Engel: Fantasy Sports Angles and Thoughts

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Seattle’s signing of Eddie Lacy makes sense in terms of them trying to improve their goal line and red zone packages, and a pairing of Lacy and Prosise could be a nice dual combo to challenge defenses if both can stay healthy. But there is also the possibility of RB by committee with Lacy, Thomas Rawls and Prosise if all are available. Lacy should get a lot of TD opportunities as a short yardage back, but he may not consistently carry the ball enough if all three RBs are healthy. I’d draft Lacy as a mid-range RB2 next season, with Prosise as a strong PPR flex who will be used for upside in the passing game, plus he has the ability to break off big plays as a runner. But the Seahawks still have made any notable moves to improve the offensive line yet. Adding Luke Joeckel just doesn’t count enough.

The days of Brandon Marshall being a No. 1 WR on an NFL team are now over, which means his Fantasy appeal is seriously going to slip with the Giants. Odell Beckham Jr. is the clear No. 1 for the Jints, with an emerging Sterling Shepard as another quality option. For the first time in a long time, Marshall won’t be the top option for his NFL team, so that makes him more of a Fantasy WR3. He’ll still be pretty good, with a lot of possession catches and some TDs, but there is going to be a lot less consistency and upside. He will definitely be better than he was last year, but nowhere near what he was in 2015. He’ll be 33 this year and the rebound is not going to be a huge one.

A lot of Fantasy analysts point to the advanced statistics for Michael Pineda and still have hope for a breakout season. He had 10.61 Ks per nine and a 3.80 FIP last season. His .339 BABIP was well above his career norm and the league average. Our Xclusive Edge Fantasy Baseball Projections call for him to have an ERA below 3.60 with a 1.16 WHIP. Pineda has often been bothered by injuries in the past, and the long ball definitely does him in, as he allowed 27 homers last season. Pineda is a definite Fantasy enigma, but still enticing as a fifth Fantasy starter. But if he continues to underachieve again based on his advanced statistics in the early going, many Fantasy owners are going to regret the pick. It’s a pivotal year with Pineda, one of the most confounding risk/reward players in Fantasy. I would still avoid him unless I can have the luxury of using him as my sixth starter, which is unlikely.

Justin Upton has four home runs and 10 RBIs this spring. Last season he hit 22 home runs after the All-Star break and was big down the stretch. He is currently the 21st outfielder off the board according to the National Fantasy Baseball Championship’s Average Draft Position report. As I noted in the Definitive Guide to Fantasy Baseball, Upton was going to take time to adjust to the American league last season. Look for his average to come back up while he hits 30-plus homers in 2017. He is well worth the price tag.

I keep not wanting to go back to Giancarlo Stanton anymore, as he has killed my Fantasy fortunes too many times, as heard here on FNTSY Radio. But I did end up with him on my keeper roster, because I couldn’t pass on the power promise when I am playing in a carryover money league and the draft spot was right. I know I am going to regret it though. But with numerous other safer picks being kept, the pickings were slimmer in my keeper draft. In yearly leagues, I will likely pass on him when so many other good picks are available with less risk.

Neil Walker has three home runs and 10 RBIs this spring. Because of last year’s injuries, he is the 19th second baseman off the board in the NFBC, at 228th overall. That’s a great value, as Walker is rounding back into pre-injury 2016 form and has embraced New York. He and Logan Forsythe (17th second baseman drafted) are two of the better Fantasy values in the middle infield this year.

The Patriots acquired Brandin Cooks, but with New England’s offensive diversity, consistency may be an issue. He’ll be boom or bust and will frustrate his owners some weeks. By the way, the Cowboys are no longer America’s Team. The Patriots are. They are the most polarizing team that everyone either loves or hates, with no feelings in between. They are the most talked about, compelling franchise in the NFL, for good or bad. The Cowboys haven’t won anything of note in two decades. You cannot be more American nickname wise than the “Patriots”, either. They stir up the type of emotions Dallas used to in past decades. The Cowboys have been a lot more hype than success since Jimmy Johnson left.

I don’t participate in NCAA brackets. I play Fantasy Sports. I cannot ignore the tremendous popularity of bracket play, but it’s not a Fantasy Sport. You don’t draft players or make a lineup of one. It’s a prediction game. You have to build a roster in order for it to be considered a Fantasy Sport. A Fantasy Sport is the building of a virtual roster based on real players. Have fun with your brackets, but it’s not a Fantasy Sport.

Greg Holland is set to make his exhibition debut this week. If he flashes anything near to his past form soon, I say there is no way Adam Ottavino lasts long as the closer in Colorado. Also, Matt Bush is a deeper sleeper to close games in Texas.

If you play DFS NASCAR, it’s best to submit at least three lineups in a week. If you just submit one lineup and one driver wrecks, you’re done for the day. Multiple lineups help keep your fortunes alive and make certain your day does not end early. I really like to diversify in any DFS game, but in NASCAR it’s essential.

The frustration is finally ending for Fantasy Basketball owners of Elfrid Payton. He has three triple doubles in his last five games. The wacky way the Magic were underutilizing him made no sense. If you stayed patient with Payton, it’s paying off at the right time. It should be fun using him in DFS going forward as well.

Scott Engel is the Managing Director of RotoExperts.com and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. He is also a morning co-host on the FNTSY Sports Radio Network.

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