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January 11, 2:05 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (3:02 PM)

Good afternoon gang. It's raining here where I am, making it gloomy. Hopefully, we can be a little more upbeat during the next sixty minutes. We're open for NFL, MLB and even some early Bracketology. Let's go!

Britt (Delaware)

Please defend your comment from yesterday that Utley is a 3rd Rounder. I think we all could use the laugh.

AJ Mass
  (3:06 PM)

Thanks for the question Britt. It seems I ruffled a lot of feathers with that statement, but I'm not backing down. It makes ME laugh that people feel I'm insulting Utley by saying in a 10-team league he might be 21st out of 500 hitters. Utley will hit .300 and hit 25 HRs, scoring 100 or so runs and driving in a little more than that. But because he's not going to steal more than 10-15 bases, he's behind a lot of OF's who will go close to 30-30. I'm not apologizing for the placement. Feel free to disagree.

Benjamin (Middletown, DE)

AJ, do the Kentucky Wildcats have a chance at making the NCAA field of 65?

AJ Mass
  (3:08 PM)

Ben, everyone has a chance because of the play-in tournaments... but it looks like the Wildcats will have to win out that way to get in through the backdoor. Right now there are at least 7 teams in the SEC I would take before even thinking about Ky.

Bob (Seattle)

Yo AJ! Ichiro or Holliday? I've got the 3rd pick.

AJ Mass
  (3:10 PM)

I think 3rd is too high for both of those guys. And because you're in Seattle, I doubt Ichiro will be there when the snake comes back your way. If your heart is set on one of the two, Holliday isn't awful there, but perhaps you'd be better served trading down.

Rich orlando

A keeper baseball league question. On a one year basis only would you rather keep Mark Teixeira or CC Sabathia AND Jorge Posada.

AJ Mass
  (3:13 PM)

For one year only... I'd go with CC and Jorge. There are a lot of guys who can get you Teixeira-type numbers, but CC is a staff ace and the catching position doesn't have a lot of options that are vastly better than Posada.

Britt (Delaware)

AJ, thanks for the response on Utley. I respect your stance and your standing behind it. I am curious as to who are the 'lot of OF's who will go close to 30-30' you refer to. Can we please get some clarification as to specific players you see reaching these stats? Also, do you ever consider position scarcity into your rankings? Seems that there are many more possible outfield selections, thus diluting their value, than there are any infield slot, including 2B.

AJ Mass
  (3:20 PM)

Thanks for being civil, Britt - a far cry from some of the comments I've received. There are lots of 30-30 possible guys (not just in the OF, though many are) --- Beltran, Sizemore, Granderson, Rios, Hart and Upton, Rollins, Hanley, ARod, Phillips, Soriano. That's 11 or so off the top of my head. Then we get a guy like Byrnes who could be 20-40. Abreu at 20-30. Guys like that also have 5-cat value. Utley is a good ballplayer. But just because he's my 2nd choice at 2B doesn't mean I bump him anymore than I take V-Mart in the 2nd round because catchers are thin. I need to start 5 OF and only 1 2B. That makes OF far more important to get early in my book - and I'll grab a pitcher or two earlier than most as well since I need 9.

Ira (LA)

Which side would you rather have? Prince Fielder or Carlos Lee and Fransisco Liriano for 2008?

AJ Mass
  (3:23 PM)

I think I'd go with Lee and Liriano, simply because you haven't given me a pitcher on the other side of the equation. If I need 9 pitchers, I'd like Liriano to be one of them. And the difference between Fielder and Lee isn't great, though I rate Prince a tad higher.

Stephen

how low do u think jeter will go in fantasy leagues

AJ Mass
  (3:25 PM)

Where's your draft? You know Jeter will go quicker than he should in NYC, and in a league with several Yankee fans, he'll also be snatched up quickly. I could just stir the pot and say he should go one pick before Utley... but Derek has lost a little pop and I'd place him around Round 5.

Todd (Milwaukee)

Speaking of 30-30 types and position scarcity, would you rather keep Phillips or Rios if your other three keepers were 1B, 3B and OF? I pick 9th in a 12 team league that keeps four.

AJ Mass
  (3:27 PM)

I'd keep Phillips. When it comes to keepers, I think you have to view positional scarcity a little differently than a draft from scratch. Utley is a definite KEEPER at 2B. As is Phillips.

Andy

how about an NFL question or 2!!

AJ Mass
  (3:28 PM)

Andy, I can only answer what I am asked, dude!

Craig ( Reading, PA)

OK I had this discussion with you yesterday but there is a big difference if you start FIVE OF's. All my leagues start 3 OF's and 1 Utility spot. In these leagues I don't see how Utley isn't a first rounder. .320, 120, 30, 120, 15 are all very attainable in that offense he's in.

AJ Mass
  (3:33 PM)

Granted, those are attainable, but I think last year was definite ceiling for Chase. If everything goes perfectly, then maybe he gets the numbers you predict. I don't think he will. You do. Doesn't make either or us more right or more wrong today. If I end up wrong, I'll admit it... but we won't know in January.

Jason (Atlanta)

AJ, if you had to pick today, would you keep P. Hughes, T. Pena, C. Marmol or F. Liriano with your final keeper spot? (12 keepers, all salaries are the same for this particular group)

AJ Mass
  (3:36 PM)

I love Marmol, and I think he'll get a turn as closer at some point.

Craig ( Reading, PA)

I agree, everyone has their own opinion and I respect you for standing by yours. I guess my question then would be how was last year a ceiling for Chase when he only played 130 games? The only career high he obtained last year was in batting average.

AJ Mass
  (3:41 PM)

Indulge me folks... because this is, well, a CHAT, and me and Craig are chatting. If you assume Utley to have 100 more at-bats last season (reasonable given the 30 games he missed) he'd have broken his career high in RBI easily. Steals - not even close and 16 is his top total. I don't think he would have reached his highest run total either. He had a phenomenal year. No argument there. It could have been better if he hadn't been hurt... true. But I don't think he reaches the milestones you set out for him... not all of them anyways.

Dave (King of Prussia, PA)

As long as we're on the topic of the Phillies, what type of year do you expect from RyHo?

AJ Mass
  (3:44 PM)

More of the same. He'll hit his 40 HRs... allowing Chase to pad those runs scored stats a bit. He may bring the average up a bit, but I don't think we'll see him hit .300 again like he did a few years ago.

Chase (Philly)

I rule, can we move on please

AJ Mass
  (3:45 PM)

LOL.

Hoopachoo (NYC)

Assuming Pac-10 gets at least 6 or 7 teams in the tourney this year, do the Golden Bears get in?

AJ Mass
  (3:47 PM)

That's a huge assumption, Hoop. The Non-Conf RPI for the Pac 10 is hideous. Let's get Cal over the .500 mark for the Pac-10 season before we start talking anything but the NIT for them.

Hoopster (PA)

Is 'Nova an Elite Eight squad? What's your take on Notre Dame and Mike Brey? Are the going dancing and will this be his last year?

AJ Mass
  (3:52 PM)

Nova is going to struggle to reach the Elite Eight of the Big East. (I keed.) It's such a tough conference. I think Nova has a lot of work to do to MAKE the dance. That schedule has been really soft. Same with ND on the soft schedule - it will all come down to which teams win 10 in the conference. They're the ones to get in. I think ND might squeak by, but yes, if they fail I think there'll be a coaching change.

Tyler (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Let's get a football question asked and answered...is Jennings an ok start this weekend against the Seahawks? I keep hearing he has been limited in practice. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (3:54 PM)

What receivers haven't been? TO, Welker, Branch, Jennings... all have had issues. I think Jennings will play and do quite well.

John ( MD)

In a an auction style keeper league, $260 cap, would you prefer to keep one stud, Jose Reyes ($35), or keep a group of lesser players such as VMart ($13), Del Young ($14), Kinsler ($5), Pence ($5)??

AJ Mass
  (3:56 PM)

I'd rather keep the group of guys. Especially because there's no reason that you can't pick up Reyes in the auction after you throw him back. Even if it is at a higher price than the $35, you're not likely to get a Kinsler anywhere near $5 for example, and this way you have a better idea of what your team needs are.

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

We've got time for just a few more...

Franco (NYC)

Umm... Villanova is #17 in the country right now? how can you say they will struggle to make the dance? I don't think they will be Elite 8 team, but they have some nice young talent there.

AJ Mass
  (4:00 PM)

And the polls have absolutely no effect on tourney selection. What does have an effect is that if you take away the wins against teams with an RPI over 200, Nova is only 5-2, and the win over a crippled Pitt team isn't going to hold much water if that team collapses. Talented? Yes. But they're not even close to a lock.

Jim (Cambridge, MA)

Whom should I keep as my last two keepers in an 8 team 5x5 mixed roto league with 8 keepers - CC, Dunn, C Guillen, Figgins, Weeks, Nathan, Atkins? I have Wright, Beltran, Papi, Peavy, BJ Upton, and Mauer already. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (4:03 PM)

Goodness, Jim. An 8 team league gives you quite the keeper list. I think I'd keep CC, Guillen and Atkins and throw Mauer back to the wolves.

AJ Mass
  (4:03 PM)

That's it for today, gang. Thanks to all for your Q's. We'll do it again real soon.