Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 13, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy sports chat session. I believe it's 35 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, so obviously we can discuss baseball ... but also feel free to ask about fantasy football. I ranked my top 20 quarterbacks for next season, and next week will rank the running backs ... and so on. Anyway, thanks for showing up, ask some questions and let's have some fun...

Jason (Lewiston, ID)

Looking ahead to 2010, who's a more valuable keeper, Pierre Thomas or Shonn Greene?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

I think for now we have to say it's Thomas of the Saints. Greene looks like a future star, and the Jets offensive line is awesome, but with Thomas Jones still there, it comes down to opportunity. Unless something changes, Thomas is the choice for 2010.

Dan (Vermont)

Wondering if I should keep J.Bonderman in 2010 for a lousy buck in my deep AL Only league. Any thoughts on what to expect from him? Thanks for chatting!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Well thank you for writing! I think the case can be made for virtually anyone for only a buck in a one-league format, but my expectations for Bonderman are pretty low. It shouldn't be too tough for him to earn that value, however.

Guido (LA, CA)

LINCECUM for UTLEY? Which side of this trade do you like, in a keeper league (year 2 of 3)? Thanks!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Not knowing what else is on your team, I would say Utley. I rank him fifth for this season, with little concern he will suddenly drop off, while Lincecum is my top starting pitcher, but missed my top 10 overall. In year 2 of 3, I have no worries about Utley suddenly aging quickly.

Daniel (St. Louis)

In an 10 team points league with 5 keepers, would you keep Justin Upton or David Wright?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

For now, it's still Wright. But I can certainly see why others would take Upton's glorious upside. Just don't give up on Wright yet. I rank him in my top 10... Upton could be a monster, but he's not quite there yet. Even in a keeper league.

Dave (Pittsburgh)

Will Heyward get the starting job in Atlanta's right field this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

I think the opportunity is going to be there, but I still think the Braves stick him in the minors for half the season, like they did with Tommy Hanson a year ago, just to make sure.

Dave (Pittsburgh)

Who do you want on your team for the enxt 10 years...Strasburg or Jason Heyward?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

And here it's Heyward. Always the hitter. Things always go wrong with pitchers. Strasburg might be one of the most overrated fantasy players for the 2010 season.

Norman (San Jose)

thoughts on Ian Stewart? can he be reynolds from 2008?

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

I suppose that is possible, though I think unlikely. I don't think Stewart has 40-homer power yet. He is going to play, and he probably won't hit above .250. Also, he will not steal 20 bases. But Stewart, who is actually being offered to me in a trade right now, does have nice upside. In a keeper league, this is close.

Bill (San Fran)

Is Justin Verlander worth keeping? He'd be my 5th keeper. Other options are Votto, K. Morales or Jeter.

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Worth keeping? Um, I would say yes. He is. I keep him over Votto, Kendry and Jeter.

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Where do you draft Wieters? The man child was raking the last month.

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Still debating the back end of my top 50, but I don't think Wieters will quite make it. Definitely in my top 75 though. Gonna be a monster, gonna be a top-5 catcher immediately.

Chris (Georgia)

Will Mark Reynolds ruin every fantasy team that drafts him in the top 3 rounds?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I don't think so, not really. I think there's a decent chance he hits "only" .250 or so, but I think people are wrong if they expect a huge drop in power and/or speed. He's pretty legit. That all said, he's not in my top 25.

Norman (San Jose)

i was referring to reynolds in 2008 were his stats were 28 HRs 11 SBs and 239 avg

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Other than the steals, yes, I see that.

Dan (Vermont)

More AL Only questions, this time re: closers. Will A.Bailey keep the gig in OAK? Will J.Johnson keep it in BAL? Will R.Perry get it in DET? Thanks again!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Bailey is the best bet here. I do think he regresses some, which is why I don't want to rank him as a top-10 closer this season, but he is relatively safe. In Detroit, I think Valverde will sign there any minute now. Honestly, it could be today. I don't see him having too many other places to go. And in Baltimore, it's Mike Gonzalez. Johnson did not do a great job closing, and he's more of a setup groundballer anyway. But spend a buck on him, he could get a few saves.

Steve (Falmouth, MA)

How do you keep Wright in the top 10, do you belive Citi is the HR graveyard it's being portrayed as?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I think all that stuff is a bunch of you know what. Wright hit more home runs at HOME than on the road. Sure, it's not an easy place to hit for power, but Wright can still hit 25 home runs this season. I'm betting he does just that.

Chris (Georgia)

I see alot of people touting Brett Anderson as a sleeper. Are you a believer? Top 40 pitcher...?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

Absolutely a top-40 pitcher. In fact, in a recent draft of mine, in which we had 12 keepers already, I saw his name out there in round 1 and after Rick Porcello went, I had to trade up to make sure I got Anderson. I think he might be better than Porcello, actually.

Mugsy (stinkville)

Will Garrett Jones be the fantasy stud in 2010 that he was in 2009?Which pitcher would you rather have in 2010 Wandy or Jurrjens?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I don't think Jones will be a stud per se, but could he hit .275 with 25-30 home runs, knock in 100? Sure, I could see that. Just remember how unlikely his rise to prominence was. Most players like this, guys who were multiple repeat Triple-A guys and bounced around, don't remain at such a high level as when they debuted. But he certainly has value. And Wandy is more of a strikeout guy than Jurrjens, probably a lower WHIP, too. Both could be top-20 SPs on draft day.

Dan (Cleveland)

Is Scott Sizemore worthy of starting ina 12 mixed league? What do you project for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I don't think he's an obvious mixed league option yet, but he's close. The thing is, I like the upside here. Could hit 12 homers, steal 15 bases, hit for average and score runs. Later in a mixed draft I guess it's smarter to take him than some retread, see what happens in April, and you can always go and find a Felipe Lopez type on free agency.

John W (Duxbury, MA)

Keeper Question for 2010 - wait it is the 2010 season, just so used to typing that last year...which second basemen has a better 2010 and career: Eric O Young or Sean Rodriguez? two very different second basemen

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I really like EY Jr. Potential is there, and soon, for a 50-steal season. He takes a walk, has some pop, and profiles as a leadoff hitter. I don't think either of these fellows does much in 2010, but keeper wise, I like Young.

Patrick (Boston)

Bigger bust for this year - Ben Zobrist or Jason Bartlett? Both seemed to break out last year... but is it real?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Both are real. Zobrist didn't have that big second half collapse everyone expected. He runs, he takes walks, he's versatile. I could see some overall dropoff, but he's in my top 75, that's for sure. I'll take him over Bartlett; so much of Bartlett is tied into average and steals. He seems riskier.

Andrew (Springfield, NJ)

Rajai Davis the real deal? Or was it just a 1/2 season fluke.

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Sorry, computer issue. I'm back. I would feel a lot better about Davis if I thought the Athletics had committed to him. For now, they seem to group all their outfielders together. Maybe you get 30 steals. If we knew he'd play everyday, he could swipe 50.

Mike (Cleveland)

Do you think Arian Foster has value as a keeper next year or does Slaton return and take the starting job?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I don't think we know yet what Houston will do, but if I had to draft one Houston RB for 2010, I'd say it's Slaton. Maybe he just needs a nice offseason.

Michael (Milwaukee)

what do you see as the deepest and the shallowest position this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

First base is clearly the deepest spot. And starting pitching. Catcher is not deep, but if it's a 10-team league with only 1 catcher per team, then it is deep. You know, if you need 5 outfielders per team, that's not deep. But I will say 2B is the most shallow along with catcher.

Matt (Football isn't over yet baby!!!)

Felix Jones or LT this weekend

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Yes, the football rankings will be up in Thursday's blog... hmm, haven't done them yet, but I have to think I will go Tomlinson ahead of Jones. The Vikings really stop the run, you know, especially at home. Tomlinson should score at least one touchdown, even on the top defense he has to face.

Daniel (St. Louis)

Even if the league caters to power you would still take Wright over J. Upton? By the way, huge fan of you Eric.

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Thank you! Yes, I have Wright ranked considerably higher than Upton. I'm willing to look past what happened to Wright this past season. I don't think it's a harbinger. It was one year. He knows what he did, and he's going to resume his old stats.

Carlos Santana (Cleveland)

When will I arrive for good?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Santana was just dealt in one of my dynasty leagues, for a package centered around Michael Cuddyer (this year's help). Cuddyer will help more this year. I don't see Santana getting a ton of playing time this season. Lou Marson can handle the job in 2010.

JC (Champaign)

What would be your projection for David Freese? .270 25 hr 85 rbi??? Think he will bat 6th?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

I think it's a bit optimistic to assume those stats, but yeah, that's pretty much what I think he can do if the Cardinals stop looking at scrubs from the outside to play third base. It's silly. And yes, the Cardinals could hit him sixth right away, maybe even fifth. Is Freese worse than Ryan Ludwick? Man, the Cards need a lefty after Pujols and Holliday to hit fifth...

bill (nj)

time to drop arenas EK?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Absolutely. And Blake Griffin now, too. Sadly.

Brad Bailey (Cincinnati)

Regarding the Gridiron Playoff Challenge, wouldn't it be good to pick both QBs in the Cards/Saints game this week in a potential shootout and then whichever doesn't advance, pick up either Peyton or Rivers next week? Or will value jump so greatly next week for the last lock-in that you need to lock in an AFC and a NFC player now in hopes they make it to Miami?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

I don't know how much the value will jump, but just look at the changes made from last week to this week. It's significant. And really, the AFC matchup might not be so much fun if you want scoring next week. But I see your point. Yes, I think Warner and Brees will put up many points. Man, I had the Packers lined up in that game and another league....sooooo close!

Pedro Alvarez (Muskegon)

Do I get the call before July? Over/under on 15 hrs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

After. I almost always pick after, because that's generally how things work. All these bad teams are thinking about finances, and holding off on promoting players for a reason. Wieters was ready last April... so was Hanson... it never hurts to give a player more minor league run. Alvarez isn't Ryan Braun, and HE started for what, six weeks in the minors? Under on 15 homers on Alvarez. Still work to be done there.

Todd (Columbus)

Who would you rather have this year Carpenter or Lester?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Lester. I'm a bit cautious on pitchers we know that are injury prone. Then again, I'm currently negotiating a deal for Carpenter in a keeper league, but it all depends on price. I don't see Carpenter having that season again.

Matt (Fayetteville, AR)

More likely in 2010: Rebound from Josh Hamilton or repeat from Jayson Werth?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

I don't see why Werth can't do that again, frankly. Might be the last time, though, because I doubt the Phillies sign him longterm, and the Phillies ballpark and lineup protection absolutely played some role in his success. I don't really believe in lineup protection, but when it consistently allows a lefty killer to face lefties, because of Ryan Howard, then that's different. On Hamilton, I hope he plays 140 games, but I suspect he will not.

Mark (Oakland)

EK Im torn on whether or not to keep Joba at $11 in my keeper league. Should I dump him and hope he finds his way to the pen?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

That's too much for someone I suspect will be a setup man, and one unlikely to get saves. Sorry.

Scott (Missouri)

Rank these WR for 2010 please Eric: Meachem, Nicks, Maclin, Breaston and Britt

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

I really like Nicks for next season. I'm going to put him first of this group. Then Meachem, Maclin, Breaston and Britt. IF Boldin leaves Arizona and Warner stays, then obviously Breaston stands to gain the most.

JC (Champaign)

Will N. Feliz be a starter, reliever or do some of both? Projection?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I would be stunned if Feliz wasn't a starting pitcher this season. The league had to learn by the ridiculous way Joba was treated. The Rangers have relievers. Feliz is a starter.

Billy (Detroit)

Eric - what's your gut telling you on Lidge and the closer situation with your Phillies. Is he worth keeping in the 5th rd of a deep keeper league, or should I let him fly? It seems to me there's a good chance Baez or someone steps in there... Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Fifth round? I'd let him go. Not sure I'd keep any closers if I had to give up a fifth rounder, though. Let's say this: Lidge is not in my top 15 for closers for this year. He might not make my top 20,which is saying a lot. I'd expect Madson to get a shot at some saves at some point.

Allen (Asheville)

How about Alex Gordon. Ryan Zimmerman year? Or a Gregg Jefferies carrer? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Gordon isn't a basestealer, not a big one like Jefferies was, and he's not likely to hit for average. Totally different players. Gordon projects as a 25-homer guy but has to stay healthy, and has to at least be a threat against lefty pitchers. I think he still has time. But not a Zimmerman year either.

Shaun (NYC)

Think Longoria takes a big step forward this year? Are Braun like #'s minus the stolen bases possible?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Longoria is already there, isn't he? And he runs enough to make a difference. I didn't put Longoria in my overall top 10, but he might be next in line, and at some point I might move him up with the first basemen like Prince and Teix. Longoria is a monster already.

Michael (Milwaukee)

Blake Griffin gone for the year. Clipper curse?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Just bad luck. Probably would have happened on any team. Nobody talks about the good in Clipperland... Chris Kaman is having a nice season, isn't he? Players get hurt, part of the game.

Mike (San Diego)

EK, you would be surprised how much Cards fans love Ludwick. A lot of them were happy last year when the rumor of a Ludwick/Holliday trade were shot down. Apparently they don't watch him constantly swing over the top of off speed pitches.

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Ludwick doesn't impress me much, but he could hit 30 home runs. At times in 2009 he looked like the 2008 version. I guess just leave him along in right field and let him hit, but having him protect Big Albert was curious.

Chris (Toronto)

Happy Belated Birthday EK! (Facebook told me)Which side do you prefer? (keeper pool with salary restrictions)B. Phillips + Carpenter / Beckham Lester.Thanks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Thank you, sir! Yes, I Facebook. I take the Beckham/Lester side. Definitely. Beckham is going to be a star.

Ron (Chicago)

EK will BJ Upton offer me anything other than steals in 2010? I dont want to label him a bust, because clearly he's talented, and he still has a bit of upside. But man, he's killed me so far in my keeper league. Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I think he can absolutely hit for power someday, but I know longer expect it. I'd predict 10 or so homers this year, but look how young he is. There's something there. I just don't know - nobody does - how that shoulder is feeling.

JC (Champaign)

Thanks for the chat EK!over/under on 50 stolen bases from M. Bourn?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I think 50 is a good over/under. I don't think Bourn will get any better than what we just saw, but a few more seasons of 50 steals, nothing wrong with that.

Jon (Des Moines)

I enjoy reading your chats, and was wondering what your favorite settings for fantasy baseball leagues were. For instance, do you prefer head to head leagues with once a week lineup changes, etc?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I play in all types of leagues. Because I play in so many leagues, the ones with daily moves can get to be too much, but that doesn't mean I don't like them. Head to head is risky, because I don't know how many times I took a No. 1 seed into the playoffs and still lost. In h2h, just make the playoffs. I think roto avoids that problem.

Nick (LA)

Eric, Julio Borbon me. If he gets the starting CF gig in the Tex, will he swipe 30 bases and score bunches of runs out of the leadoff spot? (sorry if this is a repeat question, I didnt get the message that it went thru)

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

I'd say Borbon can do that, but I need to see him hit lefties, which he hasn't done yet. It sure looks like Hamilton is moving to right field, which is a nice sign the Rangers expect Borbon to hit.

Ken (Ohio)

Granderson's homers over/under 32 with the short right field porch?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

I think he should right around that many. I'll take the over. But he's not going to run. Maybe he steals 10 bases.

Mike (San Diego)

How do you think Carlos Pena recovers from his injury? Is he still a guy we can count on for 35 homers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

I wrote about Dan Johnson signing with the Rays in today's blog - yes, I'm going DAILY with the baseball blog this month - but I still don't see Pena as being a problem. It's insurance. I see another 35 homers, but a low average.

Drew (TX)

Do we get to see Smoak in the 2010 season? Is Vlad going to block him from hitting at the DH spot? If he gets playing time what kind of number does he put up?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Smoak's problem now is Chris Davis. I don't think the Rangers ever felt Smoak was going to play much this season, as the Vlad deal shows.

Todd (Columbus)

In a PPR league next year is it C. Johnson than everyone else?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

In PPR I would think Ray Rice is right there near the top... look how many catches he had. Probably beats out Peterson in PPR.

Dan (Vermont)

Another rookie question - T.Flowers...is 2011 his year? no reason to expect a lot of playing time this year, is there? Thanks--this chat has me pumped for Fantasy Baseball!

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

One more year before Flowers is ready. The Ramon Castro signing was the dagger, and Pierzynski is still there.

Hardy (San Fran)

Eric, Ive gotta ask. I have Scott Feldman in a 15 man keeper league for $2. I know your awesome colleague J Grey is on board.... are you? I dont like that he doesnt K anyone.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

If Grey likes him... yeah, I have some reservations about Feldman having an ERA over 4, and he doesn't miss bats, but he will get run support. For 2 bucks, sure.

Mike (San Diego)

Do you play in any roto rules football leagues? I am getting tired of having monster regular seasons only to see my team flame out in the playoffs.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Me too! Definitely! And yes, I do.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone for the great chat session. Good spirited discussion on football and baseball... only 35 days until pitchers and catchers report... it's like a holiday! Adios, and enjoy the football this weekend.