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3 years agoHouston Astros closer Ken Giles enters the 2017 season as the team's presumed closer. However, that doesn't mean he will always close games in the ninth, as manager A.J. Hinch said he won't always be compelled to use Giles in the ninth inning to closeread more...
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3 years agoAtlanta Falcons restricted free-agent wide receiver Taylor Gabriel wants to re-sign with the Falcons, and Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff has mutual interest. The Falcons can decide to place a high tender on Gabriel that would discourage other teams from giving up a first- or second-round pick to sign him. Taylor, 25, emerged as a key weapon in Atlanta's high-flying offense, catching 35 passes for 579 yards, and he was tied for the team lead in touchdowns (six) with Julio Jones. The speed demon is a home run threat on any play, as evidenced by his average of 42.7 yards on his touchdown catches. Gabriel is more valuable in standard formats, but either way he has fantasy relevance in this high-octane offense.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - Vaughn McClure
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3 years agoThe San Francisco 49ers could make a run to sign Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins if the 'Skins place the non-exclusive franchise tag on the QB. However, San Francisco would have to give up two first-round picks in that case. Once Cousins is tagged, the Redskins have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal. It's highly unlikely that Cousins goes on the open market and also unlikely that the Niners would give up two first-round picks, even though new San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is fond of Cousins from their time together in D.C. It would be an upset if Cousins isn't in a Redskins uniform in 2017. He's proven he's at least a low-end QB1 the past two seasons, but with both receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon possibly departing in free agency, Cousins may not have the weaponry to consistently put up big numbers like he has the last two years. Stay tuned.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - John Keim
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3 years agoPhiladelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said that relief pitcher Jeanmar Gomez "deserves to be called our closer at this point." Gomez won the job of closer last season and surprised most people by holding down the gig all year (he converted 37 of his 43 chances). However, the soft-tossing righty came apart at the seams down the stretch. Philadelphia added veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit this offseason and they feel comfortable in Hector Neris' abilities late in games, too, which led many to believe that Gomez would merely be a setup man in 2017. Neris' stuff is more befitting a traditional closer (11.4 K/9, 1.10 WHIP in 80 1/3 innings), so he's the guy to target in fantasy here.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Philadelphia Inquirer - Matt Gelb
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3 years agoSeattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez said he's stronger this season and is weighing 224 pounds after checking in at 207 pounds in 2016. Hernandez went through rigorous offseason workouts and said, "I've got to prove people wrong." King Felix, a fantasy ace for a long while, showed plenty of cracks in his armor last year. He posted an un Felix-like 3.82 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and career-low 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings and landed on the disabled list. Hernandez's career 2,415 2/3 innings thrown are finally starting to take a toll, as evidenced by a career-low 91.0 mph fastball last year. Felix is no longer a fantasy ace, but he could come at a decent value in his age-31 season if your leaguemates are scared off.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Greg Johns
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3 years agoSt. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha will likely be in the starting rotation "if he's physically able," according to general manager John Mozeliak. The reason for that is that top prospect Alex Reyes (elbow) is feared to have a season-ending UCL tear in his right elbow that could require Tommy John surgery. Wacha had a very disappointing season in 2016 (5.09 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 7.4 K/9 in 138 innings), and a shoulder injury in the second half didn't help his cause. He was ticketed for a relief role this year if not for the Reyes news. His fantasy value is technically on the rise with the new opportunity, but three straight years of a decline in strikeout rate isn't a good sign. He'll likely have a short leash in the No. 5 spot if he struggles, too, so consider the right-hander only in NL-only leagues as depth.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Derrick Goold
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3 years agoBaltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman is not expected to be ready for opening day after having a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right shoulder in December. Tillman is roughly three weeks behind the other pitchers, so the O's could backdate a disabled list stint, meaning Tillman could wind up only missing a start or two to begin the season if he can avoid setbacks from here. As Baltimore's ace the last several years, Tillman has been wildly mediocre and pitched to a 3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 140 strikeouts in 172 innings (7.3 K/9) in 2016. The fact that he pitches in the tough American League East and in a very hitter-friendly park don't help his fantasy cause.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MASNSports.com - Roch Kubatko
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3 years agoMinnesota Twins relief pitcher Glen Perkins (shoulder) threw 15 pitches off a mound Tuesday, and his next step will be long toss on Thursday. The southpaw reliever had shoulder soreness last week after throwing all of two innings in 2016. In his absence, Brandon Kintzler took the closer job in Minnesota and is likely to enter the year in that same position. That combined with the fact that Perkins is an extreme injury risk now in his age-34 season, makes him a reliever to avoid in all but the deepest of league's as a handcuff to Kintzler.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Minneapolis Star Tribune - La Velle E. Neal III
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3 years agoSerge Ibaka will not be available for Tuesday's matchup with the Chicago Bulls, but it is possible that Toronto fans get their first look at their new power forward in a Raptors jersey on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets. The arrival of Ibaka is likely to breathe new life into the Raptors’ championship hopes, as they have begun to reel in 2017, dropping from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. Ibaka’s presence down low could benefit the Raptors but is likely to hurt the fantasy value of their other bigs, most notably Patrick Patterson and Lucas Nogueira.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Rotoworld Basketball
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3 years agoWith injuries to both Rudy Gay (Achilles) and Garrett Temple (hamstring), Ben McLemore has stepped up his play and is flirting with late-round fantasy value in his last six games. During this stretch, McLemore is averaging 10 points, 2.5 rebounds, one assist and 1.25 steals while doing a fine defensive job on notable names such as Klay Thompson, Dwyane Wade and Devin Booker. If McLemore continues this fine play, he may be able to continue to steal minutes from the likes of Arron Afflalo and Matt Barnes, but don’t hold your breath, as McLemore has teased owners in the past only to reward them with inconsistency.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Benedict Tagle
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3 years agoBrooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (knee) is questionable for Wednesday night versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Booker has been outstanding for the Nets this season, with averages of 10.1 points, nearly nine rebounds, two assists and one steal on 52% shooting in 26 minutes of game time. He is a hold in all formats and should continue to put up fantasy relevant numbers despite the Nets’ free-fall out of relevance.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Brooklyn Nets
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3 years agoNew Portland Trail Blazers’ center Jusuf Nurkic will be making his debut off the bench on Wednesday versus the Utah Jazz. Nurkic’s fantasy outlook has skyrocketed with the trade to Portland, as he was getting next to no minutes in Denver mostly due to the emergence of Nikola Jokic. Despite limited run, Nurkic has been productive this season, averaging eight points, almost six rebounds, and one assist on 52% shooting in just under 18 minutes. He is a strong add at this time as Portland coach Terry Stotts claims Nurk will be given the opportunity to start once he is acclimated.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Jason Quick
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3 years agoJimmy Bulter (heel) will be starting on Tuesday versus the Toronto Raptors after missing one game. With Dwyane Wade (wrist) out, Butler will carry the load offensively and should get lots of looks, as he is starting alongside two point guards in the backcourt -- Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams specifically. In Wade’s absence, Doug McDermott and Rajon Rondo are also expected to soak up some extra minutes.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Fantasy Labs NBA
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3 years agoThe Portland Trail Blazers’ Al-Farouq Aminu is doubtful for Wednesday’s clash with the Utah Jazz due to a left knee strain. Lacking Aminu and the recently traded Mason Plumlee, the Trail Blazers starting lineup will look very different on Wednesday. A direct beneficiary of this shakeup will be Maurice Harkless, who will look to build on Monday’s 17-point, nine-rebound performance. Harkless is an interesting add in 10-- and 12-man leagues, as he is able to provide defensive stats from the small forward position. Over his last four games, Harkless is averaging 1.5 steals and 1.25 blocks, making him a very viable play in daily fantasy on Wednesday night.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Jason Quick
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3 years agoWhile many question the Serge Ibaka trade due to the high price paid for him just this offseason, one positive of this move may be the opportunity it provides for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon. With Ibaka gone, Gordon is likely to move into the starting power forward position, giving him an opportunity to develop his game at his natural position. Gordon is averaging 11 points, nearly five rebounds and two assists on 43% shooting this season. With more minutes at power forward, expect Gordon’s rebounding numbers to get a slight bump.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Cole Zwicker
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3 years agoNewly acquired Denver Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee will be available to play Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the trade, Plumlee has jumped up one spot and into a playoff position, as he will be joining the Nuggets’ effort to edge out his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers, for the Western Conference’s eighth seed. Through the acquisition, the Nuggets have gained another playmaking big man, and it will be interesting to see how Plumlee and breakout star Nikola Jokic will coexist. If played together, Plumlee and Jokic will facilitate a very interesting Nuggets offense with playmaking ability across all five positions. Plumlee’s individual fantasy performances may take a hit however, as Denver’s frontcourt is much more contested than Portland’s.--Teodor Stanescu - RotoBallerSource: Basketball Monster
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3 years agoTop pitching prospect and potential National League Rookie of the Year candidate Alex Reyes may not take the mound at all in 2017. Reyes underwent an MRI Tuesday, and the Cardinals are fearing the worst after it was revealed that he had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The team will seek a second opinion and has not made any official announcement as of yet. If true, this is a big setback to a promising young career. Dynasty league owners will need to find a replacement arm and re-draft owners should scratch him off their ranking lists. Michael Wacha figures to benefit and grab the open rotation spot.--Pierre Camus - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com
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3 years agoAfter missing three games, guard Iman Shumpert will be back in the Cavs starting lineup tonight. Shumpert was fighting an ankle injury but will return tonight against the Timberwolves. This season, Shumpert is averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Shumpert could begin to see an increased role in Cleveland with Kevin Love sidelined. DeAndre Liggins will head back to the bench tonight. Shumpert has not put together a great season, but if healthy this could be a turning point for him.--Andy Webb - RotoBallerSource: Yahoo Fantasy Sports
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3 years agoBrooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has announced that guard Jeremy Lin will return after the All-Star break. Lin has not appeared in a game since the day after Christmas. When healthy, Lin is solid, averaging 13.9 points, 5.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 three-pointers this season. Lin has only played 12 games this season but still offers value to fantasy teams. Lin has been dealing with a hamstring injury but will return Feb. 24 against the Nuggets. Lin is worth stashing on your roster if you have room.--Andy Webb - RotoBallerSource: Yahoo Fantasy Sports
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3 years agoIf there is one word that comes to mind for Bo Bichette, it is flashy. If there were a phrase, it would be “rawfully refined.” He has a very loud stance with alarming bat speed and is quick on his toes in the field with a lot more pop in his step than many infielders. He does just about everything loud and does just about everything well. Bichette brings a lot to the table and comes from rich bloodlines in which his father was a former All-Star, and his brother was a top prospect as well. Bo may have the chance to be an even better hitter than both. He tore apart high school competition with a .569 average and 13 home runs out of Florida. He was later selected as the 66th overall pick in 2016, where he logged a .427 average, four home runs, nine doubles and three stolen bases in 82 at-bats in his first short season. He is far from the bigs, but he's someone to monitor closely in dynasty formats.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoJon Harris is a tall, projectable pitcher out of the strong Missouri State baseball program. Twice drafted by the Jays, they got their wish when they signed him in the first round in 2015. Though not showing strikeout stuff consistently last year, he was an innings eater for the Lugnuts and Jays. Though strikeout potential still could come for Harris, he still projects as an innings eater until his frame fully fills out. Eyes are on him to improve his secondary pitches and ascend to profile as a good second or third starter who can get outs multiple ways.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoThe biggest concern for Rowdy Tellez has hardly ever been his ability to hit for contact. The Toronto Blue Jays prospect recently had enough talent to play designated hitter and first base with increasing success. Tellez was often undervalued because of his glove at firstread more...
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3 years agoHarold Ramirez is a Colombian international prospect with multiple developing tools. Ramirez came to the Toronto Blue Jays in the Francisco Liriano trade from the Pirates. He consistently has shown his hitting ability with a .306 career minor league batting average. Ramirez was thrown into the fray in the Gulf Coast League at the tender age of 17 when he signed out of Colombia. He went on to accumulate an on-base percentage over .300 the first season but upped that to .354 the next season with a move up a level. Spring training 2016 allowed Ramirez to show off his hit tool with 11 hits in 19 trips to the plate. He earned the moniker “bone collector” from manager Clint Hurdle because he collects so many hits. He has made a quick move up the minor league ladder and is knocking on the big league door at the age of 22 in the Blue Jay’s system after the Francisco Liriano trade with the Pirates last year.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoSean Reid-Foley has the chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter who battles it out with the best of them. He took a step forward this year in repeating results consistently. Reid-Foley has a low-effort delivery that when ramped up does have impressive arm speed. He doesn’t utilize a high arm slot, yet that doesn’t keep him from being able to keep his body vertical and in a straight line to the plate. If he can learn to incorporate each of his pitches to their full potential, he could be a top-25 starter in the big leagues. I would just love for his arsenal to develop a real third pitch instead of relying on hiding the ball and an offsetting slider. Expect to see him in the majors at some point in 2017.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoLourdes Gurriel Jr. comes from a family of Cuban ballplayers. His brother just debuted with the Astros, while his dad was a Cuban star. Lourdes provided his publicity when he brought 60-plus scouts to his showcase in which he dazzled. Before defecting, he was a fantastic hitter in Cuba with a .344/.407/.560 slash line in his last year. You could readily rank Gurriel as high as No. 1 on this top-prospect ranking with a well-balanced set of skills and a contract that suggests he will be given a chance sooner rather than later. Lourdes has yet to debut in the minors, but he has been well known by scouts for his hitting approach and tools. It is just a matter of how they will translate. He best profiles as a middle infielder who can hit for a high average, play good defense and use his physical ability to help his tools play up. Though his swing isn’t fully geared for it, he could also really surprise people with some power in his prime. He should be a quick riser in 2017.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoVladimir Guerrero Jr. is the son of his namesake and future Hall of Famer father. The Jays gave him $3.9 million to sign as a teenager out of the Dominican. The money wasn’t due to the name but due to his tantalizing ability as a glowing brace-faced teenager. Vlad, like his dad, has a phenom’s projection. For his age, he has a stout body that he uses to produce plus power to all fields. Guerrero Jr. doesn’t let this dictate his game, however, as he is a great all-around hitter. He aims to do it all on the field with the only question being where he will play. He has below-average speed but has shown decent defensive ability at third, so the Jays will try him there for now. Wherever he plays, his instincts for the game help all his tools play up. He is far away from major league action, but he's one of the most coveted assets in baseball coming into 2017.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoRichard Urena continues to add to his game as he moves up. He is very athletic and can play shortstop, but still makes mistakes that should correct with more repetitions. Urena needs to work on his overall approach at the plate to get deeper inread more...
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3 years agoAnthony Alford has glowing tools on both sides of the ball. He has plus speed, which he has done an excellent job of using so far with an 81% success rate in 69 attempts. Alford is pretty much filled out regarding physical growth and with refinement to his swing, he could still add a lot of power to his profile. He strokes line drives with ease with his current mechanics. His glove will play just fine in centerfield, but he may move to left in the future. His approach at the plate is decent enough to garner walks, but overall he can be a bit too picky, which leads to strikeouts and a target for opposing pitchers to capitalize on. It is unlikely he will be seen in the MLB this year, but he should be on your dynasty radar.--Joshua SchwagerSource: Baseball Ranks
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3 years agoSeattle Mariners relief pitcher Steve Cishek (hip) is hoping to be ready for opening day but admitted that goal might be too lofty. Cishek had surgery on a torn labrum in his left hip and also had microfracture surgery. There's no guarantee he'll be ready to go, and he could be slowed well into the early portion of the season. Supplanted by Edwin Diaz as the M's closer, Cishek did manage an impressive 10.7 K/9, 2.81 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with 25 saves in 64 innings last year. However, coming in with injury risk and now the eighth-inning setup man, Cishek's fantasy value is diminished to being a Diaz handcuff.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Seattle Times - Ryan Divish
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3 years agoLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker said he's 100 percent healthy after getting hit by a line drive in the head last year and having brain surgery last September. That's great news for a rotation that's also hoping to have a healthy Garrett Richards (elbow) back this year. Shoemaker went 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 143 strikeouts in 160 innings (8.0 K/9) in 2016. It's completely unknown how Shoemaker will fare coming off such a scary injury, but he's made encouraging steps the last few years and has always been one to limit his walks (career 1.18 WHIP). He's yet to reach the 200-inning mark in his four years, though, and homer allowance has been a problem for him. Shoemaker isn't a sexy fantasy pick to round out your rotation depth -- especially after his injury last year -- but he's a low-risk, under-the-radar selection that'll put up respectable strikeout numbers as your fourth or fifth starter.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Orange County Register - Jeff Fletcher

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