Archive April 2007

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NFL Draft Recap

Marshawn Lynch immediately becomes the best fantasy option out of this year’s draft. He doesn’t have the ability of Adrian Peterson and character questions are abound, but Buffalo didn’t select Lynch in the first round to sit behind Anthony Thomas. He’s a top-20 RB for fantasy purposes.

The Vikings have serious QB questions with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm, but Adrian Peterson was too good to pass up. Chester Taylor posted decent numbers last year purely because of the excess in opportunity – he’s not a very good NFL running back. Brad Childress compared the situation to Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter when he was in Philly, but if Peterson can remain healthy – admittedly a big if – expect him to receive the lion’s share of the touches by mid-season. In a keeper-league, he’s probably worthy of an early second round pick, if not higher.

The way I see it, both teams came away winners in the Cleveland/Dallas trade. The Cowboys easily benefit, moving down 13 spots for a likely top-5 pick in next year’s draft. While it also makes sense for the Browns, who were almost certainly going to use that early pick next year on a QB, but now have one in Brady Quinn, who will already have a year under his belt opposed to next year’s rookie selection. Getting a left tackle and QB, the two most important positions on the football field, is quite a coup for this Cleveland franchise.

Calvin Johnson is a beast and should immediately put up big numbers in Mike Martz’ system. Just because Charles Rogers and Mike Williams failed, doesn’t mean the Lions shouldn’t have taken a receiver. He and Roy Williams are not going to be easy to defend.

The 49ers have to be happy coming away from this draft. Not only is Patrick Willis an immediate impact, but Joe Staley qualifies as a steal as well. It may have been a steep price to pay, but no amount of draft picks are too much to pay to get Kwame Harris out of the starting lineup. Jason Hill was another excellent pick – you got to love guys who had their stock fall because they were nagged by injuries senior year. This kid was legit during his sophomore and junior campaigns. Also, how does Darrell Jackson only cost a fourth rounder? If any receiver this side of Calvin Johnson taken during this draft has a career like Jackson’s, that team would be ecstatic. Plus, he’s a lot cheaper than one taken during the first round. San Francisco has a chance to win the NFC West this year.

As much as I wanted Carolina to draft him, the Giants got great value with the Steve Smith pick. Amani “it’s not a” Toomer is done, and Sinorice Moss is more of a No. 3 guy. It’s just too bad New York didn’t address their glaring weakness – the QB position.

Ted Ginn has to be one of the most obvious NFL busts in recent memory. His game simply is not going to translate well into the NFL. I mean, punt returners have their value and all, but they aren’t worthy of a top-15 draft pick. The fact Ginn is coming off a serious foot injury that is still affecting him four months later makes the decision even more perplexing. But hey, at least they replaced Wes Welker!

Michael Bush is the early consensus pick for steal of the draft, and his health status is the only holdup from the prognostications becoming true. Before the ugly leg injury, Bush showed an impressive power/speed combo. With all due respect to LaMont Jordan and Dominic Rhodes apologists, Bush enters a situation with pretty weak competition for carries in Oakland’s backfield. If a fantasy draft were held today, I’d much rather own Bush over any other Raiders’ ballcarrier.

Speaking of sleepers, Green Bay’s Brandon Jackson is looking like one of the best for the upcoming season. If you listen to the coaches talk, everyone in Green Bay wants this kid to be the primary ballcarrier next year. For all of the Packers’ faults, they still produce very good ground game stats, and with Vernand Morency the main competition, Jackson belongs firmly on everyone’s fantasy radar.

I Should Have Traded the King

There's little doubt in my mind that Hernandez is done for the year. A 21-year old pitcher can't find the plate, throwing violent 92 mph sliders into the ground before calling for the trainer with a sore elbow? He's done. Enjoy him in the second half of 2008 when he's back from Tommy John surgery.

Of course, that will destroy my LABR team - which entering today was in first place by 10 points despite not having Chone Figgins or Roger Clemens. But it serves me right. I should have bought Roy Halladay or Mark Buehrle or some other soft tosser who can pitch 240 innings a year and be no worse for the wear (well, Halladay's got to dodge line drives better). Even Johan Santana's average fastball is slower than Chien Ming Wang's (this we know courtesy of Steve Moyer's Bill James' Handbook). Those soft tossers give up more hits because they depend on balls in play, but they have lower pitch counts, and you don't have to worry about them going deep into games.

No one else agreed with me, but Felix looked like he was laboring late in the one-hitter against the Sox, and you have to wonder if those 111 pitches, most of which were above 95 mph damaged his arm. I know it was great for him to get the one-hitter, but when he goes down for the count this year, it will seem obvious in hindsight that a 21-year old with that much upside should be persuaded to throw more fastballs, less breaking stuff and be put on a lower pitch count.

But Mariners management is a disaster in all phases, and especially with their track record of blowing out young arms: Rafael Soriano and Ryan Anderson are two other prominent ones that went down.

But as I said, it serves me right - drafting a 21-year old power pitcher on the Mariners was asking for it. I should have traded him when I had the chance. I'd take Mark Buehrle for him at this instant.

Manny Being Manny

Good article about Manny Ramirez in the New Yorker.

Makes me glad to have him on my home league squad this year.

Observations From a College Hoops Novice

  • Florida played great for about 27 minutes, then got pretty lax for the last 13. It didn't matter much because they kept burying outside shots while Ohio State couldn't buy one. Horford, Humphrey, Green, Brewer, they were knocking them down.

  • Speaking of Humphrey, I know nothing about college hoops, but I can't imagine J.J. Redick would have been any better in his place. Humphrey never seems to miss an open shot, and he even hit some from well beyond the college arc, and in one case after twisting his shoulders in the air to face the basket. He seemed to be a very important component to that team.

  • How many times did Billy Packer talk about Greg Oden tiring? Not saying it wasn't a relevant observation, but after seven or eight times, we got the idea. But he kept hammering away at it anyway as if he couldn't stop himself. It was like he had a variation of tourettes.

  • If I'm an NBA GM, I'm picking Corey Brewer 3rd and Al Horford fourth. I see no downside to Horford - he'll be solid no matter what with his bulk, athleticism, post game and ability to hit from mid-range. But Brewer could be a superstar - Scottie Pippen with more offense. He can handle the ball, shoot, defend, block shots and rebound.

  • Greg Oden's pretty good.

  • Joakim Noah will be a useful NBA player, but clearly the third best prospect on that team.
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