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January 14, 11:47 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:00 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another Wednesday fantasy sports chat. I'd think we're mostly baseball today, but if you have a football or hoops question, fire away. Thanks for joining us, let's go...

Matt (Houston)

Hey Eric, Do you see Francoeur having a good season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

It's hard to believe just how bad Frenchy was in 2008, but will it be so tough for him to go back up to 20-100? I don't think so. He's only 25. Chalk it up to a bad season, but I wouldn't expect more than a .260 average, either.

Alex G (NYC)

Eric, I generally do not like to take more than 1 'star' from a certain team. Do you agree with this method? I would not like to have both Fitzgerald and Boldin on my Fantasy FB team next season.

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Well, weren't these wide receivers the top two at their position not too long ago? Yes they were. As long as Kurt Warner is the quarterback, this is one situation I wouldn't worry about if you have both Arizona WRs. By the way, I will not be rooting for Arizona this weekend! Go Iggles!

Alex G (NYC)

I would pick Hanley Ramirez or A-Rod first overall in this years draft. IS that a good decision?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

I rank them 1 and 3, respectively, so I don't think you can go wrong...

Andy, Tampa, FL

Chris Davis, real deal?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

Sure, the power is legit. Many say there's potential for a low batting average, and from his strikeout totals I can see it, but he could hit 30 homers this season. I don't know why the Rangers keep talking about Young at third, or Blalock at first... Davis HAS to play. Nice sleeper.

Billy (Miami)

Pick 'em: CC or JOhan?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

I am taking Johan, who I rank as the No. 2 pitcher overall. I'm thinking of moving Santana back to 1, flipping with Lincecum. Everything I read about the new Mets park is that it's really pitcher friendly. Johan doesn't need the help, but he could be even more a monster than normal. Sabathia is fine, but at last check he was my No. 5 SP.

Alex G (NYC)

Eric, do you think that Manny is a safe 1st round pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

No, not really. Certainly he's not while unemployed, but assuming he returns to the Dodgers, he'll be in my mid second round. Hate to be a big negative, but he WAS playing for a contract after all.

Angela, Sacramento

Pablo Sandoval with multiple positons including Catcher or Matt Wieters?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

I think Wieters will be a monster right away, and you'll see that when I rank him among my top 5 catchers. Sandoval could be very good, too, but he's not a catcher, even though he's eligible in some leagues. He isn't going forward after '09 I mean. He can rake, doesn't walk, and for now I'm 90 percent sure he's starting for the Giants at 1B. But there remains a bit of doubt.

Sean (New Haven CT)

Josh Hamilton had a very poor 2nd half last year. Did the league catch up to him? Was it mental and physical fatigue? What do you expect from him this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Very poor? That's overstating things, but because I see so many people say that, we should discuss. Hamilton had a .919 OPS in the first half, and .874 in the second. The big difference is Kinsler got hurt and he stopped knocking runs in. He walked at a better rate in the second half, probably as he was pitched around - hello Chris Davis! - and his true power was down only some. The RBIs he can't control. I don't think he will be a problem going forward. I expect 30-120, easily.

Matt (Houston)

Will Adenhart rebound this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

He's too good a prospect to merely disappear, but he also wasn't very good in the minors in 2008. In the bigs he walked people. I wouldn't expect he's a fantasy factor in 2009, but someday, one would assume a prospect like this would make it.

Luke (nc)

Votto or Chris Davis? Lacky or Peavy for 5 years

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

I'd say Votto and Lackey. Votto is closer to being a 30-100 guy and should hit for average, and most importantly, we know he will get 500 at bats. Davis only might. And I know most people would say Peavy, but how much longer will he be in San Diego? That would concern me as a keeper owner.

Chris NJ

What do you think about Michael Young to the Yankees for Cano?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Unlikely. I will say this about the Rangers: Young is not a great shortstop. He just isn't. Like Jeter, he doesn't have the range, and should be moved elsewhere. For Young, I'd think second base is better. For Jeter, what about center field? Anyway, I doubt the Yanks would make that deal. The Rangers think Elvis Andrus is ready at short, which might be premature.

justin (atlanta)

hey Eric ... do you see any reason why Hanley would be a bad choice (or worse, a bust) at #1 overall? historically i have terrible luck with the first pick, but i can't seem to make a case for picking anyone else. what do you think?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I think he's the top choice, and other than injury, there's little reason for concern. I could make the case for A-Rod and Pujols, but there are concerns there as well. You're not unlucky. Just some years the guy everyone thinks is the first pick, he doesn't work out.

Shaun(NYC)

Where would you rank and feel comfortable drafting Soriano this year? I thing he is still a 30/30 threat but many seemed turned off by him in 09 drafts.

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

I think he's a possible second rounder, but I doubt I'll be making him a top-20 choice. I could see a run at 30/30, but I'd be worried he doesn't run enough, and injuries seem to be a problem.

Scott (NJ)

Name one top prospect to target in a dynasty league not named Matt Wieters.

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Someone who hasn't played? Colby Rasmus is someone to watch. I think LaPorta will hit right away.

Harvey: (Boston)

Hi EK, who are your top 3 picks this year? Brendan Roberts said yesterday "Hanley, ARod, Pujols." Would you agree?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Brendan is wise. I currently have Pujols second and then A-Rod, but I can be convinced to adjust it. I can't take Jose Reyes over them because I need more power in the first round.

JJ : (Boston)

Who do you draft first: (Pick One) Markakis, Granderson, Hart or Kemp?

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

Probably Granderson. I think he went the earliest in drafts I've done already, too.

Angela, Sacramento

Later round closer, who's your pick Ziegler, Walker, or Bell?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Well, the only one who is clearly a closer right now is Heath Bell. In Oakland it could be - probably should be - Joey Devine. In Seattle I wrote Tyler Walker was brought in to close, but he is Tyler Walker after all. Bell should be pretty good. Check out the offseason Relief Efforts on our Baseball page...

Harold (NY)

strategy question for a dynasty league just starting up. Would you rather be picking high in the first round and low in the second or low in the first and high in the second? Also, who is the top three in a dynasty draft this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I'm currently in round 24 of drafting a dynasty team and our first three picks were Hanley, Longoria and Reyes. I think Hanley is still the top choice, and you see Longoria there because you want to try to go young. Pujols and A-Rod were still first-rounders. There is no definitive "top 3" in any league, really. Take who you want! And if I can't have the first pick, I want to pick last. In most every league that is.

Eric (Jersey)

If you have 4th pick and Hanley,A-Rod,and Pujols are all gone do you go pitcher or position player?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Me? I have no pitchers in my first round. I'd go Wright probably.

Luke (nc)

All this talk about Elvis Andrus, but does he end up in the same tier as HanRam and Jose Reyes for a SS?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Way too early to tell. The guy is 20. He's being compared to a young Renteria, which means 15 homer pop, maybe 30 steals. I'd think he'd run more than that eventually, but who knows.

Todd (MPLS)

BASKETBALL - how close are we to seeing Ellis back?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Rumor is right around Feb. 1, but I think it could be sooner. I don't usually wait for players this long, but the Warriors could let him shoot 25 times a game, so he could be a difference maker.

Mike, Boston

keeper for the next three years; Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, or Tulo (already have Sizemore and Prince locked up)

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Tough one. Most people would say Upton, but why not Tulo? A 20-90 shortstop for three years would be nice. Upton could be a monster, but he didn't look good in 2008, and he might need another year to take off. For now, I'd say Tulo is just as safe, and when you consider the position... you could go with him.

Jim NJ

Do you think the Braves overpaid for Derek Lowe? Were they desperate?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Doesn't matter if they overpaid. They needed a durable pitcher, they got it. I tihnk the Phillies overpaid for Ibanez, but so what, it's not our money! And it doesn't change his numbers. Lowe isn't an ace; for fantasy he's probably not in the top-25 SPs. But he's safe and solid.

Ray, Burlington, NJ

Doesn't Kemp have more upside than Tulo?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Sure, but isn't Tulo already there? I don't overpay for upside when I can get someone else who is already near the top of his position ranks.

will (houston, TX)

How much of an effect will BJ Upton's offseason shoulder surgery have on his production ths year? Do you see him as a stud after his monster postseason last year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

I think he's a sleeper for a 30/30 season, so yeah, a stud. He had power two seasons ago, and we know why he lost it for most of 2008. He'll be fine, probably in my top-25.

Henry (Boston)

Thank you Erik for doing what you do. Draft Dilemma - Soto, Mauer and Weiters, i know who to draft first, but who is the best value for their draft position? taking mauer early scares me...

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Depends on what your leaguemates believe. Wieters is going to be SO hyped by the time mid-March comes. Mauer might actually be the best value if he goes a few rounds after these guys. I do think Wieters will be drafted as a top-5 catcher.. all three of these guys will. Mauer is, of course, the only one of these guys without power, though.

Eric (Jersey)

Do you see Albert Pujols' lingering elbow problem affecting him this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Didn't hurt him in 2008. There's always a chance, I suppose. I mean, who thought indestructible A-Rod would hit the DL. But I'm drafting Pujols as if he's fine.

Tim (Atlanta,GA)

Max Scherzer or Dice K in a keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

I have to say Dice-K for now. He's not THAT old. And Scherzer could be terrific, or he could tease us again. Drafting now I'd still take Matsuzaka.

Will (St. Louis)

In dynasty league - how many more years can I rely on A. Soriano and J. Rollins before they begin to go downhill? Also, do you buy into McLouth and Ludwick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I'd worry more about Soriano than Rollins, but here's the thing about a dynasty league: Are you thinking more than 5 years ahead? I don't. I think Rollins will be closer to what he is now in five years than Soriano. And no, I have concerns that what McLouth and Ludwick did was the best they can do.

Dennis (Philadelphia, PA)

GO EAGLES!!!! You had mentioned that Longoria went three in a dynasty league. Would you take Longoria over Braun in that type of draft?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I would. Braun has more natural power, but considering all factors, including defense, on-base, position, I'd take Longoria.

Dan (NYC)

Taking the over or under on 35 HR from Longoria?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Under for 2009. But someday, who knows.

Eric (Jersey)

How much more wins will K-Rod give Johan?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Ha! Well, Johan is the only guy I think will win 20. But don't put it all on the closer. Sean Green and JJ Putz are just as critical to getting him wins. That's why Johan's wins were lost in 2008, not because of Billy Wagner and Luis Ayala.

Phil (Chicago)

Eric, Playoff league: Should i take Westbrook or Parker given the choice.

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

I would take Parker. Westbrook hasn't played well in weeks, and he's clearly hurting. If Philly wins in Arizona it has to be McNabb and the defense.

Shaun(NYC)

Safe Aramis or upside Longoria? Either worthy of mid to late 2nd round?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

I think Longoria is just as safe. Late second is too early for Aramis.. case can be made for Longoria though. But maybe that's just me.

austin, lake tahoe, ca

What do you see happening in Cleveland with V Mart and Shoppach? Who will catch 135 games of those 2? Will V Mart be 1b? Thanks!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I think Shoppach starts 120 games behind the plate, and hits 20 homers. I see Martinez playing a bunch of first base. I wouldn't want Garko this season.

Oscar (Boston, MA)

EK - Lincecum or Texeira for a keeper spot? Lincecum has the upside, but Texeira is safer - is discretion the better part of valor here?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Either one. I rank them similarly.. well, I actually would draft Lincecum first in a normal league. There are many first basemen, but not enough true aces. And I don't assume at all Teix hits more than 35 homers, or tops 110 RBIs.

Mike(Fair Lawn, NJ)

Young lion vs. Old lion...Jay Bruce or Jermaine Dye, who's better this year only?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I think I would still take Bruce there, but it's close. Both should hit 30 homers.

Simeon (New York, New York)

Given what you said about McClouth hitting his peak, would you trade him for Volquez' upside or stay with Mcclouth's 23hr 25sb potential?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I'd keep the hitter, but I just think McLouth is a bit overrated. He might not run as much as people believe.

Paul (NJ)

Who wins the Steelers game on Sunday? All things considered, would you rather have Alexei Ramirez or Wieters this year? What about 2010?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Battle of Pennsylvania in Tampa! And I'd take Wieters over Alexei. I think Alexei is getting overrated some. And he's not as young as people think. Still very good, and you'll like his SS eligibility, but Wieters is a top-5 catcher.

Rick (NYC)

Can you draft for me? i'm horrible at it. I have 3, 18 + 23. Pujols, Upton, Longoria or Reyes, Fielder, Soriano?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Well, Pujols at 3 is nice... Upton and Longoria at those spots is nice, too. I'd take that side over Reyes, Prince and Alfonso, no question.

Mark (Minneapolis)

Who will be better for this year; Joba or Josh Johnson?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I'd take Josh Johnson... and you can get him much later in a draft.

Jonathan (Richmond)

LATE ARRIVAL, please answer, keeper deadline tomorrow morning. Can keep three of these players, no rounds penalty: Pujols, Utley, Longoria, BJ Upton, CC, Halladay.

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Probably Pujols, Utley and Longoria. I like Upton a lot, but to have most of the infield done would be nice. And I don't think Utley misses very much time...

wilson oak island

Where would you draft Jimmy Rollins this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Late first round...

Caleb (Philly)

For third and final keeper spot, would you take Manny or Crawford?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Oooh... probably Crawford. But don't expect more than 15 HR...

Dave (SD)

Buzzer Beater: Cliff Lee or James Shield?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Shields

Ted (Illinois)

Who has a better year, Soriano or Carlos Lee?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

I'd still take Soriano...

Steiny (NYC)

Do you expect big things from Carlos Carrasco this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Not really. I don't think he makes the team... maybe we'll see a few starts in August and September...

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone for the questions. Enjoy your fantasy baseball offseason, the football playoffs, etc. And stay warm! Adios...