Phillip Rivers Looking for the Right Fit

There is rampant speculation that Rivers will not play for San Diego this year

There is rampant speculation that Rivers will not play for San Diego this year

It appears that quarterback Phillip Rivers is ready to call it quits in San Diego even though he made sure to show up for the start of the Chargers offseason workout program on Monday. Rivers is in the final year of his contract and has made it clear that he is open to being traded this season if he can find the right fit.

The 33 year-old QB cut off contract extension negotiations in March and reports have surfaced that the Bolts may try to acquire the #2 overall pick in the draft to get Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

The writing on the wall is clear and 2015 will be Rivers last season in San Diego, unless of course he ends up somewhere else this year. The Chargers don’t want to pay Rivers and feel that his long-term health is an issue. Many experts believe that a trade with the Titans for the #2 overall pick makes a lot of sense because Rivers would be playing with his ex-Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Trading Rivers to the Titans seems like a no-brainer for the Chargers organization since they will be getting rid of a disgruntled QB who only has a few decent years left in the tank. The reason this trade is not inevitable is because the Titans may see more long-term success drafting Mariota, Leonard Williams or perhaps even Amari Cooper.

Mookie Betts Making his Mark in Boston

Mookie Betts is off to a hot start in 2015

Mookie Betts is off to a hot start in 2015

Red Sox stud Mookie Betts got the day off on Saturday, but his recent fireworks have him taking center stage in Boston. The Red Sox pinned a lot of expectations onto the 22-year-old coming into the 2105 season. Betts has shown definite signs of being able to live up to the hype and his MLB fantasy value is on the rise.

Before going hitless on Friday night, Betts collected nine hits including two round trippers in just eight games. He’s also driven in eight runs and swiped three bags, sending his MLB fantasy stock into uncharted territory.

He’ll need to reach base at higher clip going forward – he sports a .273 OBP so far – but we’re still in the very early stages of the 2015 season.

Fantasy owners wishing to evaluate a larger sample size should take a look at Betts’ numbers from 52 games last year.

In 213 plate appearances, he hit .291 with a .368 OBP. He’s already flexing his power and run production muscles at greater rates in 2015 (he had totals of 5 HR and 18 RBI during his time last year), so if his BA and OBP climb back up towards 2014’s levels he will be a far more complete fantasy player.

If Mookie has both OF and 2B positional eligibility in your league, that of course only enhances his appeal. It’s hard not to feel good about his prospects batting atop a Boston lineup stacked with names like David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.

If all goes according to plan, he should end up scoring plenty of runs and be able to show off his speed and athleticism on the base paths often. All considered, Betts should end the season as a top 75 player.

MLB Sit/Start Report #1

cj

C.J. Wilson should not be sitting on any waiver wires

WRITTEN BY GREG POKRIKI – FANTASY BUZZER

Start

C.J. Wilson- Los Angeles Angels

Ridiculously, C.J. Wilson is still available in 56.6% of ESPN fantasy leagues. Wilson had his fair share of question marks heading into the season and struggled mightily in his last start against the Royals, but there’s no way he should floating around on any waiver wires. Wilson only allowed one walk in his outing against the Royals and had a stellar first outing of 2015. On April 7th, he pitched eight shutout innings of two hit ball. His third start comes Saturday against the mediocre Astros. Wilson will be looking for a bounce back start and the Astros should be the perfect remedy for his early season blues.

Billy Butler- Oakland Athletics

Butler has had himself a solid start to his tenure in Oakland. In 31 at bats he is hitting .387. He’s knocked in five RBI, including three off a home run knock against the Astros. Butler obviously will not be racking up the stolen bases for your team, but could contribute nicely to the other four categories in standard 5×5 leagues. Thus far, Buthler has strictly been played as a DH, but the A’s don’t have an interleague series until mid-June. He should be seeing plenty of plate appearances and opportunities in an undervalued Athletics lineup. The slugger is available in approximately 38% of ESPN leagues.

Sit

Dellin Betances- New York Yankees

Any person I chose to “sit” will come off as a knee-jerk overreaction this early in the season, so take these with a grain of salt. But, in The Bronx it is obvious that, at least for now, Andrew Miller is the Yankees closer. Betances has struggled with his command early, handing the job to Miller (not to say Miller hasn’t pitched lights out). Betances has walked six in 3.1 innings. Monday he did work out of a jam, earning himself a hold, but not before putting himself in that jam with two hits and two walks in the inning. Betances likely will turn this early slump around, but until proven otherwise Betances could be earning himself a spot on your bench.

Curtis Granderson- New York Mets

Granderson put in a great spring training this year. He had a lot of promise heading into 2015, and I had a lot of faith in him to open the season hot. But, he’s fell on his face out of the gate, batting .056 in 16 at bats. He tallied one stolen base and has scored four runs. He’s walked a league leading nine times, but walks are worth nothing in the standard 5×5 fantasy scoring format. Granderson’s percentage owned in ESPN leagues has dropped over 15% in the last seven days, and rightfully so. Granderson got a day off, likely to get his head straight, but for now he is not worthy of a start and barely a roster spot. Keep a close eye on Granderson over the next few weeks for improvement, but for now avoid…heavily avoid.

 

MLB Week 2 – Waiver Wire Report

Detroit’s Anthony Gose is off to a flying start in 2015

Anthony Gose – OF, Detroit Tigers

The young outfielder, traded from Toronto in the offseason, is off to a fast start in Detroit. He has gone 9-for-23 in his first five games with six runs scored, a home run, five RBI, and a stolen base. Though he didn’t exactly set the world on fire during his time with the Blue Jays (.633 OPS in three seasons), he was a well-regarded prospect and still has plenty of room to improve at 24 years old. Though you shouldn’t expect him to maintain his current pace, batting atop a stacked Tigers lineup should continue to offer him plenty of opportunities to score runs and show off his speed.

Roberto Perez – C, Cleveland Indians

With starting catcher Yan Gomes out 6-8 weeks with a knee sprain, backup Roberto Perez will assume the role for Cleveland. Perez exhibited some solid offense in limited action last season, hitting .271 with five doubles over 29 games. He’s enjoyed success in the early going this year as well, with a home run and three RBI in his first eight plate appearances. His plate discipline can use some work (26 strikeouts in 85 at-bats in 2014), but Perez will now have the chance to show what he can do on a regular basis. Gomes owners or those seeking depth at catcher should give Perez a look.

Jed Lowrie – SS, Houston Astros

Lowrie showed some pop in the opening week of 2015, belting two homers in his first six games back with the Astros after returning to the team as a free agent. That’s already a third of his total from last year, and although you shouldn’t bet on Lowrie turning into a bona fide slugger or anything, he is only two years removed from hitting .290 with 15 HR and 75 RBI for the A’s. With offense always at a premium at the middle infield spots, it might be worth your while to take a flyer on a player like Lowrie who’s still widely available throughout leagues.

Archie Bradley – SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Bradley had a major league debut to remember, limiting a potent Dodgers lineup to one hit over six innings, allowing no runs and striking out six as well. His youth (22 years old) and upside make him an appealing commodity, but expectations should also be tempered. Bradley showed some lack of control, walking four and needing 112 pitches to make it through those six innings. He earned a rotation spot on the strength of his Spring Training, posting a 1.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over six spring appearances. Fantasy owners in deeper leagues willing to roll the dice on a back-end rotation piece would do well to pick up Bradley.

Stevan Ridley Ready to Fly with the Jets

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

WRITTEN BY CONNOR O’HALLORAN

Stevan Ridley has yet to fully recover from the knee injury that abruptly ended his 2014 season, but the New York Jets are determined to have him leading their rushing attack coming into the 2015 season.

Ridley and his doctors believe that the former New England running back will be firing on all cylinders when training camp kicks off later this summer. It’s been five months since his knee surgery and many believe that this former fantasy RB stud can lead a crowded New York backfield.

Ridley’s 2014 season was cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in October playing for the Patriots. His injury dropped his stock in free agency dramatically considering he’s only two years removed from a 1,200 yard, 12 TD season.

Ridley has always had issues with ball security but if he can protect the ball and get back to his old self, he could regain fantasy relevance.

Ridley joins Chris Ivory as the second power-back on the roster. Ridley will need to establish himself in the passing game if he wants to get on the field during third down situations. Ridley has always had success finding the end zone so there is a lot of upside for the Jets.

At 26, Ridley has plenty of good years left in the tank and could end up being the go-to-guy for Gang Green’s backfield this season.

INTERVIEW | GEEK BEAT RADIO

Originally posted on S ∆ M M U S | OFFICIAL:

This past month has been chock full of different interviews. First I spoke with Our Show before my set in Orlando on April 5th, then I spoke with Robert Villegas of My So Called 8Bit Life, followed by an interview with IC student Ian Stone about my tour, and most recently I spoke with the fun folks at Geek Beat Radio. Check out the Geek Beat interview below in which we discussed everything from my forthcoming project to the zombie apocalypse. If you like what you hear, make sure you show Geek Beat some love!

View original

Adam Lind Continues to Swing Away

Adam Lind can't sustain his current pace, but can still be a fantasy assett

Adam Lind can’t sustain his current pace, but can still be a solid fantasy addition

By Greg Pokriki –

We are only four games into the 2015 season, but Brewers first baseman, Adam Lind, is a man on fire. So far this season, Lind is 8-13 with a dinger and four walks which works out to a ridiculous .615 batting average. You say small sample size? I say he’s setting a precedent of being a MLB fantasy difference maker.

Of course his current pace is unsustainable, but that doesn’t eliminate him from having a workman like season worthy of a roster spot on your fantasy team.

In seasons where Lind has played in more than 100 games, he has consistently hit more than 20 home runs, topping out at 35 in 2009. His 2014 campaign was shortened to 96 games, but in 2013 (playing in 143 games) Lind hit 23 home runs and batted .288.

Lind also had a 2.3 WAR in 2013. In 2009 Lind actually received MVP votes and a Silver Slugger award. You say dated, dusty awards on a mantle over his millionaire fireplace, but this guy deserves a chance.

He’s traditionally had problems dealing with left-handed pitching, but it looks like he may have turned the corner on these issues coming into 2015. If your league is a standard 5×5 league he’s a strong addition, depending on the rest of your roster.

If you’re punting steals or have steals covered by another player, then he’s a good fit. When picking up Lind understand you aren’t signing up for a MVP season, but you can expect a solid bat at first.

Lance Lynn Impresses in Loss to Cubs

Lance Lynn was terrific even though the Cardinal bats fell silent

Lance Lynn was terrific even though the Cardinals bats fell silent

By Tim Haberin:

Lance Lynn was a hard-luck loser on Wednesday afternoon as the Cubs downed the Cardinals 2-0. In six-plus innings of work, the Cards right-hander allowed one earned run on two hits, walking one and striking out nine. He provided fantasy owners with virtually everything they could have asked for except a win, which the St. Louis offense did little to capture against a very effective Jake Arrieta.

The 27-year-old has been no stranger to wins during his four seasons in the majors. In 2012, he netted 18 of them on the way to All-Star honors, and the two following seasons saw him earn 15 apiece. His offensive support should typically be much better than it was in this first start, and if he stays healthy Lynn will get his fair share of victories. He has been a dependable fixture of the Cardinals rotation, throwing over 200 innings in each of the last two seasons. If he continues to do so, MLB fantasy owners will have many reasons to smile.

Lynn posted the lowest ERA of his career last season (2.74) and though a repeat performance might be ambitious (see 3.35 FIP), a sub-3.50 mark is a good bet. Other pitchers may help you more in terms of WHIP (1.26 last year), but Lynn should offer plenty of strikeouts. He has maintained at least an 8.0 K/9 rate every season of his career, and he appears quite ready to keep that streak alive if the nine batters he fanned on Wednesday are any indication.

If your league counts quality starts, Lynn’s value only grows. Last year he enjoyed a quality outing in 73% of his starts and put up a career-high of 24. Over the last three seasons he has averaged 20. It’s a decent consolation on days like this when weak run support squanders win opportunities.

Fantasy owners can take away many positive observations from Lynn’s first outing against an improved division rival. Look for him to be a top-30 starting pitcher in 2015.

Michael Brantley is a Fantasy Dream Machine

Savvy fantasy owners know that Michael Brantley should make his mark this year

Savvy fantasy owners know that Michael Brantley should make a lasting mark this year

By Greg Pokriki –

Michael Brantley is a top tier prospect this season with unlimited MLB fantasy value. His well-rounded skill set fits perfectly into the fantasy scoring system, especially if your league follows the standard 5×5 format.

Last season Brantley hit 20 home runs, a number that becomes even more impressive when thinking about the speed and average he maintains. Brantley finished 2014 with a .327 batting average to go along with 23 steals.

Brantley is the real deal finishing last season just shy of 100 RBI, tallying 97 total. With an improving Indians lineup, Brantley could finally break the century mark. His 94 runs scored last season ranked him tenth in the league – a number that could also rise by the end of the season.

During 2014, he finished third in MVP voting. He had the sixth best season based off of WAR, putting up a 7-win season. Brantley turns 28 next month, which should translate into some of the best numbers of his career.

The Indians are legitimate playoff contenders and Brantley is the biggest reason why. While most others in your league likely will underestimate the centerfielder, make sure you properly evaluate and respect his numbers.

With the lack of attention Brantley attracts, you may even be able to consider him a steal for his average draft place or dollar number during an auction. Brantley is a piece to build your team around. Don’t be afraid to go all in on Brantley or the Indians.

Lessons Learned from Opening Day 2015

Adam Wainwright shut down the new look Cubs

Adam Wainwright shut down the new look Cubs

By Tim Haberin:

Opening Day 2015 provided fantasy owners with several things to chew on as the new season gets underway.

New-Look Cubs Shut Out:

The Cubs didn’t fare much better on Opening Night than fans searching for a bathroom amid the renovations-in-progress at Wrigley Field. Cardinals pitching, led by Adam Wainwright through six shutout innings, held them to five hits and no runs in a rather uneventful commencement to the 2015 MLB season. Jason Heyward owners hoping a move to St. Louis would see the young outfielder really start to deliver on his potential were likely encouraged by his performance on Sunday night. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles, stole a base, and scored a run in the victory. Batting second in the Cards lineup should give Heyward ample opportunity to have more days like this where he can showcase his multi-faceted talent.

Tanaka Struggles:

After an impressive first two innings, it appeared that Masahiro Tanaka was going to coast to the kind of effortless outing he enjoyed many times in 2014. Things fell apart in the third, however, when he surrendered five runs, four of them earned. Tanaka made little use of his fastball, instead relying on off-speed pitches to mixed results. Like last year, he was most effective working the edges of the strike zone with his slider or getting hitters to chase the ball down, evidenced by the six strikeouts he accumulated over his four innings. When he left his fastball elevated, he got hit hard: see Edwin Encarnación’s two-run blast. Tanaka owners can take heart in the fact that he made it through the game by all accounts pain-free, a concern that will persist in light of last season’s elbow injury. If he can refine his control going forward, his slider showed enough of its signature bite to keep missing plenty of bats this season.

Colon Shines:

Just like everyone predicted, Bartolo Colon got the better of Max Scherzer at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The 41-year-old Mets starter gave up three hits and one run in six innings, fanning eight and walking one against a capable Washington lineup. As usual, Colon kept things simple, working fast and throwing his fastball for over 80% of his pitches. While you shouldn’t expect this kind of performance to be the norm, pitching-needy fantasy owners might consider picking up Colon to see if he can go on a little run to start the season. Though he pitched to a 4.09 ERA last year, his FIP was about a half-run lower at 3.57.

Royals Hammer ChiSox:

The reigning AL Champs got off on the right foot, routing the White Sox 10-1. Chicago’s big offseason pitching acquisition had a debut to forget, as Jeff Samardzija gave up five earned runs in six innings, walking three to just one strikeout. Mike Moustakas (2-for-3, solo home run) and Alex Rios (3-for-4, 3-run home run) led the way in the Royals’ offensive outburst. Moustakas has largely underwhelmed at the big league level but this type of game might persuade fantasy owners that the 26-year-old third basemen is poised for a turnaround batting out of the second spot in the Royals lineup. Also worth noting: Moose’s homer was the first opposite-field shot of his career.