Previewing the 2017 World Series- Houston Astros versus the LA Dodgers

On the eve of the World Series, baseball fans of every fandom get more excited by the moment for what promises to be an entertaining World Series matchup between the 101-win Houston Astros and the 104-win Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers made quick work of the Chicago Cubs in 5 games, showing exactly why they had 104 wins on the 2017 season. However, the Houston Astros had to battle their way through a very resilient New York Yankees team that went down swinging, but provided every sports fan with a piece of history in Game 7.  That piece of history is that it was the first ever shutout in any Game 7 of the ALCS.

As a baseball fan, I am very excited for the simple fact that we may actually have the 2 best teams from the current season in the World Series.  This is the first time we have had two 100-win teams since the 1970 World Series that featured the 108-win Baltimore Orioles and the 102-win Cincinnati Reds.  In the Wild Card era, it is hard to find a World Series matchup that hasn’t featured a team that got hot entering the playoffs or during the postseason schedule.  The last time we saw both #1 seeds put on display for fans in the World Series was in 2013 between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.  The Dodgers and Astros were two of the best teams all season and two of the most fun to watch. So let’s break down just how these two pennant winners match up against each other.

Starting Lineup/Offense

The Houston Astros had the most potent offense during the 2017 season as they scored 896 runs through the 162 game season, which averages to 5.53 runs per game. The Los Angeles Dodgers were 12th in the league in runs scored with 770 runs, an average of 4.75 runs per game.  Both teams are able to score and put them up in a hurry thanks to the long ball with both of these squads surpassing the 220 team home run mark (221 for the Dodgers and 241 for the Astros).  The biggest difference between these two teams is way the Los Angeles Dodgers are able to control the strike zone to their advantage as they drew 649 walks compared to the 509 walks drawn by the Houston Astros.

The Dodgers offense has been great this postseason thanks to amazing performances from Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, and lead-off man Chris Taylor, but the Houston Astros have the more explosive offense because of Carlos Correa, Jose Altve, and lead-off man George Springer.  The speed and power combination from all 3 of these position players will force the Dodger pitching staff and bullpen to limit the mistakes made inside the zone while also having to keep a close eye on the basepaths when runners do get on.  The Dodgers lineup will be even better than the NLCS thanks to the recent addition of shortstop Corey Seager to the World Series roster, who should be a huge factor for this Dodgers lineup.

Advantage: Houston Astros

Bench/Designated Hitter

Both Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch will have opportunities to mix and match their lineup to different situations during the World Series since the first two games will be played without the benefit of the DH, thanks to Los Angeles having home field advantage.  This will force Hinch to be without Gattis or McCann in the starting lineup for the first two games at least.  Hinch is likely to go with the left-handed veteran Brian McCann, who posted a 102 wRC+ against southpaws during the season while Gattis mustered up a wRC+ of 92.  The Astros haven’t utilized their backup outfielders recently as Cameron Maybin and Derek Fished only combined for five total plate appearances in the ALCS against the Yankees.  The Dodgers are going to base their daily lineup on the health of Corey Seager’s back, but they have a reliable backup in Charlie Culberson who is more than able to cover the position. Dave Roberts can also call upon veterans Yasmani Grandal, Chase Utley, Andre Ethier, and Curtis Granderson in pinch hitting situations.  The Astros have some depth, but the Dodgers bench has been more consistent and is slightly deeper thanks to all of the veteran leadership.

Advantage: Los Angeles Dodgers

Starting Rotation

The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best rotations in the game after going out and acquiring the right-handed Yu Darvish to go along with lefties Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Alex Wood.  However, the Houston Astros strengthened their rotation by going out and acquiring Justin Verlander from the Tigers, who has been wonderful to pair with Dallas Keuchel .  Verlander pitched a complete game against the New York Yankees during the ALCS to earn the ALCS MVP honor, but these two starters alone cannot carry the team. Charlie Morton pitched wonderfully during Game 7 of the ALCS, but he also hit some bumps in the road during Game 3 when he allowed 7 earned runs to the Yankees in less than 4 innings of work. On top of that, it is still unclear who will start Game 4 for the Astros between Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock.  Kershaw is the tipping factor in this matchup, even if we haven’t seen the same dominance in the playoffs by Clayton Kershaw as we do in regular season.

Advantage: Los Angeles Dodgers

Relief Pitchers

The Astros were able to trot out the previously mentioned Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 7 out of the bullpen for his first ever save as he went 4 innings and only allowed 1 hit and 1 walk while punching out 6.  That was about one of the only strong outings they have had from their bullpen this entire postseason.  The rest of the Houston Astros bullpen has been shaky as they have pitched 34 innings to the tune of a 5.03 ERA while dealing out 14 walks to 33 strikeouts.  The Dodgers bullpen has been otherworldly this postseason as they have compiled a 0.94 ERA through 28.2 innings while punching out 32 batters and only issuing 2 walks.  Kenley Jansen has only pitched 8 of those innings during the 2017 postseason while Tony Cingrani, Brandon Morrow, and converted starter Kenta Maeda have been stellar in relief.  The bullpen has usually been a weakness for LA, but this year, they have the ability to shut down any opposing offense they have seen in the postseason.

Advantage: Los Angeles Dodgers

Manager

This is A.J. Hinch’s first ride through the playoffs and he has done well so far, but now it is time for Hinch to face the pressure that comes along with the World Series berth.  Roberts is making his first World Series appearance as a manager as well, but he has been through the ringer that is the playoffs when he lost to the Cubs in 2016 in the NLCS.  He has clearly learned from last year as he has yet to let Kershaw get into too much trouble during the 2017 postseason.  Kershaw has had issues with limiting the damage during the playoffs, especially in the later innings. Roberts has learned from previous mistakes and is going to the bullpen before Kershaw can get into too much trouble. Roberts has been able to make all the right decisions so far this postseason and the previous playoff berth gives Roberts that little edge he will need in the chess game that goes on during every baseball game.

Advantage- Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers

This is going to be one of the most entertaining World Series matchups that we have seen in a long time. With 2 younger managers and lots of youth on both rosters, anything can happen.  This is the first time a team has actually earned home-field advantage for the World Series based on their regular season record and it will be interesting to see how much that plays into the flow of the series.  The Dodgers have a lot of slight advantages, but anything can happen from game to game with all of the pressure on both teams.  Either way, we will see a drought end for one of these ball clubs come to an end, but this isn’t a one and done opportunity for either team.

Prediction: Dodgers in 6 games

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Week 2 Waiver Wire Report- Top Players to claim along with post waiver acquisitions

The first weekend of fantasy football is finally over.  Their was plenty of joy this weekend to go along with the sadness and despair that came along with the Allen Robinson and David Johnson injuries.  Don’t worry though fantasy players, for I have some of the top waiver additions you should be making this week if you have been decimated by injuries or just want to improve your bench.

  •     Tarik Cohen- RB, Chicago Bears (15% owned in Yahoo, 23.7% in ESPN)

This should be everyone’s first try at a pickup after week 1 if you need a running back. A lot of fantasy team owners lost David Johnson this week and are scrambling after only one week of play.  Let me tell you, Tarik Cohen is the truth.  After playing 28 of 67 offensive snaps this week, Tarik Cohen was the most targeted player on the Bears roster with 12 targets (8 of those went for receptions).  Those targets will continue to be there every week with the announcement that Kevin White is out for the season with a fractured shoulder blade.  The Bears are going to rely more on the run with very few wide receiving options, which also means we could see Cohen line up on the outside from time to time.  His speed and agility will keep him on the field while the Bears try to find a semblance of offense.

Suggested move: Pick up in all 10+ team leagues

  •     Javorius Allen (Buck Allen)- RB, Baltimore Ravens (5% owned in Yahoo, 0.8% in ESPN)

Allen isn’t going to be a flashy running back, but the running back mess in Baltimore sorted itself out a bit more due to the injury to Danny Woodhead, who is expected to miss “a significant amount of time.” Buck Allen played 33 snaps to Terrance West’s 27 snaps.  In that time, Allen received 21 carries to West’s 19 carries in a blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals this week.  Allen is going to be a solid flex play most weeks while Woodhead is out with the fact the Ravens showing they trust him with all the snaps he played.

Suggested move: Pick up in all 10+ team leagues

  •     Jason Witten- TE, Dallas Cowboys (61% owned in Yahoo, 72.3% in ESPN)

I know Jason Witten isn’t the flashiest or most upside player in the league, but he is only owned in 61% of Yahoo leagues and 65% of ESPN leagues.  Witten is going to have better value in PPR leagues as he showed Sunday night against the New York Giants.  He was targeted 9 times (tied for the most with Dez Bryant) and converted 7 of those into catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.  After lackluster performances by Jordan Reed, Martellus Bennett, and Jack Doyle, owners can turn to old reliable Witten to fill their TE spot if they feel the need.  The Cowboys offense is going to be consistent all year thanks to the great offensive line play, which will allow Witten to get his every single game.

Suggested move: Pick up in 12+ team leagues once waivers clear

  •     Allen Hurns/Marqise Lee- WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (Hurns- 10% owned in Yahoo, 2.3% in ESPN/ Lee- 16% owned in Yahoo, 22.3% in ESPN)

After the Jaguars announced the loss of Allen Robinson for the season to a torn ACL, both Hurns and Lee became immediate fantasy producers.  I would prefer Allen Hurns over Marqise Lee as a pickup going into week 2.  Both wideouts received 4 targets each, but Allen Hurns was able to turn 3 of those into catches for 42 yards total while Lee was unable to secure any of his targets.  I still don’t feel confident in Bortles as a quarterback, but fantasy is all about opportunities and Hurns and Lee will receive their chances with Robinson out for the season and rookie Dede Westbrook out for 8 weeks while on the PUP list.

Suggested move: Pick up in all 10+ team leagues

  •     Adam Thielen- WR, Minnesota Vikings (77% owned in Yahoo, 99% in ESPN)

I didn’t think this name would be on here, but somehow Adam Thielen is on here.  This is all because he is somehow only owned in 77% of Yahoo leagues (99% in ESPN).  Thielen showed why he will be a force all season as he is the #2 option for Sam Bradford in the Vikings. He played in all 65 offensive snaps that the Vikings had on Monday night and used it to his advantage to record 9 receptions on 10 targets for 157 yards.  I wouldn’t expect Thielen to put up these numbers week in and week out, but Thielen was a great target last year for Bradford and has already shown why he deserves a spot on your team. He will be a great WR3 week in and week out for any fantasy team. He could tread into low WR2 territory in PPR leagues in certain weeks.

Suggested move: Pick up in all leagues he is available

  •     Nelson Agholor- WR, Philadelphia Eagles (16% owned in Yahoo, 16.4% in ESPN)

It seems like everything is finally adding up for the 3rd year wide receiver. Agholor tallied 6 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.  After 2 disappointing years for Agholor, he seems to have found his place in Philadelphia after Doug Pederson has placed him in the slot.  Agholor was on the field for the Eagles for 41 of the 68 offensive snaps (60% of the time he was on the field in that game).  While it would be great to see him have a much higher snap percentage, when he was on the field, he was targeted because he usually had the matchup advantage.  With Alshon Jeffery as the main threat and Torrey Smith drawing deep coverage, Agholor is going to see a lot of short to intermediate routes which will lead to consistently good weeks for the 24-year-old wide receiver.

Suggested move: Pick up in 12+ team leagues

  •     Cooper Kupp- WR, Los Angeles Rams (5% owned in Yahoo, 0.8% in ESPN)

There was a lot of hype around Kupp leading into the regular season and he showed us why this past Sunday.  Cooper Kupp ran very solid routes and knew when and how to make cuts to fake out defenders to earn the separation.  He was playing against the Colts, but he earned his 76 yards on 4 catches (6 targets) against one of the worst pass defenses.  Kupp looked the part as an NFL wide receiver, but due to the work that the Rams defense did on Sunday it is hard to judge everything about Kupp and his usage. Kupp looked great and played in 65% of the team’s snaps, which means we should see plenty of usage out of the rookie week to week. He isn’t worth a top waiver spot, but is worth keeping an eye on.

Suggested move: Pick up in 12+ team leagues, add after waivers clear in shallower leagues

  •     Kenny Golladay- WR, Detroit Lions (21% owned in Yahoo, 21.3% in ESPN)

One of my favorite guys coming into this season was Kenny Golladay.  He surpassed 1,100 yards and with 8+ touchdowns in his last 2 years of college ball with NIU.  He flashed the potential on Sunday as he snagged 4 catches on 7 targets for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Golladay was able to do all of that while 62% of the 70 offensive snaps for the Lions.  The Lions haven’t had this type of potential in a receiver since Calvin Johnson left, but the addition of Golladay will allow the Lions to open up the playbook a bit more.  Golladay has a ton of potential with his size and speed and will quickly become a favorite target for Matthew Stafford this season.

Suggested move: Pick up in all 12+ team leagues

  •     Kerwynn Williams- RB, Arizona Cardinals (10% owned in Yahoo, 5.5% in ESPN)

I was originally ready to mark down Williams as my 2nd best pickup for the week, but then the Cardinals picked up rookie DJ Foster off of the Patriots practice squad while rumors spreading that the Cardinals may sign veteran Chris Johnson. Williams didn’t see much play until David Johnson left the game, but when he did he saw 5 carries for 10 yards.  There isn’t a lot there it seems, especially behind that questionable offensive line, but we already know Ellington isn’t a feature back.  I expect the Cardinals to look to Williams for all of the between the tackles work while Andre Ellington will be the tailback in for all passing downs. Williams is worth the add with David Johnson expected to miss at least 8 weeks.

Suggested move: Add in 12+ team leagues

  •     Corey Davis- WR, Tennessee Titans (46% owned in Yahoo, 93.8% in ESPN)

This was the major wide receiving addition that the Titans needed to jump start the offense.  While Davis didn’t have a spectacular NFL debut, Mariota consistently looked at him for a total of 10 targets, 6 of which were converted into a total of 69 yards and 0 touchdowns.  Corey Davis is going to make a huge impact for this Titans offense as we now don’t know what to expect out of Eric Decker after how poorly he played on Sunday. With the lack of quickness out of Decker, Davis is going to have more opportunities to show what he can do in an evolving Tennessee Titans offense.

Suggested move: Add in all leagues

Post waiver additions

The next 3 players are ones that should be added to any 12+ team bench if you are in need of depth at that position.  These players will not start for you right now, but will allow you to beat the waiver wire process if a starter gets injured here in week 2.  Having a deep bench early season is always important to achieving that all important fantasy championship.

  •     Charcandrick West- (11% owned in Yahoo, 11.4% in ESPN)

West isn’t a necessary waiver claim this week, but is a guy that should be rostered after what we saw last Thursday.  With Spencer Ware out for the season, West becomes the automatic handcuff to the explosive Kareem Hunt.  West ended up seeing 23 total snaps to Kareem Hunt’s 39 (out of a total 65) in the surprising win over New England.  West isn’t going to take work away from Hunt with everything that he showed, but if anything happens to Hunt, Charcandrick West is going to be highly sought after in that Kansas City offense that loves their tailbacks.

  •     Charles Clay- TE, Buffalo Bills (11% owned in Yahoo, 12.2% in ESPN)

Another TE makes the list this week in Charles Clay, but with the lack of major receiving options, his week 1 performance is no fluke. Clay was the most targeted player for the Bills on Sunday with 9 targets with McCoy trailing him at 6 and Zay Jones at 4.  Clay is in his 3rd year with the team while Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones are in their first year with the Bills.  Clay clearly has some good chemistry with Tyrod Taylor and Taylor will continue to look for the big tight end, especially in the red zone.  The best thing about Clay is he was on the field for 89% of the offensive snaps, meaning he will be a part of the gameplan all year.

  • Alvin Kamara- RB, New Orleans Saints (14% owned in Yahoo, 5.9% in ESPN)

The Saints backfield is a mess, but there is a bright spot with Alvin Kamara.  I think he is a running back that the Saints love after picking him in the 2017 Draft.  Kamara will be much more valuable in PPR leagues because of how threatening he is out of the backfield as a receiving option.  He isn’t a must grab off of waivers this week, but he is an intriguing option for a bench spot. Should anything happen to Mark Ingram in terms of poor performance or injury, I think the Saints will use Kamara as their lead back since the snap count for Monday night was Kamara 31 (of 62 snaps), Ingram 26, Peterson 9.  Kamara had 7 rushes for 18 yards and 4 receptions on 6 targets for 20 yards.  All of that was against a stout Minnesota Vikings defense, but the Saints clearly want to use Kamara in every way they can.

 

For fantasy questions, I can be found on Twitter @JButlerPSF.  I take fantasy questions all week at any time for add/drops or who to sit or start.

Ezekiel Elliott “likely to play all season”

With all of the craziness that is going on in the United States between what is left from Hurricane Harvey and the rest of the Southeast United States preparing for Hurricane Irma, there was some clarity provided by the Texas court system in the Ezekiel Elliot case.  This all broke within the past few moments as Adam Schefter had the scoop:

This only provides one of many answers in a very murky situation from the start.  Jerry Jones and Cowboys fans are viewing this as a win since the Ezekiel Elliott suspension would have majorly affected their season.  In 2016, the Cowboys were able to pick up 5.1 yards per carry when Elliott was on the field compared to a mediocre 3.8 yards per carry when he was off the field for any reason.  Elliott quickly became a star before our eyes in 2016 and he is looking to build upon what he built during his rookie year.  He has all the same surrounding pieces except for right tackle Doug Free.  Entering his 3rd season, La’el Collins will take over at right tackle while Chaz Green will slide in to the left guard position, who is also entering his 3rd season with the Cowboys.

While it looks like Ezekiel Elliott will likely be able to start every game this season, the Cowboys young running back needs to learn a lesson from this entire situation. As a young athlete with fame, money, and starpower, he must be extra cautious in these types of situations for his career, but also his personal life.  There is still a lot that we do not know about this case yet, but the issue of his playing time and earning potential in this season currently seems to be stable once again.

Predicting every team’s wins and losses during the 2017 NFL Season

After a long wait, the NFL season is finally underway.  Kansas City and New England have just kicked off as I type this, and as a football fan, this is one of the best times of year.  There is still plenty of hope for pretty much every team in the league, except for a very few (which looks to be like the Jets and Bills this year as they sold off some of their bigger pieces before week 1).  Fans from all around the world are ready to sit down and watch their offenses score while their defenses cause chaos in the backfields of their opponents.

I cannot wait for this Sunday as we get a full boatload of games for the first time since January 1st.  I don’t think many of the regular season games will create as much drama as in Super Bowl 51 when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, but this season will make our hearts pound during every exciting moment nonetheless.  Now without further ado, let’s take a look at each division and team’s schedule to see how these teams will do this year.

For White Sox fans, the future is coming quickly

White Sox fans coming into the 2017 season knew the team on the field was going to go through a lot of changes. Since December of 2016, White Sox have seen Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, and more be dealt from the team to build for the future.  As quickly as those pieces were gone, the assets that were acquired in the deals have started to take their place on the major league field.

Since July 19th, White Sox fans have been able to see Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, and Reynaldo Lopez make their debuts in a White Sox uniform.  It has been an exciting time for the fanbase even while the team continues to see their overall record get worse. Being able to see some of the potential that this franchise has for the future is forcing excitement into even the most cynical of fans.  Moncada has been improving at the plate while flashing the leather at second base while Nicky Delmonico is quickly deserving the nickname Nicky Bats with his 5 home runs and .356 average in his first 67 plate appearances.  Delmonico started out hot as he reached base at least once in his first 13 games and 15 out of his first 16 games.  Reynaldo Lopez only had 2 chances to take the mound for the South Side before landing on the 10-day disabled list with a strained back.  Lopez flashed some of his strikeout potential while showing that he still has some work to do with his control. In the 10.1 innings that Lopez has pitched, he has racked up 12 strikeouts while issuing 7 free passes.

Before it was announced that the White Sox had lost Reynaldo Lopez to the disabled list, the Pale Hose told fans on Friday afternoon that Lucas Giolito would be making his season debut on Monday, August 21st. That was pushed back to Tuesday however due to the Lopez injury and the White Sox will be bringing up their 2015 first round pick, Carson Fulmer, to take the mound on Monday for his first start of the 2017 season. Giolito and Fulmer have had their issues in the minors this year as they are averaging over 4 walks per nine.

White Sox fans should still be excited however to see these two pitchers because they still hold a lot of potential for the South Side.  Over the past 5 starts, Lucas Giolito has shown the potential in him by carrying a 1.72 ERA to go along with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks.  While this isn’t as dominant as fans would have liked to see from the former #1 overall prospect, Giolito seems to have figured something out over the past 2 months.  Since June 21st, Lucas Giolito has only allowed more than 4 walks in a game once and he has started 11 games in that time.  Carson Fulmer has continued to struggle in AAA Charlotte as he has issued 63 walks in 122 innings during his 2017 minor league campaign.  Both starters will benefit from the recent call-up however thanks to the tandem of pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler.  There was praise from long-time major leaguer Tyler Clippard on how Cooper and Hasler showed him video breakdowns of his pitching performances.  Clippard admitted that seeing the breakdown from the coaching tandem really helped him get back on track.

The White Sox pitching coaches have always been known to get the most out of any pitcher that comes through the organization and with Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, and Lucas Giolito finally making the majors with the White Sox, this could be the boost they all need.  Spending time with some of the best pitching coaches in the majors could help these 3 starters, along with the added benefits that come with making the 25-man active roster.

Thanks to the promotions, Fulmer and Giolito will be able to finally get some more time in the majors and eat up some innings while trying to prove themselves to the front office and coaching staff.  It looks as if it will only be one start for Fulmer for now as stated by skipper Rick Renteria in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times.

“For right now it’s just going to be one start [for Fulmer],’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Then he’ll go back.’’

With the recent moves to the majors, Michael Kopech, the team’s #3 prospect, was quietly promoted to AAA Charlotte.  Most fans were focused on the larger move of Fulmer and Giolito to the majors, but Kopech has really put together a fantastic season in AA Birmingham.  Kopech has pitched 119.1 innings while giving up 77 hits, 60 walks, and 155 strikeouts.  Most of Kopech’s struggles with walks came in the early part of the season and has only given up 3 or more walks in two starts since June 23rd over a span of 9 starts.  The 21-year-old starter has shown a lot of improvement in his control and ability to limit walks as he has only allowed 7 walks while striking out 54 batters over his recent 6 game stretch. There was a lot of concern about Kopech and his control coming into the 2017 season, but he has shown the front office of the White Sox that they can have confidence in him going forward with the steps he has taken forward.  I fully expect Michael Kopech to get a taste of the majors in 2018 since he will get a taste of what AAA Charlotte has to offer here at the end of the 2017 season.

While many White Sox fans thought the future was bleak for the team, it has quickly turned around over the past 12 months thanks to the trades that Rick Hahn has pulled off. It has been a much different way of rebuilding a franchise, but the front office and fanbase have been treated to some positive returns earlier than they expected.  If you didn’t believe that Rick Hahn could pull off a rebuild, now is the time to buy in and see what some of these players will be bringing to an MLB stadium near you.

Tyler Clippard is officially a part of the Houston Astros playoff push.

After being traded from the New York Yankees on July 19th to the Chicago White Sox, Tyler Clippard has been moved once again. This time Clippard has joined an AL contender in the Houston Astros.  The Houston Astros will be Tyler Clippard’s seventh team since the beginning of 2014 (Nationals, Athletics, Mets, Diamondbacks, Yankees, White Sox, and now Astros).  This trade would make it the fifth reliever that the Chicago White Sox have moved since July 18th of this year.  The White Sox traded David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees, Anthony Swarzak to the Brewers, and Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays.  Bullpen arms can be very volatile and with the White Sox not looking to compete any time soon, they have been able to find some great value by moving all of these bullpen arms.

There were a couple of surprises with this trade though. The biggest was that Tyler Clippard was able to bring back anything of value due to the fact that Tyler Clippard owned a 4.95 ERA in 40 games and 36.1 innings of work with the New York Yankees, but has clearly figured something out since moving to the South Side of Chicago.  After acquiring the reliever on July 19th, the White Sox have been able to get 10 innings out of Clippard to go with a 1.80 ERA and a 12:5 K:BB ratio.  While Clippard hasn’t been dominant, he has clearly regained some value and the Houston Astros needed that extra arm in the bullpen to aid in their playoff push.

The other surprise is that Tyler Clippard apparently reported the trade himself before anyone else.  Here are a couple examples of his social media showing that he was an Astro before any big news site reported it.

Tyler Clippard’s Instagram:

Tyler Clippard’s Twitter:

This is something we haven’t really ever seen from an athlete during a trade.  This could have just been something that happened to be noticed when someone was checking social media or was tipped off.  Either way, it came as a surprise to everyone since there was no official word that Tyler Clippard had been traded by the White Sox.

When the White Sox acquired Tyler Clippard, everyone knew he had been inconsistent since the beginning of 2016.  However, most White Sox fans had a feeling he would be flipped before the end of this season considering how great Rick Hahn has been at flipping all types of pieces during the 2017 season.  The White Sox have always had one of the better pitching coaches in Don Cooper to keep pitchers healthy, but also get the most out of them and Tyler Clippard praised Don Cooper before leaving as well, according to Daryl Van Schouwen, White Sox beat reporter.

What the White Sox got in return has yet to be announced, but according to the White Sox twitter, they will receive either cash considerations or a player to be named later. This more than likely means it will be based on health and performance from Tyler Clippard down the homestretch of the 2017 season.

The White Sox have become the best farm system in all of baseball in less than a year and the most recent moves only adds more depth to that farm if the White Sox are able to acquire a physical piece in this trade.  Even if the White Sox receive only cash considerations for Clippard in this trade, that money will be valuable to Hahn and the rest of the South Side as they prepare for the 2018 offseason and large pool of talent that will be available at that time.  We all know that bags of money will be tossed around during that time period and while the White Sox aren’t going to receive a ton for Tyler Clippard, every little bit counts.  Rick Hahn continues to work his magic and this is just another step towards the future for the White Sox.

Follow me on Twitter at @dadsox on Twitter for more updates.

Results and Feelings on the inaugural Pro Sports Fandom Fantasy Football League

Last night our Pro Sports Fandom team did a mock draft together in preparation for the 2017 fantasy football season. I stress the fact that this was on August, today (Aug 11th) was a pretty big one, with the Zeke suspension as well as the Sammy Watkins trade. Below is a grid showing each of our picks and a favorite/least favorite pick for every round.

Before we begin, this is a PPR, re-draft, one QB league. Without further ado, here it is. Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 8.08.21 PM.png

 

The league was created as a 10 team PPR league on Yahoo. We will be using decimal scoring along with negative scoring. The scoring is very standard for most leagues, with the addition of PPR.

25 passing yards per point
4 points per passing TD
-1 points per interception
10 rushing/receiving yards per point
1 point per reception
6 points per rush/receiving TD
-2 points per fumbles lost

The draft was a snake draft and the order can be seen below.

  1. D Beard
  2. Utaheric 18’s Team
  3. San Fran 4th and 9ers
  4. Don’t Crash My Carr
  5. Josh’s Team
  6. Team Chris
  7. Heath’s K
  8. Password is Taco
  9. Pro Sports Fandom
  10. Dezpacito

After spending 45 minutes drafting, the teams were set and there were some major surprises during the draft that really threw everyone off.  

With still so much time left in the preseason, the ADP of a lot of these players could change, but this is what makes early drafts exciting. Who will find secret value? Who will break a team in the early rounds just because of hype? No one will know for sure until the season is completed, but let’s look at some of the picks that I love and hate in each round of the Pro Sports Fandom 2017 Fantasy Football League.

Round 1

Love: LeSean McCoy (8th overall, 1.8- Password is Taco)

I love this pick in the first at 8th overall. With the top 3 RB and WR off the board, LeSean McCoy should always be the 4th RB off the board in my book this year.  Shady is in a great run based offensive system as we have seen and with Mike Gillislee out of Buffalo, McCoy could see a lot more of the goal line carries.

Hate: Mike Evans (5th overall 1.5- Josh’s Team)

I am not a huge fan of this pick while Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones are both on the board.  I would rather have the receivers that work with Manning or Ryan than the younger Jameis Winston.  Evans has been a great talent, but it’s hard for me to love this pick with Julio and OBJ still available.

Round 2

Love: Jordan Howard (15th overall, 2.5- Team Chris)

Jordan Howard impressed the league as he was the 2nd leading rusher in his rookie year on a bad Chicago Bears team.  Howard didn’t even start the first 3 games of the season and was still 2nd. He has worked on catching passes in the offseason, which was his biggest weakness last year.  He will see a ton of touches in Chicago this year as John Fox loves to run the ball and keep the game close.

Hate: T.Y. Hilton (20th overall, 2.10- D Beard)

T.Y. Hilton hasn’t been the most consistent receiver over the past few years thanks to Andrew Luck getting killed by his own offensive line. Andrew Luck is currently in danger of starting the season on the PUP list, meaning he will be out the first 6 weeks. That would mean T.Y. would get to catch passes from the 29-year-old Scott Tolzien. That is not a WR-QB combo that I want a part of in the early part of the season.

Round 3

Love: Marshawn Lynch (35th overall, 3.5- Josh’s Team)

After taking Evans and Aaron Rodgers in the first two rounds, Josh finally took his first RB of the night. I love Lynch this year as he will play in the best offense he has ever been in while also running behind one of the best offensive lines in the game currently (plus the best one he has ever been behind). Lynch doesn’t need to rush for 150+ yards every game because he will get every goal line carry.

Hate: Joe Mixon (32nd overall, 3.2- UtahEric18’s team)

I didn’t understand this pick one bit.  He is an exciting rookie, but he is a Cincinnati Bengal which means he will automatically be 3rd on the depth chart behind Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.  Mixon is going to have a very tough time stealing away carries unless one of the backs goes down to injury.

Round 4

Love: Michael Crabtree (47th overall, 4.7- Don’t Crash My Carr)

At nearly 50th overall and the 17th WR off the board, Crabtree is a good value pick here because of how consistent Crabtree was last year in Oakland. Crabtree ended as the 12th highest scoring receiver in PPR last year and is Carr’s favorite target in the red zone. Crabtree doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but that Oakland offense is going to be something everyone wants a piece of this year.

Hate: Sammy Watkins (46th overall, 4.6- Josh’s Team)

Sammy Watkins has always been that wide receiver that I can’t ever seem to love for fantasy football. After an injury riddled 2016, Watkins is looking to bounce back to his 2015 form. Watkins hasn’t been the healthiest player the last few years and with LeSean McCoy looking to get more goal line carries, there is little value to Watkins while Tyreek Hill, Allen Robinson, and Alshon Jeffery still on the board. Even with the recent trade to the Los Angeles Rams, I don’t like his value at this spot.

Round 5

Love: Martavis Bryant (54th overall, 5.4- Don’t Crash My Carr)

After missing the 2016 season due to a suspension, Martavis Bryant is back and ready to roll for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Steelers missed him during their 2016 campaign and it showed in plenty.  The offense had major issues scoring most of the year, especially in the playoffs against Kansas City where they won on the strength of 6 field goals.  That high paced offense of the Steelers is going to be even tougher to stop now with Bryant back on the field.

Hate: Hunter Henry (55th overall, 5.5- Josh’s Team)

I understand wanting to go with a tight end early in the draft because of how shallow the tight end position is, but Hunter Henry is not the guy just yet.  With Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker, and Tyler Eifert on the board, Josh took the bold approach.  I think it is a good pick… next year.

Round 6

Love: Julian Edelman (65th overall, 6.5- Team Chris)

With this being a PPR league, Julian Edelman is always a great player to have because of the connection between himself and Tom Brady. Over the past 3 years, Julian Edelman is averaging 6.5 catches per game played, which makes him as a great WR3 behind Julio Jones and Deandre Hopkins.  Usually, Edelman is ranked much higher, but he has such good value in the 6th round.

Hate: Andrew Luck (63rd overall, 6.3- Password is Taco)

As good of a quarterback as Andrew Luck has been in a Colts uniform, his status for Week 1 is currently unknown due to the shoulder injury that he suffered in September 2016 against the Titans.  While Luck could be a great quarterback, he was 4th off the board before Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson leaving little of value in the pick.

Round 7

Love: Larry Fitzgerald (73rd overall, 7.3- San Fran 4th and 9ers)

We have seen the prime days of Fitz come and go, but Fitzgerald has still been a great middle round receiver for fantasy. After posting 107 catches in 2016, Fitz is going to be the go to guy for Carson Palmer once again, especially after Arizona cut Michael Floyd during the 2016 season.

Hate: Cam Newton (80th overall, 7.10- Dezpacito)

Cam Newton is a very polar football player, both in fantasy and real life.  I am not huge on Cam Newton going into this year after a terrible 2016 campaign. With 19 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, we don’t really know who the real Cam is. The addition to Matt Kalil at left tackle is sure to help keep opposing defenders off Cam, but with the inconsistency, the pick left much to be desired.

Round 8

Love: Stefon Diggs (90th overall, 8.10- D Beard)

After a long 7 rounds, the first Vikings receiver was picked at the end of the 8th round.  Diggs had a rough 2016 campaign as he was unable to counteract the hand fighting and press coverage that opposing corners used against him. Diggs’ inability to get separation from himself and the opposing corner showed, but I have a lot of confidence in Diggs this year, especially with the Vikings needing to force the ball to Adrian Peterson.

Hate: Dak Prescott (86th overall, 8.6- Josh’s Team)

This pick made little sense since Josh already had the first quarterback off the board with Aaron Rodgers in the second round.  Dak was a great real-life quarterback behind the Dallas Cowboys line, but as a fantasy quarterback, he left a little to be desired.  This could change with the recent news of the Ezekiel Elliot suspension, but something tells me we won’t see Prescott throwing 35 plus times a game.

Round 9

Love: DeSean Jackson (93rd overall, 9.3- San Fran 4th and 9ers)

DeSean Jackson was the big play receiver for a long time in Philadelphia and his first season in Washington.  The blazing speed is gone, but his skills are still there.  Jackson went to a great situation in Tampa Bay where he gets to be the #2 wide receiver behind Mike Evans along with a young quarterback in Jameis Winston.  Jackson wasd a great value pick in the 9th round.

Hate: Justin Tucker (96th overall, 9.6- Team Chris)

Justin Tucker is one of the best kickers in all of the NFL, but I felt like this pick was a bit early. With lots of receivers and running backs still on the board with potential, I felt it didn’t make a ton of sense to grab a kicker in the top 100 players with how fluky they can be week to week.

Round 10

Love: Derek Carr (107th overall, 10.7- Don’t Crash My Carr)

Derek Carr was the 11th quarterback taken in the draft after ending up as the 12th best quarterback in 2016.  This was after leaving the Raiders’ week 16 game early due to a broken leg.  Carr was only 16 points behind Dak Prescott on the year and that was with a full game less played.  The value in Derek Carr is great as the 11th quarterback off the board.

Hate: Ameer Abdullah (109th overall, 10.9- UtahEric18’s team)

The Detroit Lions have not had a true standout running back for the past few years and Ameer Abdullah is a part of that uninspiring group.  Abdullah has been given multiple chances over the past two years to stand out from the rest of the running backs, but was unable to do so in 2016 thanks to a foot injury that held him out of all but 2 games.  The running back to own in Detroit for PPR is easily Theo Riddick.

Round 11

Love: Jeremy Maclin (120th overall, 11.10- Dezpacito)

Jeremy Maclin was one of the receivers that seemed to get lost in the shuffle in this draft. Maclin was a great PPR receiver during his time in Kansas City with coach Andy Reid.  Maclin actually gained value with his move to Baltimore.  With Steve Smith, Flacco needed a good and healthy receiver to throw to other than Mike Wallace.  Maclin had less value in Kansas City due to the run heavy offensive scheme, but with Flacco slinging the ball around, Maclin could be one of the best late round picks of this draft.

Hate: Jameis Winston (112th overall, 11.2- UtahEric18’s Team)

I don’t mind Winston as a fantasy quarterback, but Eric took a backup quarterback while only having 1 back up running back on his bench (Ameer Abdullah).  We know how risky running backs are every year and with a trio of RB consisting of Bell, Mixon, and Abdullah, there is a bit of extra risk as of now.

Round 12

Love: Randall Cobb (122nd overall, 12.2- Pro Sports Fandom)

After a year in which he was held to 610 yards and 4 touchdowns, Randall Cobb fell hard to the bottom of the wishlist for a lot of people.  Cobb will surely gain that name again as the preseason goes on, but he has a ton of value as the 43rd wide receiver off of the board, especially in the 12th round.  Cobb will need Nelson and Adams to stay healthy to help his cause.

Hate: Kenny Britt (129th overall, 12.9- UtahEric18’s Team)

While Britt had his best career year in 2016, I do not have much love for the Cleveland offense while Brock Osweiler or the rookie DeShone Kizer are under center. Britt doesn’t have a very high ceiling and isn’t a guy that can break out after 9 seasons in the NFL.

Round 13

Love: Jordan Matthews (139th overall, 13.9- Pro Sports Fandom)

Jordan Matthews has been a great receiver out of the slot for the Eagles the past 3 years and is a great WR3 for PPR leagues. How he fell all the way to the 13th round is beyond me, but it is a great value at the time of the draft.  His value only rose even higher after his move to the Buffalo Bills as of early Friday.

Hate: Mike Wallace (136th overall, 13.6- Team Chris)

Mike Wallace was super inconsistent last year as a threat last year because he was mainly the deep threat in Baltimore.  I don’t see his role changing much this year with Maclin looking to be the main wideout for Flacco. Wallace could have a big few weeks, but good luck picking out which weeks that will be.

Round 14

Love: Kevin White (150th overall, 14.10- D Beard)

After 2 seasons of being injured, Kevin White is looking to raise his floor from the ground and try and finally break out.  The number one wide receiver job is wide open in Chicago with Alshon Jeffery gone. Cameron Meredith showed he can be a weapon, but no one believes that Meredith is a true number one receiver.  With White’s speed and size, he has all the potential to be a huge breakout candidate at a very low price.

Hate: Los Angeles Rams Defense (144th overall, 14.4- Heath’s K)

It was late round, but I am not huge on the Rams defense at all.  They aren’t even the best defense in Los Angeles these days.  They really struggled to score on defense and accrue turnovers.  I don’t see them being much better this year.  I would have preferred Buffalo, Philadelphia, or the Los Angeles Chargers defenses over the Rams.

Round 15

Love: Sterling Shepard (154th overall, 15.8- Don’t Crash My Carr)

After a decent rookie year in New York, Sterling Shepard is looking to build on what he has already done.  Shepard totaled 65 catches for 683 yards and 8 touchdowns.  He will be great for Eli Manning once again and with the offensive line issues, Manning is going to need to get the ball out quick, leading to another 100+ target year for Shepard, even after the Brandon Marshall addition.

Hate: Evan Engram (158th overall, 15.8- Password is Taco)

Another Giant has made the list here in round 15.  I know that Evan Engram is a rookie that could make a splash in a game or two, but the offensive tackles of the Giants had a terrible 2016.  Engram will one day be a great receiver in the NFL, but rookie tight ends have a very hard time being fantasy relevant because they are forced to learn blocking schemes and the route trees of their respective teams.  I think Engram is going to be used more as a blocker to start the year with the question marks that are the offensive tackles for the Giants.

Thanks for reading, feel free to let me know any questions you may have on Twitter @prosportsfandom. You can always contact me personally on Twitter, @dadsox, as well with any comments or questions as well.

Jay Cutler has come out of retirement, signs with the Miami Dolphins

 After watching their franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill go down with a non-contact knee injury on Thursday, the Dolphins have convinced ex-Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to come out of retirement.  According to multiple reports, Tannehill collapsed while he was scrambling during a play and was on the ground for 15 seconds or so before finally leaving the field.  The Dolphins coaching staff found themselves searching for answers for the 2017 season and they think they have found the answer in Jay Cutler, who they have convinced to come out retirement thanks to head coach Adam Gase.

Adam Gase worked with Jay Cutler for one season in Chicago in 2015 as the offensive coordinator.  It lead to Cutler having the best year of his career with 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and his only season with a quarterback rating over 90. This lead to Adam Gase getting the head coaching gig in Miami in 2016 where the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.  Jay Cutler was let go from the Bears after the 2016 season where he suffered a torn labrum during a contest in week 11 versus the New York Giants.

It was assumed that Cutler was going to stay retired after taking the a job as the broadcaster for the 2nd team on FOX.  His first gig was supposed to be in week 3 of the preseason when the Chicago Bears take on the Tennessee Titans, but it looks like that will be put on hold for now.  However, the moment that Tannehill went down, it became apparent how close Gase and Cutler had gotten during the one season together because rumors began flying about them reuniting shortly after the knee injury was announced.

As of 12:45 pm, Jay Cutler is a Dolphin according to Ian Rapoport on a 1 year deal worth $10 million.

This could mean another potential playoff berth as the AFC has very few truly dominant teams going into the 2017 season.  Cutler should have a fairly easy time integrating into the Dolphins offensive system thanks to his relationship with Gase.  The only thing he may have to learn is some of the language, but the offensive system should be very similar to what he learned in Chicago.  The biggest issue for Cutler is going to be his health and how much arm strength he has lost with the torn labrum, but he will have some great receivers to work with in DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Jarvis Landry with Julius Thomas working out of the tight end position.  It will be the best group of wide receivers that Cutler has worked with in a long time and Cutler could make the Dolphins strong contenders for one of the wild card spots in the AFC.

What the Melky Cabrera trade means for the Royals and White Sox

With less than 36 hours left in the trade deadline, the Chicago White Sox were able to finally move the biggest name left on the trade block. As of 12:05 pm, the White Sox have acquired two pitchers from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera.  The two pitchers are the 22-year-old right-handed A.J. Puckett and 23-year-old left-handed Andre Davis.  Neither of these pitchers have reached the Double-A level in their professional career just yet, but pitcher tend to take longer to move through the minor leagues.

The White Sox had to be glad to finally move Melky after a lot of speculation over the past few weeks.  Melky Cabrera was going to hit free agency at the end of this season and Rick Hahn wanted to get something for the left fielder, especially with his .337/.370/.514 slash line since June 10th.  In that same exact span, Alex Gordon produced a .239/.303/.396 slash line while hitting just above the Mendoza line, which is a .200 or worse average, at .201 in 92 games this year.  Melky Cabrera will more than likely slide into the every day left field role while forcing Alex Gordon to the bench or be a part of a platoon in right field with Jorge Bonifacio.  Most Royals fans might hate to see their long time left fielder sit on the bench and let Brandon Moss ride the bench, but Moss has been pretty hot with an OPS just over .850 since the All Star Break.  Melky Cabrera brings a boost to that Kansas City lineup with the way he is hitting, but will be clutch to have down the home stretch of the season against Cleveland as he owns a .472 average against the Indians’ ace, Corey Kluber over 36 at bats.

The White Sox were able to add two more arms to their farm system thanks to this deal, even if they don’t seem like very high potential pieces.  Arms are always important because no one enters a career as a pitcher hoping to only work out of the bullpen, but sometimes that is just where you end up.  If you can build a strong bullpen out of players you have brought up through your system, it is better than paying a guy out of free agency with how volatile bullpens can be season to season.

A.J. Puckett was the 13th best prospect in the Royals system and brings with him a 90-94 mph fastball with some sink to it along with a plus changeup and an average curveball. According to most scouts, Puckett is a pitcher with a very high baseball IQ and knows that he has to work the corners to get hitters out since he doesn’t have anything that is overpowering at this point of his career.  In 108 innings this year at High-A ball, Puckett is striking out about 8 batters per nine innings while allowing close to 4 walks per nine. That is part of the danger when you aren’t able to just blow a fastball past a batter or use the breaking ball as a wipe out pitch on a 2 strike count. A positive thing about Puckett is he is getting batters to ground out nearly half of the time during his 2017 season, but his current profile has him pegged as a 4th starter due to his limited strikeout upside.

The White Sox also acquired the left-handed Andre Davis, who was unranked in the Kansas City Royals system and has had a rough season so far in Low-A Ball for the Royals farm as he is carrying a 4.83 ERA.  However, while he has an awfully high ERA here in 2017, all of the peripherals point to some regression in a positive way as Davis is striking out nine batters per nine while walking less than 2.5 batters per nine innings.  On top of that, Davis’ FIP (fielder independent pitching) is 3.98 shows that Davis’ has been pitching well, but is running in to some bad luck during this 2017 campaign.  The biggest issue that Andre Davis has shown in 2017 is his inability to prevent line drives while also getting killed by right handers.  The lefty has been able to hold down opponents who are hitting lefty as he has a .216 batting average against in 97 at bats this year and has only walked 4 lefties while striking out 32 left-handed batters.  At this point, Andre Davis looks like he could be a good bullpen arm for the White Sox in a couple of years if he can’t figure out how to prevent right-handed batters from reaching base.

This trade was another vote of confidence from the front office of the Kansas City Royals to its players while the Sox continue to acquire pieces for the future and getting worse for a better draft pick in 2018.  Melky is going to be a big piece for the Royals since he played in Kansas City in 2011 and will fill the offensive hole that has been left field for Kansas City this year.  With 60 games left in the season and the Royals holding a 2.5 game lead over Tampa Bay in the second wild card spot, the Royals are making one last push for a World Series before they lose the long time core of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas.

Yoan Moncada has officially been called up by the Chicago White Sox

After months of waiting and developing in AAA Charlotte, Yoan Moncada has officially gotten the call to return to the majors, according to Brian Bilek (  on Twitter.

This time however, he will be wearing a different color of socks.  Yoan Moncada originally made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox on September 2nd, 2016 where he went 0/2 with a walk and a strikeout in that game.  Moncada then collected 4 hits in the next 2 days, but struggled over his next 9 plate appearances, striking out every single time.

The White Sox traded for Yoan Moncada as part of the Chris Sale deal on December 6th, 2016 after seeing the potential he flashed in the few games he played.  The Cuban native has spent the entire season in AAA Charlotte for the Chicago White Sox working on his defense at second base and his plate discipline, raising his walk rate by 0.7% and lowering his strikeout rate by nearly 2%.  Yoan Moncada has been putting together a great season in Charlotte with 12 home runs to go along with 17 stolen bases (getting caught stealing only 7 times for a 70.8% stolen base rate).

This call-up of the #1 prospect in baseball was announced shortly after the White Sox dealt 3B Todd Frazier, RHP David Robertson, and RHP Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees for a package of RHP Tyler Clippard, CF Blake Rutherford, CF Tito Polo, and LHP Ian Clarkin.  The White Sox waited to bring up the young Cuban infielder because Rick Hahn and the rest of the front office wanted Moncada to have an every day spot to play. The last thing the Sox wanted to do is have the young superstar sit on the bench when he needs the at-bats to improve his game and show that he can make it at the major league level.

White Sox fans have had a fairly exciting season even in the middle of a rebuilding year. They have been treated to Jose Abreu returning to his rookie year form, Avisail Garcia make the All Star Game while also turning into the hitter they expected him to be, and now they will get to be treated to one of the biggest pieces of their farm with Yoan Moncada making the big league club.  The call-up of the young star will clearly not make or break the season, but the South Side fans will finally get to see some of the returns from the trades they have made in the past calendar year.