TBD TBD: #FantasyFootball Week Seven Recap & Week Eight Preview

Another week, another win for the TBD TBD. While Julius Thomas put up a zero, and the Houston Texans’ Defense/Special Teams Unit posted a paltry -3 points, the rest of the team performed well.

Despite two interceptions, Andrew Luck accounted for 23 points. Marshawn Lynch and Todd Gurley combined for 45 points while John Brown and Donte Moncrief put up a cumulative 21 points. Lastly, in what is likely his final game of the season (more on that later).

2015-10-27-09-41-08

While their scoring output didn’t help the final score, the bench played its part as well. Zach Ertz turned in another respectable game, while Blake Bortles and Martavis Bryant both eclipsed double digits.

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Week Eight Preview and Picks

With both Thomas and Ertz on bye weeks, a streaming tight end will be needed. Larry Donnell faces a fairly cushy matchup against the New Orleans Saints while Jordan Cameron could see a number of extra targets should the Miami Dolphins fall behind early against the New England Patriots. Eric Ebron could find pay-dirt for the second consecutive week as he faces the Kansas City Chiefs. Should Thomas or Ebron be cut to make way for this new tight end?

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Lineup Decisions

With Foster out, the team will need a new FLEX, who should start there? Joseph Randle is questionable to play against a tough Seattle Seahawks defense while Randall Cobb faces an equally challenging matchup with the Denver Broncos. With Dion Lewis uncertain to play, Bryant and Giovani Bernard round out the list of FLEX options.

Ultimately, you decide how the team is run, so put on your GM hat and send me your ideas on Twitter (@BenRosener / @knowhitter272) or in the comments.

For more about TBD, as well as the current season in Fantasy Football, click here. 

#FantasyFootball Week Six Recap and Week Seven Decisions

Week Six was a good week for TBD TBD. Despite struggles from Dion Lewis and Randall Cobb, every other starter registered at least 11 points.

Blake Bortles led the way with 22 points while John Brown and Arian Foster chipped in with 17 and 16 points respectively.

F Score

The team also received solid production from the bench. Andrew Luck and Martavis Bryant both eclipsed 25 points while both Giovani Bernard and Donte Moncrief had more than 11 points each.

F Bench scores

Now to the lineup choices for this week.

(Note, I have moved Lynch to Lewis’ spot as the Pats’ RB is now listed as questionable. Plus, ‘Beast Mode’ plays on Thursday night, so leaving the flex spot open provides more lineup flexibility.)

F Lineup

F Bench

Ultimately, you decide how the team is run, so put on your GM hat and send me your ideas on Twitter (@BenRosener / @knowhitter272) or in the comments.

For more about TBD, as well as the current season in Fantasy Football, click here. 

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s Awesome Goal Celebrations

Another NBA Season Sans-Seattle

As October begins to wind down, the NBA will soon start up again. The National Basketball Association will raise the curtain on yet another season. For the seventh year, this curtain-raising will happen without Seattle.

It’s a sad fact to realize that the NBA has spent the better part of a decade without a franchise in the Pacific Northwest. Since the Sonics left, we’ve had two different presidents (and likely a third), two popes and even a Super Bowl title courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks.

As we’ve seen the NBA continue to prosper, we’ve also seen a number of other things happen while without a men’s professional basketball team.

  • We’ve seen the number of former Sonics dwindle. Kevin Durant, Nick Collison, Reggie Evans and Jeff Green are some of the few that are left. Luke Ridnour was in that discussion, but he could retire soon.  
  • We’ve also seen potential options in terms of moving to Seattle come and go. The New Orleans Pelicans (then known as the Hornets), Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks were all linked with, or close to a move.
  • The Seattle Storm have been to the playoffs five different times, including winning the WNBA title in 2010. At least the Storm are continuing to carry the torch for professional basketball in Seattle.
  • The entire Hobbit franchise came and went

By “we,” I’m referring to the people of Washington State, and Seattle. Losing the Sonics was brutal, but the fact that it’s been so long since we’ve had a team is just as brutal.

For Sonics’ fans, the NBA has become a league of players. We obviously haven’t moved on to different teams, but we become fans of players. This isn’t to say we rush out and buy the jerseys, but we more appreciate the specific players’ skill. The NBA has also become out occasionally checking the standings and making sure that team from Oklahoma isn’t doing well. We have nothing against the players, it’s just, you know…

The NBA’s return date to Seattle is TBD, but it’s bound to happen eventually (hopefully soon). The Seattle area has a few exciting propositions on the table in both SoDo and Tukwila, so there’s hope. If all goes well, Seattle will have an NBA team soon. However, that’s obviously not going to happen this season. Thus begins another NBA season without Seattle.

Detroit Tigers 2016: Position Player Locks, Uncertainties and Likely Departures

Somewhat recently, Know Hitter looked at the pitchers that are locks, uncertainties, or likely departures ahead of next season.

Now it’s time to look at the hitters, where there are much fewer uncertainties. This doesn’t mean changes won’t come about for Detroit, but most of the offense is expected to stay put.

Locks

James McCann

McCann was extremely impressive as a rookie. The young backstop hit .264, while also committing zero errors in 114 games. He looks like he’ll be in the Motor City for the next decade. He may not have the offensive acumen of Ivan Rodriguez or Alex Avila (before injuries took their toll), but if he can continue to gradually improve upon his .264 batting average, he has a chance to be special. McCann also hit five triples, a pretty spectacular number for a catcher.

Miguel Cabrera

Come on, too easy.

Ian Kinsler

The former Texas Ranger has quickly become one of Detroit’s most indispensable players. He’s provided elite defense (2.9 and 2.5 dWAR in his two seasons in Motown) while at times carrying the team offensively. Kinsler managed to drive in 73 runs despite an early power outage that saw him hit only three home runs through June. You can make the case that with the exception of J.D. Martinez, Kinsler was the Tigers’ MVP last season.

Jose Iglesias

If a guy can do all this (see video below) and hit .296, you’ve got a keeper for the next decade.


Nick Castellanos

At only 23-years-old, Castellanos has already driven in 139 runs in the big leagues. Some prospects don’t even reach the Majors at that age. While a .255 batting average is nothing to write home about, Castellanos showed flashes of brilliance and greatly improved defensively. He also managed to increase his total number of hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and walks. Kid’s got a bright future.

J.D. Martinez

Maybe we’ll call the Tigers’ MVP award race a tie and hand it to both Kinsler and Martinez. For his part, Martinez proved that 2014 was no fluke. The former Houston Astro snagged a spot on the All-Star team in addition to a .282 batting average, 38 home runs and 102 RBI. Like McCann, Iglesias and Castellanos, you can plug him into the Detroit lineup for the better part of the next decade.

Anthony Gose

Gose only hit .254 for the Tigers, but provided solid defense while stealing 23 bases. He platooned with Rajai Davis in center field last year, expect a similar platoon predicament for Gose next season. The speedy outfielder will likely serve as the team’s primary source of speed.

Victor Martinez

V-Mart struggled last year, hitting .245 in 120 games. The designated hitter’s power numbers were down as well with only 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 64 RBI in those contests. With his massive contract, Martinez isn’t going anywhere. Despite the struggles, look for the Tigers’ DH to bounce back next season.

Andrew Romine

Romine seems a solid bet to make the roster thanks to his ability to play around the infield. He also adds a bit of speed (10 stolen bases) off the bench.

Tyler Collins

Even if it’s as a bench bat, Collins has proved he belongs on the team next season. The outfielder hit .266 with a .732 OPS in 60 games. As it stands, he may be the best bench bat the Tigers employ.

Uncertainties

Dixon Machado

Even if Romine makes the team, fellow infielder Machado stands a good chance of making it as well. The middle infielder’s defense has been big-league ready for years, and he showed promise in limited cup of coffee.

Rajai Davis

Davis would certainly make sense as a bench bat/pinch runner, but another team offering more cash and playing time may come calling. Additionally, the Tigers may opt for a different alternative to Gose in center. The fact remains that Davis is still a fit for the club if the stars align. It would shock no one if Davis is once again wearing an Old English “D” in 2016.

Steven Moya

Moya has all kinds of potential thanks to his famous power. He needs to work on his plate discipline however, and may be better suited at Triple-A Toledo for a season before joining the Tigers for good in 2017. If he shows well in the minors, a mid-season call up certainly isn’t out of the question.

Bryan Holaday

Whether Holaday makes the team or not is probably entirely dependent on whether new general manager Al Avila signs another catcher to backup McCann. If no other backstops are brought in, expect Holaday to serve as McCann’s deputy in 2016.

Jefry Marte

Another young player who showed flashes of potential, Marte may find himself in Triple-A. His power would certainly help the Detroit bench, but with Romine able to handle both of the positions that Marte plays, the former Oakland Athletics farm hand could be with Toledo. Still, if Marte tears it up in Spring Training, the Tigers will have a tough decision on their hands.

Likely Departures/ Departures

Alex Avila

Avila’s father/Tigers GM Al Avila has already stated that he doesn’t see resigning Alex “as a priority.” In other words, it appears that the younger Avila has played his final game with Detroit. He’ll likely sign elsewhere in search of more playing time.

Josh Wilson

Wilson was outrighted by the Tigers and elected free agency as opposed to staying in the organization. The infielder hit /316 in a 21 game cameo for the Tigers, driving in five runs in the process.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

For more Tigers, click here. For more baseball, click here.

Fantasy Football Week 5 Recap and Week 6 Preview

Despite zeroes from both Owen Daniels and the Texans defense/special teams, TBD TBD pulled out a win. Good call on picking Blake Bortles as the team’s quarterback. The Jaguars QB put up a matchup-high 28 points.

Fantasy Football Starting Lineup scores

Bench wise, Dion Lewis and Giovani Bernard both turned in respectable games, as did Zach Ertz, who turned in a solid game.

Z Bench Score

Moving on to the lineups, there are some interesting choices. Joseph Randle and Todd Gurley are obviously not playing because both the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams are on bye weeks, and Daniel put up a bagel on the score board.

Also, the tight end situation… Charles Clay is available, so is Jordan Reed and Richard Rodgers.

Ultimately, you decide how the team is run, so put on your GM hat and send me your ideas on Twitter (@BenRosener / @knowhitter272) or in the comments.

For more about TBD, as well as the current season in Fantasy Football, click here. 

#FantasyFootball Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Preview

Week 4 was not kind to the TBD TBD. Due to Andrew Luck’s late scratch, Derek Carr was an emergency add to the team. You said in a previous poll that I should ship away David Johnson in a trade, so Johnson was the player who was cut to make way for Carr.

Fantasy Football Score Week 4Fantasy Football Score Week 4 Bench

Outside of Carr and Adam Vinatieri, no other starter scored more than eight points. John Brown and Joseph Randle managed eight, but the rest was a general wash.

Here’s the current lineup and bench for the upcoming game.

Fantasy Football Week 5 starting lineupFantasy Football Week 5 Bench

Who should I start and sit? Foster is clearly a locked in starter at running back, but who else should start in the backfield? Marshawn Lynch? Joseph Randle? Dion Lewis? Giovani Bernard (who I added on your advice) ? Or should I go with Todd Gurley? Let me know in the poll below.

Additionally, Luck is unlikely to play. Do I add Eli Manning, Blake Bortles or Sam Bradford? Or should I stick with Carr? Let me know. Should Carr be cut to make room for a new QB to pair with Luck?

Elsewhere on the roster, there is concern at the tight end position. Eric Ebron is doubtful to play and in danger of losing playing time to Brandon Pettigrew. Zach Ertz has struggled all season to make a mark in Philadelphia’s offense. He’s a candidate to be cut. Additionally, there are a number of intriguing free agent tight ends available

Add TEs

One last nugget of note here. Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger are both on the free agent market. Do I add one as a stash player to keep as a future starter or trade asset? Let me know.

Romo AddBig Ben

Ultimately, you decide what propositions I make, so put on your GM hat and send me your ideas on Twitter (@BenRosener / @knowhitter272) or in the comments.

For more about TBD, as well as the current season in Fantasy Football, click here. 

New Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto’s First Priorities

The Seattle Mariners wrapped up a disappointing season on a positive note, claiming a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics. The attention now shifts to the offseason, where new general manager Jerry Dipoto will be tasked with turning the team around.

Dipoto has already made it clear that he’s keeping hold of, and building around, “core” players Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez.

Thankfully, none of those four players will be leaving the Emerald City any time soon. If the M’s finished 76-86 with that quartet, who knows how they’d fair without the foursome? Odds are it wouldn’t be pretty.

Dipoto has his work cut out for him, but if he can creatively fill some of the team’s needs without losing much either in a trade or in salary, the M’s have a chance to contend next season.

Among the most prominent needs is at catcher. Per Baseball Reference, Seattle catchers collectively finished last season with the worst wins above average by any backstop grouping in the league. Mike Zunino and company were worth -3.9 wins below average. No other catching group was worse than -2.6.

The problem with the situation is that Zunino is only 24-years-old. The Mariners aren’t going to bail on the former third-overall pick that quickly, but he has to start improving offensively. Zunino has a career .193 batting average in 1055 plate appearances. This simply isn’t going to cut it. Adding another catcher to the roster in the same vein as the Wellington Castillo transaction.

In addition to a catcher, Seattle needs a leadoff hitter. Ketel Marte performed atop the order, hitting .283 and stealing eight bases in 57 games. However, the team may find easier to find an outfielder who hits atop the order. Mariners’ center and left fielders both were below league-average in terms of wins above average. Seattle left fielders were worth -0.2 wins below average while centerfielders were worth -1.3 wins below average. Only four teams had worse production from their centerfield groupings, so perhaps someone like Denard Span, Dexter Fowler, or even Rajai Davis, could make sense.

(RELATED: Analyzing Jerry Dipoto’s Top 14 Career Trades).

The M’s could use stand to score more runs. Only six teams scored fewer runs in the league. Another bat would certainly make sense. Mark Trumbo showed flashes of the talent he showed in Anaheim, but only managed to hit .248 against right-handed pitching. Logan Morrison was supposed to fill that role, but he hasn’t hit much either (.241 against righties, .190 against lefties). Justin Morneau could hit free agency and would be a fit. The former Minnesota Twin hit .316 with an .850 OPS in 184 games for the Rockies over the past two years. He’d be a great fit alongside Trumbo, especially considering he’s a career .297 hitter in over 4,000 (4,169) plate appearances against right handed pitching.

Last but not least, Dipoto must fix the bullpen. Generally a strength for Seattle, this year’s bullpen was often an eye soar.

Going back to the “Wins Above Average by Position” leaderboards, the M’s relievers finished fourth-worst in the league. The relievers were worth -3.4 wins below average. The group may get better simply by subtraction. Fernando Rodney has already departed while a number of ineffective relievers could, and should, be jettisoned.

A number of quality relievers (Tyler Clippard, Joakim Soria and Darren O’Day, just to name a few) could hit the free agent market, so Seattle will have its pick should the team chose to spend. Additionally, effective relief pitchers are found on the waiver wire every month, so there’s plenty of options for Dipoto to fix the bullpen.

New M’s general manager Jerry Dipoto has his work cut out for him, but he’s shown he can make shrewd trades. Seattle has a number of issues, but if Dipoto can fix them, the team has a chance.

New Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto’s Major Trade History and Grades

Unlike his predecessor, new Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has previous experience as a top decision-maker (for lack of a better term) in a major league front office.

Dipoto presided over the Arizona Diamondbacks for a short spell as the Snakes went through a transition period. The GM shipped off a number of key players.

Following his stint in the desert, Dipoto took over as the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

However, before we get to the spending and all-in moves made by Dipoto in Anaheim, his tenure in Arizona must be properly gone over with a fine-tooth comb—at least in terms of his trades.

Dipoto made a few major trades in Arizona. The most prominent of which occurred on July 25th, 2010 when he dealt Dan Haren to the Angels for Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and Patrick Corbin.

Haren was generally pretty outstanding in a Diamondbacks’ jersey. He earned All-Star nods in 2008 and 2009 while finishing fifth in the Cy Young voting in ’09. Over the two seasons he went 30-18 with a sparkling 3.23 ERA and 429 strikeouts in 445.1 innings pitched. His FIP was an even more outstanding 3.12. Haren led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio in both 2008 and 2009.

The 2010 season was different for Haren. He went 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA in 21 starts. His FIP was a still-respectable 3.88, but it was clear his numbers were nowhere near his usual best. So with the Diamondbacks struggling, Dipoto sent Haren packing to his future employers in Anaheim.

The Haren trade was actually sneaky-good, in retrospect, for the Diamondbacks. Despite the ace posting an impressive 13.2 WAR in two-and-a-half seasons in the desert, he was traded. Haren was essentially dealt for three starting pitcher (Rodriguez threw 2.2 innings for the D-Backs and hasn’t seen the Majors since).

The first pitcher, Skaggs, posted a 5.43 ERA in 13 career starts for the Diamondbacks. The young pitcher was never quite able to put it together in Arizona. Dipoto later acquired Skaggs during his tenure in Anaheim. Skaggs and Adam Eaton to the Angels and White Sox respectively for Mark Trumbo (who strangely enough, was just dealt to Seattle a few months ago).

Saunders was extremely dependable as a member of Arizona’s rotation. He posted a 3.96 ERA in 424.2 innings for the D-Backs, serving as an innings eater. He only won 21 games in three seasons with Arizona, but was worth a 2.1 WAR.

Last-but-not-least, Patrick Corbin is the centerpiece of the deal. The starting pitcher has won 26 games in his three seasons with Arizona. He made the All Star team in 2013 and posted a 14-8 record with a 3.41 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 208.1 innings pitched. He missed 2014, but came back to post a 3.60 ERA in 16 starts this season. The 26-year-old is clearly one to build around for the D-Backs.

Haren never posted the brilliant stats he did in Arizona after leaving the desert. The fact that Dipoto received three major league starters for Haren, including an All Star and frontline starter in Corbin, makes the trade a win for him. Dealing an ace is never easy, but when you acquire three big-league starters, it’s looked at as a win—especially when one of the three has the potential to be a front-line starter for the foreseeable future.

Trade Grade: A

Five days after that Dipoto sent Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox for David Holmberg and Daniel Hudson. Continue reading

#FantasyFootball: Should I add Giovani Bernard and/or Doug Martin, or neither?

As Week 4 of the NFL season approaches, TBD sits at 1-2. I recently asked who I should attempt to trade for in order to make the team better. So far, the public has picked Brandon Marshall as the trade target, with Andre Johnson going the other way. I’ve proposed this trade to Marshall’s owner with a message asking what he/she wanted for Marshall. So we’ll wait and see with that. In other transaction news, both Giovani Bernard and Doug Martin have hit the waiver wire. Should I add either of these players, or do I have enough running back depth? Let me know in the usual ways (Twitter: @BenRosener /@knowhitter272, comments, and/or the poll below).

(I’m leaving most all of this up to you guys, even the team name. So long as it’s not vulgar or offensive, send me your suggestions on Twitter @BenRosener /@knowhitter272  or in the comments.)

The Case for Giovani Bernard

Giovani Bernard Fantasy

Bernard is stuck in a timeshare with Jeremy Hill, who entered the season as the starter in Cincinnati. However, that hasn’t stopped Bernard from ranking fifteenth in scoring amongst fantasy running backs. Hill scored twice in Week 1, racking up 18 points in the process, but has struggled since. He fumbled twice in Week 2 en route to 39 yards on 10 carries. He finished with -1 fantasy points. Week 3 brought a slight improvement, but not much. Hill had 12 carries for 21 yards and two fantasy points.

The stat line for Bernard is extremely different. The running back had eight fantasy points in the first game of the season before taking full advantage of Hill’s fumbles in Week 2. Bernard ran for 123 yards on 20 carries (13 fantasy points). He followed that up with 49 yards on 13 carries in Week 3. He managed seven fantasy points last week.

Both figure to hold value with the Bengals playing so well. One is bound to feature as the team’s top back, and judging on recent performances, that could be Bernard.

The Case for Doug Martin

Doug Martin Fantasy

Martin has been Tampa’s lead back this season, amassing 46 carries over only three games. While those three carries have only gone for 176 yards, having an unquestioned starting running back (no matter what team they play for) can be valuable in fantasy. If nothing else, you know they will get consistent carries each week.

Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims will get looks going forward,

There’s potential with Martin, but just like Bernard, there is risk. He hasn’t come close to equaling his 2012 numbers when he ran for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to 472 receiving yards and another score through the air.