Archives for: 2008, week 35

09/03/08

NFL 2008: Projected Fantasy Football Standouts

Permalink 05:29:39 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

Thousands of NFL fans are busy finalizing fantasy draft lists and rosters. The NFL season officially begins tomorrow (9/4/08) when New York's Super Bowl Champion Giants host Washington. Here's a brief list of my projected '08 top performers for draftees to ponder.

Quarterbacks
Tony Romo (Dallas)
Drew Brees (New Orleans)
Tom Brady (New England)
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis)
Eli Manning (New York)

Running Backs
LaDanian Tomlinson (San Diego)
Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)
Marion Barber (Dallas)
Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia)
Brandon Jacobs (New York)

Wide Receivers
Terrell Owns (Dallas)
Randy Moss (New England)
Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona)
Marques Colston (New Orleans)
Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis)

Tight Ends
Jason Witten (Dallas)
Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City)
Antonio Gates (San Diego)
Kellen Winslow (Cleveland)
Dallas Clark (Indianapolis)

Kickers
Nick Folk (Dallas)
Josh Brown (Seattle)
Mike Nugent (New York)
Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis)
Nate Kaeding (San Diego)

Defense / Special Teams
Seattle
Chicago
Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay
Carolina

09/02/08

NL's Arms Race. Cy Young Up for Grabs

Permalink 09:00:00 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

NL pitchers have been putting on quite a display in '08. Official voters will have plenty to contemplate when filling out ballots at seasons end. Arizona's Brandon Webb appeared as odds on favorite for most of the year. Recent trade deadline deals, emergence of young pitchers, and a wide open September pennant race will all factor into who walks away with NL Cy Young hardware.

The field:
Brandon Webb (Arizona, 19-6, 3.19). Webb has dominated NL West opponents winning 9 of 11 decisions. He's the main reason Arizona has held onto first place this year. The only radar screen blip has been back to back defeats while trying for his first ever 20 win season. It is the pressure of 20? Or, is his arm tiring? I'm sure Diamondback coaches will be keeping a careful eye after pitching 7 or more innings in 6 of his last 7 starts before suffering two straight blowout losses. Otherwise, this has been a solid Cy Young campaign. Webb began the year on fire winning nine straight. He's been the model of efficiency and consistency evidenced by season high single game pitch total of 113 (shutout). Throwing strikes and making hitters miss is what it's all about. He's only pitched less than 6 innings in 5 of 29 starts while earning decisions in 25. How he performs in the pennant race will decide his fate.

CC Sabathia (9-0, 1.43). Milwaukee went out and made headlines with a trading deadline deal acquiring 2007 AL Cy Young winner CC. He struggled early on in Cleveland but has been baseball's best since becoming a Brewer. He's owned NL hitters striking out 85 in 88 innings, 6 of 9 complete games highlighted by 3 shutouts. His presence makes Milwaukee a World Series contender while his performances have been of MVP calibur. Do these stellar starts garner recognition by sportswriters for Cy Young when considering his abbreviated NL status? If he wins out the rest of the way... or wins all but one decision then I think he'll be more than deserving. This is reminiscent of 1984 when Rick Sutcliffe went 16-1 (unanimous NL Cy Young winner) leading the Cubs into post season play. Sabathia is in the zone.

Edinson Volquez (Cincinnati, 16-5, 3.04). Cincy's young star completely baffled NL hitters in April (4-0, 1.23) and May (3-1, 1.63). Hitters couldn't figure him out (88 K's in 68 April/May innings). Has yet to have a losing month while pitching for a subpar team. He's faces a tough list of nominee's. It'll be hard to over look his season if he surpasses 20 wins. Competitive field will have many receiving first place votes.

Todd Lincecum (15-3, 2.43). I remember laughing early on after learning of a manager in one of my fantasy leagues trading Soriano for Lincecum. Well, Soriano got hurt and 2nd year newcomer Lincecum has been nothing less than sensational on the mound for floundering San Francisco. He's wiffed 210 in 185 frames. This kid has surpassed the hype attributed to his quick rise to stardom. San Fran's future is bright anchored by Lincecum's arm. He'll get plenty of votes in this years wide open arms race. Will pitching for a losing team hurt his chances?

Ryan Dempster (15-5, 2.95) has been Chicago's unsung hero on a team full of stars. Media spotlights always shine on the likes of Zambrano, Soto, Soriano, Wood, Lee and Marmol. Dempster has done his part with 15 victories and holding NLers to a paultry .218 average. He's won 7 of 8 decisions vs playoff contenders (3-0 vs rival Milwaukee). 20 wins is not out of reach. I think he's the longshot who probably won't get many, if any, first place votes.

This grouping is so close votes probably won't be finalized until after game 162. If Sabathia wins out then he'd get my vote with no questions asked especially if Milwaukee beat out Chicago for the division crown and home field advantage. Should CC prove he's only human down the stretch and Webb bounces back to form, then he's next in line. It's going to be another wild September in all three NL divisions.

09/01/08

3 AL Hurlers Battling for Cy Young Award

Permalink 08:30:19 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

As the 2008 baseball season enters its' final month, the American League arms race has been narrowed to three. Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Francisco Rodriguez are having exceptional years on the mound. They're front runners for this seasons AL Cy Young Award.

Cliff Lee's (19-2, 2.43) return to prominence has been a fun story to follow. Heading into spring training Lee was viewed as a long shot to make Cleveland's opening day roster. Arm injuries (5-8, 6.29 in '07) seemed to curtail a once promising career (18-5, 3.97 in '05). He was not expected to be much of a factor pitching behind CC Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona and Paul Byrd. Lee put all the naysayers to shame. His tough work ethic helped rebuild a weakened pitching arm and sheer determination did the rest. He's sporting an AL best 19 victories and league low 2.43 ERA while pitching for an Indians team which never lived up to their expected potential this year. Nonetheless, Lee's been Clevelands stopper. He hasn't lost a decision since July 6th and allowed no more than 2 earned runs in 20 of 26 games. Cliff has proven staying ahead of hitters has its' advantages (only 27 walks, 8 HR in 185.1 innings).

Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay (17-9, 2.69) has kept hitters off balance most of the year. Halladay is no stranger to the Cy Young race having won back in 2003 (22-7, 3.25... 3rd in '06, 5th in '07). His stuff has been nasty all season long stiffling opponents bats. Eight complete games leads all pitchers and sports a winning record in every month after April. Six victories have been posted against New York and Boston, arch division rivals. Halladay is probably on the outside looking in as of now. His stock will rise if Lee hits a bump in the road.

Los Angeles Angels closer extraordinaire Francisco Rodriguez (2-2, 2.47, 53 Saves) is on the verge of shattering MLB's All Time Saves Record held by Bobby Thigpen (57). August was his only month in '08 without double digit save totals. The Angels know leads are safe after 8 innings when FRod takes the ball. He knows how to make major league hitters look like little leaguers (65 strikeouts in 57 innings). His stuff is flat out nasty. Near 100 mph fastball coupled with a knee buckling breaking ball makes this guy nearly untouchable. Expect Halos Mgr Scioscia to give Rodriguez every shot to become baseball's first ever 60 save man.

Great debates take place this time of year. Should relievers be considered for Cy Young or MVP Awards? Should starting pitchers be considered MVP's when their teams aren't contending? What determines a most valuable player? Best stats or most wins? These dicussions garner much intensity year after year.

Rodriguez must be considered the front runner for '08 Cy Young. He's on the verge of unchartered territory (60 saves) while being the games most dominant hurler. Anything can still happen but it'll take a lot to knock this guy off of his perch as odds on favorite. Halladay and Lee have been great, FRod has been the best. Honorable mention and recognition is given to Mike Mussina (16-7, 3.41) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2, 2.82).