B.J. Upton blasting away highlights this week’s edition.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to make sure you all know to tune into Colton and the Wolfman Tuesdays from 11pm-1am eastern on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). A full rundown of week 2 in fantasy football, a look forward to week 3, some real and fantasy pennant race analysis and more.
Ok, now back to current business . . . .
B.J. Upton: B.J. Upton went yard again last night to help the Rays beat the Yanks (sigh!) Just like last year, Upton’s year-long stats while solid, are well below the awesome talent he possesses -- .250 with 23 homers, 68 RBI and 30 stolen bases. However, also like last year, he has been a monster in September. Over the last 10 games, Upton has gone yard 7 times. Will he ever have that monster .290 40/40 season of which he is capable? Probably not. Is he capable of putting your fantasy team on his back and carrying you to a title? Yes! If you are in contention, call the B.J. Upton owner in your league, carp about his low average and get a guy that could make the difference.
Carlos Gonzalez: Carlos Gonzalez continues to have a very, very good year. Last night, he went 4-5 with 2 swipes, to raise his average to .310 and guaranteed himself another 20-20 season. Cargo is one of the best players in baseball -- real or fantasy. Get him for this year, next year or for any time in this decade. 5 category veterans who are only 26 are a true rare commodity. Start with confidence in your head to head playoffs this week and draft with confidence in 2013.
Jason Bourgeios: Jason Bourgeois has finally returned from the minors and could be a huge factor in fantasy pennant races. Last night, Jason had a very good night, going 2-3 with a run scored, RBI and two stolen bases. Lorenzo Cain is done for the year and Bourgeios will play, run and run a lot. Last year, he stole 31 bases in just 93 games. So, in the remaining 20, he could easily steal 7 or 8 -- a huge addition to the often tightly contested stolen base category.
C.C. Sabathia: CC Sabathia was mediocre again last night, giving up 4 runs in 6 2/3 innings. While CC has not been what the Yankees have hoped this September -- a solid and reliable ace -- he has not been nearly as bad for roto purposes as many people think. In 5 starts since returning from the DL, CC has a 3.93 ERA and 1.34 WHIP -- hardly all-star stats but still helpful to deep league roto staffs. My hunch is CC’s elbow is much worse than he is letting on. However, I have learned not to bet against him. Buy if you need to make a move in the final 20 games.
Jacob Turner: Jacob Turner showed why he is one of the most highly touted young hurlers in the game by holding the Reds to two hits and no runs over 7 innings. Over the last two weeks, Turner has a 1.38 ERA and a ridiculous 0.69 WHIP. When you get to your draft table next year, remember the strong finish and pitcher’s park in which he will pitch. For this year, he is a must start against the Mets when you set your fantasy lineup.
Phil Hughes: Phil Hughes, a frequent subject of criticism by this author for losing focus and hanging curves at bad times, deserves kudos for his stellar outing Thursday in which he held the Red Sox to five hits and a walk over 7 1/3 shutout innings. Oh and he struck out 7. The bottom line here is that while Hughes still worries me in big games, he has been really good roto-wise over the last three months -- 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a better than 3/1 K/BB ratio. Buy in roto, worry in big pennant race game.
Chris Carpenter: In an inspiring story, Chris Carpenter is scheduled to make it all the way back from thoracic outlet syndrome and pitch for the Cards next week. While it is hard to predict success right away, many have lost betting against Carpenter. The big roto opportunity here is in keeper leagues. Grab Carp cheap this September and you might have an ace cheap for 2013. No sure thing, but certainly worth the small investment.
I laid out 5 rules for fantasy football drafts in last week’s column. This week, a few rules of thumb for dealing with week 1 events:
1. Don’t panic. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are still fantasy studs. A low scoring game or two does not change that. Don’t make a panic move you will regret.
2. Don’t violate Rule number 1.
3. Mediocre players don’t become stars in just one week. Alfred Morris and Kevin Ogletree had great games. They may yet produce this whole year. However, Morris is not all of a sudden Emmitt Smith and Ogletree is not Jerry Rice. Do not go out and trade a big name proven player on the strength of one good game.
4. Don’t violated Rule number 3.
5. Study, study, study. Make sure you know who is hurt and won’t play, who is hurting and will be less likely to play well, whether there is going to be a big storm during a particular game to make passing more difficult, etc. Everyone makes mistakes, just don’t make the avoidable ones.
I am going to stop here and turn it over to the Carlton the Doorman of Fantasy Sports -- Schultz says: “Schultz is back to the third person and going rogue this week (even if he did almost call it going rouge, which would have likely entertained our Canadian football fans/readers to no end). Schultz wagers that many rotisserie baseball players are also purveyors of the football variation of the fantasy pastime and thus this information may come in handy to your other related endeavors. Schultz couldn't help noticing that this year, like every year, football pundits have predetermined the entire year based upon a single week. After this one week, Schultz saw that the 49ers were destined for the Super Bowl, the Packers, especially their defense, are flailing in despair, the Ravens are unbeatable, Brandon Weeden is irredeemable as a starting quarterback, Cam Newton was a freshman flash in the pan and the Bears juggernaut need to be broken up. Schultz cautions everyone to remember that most football pundits, especially the roto-brand, are hysterical, superlative-obsessed and (here comes the shocker) not always correct.
While some of the things that can be discerned from Week 1 may pan out, for the most part, it's just too small of a sample size. Just look at last Thursday's game. Apparently, Brandon Marshall isn't going to be spectacular every game. Seemingly, the reports on the Packers' defensive demise were premature. Randall Cobb? Not going to be the next Roger Craig. Cedric Benson? Not going to be the Bears version of Cedric Benson. Ever since Bill Belichick (recently elevated to the most hated Cleveland football figure alive after many years as a distant second) showed the success of the art of deception (and videotaping the opposition), what happened one week either serves as a symptom that needs correcting or a smoke screen for the next. The failure to run Cedric Benson in a loss in week 1 only highlighted the fact that the Packers needed to run him more in week 2. Surely the Bears were ready for the Randall Cobb series of backfield plays, so they disappear from the playbook. Keep this in mind throughout the season. When one of your regulars has a bad week, it's unlikely the start of a trend. More likely, it means a big week could be upcoming as defensive coordinators will focus elsewhere and offensive coordinators will strive to "include them in the offense."
Remember, the key for fantasy football owners is to think like a closer (see, Schultz brought this back to baseball) and have a short memory. Don't let one bad outing ruin your planning for the next.”
Response: Great stuff from Schultzie. I do not read his section until I complete mine. So, it scares me a bit that we preach the same thing for fantasy football. Yes, I believe in the don’t overreact to week one plan but it still scares me to think like Schultz. [Yeah, I am messing with him, but hey, it's my column!]
Final Note: I want to repeat this final note from last week: “Last week I wrote this plea “Jason Garrett -- please do not forget about the run Wednesday night!” Jason uncharacteristically stuck with the run and the Boys are 1-0! Nice work. Stick to the plan and keep on chugging!”