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February 5, 3:19 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (2:59 PM)

Welcome to the Tuesday 3pm chat, gang. Nate couldn't be here, I think he fell asleep sometime during Dr. Zaius' halftime show at the Super Bowl and hasn't woken up yet. Anyway, I'll be here for the next hour to talk NFL wrapup, MLB preview and NCAA Bracketology. Let's start Freefalling, Cornelius!

brad (harrisburg, pa)

plain and simple: the best hitting stats/ratios to look at when projecting a player for the season?

AJ Mass
  (3:01 PM)

I really like looking back at what a player has done over the past few seasons, and adjusting in relation to his trend in runs created per game. To me, that's one of the most telling stats for projection purposes.

Nick (Greenwich, CT)

Hey AJ!! How do u think the Yankees offense will be this year? As a fan, the team's getting older. We're trying to piece together our bench and rotation. Do u see a solid offensive year for most Yankee hitters? (AROD, Jeter, Matsui, Cano, Abbreu, POSADA)

AJ Mass
  (3:04 PM)

A-Rod will be A-Rod, though he may not get off to such a hot start - last April was insane. Abreu also is a solid fantasy pick. I'm not all that high on Cano, Posada or Matsui, on relation to their positions, but as a unit, the Yankees should be fine.

Mike cincy

why does mathew hate us

AJ Mass
  (3:04 PM)

Maybe because you don't spell Matthew's name right.

Chris (NYC)

AJ, I've got to keep 5 in a 10 team keeper league and so far I decided to lock in my infield with Howard, Upton, Tulo and Braun. Who do you like more for the final slot - Morneau or Berkman?

AJ Mass
  (3:05 PM)

I like Berkman slightly better than Morneau.

Bob Knight (Retirement Village)

Who gives a %$#%$# about college hoops!

AJ Mass
  (3:07 PM)

Now, now Bobby. Just because your team isn't going to the NCAA's that's no reason to quit. Oh wait, I guess it is.


Who is in your top 5 catchers?

AJ Mass
  (3:08 PM)

Martinez, Martin, McCann and Mauer and Posada. The position is fairly weak overall.

scott (nyc)

what are your projections for swisher? where do you rank him among OF in a points league?

AJ Mass
  (3:10 PM)

Swisher's probably around 30 or so for OF. At best 25 HRs, 250 average.

mike newport beach, ca

if you are drafting late first round in a 10 player baseball league who do you go with with the 10th and 11th pick, do should they complement each other, i have my eye on david wright and reyes but was really thinking a pitcher where is the value?

AJ Mass
  (3:13 PM)

You would be lucky indeed to get either Reyes or Wright after the first 5 or 6 picks. I think in a 10-team league, you go best available talent period. If that's Santana, great. If not, so be it. But don't be afraid to take two outfielders if say, Holliday and Crawford are there, for example.

Eric (Fort Collins CO)

AJ, in a 14 team draft, is the end of round 3 too early to protect Granderson or would I be better off protecting Ordonez or Bedard?

AJ Mass
  (3:16 PM)

I really like Granderson. A lot more than my fellow ESPN'ers, I am sure. I would personally rather have Curtis. For one, I'm not a fan of protecting pitching, not even Bedard, and especially not with a change of scenery. That's just me. But most folks will tell you Magglio is a first rounder and Curtis is not.

Nick (Greenwich, CT)

Do u see UConn making any noise in the tourney if they make it?

AJ Mass
  (3:17 PM)

I think they will make it. Any team with a guy the size of Thabeet is going to be a problem.

Jack (Cincy)

Edwin Encarnacion, potential breakout season for the 25 year-old?

AJ Mass
  (3:19 PM)

He's a year away from starter status, I think, but a nice 20-10 season seems probable. Certainly worth having as my No. 2.

Dan (Boston)

In a 12-team keeper draft, assuming standard categories, when would you draft Jay Bruce? Should people like Burrell and Markakis be going ahead of him? Does this change if you KNEW he was going to be in CF on Opening Day?

AJ Mass
  (3:22 PM)

In a keeper draft, I'd definitely draft Bruce. Depending on how swift the league was, I'd probably pick him with two backup spots left in my outfield. The only reason it might change if I KNEW he was starting in CF was because the other owners in my league might jump on him sooner if his name is actually printed high up on their depth charts. I'm not counting on Bruce's stats in 2008... 2009 may be a different story.

Joe (Missouri)

Drake! Drake! Drake! Two seed for Drake!

AJ Mass
  (3:24 PM)

Not a chance. Even with your current RPI of 8, the committee just doesn't put a team from the Valley any higher than 4 this season.

Craig ( PA)

Due to auction keeper restrictions, would you rather keep Jose Reyes or Johan Santana??

AJ Mass
  (3:26 PM)

Just the promise of rooting for Johan every five days against the lineups of the National League would be worth me keeping him over Reyes.

Jon (Chicago)

Only one rivalry game means anything this week. UNC or Duke, who ya got? All the pressure is on UNC to hold serve at home...

AJ Mass
  (3:28 PM)

I have to go with the Devils. It's going to be really hard without Lawson.

Steve (Illinois)

What type of stats do you predict for Johan in 2008?

AJ Mass
  (3:29 PM)

What about 20-6, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP?

Steve (Illinois)

In a 10 keeper league, which closer would you rather have Corpas or Soria?

AJ Mass
  (3:31 PM)

Corpas. More offense = more save chances.

Tarr (Orlando)

Would you rather keep Bedard with a 10th round pick or Rios with a 6th round pick?

AJ Mass
  (3:34 PM)

I think they are both good value. I've also gone on record as not being a huge Rios fan, but assuming we have a full lineup from Rounds 1-9, getting a Bedard in Round 10 seems to be a good protect.

Nate (St. Louis)

Great chat. Just making sure there were other people posting questions than Steve from Illinois.

AJ Mass
  (3:35 PM)

Yeah, it's not the quantity--- it's the quality, right Nate?

Andrew (NY)

AJ...deep keeper league question...Should I keep Asbrual Cabrera or Tag Iguchi? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:38 PM)

Go youth and protect Asdrubal.

Philly Pete

Why all the hate for Nova. The last two chats of yours I read you dogged them? They are the best!

AJ Mass
  (3:39 PM)

They're not even the best team in Philly, Pete.

Chris (Franklin Park, NJ)

Hi AJ: 5x5 mixed roto league. Where would you pick Johan? Behind A-Rod and anyone else? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (3:43 PM)

In general, I dock pitchers behind 5-cat hitters, because Johan can only get you 4-cats... so he's not as valuable as 30/30 hitters, even though he is the best pitcher. However, this game is not only about numbers... I also pick players to root for them, and as such, I would select Johan somewhere around 9-10 overall.

Jason (Atlanta)

AJ, I have to say I was disappointed in your Braves breakdown on the fantasy site. Didn't seem to go in nearly as much depth as the other outlooks that have been posted. What's up with that?

AJ Mass
  (3:44 PM)

Sorry you feel that way, Jason. What exactly do you feel was lacking? Personally, I think it painted quite an accurate picture of the team.

Rebecca (St. Louis)

Want to be my favorite again? Can you name a few pitchers who are highly regarded, but should be downgraded slightly in a league where strikeouts are important. I'm thinking Halladay types.

AJ Mass
  (3:47 PM)

If K's are important, you want to downgrade pitchers like Chien Mien Wang, John Maine, Javier Vazquez and raise up guys like Scott Kazmir, Yovani Gallardo and Dice-K

Brady (Colorado)

Hey AJ! I'm starting a new fantasy baseball league with a few friends. The problem is, I've never done fantasy baseball before. I need to know when certain pitchers go and when certain hitters go. Basically I want to know when certain positions go, or does it matter? Thanx!

AJ Mass
  (3:49 PM)

Not sure I totally get your question, Brady... but welcome aboard! If you're talking procedurally, all players are usually drafted at the same time, regardless of position. If you're looking for some master list of who is better than who, ESPN's Draft Kit will be coming out very soon!

Nate (Effingham)

Can Illinois State make the big dance this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:50 PM)

They're going to have to get the automatic. Drake's the only Valley team that has a chance at an at-large.

Jason (Atlanta)

AJ, you left off the "fantasy stud" column that the others included, you made almost no mention of K. Johnson, Chipper, Teix, Francouer, or McCann, to name a did a decent job with the 2008 prospects, but I'd be more interested in your thoughts on a regression (or not) by Hudson, if Kelly Johnson can improve on his 06 numbers, Teixera's adjustment to the NL over a full season, etc.

AJ Mass
  (3:55 PM)

I would argue that the Braves do not have a fantasy stud, which is why that was left off. And it's not possible to answer every question that every fan has. We did mention McCann and Chipper and Teixeira... perhaps just not in the context you were wondering about. I'm chatting again tomorrow at 3, feel free to discus these particular questions then.

Jim (Cambridge, MA)

Common AJ, Vazquez had 8.85k/9, and Maine's was 8.48! Not even close to two guys you discount because of K's. Both are way above league average.

AJ Mass
  (3:58 PM)

That wasn't the question. The question was who among the better pitchers would be discounted. Santana and Peavy and Hamels are far better than Vazquez, whose numbers last year were so much an aberration that they are sure to correct themselves this season.

AJ Mass
  (3:59 PM)

Time for one more.

Craig ( PA)

Do you find it pretty amazing that in some leagues 7 of the first 12 picks in the draft will come from the NL East?? What a young star studded division.

AJ Mass
  (4:01 PM)

It's generally cyclical, but we are talking mostly Mets and Phillies here. That's not that much of a shock.

AJ Mass
  (4:02 PM)

Thanks gang... we'll be back tomorrow at 3 for more of your questions. Thanks to everyone who helped us out!