Add These Former All-Stars During All-Star Break

Mike Napoli

The All-Star break can be an unusual time for Fantasy owners. After checking your lineup, box scores, and the waiver wire day in and day out for the past three months, there are no games to watch and no scores to check for the next few days.

If you’re like me, you’ll use the time wisely and, just like a real GM, use the All-Star break to reevaluate your roster, refresh your perspective on your lineup, and try to make that under-the-radar move that can shift your squad into championship contention. With the trade deadline (Fantasy and otherwise) now just weeks away, you can get those trade talks moving in the coming days, or simply find that diamond in the rough that remains on the waiver wire.

Mike Napoli hit 18 homers in the first half putting him on pace for a new career high, despite career lows in batting average, OBP, and OPS. Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire

With the Midsummer Classic in mind, I’ve found five former All-Stars that could be difference-makers down the stretch. Some are already where they need to be, and others are likely to be aided by a trade prior to the July 31 trade deadline, but these former All-Stars make worthy additions following this week’s All-Star festivities.

Nab Napoli for Post-Break Power Boost

When a veteran like Mike Napoli is sitting at career lows in batting average (.194), OBP (.273), and OPS (.710) at the All-Star Break, that’s the kind of guy I want to buy in on. Despite those putrid numbers and striking out in nearly one-third of his at-bats (32.5 percent), the 2012 All-Star has still racked up 18 home runs in the first half.

Napoli’s power production certainly hasn’t disappointed, as he’s on pace to quietly eclipse the career-high of 34 homers he set just last season. The 35-year-old also has a .215 BABIP meaning his average and counting stats are bound to course correct after the All-Star Break as well. His powers numbers alone make the former All-Star worth adding in AL-only and mixed leagues, so grab Napoli before another savvy owners notices the undervalued commodity sitting on the waiver wire.

Plan to Make A Play for Pence

Another player hitting way below his career averages is three-time All-Star Hunter Pence. After a terribly slow start, Pence put up a solid June in which he hit .310 with two homers, 14 RBIs, and 12 runs scored in 24 games. Expect stats closer to that rather than the three homers, 16 RBIs, and 14 runs he scored in April and May combined.

Pence is too good a baseball player to continue putting up numbers like that, and he already jacked another homer and put up five more RBIs in just eight July games coming into the All-Star Break. Look for a power surge in the second half, as Pence’s .660 OPS is way below his career number of .802. As long as the former All-Star stays healthy, he should be a useful asset in NL-only and deep mixed leagues following the break.

Knuckleballer Should be Solid Second-Half Streamer

R.A. Dickey has been pitching like an All-Star since mid-June. Over his last four starts, the 2012 All-Star has allowed one run or fewer while lowering his season ERA from 5.35 to 4.23 and his WHIP from 1.51 to 1.34. In those outings, Dickey also struck out 23 batters in 27 innings and picked up two wins (both at home).

And that’s where you need to consider using Dickey — whenever he starts at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. So far this season, the knuckleballer is 5-1 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP at his new home ballpark. Streaming Dickey in home starts in the second half is where the veteran’s value lies, so keep an eye on where he lines up coming out of the All-Star Break.

Trade Could Put Former Closer In Line for Saves

Sean Doolittle is the kind of relief pitcher that catches my eye this time of year. He has everything I covet in a reliever, except that he doesn’t get save opportunities — something that could change very soon. Doolittle currently owns a 3.54 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and strikes out close to 13 batters per nine. The 2014 All-Star also walks less than one per nine (0.89 BB/9), making him the perfect closer-in-waiting candidate for the A’s, and Fantasy owners.

With Oakland sitting in the cellar of the AL West, Billy Beane will most definitely be selling at the trade deadline and current A’s closer Santiago Casilla is a name being floated in trade talks. If and when Casilla gets shipped, Doolittle has proven to be comfortable in the closer’s role, converting 36 out of 50 save chances in his career, including three out of four this season. If you have a need for saves, make a speculative add of Doolittle as he could be thrust into the ninth-inning role before too long.

Prado Primed for Post All-Star Surge

Martin Prado makes for the perfect MLB trade deadline acquisition. He can play multiple positions, hit for average, and won’t hurt you no matter where you insert him into the lineup. It’s those same attributes that make me like him from a Fantasy perspective.

You might be thinking how can you tout a guy batting .262 with two homers, 12 runs scored, and 12 RBIs in just 33 games? The answer is simple. It’s because Prado is better than those numbers suggest, as he proven with his career .292 average, .341 OBP, and .763 OPS.

The 2010 All-Star is a typical high-floor, low-ceiling waiver grab that should get a nice bump in his counting stats, if and when he gets traded. Prado will be a veteran upgrade with versatility for whatever MLB team he moves to at the trade deadline and he could do the same for your Fantasy squad. Monitor where Prado ends up, and if it’s the Yankees or Red Sox, that should be enough to merit adding him to your roster.

Use these next few days to analyze and over-analyze who’s worthy of an add, but be sure to consider these former All-Stars as they’re all in solid situations to contribute coming out of the All-Star Break.

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Fantasy News: Adrian Peterson Nonsense

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Football People! What’s going on? More and more Fantasy
Football analysts are talking up the Minnesota Vikings offense as a
place to go for Fantasy Football production in 2017. Sounds weird
considering they were in the bottom half of the league in points
scored in 2016. With further investigation, it looks as if it’s
safe to say they maybe on to something. The Vikings took steps to
improve their offensive line in the offseason. Their second round
draft pick, Dalvin Cook, will be a Fantasy Football stud. Healthy
seasons from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen can make both WRs Top 30
Fantasy Football producers at the receiver position. Kyle Rudolph
finally showed up last season, putting up TE 1 numbers. So, I get
it. The Vikings will be better offensively.

With all these good things happening for the Vikings’ offense,
guess who has been the talk of OTAs and Mini Camp? That stiff,
Laquon Treadwell. The rookie could barely get on the field last
season due to foot and ankle injuries. Well, so far this offseason
things have changed. Treadwell is taking first team reps in three
receiver sets and looks more comfortable in the offense. It will be
interesting to see if this talk keeps up when they put on the pads.
Fantasy Football owners drafting right now can put a dollar on
Treadwell extremely late in the draft. I have done so myself in a
few leagues.

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Outlook for Titans’ Corey Davis

Titans first round draft pick Corey Davis is a real deal WR1.
Fantasy Football owners will love Davis for many years to come.
Tennessee selected Davis with the fifth overall pick of the 2017
NFL Draft
. Davis is a 6’3″ 209-pound freak who dominated the
college football ranks. Dynasty Fantasy Football league owners will
have to pick him very early in rookie drafts based on his college
production and pro potential. Davis’ detractors will say that he
did not play in a college football power conference. His numbers at
Western Michigan are nothing to take lightly, so please don’t
sleep, Son. Davis had three seasons with over 1,400 yards receiving
and he also put up two seasons with 90 plus receptions. Last season
Davis scored 19 touchdowns. He scored a remarkable 52 touchdowns in
his four year college career. This season in Tennessee, he will
join a much-improved receiving corps over what the Titans had last
season. Rishard Matthews was a Fantasy Football difference-maker
last season. Matthews and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had a
nice chemistry last season. The Titans scooped up Jets wide
receiver Eric Decker in the offseason. Before you make the mistake
of thinking Decker can be this team’s number one wideout, make sure
you check his profile in the Inside Injuries app. Yeah, it’s like
that. Delanie Walker could very well remain this team’s top option
in the passing game.

I believe Davis’ talent will win out and the rookie will be the
go-getter for Mariota. It’s much like I’m the go-getter for the
Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY). A pair of Coreys will be getting it
done this year. The Titans will continue to be a run-first team, I
get it, but I want this type of talent on my Fantasy Football
roster. This year! Davis is going off the board as wide receiver 45
in National Fantasy Football Championship leagues. I love Davis as
a WR4 on Fantasy Football teams. If I love it, you should also.

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Fantasy Decisions: Packers’ Randall Cobb vs. Eagles’ Jordan Matthews

NFL Fantasy Football

This was a tough one to break down for you Fantasy Football
owners. Let’s start in Philadelphia with Jordan Matthews. Matthews
had career lows in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2016. The
Eagles’ entire passing game was pretty trashy in 2016. Fantasy
Football owners already know Nelson Agholor is a bum and Dorial
Green-Beckham, who they got rid of, was trash also. Carson Wentz
looked good at times in his rookie season, but Jordan Matthews was
his only wide receiver who belonged in the National Football
League. This season, though, Wentz and Matthews will have true
NFL-caliber talent around them. The Eagles went out and scooped up
Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffrey in the offseason. Matthews will now
have someone beside Zach Ertz to take away attention from him. Not
to mention Matthews is already familiar with Wentz and the
offensive scheme. Smith and Jeffrey will have to get there
throughout training camp and the preseason.

Fantasy Football owners who rostered Randall Cobb in 2016 will
likely not own him again this year. Cobb was a bust last season but
I think most of that was due to injury. Davante Adams likely played
a role also. Cobb spent most of the 2016 season banged up, but when
he was healthy in the playoffs he put up two very nice games. In
National Fantasy Football Championship leagues Cobb is currently
going off the board as wide receiver 40 while Matthews is 46.
Fantasy Football owners are a trip, I tell you. Receivers like John
Brown, Eric Decker, and DeVante Parker should not be going ahead of
these guys. Matthews is currently dealing with a knee injury but
should be ready to go for training camp. Check out the video and
see which one I select but this is a tough call. The good news is
both players will return value on their current ADPs.

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Fantasy Decisions: Vikings’ Dalvin Cook vs. Seahawks’ Eddie Lacy

NFL Fantasy Football

In this installment of Fantasy Football Decisions, we
break down and compare Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook and
Seahawks offseason addition Eddie Lacy. Cook, a second round draft
pick out of Florida State University, is a player some have
compared to Fantasy Football legend Jamaal Charles. Last season as
a Seminole, Cook had well over 2,000 yards of total offense. Cook
ran for more than six yards per carry and his receptions averaged
over 14 yards. Cook is one of the top running backs in this rookie
class. He is right up there with Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, and
Christian McCaffrey. Cook would have likely been a first round pick
if it wasn’t for a poor combine and off-field issues from years
ago. Although Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings in the
offseason, expect Cook to be the alpha male in the Minnesota
running game from Week 1 and the guy you want for Fantasy Football
purposes.

Eddie Lacy and Fantasy Football owners have issues they need to
work on. Lacy’s final two seasons in Green Bay were filled with
injuries and struggles with his weight. Lacy will have a chance to
redeem himself this season in Seattle. Thomas Rawls will not be
able to keep Lacy out of the starting lineup. Second-year back C.J.
Prosise has talent but is more of a third-down guy. Lacy will once
again have an opportunity to prove it on the field. The problem
with Lacy in recent years is staying on the field and getting a
full complement of touches. In drafts so far this season, Cook is
going off the board around running back 20. Those are lofty
expectations for the rookie from Liberty City, Miami. Lacy, on the
other hand, has a NFFC ADP of 78 overall and is the 29th running
back going off draft boards. Is Lacy and steal and the unproven
Cook a reach? Find out in Executive Decisions.

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Giants’ Madison Bumgarner May Need More Time to Return to Form

Each week Inside Injuries identifies some of the biggest MLB injury questions and provides an answer on when a player will return, how an injury will affect performance and what the injury really means. Check back each week for new injury analysis on your favorite players.

Q: Will Mike Trout be in top form when he returns after the All-Star break

madison bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner may not return to form this season. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

A: Not quite. His recovery has been a smooth one so far, but it has been very fast. Even if his thumb feels good, it will take some time for him to regain his strength and return to his MVP form. The good news is he reported no pain during his rehab outing, so now he just needs to get his swing back and get in more practice. He is still a High Injury Risk because any hand injury to a baseball player is a big deal, but he should slowly start to improve over the next month. 

Q: Why hasn’t Madison Bumgarner pitched well on his rehab assignment? 

A: MadBum is expected to make his final rehab start on Monday, although his other appearances did not go very well. His Injury Risk has improved from High Injury Risk to Elevated, but his Health Performance Factor remains Below Average. This is an indication that his shoulder injury still needs more time to heal and will affect his performance. It’s going to be at least a few more weeks before we see Bumgarner back to his old self, dominating hitters. It’ll happen, but any injury to a pitcher’s throwing arm can have lingering affects. He may not return to form and consistently be the ace we expect him to be until the end of this season or even next year.

Q: How long will Trea Turner be out? Is his fracture like Freddie Freeman’s? 

A: Turner’s fracture appears to be in a similar spot as Freeman, and neither player needed surgery. Freddie has returned to the Braves’ lineup after seven weeks on the DL. The Nationals have not provided a projected recovery time, but it should be similar. The Nationals should have the ability to bring him back slowly with little competition in the NL East and their sights set on the playoffs. Both players had a non-displaced wrist fracture, which the Inside Injuries algorithm calculates as a grade 3 injury. They come with an Optimal recovery Time of seven weeks, so the bone should be fully healed in that time. It will take additional time to regain strength in the hand return to pre-injury form.

Download the Inside Injuries app for more injury advice and fantasy analysis on every player in MLB!

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Fantasy Golf Picks: 2017 John Deere Classic Predictions, Sleepers & Preview

John Deere Classic
Defending Champ: Ryan Moore

FNTSY Sports Network’s Pat Mayo Mike Leone and Christian Drappi discuss and debate the best Daily Fantasy Golf strategies for Tournaments and Cash Games. Plus, the best places and methods to research DFS PGA.

***Complete John Deere Classic Picks Show Coming Monday Afternoon***

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John Deere Classic Field
156 Players | Top 70 & Ties Make the Cut

It’s like the John Deere Classic took a look at last week’s Greenbrier field and cranked the shittiness up to 11. Now, it’s not entirely the organizer’s fault. I know I keep harping on this, but as a Canadian it’s my duty to be mad about PGA scheduling; The Canadian Open, despite its history gets the PGA proletariat in terms of field class because it falls the week after the Open Championship. Still, with RBC as a title sponsor, and it being a national championship (the third oldest in the world to boot. Which, FYI, rhymes with about), it does get a few larger names. Situated the week before the Open Championship, the John Deere Classic suffers the same fate, but much, much worse. It’s the Week 17 of the PGA TOUR.

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Anyone who’s worth a damn is either taking a rest until the Open or playing at the Scottish Open getting acclimated to the conditions and time change. Now THAT’S a field: Rickie, Rory, Stenson, Scott, Kuchar, Reed, Grace, Noren, Kaymer, Dufner, Poulter, Grillo, RBC, Fisher, An, Party Marty in a home game, and a bunch of other recognizable names. It’s one of more competitive events on any tour all season. Now, for us PGA loving, can’t get enough of the odd 230-300pm EST break from Golf Channel to CBS break fools, we get to consume a birdie fest featuring Top 40 players such as Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman, and Brian Harman!!! Exciting times. And, frankly, I have no idea why those guys are even playing. All four are already qualified for Royal Birkdale and don’t need to exploit the final auto-bid into the Open for the highest finisher this week. Wouldn’t it be better traveling overseas, getting your game proper, and focusing on contending next week? I would think so. These guys probably just see the lack of competition and a $1M payday within their reach. I kinda get it now.

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After the top four, the field is filled with ascending stars, old locals, and the typical PGA grinders. The most notable names: Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, Ryan Moore, William McGirt, Kyle Stanley, Danny Lee, Wes Bryan, Kevin Na, and Harris English.

John Deere Classic Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Approach
Birdie or Better Percentage
Proximity: 125-175 Yards
Greens in Regulation

John Deere Classic Course
TPC Deere Run | Par 71 | 7,268

Be prepared for lowwwwwwwwwwwww numbers this week. TPC Deere Run generally produces the most birdies of any course on TOUR; don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either. With a majority of approach shots coming from inside 175 yards, the field will be able to pick apart the grounds with their wedges and short irons. With past champions like Stricker, Spieth, Moore, and Zach Johnson, it’s clear distance off the tee isn’t going to factor into the end result as significantly as most weeks. Just load up on the players who make birdies in bunches and pray their putters don’t let them down.

John Deere Classic Picks (Yahoo Game)

Kevin Streeleman & Smylie Kaufman – In depleted fields like the John Deere Classic, the A-List in the Yahoo game takes the biggest hit. There are only six players to chose from, and none are overly great options. Fortunately, Streeleman has been consistent enough to back, with five made cuts in a row and four T20s in that stretch, his elevated GIR numbers should fuel him to another quality finish in the Quad Cities… Kaufman has been far more of a rollercoaster, but we know he can pile up birdies quickly when his game is clicking. Last week at Greenbrier, his approach game was dialed in, gaining 3.8 strokes on the field, despite a T37 finish. If he can merely putt the way did in his two starts previous, Smylie can contend.

Check Out Mayo’s 2017 Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Kevin Kisner, Kevin Na, Danny Lee, & Scott Brown – Despite the weak fields over the years, the winners of the John Deere Classic have all been pretty quality players. You’d think in a field so large there’d be some weird outliers that were never heard from again. So, in the B-List, stick with the names you know, and may actually remember three years from now. Kisner shit the bed last week at Greenbrier, which may lead everyone to pass on him this time around. Don’t make that mistake. Even with a disastrous two days in West Virginia, Kiz is no worse than 36th versus the field in any strokes gained metric over his past 12 rounds, and is actually second in total strokes gained in that stretch… Can you just make a putt Kevin Na? Please? How bout you Danny Lee? If paychecks were given out solely to those who dominate with their irons, these two would own the PGA TOUR by now. Turns out, that’s not the case. Like we witnessed with Stanley and Schauffele the last two weeks, putting can flip at a moment’s notice, so loading up on the players giving themselves the best opportunities to make birdies, will eventually pay dividends. Hopefully Na or Lee (or Both!) can flip the switch this week… The king of the first round, Brown has a feel for this layout. In five career starts, he’s missed the cut just once, and churned out a pair of Top 10s and four T25 finishes. And it makes sense, if you look at where Brown excels, it’s between 125-175 yards on approaches. And, he’s consistently good enough off-the-tee to get himself into scoring position. If he can merely not collapse on Friday, something he’s very familiar with, Brown’s got an outside shot.

Check Out Mayo’s 2017 Fantasy Football WR Rankings

Daniel Berger & Brian Harman – In a 156 man field, in a sport with such high variance, stick with a few proven names at an easy track. Berger’s feasted on these simple courses recently, with a win and a playoff loss in his past two non-US Open events. There’s no reason to fade him here… Harman’s a former champ of this event, with four Top 10s in his past eight starts, and rates out among the best in the field form 125-175 yards. These two with be very chalky picks, so if you want to risk it and go contrarian to gain points on your completion, I suggest Ben Martin, Kelly Kraft, Nick Taylor or David Hearn. In that order.

The Pat Mayo Hour covers the entire scope of the Fantasy sports landscape from Football to Reality TV, daily and yearly leagues and everything in between. You can watch the Pat Mayo Hour every weekday at noon, 3:00pm EST, 8:00pm EST and Midnight on the FNTSY Sports Network Television channel or on your Apple TV, Xbox, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. If you have a Fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at PatMayoHour@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show. 

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Fantasy Football 2017 ADP Duel: Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry vs. Packers’ Davante Adams

Jarvis Landry and Davante Adams both will be drafted as WR2s, but who will be the better player for your team? To answer that question, you first have to consider whether you are in a PPR format or a standard league. One player is very touchdown dependent (Adams), while the other is consistent week in and week out for receptions (Landry). With both of these players ADPs being so close according to FantasyPros.com, you will likely be put in a position to choose between the two. So, lets dive into the details to find out which you should go with come draft day.

Will Davante Adams regress from his 12 touchdowns in 2016, or will he continue to climb the rankings? (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire)

Jarvis Landry: ADP 40

Jarvis Landry turned in yet another fantastic year in PPR scoring in 2016 with 94 receptions for 1,134 yards. But what has become a trend for Landry is that he only hauled in four touchdowns. In fact, he had more drops (five) than he did trips to the end-zone last season. Over his last three seasons, Landry has a combined 13 TDs, making him less and less attractive to owners in standard formats. His three-year average of 96 catches, on the other hand, makes him a top target in PPR formats. His percentage of targets caught (77.%) and run after catch (6.7) numbers are among the league’s best, showing that he is one of the most sure-handed players in the game.

Coming into the 2017 season, however, there seems to be an emphasis by the coaching staff to become more balanced on offense. That means that they will be looking to get Jay Ajayi even more involved this season. So, what does this mean for Landry? Well, it could mean that his target share will dip, as well as the catches and yardage overall. And for a player that relies on yards after the catch, that will really put a dent into his Fantasy potential. Don’t get me wrong, this passing attack will continue to go through Landry as the WR1, but the dip in production hurts his appeal as a PPR standout while also making him a player that you can overlook in standard formats. I currently have him projected for 87 catches and 1,013 yards with only five TDs. That would make Landry a solid WR2 in PPR formats, but could put him as a fringe WR2/3 in standard leagues. Landry could be a prime candidate for regression in 2017.

Davante Adams: ADP 42

The 2016 Davante Adams is what many owners thought that they were getting early in 2015 drafts. The hype was so big that it felt like the pressure was too big for him to hold. After being a massive flop, Adams came into last season fresh,and rebounded in a big way with 75 grabs for 997 yards and a jaw-dropping 12 TDs. He was constantly targeted in the red zone by Aaron Rodgers, and unlike in 2015, he was actually converting. And to think, he could have been even better. His nine drops were tied for fourth in the league with several of them being in or around the end zone. All of his counting stats such as yards per reception (13.3) and RAC (5.4) were all middle of the road, showing just how dependent he was on the touchdown for his Fantasy potential.

As we enter into the 2017 season, Adams is solidly the Packers WR2 ahead of the fading Randall Cobb. That means his target share should increase in what will be a contract year for the receiver. We all know what that generally means for Fantasy production. This Packers offense should again be very pass-reliant with the lack of a true running back to stand out (I don’t believe that Ty Montgomery is the answer). Even with the extra mouths to feed in the offense with Jordy Nelson, Cobb, and the newly signed Martellus Bennett, there will be plenty of opportunity for Adams to show his worth. He should again be a highly sought-after piece in standard formats, where his ADP will be higher, but expect Adams to have a better season in PPR leagues than he did last year. I currently have him projected for 81 catches for 1,001 yards and eight TDs. Adams will be drafted as a WR2, but has all the potential to put up WR1 numbers in 2017.

Verdict:

While both of these players will be great producers for Fantasy in 2017, if I am presented with the option on either player, I am going with Davante Adams every time. I see Landry taking a step back this year, and without the touchdown production, it makes him a dangerous player to own in any format. Adams, on the other hand, should see an increase in catches and yards while keeping the touchdown potential. Grabbing a possible WR1 for a WR2 price? I am in on that all day long. Give me Davante Adams for 2017.

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Fantasy Football Draft Spotlight: Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks’ Eddie Lacy

MARSHAWN LYNCH TO THE OAKLAND RAIDERS

Marshawn Lynch is one of the most entertaining running backs in NFL history both on and off the field. This offseason, he surprised the Fantasy Sports world once again when he came out of retirement to join his hometown Oakland Raiders. Now 31 years old, there are a ton of questions regarding his health and physical condition.

There’s no denying that from 2011-2014, Lynch was one of the most consistent running backs in Fantasy Football, regardless of format (see below). The problem is the last time we saw Lynch was the 2015 season, when he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, while battling hamstring and abdomen injuries. Perhaps a year off did his body well. We saw an older Adrian Peterson return to football after missing nearly an entire season. In 2015, at 30 years old, AP rushed 327 times for 1,485 yards and 11 TDs. It’s not impossible.

 

Marshawn Lynch
Standard PPR Offensive line run-block rating
2011 RB5 RB6 19th
2012 RB4 RB5 4th
2013 RB4 RB5 9th
2014 RB3 RB4 4th

*Offensive line ratings provided by Football Outsiders

 

We’ll know more about Lynch’s physical health once we see him in pads during the preseason. For now, let’s focus on how he fits in with the Raiders. First up is the offensive line. The Raiders have one of the best in the entire NFL, albeit much better in pass protection. According to Football Outsiders, their line ranked first in pass protection and 11th in run blocking. Regardless, it’s a strong unit with everybody from 2016 still intact.

As a team, the Raiders had the 11th most rushing attempts in 2016 with 434, which bodes well for Lynch. What does not bode well is the fact that the Raiders used a committee approach. They were one of only two teams last season that had three different running backs with at least 83 carries. Jalen Richard had 83, DeAndre Washington had 87, and Latavius Murray had 195. Given Lynch’s age and the Raiders’ willingness to keep fresh legs on the field, I’d bet on similar usage again in 2017.

Obviously, Lynch takes over the role Murray left behind. That’s the good news. Murray finished as RB13 in both standard and PPR formats last season despite just 195 carries. In fact, his 195 carries were the lowest of any running back who finished inside the Top 15 in either format. Murray’s 12 rushing touchdowns ranked fifth in the NFL and that’s the reason he was so valuable.

Marshawn Lynch has created significant Fantasy buzz in his return from retirement. (Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire)

I mentioned the Raiders used a committee approach, but when they get into the red zone, this will be Lynch’s job. Murray had 38 carries inside the red zone, tied for ninth in 2016. Furthermore, he had 25 carries inside the 10, tied for seventh among running backs, and that’s where he scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns. Washington and Richard could see a series here or there outside the 20s, but when it’s crunch time in the red zone, Lynch will be used the same way Murray was last season.

There are question marks when drafting Lynch and that’s fair. It will be interesting to see his where he stands physically come preseason, but even an 80 percent, Lynch is better than Murray. It’s not a knock on Murray but rather high praise for Lynch’s talent. Lynch is currently being drafted as RB17 at pick 48.8 in NFFC ADP. He should be targeted as a RB2 in Round 4 in either format because of his touchdown upside in a potent offense. If he turns out to be the Lynch of old, Fantasy owners could be looking at a Top 10 back. There’s also a chance he should have stayed retired. That is what makes him a somewhat risky pick.

EDDIE LACY TO THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

 I’ll spare you the fat jokes, but it is no secret Eddie Lacy had issues with his conditioning. At his latest weigh-in, Lacy needed to be less than 250 pounds to earn another incentive, which he did. It was his second of seven weigh-ins, each earning him $55,000 if he meets the target weight. The plan is for Lacy to clock in at 245 pounds for the start of the regular season. Still just 26 years old, I think we all know Lacy can play. It’s just a matter of how motivated he is.

Last season was a train wreck for the former Packer but there was still one major positive. He averaged a career-high 5.1 yards per carry, albeit in a small sample size (just 71 rushing attempts). Given his size and strength, he’s always been able to absorb some contact and was very useful on or near the goal line. As a rookie, Lacy scored all 11 of his rushing touchdowns from within the red zone with 10 of those coming from inside the 10. In his sophomore season, he scored eight of nine from inside the red zone. The last few seasons, the Packers got away from using Lacy in that area of the field. That’s why his Fantasy production suffered.

If Lacy is going to score touchdowns this season, the Seahawks’ offensive line has no choice but to be better. In 2016, the line ranked 26th in run blocking. Seahawks running backs were tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage third-most in the league. In an effort to improve, the team signed Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, adding two more in the draft. The team has just $15.59 million invested in their offensive line, the lowest total in the NFL. This isn’t uncommon for the Seahawks, as they usually draft linemen and develop from within the organization. On paper, this unit should be better in 2017, the question is how much better.

Along with the offensive line woes, Lacy has to fight off both Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise for carries. The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta revealed his hypothesis that Rawls and Lacy will take a fairly equal share of the base down carries. Uh oh. That’s the last thing any Fantasy owner wants to hear. In Lacy’s defense, Rawls averaged just 3.2 yards per carry last season. As mentioned, the offensive line was horrendous, but Christine Michael still averaged 4.0 YPC and Prosise averaged 5.7. Obviously, whoever produces early on should see more of the workload, and if Lacy can approach his career 4.4 YPC, the job should be his.

Just last year, Michael and Rawls combined for 818 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 226 carries. That number assigned to a singular player would have finished as a Top-24 running back in Fantasy last season. Here at RotoExperts, we have Lacy projected for 1,077 total yards and seven touchdowns, which would rank as RB20 in standard and RB28 in PPR. Lacy is much more valuable in standard leagues because he will be touchdown dependent and Prosise will be the pass-catching back. If Lacy is motivated and runs hard, he could flirt with a 1,000-yard season and double-digit touchdowns. If not, he could be off the Seahawks roster by midseason. It’s a risky pick, but one worth taking as your RB3 or flex at his current NFFC ADP of 77.1.

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DFS NASCAR Picks and More: Quaker State 400

Fantasy NASCAR: Quaker State 400 DFS Picks and More

Scott and Sean Engel analyze the DFS NASCAR field for the Quaker State 400. They also toss in tips for NASCAR Fantasy Live and Yahoo players.

They are joined by Pearce Dietrich of DraftKings Playbook and NASCAR.com, who provides further DFS NASCAR in-depth insights and lineup recommendations. This week’s race is at Kentucky Speedway, a track with a limited Cup history. Sean and Pierce both give their insights on how that affects forecasting at this site. The race is on Saturday night, so be sure to note the 7:30 pm ET TV start time, with the green flag expected to drop at approximately 7:45 pm ET, according to Jayski.com. This event could be an opportunity for Kyle Busch to score a victory, but Brad Keselowski also has a strong history at this site. Martin Truex Jr. tops the DraftKings salary list as well, and he may be well worth it. Sean tells you how to anchor your lineup with the most pricey drivers.

Pearce then drops in to talk about some of his favorite selections for this week and analyzes some mid-range priced drivers, including Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer. Sean then also dares to ask him the burning question: Will he recommend Danica Patrick this week? Scott and Sean then discuss bargain picks and hear from Erik Jones on why working with Truex is boosting his outlook. Sean then gives his initial and ideal lineup for the Quaker State 400.

New to DFS NASCAR? Listen to the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Strategy Primer

Scott and Sean break down each DraftKings salary range, telling you the best drivers to start from each pricing group. Find out who this week’s possible dominators are, and which drivers offer the best upside for place differential.

Listen to the Father & Son NASCAR Hour: FNTSY Radio | AudioBoom | iHeartRadio

The Father and Son Fantasy NASCAR Hour features FSWA Hall of Famer and two-time Fantasy Racing Writer of the year nominee Scott Engel and his son Sean, a five-time DraftKings tournament winner in DFS NASCAR. They break down every Monster Energy Cup Series event, going through the salary field in tiers, selecting the best top-tier drivers and identifying prime bargains. Sean also shares his ideal lineup every week. Seasonal format analysis is also included, with tips for NASCAR Fantasy LIVE gamers and recommendations for Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing players. The show airs live every Saturday on the FNTSY Sports Radio Network from 2 to 3 pm ET.

The post DFS NASCAR Picks and More: Quaker State 400 appeared first on RotoExperts.

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