thefantasyjunkie

January 14, 2011

Yankees Snag Soriano

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , — patbutler87 @ 5:54 pm

After a long few months for both Rafael Soriano and the New York Yankees, they were able to come to terms on a three year, 35MM deal. It’s no secret that not many teams will pay big money for closers and the market seemed to be drying out each week for Soriano, as the Rays are nearly tapped out financially, Anaheim signed Scott Downs and has other needs, Baltimore signed Kevin Gregg, and Boston signed Bobby Jenks. The closing opportunities simply weren’t there, so he took a role as a set-up man to Mariano Rivera. This will hurt his fantasy stock but if he decides against exercising one of his two opt-out clauses in his deal, he could be closing for the Yankees in the final year of his contract. I like this signing for them because even though their rotation isn’t quite up to par, they will be able to shorten games with two legitimate relief aces in the 8th and 9th innings, and Pedro Feliciano is one of the most dependable lefties in the game. There should be starting pitching to be had at the trade deadline if they want to go that route as well.

Taking a closer look at Soriano, he was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball the past two seasons and also a fantasy stud. He has not posted an ERA above 3.00 since he started getting consistent work with the Mariners in 2006. His K rate has dipped slightly this past season to 8.23 when he was posting rates above 10 the previous two seasons. An ERA under 2.00 might be very difficult to repeat but looking at his career BABIP numbers, he posted an obscenely low .212 last season which was following up seasons of .297 and .204. Barring a major setback, he should still post an excellent WHIP and tremendous rate stats, but losing the 40+ saves he’s earned last season hurts and bumps a top tier closer lower in the ranks. If your league counts holds then he’s your guy, but if you play in a standard league, his stock took a sizable hit but he can still be an incredibly useful pitcher to balance your ratios.

January 13, 2011

NFC Divisional Round Analysis

Filed under: Game Analysis — Tags: , — patbutler87 @ 3:53 am

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Saturday 8:00 ET)

The Atlanta Falcons are the top seeded team in the NFC, yet I can’t really pinpoint one specific thing that they are great at. They do have a very solid running game and Matt Ryan and Roddy White have incredible chemistry, but they are not a number one seed that strikes fear into their opponents like the New England Patriots. Atlanta has a good enough defense, but not a great one, and their secondary will really be tested by Aaron Rodgers. Matt Ryan is a pro bowl quarterback and he’s taken great care of the ball, but he has to prove to me that he can excel if the run game gets slowed down and I don’t believe he can.

Green Bay may be the sixth seed but their team is fully loaded and they could be set for a big run in the NFC. I can watch film of Aaron Rodgers all day if I had the opportunity, it’s hard to find any quarterback in the league who has a skillset as good as him. They also try to run the ball even though the results were lackluster during the regular season. Coach McCarthy will go with the hot hand regardless of whether it’s Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, James Starks, and even Dimitri Nance. Starks played very well last week but Atlanta has the 10th ranked rush defense, even though they’ve given up a gaudy 4.6 yards per carry average. If Green Bay can block John Abraham, Rodgers should be able to pick apart the secondary regardless of how well they are running the ball. The Packers defense has really impressed me this year as they finished second in the league in points per game and top five in total yardage. They are exactly the kind of team that can slow down this Falcons offense. Final Score- Green Bay 27, Atlanta 20.

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (Sunday 1:00 ET)

It’s very hard to explain how Seattle crept their way into the playoffs, let alone how they beat the Saints last weekend. There were a ton of complete breakdowns by the New Orleans defense and it’s hard to see Chicago playing that sloppy. Marshawn Lynch ran very hard last week after being part of an awful rushing attack all season in Seattle. They need him to get steady yardage because Hasselbeck can’t do it all by himself. He had a rebirth last week in an incredible game, but I don’t think one fluke game can make up for an entire season of ineptitude.

Chicago hasn’t been overly impressive either, as their running and passing games were each below average this season by most standards. They started playing much better once Matt Forte got steady carries, but the pass protection is a nightmare and Jay Cutler isn’t the best decision maker. Seattle has a shot due to these two things but I think the Bears defense will win this game for them. Cutler will just have to sit back and make a few passes and look forward to being outmatched by whoever they have to play next week. Final Score- Chicago 23, Seattle 13.

AFC Divisional Round Analysis

Filed under: Game Analysis — Tags: , — patbutler87 @ 3:24 am

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (Saturday, 4:30 ET)

The first of two spectacular divisional matchups in the AFC showcases the Ravens and the Steelers, two teams who play a similar brand of football according to statistics and the casual fan’s eye. While looking at the offensive numbers, Pittsburgh seems to have the slight edge in the offensive and defensive categories, but they are all too close to form any conclusions. Pittsburgh has definitely evolved as the season went along, as they started off as a conservative ball control team with great defense yet has transformed into an efficient and balanced offensive attack with an incredible defense as long as Polamalu is in the lineup. Roethlisberger has really cut down on the interceptions and has played incredible football this season, but he’s been known to struggle versus some top defenses. With the Baltimore defense seemingly hitting their stride, thanks in large part to improved secondary play led by Ed Reed, I wouldn’t expect a high scoring matchup.

When Baltimore has the ball, they will have to move it through the air with their newfound savior Joe Flacco. He proved a lot of doubters wrong by having a great game at Kansas City and even though the defense was putting him in favorable positions, he made plays and did a lot with his opportunities. They moved Anquan Boldin around a lot to avoid double coverage and took advantage of him and Todd Heap, who was injured on the opening snap of their previous matchup. Pittsburgh doesn’t really have a shutdown cover guy for either of these two so I think yards can be had through the air if the protection holds up. Ray Rice should get some carries to keep the defense honest, but like I said before, this game comes down to Flacco’s arm and his decision making.

This game is nearly impossible to predict, but right now I would have to go with the homefield advantage and playoff experience of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even if Roethlisberger gets off to a slow start, I can see him hitting his stride in the second half and they may need a big play from the defense to seal the win. Final score- Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 17.

New York Jets at New England Patriots (Sunday, 4:00 ET)

This is the matchup Coach Rex Ryan has been waiting for, taking down the hated New England Patriots, but it may be a near impossible task this Sunday. After the Patriots lost to Cleveland in week 9, the rest of the league felt their wrath as they put up no less than 31 points per game with Brady playing literally perfect football. The defense has also done it’s part, as they’ve generated a ton of turnovers and grown up on the fly, though the playoffs can be a whole different beast.  No one man has led the offense, it’s been a group effort with guys like Branch, Welker, Woodhead, and their two talented rookie tight ends, Gronkowski and Hernandez. While the Jets boast the league’s best cover man in Darrelle Revis, he can only cover one player and the Pats have too many weapons.

On New York’s side, they really have a ton to play for and Mark Sanchez can immortalize himself with a great game in Foxboro. He has good enough weapons in Holmes, Edwards, Keller, Tomlinson, and Greene but you have to believe the Patriots will throw everything they have at him and more to try and confuse him. I see him having an okay game, but it won’t be enough as Brady should have an excellent game and lead New England to victory. Final score- New England 31, New York 20.

January 12, 2011

My Name is Pat…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — patbutler87 @ 9:21 pm

and I am a fantasy sports junkie. For me, it’s something that I can’t get enough of, yet sometimes I’d like to be done with it altogether. I know many others feel the same, yet we keep coming back each year because it’s too much fun.

The purpose of this blog is for me to share my insight towards fantasy football and baseball, while also paying attention to current happenings in each sport. I’ve been wanting to create this blog for a year or so, and even though fantasy seasons are over, the primary focus will be looking towards next season and reflecting on the year’s past. It’s never too early to get a head start on the competition.

The Silver is the New Black Theme Blog at WordPress.com.

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