Top DFS Plays for 07/25/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Brett Gardner vs. Mark Buehrle - hitting .458 (11/24) with 2 2B, a 3B, a HR, 2 RBI and a walk

Jose Reyes vs. Hiroki Kuroda - hitting .478 (11/23) with 3 2B, 2 3B, a HR, 4 RBI and a walk

Desmond Jennings vs. Jon Lester - hitting .333 (9/27) with 2 2Bs, a 3B, a HR, 2 RBI and 2 walks

Carlos Gonzalez vs. Charlie Morton - hitting .417 (5/12) with a 2B, a HR, 4 RBI and 2 walks

Jose Altuve vs. Brad Hand - No previous matchup history
All the splits point to a solid game for Altuve, get him in all lineups today.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Neil Walker

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Dallas Keuchel vs. Miami Marlins - Keuchel has been awful but I’d love for him to bounce back today against the Marlins with a solid 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 Runs and 8 punchouts.

Movie of the Day: Catch Me If You Can – Probably in my top 20 movies of all-time. DiCaprio/Hanks are money in this movie.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Trade Scripts: Joakim Soria to the Tigers

Soria is on his way to Motown to set-up...for now

Soria is on his way to Motown to set-up…for now

In the ever revolving door of the closer, no player is safe even if he is productive. Case in point: Joakim Soria, who had to fight in the pre-season to win the closer’s job in Texas replacing Joe Nathan, now he has been traded to the Tigers to set up for, you guessed it, Joe Nathan. But Soria is used to biding his time as the closer so moving to Detroit will put him in a pennant race and in position to be the closer if Nathan cannot turn around his turbulent season. General Manager Dave Dombrowski has already stated that Joe Nathan will remain the primary 9th inning option. Texas receives two high end arms that will benefit their system. Jake Thompson projects to be a #3 or #4 starting pitcher down the road and Corey Knebel will enter the Rangers farm system with the potential to close down the road. This is a precarious spot for Ron Washington in regards to his bullpen going forward. Neftali Feliz has done the job before and seems to be the consensus choice but the dreaded bullpen by committee may be the short term solution with Neal Cotts and Shawn Tolleson tossing their hats in for the job as well. Here is the breakdown:

Detroit Tigers: Acquire Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria 2014 Stats: 1 W, 17 S, 33.1 IP, 42/4 K/BB, 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

Considering that the Tigers team ERA for relievers is 4.41 and WHIP is 1.43, Joakim Soria will provide a much needed boost not only to their peripheral statistics, it gives them a legitimate closer in case they need to make a change. Even though Soria is not an overpowering pitcher (90 MPH fastball) his arsenal (79 MPH slider, 70 MPH curve, 85 MPH change) pounds the strike zone and makes his fastball seem faster due to his ability to mix pitches and change speeds. Soria is in the midst of his best Swinging strike % (SwStr%) of 10.9 since his pre-TJ surgery season. Joe Nathan’s struggles have been well documented. Here are his statistics as of today:

Joe Nathan 2014 Stats: 4 W, 20 S, 36.2 IP, 39/16 K/BB, 5.89 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

I can understand that standing by a well respected veteran can be the right thing to do, but as Tiger fans may soon see, the set-up man will assume higher leverage situations as the season progresses. Nathan’s FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 4.17 suggests his struggles are more than just bad luck. He is on pace for a career high in walks and has struggled with his command all year. Even though the Tigers are not making a change now, I would not drop Soria just yet. This could be his job in a month or less. If you own Joba Chamberlain, you can safely drop him.

Thompson bring his talent back to his home state Texas

Thompson brings his talent back to his home state Texas

Texas Rangers: Acquire Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel

Jake Thompson 2014 Stats: (A+,AA) – 6 W, 89 IP, 81/227 K/BB, 3.12 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Corey Knebel 2014 Stats: (AA,AAA) – 4 W, 3 S, 33.1 IP, 43/17 K/BB, 1.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP

It’s hard to figure who is more excited, the Rangers, getting two pitching prospects or both of the players returning to Texas where they grew up. Starting with Thompson features a 90-94 MPH fastball that he can dial up a bit faster when needed. His slider is a reliable out pitch for him. Thompson’s change-piece is a work in progress but if he can develop a third plus pitch and clean up his fastball command, reaching a future #3 is a definite possibility.

Knebel has had a cup of coffee with the Tigers and he featured a 96 MPH heater along with an 82 mph curve. He can dial up the fastball as high as 98 MPH and his two pitch combination aids his profile as a future closer down the road. With the mixed bag currently in the Ranger bullpen, this trade makes him a player for AL-only gamers to stash down the road. He is probably not ready this year but a September promotion may be in store and if he does well, he could be a factor as soon as 2015 in this depleted pen.

Rangers Closeing Options:

With Joakim Soria leaving for the Tigers, it will be interesting to see where Ron Washington goes next. This is going to not only be a tough one to call, but how many opportunities will be presented to close out games the rest of the way? The obvious option is Neftali Feliz, he is still young, has worked his way back from the minors and has experience closing. Neal Cotts and Shawn Tolleson may also receive a chance if a committee emerges. Here is how each of them stack up this year:

Has closed before, but has yet to regain his velocity

Neftali Has closed before, but has yet to regain his fastball velocity

Neftali Feliz 2014 Stats: 10.1 IP, 4/3 K/BB, 2.61 ERA, 0.77 WHIP

His surface numbers look pretty good and he did pitch effectively in New York on Tuesday, but his FIP is 5.75 and xFIP is 4.83. Of bigger concern to me is the fact that his fastball has lost four MPH. While Soria has worked with lower velocity over his career Feliz has not. If his command struggles continue it may be a tough return to the closer position. Not only is his fastball velocity down, but his changeup is as well, dropping 2 ticks. Opposing batters have hit .286 against it and slugged .714. Now this is small sample size but Feliz is going to have to adjust to the lower velocity and he cannot rely on his slider as much even though it is his best pitch. Feliz is going to get the first crack to close, but he did appear in the sixth inning Tuesday and that is not when the closer in waiting appears.

Shawn Tolleson 2014 Stats: 2 W, 49.1 IP, 47/19 K/BB, 3.28 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Tolleson, like Soria, features four pitches. His fastball averages 93 MPH, which he throws 59% of the time. He also has an 89 MPH cutter (17%), an 81 MPH change (12%) and an 82 MPH slider (11%). One of the nice things about Tolleson is that he is effective to both left-handed and right-handed batters: vs. LHB: .214/.299/.403; vs. RHB: .198/.276/.400. It is a reach but Tolleson could get the first save chance based on his season thus far.

Neal Cotts 2014 Stats: 2 W, 43 IP, 50/18 K/BB, 3.35 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

Cotts has been solid over the last year but his last two weeks have been a bit of a struggle as reflected in his WHIP. What is strang is that he has been a reverse splits guy; tougher on righties (.248/.330/.320) than left-handed batters (.266/.343/.429). Like Tolleson, he may get a chance moving forward and is worth keeping an eye on

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Statistical credits:,,
Photo cred: (Soria), (Thompson), (Feliz)

Fantasy Forecaster 07/23/14

The guys are back with another installment of The Fantasy Forecaster. In this jam-packed episode they chat the fantasy implications of Chase Headley’s trade to the Yankees, the Indians rotation, Anthony Rizzo, Mike Minor, injuries and a ton more!

You can listen here.

Make sure to follow Ricky (@rickygangster) and Timothy (@TKing978) on Twitter!

We will be back next Wednesday (July 30) with a special trade deadline edition of the show. Don’t miss it!

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Post Break Preview: 3B

Not only a fantasy ADP All Star, the Toddfather has broken through in 2014

Not only a fantasy ADP All Star, the Toddfather has broken through in 2014

Third base is a position in serious transition. Entering drafts this year it was almost necessary to reach on a third baseman in order to secure stable statistics for the season. Not only that, of the ten third baseman drafted on average in the top 100, two of them (Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion) will not have eligibility in 2015. Further, two of the top three third baseman according to ESPN’s Player Rater were drafted after round 20: Todd Frazier (ADP of 248) and Anthony Rendon (ADP of 283). Although Rendon will have 3B eligibility in 2014 he is more appealing at second base in most formats, but his dual eligibility will only enhance his value in 2015. Drafters were hesitant to trust in Josh Donaldson and though he is streaky he still resides in the top five with a solid statistical year stat line. Before I get to my ranks, here is the present third baseman ranks according to the player rater with their last 365 day stats entering the All Star Break:

1. Todd Frazier – 158 G, 85 R, 28 HR, 84 RBI, 15 SB 264/327/464
2. Adrian Beltre – 151 G, 86 R, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB 328/386/503
3. Josh Donaldson – 159 G, 101 R, 29 HR, 100 RBI, 6 SB 258/347/459
4. Kyle Seager – 161 G, 65 R, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 10 SB 253/336/427
5. Lonnie Chisenhall – 127 G, 56 R, 15 HR, 56 RBI, 2 SB 290/350/481
6. David Wright – 112 G, 55 R, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 7 SB 288/344/438
7. Evan Longoria – 166 G, 88 R, 25 HR, 81 RBI, 4 SB 256/330/426
8. Pedro Alvarez – 162 G, 72 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 7 SB 227/306/400
9. Aramis Ramirez – 108 G, 53 R, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB 292/353/482
10. Matt Carpenter – 165 G, 115 R, 6 HR, 69 RBI, 5 SB 297/383/414
11. Brock Holt – 80 G, 43 R, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB 303/350/429
12. Pablo Sandoval – 159 G, 65 R, 16 HR, 78 RBI, 0 SB 283/345/438
13. Conor Gillaspie – 127 G, 56 R, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB 289/345/447
14. Chris Johnson – 158 G, 53 R, 12 HR, 73 RBI, 2 SB, 292/319/403
15. Juan Francisco – 129 G, 45 R, 21 HR, 51 RBI, 0 SB 221/294/461
16. Nolan Arenado – 120 G, 55 R, 10 HR, 56 RBI, 3 SB 292/314/446
17. Mark Reynolds - 126 G, 50 R, 20 HR, 53 RBI, 5 SB 211/298/393
18. Brett Lawrie – 139 G, 57 R, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 7 SB 262/320/413
19. Trevor Plouffe – 142 G, 57 R, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 1 SB 246/310/388
UR – Chase Headley – 135 G, 52 R, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 6 SB 248/333/395
UR – Manny Machado – 121 G, 58 R, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 2 SB 256/299/399

Omitted from this list with their rank in parentheses: Miguel Cabrera (2), Anthony Rendon (3), Casey McGehee (9), Josh Harrison (14), Martin Prado (18) and Carlos Santana (24) because they have more value at their other positions. (Rendon, Prado, Santana) and Miguel Cabrera will only have a first base designation in most leagues next year. To say the fantasy landscape at third base is dire is an understatement. Even with the breakthrough season by Todd Frazier, there has not been an infusion of talent at the hot corner for fantasy players to capitalize on. This is underscored by the list above. As pedestrian as David Wright’s stats have been over the last 365 days, he maintains a high ADP because of a combination of name value and lack of top options at his position. This further underscores how bad of a pick it was to take him in the first round in the FSTA by a “fantasy expert.” But we all make mistakes. A key to avoiding mistakes in the future is to use the projections and get the right breaks when a player not only achieves a projection, but more importantly exceeds it. Speaking of projections, here are the leaders using the ZiPS ROS projections via

ZiPS ROS Projected Leaders:

1. Matt Carpenter 33
2. Josh Donaldson 33
3. Evan Longoria 30
4. Kyle Seager 30
5. Adrian Beltre 29
6. Todd Frazier 28
7. Chase Headley 28
8. Manny Machado 28
9. David Wright 27
10. Pedro Alvarez 27

Home Runs:
1. Pedro Alvarez 11
2. Adrian Beltre 10
3. Evan Longoria 9
4. Todd Frazier 9
5. Josh Donaldson 9
6. Kyle Seager 8
7. Aramis Ramirez, David Wright, Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas 7 each

1. Josh Donaldson 34
2. Pedro Alvarez 34
3. Adrian Beltre 33
4. Kyle Seager 32
5. Evan Longoria 31
6. Todd Frazier 31
7. David Wright 29
8. Pablo Sandoval 29
9. Chase Headley 29
10. Aramis Ramirez, Chris Johnson 26

Stolen Bases:
1. Gerin Cecchini 6
2. David Wright 5
3. Todd Frazier 5
4. Klye Seager 4
5. Chase Headley 4
6. Brock Holt 4
7. Manny Machado 3
8. *Brett Lawrie 3

Batting Average:
1. Adrian Beltre .306
2. Nolan Arenado .284
3. Pablo Sandoval .279
4. Lonnie Chisenhall .278
5. Aramis Ramirez .278
6. David Wright .277
7. Chris Johnson .276
8. Brock Holt .276
9. Matt Carpenter .274
10. Nick Castellanos .274

Round mound of pound may be in store for a big second half

Round mound of pound may be in store for a big second half

While I like the safety that Beltre provides, the upside plays on this list could be the most important additions as the fantasy season winds down. It will go a long way towards developing ranks for third base in 2015 and beyond. It will be fun to try and navigate. I was fortunate to get Todd Frazier off the waiver wire in two different leagues and with the added stolen bases, I think he can maintain his value the rest of 2014. Here are my top 20 3B going forward:

1. Todd Frazier – Crazy? Maybe but why can’t he finish the year number one for present 3B? Projected for 9 HR, 31 RBI and 5 SB the rest of the way, I’ll take that.
2. Adrian Beltre – The Rangers offense is down but they still score at home and he is as solid as it gets, but a first round option? Not anymore.
3. Josh Donaldson – He is streaky but mashes lefties and Oakland’s offense will score runs down the stretch.
4. Kyle Seager – If the Mariners make a run at the playoffs Seager has to be a big part of it. Only he and Frazier have double digit home runs and steals over the last 365 days.
5. Pablo Sandoval – Somewhere Tim King is smiling. While his health is always in question, I see a big second half coming. Over his last 28 days he has hit 3 HR slashing .320/.378/.480.
6. Manny Machado – I do not have to love a guy to understand his value. It is time for him to bring his career arc forward and a big second half with the Orioles in a pennant race is just the way to do that. His last 28 games: 6 HR, 11 RBI and hitting .373/.420/.729, wow.
7. Aramis Ramirez – Hear me out, he is not flashy but the power is for real, he already had a DL stint so his power numbers will keep him relevant.
8. David Wright – I still respect Wright and he is a good fantasy option but he has been overvalued for too long. Casey McGehee is one spot behind him on the Player Rater.
9. Evan Longoria – Like Wright, he gets a pass for providing power at a weak position, but with only 25 over his 365 days, his price tag suggests it should be 30+.
10. Nolan Arenado – Great home ballpark. He has struggled to find his mojo post injury but it is coming soon.
11. Chase Headley – He is not a fantasy savior moving to New York, but it will not hurt his value. If he improves his average and a couple of fly balls clear the fence in right field, he justifies this spot.
12. Matt Carpenter – It is hard to maintain value at 3B with runs scored and batting average. That is a middle infielder, the league has adjusted to him.
13. Pedro Alvarez – Power is for real, his approach is not for the faint of heart. Third base’s version of Chris Davis or Adam Dunn.
14. Brett Lawrie – His rehab is nearing soon and his talent is so tantalizing, but I may be divorcing him after this year. Lawrie has 18 HR and 7 SB in only 139 games over the last 365 days, fantasy tease.
15. Lonnie Chisenhall – After his three home run performance in Texas he has hit, wait for it, two in his last 34 games. He is growing but is not a top ten option going forward.
16. Mike Moustakas – In fact, given the choice I would gamble on Moose, especially if I needed power for a team. His last 28 games: 4 HR and 255/311/491
17. Conor Gillaspie – Is this a run on the AL Central? Looks that way but Gillaspie deserves more attention than he is getting, slashing a respectable .315/.370/.462 for the season. Lacks power but helps in other areas.
18. Chris Johnson – Speaking of lacks power but helps, Johnson is nothing spectacular but if you got him late and he replaced an injured player you can tolerate his streaks but he just had a hot one.
19. Nick Castellanos – Solid rookie campaign and his star is on the rise.
20. Ryan Zimmerman – Would have had him much higher and he was just hitting his stride, until he popped his hammy. Out probably at least a month and makes him an upside play for the last 6 weeks.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on the Twitter machine @gjewett9!

Statistical credits:,,,
Photo cred: (Frazier), (Sandoval)

Top DFS Plays for 07/24/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Adrian Beltre vs. Brandon McCarthy - hitting .424 (14/33) with 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI and a walk

Buster Posey vs. Cole Hamels – hitting .636 (7/11) with 4 2B, a HR and 5 RBI
Posey is hitting .318 vs. LHP this season.

Braves stack (Gattis, Freeman, Johnson, & Heyward) vs. Henderson Alvarez - All hitting above .400 against him this season
BJ might even be a sneaky play today as he hit a 3-run shot off Alvarez in their 1st matchup of the season.

Omar Infante vs. Corey Kluber - hitting .357 (5/14) with 2 2B, 1 RBI and a walk

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Evan Gattis

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Tim Hudson vs. Philadelphia Philies - Hudson is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA and 17 K in 5 starts over the last 3 seasons at Citizen Bank Park.

TV Show of the Day: Suits - This show is not watched by enough people. It’s been one of the best shows for years now. If you haven’t watched it yet, start from the beginning.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Breakouts & Busts: 2014 Fantasy Football (PPR)

Potential breakout targets:

  1. Toby Gerhart (RB/JAX): Gerhart was drafted out of Stanford by the Vikings and had been relegated to back-up work behind Adrian Peterson. He signed with Jacksonville during the off-season and the media has been told on more than one occasion by the Jaguar’s coaching staff that he will be their “bell-cow” back. Looking at the Jaguars’ offense, they are going to be primarily a running team with Chad Henne as their QB and Justin Blackmon out maybe the entire season. Jacksonville has upgraded their offensive line this off-season with the signing Zane Beadles and draft of Brandon Linder. Gerhart is a hard runner who has posted a solid YPC average of 4.7. He can also catch a pass or two, Gerhart had at least 20 receptions in three of his four years in Minnesota. With the amount of touches the Jaguars seem prepared to give him and the lack of any real threat to his job he could provide nice return on investment. I could see Gerhart getting 300 carries this season and at least 30 receptions. That would put him clearly in RB2 consideration draft him with confidence.
  2. Kyle Rudolph (TE/MIN): When you take a quick glance at Kyle Rudolph (6 feet 6 inches, 260 lbs), he is a towering figure. Drafted in the 2nd round out of Notre Dame in 2011, he was one of the top TE prospects. Given his draft position, he has underperformed to date. However, this off-season, Norv Turner (yes, the Norv Turner who has made almost every TE he’s coached a fantasy stud) was brought on to coordinate the Viking offense. He oozes with receiving talent and is a big target in the red zone. Despite his riddled injury history and lack of talent at the QB position right now, he is going to be force-fed the ball this season and will be the team’s #2 target (if not the #1 target) behind Cordarrelle Patterson in the passing game. He has the talent to be great and put up big numbers this year and having a guy like Turner calling the plays, it certainly looks like we will see Rudolph on full display. Looking at Jordan Cameron’s numbers from last year, he had 110 targets and hauled in 80 of them; good for nearly 1,000 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns. Cameron too had a WR on his team who stretched the field in Josh Gordon and a bad QB situation. Rudolph is a TE1 candidate with the potential to be a top 5 option this year in PPR leagues. Draft him and reap the rewards.
  3. Kendall Wright (WR/TEN): Wright broke out last season with 94 receptions, 1,079 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. I have a strong inclination that he can put up even bigger numbers this year. Ken Whisenhunt is the new Head Coach in Tennessee and helped Phillip Rivers revitalize his career last season in San Diego. He could very well do the same for Jake Locker, who is coming off a tough foot injury and is in his “make it-or-break it” season. Locker was drafted at 8th overall in the 2011 draft for a reason, and he’ll have the chance to prove it this season being 100% or close to it coming into training camp. An upgraded offensive line, and two talented receivers in Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter should help Locker realize his potential. Wright has improved every single year statistically since being drafted and with a more talented QB in Locker leading the team, the wideout could put up even better numbers than last year. He will be Locker’s go-to-guy and could get 100 receptions this year while also improving upon on his YPC of 11.5 from a season ago. Wright should see his touchdown numbers improve from last season and that could put him firmly in the back-end WR1 conversation in PPR formats. I have a lot of faith in Whisenhunt being able to help Locker get back on track and have a good bounce-back year, especially with a better offensive line. I expect 85 to 90 catches for 1,300 yards and 7 scores.

Potential bust targets:

  1. C.J. Spiller (RB/BUF): Last season, Spiller was hampered by a nagging ankle sprain and it showed in his play. He admitted to being limited by it and was never 100% healthy. Spiller has had injury issues in the past, can we depend on him to be healthy all season? He has played in all 16 games twice in his career. With the addition of Bryce Brown, the presence of Fred Jackson, and the drafting of Sammy Watkins at #4 in the draft, things aren’t looking good for Spiller. His current ADP gives him little room for error, which is why he is my top bust entering this season. Buffalo didn’t draft Watkins for him to be a distraction in the running game, they drafted him to make big plays in the passing game. When they do run the ball, Spiller will have Jackson and Brown eating into his carries and breathing down his neck. I’m very skeptical of Spiller to produce RB1 numbers, even in a PPR league because of his health issues and talented competition. He’d be better suited as an RB2 until he can prove he can maintain health.
  2. Jordan Cameron (TE/CLE): Cameron is being selected as the #3 TE in mock drafts; too high. He lost Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski, who were all about throwing to their TE. They brought in Kyle Shanahan to run the offense and judging by the scheme he used there, the tight end wasn’t a primary target. The exception would be Jordan Reed, but that was a small sample size as Reed only played 8 games and when he was hurt, the TE position became irrelevant for them again. Shanahan will have the opportunity to work with a QB similar to RGIII in Manziel. Now, I believe Manziel will win the starting job right out the gate for Cleveland. That is bad news for Cameron because Shanahan’s offense will be based primarily on the mobile QB. Plus, Cameron had great chemistry with Brian Hoyer. Cleveland will run the ball like crazy and rely on Ben Tate, Terrence West, and Johnny Manziel. Cameron will probably the Browns’ #1 target but he will constantly be covered by the other team’s best and the Browns project as a run-first squad.
  3. Michael Crabtree (WR/SF): Crabtree shouldn’t be drafted over Keenan Allen, Pierre Garcon (PPR machine), or Victor Cruz (bounce-back stud). What is going on here? He returned in Week 13 last season and just never looked like himself. A torn Achilles tendon is a tough injury to come back from and it sometimes permanently affects a player. Crabtree is on a run-first team that has a plethora of solid wideouts and a super talented tight end in Vernon Davis who is their #1 target. Colin Kaepernick is a QB who likes to use his feet at the expense of being a pure pocket passer. The 49ers will use Gore, Hyde, and Lattimore (maybe) as much as they can in the run game along with Kaep’s rushing ability. Vernon Davis is the 1st option in the pass game and Crabtree will be pushed for snaps this season by other receivers Bruce Ellington, Stevie Johnson, and Quinton Patton. I’m skeptical Crabtree will produce WR1 numbers this year but I’d rather let someone else deal with that unknown. It may be more appropriate to look at Crabtree as a WR2. Don’t get too excited.

Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!

Post Break Preview: Shortstop

Best in fantasy at SS over the last year, feeling lucky this second half?

“Tulo” has been the best SS in the game over the past year. Feeling lucky, punk?

The shortstop position had shown distinct tiers for drafters in the preseason. Playing the injury prediction game with friends Troy Tulowitzki, HanRam and Jose Reyes was the. So investing in one of these players came with a caveat. For those who had faith in Tulowitzki, you have been rewarded. Jose Reyes has spent time on the disabled list already and Hanley Ramirez seems to have a different ailment each week, or is it daily lately? There have been some surprises at the position, as Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, Jimmy Rollins and Starlin Castro who have provided great value in the first half. Disappointments that come to mind are Brad Miller, Jean Segura (though his regression is not a surprise) and J.J. Hardy. Where are the homers? Anyway, the season’s 2nd half may show that further shakeups are in order. Here are the top 20 Shortstops according to ESPN’s player rater along with their last 365 day stats as of the All-Star Break:

1. Troy Tulowitzki – 152 G, 102 R, 30 HR, 82 RBI, 2 SB 320/411/549
2. Alexei Ramirez – 164 G, 78 R, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 26 SB 284/318/406
3. Hanley Ramirez – 132 G, 81 R, 23 HR, 81 RBI, 18 SB 289/369/513
4. Jimmy Rollins – 158 G, 76 R, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 32 SB 243/347/349
5. Erick Aybar – 161 G, 84 R, 9 HR, 70 RBI, 19 SB 270/309/397
6. Jose Reyes – 146 G, 93 R, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 25 SB 279/337/412
7. Alcides Escobar – 164 G, 61 R, 3 HR, 49 RBI, 32 SB 256/285/336
8. Ian Desmond – 157 G, 71 R, 21 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB 259/312/412
9. Starlin Castro – 165 G, 58 R, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 5 SB 265/312/399
10. Elvis Andrus – 160 G, 92 R, 6 HR, 58 RBI, 43 SB 282/334/361
11. Asdrubal Cabrera – 156 G, 76 R, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 11 SB 245/302/391
12. Jhonny Peralta – 113 G, 48 R, 18 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB 265/332/473
13. Jean Segura – 63 R, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 30 SB 236/267/322
14. Chris Owings* – 92 G, 31 R, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 9 SB 280/323/444
15. Andrelton Simmons – 159 G, 61 R, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 4 SB 261/312/411
16. Derek Jeter – 99 G, 38 R, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB 259/277/359
17. Brandon Crawford – 153 G, 51 R, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 2 SB 226/302/372
18. Jonathan Villar* - 129 G, 53 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 32 SB 221/287/331
19. Danny Santana – 40 G, 20 R, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 6 SB 313/348/429
20. J.J. Hardy – 151 G, 61 R, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 1 SB 280/315/393
*Chris Owings is on the the DL and Jonathan Villar is in the minors

I find it amazing how much J.J. Hardy’s value is impacted without the long balls. It may be a trend based on his past statistical year, Hardy is a hot streak away from increased value so the second half will tell us if this is who he really is. It’s safe to say that the league has caught up with Jean Segura, but that was to be expected, but he maintains value with his speed and sets himself up as a fantasy bargain next year. If the Brewers are going to stay in contention, they need him to step up. As much as I see people bash Andrelton Simmons, his stats over the past calender year are not all that different than Starlin Castro’s. Here are their ZiPS projections with leaders in each fantasy category:

ZiPS ROS Projected Leaders:

1. Elvis Andrus 33
2. Troy Tulowitzki 32
3. Brad Miller 31
4. Jose Reyes 30
5. Asdrubal Cabrera 30
6. Erick Aybar 30
7. Ian Desmond 29
8. Starlin Castro 29
9. Jimmy Rollins 29
10. Hanley Ramirez 28

Home Runs:
1. Troy Tulowitzki 11
2. Ian Desmond 9
3. Hanley Ramirez 8
4. J.J. Hardy 7
5. Jhonny Peralta 6
6. Xander Bogaerts 6
7. Starlin Castro 6
8. Asdrubal Cabrera 6
9. Jimmy Rollins 6
10. Brad Miller 5

1. Ian Desmond 34
2. Troy Tulowitzki 32
3. Hanley Ramirez 28
4. Starlin Castro 28
5. Asdrubal Cabrera 28
6. Jhonny Peralta 26
7. J.J. Hardy 25
8. Erick Aybar 25
9. Alexei Ramirez 23
10. Brad Miller 23

Stolen Bases:
1. Elvis Andrus 13
2. Jean Segura 12
3. Jose Reyes 11
4. Alcides Escobar 11
5. Jimmy Rollins 9
6. Ian Desmond 8
7. Alexei Ramirez 8
8. Hanley Ramirez 7
9. Erick Aybar 7
10. Danny Santana 7

Batting Average:
1. Troy Tulowitzki .311
2. Jose Reyes .283
3. Starlin Castro .278
4. Erick Aybar .278
5. Hanley Ramirez .275
6. Josh Rutledge .274
7. Alexei Ramirez .272
8. Elvis Andrus .271
9. J.J. Hardy .269
10. Jean Segura .269

Some players that have upside, albeit with some risk are Brad Miller, Xander Bogaerts and Danny Santana. The ZiPS projections seem to favor Miller but if he continues to bat at the bottom of Seattle’s order it will be hard to get to the runs and RBI predicted above, but he is worth a flier in the second half. I find it hard to believe that Xander Bogaerts will not rebound and even if the Red Sox become sellers, this is an offense that can provide runs. Danny Santana made his debut and took on the look of Jean Segura from a year ago with his fantasy splash. However, he has struggled since his return and learning to hit the ball to the opposite field will be a key in his development, but if he hits leadoff for the Twins he can still provide value moving forward. As of today, Tulowitzki and Ramirez are on the mend so their rankings going forward are tenuous and dependent upon health, but isn’t that always the case?

Desmond's power/speed combo makes him a second half stud

Desmond’s power/speed combo makes him a second half stud

My Second Half Ranks:

1. Troy Tulowitzki – He is the gold standard at SS, injuries are always the key
2. Ian Desmond – There are flashier, and higher batting averages, but his steadiness is the key (21 HR, 21 SB) in his last statistical year.
3. Hanley Ramirez – Maybe the most frustrating player to own in fantasy (or is it his teammate Puig?). Always is nicked up, leaving early and now hit on the wrist with a pitch. May be a good time to sell if you can
4. Jose Reyes – As stated above, if healthy he is an elite shortstop, a pennant push will keep him motivated to stay on the field
5. Starlin Castro – What a difference a year makes, hitting behind Anthony Rizzo and an evolving Cubs lineup makes him worth speculating on
6. Alexei Ramirez – Similar to Desmond, he is under-appreciated in fantasy but he fills the stat columns. Can be streaky but he is emerging from a slump and may finish strong
7. Erick Aybar – His value fluctuates but the Angels offense is potent and Aybar is in the middle of it. He’s also a sneaky source of RBI (70 over the last year)
8. Elvis Andrus – Elvis relies on his speed  for fantasy value. While the Rangers are struggling, this offense has to improve in the second half, right?
9. Jimmy Rollins – I had him too low entering the season as he and Chase Utley continue to put up stats. A trade to a contender may be just the right juice to squeeze out another fantasy-driven second half
10. Alcides Escobar – Has quietly been emerging this year and is only 27 years old
11. Jhonny Peralta – If the Cardinals are going to win the NL Central again this year he will need to provide more pop in the second half. With Allen Craig struggling, he is moving up in the order
12. Jean Segura – The loss of his child has to be a distraction but there is still time to turn around his season
13. J.J. Hardy – He could vault up this list with more power, this second half will tell us more about his fantasy value in the future
14. Brad Miller – I still believe. ZiPS agrees, hope we are correct
15. Jordy Mercer – Jordy goes virtually unnoticed but has been a key part of their success following the promotion of Gregory Polanco. Over his last 28 days he is hitting .325 with 12 RBI and a stolen base
16. Asdrubal Cabrera – I feel like I am always downgrading him but he left last night’s game with back spasms. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and Francisco Lindor was promoted to AAA. None are good signs to me
17. Jed Lowrie – What a difference a year makes. He has hit 12 home runs over the last 365 days but only 4 in the first half this year. The A’s could use a rebound from him
18. Xander Bogaerts – The potential is there, a nice second half would alleviate some of the worries about next year. May have been a year early on “X”
19. Stephen Drew – I do love him and he is probably safer than Bogaerts moving forward but I think the Red Sox wasted money on him (Editor’s note: Yes, yes they did)
20. Derek Jeter – Not really a fantasy factor anymore but I just wanted to recognize him as a team player who always hustled (on and off the field. Have you seen the women he has been with?), and a player baseball will miss. #RE2PECT

A couple of players who just missed include the Diamondbacks duo of Chris Owings (presently on the DL) and Didi Gregorious. Either may be a good trade chip in the off-season and both are improving this year. Danny Santana is another wild card but his minor league track record suggests his hot streak is going to be hard to maintain. If the Twins leave him at lead-off he will be a cheap source for runs and stolen bases. Shortstop is a position in transition with some big minor league talent on the way. It will be interesting to see how soon some of them will make their debuts.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on the Twitter machine @gjewett9!

Statistical credits:,, ZiPS Projections,
Photo cred: (Tulo), (Desmond)