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January 12, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session. Figure on some football and baseball discussion today, as one season is done (playoffs still going on) and another is approaching. Thanks for joining in and here we go...

Bob (Leesport)

NFL Keeper Question - Michael Vick won me to my league championship. But I have always kept stud RBs, the only other time I kept a QB Brady got injured in week 1. Am I crazy to keep MJD over Vick? (can only keep one)

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

Not at all crazy. I'd keep Jones-Drew over Vick, too. I wouldn't read much into the season Brady got hurt; it hardly means Vick will in 2011, though he's obviously a health risk at all times, more than most QBs. But I would keep MJD over Vick, definitely. I'd draft him higher as well.

Joey (orlando, Fl)

You can keep D Wright OR Heyward AND Hansen? Discuss....

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Well, Wright is a consensus first-round pick. If Heyward and Hanson are sixth-rounders, that's awesome, but I'd still want the best player.

Desmond Jennings (Tampa )

How good can I really be this year? Will I just steal bases, a la Jacoby...or can I put it together like my man Andrew McCutchen did when he came into the league?Let me know Eric!

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

I don't think Jennings is going to hit for much power initially, maybe 5 or 6 homers, but he can fly. I wouldn't compare him to what McCutchen did as a rookie, though. More pure speed, less pop. Still should be really good, but I don't expect 50 steals.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What do you think that Yankees P Andy Pettitte will do before the 2011 season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

I'd like to see Pettitte pitch again, as he was very good for most of 2010. The stuff is there. He's not young, which means most fantasy owners will avoid him and I can make him my final starter in a bunch of leagues! If Pettitte pitches, he could win 15 games, with a sub-4.00 really.

Abe (Iowa City? [via mobile]

Does Liriano have top 10 fantasy value this year? What about Wandy Rod? Does he finally take it to another level or is this his ceiling? You the man Eric!

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Top 10 value? That seems like a bit much for both of them, though they are good. I'd say Liriano is around No. 15 or so for starting pitchers, Way-Rod around 30. As for ceilings, I suppose either is capable of a monster season, but there are risks as well.

Dave (Novato)

Hey Eric, what do you think of CarGo this year? Last year seemed to be his ceiling.

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

Not sure I agree with that. It was his first season. I don't assume a youngster hits his ceiling in his first full season. That said, the BABIP is unsustainable, so expect a drop in batting average, and I doubt he runs as much. But 30 homers, 100 RBIs, 15 steals, why not?

Candy (Slippery Rock)

Hi Eric, where do you rank Ranger INF Kinsler and Andrus? Both seem overrated (Kinsler because he gets hurt a lot and Andrus because he has no power).

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Agreed. Both do well in the ranks because middle infield is so bereft of talent. Kinsler is 30/30 capable, even if he misses 30 games. Maybe that's 30/30/30! I'd take him near the top 50. Andrus goes a bit later. He didn't really go in the right direction offensively in 2010.

Matthew (Los Angeles)

How come all your articles are exclusive to insiders?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Because that's what the bosses want! I just write and talk and stuff like that. But this chat is free...

Derrick (Garden City)

Hello Eric, isn't SS a thin position this year? I don't trust oldtimers Jeter and Rollins and Reyes seems to be banged up.

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Shortstop is a very thin position. But I do think Jeter is a bounce back candidate. I'm skeptical about Rollins; he just can't stay healthy, and there are a lot of miles on the tires. I view Jeter differently, because he doesn't have to steal 30 bases to be really valuable to us. As for Reyes, I could see 12 homers, 40 steals, .275. He should be better than Jeter and Rollins.

Scott (MD)

What catcher do you see having a better season Posey or C. Santana?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Great question. I realize this opinion is in the minority, but that never stopped me before: I think it's Santana. A year ago at this time I thought it was him, and what really changed? Posey had an awesome season, yes. Santana switch hits, takes walks, the ballpark and league is more forgiving. Santana is the better bargain, assuming he is healthy, which I think he is.

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

Where do you see CarGo and Kemp in terms of draft status? I am fielding some offers and have them locked in as 1st and 2nd round guys, so want equivalent value. This is for a 13 team keeper league.

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I have CarGo late in round 1, and Kemp at 14. A lot closer to each other than people think! Make sure you get value for them. Might wanna move CarGo high.


Hey Eric, good afternoon. Hope you are not as snowed in as we are here in NY. I made some bad decisions in round 1 of my Fantasy Playoff match. I played Bush, Bowe, Jennings and the NO Def. I still have some hope for Jennings, but have to replace the other three dissappointments. I am toying with Forte, Branch and BALT but wondering if you think the upgrade to Roddy White is worth using Starks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

My updated rankings for the Gridiron Playoff Challenge are up. I have high hopes for Jennings; he's my top WR. Nothing wrong with your choices moving ahead, and yes, I might go White-Starks over Branch-Forte. Why are the Bears such a lock? And yes, it snowed here, but I'm way past worrying about happens. If you don't like, move to Florida!

Baseball Today Addict (NY)

5 by 5, Picking 8th in a snake, keep 3: Halladay (1st), Crawford (2nd), Longoria (2nd), Tulowitzki (3rd) and A Gonzalez (4th).

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

Wow. In order, probably Tulo, Longoria and then ... Gonzalez. Not great value on any of them though.

BJ (Indiana)

What does the Garza trade do for his value?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Makes it go up, up and up a bit more. Not a top 10 pitcher, but might threaten for 200 strikeouts. I just don't know about the wins. It's the Cubs.

Don Casey (Boston, MA)

How do you see Arellious Benn and Mark Clayton in dynasty leagues considering their injuries? Would they be worth a spot near the end of a deep roster or are they a wasted spot, not likely to be significant in 2011?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I like Benn's future more. Clayton is not young, and while he looked awesome for a month this season, that doesn't mean much for next season. Rams should upgrade at WR, he could be left out. Benn will thrive alongside Mike Williams. Just needs reps. I think Benn is the choice in a dynasty.

J.B. (PA)

No question today, Eric. Just a drive-by thanks for the FFL help this season. Won my league in a New England Patriots-style championship game blow out. See you next season!

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

Good for you, J.B., and also a regular in this chat. Congrats and well deserved I am sure...

K (philly)

No fantasy here, just wnated to hear your two cents on what the Eagles should be looking to do for next season. Player personnel and coaching wise. Any hope from you that they go after Asomugha?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Of course they could certainly use Nnamdi in the secondary, as their current defense is not very good. Get more pass rush, improve the o-line and squeeze another season out of Vick and DeSean Jackson and you've got a playoff team. And I am a firm believer that whether you are 12-4 or 9-7, just get in the playoffs. Anything goes there. This is not Andy Reid's fault. The team could have won Sunday and won a few more weeks.

Matt (New York)

Am I dumb for thinking Ryan Braun is still a first rounder?what about the value of Michael Pineda this season? any? Tommy Hanson numbers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Well, Braun is in my first round. I'm not sure why others have him in round two. Seems like about the safest fantasy outfielder there is. He has power, runs, never hits .240. Pineda is 21. I like the upside, and he should win a rotation spot, but how's he going to win games? Felix couldn't. Not sure I'd bother with Pineda in standard leagues.

Jay (Cleveland)

Do you see Broxton bouncing back and being a dominant closer again?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Actually, I kinda do. Not sure why he had issues, but still throws hard, still gets the Ks. He should get the job, too. Excellent sleeper possibility here.

George Posada (Bronx)

Can Russel Martin put up numbers from his glory days? He is still young, and we have a decent park to hit in...

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

I could see, if I squint, double digits in power and speed, but certainly don't expect it. It's more likely he's asked to play maybe 100 games and has trouble in batting average and power.

BJ (Indiana)

Is Starlin Castro going to be a top 10 SS?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

I think he can hit for average, but the power isn't there, and he hasn't turned his speed into basestealing prowess. But hey, what were you doing at 20 years old? I say yes, he's top 10 in 2011, stealing maybe 20 bases.

vic (SF)

How do you see Zach Greinke's value impacted by his move to the NL Central? Facing the Pirates a couple times/year alone should make him a Top 5 pitcher, shouldn't it?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Top 5? I don't think Greinke's problem in 2010 was a lack of facing the Pirates. Expectations were an issue for one. He's talented enough to be a top 5 guy, but could also have another ERA around 4.

Will (WV)

Thoughts on Stanton? Can he boost the avg up and maybe get to the high 30's in HRs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I think 30 home runs are a given. Wouldn't shock me if he hit 40, really. Would shock me if he hit .275, though. Holes in the swing, and for some reason he didn't hit lefties. But the power is there. And again, he's got time. He's 21.

Scott (Denver)

Any value in Seth Smith or Jhoulys Chacin?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Not a big fan of Smith anymore. Had opportunities as a regular and basically failed in the second half. I doubt the Rox view him as more than a fourth outfielder at this point. He's a platoon guy. Chacin is very good. Look at that K rate. Could be an ace soon!

vic (SF)

How shocked will you be if Jose Bautista hits over 45 HRs again?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Not one bit. I expect in the 35-40 range. Extreme fly ball hitter, did much of the damage against RHP, I'm buying another big power season. Might hit .250 though, so be careful.

Scott (Denver)

Where do you see James Starks being drafted next year? What if he has 80-100 this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I don't know if anything Starks does in January will affect his 2011 value. Frankly, I think the health of Ryan Grant matters more. Grant will be the starter, I think. That said, I ranked Starks OK for this week in the Playoff Challenge. I could see 100 yards. But next year, I doubt the Packers abandon their starter if he's healthy.

Jason (St. Louis)

Thoughts on Colby Rasmus? Do you think his feud with La Russa is legit? Still young with a lot of potential

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

There's no feud. If Rasmus would strike out less, make better decisions on stealing bases and be more consistent, LaRussa wouldn't care about getting along. Rasmus is young, he'll improve.


Thanks for your football response. A little Baseball Keeper action... I have the pleasure of being able to keep CarGo for the 8th round. My other decision is Liriano for 15th Round or Oye Como Va in the 21st. What say you there?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Wow, can you keep 'em all? Gotta go CarGo there, but great value on all three. If choosing Liriano or Santana, I go Santana. Borderline top 5 catcher to me. I know it seems I'm not a Liriano fan, but I am. He's terrific. He's my No. 15 SP.

Scot (TX)

Thoughts on Colby Lewis? He struck out a lot of guys and is now in front of an improved defense. Surely the low win total was just a fluke.

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I wouldn't say that, and don't call me surely. Win totals fluctuate for no reason sometimes. That season could have been worth 20 wins, but luck doesn't always even out. Assume he's a 200-inning guy and flirts with 200 K, with a 1.20 WHIP. Draft that, not the wins.

Curt (NJ)

Bradshaw or Hillis for 2011?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Hillis, based on what we know today. Both should have competition, though. Remember, the Browns drafted Monterio Hardesty to be the guy, and he should return. Bradshaw's problem was fumbling, not Jacobs. I expect Jacobs to return.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

Eric, I'm going to be playing in my first league with a 2 catcher requirement. In what round would you target someone like Joe Mauer, V-Mart, McCann, and Posey?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

When there's a 2-catcher league I do raise the catcher value some. Mauer's first, so probably in round 3. Martinez and McCann in round 5, Posey in 6.

Scott (Denver)

Who would you rather keep, Turner or MJD? (Same round loss)...ANd keep Megatron for a 2nd, or Nicks for a 5th?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Hmmm... I will have Jones-Drew ranked a spot or two better, so I guess that's the call. And Nicks three rounds later, yeah, that makes up the difference for me. Plus, Nicks is going to be a monster, probably on Calvin's level, and soon.

Danny Uggla (A town)

Is this the season that HanRam finally comes through? Is he going to actually work out this off season? or should we expect another so-so season by his standards?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Finally, someone noticed Ramirez's numbers aren't getting better. He's awesome, of course, but this was the worst of his five major league seasons. I wouldn't worry. But I do not expect more than 25 homers or more than 40 steals.

Johnny (LA)

I have Matt Wieters in a keeper league and I'm a little scared to let him go, but he was horrible. Any thoughts on him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Wait another season, if you can. He's 24. And 11 homers in your first full season for a catcher isn't exactly tragic. Think 15 homers, .275 average. Definite top 10 catcher.

Tony (Ohio)

Any chance strasburg pitches this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

I would be very, very surprised if he does in the majors. Maybe a few starts in September, but other than the attendance, there's not upside to it.

Scott (Denver)

Thanks Eric! Good luck, we're all counting on you...Could Jimmy Graham be Jermichael Finley next year? And where would you rank them ammong TEs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Ha ha! Ever been in a Turkish prison? I dunno, I can't say I see the resemblance statistically for Graham like I do Finley. I could see Graham having a year like Brent Celek did in 2009, though. That's still good, right? Finley, assuming health, is a top 5 TE in drafts. I could see Graham in the 11-13 range.

Bob (Denver)

Sorry another Strasburg question, but would you consider him a keeper for 2012?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Depends on the league, the format, your patience. I think yes if it's a deep league, though I'm not the guy who relies on keeper pitching.

Ryan ((Milwaukee))

In a keeper league I'm looking to move Utley given he can't see to stay healthy (albeit with fluke injuries) and he's getting up there in age. Is there a young guy you recommend targeting that would be of slightly less value?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I don't disagree that we have seen Utley's best. He's on the wrong side of 30. However, 2B is weak. Want a young 2B to target, I don't see one close to Utley. See if you can move him for Kemp or Justin Upton...

BJ UPTON (Tampa)

I have been working on my mechanics in the off season...Who am I in 2011???

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Of course you've been working hard. EVERY player says that. This Upton is still only 26, but he strikes out a lot and I think that will always hurt his batting average potential. Be happy with 20 homers and 40 steals.

Nostradamus (The Great Beyond)

Hey EK, Who do you think will be this year's CarGo - a player without a fantasy pedigree that blossoms into a potential superstar?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

That was just so unexpected. It would be like Cameron Maybin going 20-40 this season. Hmmmm....

Brian (NYC)

What do you see as Logan Morrison's power upside? Loved the BA and Runs, but need some power to keep him...

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

He's 23, so I'm gonna assume there is potential here. Maybe in 3 years he's the NL version of Daric Barton, but I think Morrison could hit 20 homers within 3 years.

Eric (Chicago)

SS to really target this year in baseball drafts - Alexei Ramirez. Am I wrong?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

You think he's going to get considerably better than he is now? I suppose it's possible, but this looks pretty good to me.

Scott (Denver)

Giving up in Jacoby Jones. Who would you take in the final 3 rounds or so as a flier -- Benn, Anthony Armstrong, Demaryius, Emmanuel Sanders maybe??

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I like all those choices for 2011. I'd say Armstrong has major upside with a decent QB. He didn't have one in 2010. Benn and D.Thomas should be very good. Sanders' problem is opportunity. He's a No. 3 WR for his own team.

Carl (Pittsburgh)

Who do you like this year and beyond, R Porcello or M Minor ?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Gotta say Porcello for now. Just needs to miss more bats.

Todd (KC)

Keep J.Charles (4th round) or K.Britt (14th round)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Gotta say Charles. Top 10 overall player. Britt isn't. Great value, but go with the best player when in doubt.

John (Boston)

Ruiz had a .400 OBP. Top 10 backstop?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

If your league counts on base percentage, sure. But most leagues do not. And let's not assume Ruiz does this again.

John (Boston)

Are ATL closers often undervalued? I know Krimbrel will have competition from Venters, but...

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

It's presumed Kimbrel gets first shot, but I see some type of timeshare. Atlanta just had a lefty closer, so there's no reason why Venters can't close.

John (Twin Cities)

Who do you think will end up with more saves in 2011, Capps or Nathan?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I think Nathan closes on Opening Day and saves 35. I think Capps saves about 5 games. If that. If not for the Pirates, would anyone have made him a closer in the first place?

Scott (Denver)

Eric a football question, do you see Cutler tossing a couple of TDs or falling flat this weekend? Also, is this going to be a blow out by the Bears or a close game?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

I won't say Bears blowout. I could see it, but it's also possible they lose to Seattle. Bears aren't all that great. I'll say Cutler does ok this weekend. Two TDs and two picks. And it's Packers at Bears, and Steelers at Pats.

John (Boston)

Which better describes Branyan: Homers or strikeouts?

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

Can't say one without the other on him... 25 homers, 150 Ks?

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, our time is up for today. Thank you for the spirited questions and hope you enjoyed the chat session. Good luck to those in football playoff leagues for this weekend, and get started on that baseball prep! Pitchers and catchers in one month! Can't wait! Adios!