3 Stars Real Deal Dynasty Baseball Week #19

Josh Donaldson(TOR) unloaded on this pitch & unloaded on the Real Deal with another league leading week with 65.011pts.
Josh Donaldson(TOR) unloaded on this pitch & unloaded on the Real Deal with another league leading week of 65.011pts.

 

Week #19 Recap: In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs now sit atop the division and the Real Deal league with the best record in baseball. At 69-16, they have finally surpassed the Tampa Bay Rays. Even with all the excitement, they can’t quite shake the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2nd place, the Brewers are still only 3 games back with a 66-19 record. The Tampa Bay Rays do have the second best record in the league with a 68-17 tally. They are still in 1st place in the AL East. But, they too are not running away with the division. There, the Boston Red Sox continue to hunt down(or do I dare say, fish down?) the Rays(do you even fish for Rays?). Anyway, the Red Sox remain 3 games back. The AL West is still led by the Houston Astros with a 65-20 record. The 2nd place foes are currently 7 games back with a 58-27 record. Honorable Mention goes out to the Los Angeles Angels as they are still above .500 with a 43-42 record. The NL East also has a 60 win team with the New York Mets in 1st place with a 60-25 record. In second place are the Miami Marlins at 54-31 and they are 6 games back. It has been the same two teams at the top for quite a while. The Washington National remain above .500 with a 44-41 record but they are 10 games out of 2nd place. And we have a tie! That’s what the NL West is currenlty looking like. Both the Colorado Rockies & the Arizona Diamondbacks are tied for 1st place with identical 55-30 records. Another 50 win team, the San Francisco Giants are currently in 3rd place in the division and sitting 5 games back at 50-35. The AL Central still has the Minnesota Twins in 1st place with a record of 54-31. The Detroit Tigers are in 2nd place and are only 4 games back with a 50-35 record. Still within striking distance are the Kansas City Royals. Even though they are currently in 3rd place with a 49-36 record, they are only 1 game behind the Tigers and only 5 games out of 1st place. This division still has plenty of time to shake things up.

Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:

1B Only two 1B broke the 40pt mark this past week and they were led by Edwin Encarnacion(MIL) as he scored 42.112pts. He’s back on track after only scoring 8pts last week. This is the 5th time this season that he has scored over 30pts and the 2nd time over 40pts. He has 409.976pts and he’s just outside the TOP 10 for 1B as he is ranked 12th. Miguel Cabrera(DET) is ranked in the Top 10, right at the 10 slot with 419.394pts. He had a solid week as he scored 41.853pts. His Top 10 ranking is pretty impressive considering he missed 4 weeks of the season (Weeks 14-17). This is the 4th time he scored over 40pts and he’s averaged a solid 27.95pts per week for the 15 weeks he’s appeared in.

2B A pretty solid offensive week for 2B as three guys scored over 40pts. They were led by Dee Gordon(MIL) as he scored 48.274pts. It was his biggest week of the season and the first time he went over the 40pt mark. That pushed his season point total over 400pts as he has 401.197pts. That ranks him 5th for 2B on the season. Ian Kinsler(TEX) came in with 47.273pts. He’s no stranger to big scores as he’s the #2 ranked 2B in the Real Deal behind only Jose Altuve(HOU) as he has 440.43pts on the season. This is the 4th time this season Kinsler has scored over 40pts but it’s the 3rd time in the last 5 weeks, as he’s been on a hot streak of late.

3B There were three players to score over 50pts this past week and two of them played 3B. Leading the way, was none other than Josh Donaldson(TOR). He scored a league best 65.011pts and is also the top scoring 3B on the season with 592.803pts. This is the 2nd time in 3 weeks that he scored over 50pts. Rookie, Kris Bryant(CHC) isn’t fazed by the dog days of August as he piled up another 52.72pts. It was the 2nd time this year that he reached the 50pt mark. He also has 404.94pts on the season and is ranked an impressive 5th among 3B.

SS Speaking of Rookies, how about Jung Ho Kang(MIL)? He led all SS with 37.727pts on the week. He didn’t really start getting Real Deal playing time until Week #10. Taking advantage of being in the lineup, he has scored over 30pts in 3 of the last 5 weeks. He now has 189.291pts on the season. From a Rookie to a Vet, Jose Reyes(TBR) was the only other SS to break 30pts as he scored 34.504pts. He was in a bit of a funk recently as he had only scored 19.2pts in the previous 3 weeks. He did break 300 season points as he now has 307.213pts. That has him ranked 8th for SS. This Vet appears to still have gas in the tank.

OF A.J. Pollock(ARI) was the only non-3B to score over 50pts as he had 58.246pts. He may have been flying under the radar, but no more! After back to back 50pt weeks, that should get the attention of MVP voters. If not that, what about the fact that he’s the top scoring OF in the Real Deal League? Yep, no need to talk about Trout or Harper, he’s surpassed both of them as he has 533.27pts on the season. Well, I better not get too overboard. He’s only got about a 4pt lead over the both of them, but he is currently the King of the OF’er Hill. Close to 50pts was Yoenis Cespedes(HOU). He scored 49.951pts as he enjoyed his best week of the season. He has been rolling lately as he has scored over 20pts for 6 weeks in a row. This is also the 3rd time in 6 weeks where he scored over 30pts. He climbed his season point total up to 455.152pts. Good enough to rank him 9th overall for OF’ers.

C Miguel Montero(ARI) was the top scoring catcher with 39.454pts. It was his first time in double-digits since he scored 37pts in Week #10. He had struggled in between as he had only scored 26pts. He did push his season point total up to 203.522 and that pushed him back into the Top 10 in the #10 slot. Yadir Molina(COL) was in the #2 slot this week with 28.260pts. That’s back to back 20+pt weeks. That’s the fifth time he scored over 20pts and he now has 287.971pts. He is ranked 7th among all Real Deal catchers.

SP The top SP of the week has to be an obvious choice as he threw a no-hitter. Mike(they can’t put out all the)Fiers (MIN) led all SP’s with 39.75pts. It was easily his best week of the season. He’d only broken 20pts once this season and that was in Week #12. He now has 193.25pts and he is ranked 26th among all SP’s. He is quietly have a solid season and has more points than the big names of Jon Lester, Jordan Zimmermann, & Clay Buchholz just to name a few. Chris Archer(TBR) also had a big week as he scored 30.75pts. A nice turn around after scoring -6pts last week. He’s not under anybodys radar as he is ranked 5th for SP’s with 283.5pts on the season.

RP There was only 1 RP over 20pts this week and it was by a large margin. Carlos Rodon(CHW) scored 29.25pts. It was his biggest week of the season and the first time he scored over 20pts. He has now scored 48.5pts in the last 2 weeks and has climbed his season point total up to 114pts. Ken Giles(SEA) came in with 18pts this week. Since taking over the Phillies closer role, he’s scored in double-digits in 4 of the last 5 weeks as he has 168.5pts this season. That already has him in the Top 20 for RP’s as he’s ranked 19th

To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:

FIRST BASE:

Edwin Encarnacion……..Brewers……………..42.112

Miguel Cabrera…………..Tigers…………………41.853

Joey Votto…………………..Red Sox……………..33.699

SECOND BASE:

Dee Gordon………………..Brweers……………..48.274

Ian Kinsler………………….Rangers………………47.273

Yangervis Solarte………..D-Backs……………..40.868

THIRD BASE:

Josh Donaldson…………..Blue Jays…………….65.011

Kris Bryant…………………Cubs…………………..52.720

Nick Castellanos…………Tigers………………….42.929

SHORTSTOP:

Jung Ho Kang……………..Brewers………………37.727

Jose Reyes………………….Rays……………………34.504

Yunel Escobar……………..Cubs……………………29.553

OUTFIELDER:

A.J. Pollock………………..D-Backs…………….58.246

Yoenis Cespedes………….Astros………………..49.591

Curtis Granderson……….Tigers…………………45.687

CATCHER:

Miguel Montero………….D-Backs……………..39.454

Yadir Molina………………Rockies………………28.260

Kyle Schwarber…………..Cubs………………….26.346

STARTING PITCHER:

Mike Fiers…………………..Twins…………………39.750

Chris Archer………………..Rays…………………..30.750

Raisel Iglesias……………..Orioles………………..30.500

RELIEF PITCHER:

Carlos Rodon………………..White Sox………….29.250

Ken Giles……………………..Mariners…………….18.000

Addison Reed……………….White Sox…………..17.750

Free Agency 2015: The Best Available

Free agency is nearly upon us, and the pickin’s are, well…pretty slim this year. Only a few guys have been amnestied and there are a small amount of players who can help teams fighting for playoff spots this year.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the best free agents available:

10. JERAMI GRANT

What kind of team targets this guy? A contender, counting on Philadelphia’s terrible roster to net him significant playing time? Or a rebuilding team, who can afford to wait on his development (and he needs a ton of it)? I’m really not sure what sort of team Grant will end up on. But the athletic upside and potential to be a bargain will have a few teams looking at him for sure.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah

9. KRIS HUMPHRIES

Yeah, I know. This guy is the butt of so many jokes. But still, he’s the first big off the bench in Washington and he averaged a double-double for the Nets that one time. He’s not winning anyone any titles, but he’s a useful piece in a league where depth matters.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Cleveland, Dallas, LA Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Orlando, Portland, San Antonio

8. LUC RICHARD MBAH A MOUTE

This guy apparently failed a physical for the Kings, but he’ll end up on some team this year without a doubt. His value as a defender is too good, plus he’s like an emperor or something in his home country of Cameroon. Luc’s numbers last year were inflated by playing on a crap Sixers team – there’s no way he’s scoring 10 points and playing 30 minutes again this year – but if he ends up at the right spot, he could be a useful cog in some machine. He’s definitely one of the most developed and ready-to-go players on this list. The Pistons didn’t want to pay him $6 million per year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean someone else won’t.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Denver, LA Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto

7. LANGSTON GALLOWAY

What a name. What a man! This former undrafted rookie from St. Joseph’s by way of Baton Rouge was the other guy that came out of nowhere last season and made a big impact. The guy doesn’t have all the talent in the world and has a name that sounds more like a 1930s jazz trumpeter’s than an NBA player’s, but it’s clear by watching this guy that he always gives 100%. Going undrafted and playing on a crappy team may have something to do with that. It’s unclear what sort of role Galloway will have on the Knicks this season with Calderon back and the arrivals of Arron Afflalo, Jerian Grant, Thanasis Antetkuempjhdnpejfnfgmkpo and the legendary Sasha Vujacic, but a guy who works as hard as Galloway does should be able to carve out a role in a team that bad. I don’t expect him to get minutes at shooting guard anymore, but he could flourish if Calderon gets traded like he does every year. Even if you only look at him as a long-term investment or even a complete gamble, he could be worth something.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Indiana, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland

6. KENT BAZEMORE

For a while, it seemed that this guy was forever destined to be nothing more than that guy you see celebrating on the bench. But Bazemore really started coming into his own two seasons ago on the Lakers, and it was enough for the Hawks to give him a look. He’s improved noticeably on both sides of the ball in his four NBA seasons. And with DeMarre Carroll gone, there’s a wide open hole in the Hawks’ starting lineup. Korver holds a solid claim on one of the two wing spots, but the other starting gig seems largely up for grabs. Bazemore will be competing with Sefolosha, Hardaway Jr., Holiday and two guys named Terran Petteway and Lamar Patterson for minutes on the wings. He should be getting a nice boost in production this season, maybe with a similar output to what we saw from him at the end of last season.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah

5. WAYNE ELLINGTON

You have to like Ellington’s situation in Brooklyn. The 27-year-old instantly becomes one of Brooklyn’s best three-point shooters and should be featured prominently off of the Nets’ bench. He set career highs in multiple scoring categories in a heightened role for the Lakers last year, and there’s no reason to think the Nets will limit his minutes. Could be a really good role player for someone and is in the midst of his prime years.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto

4. ROBERT COVINGTON

Out of all the mediocre players that benefitted from being on the worst roster ever, perhaps none benefitted more than Sir Robert of Covington. This guy is going to play a big role in Philly’s offense this year simply by virtue of the fact that he is the only player on that team aside from Okafor and Stauskas who can even remotely score. I see no reason why Covington wouldn’t be able to produce as well as or even better than last year. Definitely worth a flyer for a contender looking for depth.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, Toronto

3. JORDAN CLARKSON

Last year’s rookie sensations were Andrew Wiggins (no surprise), Nikola Mirotic (not really a surprise), Elfrid Payton (not much of a surprise) and Jordan Clarkson, who was taken with the 46th overall pick last year. Clarkson definitely fell way too far in the draft – didn’t most experts project him to be a mid- or late-first rounder? – but he also definitely exceeded expectations. While things turned to crap yet again for the Lakers, Clarkson was pretty much given free rein at the point, and he handled things very effectively. Other than Nate Robinson (yeah, I didn’t know this either), Clarkson is the first Filipino to represent his country in the NBA since the early ’80s (even though he’s really only 1/8th Filipino…that’s like me touting myself as Real Deal’s first Cherokee writer). Although the arrival of Russell and the return of Kobe limits Clarkson’s value, it’s a guarantee someone is going to spend big on him given how much talent he showcased last season and his young age. He would be useful for contenders and rebuilders alike. The question is not so much where will he go – it’s what price will have to be paid for his services?
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, LA Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah

2. EVAN TURNER

Evan Turner’s career trajectory has always been a bit of an enigma. He’s been horrible some years and has excelled in others. Right now, his career trajectory seems to be that he will just be a bang average player for the foreseeable future. This, of course, is certainly useful in this league, especially if he can be had at a good price. With so many teams having so much cap space, though, it’s probably not going to happen. It’s unclear exactly what role Turner will have in the Celtics’ 900-man rotation, if any, but he will still probably produce useful counting stats in multiple categories as one of the team’s only experienced players. For a team lacking wing depth (he can play both positions), Turner won’t be a world-beater, but he could be a nice pickup for someone.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, Toronto

1. HASSAN WHITESIDE

Whiteside became one of the notable NBA stories last year and was by far the biggest free agent signing of last season in this league. Scoring and rebounding the to tune of nearly 41 points per game, Whiteside made OKC a contender and pushed Minnesota for the division title all year long. This guy has had an incredible career trajectory. He’s already played for four D-League teams, two Chinese teams and even two teams in the Lebanese Basketball League, which exists, apparently. From the Reno Bighorns to the Sichuan Blue Whales to Al Mouttahed Tripoli, this guy has seen it all. And while it might be unrealistic for him to post numbers as gaudy as last year’s, he still figured to be a significant part of Miami’s frontcourt this year. Even with Bosh and McBob back, Whiteside will still rebound with tenacity and protect the paint, which is really all any team pursuing him is asking for anyway.
POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Dallas, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah

“HONORABLE” MENTIONS

Kevin Seraphin, Dante Cunningham, Omri Casspi, Caron Butler, Tim Frazier (this guy could actually end up being the steal of free agency if he makes the roster), Tarik Black, Steve Blake

3 Stars Real Deal Dynasty Baseball Week #18

Even Madison Bumgarner(SFG) was surprised to find out he was the league's leading scorer. Even over the guys holding bats.
Even Madison Bumgarner(SFG) was surprised to find out he was the league’s leading scorer with 58.5pts. Even over the guys holding bats.

 

Week #18: There are 2 teams atop the Real Deal Dynasty League with the best overall record. In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs are sitting in first place with a 64-16 record as they enjoyed an undefeated week. Still hanging tough are the Milwaukee Brewers at 61-19 and 3 games back. A slightly tighter race is the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays on top at 64-16. It’s slightly tighter because the Boston Red Sox are only 2 games back at 62-18. The Red Sox are tied with the 2nd best record in the lead with division leading Houston Astros in the AL West. At 62-18, the Astros hold a 7 game lead over the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are currently 30 games over .500 at 55-25. The 7 game lead is the largest division lead in the Real Deal. In the NL East, the New York Mets are still in first place with a 56-24 record. There’s only 1 other team above .500 in the division and that is the Miami Marlins at 50-30. They are still within reach of the Mets as they are 6 games back. How about the NL West? All teams are still above .500, but there appears to be some separation starting to form. The Colorado Rockies are still in first place at 53-27. 3 games behind Colorado are the Arizona Diamondbacks and their 50-30 record. The San Francisco Giants are also hanging tough in 3rd place and 4 games back at 49-31. The AL Central also has a tight 3 team race. The Minnesota Twins are in 1st at 50-30 and only 2 games back are the Kansas City Royals with their 48-32 record. Still within striking distance are the Detroit Tigers and their 45-35 record. They are 5 games out of 1st and only 3 game out of 2nd place.

Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:

1B There was only one 1B to hit 50pts this week and that was Eric Hosmer(NYM). He scored 52.01pts and hit 50pts for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. He raised his season point total up to 426.861 and has moved up to 7th among 1B. For back to back weeks, Chris Davis(TBR) was the 2nd Star at 1B. This week, he scored 49.543pts after scoring 41pts last week. He has also scored 160pts in the last 4 weeks. He now has 408.892pts and is ranked 9th for 1B. He is also 1 of 10 1B that have over 400pts.

2B There were only three 2B to break 30pts and they were led by Robinson Cano(KCR). He scored 33.153pts. It was the 3rd time in the last 4 weeks that he scored over 30pts. He now has 330.801pts and his recent surge has him ranked 10th among 2B. Higher up the ladder and ranked 5th is D.J. LeMahieu(BAL). He too has three 30pt+ weeks out of the last four. This week, he scored 32.897pts. His season point total is now up to 381.026. He’s only behind the big names of Altuve, Dozier, Kipnis, & Kinsler.

3B In Week #11, Brock Holt(BAL) scored 53.131pts. In the six weeks following, he only managed 40pts. This week, he exploded for 42.487pts. He was the only 3B to break 40pts this week. He has 261.227pts and has broken into the Top 20 for 3B. He is now ranked 18th. Pedro Alvarez(PIT) seems to be mainly a 1B, but with his eligibility still for 3B too this season, this is where he falls. He scored 33pts this past week and this was the best week of his season and the first time over 30pts. He has been a middle of the pack 3B in the league as he ranked 16th at the position with 275.595pts.

SS Only 2 SS were able to break the 30pt mark and they were led by Ian Desmon(ARI) and his 39.647pts. In unlucky Week #13, he got hit with -7pts. Since then, he’s scored 100pts and has raised his season point total up to 261.703pts. That makes his SS ranking 13th(hope that doesn’t make it unlucky). Another guy that has position eligibility all over the place is Ben Zobrist(CHC). With his SS listing, he had the 2nd highest score of the week with 37.725pts. He’s had 3 of the last 4 week over 30pts. Zobrist now has 316.316pts and is ranked 5th overall for SS.

OF Coming into the week, Jackie Bradley Jr.(OAK) had only appeared four times and scored 47pts. This week, he exploded for 54.070pts and had the second highest score in the league. He’s also starting to get some consistent playing time with the Oakland A’s and it’s starting to show with the bat as he scored 31.333pts last week too. He has 101.89pts on the season with 84 of them coming in the last 2 weeks. A.J. Pollock(ARI) was right behind Bradley with a 51.648pt week. That marks his 4th week in which he scored over 40pts and he now has 475.024pts. That ranks him near the top of the OF leader board as he is ranked 5th overall.

C For the 4th time this season, J.T. Realmuto(MIA) scored over 20pts as he led all catchers with 25.25pts. He did miss the first 2 weeks of the season but is still in the Top 10 for catchers as he has 215.167pts. That ranks him 9th. Probably the hottest catcher in the league right now is Kyle Schwarber(CHC). He’s a 3 Star member in back to back weeks and the 3rd time in the last 4 weeks. This week, he scored 24.816pts. That helped him break the 100pt season mark as he now has 119.113pts and he basically done it all in just the last month. He is just outside the Top 20 for catchers as he’s ranked 21st.

SP In what has to be the best pitching week of the season, Madison Bumgarner(SFG) led all Real Deal player with 58.5pts scored. He had a 2 start week and managed nearly a 30pt average. Easily his best week of the season, his previous best was in Week #12 when he score 31.25pts. He now has 241.5pts and he vaulted into the Top 10 for SP’s with this week’s performance. He is now ranked 8th. Johnny Cueto(ARI) had the next best score with 38.75pts. He also scored over 30pts in Week #14 but had only scored 34.75pts in the following 3 weeks. He has 241.5 season points and is ranked 13th among all SP’s.

RP Only 1 RP scored over 20pts this past week. That RP was Kenley Jansen(NYY) as he led everybody at the position with 24.25pts. It was his best week of the season and only the 2nd time over 20pts for Jansen. He scored 20.25pts in Week #14. Carlos Rodon(CHW) was lucky to still be in the lineup as he had negative points in each of the last 2 weeks with a combined -11.25pts. He turned things around and had his best week of the season as he scored 19.25pts. Rodon now has 84.75pts on the season.

To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:

FIRST BASE:

Eric Hosmer………………..Mets…………………52.010

Chris Davis…………………Rays…………………49.543

David Ortiz…………………Braves………………46.984

SECOND BASE:

Robinson Cano……………Royals……………….33.153

D.J. LeMahieu…………….Orioles………………32.897

Matt Duffy………………….Mets………………….30.012

THIRD BASE:

Brock Holt…………………Orioles……………….42.487

Pedro Alvarez……………..Pirates……………….33.000

Todd Frazier……………….Astros………………..32.003

SHORTSTOP:

Ian Desmond………………D-Backs…………….39.647

Ben Zobrist………………..Cubs………………….37.725

Xander Bogaerts…………Red Sox……………..29.068

OUTFIELDER:

Jackie Bradley Jr…………Athletics…………….54.070

A.J. Pollock………………..D-Backs…………….51.648

Gregor Blanco……………White Sox…………..50.335

CATCHER:

J.T. Realmuto………………Marlins……………..25.250

Kyle Schwarber…………..Cubs………………….24.816

Yadir Molina……………….Rockies……………..23.520

STARTING PITCHER:

Madison Bumgarner……..Giants………………..58.500

Johnny Cueto……………….D-Backs…………….38.750

Hisashi Iwakuma………….Astros………………..36.750

RELIEF PITCHER:

Kenley Jansen………………Yankees……………..24.250

Carlos Rodon………………..White Sox………….19.250

Pedro Strop…………………..Dodgers……………..17.250

Real Deal Basketball Report: Southeast/west Division Previews

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

ATLANTA HAWKS

Ah, my old stomping grounds. The Hawks are pretty much all set for another playoff run, with one of the league’s best top eights. Rounding out the bench on a $14 million budget should not be too difficult, either. Five players scored 35 points per game or better last season, something only two other teams in the league (Orlando and, oddly enough, San Antonio) can boast. If everyone stays healthy, this will be one of the best teams in the league.
The classic Hawks/Hornets rivalry.

CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Charlotte looks like it might be on the outside looking in in this ultra-competitive division, but the jury is still kind of out on that. A lot of these players last year – Kemba, Jefferson, Kanter, Bradley, Bogut – were all good, but not quite good enough. This roster amounts to essentially a bunch of good players, but it lacks that final piece that will push them over the edge. It’s not an especially damning problem, but the Hornets might find it difficult to find that piece. A lot can depend on some of the “trendy” guys on this roster – I know a lot of people love to hype guys like Wroten, Lamb, Biyombo and Aminu, and they all have high ceilings. The sudden emergence of Porter and Warren could be a huge difference maker, too, and the Hornets still have $32 million they can spend. Charlotte could be either very mediocre or surprisingly excellent depending on how things shake out, but there are too many unknowns for me to place a lot of confidence in this team.
The Hornets have a lot of trendy young players.

MIAMI HEAT

The Heat had a rough go of it last season, with two different owners at the helm over the course of the year. The team ultimately finished with no owner and firmly out of playoff contention, despite being competitive for most of the year. This may be a simple case of the roster just needing some TLC – Bosh, Dragic and Jonas are not a shabby foundation – but quality depth is definitely an issue. Miami doesn’t have a huge budget, but those two lottery picks are nice indeed. I can easily see Miami taking the sidelines this year only to emerge as a near-powerhouse next season.
Bosh is back, baby!

ORLANDO MAGIC

Last year’s regular season king looked indomitable for pretty much the entire year, thanks to the double-double factory that was Vucevic and Gasol. Vuc should easily replicate his numbers from the last campaign, but it’s tough to see the 35-year-old Gasol keeping up. Gibson, Mirotic and Portis are all knocking at the door and deserve a lot of playing time, and with Coach Thibs finally out, it’s likely they’ll see it. Oladipo and especially Martin will also see reductions in their scoring, too, due to the arrival of Hezonja in Orlando and the continued growth of Wiggins and LaVine in Minny. Still, this is a pretty darn good team and one of the better ones in the East. Playoffs for sure, but don’t expect anywhere near 67 wins again.
Will it be another magical season in Orlando, or is this guy a total phony?

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

The stars aligned for the Wizards last year when it mattered most, and I’ll just leave it at that. Now, the Wizards – with no notable picks to speak of until 2017 and a relatively low free agent budget – are forced into win-now mode, especially with aging stars Dwyane Wade and Tyson Chandler taking up so much of the salary cap. Johnson, Scola and Green could also see bumps in value this season, but Washington will need a bit more than that in order to propel the engine behind the dynamic quadrant of Wall, Beal, Wade and Chandler. Then again, they could sneak into the playoffs and go on a run again. You never know in a league whose owners vote down daily lineups.
The consolation prize for every other team last spring.

 

PREDICTIONS:

1. Atlanta
2. Orlando
3. Washington
4. Charlotte
5. Miami
I’m not expecting much change in this division, except this time I’ve got Atlanta coming out on top and Charlotte surpassing Miami. The bottom four were basically tied all last season until the very end, but I expect to see clearer tiers this time around.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION

DALLAS MAVERICKS

When you look at the roster, it’s kind of tough to see how the Mavs were so bad last season. If you remember back to last winter, they were one of the hottest teams in the West and seemed bound for a deep playoff run. Somewhere along the way, though, the team totally derailed and fell way out of the postseason picture. This roster likely just needs a bit of sprucing up. Given the status of the veterans on this team and $26 million million in cap space, the Mavs might be better off trading their high draft pick for an asset or assets that help them out more immediately, and flex that cap space muscle to acquire some needed depth. The Southwest is going to be extremely difficult this season. Can Dallas right the ship and earn a playoff berth?

After cleaning up the roster a bit, the Mavs could become sexy dark horse team with a little sprucing up.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

This team looked undefeatable all season long, and was equally as dominant in the playoffs, making it all the way to the final before succumbing to the red-hot Wizards. The construct of this league favors depth (which Houston had/has plenty of) over the course of the season, but in any given series without daily lineup changes, it’s all about star power. Harden had an insane playoffs but ultimately did not get enough from his co-pilots to match Wall, Wade and Beal. Aside from the MVP runner-up, no name on this roster stands out as a superstar. That’s part of what made Houston so great a year ago. But with the owners voting against daily lineups this offseason, are the Rockets doomed to a similar fate again?
The horror…

 

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

I feel like this team somehow flew under the radar all last season. Much like the real Grizzlies, there’s not too much flash here – just a solid, solid, well structured team. I don’t have much to say about this team other than that it’s in really good shape. They have all of their draft picks, plus $32 million in cap room. If they want to take the next step, the opportunity is there for them, but if they don’t, they’re still a 50-win team.
A funny picture of Marc Gasol in high school.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

With the news of Embiid set to miss another season, the Pelicans will likely not go too far out of their way to compete this year. Instead, they could take this year to lurk in the shadows and wait until 2016 and ’17, over the course of which the team has 10 first-round draft picks, and go for a rapid turnaround. Still, with coveted prizes AD and Kyrie on the roster, there’s no time like the present. Depth will be a huge issue this year, but this team has one of the two or three best long-term setups in the league with $50 million in cap space, bargain stars left and right, and those 10 picks.
Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving. Between the mask and the unibrow, there’s definitely some funny superhero team name in there somewhere.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

After the old owner fell asleep on the job, the new owner came in and immediately instilled a plan: to tank like crazy. That they did, and with a bit of luck, the Spurs ended up with the top pick in this year’s draft. The team has a decent number of good players already, but aside from Kawhi, I hesitate to call any of them solid, and the Spurs desperately need frontcourt help. Jennings will almost certainly be demoted to a bench spot by Reggie Jackson, and with a strict SVG at the helm, how much does a reckless player like him even see the floor (not that Jackson isn’t pretty reckless himself, but he’s clearly the better option)? How much offense will Noel play with Okafor in town? Can Holiday avoid injury (he’s played less than half of his team’s games the past two seasons)? Plus, there’s still the matter of Kobe Bryant and his contract. I don’t expect this roster to look exactly the same for much longer – but still, the Spurs might find themselves in for a bit of a longer retooling than anticipated. For now they seemed poised to make some noise in the division but I have to give them an incomplete grade because they’re sure to make some big moves before the season.
After taking over mid-season, almost nobody tanked harder than last year’s Spurs. Will it pay off?

 

PREDICTIONS:

1. Houston
2. Memphis
3. San Antonio
4. Dallas
5. New Orleans
This division is completely different this year, though the standings may not reflect that. Houston and Memphis ran away with it last season as the Spurs tanked and the Mavs owner was MIA, but new life has been injected into both squads. New Orleans just missed out last year, and I really think the chance still exists for them to make the postseason this time – I just don’t know if they take that chance. San Antonio has a really dynamic group right now, but I have no idea how to rank them because I know the team isn’t done making moves.

Real Deal Basketball Report: Central & Northwest Division Previews

CENTRAL DIVISION

CHICAGO BULLS

The Bulls were in full-on tank mode for the duration of last season, but based on the talent on this roster, they should have been WAY better than a 6-win team. Tanking issues have been corrected and now Chicago has no choice but to be a decent team. In fact, looking at this roster, you have to project them as being way better than decent. I was highly speculative of the big Derrick Rose trade that brought in Stephenson and Parsons at first, but the more I look at it, the more it makes sense for both teams. Chicago now has a supremely deep and cheap squad with an extra $52 million to play with, and they probably didn’t need that pick anyway. With Rose, I really thought this team would be title contenders this year. I don’t know if I can say the same about them anymore, but the trade does set them up better for the future and enables them to be more flexible in future deal-making activities. In an early draft of this breakdown, I was just about ready to call Chicago the favorites in the East this year. I don’t think it’s true anymore as the team stands now, but they’ve established a nice foundation and are still definitely good enough for the playoffs.

We were hurt all last year! No, seriously!

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Last season was the ultimate “what could have been” story. What if Carmelo didn’t get hurt? What if Burke had progressed more? What if Jodie Meeks had actually been given some playing time? After a disappointing finish, Cleveland is coming into the offseason with a lot of dead weight on the roster. Two of their players are not even in the NBA anymore, and many others are NBA bottom-feeders. The Cavs have no first-round picks until 2017, so it might be difficult to quickly add some talent to revitalize the team. There are some really great players on this squad – Zaza Pachulia was a playoff hero, for example – but depth will be a huge issue, and there are a lot of question marks. Can Green possibly live up to the expectations set on his shoulders after last season’s brilliant play? And what the hell is Markieff Morris’ problem? Even with LeBron and Melo, expect the team to regress.
Back when life was simple. Now, we have to play with Markieff Morris and Gal Mekel.

DETROIT PISTONS

The big question for the Pistons is: what now? Most of the difference-makers from last year’s squad are kapoof, gone, free agents, leaving the team with Drummond, Thompson and little else to speak of. The good news is that Detroit has a budget of nearly $53 million to work with, so they could make a big splash in free agency or in the trade market. Detroit was majorly lucky in several departments last year – they had the fourth-easiest schedule in the league, two of their division rivals blatantly tanked, and they struck gold on some in-season free agent claims. Will the Motor City be able to reassemble the assembly line, or do they need a bailout? My inclination is the latter. Detroit has got to put this roster back together again in a hurry, and competition is much stiffer in the Central now.
Hmm.

INDIANA PACERS

Since the inception of this league, basically, it’s been all about assets for Indiana, and boy, do they have some good ones. The Pacers possess inarguably the finest crop of young talent in the league – Parker, Gobert, LaVine, Harris and Exum (RIP this season tho) are all very promising, and don’t forget that Paul George is still only 25. The Pacers also have four first-rounders and and over $58 million in space to work with. This team could become very good, very quick. The sad days are likely over in Indiana for a long time.
Like Han Solo, it’s only a matter of time until the Pacers are back and kickin’ some ass.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

The Bucks had quite a nice team last year, good enough to grab a playoff spot in the East, and things are looking pretty ok again this time around. Giannis and Payton are certainly an excellent young duo, but Ibaka is going to need more help than that for an anticipated playoff contender. The supporting cast of McCallum, Young, Dudley and Henson are good enough to support a playoff team, but I think the Bucks need another truly great player in order to really thrive. Still, though, this division is going to look a lot weaker at the top than last year, so I like Milwaukee’s chances at winning the pennant. A big acquisition would put this team over the top.
Elfrid Payton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Serge Ibaka? Call this the all-limbs squad.

 

PREDICTIONS:

1. Milwaukee
2. Chicago
3. Cleveland
4. Indiana
5. Detroit
Last year’s good teams are worse and last year’s bad teams are better. Don’t be fooled by last year’s standings – Chicago and Indy tanked so hard from the outset of the season that Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee all enjoyed hyper-inflated records because of it. Indiana is still a year or two away, but I expect Parker, Gobert and LaVine to all make big strides this year. The other three teams will feel a decline this time around, but in this division, I can still see the top four making the playoffs.

NORTHWEST DIVISION

DENVER NUGGETS

Last year’s Cinderella team – with the league’s hardest schedule – seemed firmly out of the playoff race for almost the whole year, only to unexpectedly surpass the Clippers and Suns for the final spot in the West at the last possible second. It was a great story last year, but I don’t know if I see a repeat in an even more difficult West this time around. It’s not impossible, especially with Smart and McCollum expected to progress, but the Nuggets may just not be quite stacked enough to cut it this year. I’m projecting a career year for Ty Lawson in Houston, but there’s just not enough here to really strike fear into opponents’ hearts. It will be very interesting – and definitely very weird – to watch what Faried does as the main man in Denver.
Believe it or not, this guy helped the Nuggets make the playoffs last year.

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Last year, the Wolves and Thunder battled it out to sit atop the Northwest, trading leads all season long. This time, Minnesota may run away with the division. This team is not particularly outstanding, but none of its division rivals are good enough to compete over the course of the whole season. Love will be good, and probably better than last year as he continues to figure out his role in the offense (or, rather, let Coach LeBron tell him what that role is). At age 34 and weighing in at 900 pounds, Zach Randolph is a ticking time bomb, but he should be good for another year or so. Jeff Teague will take yet another step up. Aside from that, there are a lot of shaky players here. Jack and Brewer are about as inconsistent as you can get in the NBA if your name isn’t JR Smith or Dion Waiters. And with Towns and KG expecting to play big minutes for the Wolves, Pekovic might be on the outside looking in unless he improves his putrid defense. The Wolves should repeat as division champs, but if some unexpected team breaks out, they could be in trouble.
Here is a horrifying image for you.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

This team is in big trouble and could really use an extra two or three amnesty provisions. The team has big depth issues, which are compounded by even bigger cap issues; they can’t even afford to bring Jose Calderon off of the IR. Pierce, Gordon and Lee are all on terrible contracts, so one of them is bound to get amnestied. As the oldest and most expensive, I bet it’ll be Pierce, but the catch 22 here is that there’s more than a decent chance that he can out-perform both Lee and Gordon this year despite being eligible for Medicare. There are a lot of directions this team can go in, but I’m guessing that direction is nowhere fast. The players they have are good enough for the team to at least be mediocre, but what happens when the injuries start piling on? Aside from Duncan, himself a geezer, you’re not exactly looking at a squad of iron men. It may sound harsh that I’m predicting doom and gloom for the Thunder, especially because every player on this roster is pretty much well above replacement level, but things are set up to go very badly this season in OKC. Last year was “win-now!” mode. This year is “what-now?” mode.
There is money trouble in OKC.

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

The Blazers have been at an impasse for quite some time. On the one hand, you have Aldridge, Lillard and Butler, who all played like superstars last season. On the other hand, you have a bunch of disappointments. Ross (but the athleticism!), Snell (but he looked so good in Summer League!), Splitter (but Duncan has to go down SOME time!), Harkless and Andre Miller were all really nice sleeper picks last summer, but unfortunately not a single one of them panned out. The good news is, Portland has some flexibility, including a top-10 pick and $42 million in cash. And maybe the disappointing guys will be better this year. Harkless has a new opportunity in Portland, where he should be playing a lot because that team looks awful. And as for Ross, after three disappointing seasons in the NBA, a lot of people around the league are saying this year will be his last chance in Toronto. So, you know, “contract year.” For now, the Blazers are a team firmly on the fence. It will be interesting to see what course they chart.
On which side of the fence will the Blazers land on in 2015-16? (Sorry, lame.)

UTAH JAZZ

This is my under the radar team for the 2015-16 season. I think they’ll be pretty good in any circumstance, but they could be potential dark horse candidates for the title. There, I said it. I really think every single guy on this roster will improve noticeably from last year. They also have a top-10 pick and $26 million in cash to make some moves. This team was let down in 2014-15 by disappointing work from Batum, Gallinari, Anderson and Shawn Marion (who they traded in the winter) and ended up being probably the most bang-average team in the league. But I think this could be their year. And even if it’s not, they will still be at least above average and potentially make the playoffs. Favors was a beast when Utah got hot late last year and Hayward is emerging as an Actually Very Good White American NBA Player, if not a bona fide star. I like the Jazz this season.
Win one for these guys! Please.

PREDICTIONS:

1. Minnesota
2. Utah
3. Denver
4. Portland
5. Oklahoma City
This is still Minnesota’s division to lose, but as I said, I wouldn’t be super surprised if Utah really took off this year. Portland and OKC could also easily move up if they decide to shake around their rosters, which seems likely for at least one of them. Denver will have another quiet season, but probably not sneak into the playoffs again. This could be a fun division to watch. No promises, though.

3 Stars Real Deal Dynasty Baseball Week #17

Josh Donaldson(TOR) may have tossed his bat, but he scooped up some points as he scored 56.458pts in Week #17
Josh Donaldson(TOR) may have tossed his bat, but he scooped up some points as he scored 56.458pts in Week #17

 

A little mid-week reprieve as I throw in a Hump Day 3 Stars article.  The weekend edition has been a bit sluggish lately, so I thought I’d mix things up and throw the readers a curve ball (did you all catch the Pun of the Week?) with an early article.  Being the Dog Days of August, I thought a Wednesday surprise would alleviate the summer time blues.  Never mind the fact that I’ll be out of town this weekend and I’m not sure if I’ll be around to post a new article.  It has nothing to do with me.  It’s all about the subscribers!

Week #17: The AL East still holds the team with the best Real Deal record with the Tampa Bay Rays at the top. They went a perfect 4-0 this past week and improved their record to 62-14. The Boston Red Sox are still sitting in 2nd place with a 58-18 record. Even though they are in 2nd place, they have the third best record and one of those other teams is a division leader. The second best record is in the NL Central and belongs to the mighty Chicaco Cubs. They are sitting at 60-16, but only have a slim 2 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and their 58-18 record. In the AL West, the Houston Astros remain supreme with a 58-18 record. Their lead is slightly larger as they have a 6 game lead over the Texas Rangers at 52-24. In the NL East, the New York Mets are still atop the division with a 52-24 record. The Miami Marlins are in 2nd place with a 47-29 record and are 5 games back. The Washington Nationals are at .500 with a 38-38. The NL West has the Colorado Rockies in 1st place with a 52-24 record. Tied for 2nd place are the San Francisco Giants & Arizona Diamondbacks at 46-30 as they are 6 games back. The AL Central is in a dead-heat tie with the Kansas City Royals & Minnesota Twins. Both teams have identical 47-29 records. Only 4 games back are the 3rd place Detroit Tigers at 43-33.

Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:

1B There were only two 1B to crack 40pts this week and they were led by Edwin Encarnacion(MIL) as he scored 42.190pts. It was the first time this season he broke the 40pt mark as his previous best was 39.837pts in Week #7. He has 359.854pts on the season and is ranked 10th for 1B. Chris Davis(TBR) has been hot lately as he has scored over 30pts three weeks in a row. This week, he scored 41.06pts. It was the second time over 40pts for Davis as he did it in Week #8 also, and it raised his season point total to 359.349pts. He is ranked just outside the Top 10 as he’s 11th among 1B.

2B Ian Kinsler(TEX) was the only 2B to break 40pts as he scored 41.551pts. That was his third 40pt week of the season and he has scored over 122pts in the last three weeks. He now has 385.042pts and he has vaulted up to #4 among all 2B. Asdrubal Cabrera(TBR) had the next highest score at the position with 36.116pts. Things have been a little rough for him, but he has scored over 67pts in the last 2 weeks. Before that, he only had 49pts the 6 weeks before. He now has 205.067pts on the season and is ranked 24th among 2B.

3B Josh Donaldson(TOR) had his best week of the season and his first 50pt week as he scored 56.458pts. This is his 5th week in a row over 20pts and his 3rd in a row over 30pts. He became the 2nd player in the Real Deal Dynasty League to reach 500pts as he has 515.361pts. Ryan Zimmermann(WAS) is back in the lineup for only the second in the past 7 weeks as he missed Weeks 11-15. He scored 47.863pts and had the second highest score for 3B. It was the first time he scored over 30pts this season and only the third time over 20pts. He has 159.8pts this season.

SS Carlos Correa(HOU) didn’t make his Real Deal debut until Week #10. Since then, he’s rattled off five weeks of 30 plus points out of eight weeks played. This week, he was the only SS to break 30pts as he scored 36.129pts. He already had 242.626pts on the season and is ranked 13 among SS. Ian Desmond(ARI) has been up & down recently with less than a point last week. 44Pts in Week #15. -7pts in Week #13. But this week was a positive one as he scored 29.091pts. He now has 222.056pts and is ranked 21st among all SS.

OF There were only 2 OF’s that broke the 50pt mark this week. The leader was Nelson Cruz(COL) as he scored 53.055pts. He had the 2nd highest output this week. He’s no stranger to 50pts as it’s the third time this season and the second time in the last three weeks. He’s also scored over 150pts in the last three weeks. He now has 462.09pts and is ranked 3rd among OF’s, behind only Trout & Harper. Andrew McCutchen(TBR) was the other OF to reach 50pts as he scored 50.273pts. It was his first 50pt week of the season. He has been on a hot streak lately scoring over 20pts for the last 6 weeks in a row. He has 424.372pts and is ranked 6th for OF’s.

C Kyle Schwarber(CHC) has really only been around the Real Deal for three weeks (he made a brief .6pts appearance in Week #11), but he’s made quite a splash. That includes his second 30+pt week in 3 weeks as he scored 36.403pts. He was the only catcher to score over 30pts. With 94.297pts on the season, he’s already climbed up to 24th among catchers. It appears offensive catchers are a premium in the Real Deal League. A.J. Pierzynski(HOU) had the 2nd best score with 29.047pts. It was only the 6th appearance of the season for Pierzynski and the best week of the season for him. He has 57.199pts on the season.

SP David Price(BOS) had a rough week last week as he scored -1.5pts. Like a true Ace, he rebounded nicely with a 33.25pt week. It was his best week of the season and the second time in three weeks he scored over 30pts. He has 256.75pts and is ranked 8th for SP’s. Chris Bassitt(TEX) made his Real Deal debut in Week #13. He’s been in single digits every week until now. He broke out with 31.25pts and was the only other SP over 30pts. He only had 26pts in the previous four weeks.

RP Ken Giles(SEA) was just given the closer duties with the Phillies, and it didn’t take him long to find his place on the 3 Stars board. He only had double-digits twice coming into this week but he led all RP’s with 27.25pts. He has 143.5pts and is ranked 26th for RP’s. Look for him to start climbing the ladder now. Hector Rondon(ARI) has made back to back 3 Star appearances as he had another 20pt week. This was his 2nd 20pt week of the season as he scored 20.75pts. He has 166.25pts and is just outside the Top 10 for RP’s. He is currently ranked 11th.

To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:

FIRST BASE:

Edwin Encarnacion……..Brewers…………….42.190

Chris Davis…………………Rays…………………41.060

David Ortiz…………………Braves………………39.673

SECOND BASE:

Ian Kinsler………………….Rangers…………….41.551

Asdrubal Cabrera………..Rays………………….36.116

Matt Duffy………………….Mets………………….32.851

THIRD BASE:

Josh Donaldson…………..Blue Jays…………..56.458

Ryan Zimmermann………Nationals…………..47.863

Matt Carpenter……………Brewers……………..42.890

SHORTSTOP:

Carlos Correa……………..Astros………………..36.129

Ian Desmond………………D-Backs…………….29.091

Brandon Crawford……….Angels………………28.980

OUTFIELDER:

Nelson Cruz………………..Rockies………………53.055

Andrew McCutchen……..Rays…………………..50.273

Hunter Pence……………….Giants………………..41.163

CATCHER:

Kyle Schwarber……………Cubs…………………..36.403

A.J. Pierzynski…………….Astros…………………29.047

Buster Posey……………….Giants………………….28.040

STARTING PITCHER:

David Price………………….Red Sox……………..33.250

Chris Bassitt…………………Rangers……………..31.250

Jake Arrieta………………….Rangers………………28.000

RELIEF PITCHER:

Ken Giles…………………….Mariners……………..27.250

Hector Rondon…………….D-Backs………………20.750

Carson Smith……………….Cubs……………………19.750

3 Stars Real Deal Dynasty Baseball Week #16

Lucas Duda(LAD) has been receiving & giving cheers to all Real Deal players as he led the league with 71.020pts in Week #16.
Lucas Duda(LAD) has been receiving & giving cheers as he led the Real Deal League with 71.020pts in Week #16.

 

So, I’m sitting here in my lush & palatial penthouse office when I start getting notifications for new articles being written on the RealDealDynasty.com web site. I pop over there to check them out and there are 2 new articles written by Malcolm Herbert & Eric Duncan. Let me tell you, these are finely written, and well thought out articles that also have several pictures throughout the writings. Not only are they easy to read, they are also eye-catching with photos mixed throughout. These writings are almost Pulitzer Prize worthy. Then I scroll down to what I have been writing, and all of my posts are hum-drum, stat-laden, number after number, almost text book like articles.

Then I got to thinking, “You know what? Sure there is Pulitzer Prize winning literature out there, but there is the National Enquirer too.” Don’t tell me that you’ve never been standing in the checkout line at your local grocery store and glanced over at the headlines in the Enquirer? Or if there’s nobody around, actually pulled the copy off the rack and did a quick page turn to see a particular article? If you’re lucky, you can convince your significant other to actually purchase the Enquirer and make it look like it’s for her and then you’ve got a weeks worth of bathroom reading material.

So you see, there is plenty of room in this world for Pulitzer Prize written articles that everybody will gush & drool over, and for the weekly written stat seminar that you can’t help but glance at. So whether you read it all, or scroll down to the bottom to just see the Positional 3 Stars, I am going to continue to write my weekly summaries, cash my royalty checks from RealDealDynasty.com and enjoy the view from my penthouse. In the meantime, Week #16 is in the books, both literally(because the week is over) and figuratively(because the written word has been posted).

Week #16: The Tampa Bay Rays are holding onto the best record in the Real Deal Dynasty League as they are sitting at 58-14 in the AL East. Just because they have the best record, it doesn’t mean that their division is a cake walk. The Boston Red Sox remain hot on their heels as they are only 3 games back with a 55-17 record. The Toronto Blue Jays are the only other team in the AL East above .500 with a 40-32 record. The Chicago Cubs seem to be the new team in the league that is not losing any games. They went undefeated this past week and raised their record to 57-15 in the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers are hanging tough as they remain 3 games back with a 54-18 record. There is a new team at .500 in the NL Central as the St. Louis Cardinals have climbed back to the .500 mark at 36-36. The Houston Astros are still atop the AL West with a 56-16 record. They also hold the largest lead of any division with a 8 game lead over the Texas Rangers and their 48-24 record. This division also has 3 teams at .500 or better with the Los Angeles Angels at 37-35. The New York Mets are still in first place in the NL East at 48-24, but their division lead is shrinking. The 2nd place Miami Marlins are right on their heals, 1 game back with a 47-25 record. They are the only 2 teams in the division that are above the .500 mark. Then, you have the NL West. As usual, all 5 teams are above .500 and this week’s “Flavor Of The Month” is the Colorado Rockies at 48-24. The actually hold a 4 game lead in the division over the Arizona Diamondbacks with their 44-28 record. The one team that seems to be slumping are the San Diego Padres. They lost all their games last week and slipped to 41-31. Last but no least (or is it?), you have the AL Central. The Minnesota Twins are atop the division with a 46-26 record. Right behind them are the Kansas City Royals. They are 2 games back and have a 44-28 record. The Detroit Tigers are also above .500 and are 7 games back at 39-33.

Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:

1B Lucas Duda(LAD) led all Real Deal players in Week #16 with 71.020pts. He led it by a wide margin with only one other player scoring over 60pts. He had been struggling coming into the week as he had only scored 30pts in the last 4 weeks. I guess you can say that in the last month, there has been less DO and more DUH with his offensive performances (Does that count as the Pun of the Week?). His season point total jumped up to 326.626pts and he has climbed up to 11th overall for first basemen. Mark Teixeira(COL) is another NL West 1B that had a big week as he scored 56.698pts. That makes back to back strong weeks for Mark as he scored over 47pts last week. He now has 427.039pts on the season and is ranked 4th overall for 1B. He’s behind only Goldschmidt, Rizzo, & Votto.

2B Another top player comes from the NL West (Surprise!). Brandon Phillips(COL) led all 2B with 46.307pts. He’s had four other weeks in which he scored over 25pts but this was his first 40pt week. He now has 280.731pts on the year and is ranked 11th among all 2B. D.J. LeMahieu(BAL) has been hot lately as he scored 41.239pts this past week. That gives him over 100pts in the last 3 weeks. His season point total has now reached 338.427pts and he’s ranked 6th overall for 2B.

3B Only one 3B scored over 40pts in Week #16 and that was Matt Carpenter(MIL), as he scored 48.040pts. It was the third time this season over 40pts for Matt but the first time since Week #4. He has scored 340.669pts this year and is ranked 5th among 3B. The #1 scoring 3B in the Real Deal League is Josh Donaldson(TOR). He also had the 2nd highest 3B score this past week with 39.075pts. That’s the sixth time this season he has scored over 30pts. His season total is up to 458.903pts. He has a 12pt lead over Manny Machado(LAD).

SS Didi Gregorius(SFG) hasn’t made too many headlines this season as he’s only scored over 20pts in a week twice this season. He blew that out of the water this week with a 47.624pt performance. He has been somewhat steady since a negative point week back in Week #10. Since then, he’s hit double-digits every week and now has 224.311pts on the season. That does rank him 16th among Real Deal shortstops, so I guess he’s right in the middle of the league’s pack. Jung Ho Kang(OAK) was the only other SS over 40pts as he scored 40.256pts. He got off to a slow start this season. How slow was it? It was so slow, he was going slower than erosion. Anyway, he only played twice in the first 9 weeks and scored only 1pt. Now in the last 3 weeks, he has scored 98pts and has upped his season total to 132.457pts.

OF Only one OF scored over 50pts and he even managed to get over 60pts. Scoring the 2nd highest point total of the week in the league, Adam Eaton(ARI) led all OF’s with 60.728pts. He scored negative points a month ago, but has scored 124pts in the last 3 weeks. He now has 307.245pts on the season. Melky Cabrera(MIN) had the second highest score with 48.343pts. He’s been having a rough season and missed Week’s 11-13, but since his return, he has scored 111pts in the last 3 weeks. That pushed his season total up to 194.56pts.

C Who’s the usual suspect of names when you’re talking about the top scoring catchers? Posey, Martin, McCann? Well, not this week. This week, it was a guy named Wellington. The last time I heard that name was in a steak house. Anybody ever heard of Wellington Castillo(OAK)? Well, you have now. He was the only catcher to break 40pts this week as he scored 46.220pts. He only played 4 times in the first 9 weeks and had only scored 12pts. However, since Week #10, he’s found his groove and has scored over 120pts. With his recent success, he’s also moved up to 16th in the catcher ranking for season points. Maybe this next catcher is more of a household name. Curt Casail(TBR) ranked 2nd this week with 34.5pts. He’s even played more sparingly than Wellington as he didn’t even make his Real Deal debut until last week. I can’t say it was a memorable performance as he ended the week with 0pts. Zip, nada, zilch! Not exactly the wow factor that he was looking for. He definitely made up for it with his sophomore week’s performance.

SP Some days, the skies are sunny. Some days, the skies are gray. But when you’re Sonny Gray(CHC), there’s no confusing (unless you’re a meteorologist) that you’re a top Real Deal pitcher. He proved it this week as he scored 42pts and was the only SP over 40pts. It’s the second time in three weeks he has scored over 30pts. He now has 244.5pts on the season and he is ranked #5 for SP’s. Youngster(I think Sonny’s pretty young too), Noah Syndergaard was the only other SP over 30pts as he scored 32pts in Week #16. After a couple of negative point weeks, he’s been scoring in double-digits in the last 6 weeks. He also has 141pts scored this season.

RP Hector Rondon(ARI) was the top and only RP to score over 20pts as he had 24.75pts this past week. He also had a double-digit week last week with 17.25pts. Those were the first two double-digit weeks since Week #6 as he had 8 straight weeks in single-digits. He has 145.5pts on the season and is ranked 16th among all RP’s. Pedro Strop(LAD) had his best week of the season as he scored 18pts. His previous season best was back in Week #7 when he scored 13.75pts. He broke the 100pt mark as he now has 116.25pts on the season.

To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:

FIRST BASE:

Lucas Duda……………….Dodgers……………..71.020

Mark Teixeira…………….Rockies……………..56.698

Eric Hosmer………………Mets………………….51.706

SECOND BASE:

Brandon Phillips………….Rockies……………..46.307

D.J. LeMahieu…………….Orioles………………41.239

Eddie Rosario……………..Nationals……………34.410

THIRD BASE:

Matt Carpenter……………Brewers…………….48.040

Josh Donaldson…………..Blue Jays…………..39.075

Manny Machado…………Dodgers…………….33.446

SHORTSTOP:

Didi Gregorius……………Giants………………..47.624

Jung Ho Kang…………….Athletics…………….40.256

Xander Bogaerts…………Red Sox……………..37.122

OUTFIELDER:

Adam Eaton………………..D-Backs……………..60.728

Melky Cabrera…………….Twins…………………48.343

Nelson Cruz………………..Rockies………………44.430

CATCHER:

Wellington Castillo………Athletics……………..46.220

Curt Casali………………….Rays……………………34.500

Derek Norris……………….Padres…………………32.106

STARTING PITCHER:

Sonny Gray…………………Cubs……………………42.000

Noah Syndergaard……….Mets…………………….32.000

Trevor Bauer……………….White Sox…………….28.750

RELIEF PITCHER:

Hector Rondon…………….D-Backs………………24.750

Pedro Strop…………………Dodgers……………….18.000

Brad Boxberger……………Rays…………………….16.250

Justin Grimm……………….Cubs……………………16.250

Real Deal Basketball Report: Atlantic & Pacific Division Previews

Believe it or not, basketball is nearly afoot! …Well, not really, but free agency starts next month!  That’s exciting, right? Well, maybe. There were plenty of big-name free agents in the NBA this summer, but unfortunately in Real Deal all we have is Evan Turner and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Nevertheless, I, at least, am excited because we will finally have some action going on again in this league. There are new owners who I’m sure will want to shake up their rosters, and since the trade market has been quiet so far, perhaps they’re all gearing up to splash the cash on free agents.

To get us warmed up, I’m kicking the dust off of the ol’ Real Deal Reports (and hoping I don’t inhale any asbestos or Raymond Felton’s career’s ashes in the process). I’ll be releasing one each Friday for the next few weeks leading up to September 1. Each report will contain previews and predictions for each team in two divisions, one from the East and one from the West. At the end of the month, I’ll be doing a report on the best free agents available and potentially blowing up your spot on some stealthy names you were thinking about.

So without further ado, here we go!

 

ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON CELTICS

This is a roster that needs a lot of work – only 9 players are under contract, and hardly any of them aside from Jones and Nurkic can even be deemed useful. On the plus side, Boston has an absolutely massive free agent budget (over $68 million) this summer that they can use to sign big players or trade for them. Boston will have some deciding to do: do they keep all five of their first-round picks, putting out a team that would be almost entirely rookies and second-year players? Or do they trade some of them away for more proven commodities and go for a playoff push in the wide-open Atlantic? With all of the assets Boston has, it would only take a few well-calculated moves to surpass New York and Toronto, probably the two weakest teams realistically competing for a division title this year. Only two players on this roster scored more than 17 fantasy points per game last year, so Boston will need to decide quickly if this is really the core they want to build around. It could be a very interesting offseason in Beantown.
The Celtics could have up to 9 rookies and sophomores on the team. NINE!

BROOKLYN NETS

With a new owner in town, the Nets are fully in retooling mode in an attempt to salvage a pretty god-forsake situation. Last year’s Brooklyn squad didn’t do a single thing to try and improve – in fact, it was the only team firmly out of the postseason race by last season’s trade deadline that didn’t bother to acquire another draft pick, and they signed exactly zero free agents all last season. Oh, and let’s not forget when the team fell asleep and missed out on getting picks #2 and 3 in last year’s rookie draft, letting Andrew Wiggins slip right through their fingers and ending up with PJ Hairston instead. So, yeah, let’s just say I’ve got some work to do. But there is certainly some talent here. Lopez and Evans are truly a shaky core to build the franchise around, but the supporting cast has enough potential to make me think that this could be a semi-quick retool and not a full-blown rebuild. You could do worse for role players than Davis, Shumpert, Vonleh, Adams and Robinson – all young, cheap and with some promise. Still, I’m not getting my hopes up. It’s a big risk to trust in Lopez’s feet and Evans’ willingness to play off-ball.
A Real Deal Report photojournalist captures a shot of last year’s Brooklyn Nets GM.

NEW YORK KNICKS

Last year’s team was carried by DeAndre Jordan and, luckily for the Knicks, the big man will stay in LA, where he figures to retain similar production to last season. But competition in the Atlantic will become tougher very quickly with new blood in terms of management and talented rookies coming in to Brooklyn and Boston, and Toronto is still somehow probably the best team in the Atlantic. Nearly every role player for the Knicks took a small hit in value this offseason – Lawson’s arrival in Houston really hurts Beverley, Hardaway will likely be buried in Atlanta’s deep rotation, Kaminsky will likely have a chance to play a lot more than Zeller, and Boozer and JR Smith are still unsigned. It’ll be up to Jordan to carry the load once again for a team that is in real danger of falling off a cliff. Aside from Jordan and maybe Joe Jesus, who can they really rely on at this point?
An artist’s rendering of DeAndre Jordan on the New York Knicks.

PHILADELPHIA 76ers

This is kind of an interesting team. Kind of. MCW and Danny Green are the most valuable/noteworthy players here, along with the chronically underrated Wilson Chandler. The rest are a bunch of question marks. Shabazz Muhammad was a pleasant surprise last year, but there’s so much emerging young talent in Minnesota that you’ve got to think his minutes are going down. Cole Aldrich might be interesting as the only center behind DeAndre. Mitch McGary has a great Summer League and might contribute this year. Everyone else, though, you can pretty much throw in the trash heap. The team has a $62 million budget to work with, though, so that’s pretty good. It’s hard to analyze the team at this point because, like Boston, there are so few players on the roster – but there is also massive cap space to work with.
MCW doesn’t know what to make of the 76ers either.

TORONTO RAPTORS

The Raptors had a truly roller coaster season last year. Led by Lowry and DeRozan, Toronto’s path to the Atlantic championship was smooth sailing – until the titanic trade for Kobe Bryant nearly sank the ship. New York was quickly catching up as the team was taking on water rapidly. Luckily for Toronto, though, management was unable to throw Kobe overboard and even salvage a bit of usefulness from the deal, winning the division in the end. (Okay, enough boat references. I just thought – you know, since the Titanic sank in the Atlantic – whatever.) Funnily enough, the Raptors’ success in this league will depend a lot on the success of the real-life Raptors. Part of the rapid decline last season was due to the Kobe saga, sure, but it was also partly because of what the real Raptors were doing in the NBA. Lowry and DeRozan were doing pretty much 100% of the work, and it caught up to them. They both had terrible second halves and the Raptors got their asses handed to them in the playoffs. They should be back to normal this season, though, as Toronto has reloaded to take some of the load off the star backcourt. Beyond the duo, however, they lack anybody that really stands out. Depth is important, but so is star power. Gortat, Hickson and Waiters are all decent players, but they don’t exactly scream division winner. Bargnani and Dellavedova can’t be counted on and the others aren’t worth mentioning. How Toronto uses its two first-round picks – either by trading the picks or making them – could go a long way in shaping how woes will be running in the Six this season.
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PREDICTIONS:

1. Toronto

2. New York

3. Brooklyn

4. Philadelphia

5. Boston

Same standings as last year, yeah, but this time everyone will be a lot closer together at the top (or the bottom, depending on how you look at it). Toronto still has enough talent to win the division, but only just. New York still has DeAndre Jordan, and that’s enough to come in second in the Atlantic. Brooklyn, Philly and Boston will all be improved from last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if four of these teams finished with wins in the mid-30s. It’s going to matter who wins this division, because I don’t see any of the others making the postseason.

 

PACIFIC DIVISION

GOLDEN STATE

One of the teams of destiny of last spring’s playoffs, this squad sort of underachieved all year before making its mark in April. I think the regular season record will be much improved this time around. With a full roster already set, Golden State won’t actually have to make any moves – actually, scratch that, they’ll actually have to unload some bodies to get under the maximum of 15 players. Plus, they still have a top-10 pick! All that really means is that Golden State will probably be consolidating and upgrading. This is not a team to mess with, led by reigning MVP Steph Curry, and it’s hard to see anybody else coming out on top of the division this year.
The king is hungry for a championship!

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

A lot of people felt the Clips were robbed of a playoff spot last year, but a closer look at the roster leads one to believe reveals that a lot of these players underachieved. Aside from the big two of CP3 and Blake, LA didn’t get too much help from anybody except Kyle Korver, who is simply not a good enough third-best player for a team with deep playoff aspirations (just ask the Atlanta Hawks). With no first-round picks until 2017 and virtually no cap room, the Clippers might have to make some big decisions this summer.

CP3 says WE BETTER MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

The injuries to Kevin Durant basically knocked LA out of contention last year, which was a real shame because the Lakers had built quite a nice squad around him. This team has a slew of good big men, which is pure gold in this league, but the team needs a point guard in order to be a contender. A small free agent budget and few tradable assets make me doubt they’ll get it, though. This team is difficult to project, since it basically hangs on how well KD and Dirk do, which is impossible to predict.
Despite making the playoffs, last season was a letdown for the Lakers.

PHOENIX SUNS

Another team that probably should have made the playoffs but was bitten by the injury bug. Russell Westbrook gave one of the most memorable performances in recent memory during the end of last season, and there’s little reason to believe he’ll slow down this year – even with a healthy KD back. The Suns have one of the league’s best frontcourts, but a real lack of big men is a major problem. The likes of Gibson, Humphries and Johnson will just not get the job done. After missing out on the playoffs last year, I feel that Phoenix is going to be one of the hungriest teams this winter. This team thinks it is a contender, and I expect them to make at least one or two big moves before all is said and done.
On standby for last year’s Suns.

SACRAMENTO KINGS

The Kings started off last season as one of the league’s most dominant teams, but somewhere along the way Kobe got hurt and they lost two first-round picks. Dieng was a nice get at the end of last season, but now the Kings are left with Boogie, Rudy Gay and not many other bodies outside of the geriatric ward. West, Williams, Nelson, Crawford and probably Lopez will all be taking on smaller roles next year, leaving the Kings high and dry, and three of those guys will be 33, 35 and 35 at the start of the season. The only other two players on the roster are really fringe NBA players – in fact, one of them, Farmar, is playing in Israel this season, and Ennis will probably not sniff the basketball court this season playing behind Wade, Deng, Winslow, Green and probably Johnson and Richardson, too. This is the type of team to make a few moves to get them back up to competing at a high level, and a nearly $32 million budget is pretty darn good, but for now the Kings look like the odd man out in this stacked division. This is my surprise decline team for 2015-16. Even with Cousins, one of the league’s two or three most dominant players, there’s not much else to inspire a lot of hope – and depth is an issue. This team needs bodies.
The Kings have a lot of old guys on their roster, is what I’m suggesting with this photo selection.

PREDICTIONS:

1. Golden State
2. LA Lakers
3. Phoenix
4. LA Clippers
5. Sacramento
This is going to be a competitive division, and I bet four of these teams can make the playoffs, or even all five. So many superstars – Steph, Durant, Westbrook, Boogie – make this the division to watch for 2015-16. I’m predicting good seasons from KD and Dirk, which is the only reason I’ve placed the Lakers above Phoenix, who I expect will probably prove me wrong. The Clippers are in danger of becoming irrelevant in such a tough conference, and the Kings showed at the end of last season that the team is trending in the wrong direction. This division was hyper-competitive by last spring, but I suspect the Dubs can run away with it this time around.

 

RDFL 2015 Draft Recap

It was trade review #193 when I realized how ridiculous the Real Deal Draft really is.

Or maybe it was 194.  They all kind of blend together.  But it struck me clearly – the RDFL draft brings out the completely irrational in all of us, reveals humanity’s foibles, and conclusively demonstrates why if we actually ran into alien life on that far away planet 9 trillion light years away, they would punch us in our collective faces.

Finish Reading: RDFL 2015 Draft Recap

For one, the value of a draft pick fluctuates more than how much people care about Cecil the Lion.  Why do first round picks sometimes fly around like Jolly Ranchers and other times we hoard them like they are a real bona fide Saturday without yard work?  Why do all these guys get treated like can’t miss gods when they are in draft pick form, and then like worthless rubbish three games into the season?

The draft is fun.  It’s awesome.  But let’s keep in mind the context as we review it.  There’s more sense in a Donald Trump stump speech then in our confident trades and even more confident picks.  The draft resembles nothing quite so much as 32 drunken gypsies staggering around trying to tell the future using magic 8 balls.

Just a reminder that we really don't have a clue what we're doing...
Just a reminder that we really don’t have a clue what we’re doing…

And so, with that cynical assessment, let’s take a look at the round by round foolishness of the 2015 RDFL draft!

Round #1 – It’s been a bad year for Marcus Mariota.  The prevailing story of the real life NFL draft was Mariota NOT getting drafted by the team with all the good WRs (Tampa Bay) or traded to the team with the right system (Philly), but being drafted by that wasteland of offensive talent otherwise known as Tennessee.  Instead of Chip Kelly, Mike Evans, or Vincent Jackson, he instead got a fellow rookie with so many attitude issues that his attitude issues play poker with Ryan Leaf and John Rocker and win.

It was just as bad in RDFL, as he watched himself slide all the way down the draft board.  Gurley and Gordon made sense as the stud RBs in the class.  Jameis Winston had a clearly better landing spot.  Amari Cooper and Kevin White were the top receivers in the class.  Those five made a ton of sense.  And how can you fault the Pittsburgh Steelers for adding TJ Yeldon to pair with Le’Veon Bell in what should be a terrifying RB duo for years to come, particularly with Big Ben already sitting pretty at Quarterback?

But then the fall started.  Detroit grabbed Ameer Abdullah to partner with Gurley.  Nelson Agholor experienced the “I don’t have a clue who this fool or whether he has any talent or not, but I SAW what happened to Jordan Matthews last year Chip Kelly inflationary effect”.  The Tennessee Titans already had Teddy Bridgewater, and knew better than to bet on their host franchise QB, going with a second string RB instead in Tevin Coleman.  And the Chicago Bears swiped DaVante Parker rather than grabbing a successor for Jay Cutler (who also plays poker with Dorial-Green Beckham’s attitude issues).

After a long search, this thing has been conclusively identified as Jay Cutler's soul.
After a long search, this thing has been conclusively identified as Jay Cutler’s soul.

Sidenote here – I LOVE what Pittsburgh did with the double young stud back, and I think a lot of the early picks here were very nice – the league has obviously upped its drafting game in the last couple years.  But what I love most about this particular draft is how it has positioned the NFC North to continue to be insane.   The Packers have been a powerhouse for the last two years, and the Lions will continue to be good, following the “John Calipari one and done approach” to team-building, but Minnesota and Chicago have struggled.  Not too much longer.  The Vikings nailed the first round of this draft with Agholor, DGB (character issues aside – maybe they can help on defense), Eric Kendricks, Javorious Allen, Vic Beasley, and even Marcus Peters.  If the Vikes can turn AP and next year’s draft picks into a QB of the future and another back, this team could be very, very good in a couple of years.  And Chicago’s pick-up of DaVante Parker gives them a receiving core of Parker, Brandon Marshall, and the emerging Martavis Bryant to go along with Matt Forte and Jay Cutler.  Love this draft for the NFC North.

Back to Mariota.  Just when Mariota was beginning to wonder if he would EVER get drafted, the St. Louis Rams swooped in with a draft pick trade to the Chiefs and sniped him, bringing him in to sit on the bench behind Sam “Ima hurt something” Bradford.

For what it’s worth, I love the value of Mariota as the #11 pick.  The questions really revolve around that Tennessee offense.  St. Louis could be in the enviable position of having two top 15 quarterbacks and gain a king’s ransom in trade for one of them.  Or Mariota could struggle intensely and Bradford could get hurt.  I love the aggressive decision making and think it is a good move.  But only time will tell.

Other winners from round #1:

Minnesota – I know, I know.  I already mentioned him.  But man can I just tell you again how much I love this draft for Minnesota?  He knows he’s a full year away from competing.  And so trades the 1.1 away (Gurley) for multiple picks.  Then, he passes on Mariota knowing he still has some time and emerges from the first round with Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Eric Kendricks and Javorious Allen.  Just beautiful.  Love how this sets up the Vikings.  And love further trading away Kelvin Benjamin at the peak of his value for other very strong players.  Just good moves all around.

Tennessee – Another team that had good first round draft capital and used it well.  While I struggled with the Coleman pick and would have gone with one of the remaining wideouts or grabbed Mariota and traded him away for more picks, I thought the Titans redeemed themselves with value grabs of Devin Funchess at 16 and Stephone Anthony at 29.  We’ll talk more about this during the team preview capsules, but the Titans are another team I think are about to emerge from a “rebuilding” period and enter into “contender” mode.

Buffalo – While I’m not massively in love with either Duke Johnson or Jaelen Strong, I AM in love with getting those guys at 19 and 21 on the draft boards.  Great value picks from Buffalo – and a great job of putting himself in position to pick the best guys on the board rather than needing to draft for positional scarcity.  Of course, the greatest victory for Buffalo came after the draft when Arian “Australian for Running Back” Foster pulled his… ahem… his… WHAT hurts?

Last time Foster was injured, he tweeted this picture of his injury.  If he does that again... AVOID THE INTERNET PEOPLE.  POWER DOWN.  GO OFF THE GRID.  There's some things you can't unsee.
Last time Foster was injured, he tweeted this picture of his injury. If he does that again… AVOID THE INTERNET PEOPLE. POWER DOWN. GO OFF THE GRID. There’s some things you can’t unsee.

San Diego – Another team that scored big with two value picks that fell too far, I really liked San Diego’s grab of Kevin White when he (surprisingly to me) fell all the way to #6.  On top of that, scoring Bernardrick McKinney, a likely IDP stud at #30 was a very nice round #1 bookend.

I do have a question here, though.  Is Bernardrick just one name?  Or is it sort of like the modern equivalent of Jim Bob?  Bernard Rick?  Bernie Rick?  Bernie Dick?  I’m fine with whatever.  I just need to know what accent to say his name in.

Round #1 Wildcards:

Detroit – If we’ve learned one thing about Detroit over the past years, it is that he loves to zig while everybody else zags.  After trading away significant starters from last year’s team, the Lions had a plethora of picks to use in this round.  And after going the predictable route with Gurley at 1.1, you knew there were some surprises coming.  It’s not that I don’t love Detroit’s draft haul, or trust his acument at nailing surprises, but some of the choices here definitely qualified as surprises.

– Ameer Abdullah at 1.7 with Agholor, DaVante Parker, Tevin Coleman, and Mariota still on the board.

– Phillip Dorsett at 1.12 with DGB and Breshad Perriman still on the board

– Tyler Lockett at 1.17 with Jaelen Strong still on the board

– Garrett Grayson at 1.27 with countless guys who play football in the NFL still on the board

It’s a fascinating strategy – to get enough picks to swing for the fences – and then trade away most of the team to swing for the fences the next year.  And some picks (like Brandin Cooks) look inspired.  We’ll see there this draft nets out.

Odell and Breshad.  Locked into a titanic struggle since the beginning of time...
Odell and Breshad. Locked into a titanic struggle since the beginning of time…

Philadelphia –  Breshad Perriman.  The ultimate in Boom/bust drafting.  This guy could either light up the league at 1.14 as Joe Flacco’s stud deep threat.  Or he could turn out to the Anti-Odell Beckham.  I actually think it is distinctly possible that the two maintain the balance of the universe together.  Every time Breshad Perriman drops a ball that hits him right in the numbers, Odell Beckham must make a ridiculous catch, and every time Odell Beckham catches a ball with three fingers, a perfectly thrown ball has to bounce off Perriman’s facemask.  I don’t know quite why such a cosmic connection would exist between the two… but it seems very likely to be the case.

Put another way, Perriman is either going to a spectacular value.  Or he’s going to implode.

Kansas City – Talk about some super-questionable drafting.  The Chiefs passed on Marcus Mariota in return for more future draft picks from the Rams, and then spent 1.15 on Maxx Williams.  Maxx is the classic “big fish in a small pond”.  He’s the consensus best TE prospect in the class.  But does that mean great athletic ability, youth and potential, and an outstanding path to clear playing time?  Or does it mean Jeb Bush sucks less next to Donald Trump and by the way Dennis Pitta actually comes back and steals his playing time?  Risky draft for the Chiefs.

Round #2: I loved watching round #2 unfold.  A warm feeling of pride and appreciation blossomed in my heart.  The second round is tough.  There’s a lot of value left.  But it’s not your grandma’s value.  And in the past, we as a league have not always done great work in the second round.  But this year, it was obvious that we have collectively upped our draft game.  Much much higher pick quality in round #2 this year than in the past – a sure and certain sign that we are getting much, much better.

The second round in 2015 was the round of the big, defensive beef.  After only 3 linebackers and no defensive linemen came off the board in the first round, the second round saw 6 Linebackers go and EIGHT defensive linemen, including the likes of Leonard Williams, Arik Armstead, Dante Fowler, Randy Gregory, Mario Edwards, Danny Shelton, and Owamagbe Owhatthehellimgoingtogetlike19fingsacksnowthatJPPblewhishandoffwithfireworksizi.

It's pronounced "ort.com/articles/2389773-owamagbe-odighizuwa... Mar 11, 2015 · Oh-wah-MAH-bay Oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah.  I kid you not.   Maybe you will Diggy Zoo Wah.  Maybe you won't.  But either way, it's gonna be fun!
It’s pronounced “Oh-wah-MAH-bay Oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah.” I kid you not.
Maybe you will Diggy Zoo Wah. Maybe you won’t. But either way, it’s gonna be fun!

Interestingly, the second round also saw a startling trend in the neglect of defensive backs, an almost crazy development given how precious good safeties were last year and the opening of the ID position.  After the conclusion of the second round, the following were the positional counts drafted through 64 picks:

QB: 5

RB: 16

WR: 19

TE: 3

DL: 8

LB: 9

DB: 4 (2 S, 2 CB)

Despite the neglect of Defensive Backs, it was an exemplary round, with a lot of exceptional players being taken.

Well done, people.  Well Done.  Except for you, Arian Foster.  You made us all cringe.
Well done, people. Well Done. Except for you, Arian Foster. You made us all cringe.

 

My biggest takes on Round #2 Winners:

Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Rowe at 52 and Ty Montgomery at 59.  Josh Robinson is a bit of a wild card for me at 58, but when you get the next Packers receiver and an extremely talented, immediately starting host franchise defensive back with a pair of picks outside the top 50, you’ve got to be feeling pretty darn good about your draft.

Miami Dolphins: The Fins struggled a bit in the heart of their defense last year, and moved aggressively in the second round to fill that hole, snaring Randy Gregory and Shane Ray at 43 and 46, two picks I felt were particularly inspired for the position.

The Round #1 Winners: The Vikings kept up right were they left off, kicking off the round by sniping Vic Beasley.  And the Chargers also kept a great thing going, grabbing Odigeridoo late in the round as a starting, pass-rushing defensive end.  These two squads had very solid draft strategies throughout.

Atlanta: It was the falcons only pick of the round, but I thought that the Shaq Thompson pick at 39 was pure gold. A first round pick with a great defensive pedigree, a great defensive situation, and a clear path to playing time.  I love this pick both now and for the future.

Round #2 Wildcards:

QB Grabbers – Houston and San Francisco: Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley.  Both potential starting QBs in decent situations down the line.  But both looking at a multiple year learning curve, and neither one guaranteed a starting job ever.  It’s a tough place to be.  Starting quarterbacks are worth their weight in 1st rounders (even more valuable than gold), and if either of these guys finds their way into a starting role, they’ll be steals.  Particularly given that original real deal veterans are starting to reach ridiculous salary levels, making a cost-controlled starter an absolute gem.  That said, these guys are both relative longshots, and with some of the IDP studs still left on the board… it’s a gamble.

You've got got a heart so big, you could crush this town... I can't hold out forever... not even 'til the 3rd round!
You’ve got got a heart so big, you could crush this town… I can’t hold out forever… not even ’til the 3rd round!

TE Grabbers – Tampa Bay and Dallas: Similar scenario to KC in round #1 – this was not a strong draft for Tight Ends, and while both Pruitt and Walford are talented guys, real questions remain about whether or not either one will achieve a starting role.  Like QB, TEs can be very difficult to find if you don’t have one.  But taking a risky TE over Randy Gregory, Shaq Thompson, or Denzel Perryman?  Sometimes positional fit truly matters, particularly if a team is making a run for it.

Round #3: So remember what nobody drafted in rounds #1 and #2?  Yep.  That meant that by the time we got to round three, there were secondary studs so ripe they were literally falling out of trees into people’s hands.  Nine defensive backs went in round #3.  They were, in order, and I quote: Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson, Byron Jones, Clayton Geathers, Adrian Amos, James Sample, Jalen Collins, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and Senquez Golson.  In the THIRD round.  Every single one of those guys has the chance to win a starting slot in training camp.  I especially love the Marcus Peters (4 interceptions and 2 passes defensed in training camp today), Byron Jones (you seriously think Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick are going to hold this guy off?), Clayton Geathers (if only his name was Clifton), Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (because his name is not Owiuijaboard) and Senquez Golson (already making serious noise in camp at the end of round #3).

Moral of the story – if you swiped an offensive stud in round #1 and a killer LB or DL in round #2, you could still get an immediate top shelf DB in round #3.

So of course, who did that?  The ringer of the draft himself, Pedro “I’m not really an expert but then I stay at a holiday inn express and dominate the draft” Fiadeiro of the Minnesota Vikings, who I can’t stop gushing about.  He swiped offensive studs and LBs in round #1, Vic Beasley in round #2, and kicked off round #3 with Marcus Peters.  Inspired.  This team is going to be good in a couple of years.  Very good.

Other Winners of Round #3:

New England Patriots: Loved the draft moves here from the Pats.  On top of Ekpre-Olomu, the Pats also maximized their round three capital with WRs Jamison Crowder and Vince Mayle.  Not sure things by any stretch, but if you can afford them in round #3, this is the place to go for offensive lottery tickets.

New York Jets: Quietly grabbing Stefon Diggs at the start of the round might actually go down as the best pick of Round #3 – long term.  He’s already showing outstanding chemistry with Bridgewater, and with a couple of years under his built, there’s no reason that he couldn’t be the #2 to Charles Johnson for years to come.  And if Bridgewater turns out to be the stud he appears to be developing into…

Tennessee Titans: Tennessee is usually silent but deadly at these affairs.  You see him standing there… and then all of a sudden you smell it… and you fall to the ground screaming.  And he somehow walks away with all your best china.  Jake Ryan and Danielle Hunter are both some nice wild card picks who could turn in to very strong players if things break right.  I can’t say I entirely get the Punter draft pick – but hey, there just aren’t that many new punters who enter the league…  you’re right.  I’m totally justifying.

Round #4:  The round patterns in this draft were pretty clearly established:

– Round #1: Offensive studs (28)

– Round #2: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers (13)

– Round #3: Secondary (9)

– Round #4: Detroit Lions (13)  IN A ROW.  This goes down in the RDFL guinness book of draft records.

Unfortunately, at this point, my knowledge of which players are going to pan out and which are going to bust is pretty much nil.  Which is pretty much the same as for rounds 1-3.  The difference is that at this point in the draft, I know it.

That's why people shoot you, Cecil.  You hog all the 4th round picks!
That’s why people shoot you, Cecil. You hog all the 4th round picks!

Round #5:

Here are the guys in round #5 I think have a shot: Jeff Heuerman, Dezmin Lewis, Trey Flowers, Jordan Taylor, Ramik Wilson, Kaelin Clay, Kwon Alexander, Xavier Cooper, Kennard Blackman

Here are the guys who, therefore, actually have a shot: Everyone else.

Team previews coming out soon, my friends!  Keep up the good work, and be sure to trade my sorry butt a kicker!

 

 

3 Stars Real Deal Dynasty Baseball Week #15

Rougned Odor(CHC) was the top scoring Real Deal player in Week #15 as he scored 77.914pts.
Rougned Odor(CHC) was the top scoring Real Deal player in Week #15 as he scored 77.914pts.

 

Week #15: We have a new Top Dog in the Real Deal Dynasty League. The Houston Astros now have the best record in the league at 55-12 and have a 9 game lead in the AL West. They are ahead of the Texas Rangers and their 46-21 record. The once mighty Tampa Bay Rays of the AL East ran into the buzz saw known as the NL West. They dropped all 5 of their games in the past week and dropped to 53-14. They are still atop their division and hold a 3 game lead over the Boston Red Sox who have a 50-17 record. Tied for the second best record in the league with Tampa Bay is the Chicago Cubs out of the NL Central at 53-14. Not giving up the chase, the Milwaukee Brewers remain in second place and are only 3 games back with a 50-17 record. In the NL East, the New York Mets remain atop the division with a 46-21 record. The only other team in the division above the .500 mark are the second place Miami Marlins and their 42-25 record as they sit 4 games back. Then you have the mighty NL West. The top 4 teams are all within 3 games of each other and the last place Los Angeles Dodgers have an impressive 36-31 record (impressive for a last place team). Currentlty, the Colorado Rockies are atop the heap with a 43-24 record, but this division’s standings change on a weekly basis. The San Francisco Giants were once in last place and now they’re in second place at 42-25 and are only 1 game behind the Rockies. It appears that the Musical Chairs for first place will continue all the way to the final week of the regular season. Finally, you have the AL Central. Not to be outdone, they have the closest divisional race in the league. Both the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals are tied for first place with identical records of 42-25. They’re overall point totals are also close and only separated by about 150pts. That is close considering that they both have well over 15,000pts on the season.

Here’s a look at some of the top players for the week:

1B Joey Votto(BOS) had the second highest score of the week as he scored 77.9pts and led all 1B by a wide margin. He’d been on a slight slump lately as he had only scored 47pts in the last month. Now, he has bumped his season point total up to 396pts. That ranks him 3rd among 1B behind only Anthony Rizzo(CHC) & Paul Goldschmidt(ARI). David Ortiz(ATL) is really a DH, but since I don’t track a DH category, I had to slip him into the 1B slot which I think he will make an appearance at during inter-league MLB games. This past week, he scored 55.345pts and it was by far his best game of the season as he hadn’t even broken 30pts yet. He now has 287.662pts on the season.

2B The top scoring Real Deal Player this past week was by a mere .014pts as Rougned Odor(CHC) led all players with 77.914pts. So far, it’s been a tale of 2 different seasons for Odor. He stunk it up early(there’s your “Pun Of The Week”) with only about 33.5pts scored in the first 5 weeks. Then, he missed week’s 6-10. Since his return in week #11, he’s scored about 160pts in 5 weeks. The only other IF to score over 60pts was Robinson Cano(STL). He scored 65.827pts as he now has over 100pts in the last 3 weeks. He has 250.439pts on the season and is ranked 12th among 2B.

3B Only one 3B scored over 50pts and that was Kyle Seager(SFG). He scored 51.39pts this week & had 29.45pts last week as that marked his best two weeks of the season. That pushed him over the 300pt mark on the season with 308.727pts and he is ranked 6th among all 3B. Todd Frazier(HOU) is the top 3B in the Real Deal League with 429pts, but has struggled with 20pts in Week’s 13 & 14. He broke out this week with a 48.611pts. He now holds a 10pt lead over Josh Donaldson(TOR) in season points.

SS Jose Iglesias(LAD) started the season with 55pts in the first two weeks. Since then, he hasn’t had a 20pt week until now. He led all SS with 45.727pts. Getting over the 200pt mark on the season, he now has 214.268pts. The Real Deal League has 18 SS with over 200pts and Iglesias is ranked 15th. Another SS that just surpassed 200pts is Alexei Ramirez(STL) as he scored 44.322pts. It’s only the 2nd time this season he scored over 30pts as he had 31.434pts back in Week #5. He now has 221.773pts and is ranked 13th among shortstops.

OF Several OF’s scored over 50pts in this extended week, but only one OF scored over 60pts. It was none other than last week’s top outfielder as Mike Trout(MIA) led the way with 60.141pts. It was back to back 60pt weeks for Trout, and he’s the league’s leading OF with 472.808pts on the season. He’s now knocking on the door of Paul Goldschmidt(ARI) as the league’s top scorer. Goldschmidt was the first player in the league to reach the 500pt mark.

C There was only one catcher to score over 40pts. It would be who you’d expect it to be. Buster Posey(SFG) is the top scoring catcher in the league and has 100pts more than the second highest scoring catcher. He scored 44.136pts and now has 385.913pts on the season. Posey scored in single digits back in week’s #2 & 3, but has been in double digits every week since then. Rookie Alert! Rookie Alert! Kyle Schwarber(CHC) made his Real Deal debut and cruised with a 38.375pt performance as he made playing in the Real Deal look easy. Not too shabby of a start to his career.

SP Clayton Kershaw(LAD) is on a hot streak as he scored 32.75pts last week and led all SP’s with 53.75pts this week. He was the only SP to score over 40pts. He’s also second among all SP’s with 267.75pts. Max Scherzer(DET) is the top SP with 279.25pts. After getting bombed the week before and scoring -11.5pts, Cole Hamels(PHI) got back on track as he scored 36pts in Week #15. Hamels has been up & down the past 4 weeks with two weeks in negative points and two weeks with over 25pts. He now has 188.5pts on the season and is ranked 16th for all SP’s.

RP With the extended week, the RP scores really shot up. Craig Kimbrel(WAS) led the way with a 35.5 performance. That put him in double digits in 3 of the last 4 weeks as he now has 165.75pts on the season. That ranks him 6th for RP’s. Andrew Miller(BOS) finally got back into double digits as he scored 28.75pts. He missed weeks 11-13 and only scored 6.25pts last week. In the first 9 weeks of the season, he had 124.5pts, but had only scored 6.5pts the next 4 weeks before his 28.75pt week. He now has 159.75pts on the season.

To see all the players listed as the 3 Stars, check them out below:

FIRST BASE:

Joey Votto…………………..Red Sox……………..77.900

David Ortiz…………………Braves……………….55.345

Adrian Gonzalez………….Dodgers……………..52.558

SECOND BASE:

Rougned Odor…………….Cubs………………….77.914

Robinson Cano……………Cardinals……………65.827

Jose Altuve…………………Astros………………..55.973

THIRD BASE:

Kyle Seager…………………Giants……………….51.390

Todd Frazier………………..Astros……………….48.611

Mike Moustakas…………..Royals………………45.699

SHORTSTOP:

Jose Iglesias………………..Dodgers…………….45.727

Alexei Ramirez……………Cardinals…………..44.322

Ian Desmond……………….D-Backs……………44.290

OUTFIELDER:

Mike Trout………………….Marlins……………….60.141

Carlos Gonzalez…………..Rockies………………58.190

Nelson Cruz…………………Rockies………………56.645

CATCHER:

Buster Posey………………..Giants…………………44.136

Kyle Schwarber……………Cubs……………………38.375

J.T. Realmuto………………Marlins………………..37.140

STARTING PITCHER:

Clayton Kershaw………….Dodgers……………….53.750

Cole Hamels………………..Phillies………………..36.000

Garrett Richards…………..Angels…………………33.750

RELIEF PITCHER:

Craig Kimbrel……………..Nationals……………..35.500

Andrew Miller……………..Red Sox………………28.750

Joaquin Benoit…………….Padres………………….26.500