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February 9, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning gang! We're back for another 60 minutes of fantasy chattage, so why don't we get right to business? Second cup of coffee is firmly in hand, so let's play ball!

Zach (Washington, DC)

David Wright or Andrew McCutchen as a keeper? Keep in mind, I am a die-hard (gulp) Mets fan.

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

As am I, but I'd go with McCutchen. He's been growing by leaps and bounds and has absolutely no help in that lineup, apart from maybe Walker. Meanwhile, Wright lost Beltran and Reyes... stats will be hard to come by I fear.

Andrew (NYC)

AJ, I HAVE to make the playoffs this year. I am the laughing stock of my league. Any secrets you can tell me?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Do your homework so that you are as prepared as possible on Draft Day. Then trust your research. Don't be swayed by what other owners are doing. Let things play out through April, and then reassess.

Jonathan (NYC)

Which young stud has the best 2012, and how good? Eric Hosmer, Desmond Jennings, Bret Lawrie, Mike Stanton.

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

I think Lawrie will be either the best of the bunch, or the worst of the bunch. I'd feel safer with Hosmer, and I'm a little leery of Stanton only because of the uncertainty of how the new park plays.

Dave (Philly)

Longoria or Bautista?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Joey Bats has proven he's not a fluke. I'd go with him, especially since he's held on to 3B eligibility for another year.

Cody (Kansas)

Will Matt Moore have 15 wins this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

That would be the max if all falls right. Pitching at the back of the rotation and with the likelihood of some kid gloves, I'm not expecting more from Moore this year.

Tick (Boston)

What is your take on taking pitching in the first round? No knock on Doc, Clayton, or Verlander, but I find it hard to grab one of those guys so early when pitching is so deep.

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Depends on the league, for example in a points format I could see taking any/all three. I used to be a lot more anti-SP early than I am now, but I can see taking one late 1st/early 2nd if a lot of 2B/SS are all taken ahead of me.

Dave (Philly)

YOu might be the first person I heard not sold on Wright? They moved the fence in, nobody is talking about him, and last yr overall top 10 player.

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

My concern is not with Wright himself so much as not having anyone on base to drive in with those HRs or having protection behind. Still a top 30 hitter, but not top 10.

Demetrios (Westchester, NY)

Do you still think Strasburg will have an inning cap if the Nationals make a run for the playoffs?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I think if he's healthy enough to pitch, they'll let him pitch on a given day, but may skip him here and there to keep him in the 160 IP range.

Brandon (Waltham, MA)

First base is extremely thin this season. Wise to take an elite (Cabrera, Pujols, Votto) in the first round, if you can?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I don't think it's thin overall... but in an NL-only, it's Votto and then a cliff.

Casey (Oklahoma)

Need help on keeping two of these three: Holliday, Cruz, Lester. Thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Cruz will likely give you 30 HR if he plays 125 games and 40 if he plays 150. Of course, the way his career arc has gone, you'll be lucky to see 110 games, so I'd let him go.

Hulk Hogan (Hulkamania)

I am a real American.

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Fight for the rights of every man, do you?

Andrew (Toronto)

Need help on keeping two of these five: Carl Crawford, Elvis Andrus, Mike Young, Eric Hosmer & Alex Gordon.

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I'd go with Homser and Andrus.

Sonny (South Bend)

What do you expect out of Freddie Freeman this year? Thanks, you are the best!

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

He's in that group of 20-80 youngsters with Hosmer, Gaby and Goldschmidt. A definite tier there...

Jim (Philly)

Keep one out of: Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Darvish, Matt Moore, Pineda and Hanson

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Wainwright gets my vote.

Matt (Syracuse)

IN the 1st round who do you take first, Tulo or Cano? Since both SS and 2B are thin

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

More of a gut feel on this one with where you pick and who might be there on the turnaround. I'd be fine with Tulo/Kinsler or Cano/Reyes but if I think I'm dropping to either Uggla or Rollins, then I make my call based on that...

Pete (Baltimore)

Can you name some players that would fit the bill on the All Forgotten Team? Players that are good, but had lousy seasons last year. Players like Choo. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Lousy due to injury (like Choo) is different to me than lousy due to being lousy (Dunn). To be honest, once I start making my lists for the current season, I kind of forget who was forgotten, if you know what I mean.

Andrew (Toronto)

Hosmer over Crawford??

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

You have to factor in Crawford's surgery and the possibility of his not starting the season from Day 1, and how that gives you a better chance on getting him back in your re-draft.

Omar (Brooklyn)

In head to head, keep Rollins or Holliday?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

Holliday. There's a good two rounds of difference between them, at least.

Rob (South Carolina)

Taking a flyer on a 5th outfielder: Alejandro De Aza or Lorenzo Cain?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Very similar players, but I'll go with the slight extra power you'd get from De Aza.

Ryan (Concord, NH)

Does CarGo return to form this year? Sounds like he could be a steal this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

The expectations last season were never going to pay off. He had a once in a career season in 2010. That said, when he was healthy, he put up 30-30 type numbers. I'd not be stunned if he does that this year.

Jay (Ohio)

I just told my girlfriend to get me your book for Valentines's Day (crossing my fingers). What are your projects on Wieters, seems like he was really putting it together last year

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Word of advice: ask, don't tell! And while we're on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/How-Fantasy-Sports-Explains-World/dp/161608295X. I think Wieters is a solid top 5 catcher this season, though well behind Napoli and Santana.

steve (KC)

where does alex gordon go from here?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

Hopefully, he stays in the leadoff spot, where he seemed to do quite well. I think as long as pitchers continue to throw him first-pitch fastballs, he'll have the same kind of season he did in 2011.

brian (brooklyn)

As far as the bare lineup around Wright, Mike Sweeney back in the putrid KC days and Vlad when he was alone on the Expos still got them terrific all around fantasy numbers.

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

I'm not saying it can't be done. McCutchen is a perfect example. I'm just saying that I am concerned.

Ben (Boston)

Prince and Jacoby are definite keepers, but who's third out of grandy, felix and desmond?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I'd stick with Felix, slightly ahead of Granderson.

Tom (Chicago)

AJ, with nearly half of fantasy leagues turning to points as opposed to rotisserie, is it time to change the definition of a "standard league" in ESPN's analysis?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

True, the number of points leagues is growing, and we are aware of that fact. In fact, I shall be writing up a Points League Strategy article for the Draft Kit and a Points League ranking as well. Consider me the "point man" for points leagues.

JT (Dallas)

Why is Yu Darvish ranked down in the 400s on your projection list? The stats you have projected for him would seem to put him in the top 100.

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

If that's the case, it might simply be a misprint or glitch due to his not playing last season. I believe he's in the 120's or so overall.

Martin (London)

Assuming Crawford and Howard start on the DL. What round do you anticipate they should be drafted in?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

Crawford, at least for now, may well return in April, so maybe a 6th Round for him... Howard, on the other hand, is a big leap of faith, and I'd say you're looking at the 16th round before you'd even consider him.

Jim (Philly)

How big of a stud will stanton be this year!? as long as the new park isnt Petco East...

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

That's kind of the question. Without knowing how the park plays, it's hard to project all Miami players -- and that's assuming the team doesn't self-destruct will all those personalities. Stanton could hit 40 easy, if he doesn't chase and the power alleys reward him kindly at home.

Keith (VA)

Any set date on when we will hear about Braun?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

My understanding is that a ruling has to be made by Feb. 12, but I don't know if that means a ruling has to be made public at that time... In fact, I'd be surprised if we do hear that soon...

Dave (Philly)

Will CJ Wilson have more wins # 3 pitcher but less offense? What do you see out of him?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

I don't worry about rotation order if you're not the No. 5 guy. Those get shuffled around so the W-L isn't really affected by that.I'd say he is a top 20 pitcher, but won't have the same numbers as Haren or Weaver... which is why he's No. 3.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

What's the difference between points and rotisserie league?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Short answer is that each game a player's stats are converted into one single number. So while you do get points for achievements in various categories, you're not comparing each stat separately.

Jim (Detroit)

Better keeper, Ryan Zimmerman or Starlin Castro?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Zimmerman for me, though the SS scarcity makes it a lot closer than the numbers would probably indicate.

Bubba (LA)

You staying clear of Adam Dunn this season? Any chance he surprises?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Always a chance, but I'm concerned that the problem is bat speed, and that doesn't just fix itself as a player gets older.

Jeff (Toronto)

What is your strategy when picking at the turn?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Best player available. I'll definitely grab one of the last few guys in a tier and assume they won't get back to me. I also won't take as many chances on risky players due to the large gap between picks.

Chris (San Jose)

I know the maxim never pay for saves, but when the leagues start getting large (13,14,15 teams), does your strategy change at all?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I'd probably still wait until we get to the point where there are only a few guys left with "guaranteed" jobs. I'm not going to own Mariano, for example, but once the closers really start to go off the board, I would follow the crowd.

Tom (Jacksonville)

What does Panda's upside look like?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

About .330 and 35 HRs.

Henry (NYC)

Thoughts on Shin Soo Choo for this year? Will he get back to being a 20/20 player?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Yes, but as he's no longer in the "safe" category, there are other players who I'd select first for upside.

Jason (Cleveland)

What do you think of Asdrubal this year? Regression, Progression, status quo

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Less run production - still top 75 due to position, though.

Drew (Hudson Valley, NY)

Who's a starting pitcher you'll reach for this year?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

I'll be taking James Shields early in a lot of drafts and will try to get Doug Fister late as well.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's the final gun, gang. We're on Twitter @ajmass if I didn't get to your Q's here. As always, we appreciate you joining the chat. Until the next time, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor!