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January 3, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Happy 2011 and welcome to the chat, gang! The fantasy calendar is in that very soft spot right now, but we're here to discuss any and all questions you have -- and we can expand the window a bit if you so choose... Second cup of coffee in hand... Who is up first?

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

1st off thanks for truly being one of the best in the biz! My question is are the browns heading in the right direaction. Where do you see them in 2 or 3 years, contending or top 10 draft choice.

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Thanks to you Scarlett. Thanks to you. I'd say the Browns have a long way to go, and need improvement at multiple positions. Let's see who takes the Mangini job and take it form there...

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

Fantasy Football = Over so it's time for Fantasy Baseball! Yippee! AJ, in my keeper league, I am targeting two starting pitchers with my back-to-back picks. How would you rank the following for 2011: Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Jered Weaver, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw, and Roy Oswalt?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Top 10: Verlander, Weaver. Top 20: Greinke, Oswalt, Kershaw, Hamels.

Brian G. (Santa Barbara)

What are we going to talk about now? Please don't say Week 18 "will he play or won't he play?" questions. How about baseball? Give us 3 hitters and 3 SPs that you can draft in the 4th round or later that could provide top 20 value, thanks AJ-

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Young... Ubaldo, CC Sabathia, Chris Carpenter... Of course it all depends on how quickly your league snatches up SP.

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Haven't done any $-conversion work yet, but B-Rob is 17th Round, Beckham even later... so he's out. Miggy top 5, so a bargain at $30.

Greg (Ellicott City)

Early baseball keepers: B-Rob ($4), G. Beckham ($4) or Miggy Cabrera at $30?

Eric (Chicago)

AJ, don't lie...did you have Ryan Mathews on any of your teams yesterday? I had him in one...Thank You!

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Not sure why lying would enter into it -- I either had him or I didn't. Still thought he'd do well even though I had not owned him.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

AJ, are there any sleepers that didn't do much of anything this season that you think should be picked up in dynasty leagues?? Someone like Jerome Simpson maybe?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Sure, Simpson and Caldwell might step into the TO/85 void. But until we're done with all the roster movement and draft day shenanigans, it's silly to project. Though don't forget about Ben Tate... he could have been Arian Foster if he didn't get hurt.

Steve (Cooperstown, NY)

My last keeper for baseball comes down to B Roberts and Ellsbury. Thoughts?? Already keeping Longria, Braun and Felix.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Roberts. OF is a deeper position and let's face it -- Carl kills a lot of Jacoby's potential value.

Ryan (PA)

Dynasty Baseball Keepers, Weeks or Kendrick at 2B? Pick 2 closers to keep our of Broxton, Franklin and Nunez. Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Weeks for me... no Nunez.

Joe (CO)

Deciding today, who's a better keeper: MJD or AFoster?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Foster, since he's not going to be shopping surgeons.

Greg (Ellicott City)

I am confused. You told me that BRob is a 17th rounder but would keep him over Ellsbury. Where do you think Ells is going to get drafted? (or should)

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

19th Round is where I have him in my prelims. Look, I know I was high on him last year, but injuries and player movement can't be ignored. There's risk on both counts.

Buster Posey (San Francisco, CA)

Will I be drafted too high in baseball drafts like Matt Wieters was last year, or was my performance last year legit enough to warrent being drafted as the 4th catcher in Fantasy Baseball for 2011? What would be a safe projection for my stats in '11?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

You'll definitely be drafted too high... catchers can and should be waited on. I expect some BA regression to be sure, but I haven't crunched all the numbers yet.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

AJ, Do you think Carlos Beltran has a bounce back year in 2011? Which one would you keep: Beltran, Papi or Torii Hunter?? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I would draft Hunter. I do think Beltran has a 20-20 type year, but I can't get too excited about more than that.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

Adrian Gonzalez or Mark Texiera? With the move to Boston, how big of a jump did Gonzalez make in your rankings?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Tex is at 18, Gonzo at 23. There's a bump for Adrian since he's going to have a lot more RBI opps, but he also faces better overall pitching, so there's not a huge jump here.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, I'm curious, do Oswalt and Hamels get a bump for being in the #3 and #4 starters in the Phillies rotation, since generally, they will be facing weaker pitchers on other teams?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

The entire "Phoursome" as the locals are calling them are in the top-20, but I'm not worrying about matchups -- all it takes is two days in April rest to throw those "matchups" out the window.

jerry (oakland)

All teams in my league are keeping 3. Should I keep Brady, Gore and Gates or keep only Brady and draft alone for 2 rounds (Turner, Mccoy and Mendenhall will be available).

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

If you have to decide today and the others are locked in, why not cut all three and simply take the top three players in the pool when draft day arrives?

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

With all the playoff Pictures all set who do you think will be in Super Bowl XLV?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Steelers and Packers.

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Keep Thomas. He's the only one of the quartet you list who has any potential upside, choosing today.

Kerry (Hollywood)

Who are your top five TV characters?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Well, I haven't done all the math... current shows only, let's go with Walter on Fringe, Sue Sylvester, Reality TV's Calvin Tran, Dr. Heinz Doofensmirtz...

Steve (San Francisco) [via mobile]

Nate Kaeding ruined my championship yesterday...when was the last time you lost the ship because of a kicker? Well thanks for the help this hear AJ! You saved me quite a lot of heartbeat

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Well, if I saved you a lot of heartbeat, doesn't that make you dead? I am so confused... Kickers are frustrating to be sure, but then again, you have as much control over their performances as any other position... which is to say, NONE.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, after the top tier of 3B are drafted, who provies the most: a) value, and b) upside of the following: Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, Martin Prado, Michael Young, Pedro Alvarez, Pablo Sandoval, and Mark Reynolds

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Young and Beltre are the first two I get to on my list.

Steve (TAPS)

What about me, Dude? RUN!

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

Love ya, Steve, but you're no Tango!

Ryan (PA)

Keeping with the kicker theme. I watch football every sunday with some of the guys in my league and we all came to a conclusion that we should just eliminate kickers. What are your thoughts on doing something like that?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

I don't have a problem with that per se -- your league, do what you want. However I think having kickers at least forces owners to pay attention a bit more... you can't simply be unaware when an NFL team signs a new guy who ends up scoring all 15 of their points one week, and they started the guy he replaced. Call it a "paying attention" tax.

Stan (NJ)

PPR Keeper league question: I can keep up to three in their draft slot. I have Dez, McFadden and Rice as possible keepers in rounds 10,11,13. Do I keep all three? I think so.

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

Certainly seems like you're getting great value with all three. I'm still a bit befuddled by leagues where you need to make these calls before August...

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, thanks for answering so many of my questions today, I hope I don't make anyone else jealous. In my keeper league, my league mates were wary of me keeping Matt Kemp another year, but I'm thinking that he will have a huge bounce back in 2011. Does .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 100 R, 30 SB seem attainable?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

No problem, Jeff. Strangely I am still getting a lot of "who should I start" questions... Don't really know how to answer those. As poorly as Kemp skidded last year, I still have him ranked 19th overall right now, so your numbers are certainly in the ballpark.

Grover (Cleveland, OH)

It's getting hot in here!

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Not sure if that's in reference to Mangini or Betty White.

Steve (SF)

You keep saying that Carl Crawford will hurt Ellsbury's value...but will Ellsbury hurt Crawford's value at all? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I don't think so... Crawford's arrival likely sends Ellsbury to 9th in the order and that right off the bat will eat up 150 or so ABs over the course of the year. And when Jacoby does get on base, Dustin moves him over and Carl can drive him in.

Gray (Chicago)

Where does Omar Infante rank as a SS in a points league batting 2nd in Florida?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Late round pick with upside. Not sold he will repeat last year's stats.

Eric (Chicago)

Basically what you're saying AJ is that Ellsbury gains more value if he's traded from Boston, correct?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Oh, to be sure. If he's leading off somewhere he's far more valuable.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, young pitchers are always hard to gauge in fantasy baseball. So many good young arms were inconsistent last year (Matusz, Gio Gonzalez, Bumgarner, Hughes, Scherzer, Wade Davis). Who is due to break through this year or is there someone else not listed who might do it?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

I like Phil Hughes to have a good year and Gio and Latos as well.

Tommy (Chicago)

Adam Jones or Colby Rasmus going forward in dynasty league?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

My man DigDug finally has the breakout year others predicted for him last year.

AJ Burnett (NY)

I am not that bad...rebound to become a top 50-60 SP this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

No, I wouldn't draft you... I'd almost rather have Pettitte and he's thinking about retiring.

Greg (Ellicott City)

I thought early rumors were that Ellsbury would lead off.

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Francona has said that at times, but wouldn't commit to it, and he's also hinted that Jacoby might not even play at full speed the first month. In other words, take it all with the salt it's served with.

Why (Not?)

You are the best in the business, but you are wrong about Ellsbury. He's a top 20 pick in my book.

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

So many ways to go with this one... I think I'll go with "If I am the best, then why don't you just trust me."

Matt (LA)

Why are you never on the Poscast with Nate and Matthew?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

I have been in the past, but if you want to start a movement, Matt -- by all means, start your letter/e-mail writing campaign.

Eric (Chicago)

How many days until the coveted "Pitchers and catchers report"?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

February 13 --- I'll let you do the math.

Sully (Chicago)

Is Felix the odds on favorite for another Cy?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

I think so. He's got to have a better chance at improving the W-L record, don't you think. Plus, with Cliff and Zack off to the NL, it's a three-horse race between the King, Justin and CC.

Buzzer Beater (Drew Carey's House)

Tell me the price is right to draft Albert first overall!

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

I would. When even a so-called "down year" earns you No. 2 spot in MVP voting...

Paul (LA)

Will Chris Coghlan bounce back and become a useful CF if/when he gains eligibility?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Meh. Right now I have him as a 17-18 rounder. Rather have a guy like Seth Smith or even Melky Cabrera on first blush.

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Time for just a few more...

Frank (LA)

So how did you do in your FF leagues?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I was only in three this year... won one, finished 3rd and 4th in the other two. Had a decent year.

Walter (Alternate Universe)

I don't know why you don't like the Philadelphia Steelers to win the Super Bowl. They're awesome!

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Oh, Walternate... how I love your foibles. Say high to the gold Statue of Liberty for me. And with that, we'll call it a debut chat for 2011. Catch me on Twitter if I didn't get to your query... until the next time... (New signoff catchphrase TBD)