week three DFS don'ts

Week three DFS don’ts: Running back

The fastest way a running back can land on my DFS don’ts list is to be part of a committee. That word might be one of the worst things a fantasy player can hear. Why? Because it means no one player is guaranteed a substantial workload. That’s why players like Le’Veon Bell and Jay Ajayi are so valuble. Let’s find out which players landed on the running back edition of my week three DFS don’ts.

LeSean McCoy: FanDuel Price $8,100

LeSean McCoy is not on this list because of his workload. McCoy has proven to be the featured back with the Bills. The problem is that the offense isn’t good. The Bills could only generate 125 passing yards on 25 attempts in week 2. No receiver could accumulate more than 30 yards, except for LeSean McCoy. His volume is there without question, but there won’t be production from that volume.

We saw what Denver did to Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. They dominated their offensive line and locked down the perimeter players. Buffalo does not have any pass catcher of Dez Bryant’s caliber. Charles Clay on his best day isn’t Jason Witten. As good as LeSean McCoy is, he can’t do it on his own.

The only hope McCoy has is if Tyrod Taylor can hurt Denver early with his arm. Then, they establish a run game using the option. This will force Denver to play a more vanilla defense against Buffalo, allowing Taylor and McCoy to have a chance of succeeding. There will be other spots to play McCoy, but not this week.

Christian McCaffrey: FanDuel Price $6,800

week three DFS don'ts: running back

Will Christian McCaffrey ever live up to his pre-draft hype and produce on the field? (Courtesy of; Headline Sports News)

Unlike McCoy, Christian McCaffrey does fall on my week three DFS don’ts list because he’s part of a committee. McCaffrey is dominating his counter-part Johnathan Stewart in snaps played with 47 and 43 compared to Stewart’s 29 and 25. Sadly, Stewart has more total rushes, 33, compared to McCaffrey’s 21 total rushes.

The rushing disparity is concerning. I don’t care how talented McCaffrey is, running backs have to be rush-first threats. Clearly, that isn’t the case. McCaffrey’s production is dependent on Cam Newton being an efficient, accurate passer, which is something Newton has never been.

Even in a great matchup this week against New Orleans, I can’t touch McCaffrey. Until they start increasing his rushing workload, and prove that Newton can deliver the ball to him, I’m off McCaffrey. His lack of production and unpredictable usage has him squarely on my week three DFS don’ts list.

Ameer Abdullah: FanDuel Price $6,100

Another member of a running back by committee is Ameer Abdullah. We saw on Monday night that even in the most ideal gameflow, Abdullah is relatively useless from a fantasy perspective. Abdullah is known as a between the 20’s running back. He’s great at getting you to the red zone, but gets replaced once there. In this case, that would be Dwayne Washington.

How about when the Lions are down and need to roar back? Well, the Lions trot out Theo Riddick to aid in the passing attack. So, Adbullah doesn’t get catches out of the backfield. He doesn’t get the goal line carries. And he only scores if it’s from a distance outside of 20 yards.

It’s obvious, yes. And it’s highly unlikely you ever imagined playing Abdullah in DFS in the first place. But, it’s worth spelling out exactly how bleak the situation is for him in Detroit. Now you know not to use Abdullah for the rest of the year, unless there’s an injury to one of those backs. Running backs by committee are easy placements on my week three DFS don’ts.

 

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Fantasy football week three: Five players to avoid

Week two was a little more interesting than week one of the NFL, but we’re still waiting for the breakout week with multiple big games from different players. Every week there’s boom and bust players and I’m here to tell you about five players to avoid for week three.

5. Jameis Winston (Tampa bay buccaneers)

The Bucs got the season off to a great start with a a very one-sided victory against the Chicago Bears. We didn’t get to see just how well Winston will do because of how well the defense played. It caused Tampa Bay to turn to more of a run game to chew the clock.

Now Winston and the Buccaneers travel to Minnesota to face a stout Vikings defense. Minnesota’s secondary has fared well against Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in the first two weeks only allowing 15 and 17 fantasy points.

For the third time in as many weeks the Vikings defense faces a high powered offense but the difference is in the run game. The Tampa run game is sub par which will cause Winston will have to throw the ball much more. I would definitely stream a different quarterback in week three.

4. Lesean McCoy (Buffalo Bills)

Shady McCoy and the Bills offense had a rough time in week two against the Carolina Panthers. They held him to nine yards on 12 rushes and a mere three fantasy points. Now the Broncos are traveling to Buffalo and LeSean McCoy has to play against the toughest defense in the NFL.

The Broncos faced Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys last week and shut down that run game. They held last year’s rushing leader to 16 yards on 11 attempts. The Bills are centered around their run game so the volume will definitely be there for Shady, I’m just worried about his production.

After coming off of a wrist and groin injury, all signs point to sitting McCoy this week.

3. Demarco Murray (Tennessee Titans)

Fantasy football week three: Five players avoid

DeMarco Murray (George Walker IV/The Tennessean)

DeMarco Murray is having a rough start to the NFL season. He’s facing the injury bug already and is being outplayed by second year running back Derrick Henry. Now Murray has to play the Seattle defense which has held the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers in check through the first two weeks.

Yes Carlos Hyde did have 124 rushing yards last week, but he broke off a 61-yard run late in the game. Without that one run, he didn’t do anything special. The front seven of Seattle got more impressive this offseason with the addition of Sheldon Richardson.

Now DeMarco Murray is nursing a hamstring injury and the volume in games just isn’t there for him with only 21 carries in the first two weeks of the season. I would sit Murray and even play Derrick Henry over him this week.

2. Brandin Cooks (New England Patriots)

Brandin Cooks hasn’t had the most ideal start to the season. With Julian Edelman going down with a torn ACL, it caused everyone to turn to Brandin Cooks to replace him. But the cost that comes with that is now Cooks is getting more double teams and tougher matchups, and can’t line up in the slot as often.

Tom Brady also has a tendency of not choosing to rely on one receiver. Now him and Julian Edelman had played together for a long time so they developed great chemistry. But Brandin Cooks has to face the Houston defense who has only given up an average of ten fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Cooks is a flex play this week and should be sat with Chris Hogan this week.

1. Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia eagles)

Alshon Jeffery finally clicked with Carson Wentz last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. He had seven receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown. This could be the start of something big for the Eagles and Jeffery but I think that this connection they have will come to a halt in week three.

The fierce Giants secondary is looking to prove something after the team started 0-2 and the best way to do that would be to revert back to their ways of defeating teams with their defense. The two players that will be targeted with the Eagles are Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. Ertz will mainly be targeted by Landon Collins and the Giants safeties and linebackers while Alshon will be one on one with shut down corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Sit Alshon this week but be ready to insert him back into your lineup in week four.

 

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week three DFS don'ts

Week three DFS don’ts: Wide Receivers

You’ll start to notice a trend with my opinion on wide receivers. It’s all about the matchup. Last week, all of the players on my DFS don’ts list had poor matchups against a good pass defense or defensive back. Some of them disappointed, and some rose to the occasion. I’ll be following the same formula in the wide receiver edition of week three DFS don’ts.

Mike Evans: FanDuel Price $8,600

Mike Evans had a great debut last Sunday vs. Chicago. He proved yet again to be the primary target of Jameis Winston and has great promise moving forward. Evans converted nine targets into seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. However, take a look at who Evans will play this week, then his placement on my week three DFS don’ts will make some sense.

I could easily copy and paste my paragraph from last week’s piece, which you can find here, about Xavier Rhodes. The Rhodes effect is real. While he didn’t line up on Antonio Brown every snap, he guarded Brown for the majority of the game. Brown only turned 11 targets into five catches for 62 yards and no touchdowns.

Now, Evans and Brown are by no means the same player. Evans is a monster compared to Brown, but is not as quick or precise with routes. Meaning, Evans doesn’t have to be “open” to receive targets and Winston has established he doesn’t mind targeting him in that situation.

The data from 2016 is intriguing. In Evans four toughest matchups (Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Arizona), he averaged 13.25 targets. It’s almost counter-intuitive, the harder the matchup, the more Winston will target Evans.

The opportunity will certainly be there. I won’t fault you for playing Mike Evans this week. But as always, there are other players in that price range with more favorable matchups that I’d rather pay up for.

DeAndre Hopkins: FanDuel Price $7,500

week three DFS don'ts: wide receivers

DeAndre Hopkins’ talent is undeniable, but will it be enough to overcome Bill Belichik and the Patriots this weekend? (Photo Courtesy of; Chron.com)

It’s obvious, yes. But I had to include DeAndre Hopkins on my week three DFS don’ts. I love Hopkins as a prospect, but, the Patriots eat rookie quarterbacks alive. Bill Belichick is a perfect 8-0 versus rookie quarterbacks at home. After this Sunday, they will extend that streak to 9-0.

This is that unique situation where I trust the wide receiver, but have zero trust in the quarterback. Deshaun Watson managed to squeak out a win against the awful Bengals on Thursday Night Football. In that game, he absolutely fed Hopkins. Statistically, Hopkins had 13 of Watson’s 24 attempts. That equates to a ridiculous 54 percent target share. Sadly, it won’t be enough.

If you actually watched Watson against the Bengals, and that’s a huge if, he was not good. I remember actually counting out loud the number of seconds before Watson would lower his eyes and look to run.

Yes, it was his first start. Yes, he got better as the game went on. But come on, Belichick is looking at that tape and laughing hysterically. Not to mention the pick six the Bengals dropped. I simply cannot do it this week. I will absolutely keep my eye on Hopkins in later slates, but not now.

Martavis Bryant: FanDuel Price $6,500

If you listen to the Suck My DFS Podcast, you know I love Martavis Bryant. But, I’ve had to temper my love and expectations for Bryant. Since 2015, Bryant hasn’t produced on the road. It goes beyond Ben Roethlisberger being bad as well.

Since 2015, Bryant has played six regular season road games. In case you forgot, he was suspended for all of 2016. In those six games, he averaged seven targets. That’s not bad at all. But, that includes a game in which he saw 13 targets. He’s converted his 42 total road targets into 19 catches.

Bryant has turned those 19 catches into 183 yards receiving, averaging only 30.5 yards per game. To top it all off, he’s only scored one touchdown in those games. If that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will. To this point, Bryant is incredibly talented, but lacks efficiency. a catch rate under 50 percent on that Steelers offense is not good. Take the wait and see approach with Bryant, as his home/road splits have him on my week three DFS don’ts list.

 

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DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry fantasy situation

Is DeMarco Murray in danger of losing his job to Derrick Henry?

How to Handle the situation at this moment

DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry fantasy situation

DeMarco Murray (Photo by: apexfantasyleagues.com)

In the first two games, Murray had 60 total yards on 14 touches and then 28 total yards on 10 touches before his injury. Again it may seem normal, but after this injury this could become the end of Murray as the lead back.

If Murray isn’t a go for the week 3 game against Seattle, this opens the door for Henry to show his ability. Henry could have a good week with the Seattle’s run defense has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to a running back in each of the first two weeks.

This could cause Murray to lose some touches. Vice versa, then fantasy owners won’t have to worry as Murray then could get his touches back when he heals.

If you Have Derrick Henry or both

If you’re a Derrick Henry owner, you could be in the driver’s seat.

DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry fantasy situation

Derrick Henry (Photo by: titansonline.com)

As I mentioned above, with a chance Murray won’t be available, this could be Henry’s big chance to take over. Even if Murray plays, he’s in for a decent workload. With Seattle’s run defense struggling, he has a good offensive line to run behind.

Tennessee finished the 2016 season as a top-graded run blocking unit, and the Titans brought back all of last year’s starters and have begun the year healthy up front. Henry’s 5.8 yards per carry in two games is No. 12 among running backs.

This could mean with a solid performance, that Henry’s name will be around for people to trade for in fantasy. Expect Henry to be the lead running back by season’s end. The Titans did not use a high draft pick on the running back to not want him to get more involved in the offense.

If you have both then you can relax. Keep tabs over the next week then you can make the determination who to start. But in this case I still start the healthier back in Henry.

What Happens if Henry dominates

If the situation whether Murray plays or not with Henry dominates, then it will be time for panic.

One thing not to do is trade him or cut him. Trading him isn’t an answer because no one will give you anything good for him, not even the owner who has Henry. Cutting him won’t do better because there is no one better. What’s next?

Murray was a second or third-round pick in most leagues. And having to say this it will take really his ability to get healthy and hoping Henry doesn’t do well. But this definitely means Murray and Henry will split reps more.

While the worst hasn’t happened, be prepared for a bumpy ride Murray owners. You could be heading for a disappointing road.

 

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week three DFS don'ts

Week three DFS don’ts: Tight ends

As most DFS players know, tight end can be an incredibly volatile position. Sometimes the tight end lock of the week fails (I’m looking at you, Jimmy Graham). I can’t tell you which guys will score this week, but, I can tell you who to stay away from moving forward. Let’s see which tight ends end up on my week three DFS don’ts list.

Delanie Walker: FanDuel Price $6,500

Delanie Walker is a DFS darling. It’s clear he is Marcus Mariota’s safety net and the coaching staff is finding ways to get him more involved. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll reach ten points for the third week straight given his matchup.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have established themselves as a good pass defense. As a result, Walker only received four targets last week. That’s five less than in week one vs. the Oakland Raiders, but thankfully, he caught all four of those targets and turned them into 61 yards.

The Seattle Seahawks are similar to the Jaguars in terms of scheme. Both teams run a base 4-3 and their primary coverage strategy is cover 3.

Seattle is still more talented than Jacksonville from personnel perspective. The cover 3 scheme makes it hard for receivers to get behind the secondary. Therefore, Walker will have to do most of his damage in the short and intermediate parts of the field.

This will limit his yardage upside, and Seattle is perennially good at limiting yards after the catch. I don’t care about their performance against the San Francisco tight ends, as they are young and unproven.

However, I will consider their performance against Green Bay and Martellus Bennett. They held Bennett, a comparable talent to Walker, to three catches on six targets for 43 yards. Considering they did this against Aaron Rodgers on the road, I’m not optimistic about Delanie Walker this Sunday. Thus, he’s firmly on my week three DFS don’ts.

Coby Fleener: FanDuel Price $5,700

week three DFS don'ts: tight ends

Coby Fleener is one of the few tight ends to find the end zone in the first two games of the year (Courtesy of; Fox Sports).

Coby Fleener was wildly popular last weekend. He projected as one of the most popular tight ends on FanDuel entering their contest against New England. If you were able to take advantage of him in DFS last week like me, then congratulations. But, it’s time to move off Fleener this week.

In a game where the Saints were trailing from the opening kick, Fleener was on the field for less than 50 percent of the snaps. That’s awful for a starting tight end in this pass-heavy offense. Currently, Fleener possesses a 12 percent target market share.

This on paper is not bad. However, it is likely to decrease as the Saints showed they are willing to play multiple running backs at the same time, instead of featuring a tight end.

There is potential for this trend to change. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Fleener’s usage at Carolina this weekend. But, there’s one other reason I’m off Fleener: his price increase.

I know, he’s scored touchdowns in each of his first two games. FanDuel is rightfully increasing his price. That doesn’t mean I have to play him. I like other players below that price who are getting more opportunities like Jack Doyle.

 

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week two DFS Dont's

NFL Week two DFS don’ts: Report card

Week two turned out to be more predictable than week one. But that doesn’t mean that no one disappointed their seasonal or DFS owners. While my winning percentage wasn’t as good as week one, my volume of winnings was much better. So, let’s close up week two DFS don’ts with my report card.

Quarterback: 5/5

On the Suck My DFS Podcast, the three quarterbacks I liked were Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers. I’m counting all three of these guys as wins since they produced just more than double their value. Palmer was the lowest with 16.88 points, then Rivers with 17.24 and then Brees with 22.24 points.

On the other hand, I nailed my quarterbacks on the week two DFS don’ts list. Kirk Cousins and Jay Cutler failed to produce given their value. Washington established the run which negated the Rams’ consistent pass rush and also limited his ability to throw the ball. Cutler looked good in his debut, and I’ll definitely consider him moving forward. But, I’m thankful I left him off my lineup this week.

Running Back: 2/6

I should do myself a favor and never talk about running backs who I think won’t succeed because inevitably they will. Todd Gurley, C.J. Andersen and Carlos freaking Hyde all had productive showings. I’ll leave it at that.

I also sadly loved Ezekiel Elliott against Denver. That was awful. Thankfully, my picks of Melvin Gordon and Ty Montgomery paid off as they scored 17.3 and 26 points respectively. So, if you’re following my articles and the podcast, just ignore who I pick at running back for the most part.

Wide Receiver: 2/6

It was rough predicting this position. I was right on with Antonio Brown, but was so wrong about Brandin Cooks. Similarly, I was right about DeVante Parker, but wrong about Adam Thielen.

The late Sam Bradford just crushed Thielen and Diggs’ values. I was totally wrong about Alshon Jefferey, and sadly, Kelvin Benjamin couldn’t find a way to get into the end zone.

Tight End: 2/4

I’m actually happy I was wrong about Jack Doyle this week. I drafted him everywhere in my seasonal fantasy leagues, so I don’t mind taking the loss this week. I’m also very happy to have picked Austin Hooper to bust completely, and he did.

Zach Ertz produced as usual. No real surprise there. Unfortunately, Jared Cook didn’t find a way to get into the end zone. Cook met everything we want from a tight end in a matchup. His team was a large home favorite, with a big implied team total, and he saw between 8-15 percent target market share in week one.

Kicker: 1/2

Pretty straight forward here. Adam Vinaetieri put up a whopping four points. And please, don’t tell me I shouldn’t have bothered to write about him this week because it was so obvious. Well, I saw him 9 percent ownership in one of my 50/50 leagues this weekend so clearly it wasn’t as obvious as you think. Blair Walsh, and Seattle in general, were bad, as Walsh only scored six points.

Defense: 2/3

The Rams were an easy pick to regress back towards the mean this week. I guess that’s what happens when you play a legitimate NFL quarterback as opposed to Scott Tolzien. Hopefully you listened and didn’t get stuck with a putrid two points.

I’m torn about Arizona. They only scored 10 points against the Colts. However, they were the one of eight defenses to score in double digits. So, I’m counting that as a win. Denver tied for the third highest scoring defense on Sunday, so that’s a loss for me.

Overall Score: 14/26

I’m not happy with 54 percent, but it’s much better than my week one score. Like most things, you get better the more you do it.

You can check out all of my week two DFS dont’s articles here. We’ll start with week three tomorrow as we break down what kicker and defenses you should avoid.

 

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week three DFS Don'ts

Week Three DFS Don’ts: Kicker and Defense

As we advance further into the season, expect my pieces to get more straightforward. Kickers and Defenses are important. They can make up for a bust at another position, or, the wrong one can keep your lineups from cashing. Let’s get right into our kicker and defense edition of week three DFS Don’ts.

Younghoe Koo: $4,500

week three DFS Don'ts

Younghoe Koo has proven to be unreliable as a clutch kicker thus far in his young NFL career (Courtesy of; NY Daily News).

I usually reserve this spot for one of the most expensive kickers on the slate. However, I could not resist talking about Younghoe Koo. Aside from the fact that he’s bad, I really wanted to type his name in an article. In two games, he’s missed a game-winning and a game-tying field goal. One of those kicks was in Denver, which is the most kicker friendly outdoor stadium in the league.

I’m all about paying down. But, you have to avoid players who miss when given the opportunity. Koo has already proved that he isn’t a reliable kicker. Missing two field goals in two games is unacceptable for fantasy purposes. There are plenty of other options this week at his price and at $200 above it. Please keep him off your lineups, as he’s a lock for my week three DFS Don’ts.

Seattle Seahawks: $4,900

The Seattle Seahawks are in trouble. I don’t want their defense because that means I have to take their offense as well. They barely managed to squeak out a win over the below average 49ers. Why? Because their offensive line is so bad that they could not consistently move the football. Seattle is clearly the better team, but they refuse to invest in their offensive line. This allows inferior teams like the 49ers to stay in the game because they can consistently get off the field on 3rd down.

This weekend they will travel to Tennessee. The Titans are by no means a juggernaut. However, they do have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. They will be able to sustain drives with Marcus Mariota being frugal with the football. This game will be close at halftime. But, the Titans will break away in the late third and early fourth quarter. For example, Seattle is currently 22nd in the NFL on third down percentage. Tennessee is 9th in the NFL, converting 48.1% of third downs. The Titans will wear down this Seattle defense since they will constantly be on the field.

Tampa Bay buccaneers: $4,600

Tampa Bay will be this week’s Rams defense. Don’t. Chase. Points. The Buccaneers had a great match up at home against a bad offense. Sam Bradford, even if he’s not 100% healthy, is superior to Mike Glennon. Yes, this defense is talented. Yes, they are a good value this week. However, there are subtle differences in week three that you need to take into account.

This Buccaneers defense is impressive in terms of their roster and depth. For the most part, this is the same defense from a year ago. This same defense struggled on the road. On the road in 2016, this Buccaneers defense only averaged 5.75 fantasy points.

They were pretty good at creating turnovers on the road in 2016. After their first two road games, the Buccaneers averaged two turnovers per road game the rest of the season. Key word, after, their first two road games. This team travels to Minnesota on Sunday where they will likely face Sam Bradford, an incredibly accurate passer who doesn’t turn the ball over. It’s rare that I like a road defense and this week is no different. Don’t go chasing points this week the Tampa Bay defense.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

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Amari Cooper fantasy

Is Amari Cooper a WR1 in fantasy football?

Amari Cooper is hands down one of the best receivers in the NFL today. In two years in the league, Cooper has over 1,000 yards in both seasons and has solidified his spot as Derek Carr’s top target. But the question still remains: is Amari Cooper a WR1 in fantasy football?

The case for Cooper

AC/DC has been one of the best quarterback and wide receiver duos for the last two years in the NFL. Cooper has been great for the Raiders but has been frustrating for fantasy owners. The good thing that comes with Cooper is his volume to start the season.

In the first two games of the season, Cooper has been targeted 18 times, including many looks in the red zone in the first two weeks of the season. The problem last season with Cooper was his lack of targets in the red zone, but it seems to have switched this year. Cooper seems to be getting the looks he deserves in the red zone this season.

Another thing that will help out Cooper is the Raiders’ other weapons game. Opposing defenses have to worry about Marshawn Lynch and Michael Crabtree. Cooper isn’t in a position to be double teamed in the NFL today with the weapons surrounding him. Drawing single coverage should continue to increase his volume as well as production.

Amari Cooper fantasy

Photo from http://www.totalprosports.com

The case against cooper

A couple of problems come with Cooper. His drops have not only plagued him in his career, but to the start of this season.

In week 1 against the Titans, Cooper had some key drops in the red zone, which directly affected his targets in week 2. Carr decided to go to Michael Crabtree in week 2 because of Cooper’s red zone drops in week 1, and that led Crabtree to have three touchdowns against the Jets.

The other key problem that comes with Cooper is his schedule. The Raiders face a tough couple of weeks when they play against Washington, Denver, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Ravens. Those defenses will provide tough matchups for Cooper as each team has a very good secondary.

Schedule is always important in fantasy football in determining whether or not that player deserves a start that week. Cooper’s schedule is tough, but he is still a great player and should be started every week.

All in all with his problems, Amari Cooper is a low-end WR1 in all leagues this season.

 

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J.D. Martinez free agency: Where should he sign?

Arguably the top free agent in the upcoming 2018 class, J.D. Martinez is anticipated to receive a hefty contract next offseason, although which team he will sign for is unknown.

After missing all of April and part of May, Martinez clearly has no shot of winning league MVP, although after his monstrous second half, he has been propelled into the conversation. The 30-year-old has played a total of 107 games, where he has batted .318 with 39 home runs, 25 of which have come in the second half. When healthy, it is clear that Martinez is one of MLB’s premiere power hitters, and thus will continue to be a sought-after fantasy commodity.

Any Chance of returning to an old club?

J.D. Martinez free agency

J.D. Martinez began his career in Houston after being drafted in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB draft. (Photo by Getty Images)

Houston Astros

Martinez began his career in Houston after being drafted in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He failed to make an impact in his 252 games as an Astro, batting only .251 with 24 home runs and 126 RBIs. He was consequently released by the club in 2014.

Now a serious World Series contender, the Houston Astros don’t necessarily need Martinez, although adding his bat to a lineup of George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa would allow the Astros to compete to be the best offense in baseball with the Cleveland Indians.

The Astros will head into 2018 with nine players under contract and over $93 million already on their total payroll. Their total payroll in 2017 was $148 million, which included over $14 million in retained salaries. It is approximated that Martinez will earn a multi-year $25 million offer, so it seems unlikely the Astros would spend nearly half of their remaining salary on an aging outfielder, as they already have Springer, Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez, Derek Fisher and Kyle Tucker under contract.

Detroit Tigers

After being released by the Astros, Martinez was signed two days later by the Detroit Tigers. Martinez was under the tutelage of future Hall of Famers Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Torii Hunter. Martinez improved drastically, batting .315 in 2014, his first season in Detroit. He would go on to bat .300 with 99 home runs and 285 RBIs in 458 games.

Detroit had a fire sale this summer, trading away the aforementioned Verlander, along with former All-Stars Justin Upton and Alex Avila. It isn’t likely that Detroit would resign Martinez, although with Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos still in the lineup, they should compete in the consistently competitive American League Central.

J.D. Martinez free agency

Since his arrival in Arizona, J.D. Martinez has batted .285 with 23 home runs and 49 RBIs in 50 games. (Photo by the Detroit Free Press)

Arizona Diamondbacks

Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks in July for three minor league prospects. Since his arrival, he has been phenomenal, batting .285 with 23 home runs and 49 RBIs in 50 games. At this pace over a full season, Martinez would have 74 home runs and 158 RBIs. Although that is clearly an unsustainable pace, it shows how elite Martinez can be during a stretch, especially in a lineup like Arizona.

According to AZcentral.com’s Nick Piecoro, Martinez said “he would love to return to the Diamondbacks”, although their financial situation makes that possibility seem very unlikely.

Where do we want him to land?

Obviously, we would all love to have Martinez sign with our favorite team. For me that would mean Boston. With the Red Sox outfield filled, Martinez would be forced into the everyday designated hitter role. This move is more realistic than I originally thought, as Mitch Moreland is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. So, if the Sox let him walk and move Hanley Ramirez back to first base, Martinez would fit perfectly into the designated hitters role.

He would undoubtedly dominate in Boston, as he bats .444 at Fenway on the career. Also, he would assume the same mentor role that Miguel Cabrera once played for him, as he would join a young lineup with blossoming stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

Fantasy-wise, where would the optimal landing spot be?

J.D. Martinez

(Photo by Latinoathlete.com)

Aside from the Red Sox, the best landing spot for Martinez would be with the Baltimore Orioles. With Baltimore, Martinez would replace Seth Smith in right field. He would be in line for improbable levels of production, as he be surrounded by the likes of Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis, Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo.

It is clear that Martinez is most comfortable when batting fifth, as his career batting average in that lineup position is .296, compared to .264 when batting third and .266 when batting second. If he were to land in Baltimore, he would likely fit in to the fifth spot in the order due to the depth of their lineup.

Also, Martinez has had incredible amounts of success against American League East foes. He has a batting average at least .300 against the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays. Unfortunately, he has had minor struggles against the Tampa Bay Rays in his career, as he bats .250 when in a dome and more specifically .257 at Tropicana Field, although it is public knowledge that the Rays need a new stadium, so if they were to leave the Trop, Martinez could thrive even further in the AL East.

Martinez is good enough to be an impact fantasy player on any team, although some situations are clearly more beneficial than others.

If J.D. Martinez ended up in San Francisco, which is a very possible move as they are desperate for power hitters and outfielders, it would not bode too well for his fantasy outlook. Although Martinez would be given the opportunity to play a good chunk of games in Arizona and Colorado, he would be forced to play over half of his games in San Francisco and San Diego, creating a disadvantage as San Francisco and San Diego are notorious pitchers ball parks. Also, Martinez would be forced to bat clean-up behind Buster Posey, placing an abundance of pressure and lack of protection around the 30-year-old.

If Martinez can stay healthy and find himself in the middle of an elite offense, he will be a top-10 fantasy player next season.

Featured image by AZcentral.com

 

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Fantasy Monday Night Preview: Giants-Lions

Fantasy Monday night preview: Giants vs. Lions

Week two will come to an end tonight with the Detroit Lions playing the New York Giants in MetLife Stadium. With many players on both teams on fantasy football rosters, here are some of the players to keep an eye on both good and bad.

Eli Manning

giants lions monday night fantasy

Eli Manning (Photo by: newsday.com)

The Giants offense was a mess last week against the Dallas Cowboys. They accumulated 13 first downs and just three points.

Manning had 220 yards and an interception. Part of his struggles were due to the very inconsistent offensive line. Even if Odell Beckham Jr. played, it wouldn’t have helped that much.

The Detroit defense agitated Carson Palmer as they picked him off three times, but only got to him one time for a sack. They still gave up 23 points to the Cardinals and a lot of fantasy points to Arizona receivers. While they have shown they can make plays, they can still be inconsistent.

Manning could be in for a big week. Don’t be worried if you started him. However, be cautious because if the offensive line repeats last week’s performance, it could be a long day for the Giant offense.

Matthew Stafford

giants lions monday night fantasy

Matthew Stafford (Photo by: foxsports.com)

There was only one quarterback that posted more fantasy points then Matthew Stafford last week. He was spectacular after a four touchdown performance for 292 yards on a solid Cardinal defense. He also completed over 70 percent of his passes. While Stafford put up excellent numbers against a good Cardinal defense, expecting him to duplicate those numbers against a very good Giant defense might be unrealistic.

With that being said, this might not be the best week to play Stafford, unless you didn’t have a better option. The Giants were the second-toughest team against fantasy quarterbacks last season, and Stafford was held to just 10.22 points in his matchup last year against them with 273 yards and one interception.

Giants defense/special teams

giants lions monday night fantasy

Landon Collins (Photo by: giantswire.usatoday.com)

The Giants defense looked good last week against the Cowboys. Considering how much they were on the field, they held their own. They did what they were expected to do.

They were on the field for 34 minutes and gave up just 19 points. That’s pretty good. Players like Janoris Jenkins shut down Dez Bryant. They prevented Ezekiel Elliott from scoring and limited Dak Prescott to 268 passing yards and one touchdown.

Where the Giants struggled besides not getting a breather was creating turnovers. This week could be the week to execute as we saw this the last time these two teams met. The Giants created two turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery against Detroit. We’ve seen Stafford get too aggressive throwing the ball and should play a key factor if the Giants can create a pass rush.

The running backs on both teams

One position on both offenses to avoid is all running backs on both teams, unless it is a PPR league.

giants lions monday night fantasy

Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick (Photo by: cbssports.com)

The Detroit running attack only had 82 total rushing yards and 3.0 yards per attempt. Last week, Theo Riddick had one rush for -1 yards, but still remains a PPR option with 6 catches for 27 yards and a touchdown.

Ameer Abdullah will still be the main ball carrier, but struggled with 30 yards rushing last week with his longest run being seven yards. The Giants were the fifth best in fantasy defensive scoring with 243.20 points. In 2016, the Lions only had 56 rushing yards against the Giants.

On the other side, the Giants only had 35 yards rushing with 2.9 yards per attempt. As I stressed earlier, the offensive line was no help. Paul Perkins only had 16 rushing yards and nine receiving yards last week. Shane Vereen becomes an intriguing option in PPR leagues as he led the Giants in receptions with nine for 51 yards.

 

Featured image from getmoresports.com.

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