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As spring training 2.0 ended and games officially began in late July, we all knew this baseball season would be unlike any other. There were new rules for extra innings, shortened doubleheaders and a universal DH. We could only make our best guesses about how to alter strategy to take advantage.
NFL Week 2 Weather Updates: Rain, wind could affect fantasy start 'em, sit 'em decisions
Rain and wind are in the forecast for a few games this week, but it looks like fantasy football owners will get off easy. With an assist from meteorologist Kevin Roth at RotoGrinders, we look at the most worrisome Week 2 NFL weather forecasts.Before we get into the forecasts, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that if you have any questions about sports weather or how weather could impact play (and, potentially, your fantasy, DFS, and gambling decisions), don't hesitate to reach out to Rotogrinders' meteorologist Kevin Roth on Twitter (@KevinRothWx) or check out the hourly NFL weather forecasts on RotoGrinders.
What we didn’t know was that some teams would be idle for two weeks or more as coronavirus outbreaks interrupted their best efforts to keep players from being exposed.
We had no idea one of the biggest trade deadline moves would involve a top-tier pitcher — Mike Clevinger — who may or may not have been dealt because he broke protocol.
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And who could have predicted first-round picks Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Nolan Arenado would struggle at the plate for almost the entire 60-game schedule, putting their fantasy teams in a hole that would be almost impossible to escape.
But despite all the obstacles, it looks as if we’re going to make it to the finish line of this truncated 2020 season. The real question is ... have we learned anything we can take into 2021?
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For starters, Fernando Tatis Jr. is a legitimate superstar. Sure, there was support for him as a potential first-round pick this spring, but there were also questions about his ability to stay healthy and how far he would regress from the numbers he posted as a rookie (especially a .410 batting average on balls in play).
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Tatis was this season’s most valuable fantasy player — right up until a mini-slump in September. It seems odd, but his accomplishments over 50-plus games have seemingly validated what he did over 84 games a year ago. But that’s 2020, for ya.
Meanwhile, Shane Bieber lapped the field among pitchers. Entering the final week of the regular season, Bieber led the majors in wins (eight), strikeouts (112) and ERA (1.74). That should put him solidly in next year’s first round as well.
While the excellence of Tatis and Beiber is apparent, there are still many more questions than answers as the season comes to a close.
Are starting pitchers becoming an endangered species? Lasting just the minimum five innings to qualify for a win seems to be asking a lot these days. Perhaps the compressed schedule and frequent doubleheaders had something to do with it, but a greater percentage of pitcher wins has gone to relievers this season (47.9%) than ever before in baseball history.
Stolen bases continue to decline. Just a couple weeks ago, Adalberto Mondesi had the lowest on-base percentage and slugging percentage in the majors, but he’s leading everyone in stolen bases — and as a result, he’s a borderline top-30 hitter with a $21 Roto value.
Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit - Week 3
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut. For the rest of your lineup decisions, consult our Week 3 rankings. You can also listen to the Week 3 preview episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast. Start Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. Bengals Early-season injuries to hisFor the rest of your lineup decisions, consult our Week 3 rankings. You can also listen to the Week 3 preview episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast.
So yeah, there’s so much about this season that just doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps it would have become clear if we could’ve played 162 games instead of 60. We’ll certainly have to alter some things for next year, starting with 10 games played at a position instead of 20 to qualify for fantasy eligibility.
But as we look at the standings in our leagues as the season winds down, there’s one overriding feeling: We didn’t really lose; we just ran out of time.
Voit wasn’t ranked highly this spring because of injury concerns, but on a Yankees team that’s been hit hard, Voit has played almost every game. With one week to play, he led the majors in home runs (21) and was second in RBI (49).
A fringe top-200 player and the No. 23 first baseman on draft day, Voit vaulted into the top 10 hitters for the season. Roto value (5x5 mixed leagues via Baseball HQ): $33.
Bieber deserves consideration, but he was still a second-round pick. Maeda wasn’t even among the top 50 pitchers on draft day, but he’ll finish in the top five.
Despite going 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA and a league-leading 0.76 WHIP, Maeda still managed to fly under the radar — until he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Brewers on Aug. 18.
He’s posted a career-high 17.3% swinging strike rate and career-low walk rate. Yes, hitters have a ridiculously low .197 average on balls in play against him, but even unsustainable trends can hold up over 10 starts. Roto value: $31.
Week 3 DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football cash games
We're targeting players with high floors in our Week 3 DraftKings cash game picks. Our strategy involves spending up for RBs in good matchups and picking a couple of sleepers that could make or break our NFL DFS lineup.This week, our strategy was to pay up for some of the RBs who will be in good matchups this week, as the pricing for them wasn't too bad. After landing a few safe players there, we spent down at QB and TE and used a target-based approach to find some potential sleepers at receiver. The pricing made it easy to craft what looks like a quality lineup and we were able to land what is both a safe and underrated QB-WR stack in the process.
Lewis broke out of the gate with home runs in each of his first two games. Those who jumped on the bandwagon early ended up rostering a top-15 outfielder.
The rookie outfielder entered the final week of the season with a .280 average, 11 homers, 35 runs, 28 RBI and three steals — fantastic production across the board for someone who wasn’t even among the top 100 outfielders on draft day.
There were many slow starters who never had enough time to turn things around, but Martinez stands out because he continued to play every day. Fantasy managers had to keep him in their lineups each week, just in case he returned to the form that warranted his preseason ADP of 22.
Instead, he’s barely kept his batting average over .200, while hitting only five home runs in a depleted Red Sox offense. Roto value: $1.
Runners-up: Jose Altuve ($2), Javier Baez ($5), Shohei Ohtani ($9), Alex Bregman ($0), Matt Boyd ($-20)
Biggest in-season turnaround: Jeff McNeil, Mets
This award doesn’t carry as much weight as it would over 162 games, but McNeil was able to do what Martinez and other slow starters weren’t.
He had no home runs in the first “half” of the season. Through the Mets’ first 30 games he was slashing .253/.326/.304. Since then, he’s been much closer to the hitter I thought had the best chance to chase .400 in a short season — posting a .388/.467/.663 line with four homers and 14 RBI.
Breakout performer of the year: Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays
Perhaps the short season had a role, but Hernandez finally showed what he can do with regular playing time. He’s among the leaders in hard contact percentage, which has resulted in 16 home runs and a batting average nearly 80 points higher than he had last year.
The Sweet 16: MLB playoff power rankings
The weirdest regular season in modern baseball history is officially behind us. Get ready for the most unusual postseason you've ever seen. For the first time ever, Major League Baseball's playoff pool will comprise 16 teams, eight from each league, with the march to the World Series unfolding primarily at neutral sites. After the best-of-three wild-card round, another new wrinkle for 2020, the surviving teams will move into bubble environments to play out the division series, league championships, and World Series, which will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.There will be no home-field advantage after the first round.
Kyle Tucker of the #Astros launches his first Homer of the spring over the Mini Monster against the Red Sox. I'm here for the Kyle Tucker breakout party. pic.twitter.com/6dbOLJ3J5h
— Steve Gardner (@SteveAGardner) March 5, 2020
Comeback player of the year: Jurickson Profar, Padres
Admit it, you gave up on Profar after he hit .218 and left Oakland for a utility role in San Diego. Still just 27, he’s become an everyday left fielder, while displaying both power and speed and posting a career high on-base percentage.
Top 15 for 2021
Finally, let’s take a quick look at some of the players who will be fueling the conversation over the offseason in preparation for next year’s drafts:
1. OF Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
2. OF Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
3. OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
4. OF Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
5. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
6. SS Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
7. OF Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
8. SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
9. SS Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
10. SP Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
11. 1B Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
12. 3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
13. SP Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
14. SP Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
15. OF Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter throughout the MLB playoffs and the offseason @SteveAGardner.
Sept. 21: Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius leaps over the Washington Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera after a force out at second base in the first inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won the game, 5-1.
Sept. 19: New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu hits a comebacker to Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Dylan Covey during the sixth inning at Fenway Park.
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Sept. 18: The Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez is tagged out by Detroit Tigers catcher Austin Romine as he tries to steal home plate during the fourth inning at Comerica Park. The Indians won the game, 1-0.
Sept. 17: The Minnesota Twins' Josh Donaldson kicks dirt on home plate after hitting a home run against the Chicago White Sox as umpire Dan Bellino looks on at Guaranteed Rate Field. Donaldson was ejected from the game. The White Sox won the game, 4-3.
Sept. 16: The Milwaukee Brewers' Jacob Nottingham (26) celebrates with teammate Orlando Arcia (3) after hitting a 2-run homer in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. The Brewers won the game, 6-0.
Sept. 15: The Chicago White Sox's Yasmani Grandal slides safely into second base as Minnesota Twins second baseman Travis Blankenhorn reaches for the throw during the third inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won the game, 6-2.
Sept. 7: Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro tags out the Atlanta Braves' Adeiny Hechavarria at home plate during the seventh inning at Truist Park. The Marlins won the game, 5-4.
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Sept. 6: Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. jumps over Boston Red Sox baserunner Xander Bogaerts grab a pickoff throw from the catcher during the first inning at Fenway Park. The Blue Jays won the game, 10-8.
Sept. 2: Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Jonathan Villar unsuccessfully attempts to throw out the Miami Marlins' Starling Marte at first in the seventh inning at Marlins Park. The Blue Jays won the game, 2-1.
Aug. 30: The Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield steals second base as Chicago White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal collects the throw during the sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won the game, 5-2.
Aug. 22: The Los Angeles Angels' Luis Rengifo (4) is thrown out stealing second base against the Oakland Athletics as second baseman Tony Kemp tahs him out during the eighth inning at Oakland Coliseum. The Angels won the game, 4-3.
Aug. 18: Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp throws to first to complete the double play after forcing out sliding Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Starling Marte in the second inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won the game, 10-1.
Aug. 16: Boston Red Sox pinch hitter Jose Peraza knocks the ball from the glove of New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton as Britton tries to tag him on a ground ball during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Peraza was safe at first on the play. The Yankees went on to win the game, 4-2.
Aug. 7: The Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield (15) is tagged out by Minnesota Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer in a rundown between first and second base in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won the game, 3-2.
Aug. 6: Chicago White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez (74) falls into the netting along the left-field line while attempting to catch a ball hit off the bat of Christian Yelich, who got an inside-the-park home run on the play. The Brewers won the game, 8-3, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Aug. 5: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa tags out the Arizona Diamondbacks' Starling Marte on an attempted steal of second base during the sixth inning at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won the game, 14-7.
Aug. 4: Los Angeles Angels left fielder Brian Goodwin watches a hit fall to the turf in front of him against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. The Angels won the game, 5-3.
Aug. 3: The Milwaukee Brewers' Ben Gamel (16) is tagged out by Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu after being picked off of first base during the sixth inning at Miller Park. The White Sox won the game, 6-4.
Aug. 2: A cardboard cutout of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is seen in the stands before the game between the and Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mahomes is part owner of the Royals.
Aug. 1: Kansas City Royals center fielder Bubba Starling has the ball pop out of his glove and go over the wall for a three-run home run by Chicago White Sox batter Eloy Jimenez during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.
July 30: Kansas City Royals right fielder Franchy Cordero makes a jumping catch at the wall on a ball hit by the Detroit Tigers' JaCoby Jones during the fifth inning at Comerica Park. The Royals won the game, 5-3.
July 29: Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings tags the Milwaukee Brewers' Eric Sogard out at home plate as umpire C.B. Bruckner looks on during the third inning at PNC Park. The Brewers won the game, 3-0.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2020 fantasy baseball awards: Celebrating the best, worst from a season unlike any other
Week 4 Fantasy Defense Rankings: Sleepers, busts, waiver-wire D/ST streamers to target
Sleepers and matchup-based streamers are going to be popular as always for D/STs in fantasy football this week, and our Week 4 fantasy defense rankings have some tips and advice on the best units to start in your matchup.Week 3 knocked out a good chunk of top-tier fantasy defenses because of poor matchups -- the Chiefs-Ravens, Packers-Saints, and Rams-Bills games all dropped defenses that would normally be startable out of the top 12. Week 4 looks a lot better. The Ravens (@ Washington), Rams (vs. Giants), and Saints (@ Lions) all should be able to put together nice outings and are likely worth starting.
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Penn State will move forward without All-America LB Micah Parsons .
Penn State coach James Franklin confirmed that linebacker Micah Parsons won't return to the football team after opting out due to COVID-19 concerns.Jeremy Pruitt ‘is a force to be reckoned with in the East, ultimately SEC as a whole'