getting it done this year? A lot of things are falling right. His K/9 rate has actually dropped below six, but he hardly walks anyone (1.74/9). His strand rate is at 83 percent, unsustainable — and easily a career best. He’s outpitched his peripherals, that’s for sure — FIP suggests an ERA of 4.21, while xFIP spits out a 4.74 number. Although there isn’t a major change to his batted-ball profile, he’s somehow living with a .234 BABIP. 

You know the inevitable conclusion to all this — regression is expected, and it might hit hard. If I had to bet on Lewis’s ERA going forward, I’d set an ERA somewhere around 4. 

Lewis is the No. 20 pitcher thus far in 5x5 value, the stats in the bank. No matter when you added him this year, you’ve made money. I’m not confident this story lasts for any length of time, given the age, velocity, and contact luck he’s dancing around. But I also realize he might not have much trade value in common leagues. Your opponents have the internet, too.

The prescription is simple — I’d try to move Lewis now if you can; otherwise, I’d continue to use him on a very short leash, understanding this dream season could collapse, jaggedly, at any point. Lewis draws the Reds (home) and Yankees (road) in his next two starts. 

CC looks OK (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)• If you want a left-handed veteran to bookend the Lewis story, we look back to CC Sabathia in New York. Sabathia has added a sinker this year, using it as his battle against gravity and old age. It’s worked wonders for him: a 2.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. He’s yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start. 

Thursday’s victory at Minnesota followed the Yankees preferred blueprint: Sabathia went six solid innings (6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K), then handed the ball to the lockdown bullpen. Wipeout, wipeout, wipeout, handshakes. Sabathia doesn’t throw strikes as often as Lewis does, but he boasts a better strikeout rate and better under the hood stats. FIP pegs the Sabathia ERA at 3.29, and Sabathia’s hit rate is merely a modest outlier at .283. 

To be fair, Sabathia does have some luck flashing on his page — a strand rate over 81 percent, and a HR/FB clip of 3.1. Both of those numbers won’t last, especially during warm summer months. But I’m willing to pay for Sabathia to keep an ERA in the mid-3s (perhaps an eyelash better) going forward, given his handedness, new pitching approach, streamlined health, and support from the Yankees bullpen. I certainly wasn’t first to this story, but I eventually got there. I’m enjoying a couple of shares. Next week's home start against Colorado looks good to me. 

• For anyone who missed the Mallex Smith propaganda from Wednesday, we’ll briefly recap. He’s on a binge in June (.283/.391/.333, seven steals), which has resulted in a promotion to the leadoff spot. He was a messy 6-for-13 on the bases for the first two months, but he hasn’t been caught in June. He’s still trying to figure out left-handed pitching, but his OPS soars to .867 in the platoon advantage. The Braves face 10 right-handers over their next 13 games. 

Smith was a whirlwind in the minors, stealing bases at every stop — including an 88-theft season back in 2014. He turned 23 in May. Sure, he’s likely to be a specialist, though he does hit the occasional homer. But when a base-stealer picks up some confidence and momentum, it’s a blast to watch. Although Smith has been aggressively added in the past couple of days, he’s still free to acquire in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues. Kick Billy Burns or Jarrod Dyson to the curb, see what Smith can do for you.  

• J.D. Martinez is going to miss several weeks after fracturing his elbow Thursday. The early timetable says 4-6 weeks, and I usually take the high side on these things. If I owned Martinez, I'd at least see what the trade market offered. A common fantasy mistake is to be too optimistic with what players do immediately after a lengthy absence. 

I’ve seen Martinez called a bust or disappointment in some areas, which I find misguided. He was on pace for a .286-88-29-96-2 line, which has to be pretty close to most reasonable preseason expectations. The only Martinez disappointment is the fact he got hurt. 

Steven Moya, 24, figures to get a look while Martinez rehabs. Maya has been crushing at Triple-A (.896 OPS, 13 homers) but has yet to do anything special in limited MLB time over the last two years (29 games, no homers, .281/.303/.469). I’d hold off on Moya for short and medium mixers; meanwhile, the mere opportunity makes him an obvious tire-kick in deep mixed and AL-only. Maybe I’d add Moya in a 12-teamer if the wire was especially dry and I felt I needed to get lucky.  

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 17, 2016, 4:38 pm

The NFL regular season kicks off in less than 12 weeks. Between now and then, fans of the virtual game will closely watch quarterback competitions, mull muddy backfields, and ruminate over rehab related timetables. To honor this summer-long quest for clarity, each week I’ll be highlighting one of fantasy’s most pressing questions. Today I ponder the wasteland that is the 49ers receiving corps.

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2015 proved to be more tight and tart than bright and buttery for Sauv Blanc-sipping San Fran fans. A 5-11 record and ranked 31st in total offense, the post-Harbaugh 49ers struggled to find an identity under Jim Tomsula. A team still very much in flux, former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will attempt to bring his brand of “genius” to the City by the Bay in 2016. Noting the disaster that was his last outing in Philly, Kelly has his work cut out for him.

Fantasy owners are understandably suspect. In fact, according to current ADP data, Carlos Hyde is the team’s only member being drafted inside of the top 130 overall players. Player No. 131… is Torrey Smith.

Which begs the question… does San Fran’s receiver corps offer any fantasy value? I say “Yes.”

Smith closed out his inaugural year at Levi's Stadium posting an underwhelming 33-663-4 stat line. That’s a pretty steep drop off from the 11 TDs he hauled in just a season earlier. While his skill set has never possessed much texture, his red zone prowess can’t be denied. A boom or bust deep threat, Smith has always had more appeal in best ball formats.

However, with Anquan Boldin out the door and given the lack of seasoned talent on the 49ers depth chart, much more will be expected of Smith in the fall. Can he expand his route tree? Have we heard this before? As the 49th receiver being selected in the middle-end of the 11th round does it matter? Maybe. Yes. Nope.

Despite catching fewer than 50 balls in 2014, Smith found the end zone 11 separate times and finished among the top-20 fantasy players at the position. Even if he isn’t able to pu pu platter it up in Kelly’s offense, he’s still going draw a ton of targets, and a good amount of those figure to be in the red area of the field.

Speedsters like Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson have found success in Kelly’s system, being deployed primarily from the outside and taking the top off of defenses. They each saw well over 100 looks during their respective campaigns with Chip. As the team’s No. 1 wideout Smith has a chance to find upwards of 120 targets.

Given a career catch percentage rate of 53.6, the 27-year-old should double the number of grabs he recorded last year and flirt with an all-time high of 70 receptions. Factoring in his impressive yards per reception percentage (20.1 in 2015, the most of any WR that year) he could easily churn out 1,000 yards. Throw in 9 TDs and the former Raven returns to being a top-20 fantasy asset. And he’s only going to cost you WR4 value.

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But maybe you’re a PPR enthusiast who likes those high-volume slot guys that offer week-to-week consistency. Then let me introduce you to Bruce Ellington. Cousin to Andre of the Cardinals, the South Carolina product is an explosive player with strong hands and mind-bending agility. His after the catch ability is tantalizing, as evidenced by the 70-yard TD he scored in the final preseason game of 2015.

Previously used primarily on special teams, Ellington appears poised to receive a promotion. Working with the ones as the team’s slot receiver during OTAs, the 49ers new HC has admitted to be being “intrigued” by the 24-year-old’s potential. Likely to handle the bulk of the underneath work in Kelly’s system (plus a good dose of Chip-esque gadget plays), Ellington could (just as Eagles’ slot man Jordan Matthews did in 2014) catch 65-70 balls in his third pro campaign. Currently undrafted in leagues, Ellington is an excellent off-the-radar late-round stash with sexy flexy appeal.

The 49ers and Kelly both cratered in spectacular fashion last year. As such, the burn factor for fantasy fans is massive. But that creates an equally large chasm of value for savvy managers. Could the Genius by the Bay flame out again in 2016? Sure. But he could also bounce back to respectability, which would make a late round investment all the more prudent.

SEE ALSO: Is Ameer Abdullah a workhorse?

Which FF dilemma is making you go Hmmm? Follow Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF and suggest future editions of Pressing Questions.

Author: Liz Loza
Posted: June 17, 2016, 5:58 am

Rest-of-season value is what we're after. What’s happened to this point is merely an audition.

Today, we rank all those eligible at middle infield (second base, shortstop).

Assume a 5x5 scoring system. Players in the minors or on the DL do not get ranked. I’ll add comments Friday, and reserve the right to make some changes. Win the discussion, win the rank.

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If you have disagreement, I’m all ears — so long as you have a reason. Remember not to add or dock value from the players just because you like them, dislike them, roster them, etc.

$30 Jose Altuve
$28 Xander Bogaerts
$28 Ian Kinsler
$28 Manny Machado
$26 Robinson Cano
$25 Carlos Correa
$24 Ian Desmond
$22 Ben Zobrist
$22 Daniel Murphy
$21 Francisco Lindor
$20 Corey Seager
$20 Jonathan Villar
$20 Matt Carpenter

Machado’s hitting metrics all look improved this year, but it’s a little sad to see him stop running. He was 20-for-28 on the bases last year; this season, he’s 0-for-3. But with shortstop eligibility in the bank and a lovely backdrop — he’s in the right division, park and lineup — it feels like nitpicking to say anything negative. He’ll be a lottery pick again next year, and could go as high as No. 1 overall if things fall right. 

Desmond lost a lot of fantasy support last year after a horrendous start — perhaps his defense was wearing on his confidence, or maybe his contract situation was gnawing at him. In any event, Desmond had a quiet and under-appreciated comeback in the second half, and the Rangers certainly hit the lottery with Desmond’s one-year, prove-it contact. If you run the stats over the last calendar year, here’s what Desmond has done: .272-88-24-88-24. Those are elite numbers, big-ticket numbers. 

I'd be careful going after Villar in a keeper league, because breakout seasons like this often don't carry over from year to year. Teams are going to adjust, use his aggressiveness against him. That .401 BABIP has a strong correction on the way, even with his plus speed. But we should give Villar credit for an improved walk rate and line-drive clip. I have no problem taking him seriously for the remainder of 2016, then we'll reevaluate. 

Carpenter is one of my favorite players, a smart hitter who's become more pull-conscious as he's grown into stardom. The line-drive rate is off the charts again, too. He can play multiple positions. The regression police were wrong to discount Carpenter's power spike last year, when it clearly represented a change in approach, and a player settling into his expected peak years. Enjoy the ride. 

$19 Eduardo Nunez
$19 Trevor Story
$18 Rougned Odor
$18 Dustin Pedroia
$16 Anthony Rendon
$16 Logan Forsythe
$14 DJ LeMahieu
$13 Steve Pearce
$13 Jason Kipnis
$12 Jonathan Schoop
$12 Jung Ho Kang
$12 Jurickson Profar
$11 Elvis Andrus
$11 Brian Dozier
$11 Neil Walker
$10 Jean Segura
$10 Aledmys Diaz
$9 Josh Harrison
$9 Brandon Crawford
$9 Joe Panik

I'm never going to be someone who blindly bets skills and ignores the roles and team context, but my price on Profar does assume that he'll stay in the lineup even when others get healthy . . . Crawford is probably the most underrated infielder in baseball, a vacuum cleaner at shortstop and a darn underrated hitter (I love how he hangs in against tough southpaws). He might never give us a pretty average, but he’s on pace for .263-60-15-89-7, which plays well at this position . . . The strongest Story endorsement is his power to all fields; this guy can hit them out anywhere. I can live with the fluctuations in batting average. He also should grow into 10-15 bags a year, if he decides it's worth the effort and wear and tear. On the thin air and power profile alone, I'm making him a major target in any keeper league; any steals are just gravy. 

$8 Marcus Semien
$8 Zack Cozart
$8 Jhonny Peralta
$7 Danny Espinosa
$7 Eugenio Suarez
$7 Addison Russell
$7 Devon Travis
$6 Jose Ramirez
$6 Brandon Phillips
$6 Whit Merrifield
$6 Tim Anderson
$5 Didi Gregorius
$5 Brad Miller
$5 Ketel Marte
$5 Alexei Ramirez
$5 Starlin Castro
$4 Johnny Giavotella
$4 Aaron Hill
$4 Chase Utley
$4 Howie Kendrick
$4 Matt Duffy
$4 Martin Prado
$4 Asdrubal Cabrera
$4 Alcides Escobar
$4 Derek Dietrich
$4 Scooter Gennett
$4 Jed Lowrie
$4 Brett Lawrie

The Merrifield stories are fun, when a low-pedigree player turns out to be better in the majors. The Royals obviously believe, kicking Infante to the curve . . . Gregorius is no star, but he's probably the poor man's version of Crawford. You get some offensive production, and the glove marks his spot in the lineup . . . Duffy's complete lack of collegiate power -- he didn't hit a single home run in college -- had me suspicious into this season, and I'd have no problem cutting him in a shallow or medium mixer . . . Speed isn't the issue with Anderson, but stealing bases is also about reading moves and knowing when to run. He also looks like someone who will get himself out a lot, being overzealous at the plate. I'm surprised the White Sox moved him to the top of the order so quickly, applying pressure immediately. Then again, Robin Ventura might be the worst manager in the majors. 

$3 Marwin Gonzalez
$3 Danny Santana
$3 Chris Owings
$3 Yangervis Solarte
$3 Javier Baez
$3 Cesar Hernandez
$3 Wilmer Flores
$3 Kelly Johnson
$2 Hernan Perez
$2 Jose Iglesias
$2 Tyler Saladino
$2 Stephen Drew
$2 Adeiny Hechavarria
$2 Rob Refsnyder
$1 Darwin Barney
$1 Freddy Galvis
$1 Nick Ahmed
$1 Jedd Gyorko

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 17, 2016, 5:31 am

Andy Behrens and Dalton Del Don talk about Dorial Green-Beckham, Karlos Williams and the possible ramifications of teams like Pittsburgh going for two-point conversions more. The duo also discuss the recent FSTA fantasy draft and take Twitter questions in an all NFL podcast.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now]

Give it a listen, make it a habit.

And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 16, 2016, 7:22 pm

We have exciting news for Fantasy Football players. Private Cash leagues on Yahoo are now open.

Unlike regular Yahoo Sports private leagues, Private Cash Leagues support a cash contest where participants pay an entry fee and are awarded with a cash payout if they do well enough.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now]

We've got your back, Commissioners! We'll collect your league's dues and issue payouts when the season is over so you can focus on what's important - running (and of course, winning) your Private Cash League.

Best of all, it's free! Yahoo doesn't charge any transaction fees. Just create a Private Cash League (or join a Private Cash League's contest) and focus on winning.

Signing up is as easy as visiting Yahoo Fantasy Sports and clicking one of our full Fantasy games - Fantasy Football, Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Basketball or Fantasy Hockey. If the game is in season, you'll be able to create Private Cash leagues and contests in it.

Note:
All members of a Private Cash league must be in non-restricted states in order for the contest to run.

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: June 15, 2016, 10:05 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

With more options available for contests starting at 7:05 ET, I’m going to concentrate on Wednesday’s later batch of games.

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My full lineup:

SP: Noah Syndergaard $59

SP: Drew Smyly $38

C: Yadier Molina $10

1B: Hanley Ramirez $12

2B: Jason Kipnis $17

3B: Travis Shaw $14

SS: Tim Anderson $9

OF: Khris Davis $17

OF: Byron Buxton $11

OF: Brandon Moss $12

Syndergaard has a 1.96 ERA with a 53:3 K:BB ratio over 36.2 innings at home this season, and the Mets are big favorites (-175) Wednesday. Thor sure seems like he’s worth paying for...After a dominant beginning to the year (he had a 2.72 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP over the first six starts), Smyly has slumped badly of late (he has a 7.76 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP over his last six starts). Still, the skills are there, and he’s at home (five of his last six starts have come on the road).

Ramirez is on pace for 90 RBI despite scuffling, and he’s hitting in Fenway and extremely cheap (there are 25 more expensive first basemen Wednesday)...Kipnis has a .282/.347/.476 line against right-handers this year, and Ian Kennedy has allowed 14 homers over 71.0 innings...Shaw owns a .932 OPS at home and faces a righty and isn’t costly at a modest $14.

Anderson has been hitting leadoff and gets a bad pitcher and is almost a must start at just $9 at a thin shortstop position...Moss has a 1.057 OPS with 15 homers over 121 at bats against righties this season, and Collin McHugh has been extremely hittable...Davis sports a .286/.315/.653 line against southpaws, hits much better at home and gets Derek Holland, who’s been hit pretty hard against RHB in 2016.

Good luck with your contests Wednesday.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 15, 2016, 5:32 pm

Drew Pomeranz wasn’t on my draft radar in March, but he’s quickly become an in-season wallet player. I own him on three Yahoo teams, all of them contenders. I’ve enjoyed the 2.88 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, with better than a strikeout per inning. He’s one of the pickups of the year.  

That doesn’t mean I’m not somewhat concerned about where the Pomeranz story is headed. He’s never made it to 150 innings in any pro season, and in most years, he’s fallen far short of that number. The A’s used him more as a reliever than a starter in recent years. With the Padres nowhere close to contention, it’s fair to wonder how much Pomeranz we’ll see the rest of the year. He’s already at 75 innings. 

Pomeranz took the loss Tuesday against Miami, one of those “bad but acceptable” outings. The Marlins touched him for five runs in the first — Jeff Mathis’s two-out grand slam was the big blow — but Pomeranz gave us four scoreless innings after that, mitigating the damage. He walked five, struck out six. He mucked up your ratios a bit, but he didn’t set them on fire — and he kept the K/9 in a tidy area. At least it wasn’t a monumental disaster. I'm still confident in any Pomeranz start. 

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One thing I probably won’t do at the moment is trade for Pomeranz, not unless the price was reduced on the assumption of a later shutdown. Opposing owners can’t afford to discount what Pomeranz has done to this point, and I don’t want to pay on the assumption that he’ll be pitching through September. But maybe there’s a cheaper version of Pomeranz, a poor man's Pomeranz if you will, waiting to be acquired. 

Maybe it’s time to talk ourselves into Christian Friedrich, or at least have a conversation about him. 

Friedrich has a similar profile to Pomeranz. Both pitchers are left handed and in their late-20s (Pomeranz is 27, Friedrich turns 29 in early July). Both were first-round draft picks. Both made their MLB debuts for the Rockies, where young pitching is basically thrown to rot away. It’s just about impossible for any pitcher to survive there over a long period of time, so I don’t care how poorly Pomeranz and Friedrich performed there. Pitchers don’t have a chance in those elements. And both pitchers are getting mileage this year from an improved curveball (a pitch that almost never works in Colorado). 

Friedrich is in his first post-Rockies season, and he’s made six starts for the Padres. He’s yet to allow more than three earned runs in any turn, and his last two starts have been pretty darn good: 12.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 16 K. Shockingly, the best start he’s given us this year was a nine-strikeout game at Coors Field. The 2.12 ERA looks good for the year, though it’s undermined by a 1.44 WHIP. His FIP sits in the middle of those extremes, a reasonable 3.36

Like Pomeranz, Friedrich still struggles with walks (19 this year, in 34 innings). But he’s whiffing almost a batter per inning, the pedigree still matters to me at his age, and Petco Park will hide some of his mistakes. In shallower leagues, I fully understand if you merely want to monitor Friedrich, or ignore completely. I’ve added him in some deeper leagues, where any viable starting pitcher is owned on speculation. 

Friedrich gets Washington (home) and Cincinnati (road) in his next two starts. He’s owned in just six percent of Yahoo leagues. Let’s see where this story goes. 

Jaygee (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)• With Colorado pitching a tangential part of our lead story, I’m sure some are wondering about Jon Gray, the current mile-high phenom. I’m ignoring him, as I do any Colorado pitcher. I hate doing it, but gravity is hard to bet against. 

Gray was a Top 40 prospect on all the major clipboards this spring, and he was even more touted in 2014 and 2015. He’s had some snappy moments in ten MLB starts this year. A strikeout rate of 10.3/9, that leaps off the page. A 1.16 WHIP for a Colorado pitcher is a Houdini job. 

Gray has made 19 big-league starts over two seasons; 10 in Coors Field, nine on the road. The split is about what you’d imagine: 6.39/1.58 ratios at home, 3.73/1.13 on the road. The home numbers set your ratios on fire, and the road numbers aren’t good enough to hold as a speciality play. For all the obvious talent Gray possesses, the elements probably won’t allow him to become a dependable mixed-league option.

I look forward to a day where Gray is released from his Colorado hitch for good. He could be a star somewhere else. But there’s no way I’m going to chase this story so long as it’s routed through Coors Field. I’m not going to run uphill when I don’t have to. Wait for better spots, pick out better spots. 

• I have no idea which team might be wiling to take a shot on Jose Reyes, but it’s not going to be the Rockies. Colorado designed Reyes for assignment Wednesday

Trevor Story owners never had a reason to fear playing time going forward, but this Reyes news makes it official. Continue to enjoy your monster, breakout season. Story is one of the big-ticket items in any keeper league, with all-fields power and the potential to add steals at some point in time. He might never be a significant help in batting average, but with his power, I don’t really care. 

Reyes will probably pass through waivers unclaimed, making him a free agent. He's a difficult sell at age 33, with his baggage and skills erosion. I'm not going to stash him in any of my leagues. 

• The Rockies might have some issues with their outfield going forward; Gerardo Parra was in an outfield collision Tuesday and will have an MRI on his ankle Wednesday. This could set up Ryan Raburn to get semi-regular playing time; Raburn has been ostensibly the team’s fourth outfielder this year, and although we think of him as a platoon specialist, his stats are much better against righties.

Raburn's carrying a .897 OPS against righties this year, he’s slugging .633 at home, and he had a home run in Tuesday's game, after replacing Parra. He's also in Wednesday's lineup, batting sixth. We'll see what we learn about Parra's condition; in the meantime, Raburn is owned in one percent of Yahoo leagues. 

• We talked about the Washington bullpen in the previous CT, but with Jon Papelbon now officially on the DL, it's worth a revisit. 

The Nats aren't naming a definitive closer yet, but Shawn Kelley's profile makes you think he could handle the gig. Love that strikeout rate. A lot of times "we're not naming a closer" just means "we want to allow some time for the on-field activity to decide things for us."

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 15, 2016, 4:33 pm

On today's program, Brad Evans and Liz Loza discuss the NFL's most fantasy worthy headlines – an update on Breshad Perriman's knee injury, thoughts on the expected RBBC in Philly, Sterling Shepard's "lock" on the No. 2 spot in NY, and Darren McFadden's latest foible.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now]

Additionally, the gridiron gurus play a game of over/under in regards to Kirk Cousins' TDs, C.J. Anderson's touches, Matt Forte's combined yards, Torrey Smith's FF rank, and Corey Coleman's red zone prowess. Plus, answers to your pressing Twitter questions

Give it a listen, make it a habit

And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

Author: Liz Loza
Posted: June 15, 2016, 4:23 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

My full lineup (for all games starting after 4 pm PT):

SP: Jacob deGrom ($56) -  deGrom faces a Pittsburgh squad that he took a loss against his last time out. But he delivered a Quality Start in that road contest, and fanned nine Pirates without walking a batter. He'll get them at home on Tuesday, where he owns a 2.03  ERA in five starts. I like his chances of gaining the upper hand this time around.

SP: Drew Pomeranz ($45) -  Speaking of home splits, Pomeranz has been even better in that department than deGrom, owning a 1.52 ERA in five starts at Petco Park. He'll face Miami RHP Tom Koehler, who has posted an ERA of 4.36 this season thanks in large part to his issuance of the second most walks in the league to this point.

C: Matt Wieters ($11) -  Wieters has had success against Boston LHP David Price, compiling a healthy .871 OPS in 47 career ABs.

1B: Billy Butler ($11) - Butler has only faced Texas LHP Martin Perez five times, but he delivered two hits in those faceoffs, and he enters Tuesday having collected a hit in five of his past six at-bats.

2B: Rob Refsnyder ($14) -  Getting some offensive action at Coors Field is never a bad idea, especially when you get to face a pitcher (Colorado LHP Jorge De LA Rosa) who has an ERA above 11.00 as a starter this season. And Refsnyder has fared particularly well against southpaws this season, collecting four hits in 13 ABs, with three of those hits going for extra bases.

3B: Matt Duffy ($11) -  In his only previous meeting with Milwaukee RHP Matt Garza, Duffy went 2-for-3 with a home run. Throw in the fact that he is riding a seven-game hitting streak entering this contest, and it makes it hard to argue against Duffy at a mere $11.

SS: Asdrubel Cabrera ($13) -  Cabrera is 6-for-15 (.400) over his past five games, with a home run and two doubles. He's expected to face Pittsburgh RHP Juan Nicasio, who he has taken deep among his eight previous ABs against.

OF: Joc Pederson ($14) - Pederson has flaunted his power over the past four games, delivering an extra-base hit in each contest (three doubles and a home run). He'll face Arizona RHP Archie Bradley, who has struggled this season against lefty bats (.893 OPS).

OF: Brandon Moss ($12) - This equation is pretty easy to figure out. You have a bat in Moss that has hit all 14 of his home runs against right-handed pitching. And you have a Houston RHP Doug Fister that has surrendered seven home runs to lefty bats (10th-most among MLB starters) - Moss is also 4-for-7 with a HR in his career against Fister.

OF: Coco Crisp ($13) -  Crisp is hitting .350 (7-for-20) in his career against Texas LHP Martin Perez.

Follow Brandon Funston on Twitter.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 14, 2016, 4:59 pm

Are the Miami Marlins a quality offense this year? That depends on when and where you catch them, and who’s in the lineup 

Monday night at San Diego, it was a good night for the fish. The Marlins pounded out 19 hits in a 13-4 laugher, their biggest victory of the year. And if you had primary Miami bats in the lineup (be it for seasonal of DFS), you really were rewarded. 

The front four of Ichiro Suzuki, Martin Prado, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna combined for nine hits, six runs and five RBIs (Prado hit, for him, a rare homer). J.T. Realmuto, one of the only catchers not sinking in the Great Backstop Blackout of 2016, posted a useful 6-1-2-2 line. Justin Bour had three hits, two RBIs. 

Not pictured in the block party: Giancarlo Stanton. We’ve had a lot to say about his struggles, if you care to rehash that story. 

To no one’s surprise, Miami’s best foot has showed on the road this year. The Marlins rank seventh in road scoring, against a No. 26 rank at home. Overall, the Marlins have no troubles getting on base (third in average, eighth in OBP) but there isn’t a lot of pop to push everyone in; Miami is 16th in slugging percentage, 29th in home runs. 

If anything were to happen with one of the primary outfielders, Suzuki would become an interesting three-category rental for our purposes. The chase for 3,000 hits seems to be sparking the 42-year-old veteran. He’s a nothing in the power cats, but he’s hitting .350 in 120 at-bats, with 20 runs and six steals. Handedness has never really mattered much to Ichiro; he’s hitting .381 against lefties. 

If I could have my pick of any Marlins bat going forward, Ozuna gets the check mark. He’s hiked his isolated power by 103 points, perhaps showing the fruits of his work with new batting coach Barry Bonds. There isn’t anything in Ozuna’s batted-ball profile that supports this breakthrough, but we’ve been expecting big things since his 2014 emergence. He certainly passes the eye test, too. 

I’ve seen differences of opinion on Yelich; some picks, some pans. A .319/.407/.500 slash gets your attention, and his run production has been good, not outstanding (30 runs, 30 RBIs). I’d like to know when the category juice is going to arrive Yelich has five homers and just three steals on the year. At least he’s pulling the ball more this year, and hitting less ground balls — albeit there’s much room for improvement there. 

Prado’s .332 average and .374 OBP are nice, and he covers two infield positions — but he’s only hit two homers and doesn’t have a steal. You need more upside in a mixer. 

Bour rarely sees an at-bat against a lefty; he’s a solid but unspectacular .256/.337/.500 man against the righties (10 homers, 20 walks, just 33 strikeouts). I don’t understand why the Marlins don’t allow Bour to play full-time, let him grow, make mistakes, develop. But given the usage pattern, he’s more root relevant in leagues with daily transactions, where you can adjust the lineup as needed. Even players on the heavy side of a platoon are a pain in the neck in a mixed-league that requires weekly transactions. 

Realmuto’s splits don’t make much sense — he didn’t have any problems with southpaws prior to this year, but, strangely, they’re eating his lunch this season (.448 OPS). Maybe we should simply throw out a sample of 46 plate appearances. Realmuto is making it up to us against the RHPs — .341/.368/.445 — and I see him as a reasonable acquire at cost right now, expecting a modest bump in his power and speed going forward. 

Robbie G (Hannah Foslien/Getty)-- If you squint with the right kind of eye, you can see when Robbie Grossman was, once upon a time, a prospect. Baseball Prospectus slotted him No. 76 in the land prior to the 2012 season. Grossman didn’t do much in three years in Houston, and he started this year in the minors (biding time in the Cleveland the Minnesota systems). A .256/.366/.446 slash at Triple-A this spring is passable, though Grossman, at 26, is old for the level. 

The punchline to the story is what Grossman has done since the injury-riddled Twins recalled him: 325/.464/.623, with five homers in 23 games. He’s walked 20 times, struck out 19 times — and we know how contact rate stabilizes quickly. There’s not much to suggest this is even the slightest bit of a real thing, but a good four weeks in the majors at least can justify a short-term roto ticket for Grossman. He’s settled in as Minnesota’s No. 2 hitter, and he had a zippy 4-3-2-1 line (with a homer) in Monday’s win at Anaheim. 

Grossman is owned in just four percent of Yahoo leagues, if you feel like a tire kick on a Tuesday. 

-- Ryan Rua’s ownership tag is about half of Grossman’s — he’s owned in just two percent of the Y. We know one thing Rua is especially good at — crushing left-handed pitching. He’s always been a short-side platoon hero, but this year it’s even juicier: .392/.466/.588 against the southpaws. In some deeper formats with daily transactions, this is someone worth chasing the schedule over. 

Tuesday is the last good time for Rua — Texas faces a southpaw, then runs into eight straight righties in a row. Perhaps you’ll dial him up next week, when Boston throws David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez down in Arlington. Or maybe you can dial up Rua later in the year, when the schedule stacks up favorably. Every percentage advantage we can get is worth noting. 

-- The Nationals are probably going to close with Jonathan Papelbon so long as he’s healthy. But if Papelbon encounters any kind of long-term ailment — and he was unavailable Monday, due to general soreness — Washington seems to have a strong replacement lined up.

Shawn Kelley recorded a four-out save Monday, trimming his ERA to 2.70. Things really get fun if you look a little deeper: Kelley has 34 strikeouts against just five walks over 23.1 innings. Sounds like someone who should be owned in more than nine percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Kelley, 32, is a bit of a late bloomer. He’s posted a 3.20 ERA for his career, usually has good strikeout and walk numbers. He generally throws two pitches, a fastball in the low-90s and a slider. Two-pitch pitchers can survive as short relievers, of course.

Notorius ZIG (Sega) — As much as we love our strikeout-heavy fire-breathing dragons in the ninth inning, let’s accept that some specialists can get the job done in a different way. Submarine man Brad Ziegler is telling that story in Arizona. Ziggy played the final frame Monday, getting the final five outs for Zack Greinke against the Dodgers. Ziegler now has 41 straight save conversions, including 13 this year. His last blown save came in May of 2015. 

The controversial Jerome Holtzman stat is full of flaws and obvious limitations, of course. Ziegler has picked up two losses this year, working in tie games — high leverage all the way, but not a save spot. Nonetheless, Ziegler deserves Circle of Trust privileges The Snakes feel good about him, and we should, too. 

Ziegler’s career ground-ball rate is around 66 percent, and it’s just a shade under 63 percent this year. He’s walking a few too many men at 3.6/9, and his 5.2 K/9 is higher than last year, but a hair below his career norm. It’s a pitch-to-contact story most of the time, and often it’s a pitch-from-trouble story. Left-handed bats are generally the ones who cause Ziggy the most trouble, though he has a reverse split this year. He hasn’t allowed a home run in 2016.

If you’re in a format where innings are capped, I can see a tepid ranking of Ziegler. But if it’s all about the handshakes, he’s solidly in the second or third tier of closers. He should be able to hold the gig through the season. The sidewinder saves tonight. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 14, 2016, 2:58 pm

Football in the early 20th-centry, an era that featured no professional game, was gladiatorial in nature, a barbaric, teeth-gnashing exhibition dominated by bone-crushing runs, gruesome injuries and, in some instances, death. In 1905 alone, 19 players were killed.

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Many at the time called for its banishment.

In order for the sport to survive and advance, President Theodore Roosevelt, a prolific reformer and long-standing supporter of “rough games,” employed a forceful hand to enact necessary changes. Starting with a rules overhaul in 1906, including legalization of the much-debated forward pass, and subsequent alterations, the game eventually prospered into the multi-billion-dollar entity it is today.

Thanks Bull Moose.

When St. Louis University’s Bradbury Robinson completed the first legal forward pass over a century ago no one in a leather helmet could’ve imagined its evolution.

Nearly 110 years later, quarterbacks are the centerpieces of every organization. They earn exorbitant salaries, are handled with tremendous care and, often times, shoulder the weight of an entire franchise. The pass, after all, is no longer the controversial abnormality it was in the Progressive Era, but rather it’s the foundation of prolific, complicated offensive schemes seen today.

As a result, we’re living in the Golden Age of passing production.

Every year from 2009-2015 ranks top-eight all-time in per team per year passing yards per game. Last fall teams combined for an astounding 243.9 yards per game, up 7.0 ypg from the season before and, get this, 32.5 ypg higher than 2008. No wonder Tom Brady’s cookbook is fetching $200 a pop.

Unsurprisingly, fantasy numbers at the QB position have also skyrocketed. In 2010, eight signal callers averaged 17.0 fantasy points per game in standard Yahoo leagues. A season ago, that total was a never-before-seen 22. Posteriorly, owners are avoiding QBs like the plague in drafts, waiting in many cases until the double-digit rounds before investing.

Though compared to RBs (’14: -6.8 fantasy pts/g), ’15: -4.3) and WRs (-5.2, -3.4) the tier-to-tier drop off among QB1s has widened in recent seasons (-5.1, -6.1), most believe a late-round QB strategy is sage, especially in shallow formats where plentiful options are available on waivers. ‘Streaming’ based on favorable matchups can and often does reap major benefits for its subscribers. The professional imbecile who inked this article, for example, won a prestigious ‘experts’ league last year largely because of free agent add Kirk Cousins.

Damn right, I "liked that."

So, if you’re the wait-on-a-QB type, what slinger should you target after pick 100? Here are my top-five:

Tyrod Taylor, Buf
ADP: 129.5, QB18
For the second-straight season, Tyrod is a Rodney Dangerfield All-Star. The disrespected passer has tumbled down early draft boards due in large part to Sammy Watkins’ broken foot. That injury obviously complicates matters, but indications suggest the wideout will recover in time for Week 1. Assuming that scenario plays out, Taylor is criminally undervalued. His scoring duality (40.4 rush yds/g, 4 total rush TDs) and general efficiency (20:6 TD:INT split) were the primary reasons for his QB8 final 2015 rank. Even when Watkins was sidelined, he remained productive averaging just over 18 fantasy points per game in two starts. According to Pro Football Focus his 0.59 fantasy points per dropback trailed only Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. And that was accomplished with him averaging a reprehensible 2.4 red-zone pass attempts per game. Throw in top-10 marks in passer rating (99.4), yards per attempt (8.0) and air yards per attempt (5.0) and it’s understandable why he wants an extension. With expectations the Bills offense will “grow” under Greg Roman in Year 2, he should finish well above the current asking price.

Fearless Forecast: 3,513 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, 9 interceptions, 618 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs

A bulked up Mariota is slated to run more for Tennessee. (AP) Marcus Mariota, Ten
ADP: 123.0, QB16
Though he attracted little press, Mariota pieced together an awfully good rookie season. He displayed considerable pocket poise (No. 8 in under-pressure accuracy percentage), excelled on play action and occasionally tallied starter-level production for fantasy purposes. In fact his 0.51 fantasy points per dropback, according to Pro Football Focus, was the eighth-best mark at the position. Despite his struggles with the deep ball, largely due to constant duress, the youngster surpassed the 20 fantasy-point mark in eight of 12 games. His 204.0 total fantasy points was the ninth-best output ever by a rookie QB. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. An upgraded ground game featuring DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, improved offensive line and addition of sticky-fingered WR Rishard Matthews to an already laudable arsenal (Dorial Green-Beckham, Delanie Walker, Kendall Wright) all point the arrow up. Mike Mularkey’s reported desire to ratchet up Mariota’s use as a runner and given the Titans’ shortcomings on defense only increases the QB’s breakout potential. If it all comes together, a top-10 campaign is on the horizon.

Fearless Forecast: 3,968 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 534 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs

Kirk Cousins, Was
ADP: 111.1, QB14
Due in large part to Cousins’ December to remember, yours truly jubilantly crushed multiple umbrella drinks in his honor on Waikiki. Gracias, ‘Captain.’ After a come-from-behind victory in Tampa Week 7, a game that spawned this never dull clip, the former backup was nothing short of brilliant. Including that performance (317-3-0, 15-1), he ranked No. 4 among passers with 22.7 fantasy points per game. Equally spectacular over the entire year, he posted top-10 numbers in completion percentage (69.8), passer rating (101.6), yards per attempt (7.7), air yards per attempt (4.2) and fantasy points per dropback (0.53). Yes, some of his production was fueled by five fluky rushing touchdowns, but he finished as QB12 in points per game. Operating behind an offensive line that ranked No. 10 in pass protection according to Football Outsiders and with the addition of leaper Josh Doctson, it would be no shock to see Cousins crank out QB1 lines consistently this fall. Keep in mind his weapons outside Doctson (Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson) are quite good. Also the defense, even with Josh Norman, remains exploitable. Don’t expect a drastic regression.

Fearless Forecast: 555 pass attempts, 4,216 pass yards, 31 pass TDs, 13 interceptions, 39 rush yards, 3 rush TDs

Jameis Winston, TB
ADP: 132.6, QB19
Drafting Winston is akin to rocking a fanny pack, not so trendy. However, he was certainly useful on numerous occasions his rookie season eclipsing 18 fantasy points in a contest eight times. Overall, thanks to Winston’s opportunistic wheels (six TDs) and 4,000-plus pass yards, he cracked the QB top-15 in per game average. And that was achieved with his top receivers, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, totaling a wretched six scores. Tampa OC Dirk Koetter simplified the playbook last fall to increase Winston’s chances for initial success. Expected to remove the reigns, the coach plans to award his QB more freedom at the line. That independence should allow Winston to progress as a passer and fantasy producer. He'll be hard-pressed to match last year’s ground contributions, but if he can land in the 60-63 completion-percentage range, an achievable outcome, he may deliver QB1 numbers in 12-team leagues. Recall he ranked top-seven in deep-ball and red-zone pass attempts a season ago. And Tampa’s overly generous defense (No. 26 in pts/game allowed in ’15) has miles to go to earn respectability, likely pumping his per game volume. Bank on a long step forward.

Fearless Forecast: 4,289 pass yards, 29 pass TDs, 16 interceptions, 195 rushing yards, 4 rush TDs

Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ?
ADP: 157.6, QB23
The Jets and Fitzpatrick are the Rachel and Ross of the NFL. With all QB-needy teams no longer in the market for a veteran arm and considering Geno Smith is the only passer with starting experience on roster, it only makes sense for the on-again, off-again couple to reconcile their differences, sign a deal and make magic. A Geno/Christian Hackenberg/Bryce Petty three-headed ferret would destroy the values of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Matt Forte. Inevitably, one side will cave. When that happens, it’s important to weigh Fitz’s upside, which is substantial. Whether examining productivity or efficiency, yes, the well-traveled QB was largely underwhelming last year. He ranked outside the top-20 in passer rating, yards per attempt, deep-ball percentage and completion percentage. In other words, if not for Marshall and Decker’s dynamite red-zone production and the QB’s opportunistic legs, he would’ve been an albatross. Still his admirable 19.0 points per game average finished No. 15 at the position. Behind a rock solid pass-blocking line and given his lengthy arsenal, he should duplicate 2015’s 30-plus total touchdowns.

Fearless Forecast: 3,823 pass yards, 28 pass TDs, 14 interceptions, 203 rushing yards, 3 rush TDs

Others to consider: Jay Cutler, Chi (162.1 ADP, QB25), Matthew Stafford, Det (137.0, QB20), Ryan Tannehill, Mia (146.7, QB21)

***Note: Eli Manning (98.2 ADP) and Derek Carr (98.8) did not qualify since they generally fall inside the top-100 overall in average drafts.  

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise and Facebook.

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: June 14, 2016, 1:08 pm

The latest flavor of the week on the mound is a Seattle Mariner, and we have just the guy to diagnose him. Brandon Funston, the doctor is in.

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As you size up your James Paxton strategy, hear what Funston and Scott Pianowski have to say. Other topics: Giancarlo Stanton's horrendous slump; the Cubs amazing 1-to-5 rotation; finding happiness in a messy catcher world; and the Tim Lincecum comeback. The lads also talk a little This Week in Baseball, a little Washington infield, and a little Dazed and Confused

Give it a listen, you might just like it

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Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 13, 2016, 4:14 pm

Forget an apple a day, the pair of quarter backs featured in this edition of “The Docs” require something you can’t get over the counter. According to current ADP data, neither Kirk Cousins nor Matt Ryan are among the first 12 QBs coming off of draft boards. Still, for owners who like to wait on the position or participate in a 2QB or Super Flex exercise, one of these players is likely to be considered. Evans is willing to bet his medical license on the talents of Washington’s signal-caller. Loza, on the other hand, thinks Ryan still has a pulse. Read their case studies below and declare a winner in the comments section.

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Evans likes that: Debating a pair of secondary quarterbacks is akin to weighing death-by-bear or death-by-mountain lion, a verifiable lesser-than-two-evils argument. However, for those who subscribe to a late-round QB strategy or play in two-QB leagues (If you don’t, get with the program), only one is worth targeting in this "dilemma."

Put Kirk Cousins squarely in the cross-hairs.
The QB’s rise to prominence was nothing short of spectacular last year.  After RG3 was officially buried on the depth chart, Cousins ran with the opportunity. In Jay Gruden’s high-flying offense, he posted remarkable numbers, ranking top-10 at the position in several categories including completion percentage (69.8), passer rating (101.6), yards per attempt (7.7), air yards per attempt (4.2) and fantasy points per dropback (0.53). Yes, some of his production was fueled by five fluky rushing touchdowns, but he finished as QB12 in points per game. And we can’t forget his legendary fantasy playoff run. His 29.5 fppg from Weeks 14-16, tops among passers during that span, took owners to title town.
Operating behind an offensive line that ranked No. 10 in pass protection according to Football Outsiders and with the addition of high-pointer Josh Doctson, it would be no shock to see Cousins crank out top-10 lines consistently this fall. Keep in mind his weapons outside Doctson (Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson) are quite good. Also, even with Josh Norman now manning the defensive backfield, Washington’s No. 28 ranked defense from a season ago (in total yards per game allowed) remains vulnerable. Another 4,000 passing yards with 35 total touchdowns seem inevitable.
Matt Ryan is the Ryan Mathews of QBs, a perpetual letdown. Despite throwing to one of the game’s premier receivers, Julio Jones, he almost always leaves owners unsatisfied. Over the past three seasons, he’s finished inside the QB top-14 only once. And I’m not confident Mohamed Sanu’s presence will suddenly reignite the signal-caller’s game. His deep ball and red-zone inefficiencies last year were glaring. He’ll surpass 2015’s unsightly TD total (21), but there’s no way he sniffs 30 scores. Frankly, he’s the most overrated QB in the game today, fantasy or reality.
Loza’s resistance is futile. Captain Kirk is unequivocally the better option.

Loza hits the floor for the Falcon: I get that “Captain Kirk” has that shiny new toy appeal. His late season TD surge (12 total scores from Week 15 through 17) helped bring many managers fantasy glory. But let’s get real about his ability to replicate those stats.

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His weapons, while ripe with potential, have been far from consistent. Jordan Reed, in addition to possessing a dubious concussion history, has only started fourteen games in his three seasons as a pro. DeSean Jackson is a 29-year-old speed guy who averaged fewer than four catches per game in 2015. Pierre Garcon is an aging possession receiver with a 6 TD ceiling. Matt Jones averaged 3.4 YPC carry, committed five fumbles a year ago, and sat out the last two weeks of the year after getting banged up. And Josh Doctson is a rookie (who was kept out of OTAs last week because of a foot injury).

Matty Ice, on the other hand, has the privilege of lobbing the ball to Julio Jones, one of the most dynamic receivers in the league. The rest of the corps may not offer the same flashiness as the options in DC do, but at least they’re reliable. After all, Mohamed Sanu defined the word when he filled in for A.J. Green back in 2014, amassing 18 catches, 326 total yards, and score for the three weeks the stud was sidelined. And let’s not forget the pass-catching prowess of Devonta Freeman, who racked up the third most receiving yards among RBs in 2015, securing 73 balls via the air for 578 yards.

Plus, it’s not like Atlanta’s stable of options is completely devoid of upside. Second year man Justin Hardy has been impressing at OTAs. In fact, when asked about the slot man’s budding future, Jones noted the 24-year-old’s growth and stated that the youngster would, “make great plays [for us] this season.”

The reason Ryan is plummeting to the eleventh round of drafts is because he was so bad last year and fans of the virtual game are annoyed. So why not take advantage of the obvious recency bias and lean into the value? Ryan absolutely struggled to pick up Kyle Shanahan’s offense last fall and winter. But he’s also a cerebral talent who should be able to grasp the system’s nuances with sixteen starts now under his belt. And he won’t have to worry about trying to fill the void that Roddy White, whom Ryan spent eight seasons developing a rapport with, left when he fell off of a cliff in Week 2.

I’m not denying that Ryan’s appeal lies wholly in his floor. Nor am I trying to dismiss Cousins’ 2015 heroics. But the former BC Eagle is cheaper and more proven. He’s been a fantasy starter for five of the past six years. No, he’s never going to be a top-five commodity, but it’s more likely than not that he finishes in the QB10 - QB14 range, while also delivering consistent production on a week-to-week basis.

SEE ALSO: Keenan Allen vs. Demaryius Thomas

Follow our fearless forecasters on twitter, Liz (@LizLoza_FF) and Brad (@YahooNoise).

Author: Liz Loza
Posted: June 13, 2016, 1:53 pm

As always, you are advised to check the game-time MLB forecasts before finalizing lineups. Let's review the Monday slate...

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P Wei-Yin Chen, Mia, $37 (at SD) – We have only one true upper-tier ace in action on Monday (Scherzer), and that guy is dealing with a terrifying matchup (Cubs). So I'm simply chasing wins, picking on light-hitting rosters. San Diego currently ranks No. 29 in baseball in on-base percentage (.292).

P R.A. Dickey, Tor, $35 (vs. Phi) – Again, I'm win-chasing. The Phillies rank last in MLB in team OBP (.286) and next-to-last in runs (198), so it's not as if Dickey is facing a powerhouse. He's allowed only two runs over his last two starts, and hasn't really delivered an ugly line since April.

C Jonathan Lucroy, Mil, $17 (M. Cain) – When you spend only $72 on your pitching, you can afford a luxury catcher. Lucroy is slashing .303/.362/.512 on the season and he's facing a guy with a 1.43 WHIP.

1B Miguel Cabrera, Det, $20 (J. Shields) – Historically, Miggy has treated Shields like a piñata, going 19-for-55 with eight doubles and two homers. Shields of course has been dreadful in his last two starts, allowing 16 hits, 17 runs and five homers over just 4.2 innings.

2B Jason Kipnis, Cle, $17 (E. Volquez) – Kipnis has reached base at a .370 clip so far in June, and he has a nice enough history against Volquez (6-for-17, 3 XBH, 2 BB).

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3B Adonis Garcia, Atl, $11 (D. Wright) – Originally, I thought he'd be feasting at the Alfredo Simon fantasy buffet, but the Reds have shuffled their rotation. Fine. Garcia will instead face a pitcher who's given up 11 runs in his 10.0 innings of work this season.

SS Jean Segura, Ari, $15 (M. Bolsinger) – Segura is 6-for-16 over his last four games and he's 5-for-8 lifetime against Bolsinger. This feels like guaranteed points.

OF J.D. Martinez, Det, $21 (J. Shields) – I'll refer you to the Cabrera blurb above for details on the recent performance of James Shields. Martinez has been almost unstoppable at the plate lately, stringing together four straight multi-hit games (and seven in his last nine).

OF Bryce Harper, Was, $19 (K. Hendricks) – If the Cubs simply want to pitch around Harper again, that would be fine. I'll take the free points. If instead Hendricks is throwing hittable pitches, I like those odds, too.

OF Michael Taylor, Was, $8 (K. Hendricks) – Taylor is hitting .333 in June and he's 4-for-9 over his last two games. And hey, he's eight bucks. I needed a bargain-bin batter.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 13, 2016, 12:13 pm

John Lackey is 37 years old and owns a 2.63 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP while recording 84 strikeouts over 82.0 innings this season. It helps the Cubs have played some of the best defense in baseball, but Lackey also sports a career-high 12.8 SwStr%, which is pretty remarkable for someone who’s been in the league 14 years. He’ll continue to get strong run support (and benefit from the team’s defense and bullpen), so even with some regression, Lackey should remain a major fantasy help, and that’s without considering how cheap he was on draft day. He’s improbably been the No. 10 ranked pitcher so far in 2016.

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Headlines of the Week: Unprecedented Telemarketing Violation Case Could Lead To Trillion Dollar Fine...Japanese ‘Naked Restaurant’ To Ban Overweight Diners...Family Says Parrot Is Key Witness In Man’s Murder.

Quick Hits: Matt Harvey has a 0.90 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP with a 17:3 K:BB ratio over his last three starts (20.0 innings). He’s seen increased velocity over this stretch, so it looks like he’s going to be just fine moving forward...An update on Giancarlo Stanton’s epic slump: he’s now batting .112/.202/.204 with 46 strikeouts over his last 98 at bats. Just crazy...Michael Fulmer hasn’t allowed a run in his past 28.1 innings, becoming just the second pitcher since 1893 with four straight starts allowing zero runs and three or fewer hits. He’s still available in a quarter of Yahoo leagues...This Lorenzo Cain robbery of a home run was no joke...James Paxton has a 24:4 K:BB ratio since getting recalled and is suddenly throwing 98 mph. He’s accompanied that with a 2.20 GB/FB rate and a 13.2 SwStr%. There’s a good reason many spent big FAAB on him this weekend.

Police Blotter: Man Arrested For Murder Minutes After He Announces Lawsuit Against Police...Armed Robbers Thwarted Trying To Hold Up McDonald’s Where 11 Special Forces Officers Happened To Be Eating...Charges: Drunk Priest Attacks Cop, Paramedic.

Quick Hits Part Deux: Curtis Granderson is on pace to finish with 31 homers and 52 RBI, which wouldn’t be easy to do. He’s batting .086/.283/.171 with runners in scoring position, and eight of his 12 home runs have come leading off an inning...Corey Seager and Trevor Story have already both broken the record for most home runs by a rookie shortstop before the All-Star break, although Story is also on pace to strike out 237 times, which would shatter the previous all-time record...This Steven Souza leaping grab was nice...Jacoby Ellsbury covered some solid ground here...Both Tim Anderson and Blake Snell need to be owned in all fantasy leagues by now. Anderson should be a nice source of speed now the White Sox’s starting shortstop, while Snell is one of the better pitching prospects in baseball who will get a chance in the Rays’ rotation. He still has some control issues, but the rookie has major K upside.

This futuristic bus (that carries 1,000+ passengers) allowing cars to run underneath it looks pretty legit.

Larry David is ‘Thinking About Coming Back’ To Curb Your Enthusiasm. Yes!

Song of the Week: Thrice – “Black Honey”

Longread of the Week: How I convinced The World You Can Be Raped By Your Date

Quick Hits Part Tres: What’s going on with Marcus Stroman? One of the more popular breakout picks before the season, he owns a 4.95 ERA to go along with a 57:26 K:BB ratio over 85.2 innings. His 8.2 SwStr% ranks No. 75 among starters. It doesn’t help he’s had to face Boston three times already (in which he’s allowed 18 runs over 16.1 innings), but it’s not like he’s leaving the AL East anytime soon...Nomar Mazara’s game-ending throw was nice...It’s odd Will Harris is still available in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues, as he owns a 0.63 ERA and looks like Houston’s clear closer with Luke Gregerson blowing five saves over the past month...Snoop Dogg’s first pitch was a pitch out...Archie Bradley has 24 strikeouts over his past 19.0 innings during three starts. His control remains a problem, and the results haven’t yet been there (5.22 ERA), but the former No. 7 overall pick has definite potential, which isn’t representative of his current 23 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 13, 2016, 6:50 am

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

Dalton Del Don's lineup:

SP Jon Lester, at Atl, $55

SP Julio Urias, at SF, $32

C Nick Hundley, vs. SD (Friedrich), $13

1B Paul Goldschmidt, vs. Mia (Conley), $22

2B Rob Refsnyder, vs. Det (Fulmer), $12

3B Justin Turner, at SF (Peavy), $11

SS Alexei Ramirez, at Col (Anderson), $14

OF Matt Kemp, at Col (Anderson), $18

OF Andrew McCutchen, vs. STL (Leake), $15

OF Michael Taylor, vs. Phi (Morgan), $8

Lester was too good to pass up against Atlanta, even on the road...Urias hasn’t been great during his brief MLB stint, but the stuff has been there, and AT&T Park facing a lefty-heavy Giants offense looks like a good matchup, especially at just $32.

Scott Pianowski's lineup:

P Rick Porcello, at Min, $39

P Joe Ross, vs. PHI, $40

C J.T. Realmuto, at ARI (Ray), $11

1B Edwin Encarnacion, vs. BAL (Jimenez), $18

2B Logan Forsythe, vs. HOU (Keuchel), $13

3B Matt Duffy, vs. LAD (Urias), $10

SS Xander Bogaerts, at MIN (Dean), $21

OF Melvin Upton, at COL (Anderson), $17

OF Jon Jay, at COL (Anderson), $17

OF Ryan Raburn, vs. SD (Friedrich), $14

Went with solid-not-elite pitchers, with the savings allowing me to buy a couple of sizzling brand names (Encarnacion, Bogaerts). And an afternoon game at Coors begs for a few plays, of course. My three cheapest bats all enjoy the platoon advantage. 

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 12, 2016, 3:32 pm

The Wil Myers trophy case is already full with some premium awards. He was the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year and the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year. 

Unofficial as it may be, he might go down as the 2016 Breakout Player of the Year, too.

Injuries kept Myers down in 2014 and 2015, and not a lot was expected into his age-25 season. You know how it works; recency bias, the next buzzy thing, etc. Myers had a cheap Yahoo ADP of 245 before the season. I spent one spring evening locked into a heated debate between Myers and Adam Lind, if you can believe it. 

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Sounds rather silly now, with Myers in the midst of a fun and emerging season. He bailed out Friday's game at Colorado, hammering a clutch ninth-inning homer; he also had a stolen base earlier in the night. Myers is now sporting a .294-39-13-37-8 line, which makes him the No. 12 hitter and No. 17 overall player in Yahoo 5x5 leagues to this point. 

No one expects Myers to keep this pace up, but let’s at least take a moment to appreciate what that pace is: 102 runs, 34 homers, 97 RBIs, 21 steals. That’s a ridiculous haul. And it forces the question on us, a new question: just how good is Wil Myers, really? Where is this story headed? 

The category juice isn’t that far out of his demonstrated skill-set; he had eight homers and five steals last year in the same 60 games that he’s played to this point. His walk rate has curiously dropped from 10.7 percent to 5.5 percent. Strikeouts, about the same. His hard-hit metrics are similar (line-drive rate has risen a little bit). He’s hitting the ball to all fields more often this year; the game-deciding homer Friday was a clout to dead center field. His .326 BABIP is around his career hit rate of .320; nothing to see there. 

Some might view the eight steals with skepticism, given ordinary speed, but I have no problem accepting them. Myers is a smart player and a reasonable athlete; bags are generally there for a player who takes the time to go after them. He’s 24-for-30 in his career on steal attempts, and 8-for-9 this year. I don’t expect the complete pace to continue, but I’ll pay for something around 18-20. 

The biggest adjustment to Myers’s game this year is simply staying on the field, avoiding the injury bug. Wrist problems just about wrecked his 2014 and 2015 seasons. He’s briefly battled calf and forearm issues this year, but nothing major. 

Perhaps the shift from outfield to first base gives Myers a better shot at 2016 durability. One of his wrist problems from the past was a result of being plunked by a pitch, but that’s not a big part of his profile. Myers doesn’t crowd the plate and he knows how to duck a pitch; he’s only been hit twice in his MLB career. 

Petco Park is no longer a death sentence for a hitter, either; it’s been far more home-run friendly in the last two years. Myers actually has been much better at home this season; .946 OPS in San Diego, .705 on the road. 

I could take the easy way out and tell Myers owners to sell — regression! — but it’s doubtful anyone is going to pay for future earnings close to what he’s done in the first 60 games. But I have no problem viewing Myers as a hold, as a solid foundation piece of a balanced outfield (or infield, if you prefer him there). I love players who can do a lot of different things well; think of what Hunter Pence has been for most of his career. I don’t see any reason why Myers won’t be a Top 15-20 outfielder the rest of the way; if I were shuffling at the moment, I’d have him in the high teens. 

The Adam Lind think piece will have to wait for another afternoon. Today is Wil Myers Day.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 11, 2016, 6:53 pm

OK, you know the drill. Two of our experts are taking a shot with Saturday's slate....

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Andy Behrens
P Jake Arrieta, CHC, $59 (at Atl)
P Trevor Bauer, Cle, $38 (at LAA)
C Yadier Molina, STL, $12 (Liriano)
1B John Jaso, Pit, $14 (Martinez)
2B Starlin Castro, NYY, $11 (Verlander)
3B Kris Bryant, CHC, $21 (Wisler)
SS Addison Russell, CHC, $10 (Wisler)
OF Michael Conforto, NYM, $14 (Peralta)
OF Ichiro, Mia, $8 (Godley)
OF Billy Burns, Oak, $13 (Straily)

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Brandon Funston
P Jake Arrieta, CHC, $59 (at Atl)
P Dan Straily, Cin, $35 (vs. Oak)
C Steve Clevenger, Sea, $9 (Lewis)
1B Prince Fielder, Tex, $9 (Paxson)
2B Neil Walker, NYM, $14 (Peralta)
3B Kyle Seager, Sea, $19 (Lewis)
SS Jhonny Peralta, StL, $14 (Liriano)
OF Corey Dickerson, TB, $15 (Fiers)
OF Tyler Naquin, Cle, $12 (Shoemaker)
OF Randal Grichuk, StL, $14 (Liriano)

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: June 11, 2016, 4:28 am

If you're a fantasy owner in need of speed, the Chicago White Sox are here to help.

The team called up shortstop prospect Tim Anderson to the big leagues on Friday, and we can assume he wasn't promoted merely to sit and watch. Chicago also DFA'd veteran Jimmy Rollins, clearing a path for the 22-year-old Anderson.

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Over 55 games at Triple-A Charlotte this season, Anderson has slashed .304/.325/.409 with 16 extra-base hits, 11 steals and 39 runs scored. He was almost unstoppable in the month of May, hitting .349/.387/.488. Anderson has 19 multi-hit games in his last 30, which seems absurd. Last year, the kid led the Double-A Southern League in hits (160), runs (79) and steals (49), plus he ranked third in batting average (.312) and triples (12). The speed is definitely real. Anderson has hit .300 or better in each of the past three seasons, too, so he isn't likely to be a liability in AVG for fantasy purposes.

We should note, however, that Anderson is something less than a flawless prospect. He's drawn only eight walks this season and 32 in his last 180 games; we're not talking about a player with exceptional on-base skills. He's a steals-only add, basically. But for many of you, that's enough.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 10, 2016, 6:50 pm

The Yahoo Fantasy Baseball '16 season is already a quarter of the way home. With that in mind, Brandon Funston, Dalton Del Don and Andy Behrens take a look at the current movers and shakers on the waiver wire that should pique the interest of fantasy owners. Let's get to it ...

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Top 5 hitters owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Dalton Del Don
1. Trayce Thompson, LAD - Klay's bro has 10 HRs/4 SBs in past 33 games, and he's curbed K issues that plagued him in the minors
1. Trayce Thompson, LAD - He's homered three times in his last six starts, and he's now playing regularly. Offers decent speed and a tolerable AVG, too. 1. Trayce Thompson, LAD - He owns a .903 career OPS now. I don't get it. He should be owned in 100 percent of leagues

2. Jhonny Peralta, StL Has been a top 10 fantasy SS each of past 2 seasons and has returned from the DL strong (4-for-10, HR)
2. Jhonny Peralta, STL - Returned in a big way, with a pair of multi-hit games. He offers nice power by the standards of his position. 
2. Jhonny Peralta, Stl - He's back in action and could easily be a top-five SS the rest of the way

3. Ryan Zimmerman, Was Has been a top 100 roto player since May 1, producing a mid-.800s OPS in that span

3. Javier Baez, CHC - After the Soler injury, Baez has a neat path to playing time at a variety of spots. Great position flexibility, excellent power upside.

3. Zack Cozart, Cin - He's a SS with an .846 OPS on pace to finish with 24 homers and 86 runs scored

4.  Leonys Martin, Sea Expected back from the DL this weekend - was producing top level power/speed combo numbers before injury

4. Ketel Marte, Sea - He's back from the DL and running aggresively, swiping three bags in his last two games. 

4. Matt Adams, Stl - Has a .321/.390/.585 line against right handers over 106 at bats this season
5. Matt Adams, StL Has always sought-after power and has hit nearly .400 in the past month
5. Leonys Martin, Sea -  Very close to returning, brining useful power and speed with him (9 HR, 8 SB).  5. Melvin Upton, SD - He remains a theme for this column, but it's just bizarre someone on pace to get 16 homers with 35 steals is so available still

   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 50 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Dalton Del Don
1. Matt Shoemaker, LAA -  Has a 37:0 K-to-BB ratio in his past 30 IP - say no more
1. Brandon Kintzler, MinHe's closing for Minnesota (possibly sharing responsibilities with Abad), so he needs to be owned in competitive mixers.  1. Jameson Taillon, Pit - It's 49 percent right now, which I assume will grow very soon

2. Danny Duffy, KCThrows gas, gets Ks, not issuing free passes and has been doing it as a starter past 3 weeks
2. Danny Duffy, KC -  This guys throws a zillion miles an hour, and suddenly he's eliminated walks. 
2. Nathan Eovaldi, NYY - He's tough to figure out. Eovaldi's 96.9 average mph FB velocity is the second highest in MLB
3. Trevor Bauer, CleGetting right at a K per IP, and solid 3.40 ERA, 1.16 WHIP over his past 7 starts

3. Trevor Bauer, Cle -  Bauer is coming off a 10-K start and he's got the Angels up next. Take him for a test-drive.

3. Julio Urias, LAD - I still remain very much a believer in his potential
4.  Kintzler/Abad, Min - Looks like a closing duo in MIN for now - both have solid ratios and should get some saves opps 4. Tyler Glasnow, Pit -  Just check the minor league numbers, YTD: 2.04 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 77 Ks in 66.1 IP. 4. Jeremy Hellickson, Phi - He owns an 18.4 K-BB% that's higher than Chris Sale's
5. Seung-Hwan Oh, StlOnly NYY dynamic set-up duo of Betances/Miller have more Ks in relief - No. 87 in Y! game
5. Brad Brach, Bal Picked up a rogue save on Wednesday, and he's been striking out more than a batter per inning. 5. Archie Bradley, Ari - The former top prospect has 30 strikeouts over 29.1 innings

   

Top 5 hitters owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Dalton Del Don
1. A.J. Reed, Hou - I am very invested here and need a call-up soon, which is what Astros GM has hinted will be the case
1. Alex Bregman, Hou - He's been getting time at third, opening a path to the big leagues. Hitting .304/.408/.573 at Double-A with 12 home runs.
1. Joey Gallo, Tex - He'll get another chance soon, and the power upside makes him worth stashing
2. Tim Anderson, ChW -  Just called up, with J. Rollins DFA'd - Well regarded prospect playing a premium position (SS) and offering impact speed
2. A.J. Reed, Hou - Reed is one of the game's best power prospects, and we're finally clearing the Super-2 nonsense.
2. Hyun Soo Kim, Bal - He's hitting .393 in June
3. Albert Almora, CHC - Athletic young Cub is definitely worthy of taking flyer on in deeper mixers if he manages to stick around

3. Willson Contreras, CHC - Joe Maddon has already said that Contreras will make it to the majors this season. He's been a hitting machine at Iowa.

3. Alex Bregman, Hou - His ownership will be five times this amount within three weeks
4.  Jon Jay, SD Scored in 7 straight games to open June and is hitting .378 this month
4. Tommy Joseph, Phi - When he plays, he clears the fences. Ryan Howard is hitting .150, not exactly making a case to continue playing. 4. Albert Almora, CHC - It's only a matter of time before he's the next member of the Cubs to be a part of the NL All Star team

5. Willson Contreras, CHC - Considering how woeful the roto C crop is, it might be worth a stash-and-pray play while you wait for the next ridiculously talented Cubs prospect to arrive
5. Ichiro, Mia - OK, sure, he has his limitations. We all know it. But he's again hitting way north of .300, plus he's running. And I needed a fifth name.  5. Mallex Smith, Atl - Speedster has started running more of late. Grab him if you need steals

   

Top 5 pitchers owned in 15 percent of leagues or less to target right now
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Dalton Del Don
1. Junior Guerra, MilBeen on my list now for 3 straight weeks - has produced something at least very close to a Quality Start every time out this season 1. Blake Snell, TB It won't be long before he's recalled by the Rays, and he's been dealing in the minors (77 Ks in 57.1 IP). 1. Dan Straily, Cin - He has a 1.13 WHIP and is owned in every league in which I play in

2. Fernando Abad, Min -  You never get a closer in the 15% crowd, even if it may just be co-closer for a terrible team
2. Fernando Abad, Min -  His ratios have been terrific (0.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP), and he could see a few save chances in Minnesota.
2. Blake Snell, TB - An intriguing prospect worth stashing

3. Michael Feliz, Hou In past 24 IP, crazy 36:2 K-to-BB ratio - throw in 4 wins in that span and he's been a mid-relief roto stud

3. Hunter Strickland, SF - Strickland just converted a one-out save on Wednesday, and Santiago Casilla has stumbled a bit this month.

3. Michael Feliz, Hou - The Astros closer situation remains completely in flux, and Feliz is dominant. He's a help in innings caps leagues regardless
4.  James Paxton, SeaInconsistency is maddening given talent, but 17:2 K-to-BB ratio in 9.2 IP is hard to ignore
4. Ross Ohlendorf, Cin -  He terrifies me, I gotta admit, but it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he began to see save chances.  4. Hunter Strickland, SF - A help in ratios and a possible source of saves

5. Alex Reyes, StLHas 30 Ks in 1st 16.2 IP at Triple-A Memphis - has June call-up potential as StL starters have combined 4.46 ERA  5. Junior Guerra, MilThis is the Brewers pitcher I'd add (if you really have to own one), not Davies. There's K potential with Guerra.  5. Junior Guerra, Mil - Interesting profile with 39 strikeouts over 42.1 innings

   

Top 5 most overrated fantasy players at the moment
Brandon Funston
Andy Behrens
Dalton Del Don
1. Giancarlo Stanton, Mia - Health and Batting Average volatility come with the territory, yet someone will always pay Round 1 price
1. Mark Trumbo, Bal - The power is real, but the batting average certainly is not. I'd sell before the slump. 1. Jose Abreu, CHW - He was an early round pick but has disappointed fantasy owners in a big way for the second straight year
2. Dallas Keuchel, HouI never bought in to him being able to sustain his zen master ace level of '15, but I know plenty of people who did
2. Jason Hammel, CHCCheck his career first half/second half splits right here. It's been a nice ride to this point, but you really need to get off, very soon.
2. Jason Heyward, CHC - He's the No. 293 ranked fantasy player in leagues that don't count UZR

3. Jason Heyward, ChC - One of those players who has more often than not delivered less than his draft value, including '16

3. Fernando Rodney, SD - Too obvious? Yeah, maybe. But Rodney is currently saving games and never giving up runs. An obvious real-life trade candidate. 

3. Fernando Rodney, SD - He's yet to allow an earned run with 10 walks over 21.1 innings

4.  Yasiel Puig, LAD  OPS has been in decline every season since rookie campaign - I'm as guilty as anyone of fruitlessly chasing this guy's upside
4. Aledmys Diaz, STLHe was a .276/.335/.444 hitter in the minors, with modest power. Very tough to believe he maintains his present pace. 4. Giancarlo Stanton, Mia - I still believe in him, but he has a .114/.204/.205 line with 43 strikeouts over his past 88 at bats
5. Andrew McCutchen, Pit  He went No. 8 in drafts despite  falling out of top 30 in '15 roto value because SBs took a dive, where they remain in '16 (1 SB)

5. Trevor Story, Col -  You probably should have sold already. He may very well hit another 15-or-so homers, but I'd expect him to finish with a .240-ish average. 5. Freddie Freeman, Atl - Teammates have killed his counting stats

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 10, 2016, 6:46 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

With more options available for contests starting at 7:05 ET, I’m going to concentrate on Friday’s later batch of games.

My full lineup:

SP: Stephen Strasburg $59

SP: Matt Harvey $41

C: Brian McCann $14

1B: Anthony Rizzo $17

2B: Neil Walker $14

3B: Javier Baez $7

SS: Taylor Motter $7

OF: Melvin Upton $18

OF: Yoenis Cespedes $16

OF: Albert Almora $7

There’s obviously little reason to blame you for going with Clayton Kershaw, but the Nationals are -265 favorites compared to -160 by the Dodgers, and Strasburg is likely to be less owned. Strasburg has 100 strikeouts over 79.0 innings this season, and he faces a Phillies team that’s scored the second fewest runs in baseball, and he’s at home...Harvey has looked much better of late, and there are 13 starting pitchers with a higher cost Friday. Jon Gray is the same price as Harvey, and he’s starting in Coors Field.

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Rizzo owns a .984 OPS against right handers this season, so a $17 price tag seems cheap...Spending so much on pitchers resulted in digging for bargain hitters, hence the Baez, Motter and Almora additions. Motter has been hitting atop the Rays’ lineup.

Upton is on pace to finish with 16 homers and 35 steals and is hitting in Coors Field...Cespedes has a .303/.377/.633 line on the road this season, and there are 38 outfielders more expensive than him Friday. Cespedes seems like a must use during this slate.

Good luck with your contests Friday.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 10, 2016, 6:15 pm

 

Uncertainty surrounding $72 million signee Brock Osweiler has many fantasy owners uneasy about the QB's impact on brand names DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller. In this edition of 'The Stance,' Brad Evans and Liz Loza discuss Houston's fantasy relevant players over a few dozen Lone Stars. YEEEEHAAAAWWWW!!!

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Miller inked a rather lucrative four-year, $26 million deal ($14 million guaranteed) in March, a rarefied contract in this day and age of RB devaluation. Because the vet has limited competition for touches, many believe this will be the year he finally reaches peak potential. At his current 15.8 ADP (RB6), is the rusher OVERVALUED, UNDERVALUED or PROPERLY VALUED? Also, what are you statistical projections?

Liz – PROPERLY VALUED. As discussed on Wednesday’s edition of the Fantasy Freak Show Podcast, Miller is ranked sixth among RBs in Yahoo’s expert consensus rankings, as well as my own. He was fantasy’s sixth best overall player at the position last season, averaging 11.6 fantasy points per week in back-to-back campaigns.

Moving to an offense with a better run blocking unit (ranked ten spots higher than Miami’s was the previous year, according to Football Outsiders) and one that called the eighth most passing plays in 2015 (without Arian Foster!) and the first most in 2014, Miller’s volume should see an uptick. A tantalizing combination of speed and agility in tandem with an undeniable nose for the end zone have aided in Miller’s ability to produce top-ten numbers despite averaging thirteen totes and two catches per game over the last two years in South Beach. Assuming he stays healthy in Houston and taking into consideration a small adjustment period, I see him racking up 300 total touches for 1,450 combined yards and 10 TDs.

Brad – Slightly UNDERVALUED. All the ingredients are in place for Miller to cook up a buffet of fantasy goodness. He's the unrivaled starter who is sure to see a sizable increase in snap share ('15: 61.6) and overall touches ('15: 15.1/game). He's essentially a fresher, younger Arian Foster, a rare 300-touch commodity.

On what should be 18-22 touches per game, Miller could max out in the 1800-1900 combined yards, 11-14 TD range. He's a multidimensional slasher equipped with deceptive power (No. 7 in YAC last year), elusiveness (No. 14 in evaded tackles), open-field wheels and reliable mitts (82.5 catch%). Behind a respectable run-blocking line, he should flourish. He'll prove more valuable than Adrian Peterson. Blasphemy? I think not.

When it comes to his fashion sense, affinity for furry 'manbag' accessories or contributions on the field, Hopkins is truly a one-of-a-kind talent. After Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, most 'experts' have him ranked as the next best WR. With a relatively green QB at the helm, OVER/UNDER 99.5 receptions this season.

Liz – OVER. Last year the stud receiver dragged “Hoyer the Destroyer” along, hauling in 111 catches. Even assuming Miller absorbs 45-50 balls, the tertiary weapons in Houston’s passing game aren’t potent enough to threaten Nuk’s volume. In fact, back in 2014, with a more run focused approach and a relatively healthy Arian Foster, Andre Johnson managed 85 receptions (to Hopkins’ 76). The Clemson product should have no problem besting the vet’s previous total by 15 catches this fall.

Brad – UNDER. Without question, Hopkins is a mega-elite talent with ridiculous dexterity, adjustment/ball-tracking skills and hands. His 59 catch percentage last year was unsightly, but the undynamic duo of Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett were clearly to blame. As noted by his contested catch rate (61%), 15 red-zone receptions and massive targets share (31.3%) he's a clear cut WR1 option.

However, I'm expecting him to fall just shy of the century mark in catches. With Miller in tow, the Texans have a legitimate ground game, which was virtually nonexistent last year. His presence combined with Osweiler's uncertainties arrow to a campaign between 2014 (76-1210-6) and 2015 (111-1348-11).

When Texans training camp opens in late July, Cecil Shorts, Jaelen Strong, Keith Mumphery and rookie speedster Will Fuller will compete for the WR2 gig. Among the group, who will offer the most fantasy worth come year's end?

Liz – STRONG. With 32-year-old Nate Washington now in New England, and Cecil Shorts missing upwards of five weeks due to a myriad of injuries last year, Strong has an opportunity to step into a larger role opposite Hopkins. Of course, I’d like his chances more had Houston not drafted Fuller and Braxton Miller, but I believe Fuller to be a one-dimensional speed guy and Miller a developmental product. Strong needs to stay out of legal trouble and work hard in camp, but if he can stay focused his leaping ability and physicality could earn him enough looks to close out 2016 with a 50-700-6 stat line.

Brad – To be clear, I'm rather unconfident anyone from this mishmash will crack starting fantasy lineups routinely, even in 14-team leagues. However, FULLER possesses the most upside. He's a one-trick pony akin to a Ted Ginn or DeSean Jackson, but with double coverages draping Hopkins, he will have ample opportunities to pop tops deep downfield. When it comes to his wiry frame, the dude should always order extra cheese, but his blazing 4.32 40-yard wheels gives him the advantage over Strong/Shorts/Mumphery. Think final first-year numbers around 45-725-4.

Harass Brad on Twitter @YahooNoise.

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: June 10, 2016, 2:14 pm

For better or for worse, there’s an attraction to round numbers in sports.  

When someone scores that 50th goal, they immediately fish out the puck, mark it up. Win a 300th game, they throw a party. Break into 1,000 yards rushing or receiving, it makes an visual impact, cracking into that fourth column. Wilt Chamberlain’s best scoring night (on court) was going to be magical either way, but there’s something cool about it landing exactly on 100 points. 

It can work in negative ways, too. Consider the Mendoza Line, the scarlet letter of baseball batting averages. 

Anyone can hit in the low .200s and look bad, but once you cross under .200, once you get south of Mendoza, that’s when the average really jumps up and down, starts attracting attention. Drop under .200, there’s nowhere to hide. 

Giancarlo Stanton can relate. After Thursday’s 0-for-5 at Minnesota, he’s sitting at .197 for the year. While he did get unlucky on one sharply-hit ball, the other four outs came on strikeouts. (Meanwhile, Stanton’s teammates sprung for 10 runs on 18 hits. The four men ahead of Stanton in the order — the amazing Ichiro Suzuki, Martin Prado, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna — are all hitting over .300).

Stanton defenders will point to his .247 BABIP, but come on, let’s be better than that. Stanton’s made a lot of his bad luck. His line-drive rate has collapsed to 13.8 percent (easily the worst of his career) and his hard-hit percentage has dropped by over nine percent. He’s also striking out an insane 35 percent of the time, easily the worst clip of his career. 

Health could be playing into Stanton’s extended slump. He had a sore knee in Spring Training, and he recently missed about a week with a side injury. 

And to be fair, most of the stats in his batted ball profile are more descriptive than predictive — they represent why he has the ugly average, but it doesn’t mean it can’t change at any moment. Surely no one wants to turn this around more than Stanton. Everything in this game is constantly fluid; players make adjustments, gain and lose confidence, etc. We’re very good at telling you where the puck has been, and why; it’s not nearly as easy to say where it’s going. 

Nonetheless, I’m out on Stanton. I’m not a sympathizer; I wasn’t before the year and I’m certainly not now. The spectacle of Stanton tends to be overrated in the public eye; mammoth home runs usually move the needle. I think he's the most overrated name player in baseball. 

Super Mario? (Topps)Can we be confident about his health? Is Stanton done running (he doesn’t have a steal this year)? Did you notice how ordinary he tends to be in runs scored (the silent leak, so often underrated)? How many games do you feel confident projecting? He’s logged 123, 116, 145 and 74 games the last four seasons. Some injuries were clearly unavoidable bad luck, but I wouldn’t put everything into this file. I never expect a full season here. 

Don’t tell me I’m killing your Stanton trade market, because plenty of pundits disagree with me on Stanton. You can find the right propaganda somewhere else, if that’s what you covet. I still think you can point to those 12 homers in 50 games and pique someone’s interest. Heck, it’s a logical play for a team in the second division (check this solid take from my buddy Steve Gardner); a fantasy team that needs to make a run from the bottom of the standings should consider boom-or-bust options like Stanton. He’s far less interesting to a team near the top, a team more concerned with floor than upside to this point.

The bat’s in your hands, Mario. Where do you stand on Stanton? Share your take in the comments. 

-- Things are even more dire in Texas, where Prince Fielder is sitting on a .193/.265/.302 slash. He’s not hitting the ball with much authority, either, though one exception came Thursday. If you rank all the 1B-eligible players in banked 5x5 value, Fielder currently slots 63rd, just ahead of Ryan Howard and Yonder Alonso.

The roto questions are different with Fielder — he’s someone you could conceivably drop in a shallow or medium-depth mixer. The Rangers are a serious contender in 2016 and they have a very deep roster. First base and DH aren’t difficult positions to fill. And it’s not like Texas gets anything from Fielder’s defensive play or base-running; if he ain’t hitting, he ain’t helping. 

Fielder turned 32 in May and he’s been losing bat speed for a while now. Many have suspected he could hit a nasty cliff in his early 30s, and that’s exactly what this looks like to me — a cliff season. I’d be in “whatever I can get mode” if I owned him, even if that merely meant something shiny off the waiver wire. 

— To try to balance things out a bit, let’s mention two hitters that have recently climbed over the Mendoza. Good things appear to be ahead for Byron Buxton and Alex Rodriguez

Buxton has a .333 average since his recall to the majors in late May. He hasn’t walked or homered in that stretch, and he only has one steal — though I could see an avalanche of steals coming at any time. But given how high his pedigree is, and how well he played during a Triple-A tuneup (six homers, four steals, 1.007 OPS), I love his plausible upside going forward. I also think the Twins will eventually promote Buxton in the lineup, probably sooner rather than later. They just want him to bank a little confidence first. You can add Buxton in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Rodriguez isn’t walking, either, but he does have a .342 average this month, with seven RBIs. The injury-riddled Yankees need him in the lineup. He was just starting to find his pop before the hamstring injury in May; I still think he has some fantasy goodness left in him. A-Rod is unowned in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 10, 2016, 12:48 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

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My full lineup (for all games starting after 4 pm PT):

SP: Jimmy Nelson ($42) -  It's a hope-and-prayer kind of day for the DFS pitching options. Given the lack of "sure-thing" choices, I'm paying up for Nelson, who owns a 4-2 record to go with a 2.54 ERA in seven home starts. And he faces a Mets team that he owns a 1.80 ERA against in three career meetings.

SP: Brandon Finnegan ($33) -  This is more a play against St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright who, while having pitched much better of late, has a 6.55 ERA and a .944 OPS allowed in his six road starts, and was shellacked for 7 ER in 5.1 IP vs. Cincy back in mid-April. Finnegan has delivered a solid 2.61 ERA over his past three starts (20.2 IP).

Alright, plenty of money to spend on bats today, so let's get to it ...

C: Jonathan Lucroy ($20) -  Fresh off a nine-HR month of May, Lucroy is the top backstop in fantasy, and one that owns a 4-for-6 career mark against Mets RHP Bartolo Colon.

1B: Albert Pujols ($18) - Pujols, hitting .304 in June, faces Yankees RHP Ivan Nova, who he has homered off of twice in 12 career ABs. Pujols has also posted an OPS north of .900 at Yankee Stadium since '13.

2B: Brandon Phillips ($10) -  Phillips has been stinging the ball of late, riding an 11-game hitting streak in which he's hit .364. He also owns a .304 lifetime mark against Cards' RHP Adam Wainwright, impressive considering Wainwright was pitching at an ace level (unlike in '16) for most of those meetings.

3B: Kyle Seager ($18) -  Seager enters Thursday with a .995 OPS mark against righties, and he's fared particularly well against Cleveland RHP Josh Tomlin, who he is 5-for-9 against in his career.

SS: Francisco Lindor ($19) -  The No. 33 overall ranked player in Yahoo fantasy is 2-for-6 in his career vs. Seattle RHP Nate Karns.

OF: Mike Trout ($23) -  If you have cash to spend on offense, you might as well make it count by backing one of fantasy's top 5 offensive forces. And Trout is 6-for-14 in his career against New York RHP Ivan Nova.

OF: Kevin Pillar ($7) - Not a bad bargain basement buy for a guy that has homered and tripled in his past two games and faces a Baltimore starter, Tyler Wilson, that owns a 5.94 ERA in his past three starts .

OF: Michael Conforto ($10) -  Conforto is a nice cheap route to go HR fishing, as all nine of his home runs have come off of righties this season. And seven of the 11 HRs that Milwaukee RHP Jimmy Nelson has allowed have come against lefty hitters. Yes, I have Nelson as one of my two starters today, but I'm not expecting a shutout win. And if anyone is going to do any damage against him, I like Conforto's odds.

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Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 9, 2016, 6:04 pm

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Andy Behrens and Dalton Del Don open by discussing Jameson Taillon's debut and what to make of the closing situation in Houston. The duo follow talking about popular waiver wire adds, including Trayce Thompson, Carlos Gomez and Jurickson Profar, among others, in an all baseball podcast.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 9, 2016, 5:33 pm

The Mixed Auction of Tout Wars isn’t the busiest trading league, but some deals get made. And for the past two weeks, Kevin Jepsen has been a centerpiece to most of them. He’s been in three different swaps over the past two weeks (none of them related to me; I guess I missed that window). It's like kindergarteners passing around the chicken pox. Ah, the maddening handshake chase. 

And now we can put a stop to that silliness.

Paul Molitor finally took his bullpen in a new direction Wednesday, demoting Jepsen (6.17 ERA, 1.76 WHIP) from the closing gig and elevating Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad to the front of a committee. Kintzler is a 31-year-old journeyman right-hander, while Abad is a well-traveled 30-year-old lefty. Kintzler picked up the save in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory over Miami, working around one hit.

Both Kintzler and Abad have been pitching well, that’s not at issue. Kintzler has a 2.30 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 15.2 innings, with one walk and 11 strikeouts. You’d like to see more dominance, more whiffs, from your closer, but part of that is mitigated by the excellent control. Kintzler being the right-hander in the mix, he’s the best bet for saves forward.

Abad’s numbers are more flashy (0.87/1.02, better than a strikeout per inning), though he has to fight through the bias against lefty closers. Maybe it’s a fair critique, too. Right-handed batters are hitting .283 against him, while lefties are a hopeless .111. (For his career, the OPS split is far less slanted; .743 in the disadvantage, .688 in the catbird seat.)

The delayed punchline to the lede above — I’m the guy stuck with Glen Perkins in Tout Wars. You remember Perkins, the veteran closer who opened the year as the head of this bullpen. Perkins has thrown some recent bullpen sessions as he attempts to come back from his shoulder injury, but the team doesn’t have a timetable for advancement. When you’re a last-place team with an 18-40 record, there’s no sense of urgency for this type of stuff. I’d bet against Perkins holding any value this year, though I’ll keep him stashed in the meantime since Tout allows unlimited DL spots.

Kintzler is waiting for a call in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues, and I’d go there if you can. Abad is free in 96 percent of our world.

Lather, rinse, repeat (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)— Some hitters like to practice off a batting tee. Some prefer soft toss, or a batting practice pitcher. The rest of the world, apparently, prefers James Shields.

Shields allowed 10 runs in his San Diego swan song last week, and his White Sox debut wasn’t much better. The Nationals pounded Shields for seven runs and three homers in two-plus innings. Shields now has a 5.06 ERA and 1.53 WHIP on the year. (The White Sox fans actually booed him off the field; how's that for an opening act?) 

Shields wasn’t much better last year with the Padres; the home park masked some of his slippage. He posted a 3.29 ERA at home, 4.50 on the road. I’d be surprised if he can keep an ERA under 4 even if we grant him a fresh start now; he’s in the wrong league and the wrong ballpark. His fastball, over the 92 mph threshold back in the Tampa Bay and Kansas City days, has tumbled down to 90.1 mph. His swinging strike rate has dropped two points from last year. He’s in his age-34 season.

Shields is still owned in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. Let’s get to work on that, amigos. You can do better, and you need to do better. I'll sign off on your cut, even if it's merely a Therapeutic Drop. 

— The pitching stories are much happier on the North Side of Chicago, where the Cubs can seemingly do no wrong. Joe Maddon’s crew is off to a remarkable 41-17 start, and it’s happened despite a handful of hitters pushing off to ordinary starts.

What is extraordinary is the work of the pitching staff, the starters in particular. John Lackey was the latest to carry the baton, working seven clean innings at Philadelphia on Wednesday (3 H, 0 BB, 8 K). He’s now at a 2.63 ERA, with a 0.93 WHIP — far exceeding anyone’s reasonable expectations. This is a 37-year-old pitcher?

You obviously can’t pick up any Cubs starters in your league, but let’s just take a breath and appreciate how dominant the staff is. Consider the banked 5x5 values to this point, judging all the starting pitchers in the majors. Chicago has an absurd five pitchers in the Top 18: Jake Arrieta (2nd), Jon Lester (6th), Lackey (8th), Jason Hammel (14th) and Kyle Hendricks (18th). Can anyone remember a starting staff anywhere near this deep?

Mind you, healthy skepticism would suggest most of the pitchers have nowhere to go but down. Arrieta has been in this area before, sure. Lester is pitching a little over his head, perhaps. Some age-related regression for Lackey would make sense, I guess. Hammel has a history of poor finishes. Hendricks looks consistent and bankable, but his resume isn’t that long.

Nonetheless, barring some crazy overpayment offer, I think you have to hold on all of these guys. They’re all making plenty of their own luck to begin with, and then there’s the defense behind them, the offense supporting them, even the Maddon factor in the dugout. As random as wins tend to be for our purposes, starting with the best team surrounding you is a heck of an advantage.

Jameson, neat (AP/Chris O'Meara)Speed Round: The Jameson Taillon debut was solid, not spectacular (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K). He took a no-decison against the Mets. The Pirates don’t have an obvious spot in the rotation right now — this was considered a spot start — but Taillon’s minor-league resume could be good enough to bump someone soon, perhaps as soon as next week. We’ll just have to wait. I didn’t go stash-crazy on Taillon, though I see the case, but I have a share or two . . . A.J. Hinch hasn’t fully endorsed Will Harris as the Houston closer yet, but he did endorse him as a fantasy pick. Isn't that cute? Harris’s shutdown ratios should have put him on your roster back in May, at least in most leagues . . . The Yankees might be desperate enough to see where this Chris Parmelee story goes. He had two homers in a win over the Angels . . . Alex Rodriguez isn’t blowing up right now, but he is hitting .353 in June (albeit with zero walks). Baby steps. I still think he’s worth owning in medium and deeper mixed leagues, and I’d consider him in shallow pools, even with the utility lock-up (he doesn’t carry a position) . . . Yu Darvish left his start due to shoulder tightness, but he’s optimistic he won’t miss a turn . . . The Dodgers will keep Julio Urias in the rotation for now (he’ll go Sunday at the Giants), but they’re also going to keep him on a hyper-vigilant pitch count. Good luck trying to get a win when you’re not allowed to go past 85 pitches or so. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 9, 2016, 4:17 pm

On today's program, Brad Evans and Liz Loza discuss the NFL's most fantasy worthy headlines – Houston's promise to feed Lamar, Michael Thomas's progression in the Saints' offense, and whether Jeff Janis can finally make the leap.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now]

Additionally, the pigskin prognosticators play a game of believe/make believe in regards to Keenan Allen's catches, Arian Foster's bounce back ability, and CJmehK's potential thievery. Plus, we answer your pressing Twitter questions. 

Give it a listen, make it a habit

And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

Author: Liz Loza
Posted: June 8, 2016, 5:48 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

With more options available for contests starting at 7:05 ET, I’m going to concentrate on Wednesday’s later batch of games.

My full lineup:

SP: Kenta Maeda $44

SP: Nathan Eovaldi $43

C: Brian McCann $10

1B: Justin Bour $16

2B: Starlin Castro $9

3B: Justin Turner $9

SS: Jhonny Peralta $12

OF: Bryce Harper $20

OF: Trayce Thompson $20

OF: Christian Yelich $17

Maeda owns a 2.84 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP but isn’t priced like a true ace despite facing the Rockies on the road. The Dodgers are big favorites (-164) Wednesday...Eovaldi has the second highest average fastball velocity (96.9 mph) in MLB this season, and the Yankees are actually bigger favorites than the Dodgers on Wednesday.

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McCann is at home facing a righty prone to giving up homers, so $10 seems like a steal...I’m using both Bour and Yelich against a starter with a 4.93 ERA that’s his best since 2013...Even in a disappointing year, Turner has a 6:10 K:BB ratio with a .389 OBP against left handers...Peralta hit fifth during his debut Tuesday and is a cheap option coming off his injury.

Harper has been in a slump, but he’s picked it up of late and remains one of the best hitters in the game, so it seems crazy not to use him at this price. He owns a .970 OPS with 17 combined homers/steals over 127 at bats against right-handers this season...Thompson is now properly priced, but he’s still worth using against Chris Rusin.

Good luck with your contests Wednesday.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: June 8, 2016, 5:46 pm

For the third year in a row, the Cincinnati Reds are not headed anywhere. They’re already 14 games under .500 and 18.5 games back of the juggernaut Cubs. The Reds bullpen is one of the worst units of all time, an amazing 1.62 runs worse than any other group this season. It’s going to take a while to turn this organization around.  

That said, there’s some fantasy fun to be had in this city, too. In a way, it’s become a team that puts the fun in dysfunctional. 

Tuesday’s 7-6 victory over St. Louis might have been Cincinnati’s best night of the year. Every positional starter had a say in the run scoring, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton hit home runs, and Joey Votto won it with a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth (offsetting the inevitable Tony Cingrani blowup in the front half of the inning). Cincinnati also stole four bases (two from Hamilton, one from Votto) and the Reds won on a night where Mike Leake was on the opposite mound (that’s always nice, producing against a former teammate). 

The Reds offense has been credible for most of the year. It ranks 15th in runs, tenth in homers, ninth in steals. There’s some fantasy juice here. It’s the pitching that’s sinking this team. 

Let’s take a look at some of these Cincinnati bats, individually. 

Duvall has been something, clobbering 17 home runs in just 185 at-bats. He’s only walked seven times (against 58 strikeouts) but we’re more than happy to accept a .270 average and .622 slugging percentage. He was a .268/.338/.503 slasher while stuck in the minors for six seasons, your classic free-swinging power guy. It took a while for Yahoo nation to buy into him, but he’s finally at 76 percent owned in our world. Even if a mild regression kicks in, this sure looks like a full-season contributor. 

Votto’s been in a frustrating funk for most of the year, but he’s started to come out of it lately. Check the last 11 games: .295/.380/.750, five homers, even three steals. This would have been a perfect buy low two weeks ago — I’d like to think the window has closed now. If there’s anyone in your league aware of Votto’s revival, surely it’s the guy who owns him. If you’ve made the move for Votto recently, state your case — and take a victory lap, if needed — in the comments. 

Cincinnati Fever I’ve had a hard time pinning down Billy Hamilton’s fantasy value over the years. I had many positive things to say in the middle of the 2014 season; subsequently, Hamilton hit the skids. This year I basically decided I didn’t want Hamilton unless the price was a full giveaway, and while he hasn’t been a fantasy monster by any means, he’s certainly outplayed my expectations. 

Hamilton is at .263/.303/.391 through Tuesday’s action, notable jumps from his career slash. He’s hit a couple of home runs and stolen 15 bases. You won’t get to the All-Star Game with this resume, but it does rank Hamilton as a Top 40 outfielder through the first third of the year. Some of you are in line for a profit, depending on your buy in. 

I wish Hamilton’s batter profile showed something we could rally behind. Walks are actually down, strikeouts up. He has nudged his line-drive rate up by three percent. He’s also hitting a lot more ground balls (up to 49.6 percent), which is what you want from this type of hitter and athlete. Anything in the air is detrimental to the cause. 

Is Jay Bruce back in our good graces? After two miserable seasons, he’s kicked it up to .279/.330/.584, with 13 homers. He’s hitting the ball up the middle more than ever, and he’s also at the highest hard-hit rate of his career. I was gun shy on Bruce after his two-year collapse, a stance I certainly regret. He’s been a Top 10 outfielder to this point, a few slots above Duvall. 

Eugenio Suarez has been inconsistent through 2016, though his pop has played all along. He had a .772 OPS in April, then crashed to .586 (with 37 strikeouts) in May. He’s currently a .239/.293/.455 stick with 13 home runs, which sounds like the type of player we should expect forward. Given his middle-infield eligibility (along with his standard 3B tag), that’s not bad. 

If you wanted to add a Reds bat, your best bet would come up the middle. Brandon Phillips is owned in just 47 percent of leagues, while Zack Cozart trades at 37 percent. 

Phillips has quietly been a steady contributor in all five categories (.269-25-6-26-4), which makes him the No. 17 second-base eligible to this point. In deeper leagues, we can live with that. Phillips also turns 35 later this month, so you also wonder if this could be his high-water mark. 

Cozart’s been a free swinger for most of his career, so that .301 average jumps out at you. He’s improved his strikeout rate to a personal best, though he’s also walking less. He’s not going to give you much as a base-stealer, but eight home runs in 49 games, that’s very playable at shortstop. If you take nothing else from today’s missive, kick some tires on Cozart. More often than not, you'll find him hitting leadoff for the Reds. 

Riled-up Royals (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)Speed Round: A balky wrist kept Cameron Maybin out Tuesday, and he’s not in Wednesday’s lineup either . . . Evan Longoria has been an iron man through 2016, but he finally needed a day off Tuesday, dealing with general soreness. He’s back in Wednesday’s mix, taking his swings at Arizona . . . The Mets made a predictable acquire for their infield, adding journeyman Kelly Johnson . . . If you miss Troy Tulowitzki’s strikeouts, he’s angling for a June 13 return. Darwin Barney has been rock solid in Tulo’s place . . . Yordano Ventura and Manny Machado are both looking at likely suspensions after another day of mischief Tuesday . . . Vincent Velasquez is dealing with biceps soreness and only made two pitches Wednesday. Given that he’s already got a Tommy John surgery in his rearview mirror and the Phils aren’t going anywhere in 2016, expect the team to be ultra-conservative here . . . The Rangers got past the Astros again, even though Ken Giles (he of the 5.76 ERA) thinks Houston has the better team . . . Chris Young reached base twice in Boston’s extra-inning win at San Francisco. He’s been useful, rolling along at .296/.374/.580 in limited action. He’s needed against all pitching while other left-fled options get well . . . Buster Posey has a bad thumb, which could launch me into a four-month depression. If you missed Tuesday's catcher shuffle, head over here . . . If you have the time and patience to lineup-jockey for a short-side platoon specialist, Ryan Rua would like your attention. The Texas outfielder has a career .315/.366/.500 slash against southpaws (it’s much better this year), and the Rangers face three straight lefties from Saturday to Monday . . . Eduardo Nunez clocked two more homers, pushing his OPS over .900. He's also 12-for-15 on the bases. I have zero shares . . . . . Jhonny Peralta returned to the St. Louis lineup, posting a 4-0-2-2 line as the third baseman and No. 5 hitter. Matt Carpenter pivoted to second, Almedys Diaz stayed at short, and Kolten Wong hit the minors.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 8, 2016, 5:26 pm

Man, this position is just depressing. Here are your going-forward catcher prices. Assume a 5x5 format, as usual.

Let me know if I missed someone – please, we need all the help we can get here.

$19 Jonathan Lucroy – Isolated power spike and jump in fly balls. Being healthy is always a plus. Milwaukee is crazy if it doesn't try to cash in with a trade, though. Timing perfect. 
$18 Buster Posey – If not for the thumb news, I'd be talking about him as a buy low. Now, I worry about my shares. 
$14 Evan Gattis – It hasn't been a great year for faux catchers, but Gattis more or less qualifies. 
$14 Wilson Ramos – Kicked up a buck for the Ramos youth, but ordinary haul last two years has to be respected, too. And hit rate is surely coming down. 
$12 Salvador Perez – Yost runs him into the ground but usually it's okay.  
$12 Stephen Vogt
$11 Welington Castillo
$11 Matt Wieters – Never really hit it big, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. 
$11 J.T. Realmuto – Might be a good time to sell; pop missing, line-drive rate down too. 
$10 Brian McCann
$9 Derek Norris – Bat has perked up in June, not a bad bet forward. 
$8 Yadier Molina
$8 Yasmani Grandal
$8 Nick Hundley – Nothing notable about him, but still a regular with Coors in his back pocket. 
$6 Francisco Cervelli – Initially expected better than this, but almost no power. 
$6 Russell Martin – If you have a theory, I'm all ears. Has mileage finally caught up? 
$5 Jason Castro
$5 Miguel Montero – Not much to this point, but maybe superb lineup will eventually drag him. 
$4 Yan Gomes
$4 Cameron Rupp
$3 David Ross
$3 Christian Bethancourt
$2 Chris Herrmann
$2 Bryan Holaday
$2 Geovany Soto
$2 Tyler Flowers
$2 Kurt Suzuki
$1 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
$1 Curt Casali
$1 Dioner Navarro
$1 Tony Wolters
$1 Bobby Wilson
$1 Trevor Brown – A $3-4 guy if Posey thumb problem is major.  
$1 Chris Iannetta
$1 Christian Vazquez
$1 Carlos Perez
$1 Drew Butera
$1 Carlos Ruiz
$1 Tucker Barnhart
$1 James McCann
$1 A.J. Pierzynski
$1 Josh Phegley
$0 A.J. Ellis
$0 Hank Conger

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: June 7, 2016, 11:55 pm

HUGE news out of Pittsburgh, you guys: Jameson Taillon got the call. The right-hander has been promoted to the big leagues. He'll make his long-awaited MLB debut on Wednesday, in a degree-of-difficulty matchup with Noah Syndergaard and the Mets. 

If for some reason Taillon remains un-owned in your league, go get him — now. Do it. Make the add. This is, without question, an actionable fantasy event. 

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We've been writing about Taillon for much of the year, because his numbers have been obscene. Over ten minor league starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, Taillon has posted a 2.04 ERA and 0.81 WHIP, striking out 61 batters in 61.2 innings while issuing just six walks. He hasn't allowed more than three runs, earned or unearned, in any start. 

You want him, is what we're saying. Taillon has a chance to be great, immediately. The Bucs have been starting Jon Niese and Jeff Locke all year, so it's not as if the team can't find a spot for an upper-tier pitching prospect or two. (Tyler Glasnow might not be far behind.) Thor vs. Taillon will be must-watch baseball theater on Wednesday. Can't wait. 

We should also mention that the Taillon call-up is a clear signal that the Super-2 hurdle has been cleared, so a wave of prospects could be on the way. Good times. 

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: June 7, 2016, 6:10 pm

As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

My full lineup (for all games starting after 4 pm PT):

SP: Zack Greinke ($47) -  Greinke is 7-1 in his past nine starts, six of them of the Quality Start variety. And he'll face a Tampa Bay offense that has produced the sixth-worst OBP in MLB against right-handed pitching.

SP: Jacob deGrom ($47) -  deGrom owns a 1.35 ERA in his career 13.1 IP against Pittsburgh, a team that has lost seven of its past nine games. deGrom is also 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in five home starts this season.

C: Buster Posey ($14) -  Posey is just 2-for-23 in his past six games, which certainly has contributed to his affordability for Tuesday's DFS slate. That makes it easy to roll the dice on a slump-busting effort against Boston RHP Rick Porcello - 5.40 ERA in his past three turns. 

1B: Eric Hosmer ($22) - Hosmer, on pace for the best offensive season of his career, owns a lifetime 1.043 OPS in 29 career ABs vs. generous BAL RHP Ubaldo Jimenez.

2B: Rob Refsnyder ($9) -  Angels will send LHP David Huff to the hill on Tuesday for his '16 MLB debut. He owns a lifetime 5.08 ERA in 388 IP, and was sitting on a 5.40 ERA after three starts at Triple-A Salt Lake before his call-up. I like the scenario for Refsnyder, a low budget option that actually has some bat skills.

3B: Justin Turner ($9) -  Turner is still trying to regain his form of the past couple years, but there's a history card on Tuesday that can't be ignored given the mere $9 price tag - he's 8-for-11 (.727 BA) against Colorado RHP Eddie Butler.

SS: Ketel Marte ($11) -  Marte went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base in Monday's return from a thumb injury that landed him on the DL. He faces Clevaland RHP Cody Anderson, who has allowed 30 Runs (including 10 home runs) in just 39.1 IP this season. Marte was 1-for-2 when the M's knocked around Anderson for 5 ER in 3.2 IP back on April 21.

OF: Nelson Cruz ($17) -  Cruz has been a top 20 roto bat over the past month (8 HR) and, like teammate Marte (see above), he should benefit on Tuesday from a matchup vs. Cleveland RHP Cody Anderson.

OF: Matt Kemp ($13) - Kemp has hit three home runs to go with 11 RBI and 11 runs in his past 11 games. Given the solid recent production and the fact that he'll face an Atlanta starter (RHP Aaron Blair) that has allowed 20 ER in his past four starts (14.2 IP), you have to like the cost-to-upside ratio for Kemp.

OF: Joc Pederson ($12) -  Plausible home run upside is always key when plugging in low-cost bats into your DFS lineup, and Pederson at least offers that - 8 HR in '16, 34 HR in 676 career ABs. And he faces Colorado RHP Eddie Butler (5.65 ERA), who has allowed three home runs in his past nine innings.

Follow Brandon Funston on Twitter.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: June 7, 2016, 5:31 pm

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