.

Here’s a look at the unheralded players who played well yesterday.
.

J.A. Happ, Houston Astros
Happ threw a two-hit shutout to improve to 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA.
.

Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians<
Hafner went 4 for 5 with 2 runs and an RBI (40) to raise his average to .282. Hafner is 9 for 16 in his past four games.
.

Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs
Zambrano gave up 1 unearned run with 7 Ks in 5-1/3 innings to improve to 6-6 with a 4.36 ERA. He’s 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his past five starts. He faces the Mets in his next start meaning he could be in line for another good performance.
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Joe Saunders, Arizona Diamondbacks
Saunders gave up 2 runs in 8 innings to improve to 2-4 with a 4.70 ERA for the Diamondbacks. Overall he’s 7-14 with a 4.64 ERA.
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Potent Middle Relievers
Nick Masset, CIN: 1-2/3 IP, o Runs, 2 Ks (72 Ks, 64-2/3 IP)
Jerry Blevins, OAK:  2 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (40 Ks, 43 IP)
Kyle Farnsworth, ATL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (50 Ks, 53-2/3 IP)
Chris Sale, CHW:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (14 Ks, 9 IP)
Scott Linebrink, CHW:  Win, 2 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (44 Ks, 46-1/3 IP)
Wil Ledezma, PIT:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (15 Ks, 14-1/3 IP)
Thomas Diamond, CHC:  1-2/3 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (22 Ks, 19 IP)
Rafael Betancourt, COL:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Ks (67 Ks, 48 IP)
Joel Peralta, WAS:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (35 Ks, 37-1/3 IP)
Tyler Clippard, WAS:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (86 Ks, 74 IP)
Craig Stammen, WAS:  1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Ks (74 Ks, 116-2/3 IP)

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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Here’s an updated look at my top 25 team defense rankings.

 

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings
5. New York Jets
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Dallas Cowboys
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. New York Giants
10. Chicago Bears
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. New Orleans Saints
13. New England Patriots
14. Houston Texans
15. Denver Broncos
16. Miami Dolphins
17.  Oakland Raiders
18. Tennessee Titans
19. Indianapolis Colts
20.  Atlanta Falcons
21. Carolina Panthers
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. Buffalo Bills
24. Washington Redskins
25. San Diego Chargers

 

Notable Changes:
- I bumped the Jets down as the Darrelle Revis holdout continues and in the wake of the Calvin Pace injury.
- I bumped the Vikings down because of continuing concerns about their secondary.
- I bumped the Bengals up a few spots because I initially undervalued their 2009 performance. They are an aggressive defense and should be a fantasy starter by all means. 
- I bumped the Dolphins down because they have a brutal eight game stretch from Week 2 through Week 10.
- I bumped the Raiders up because I just have a feeling the Raiders will have a decent season and it will start with the defense. This one is strictly a gut decision.
- I moved the Niners up to #1 because they have the best defensive player in the game, have a soft division, and a very favorable fantasy playoffs schedule.

 

Also check out:
2010 Top 30 Fantasy QB Rankings
2010 Top 50 Fantasy RB Rankings
2010 Top 60 Fantasy WR Rankings
2010 Top 25 Fantasy TE Rankings
2010 Top 25 Fantasy IDP Rankings
2010 Top 15 Fantasy K Rankings

Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com

 


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

LeSean McCoy showed enough in his rookie campaign to allow the Philadelphia Eagles to let oft injured veteran running back Brian Westbrook walk in the offseason.  Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, McCoy now has a chance to put his skills on full display.

 

The question is, how good do you think he will be?  In abbreviated appearances (only 4 starts despite appearing in all 16 games) last season he managed to rush for 637 yards and 4 TD.  He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a more then respectable number.

 

As has always been the Eagles nature, he was a great option in the passing game.  He had 40 receptions for 308 yards, showing the same type of ability as Westbrook did.  In their offense that uses a lot of screens, Westbrook accumulated as many as 90 catches in a season and was always a threat.

 

With Kevin Kolb manning the quarterback position, it’s quite possible that the focus on using the running backs increases.  Despite the ability Kolb showed last season, there’s a big difference starting week after week, as opposed to starting just one or two games (you can click here for my full thoughts on him).

 

He could easily feel the pressure.  The Eagles could easily script the plays in order to protect him, limiting the risks he’s forced to take.  That means more screens, more check downs to his running back or tight end.  That means more opportunities for McCoy to excel.

 

The offensive line, however, will need to hold up to allow him to run rampant.  The last time they stepped on the field, they allowed four sacks to the Dallas Cowboys, including a pair from DeMarcus Ware.

Click to continue reading “Rotoprofessor’s Pop Quiz: Should We Consider LeSean McCoy a RB1?”

 

Want to add a little flavor to your fantasy football season? Who better to spice things up than the people that know a thing or two about flavor? Of course I’m talking about Johnsonville, who are known for having the most delicious sausages on the planet. All that wonderful flavor must have sparked their creativity because they have come up with a winner in their new fantasy game. Here’s how to play.

 

You simply select one running back of your choice each week. Choose wisely because the better your back does in that week, the more points you put up on the board. The top expert each week wins a pro football team jersey representing a team of the winner’s choice. Not to mention, the grand-prize winner receives the “Ultimate Fan Cave!”

 

To create your Johnsonville Rush for 2000 Yards account, simply click on the Register button at the Rush for 2000 Yards Challenge page.

 

Fill out the registration form, and you can start to make your winning picks right away. And your new club membership comes with a few perks, too. Free e-newsletters will give you the inside scoop on all the teams and help you keep track of who’s hot and who’s not. Brag about your favorite team or just talk football with the other club members in challenge leagues or with friends!

 

So, grab your helmet and get off the bench, and good luck with those picks! Looking for a few tips on how to get started? Click here for some helpful pointers!

 

All trademarks are property of their respective owners. Best Buy does not sponsor, endorse, approve or have any responsibility for this promotion.

Pick em First

 

As a fantasy sports nut that has multiple teams with multiple platforms, I have spent plenty of time toggling between different websites and having mutliple browsers open as I kept tabs on my fantasy teams.  I always though that it would be great if I could manage all of my fantasy teams from one location.  Now you can.

 

PICKEMFIRST acts like a Fantasy Sports assistant.  This internet browser extension will save you time by identifying athletes on any web page you visit and highlighting the Free Agents in your fantasy league.  It also provides shortcuts to your favorite fantasy website and conveniently aggregates news from Rotowire and tweets from the athletes themselves.  The best thing is, the service is free at www.pickemfirst.com.

 

Pick ‘em First made some dramatic changes and improvements. It is now available on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, it was extended to support NBA, NHL and College football, you no longer need a google account to use Pickemfirst, and you can import fantasy football leagues from 7 different websites! Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, RTsports, MFL, nfl.com and Athlon.

 

Here is a video to show how this slick program works:

 


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or higher.

 

Denver Broncos WR Jabar Gaffney doesn’t quite reach the 180 threshold, checking in with a ADP of 170 (61st WR) according to Mock Draft Central. He is, however, undervalued as the Broncos’ number one receiver.

 

He will not confuse anyone for Brandon Marshall, and in some ways that’s a good thing. He quietly goes about his business. Last year he hauled in 54 passes for 732 yards and 2 TDs. Head Coach Josh McDaniels is comfortable with Gaffney, having brought him over from New England last year.

 

So far Gaffney has had a productive preseason. He caught two passes for 37 yards in the opener against the Bengals. He followed up with six catches for 98 yards in the second game against Detroit.

 

The Broncos have several talented young WRs, but they will have growing pains. Eddie Royal is in his third season, but was an utter disappointment last year when many were expecting him to put up Wes Welker numbers. The Broncos drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, but both have battled foot injuries. Unfortunately Thomas’ injury was an aggravation of a previous foot injury and it is still lingering, while Decker battled multiple injuries in college.

 

Thomas is the most talented WR on the Broncos, and will eventually take over as the top receiver. I just don’t see that happening this season. When you are adding WR depth late in your draft, don’t be afraid to take an unsexy pick like Jabar Gaffney. You don’t have to be sexy, as long as you’re steady.

 

What are your thoughts on the Broncos’ WRs?

The Dolphins are currently the defense with the 13th highest ADP (184 overall) according to Mock Draft Central. They are also my 14th ranked defense (click to see rankings). It’s easy to overlook them because they have to square off twice against the Patriots and Jets, but they are a decent DEF1 and a quality DEF2.

 

The Dolphins finished tied for third in the league last year with 44 sacks. They were near the bottom with a mere 21 takeovers, but the arrival of Karlos Dansby, Charles Grant, and rookie Jared Odrick should allow Miami to put pressure on opposing QBs and increase their turnovers.

 

A good thing about Miami is their terrific match-up to start the season. They face the Bills, who will likely be without Fred Jackson and possibly without Marshawn Lynch. For a team that is already short on explosive players, this really stacks the odds against them.

 

There are plenty of good starting defense that have tough match-ups to start the season. If you have one of them, Miami is a nice compliment to get your team off on the right foot. For example, Minnesota and the Saints face each other. Not exactly desirable match-ups. The same goes with Cincinnati and New England, Green Bay and Philadelphia, and Baltimore and the New York Jets. The Giants (Carolina) and Pittsburgh (Atlanta) also have difficult Week 1 match-ups.

 

Once you use Miami in Week 1, you can probably drop them for a player that had a monster opening performance. The Fins next nine opponents are the Vikings, Jets, Pats, Packers, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Titans and Bears. They also have a bye mixed in during Week 5.

 

After the bye weeks are over, you may want to grab them again because once you get past that lengthy stretch, it’s pretty much smooth sailing. They take on the Raiders and Browns in Weeks 12 and 13, and finish the fantasy season against the Bills and the Lions in Week 15 and 16.


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