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January 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session! That's right, even though it's January - and Happy New Year to all! - we're still chatting! So, whether it's football or baseball, let's get some questions in here and have some fun...

Mike (Boston)

Do you expect a big, bounceback year for Ryan Zimmerman (especially if the Nats sign Prince)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I expect Zimmerman to hit. He always hits. But I recall a blog entry early last season when I compared him to Scott Rolen; productive but not exactly durable. I think Zimm will hit whether Prince Fielder is there or not. It sure wouldn't hurt to have him. But I can't take Zimm in the top 25 knowing his injury history.

Dan (LA)

Hey Eric, PPR keeper question. League lets you keep one player at a cost of your 1st rounder. I lost the championship game so I'll be picking 11th of 12 (snake). All that said, would you keep any of Charles, Gore, Vick, F-Jax or toss them all back and hope something better falls to me?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Hmmm...well, as many as considering 12 keepers could be off the board, this is essentially like the second round for some teams. I wouldn't keep Vick. No way. I think Gore is still a borderline top 10 guy for 2012, and he's not coming off season-ending injury, at least not yet. Plus, you pick two picks after your first-rounder anyway. I'd keep Gore and try to re-draft Charles!

Ben (Springfield, MO)

I know it's way too early to look ahead to 2012, but how safe of a keeper would Jamal Charles be? Compared to someone like Chris Johnson?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

Hey, I was looking at keepers two months ago. Never too early! And really, I'll have a quarterback blog entry this week with rankings and keeper talk and everything... definitely not too early! I think Chris Johnson is safer. He's healthy. And with a full summer and preseason and no contract talk, I think he has to be regarded as a top 10 guy. He should bounce back. He's not too old... not hurt.... just one of those years.

TS (NYC)

Hey Eric, I'm having trouble evaluating Ryan Braun's value in a dynasty league. On one hand, he's only missing 1/3 of the season (everything I've read indicates that his appeal will be denied). On the other hand, I think there's a possibility that he isn't the player that he was in '11 when he returns. What are your thoughts?Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Well, I participated in a recent industry mock draft, and it was 15 teams. I chose Braun in the middle of the third round and was happy to do it. I think he's a 3rd rounder, even in 10 team leagues. Look, he can't play more than 112 games. We know this. But he's so good... why couldn't he go 25-90-20 anyway? I mean, we take Josh Hamilton in that round and he always misses games. This way, you know you don't get Braun in April and half of May. You'll live. It's an outfield spot, not shortstop. I think Braun might still crack my top 25. I'm pondering. And don't worry about the ability... he'll be very good, very motivated.

Mark M. (Rochester, MN)

2012 Football KeepersHi Eric,Quick question for you?14-team non-ppr. We can keep 2 players. Each player can be kept for up to 2 years in the round you drafted them in.My 4 options:McFadden ? 10th round for 1 more yearFoster ? 1st round for 2 years (I won?t have a high enough 1st round pick to get him back next year)Lynch ? 6th round for 2 yearsAntonio Brown ? 12th round for 2 yearsThanks a bunch!MarkPS?love the bias meow on Baseball Today

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Ya know, we gotta get the Bias Cat back on the podcast... it's been a while. I think Foster is a must keep here. You wanna win in 2012, right? He's arguably the first overall pick. I'd keep Lynch. Yes, a healthy McFadden is potentially better, but Lynch was just awesome the last two-plus months of the season. He's a good second round pick in 2012. And to me, the difference between round 6 and 10 in a football draft is nothing. You've got your key starters by round 6 anyway.

Joe (Sarasota)

Next year in Fantasy Football, Tim Teabow will be the ____ QB taken in the draft.

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

I can argue for him in the No. 10 or so spot, even though we don't really know for sure the Broncos will rely on him. I think they will. Tebow was awful in Week 17. But every other week was double digits. Can he improve his passing? I'm skeptical he will, but I think the Tebow we saw much of the season can be a top 10 guy getting 15 points per week. I mean, Mark Sanchez finished as the No. 10 scorer for 2011 among QB. He had some big weeks, but also some miserable ones. Tebow can do that. So as of now, I'll rank him probably 11 or 12.

Spelling (USA)

I realize this is an ESPN chat but why answer a question when the person asking can't even spell the subject's name correctly (Tebow v. Teabow)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I think we know what he meant. Doesn't really bother me... And I like talking Tebow. Don't we all?

K (philly)

LeSean, Ray Rice, whos 3 if Peterson is out for a few games to start the season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I think Foster is No. 1, personally. And Peterson could miss significantly more than a few games.

Matt (Boise)

Any thoughts on where Prince ends up?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

The singer? Is he touring?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I think the Rangers get him after the Darvish stuff is taken care of. I can't believe he wants to go to the Nationals.

Marla (tucson, az)

12 team PPR league with two keepers...pick two...Stafford, Brees, Megatron, Marshall, and Sjax. Is the Detroit duo the obvious pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Well, yeah, I think it's probably those two. I think the case can be made for Steven Jackson, but is he really a first-rounder still? I think Stafford is a lot better, and I'm a running back guy. Honestly, in 2012, I don't know how I can't have multiple QBs in the first round. There aren't enough safe RBs.

Mike (Chicago)

I'm already planning all sorts of offers to reel in Braun in my keeper league...in a head to head league I'll take the hit at the beginning of the season to have him at the end.

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

I would do the same... If his suspension doesn't happen, he's a top-3 overall pick, and really should be in 2013 as well.

Steve (NYC)

With the first pick in my fantasy league playoff draft (4 teams) which starts this week with the NFL, my leepers from reg season are Tom Brady and Arian Foster. The other keepers are A. Rodgers, M. Stafford, Victor Cruz and Roddy White. Best total playoff points wins. Who would you pick with the first pick? Ray Rice, Calvin Johnson, Mike Wallace, Gronk or Brees (even tho I already have Brady who I cant start this week)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

I'd take Rice. I wrote a blog today, which is posted, with position rankings. Rice was my top RB, and if all players were available, I'd probably take him right after Brees.

Bob (Ft Lauderdale)

Eric, first of all Happy New Year my friend.I heard DWade is sitting out tonight. How banged up do you think he really is, or is this a case of 4 games in 5 nights?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Happy New Year to you! I think this will be common among older folks this compacted season. I mean, Tim Duncan isn't playing much. I avoided Wade in my drafts, but it's OK if he plays better in the games he plays. We don't want him acting like Duncan and putting up pedestrian stats.

Andrew (baseball is awesome)

Dynasty league, I own Ryan Zimmerman (3B), David Wright (CI), Hanley Ramirez. Not amused by Miami's shenanigans. First, does Hanley keep SS eligibility for one more year, and if not, which of the 3 do you suggest jettisoning for 50 cents on the dollar ASAP?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I think knowing Jose Reyes' durability, or lack thereof, that Hanley will manage to play 20 games at shortstop and qualify again in 2013. I'd move Zimmerman. I can make the case for Hanley and Wright as first-round picks this season, probably more like the 12-15 range, but I can't take Zimm in the top 25. Remember, Wright still runs.

Dave (Boston)

Keeper question: I can keep either AGon or 4 of the following for the same cost in my league: AGordon, Mauer, Wilson, Storen, Harper, and Trout. Heart says AGon. Head says some assortment of the others. Who's right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Yeah, I'd have to take the four others here. I mean, keeping Gordon, Mauer, Trout and a closer...or Harper if he's that cheap, is worth it. I wouldn't keep a closer here. You can always get saves.

Alex (Anaheim)

How close to a #1 pick will Cano be in 2012?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

I don't think he's a sure first rounder for most people. He's in my top 10. I mean, just look at second base. It's not pretty.

Dan (Vermont)

Deep AL Only question. Does M.Taylor play in the bigs for Oakland? [Schoenfield mentioned him yesterday as being in OAK's lineup, in his chat.] If so, how many ABs and be a pal and throw an off-the-top-of-your-head stat line out there! Thanks for chatting!

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

Schoenfield said that! How dare he! I don't expect Taylor to be very good. He's toolsy, but can't take a walk. If he hits .250 would he have a .300 OBP? Not sure. I'll say 200 PA, 5 homers, 10 steals, but he won't get on base or hit for average.

Matt (NY)

Wait. Wait. You're saying there's a case to be made for Wright in the first two rounds? What am I not seeing? All I see is dwindling power and speed, a pedestrian BA and very few RBI opportunities. Maybe as a Mets fan I can't see the forest through the tree, but seriously, if you're going to make David Wright one of your top two picks, I'd love to play against you.

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Two seasons ago the guy went .283, 29 homers, 103 RBI and 19 steals. Last season he got hurt, and not in a it-happens-every-year way. And he's 29. I think you're missing the big picture here. He will hit, he will run and someone will be on base.

Bob (Ft Lauderdale)

NL Only Roto league question.With Reyes joining the Fish is Boni still a keeper at $1?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Yeah, I think there's a good chance Bonifacio plays center field for the Marlins, or shares second base with Infante. And when Reyes is hurt, either he plays 3B or he's at SS. I think the Marlins want to bat Reyes and Bonifacio 1-2 in the order. I would. And that's perhaps 100 steals there (OK, 85).

Ryan (VA)

Longoria, Cargo, Ellsbury Votto? Rank for 2012

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Ellsbury, Votto, Longoria and then Cargo. First three in round 1....

Ryan (VA)

Starting Pitcher drafted outside the top 15 with best chance of ending the year in the top 10?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Would depend to some degree whom makes your top 15. We're all gonna be different. If I think someone can make the top 10, then they'd be in my top 15! But I'll play along: I don't think the following fellows will be in the consensus top 15, but have nice immediate upside: Cain, Bumgarner, Wainwright, .... Matt Moore!

Brandon (OC, CA)

Does Brett Lawrie get/keep the 3B gig in Tor for 2012?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

You mean the next Ryan Braun (statistically)? Yes. He hits like a champ and can run, too. And in 2 years, he might be in left field just like Braun.

Malik (AZ)

Ackley/Lawrie top 60 for 2012?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Lawrie is definitely in mine. Ackley doesn't quite make it; Ackley just doesn't have counting stats. Will he definitely reach 10 home runs? Or 10 steals? Can't say he will. Should be a top 10 second baseman though. But Lawrie...could be a 25 homer, 20 steal guy now.

Brandon (OC, CA)

20-tm 5x5 (OPS replaces runs) salary (based on last year's performance) cap dynasty league... Cole Hamels (~$35) for Brett Lawrie (~$4) and a throw-in... Is it even? Am I too high on Lawrie?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

I like it. That's just too much for Hamels. I wouldn't pay that for any starting pitcher.

Jim (OC)

Would do you expect from Ivan Nova? Worth 5 bucks?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Some regression ahead, including in the wins category, which cannot be reasonably predicted. Five bucks? Depends on the league, but sure, that seems ok.

Alex (Anaheim)

Jason Kipnis was productive when healthy last year, do you see more of the same going forward?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Yes, I do. I think he's a top 10 second baseman, probably better than Ackley. Kip has more power, and can also run. I like him more than Chisenhall.

SAM (KC)

Chapman as a starter?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

I wouldn't invest. I see Chapman as a middle reliever for another year, or in the minors trying to start. The Reds have a lot of rotation depth still, and Aroldis didn't have a great winter stretching out the old wing...

Brian Barrett (Cape Coral, FL)

Pick 2 of the following 3 keepers: Hosmer, Gallardo, Pence. Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

I'd go with the bats. When in doubt, take care of your offense. Gallardo is good, but we're still talking about a guy with a 3.67 ERA over his career. He's a K guy, safe K guy, but what if he wins only 13 with a 3.50?

Mike (San Diego)

Wow Ellsbury over Votto AND Longoria? I'm assuming you think the power is sustainable then.

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Even if/when Ellsbury hits "only" 20-25 home runs, this is a 40-steal guy that hits for average, scores runs, etc. I love drafting players with power and speed... remember, Grady Sizemore used to be a first-rounder!

Brandon (OC, CA)

Curtis Granderson or Jason Heyward for the next 3 yrs...

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Granderson isn't old, so he's the safer pick... but I think Heyward will get back on track and be very good.

rick (chicago)

Glad for some baseball talk. Better fantasy game. Way too much luck in fantasy football

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I know of a league in which a guy had his team autodrafted and he never made one move all season long. Never even changed the lineup. Played through bye weeks, lost his receivers for a few weeks, kept on winning. Other teams just didn't score against him. Made the playoffs and rolled through them. Went 13-2-1 and won the title. Football is awesome, certainly takes some luck. I don't think one can win a baseball league quite the same way.

TIM (AZ)

Thoughts on Jhy Chacin? Rank? Upside?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Bad second half, notably with the walks, but still a potential top 20 starting pitcher, one you wouldn't need to draft that way because people are still scared of Rockies pitchers. I could see his best season yet; he should eventually strike out close to 180-200 hitters.

Dan (VA)

Worth drafting any SP at the end of the first or should I wait and target hitting?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

I don't have any starting pitchers in my top 10. In the recent mock draft I did there were no pitchers in the top 20.

John (Toronto, Canada)

EricLove your analysis and your blogs. When will you and the other ESPN staff issue your 2012 keeper rankings for football

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Thanks! I really don't know about that one. I know I plan to go position by position this month detailing my 2012 rankings, which are similar to keeper ranks. I mean, there aren't that many old players I'd really dock in keeper rankings.

Bob (Pit)

Where does Neil Walker fall in 2b rankings? Still room for growth?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Probably not much room. He is what he is, which is fine, a potential 15-20 homer guy with a few steals sprinkled in, but will he ever become Cano, I doubt it. Probably in my 11-13 range at 2B.

Mike (San Diego)

Not a fantasy question, but Norv Turner??? Really Spanos?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I have no issue with Turner and Andy Reid coming back. These are good franchises, good coaches, good talent, either team could win 11 or 12 games in 2012.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Well, on that fine note, I think our time for today is complete. Thank you for showing up and asking questions. I know I really appreciate it, and never take it for granted. Wishing all a Happy New Year! I believe I'll be back chatting next Wednesday (and all Wednesdays!) at 3 p.m. ET, so I guess our paths will cross then! Thanks!