A popular pick up this week has been the Houston defense but I just can’t see it. Houston loses Mario Williams and they are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are coming off of a bye week and have thrown the fifth fewest interceptions in the NFL this year with three. Baltimore has also allowed the eighth fewest sacks in the league with eight allowed on the year. Some “expert” sites have the Houston defense in or around the top ten this week but the smart play here is to sit/pass on the Texan defense. All this is just a recipe for disaster with Baltimore coming off of a bye this week.
The San Francisco 49ers are in Detroit in week six and I just cannot see them putting up top ten to twelve numbers. The Lions are averaging nearly thirty-two points per game and have allowed the third fewest sacks in the NFL this year. The Niners D has put up solid numbers but against the two decent offenses they have faced in Philly and Dallas- they have not performed.
Why risk playing these two defenses on the road this week when better match ups are to be had?
The Vikes have played relatively well on defense this year despite their 0-4 record. They have yet to lose by more than a touchdown and the most points they have given up in a game this year is 26 against Detroit in overtime. This stream is not a stretch even though they are still available in about ninety percent of leagues.
Analysis: Minnesota is home against the struggling Arizona Cardinals in a must win game this week. Kevin Kolb has fumbled the ball four times and has thrown four interceptions this year, so the possibility for turnovers is there. Kolb also hasn’t topped a quarterback rating over 70.0 in his last two starts. Arizona’s offense is a middle of the road team in rushing yards, passing yards and points per game but their downfall this year has and will be turnovers. They have fumbled the rock ten times, third most in the league but they have only lost three of them. The Cards have also allowed twelve sacks on the year, eighth most in the NFL. On the other side you have the Vikings who have twelve sacks, tied for fifth most in the NFL. Give me the Vikes to stream this week and you can have the Bengals, who are “projected” to do very well this week against Jacksonville. I say Andy Dalton turns the ball over twice on the road and a very game Jacksonville squad plays some Jack Del Rio football.
Sidney Crosby should not find himself anywhere near your fantasy roster this year. Considering it’s only “likely” that he’ll return this year and that the goal of his doctors is a Christmas return- it’s just not worth owning a guy that will have a bull’s eye on his head for the entire season. On the other hand you have Evgeni Malkin who has played the best hockey of his career with Crosby out of the Pittsburgh lineup. Geno is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee, so there are some question marks, but he if looks good in the preseason he is a top five fantasy pick.
It was only two to three years ago that Malkin lead the lead in points in the regular season and in the playoffs. He also won the Conn Smythe(playoffs MVP) while Crosby went without a point in games five, six and seven against the Wings. If Geno looks healthy in the preseason expect a top five fantasy performance from the Russian with the potential for much more. Crosby now has a built in excuse for his lack of heart. We already know about his disappearing act against the Wings but take the Vancouver Olympics for example- although he scored the gold medal winning goal with a shot he never saw… he was not the best player on Team Canada, not even top three. Jonathan Toews was by far the best forward for team Canada as he led the squad with eight points and a plus nine rating. I’m sure Crosby will play a few games and take a few off this year. Even if he doesn’t get targeted with some head shots he’s still not worth what his ADP will be.
At just nineteen years old, Mike Trout, the number one prospect in baseball has been promoted to the Angels and will bat ninth Friday night.
Analysis: There are two ways to approach Mike Trout’s promotion. You can pluck him up off the wire and either keep him or trade him. Nineteen year olds no matter how talented typically do not set the majors on fire. If he gets off to a good start it would be wise to take advantage of the hype machine and deal the center fielder for a sure thing. However, if you do decide to keep Trout he should be able to contribute in all five roto categories(until the Peter Bourjos situation plays out). Trout hit .330 with 29 stolen bases and 9 bombs in just 74 Double A games this year. He certainly is ready for the big time but he’s not quite ready to be a fantasy force. We also have to consider that Peter Bourjos will be coming back sooner than later with a hamstring injury and with the money tied up with Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter you would have to think Trout might be going back down to the minors when it is clear Bourjos is healthy.
Jhoulys Chacin may have eight wins and has been Colorado’s most consistent starter this year but he is due for a drop in performance.
Analysis: Jhoulys Chacin is a solid four pitch pitcher with a plus slider and a plus curve. Chacin will develop into a respectable middle tier fantasy starter one day but not this year. Chacin’s ERA-FIP is -1.15 this year, fourth among all MLB pitchers. He may be sporting a sub three ERA but his FIP of 3.86 suggests his luck should run out. Chacin’s strand rate is over eighty percent, up seven percent over his career average and well above the league average. One must also be concerned that when his luck runs out his sub 8K/9 rate isn’t what you signed up for. Chacin sported a K/9 rate over nine each of his first two years in the bigs while this year it hovers just below eight. There is a ton to love about this righty but as well all know Coors Field isn’t the best place to pitch. His ERA at home is actually .64 lower than on the road and that will positively even out by season’s end.
Projection: You might as well sell Chacin at his current value unless you don’t mind a drop off in performance. His ERA in his remaining starts should be in the 3.8-4.0 range. Act accordingly.