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January 2, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session, my first of 2013! Glad to be here! Well, whatever is on your mind today, let's discuss it! Here we go...

Martin (NY)

Eric - Appreciate your work. If you had to pick one keeper out of the following, who would you lean toward at this time: Dez ($29), Decker ($22), Kaep ($15), or David Wilson ($15)

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

Hmmm. Well, I like to lean toward RB, but I don't think Wilson is worth that yet. I'd say Decker. Probably the best price of the bunch and I always feel like I can get a QB later.

Sam (Cincy)

Hi Eric. Happy New Year to you!! a 2013 baseball keeper question - if you had to decide today, who would you expect to be more valuable - Kipnis at $23, Profar at $9 or Machado at $8?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Well, I think of these three if we took salaries out, Kipnis wins. But his price is a bit pricey to me. I'd go Machado. Could add SS eligibility to 3B and he will hit. Profar might not play enough.

Alex (OH)

BASEBALL: Would you rather keep Headley (24th round) or Desmond (25)? It seems like third base is a little deeper so I am leaning Desmond for now.

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

I would keep Headley because I think he has more of a chance to repeat his performance. Neither SS nor 3B is terribly deep or productive.

Samantha Fox (Even naughty girls need fantasy love too)

Happy belated birthday EK!

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

Thank you, Samantha! Feels good to be 29!

Robert (New York)

What's your prediction for Ryan Howard's numbers this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Well, I think he will be healthy enough to play most games, and I could see 30 home runs and 110 RBI. I mean, he might hit .250 and be awful defensively, but still, the power numbers should be there. Ah, if only he platooned with Young or Ruf or ... why bother...

Ryan (DC)

Pick 2: Adam Jones in Rd 5, Gio in Rd 14, Sale in Rd

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Well, I assume Sale is far later than the other 2. Sale and Jones is fine.

tc (toronto)

Matt Moore?? 5x5 roto - 13 teams - $25? too much????? I have spent wayyyy too much time thinking about this - and it isn't even February!

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Yeah, it's a bit much for ANY starting pitchers other than Verlander and a few others. I think Moore can earn it, but that's a lot.

Greg (Amherst)

I really like Becket as a sleeper this year. He has burned many bridges and a number of fantasy fans hate the guy and won't draft him, or lower his pre draft ranking on principal. Especially if it's a Red Sox fans league. I think he should out earn his draft day value. What do you expect from Beckett?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I kind of agree with you, though you're right, there aren't many that agree. Yes, Beckett did not look good last season, and his numbers in LA looked better, but superficiously. I think with him he can dial things up more, and obviously being in that ballpark and that league... I just think he's undervalued. Not a top-10 guy, but borderline top 20.

Brandon (RI)

Have you completed any mock drafts yet? If so, what positions seem deep and provide good value mid-late rounds?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I sure have! And other than pitcher and first base and outfield... it's all bad. Really bad. So much that I was willing to go a bit early for middle infielders and third base. And when I had most of my offense set and an ace or two, I even went earlier than usual on closer because there was so much starting pitching depth.

Chicago (Illinois)

Which 3 would you keep? AJ Green for $6, Crabtree for $4, Ridley for $15 or Charles for $32? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

Wow. I'd throw Charles back and keep the other three for a combined $25. Those three would go for $65-70 combined normally.

Ryan (DC)

Sale would have been in Rd 19...You're not worried about workload issues with him? I get that hitters are safer, but what makes you say Adam Jones over Gio considering the 9 rd difference?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I am definitely worried about Sale's arm. He barely made it through last season, really. I take the under on 30 starts or 200 innings. But in round 19 you don't need 30 starts. I think Gio could pitch the same exact way and win 14 games. That's how wins work. Can't be predicted. I think Jones might be a tad overrated, too. Round 5 isn't a great round to get him if he decides not to run.

Jon (Strasburg PA)

Preparing for the zombie apocalpyse with my buddies. How much would you spend for Zombie Christy Mathewson in a standard 5x5?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

At least $30. But Old Hoss is a better value. Just ask him.

brian (nc)

Who would your top 5 picks in a football playoff draft be? It is a draft for the entire postseason.

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I blogged about this earlier in the week ... unlike a real draft I would say get a top QB early. Could easily rationalize Peyton, Rodgers and Brady off the top, then the top RBs, which would be some combo depending on your rules of Peterson, Foster and of course, the future Hall of Famer Knowshon Moreno.

Kmac (Boston)

Hi Eric, We redraft after the wildcards and play thru superbowl. What's a good overall strategy: stud QB then stud rbs or wrs that might get 2 games...? or grab players with super upside regardless of gamers played.Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

A combination of upside and safety. I'd say a top QB early, though they can lose, too. Matt Ryan certainly has! Decide the teams you think will go far and draft off that... picking one guy from every team generally doesn't result in many points.

Ryan (DC)

Starlin Castro will end the year as a top _ SS?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Definitely top 5. Durable, will hit for average and we hope he runs enough. Someday he develops power. My pal Tristan Happy Cockcroft has him No. 1! http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=2013_ranks_SSI have him fourth. But close.

Nathan (FL)

Pick 2 of 3 for a long term keeper league same cost: Matt Moore, Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

I'd remove Lee from that one. Long term could be an issue at his age, at least in a baseball sense.

Mike (San Diego)

In general, do you go for decent value or just wrap up a stud in keeper leagues? My example wouldbe keeping Ellsbury in the 5th or McCutchen in the 2nd. I'm leaning Cutch.

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

I'd lean Cutch. Safer. Reliable. Young. And in general if I can keep a guy in a league like that a round later than he would go, that's enough for me. McCutchen is a first-rounder. Ellsbury... I just don't know if I want to deal with him, and I'm in the minority saying durability isn't a major problem.

tom (ca)

If third base is weak but 1st base is strong, how do you approach selecing a CI?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Depends. Early on I just want numbers. I chose David Ortiz in the seventh round in a recent mock. There's no offense. There wasn't last year. So get your power and worry about filling spots later. If you've narrowed your decision to two players and one plays 1B and the other 3B... then go 3B.

Rob (Philly)

Not that one should draft catchers early, but seems to be a lot of depth there this year.

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

In a 10- or even 12-team league, I concur. I waited on catchers in these mocks. The year I take Mauer ...well, you know. He'll play 50 games. Wait until round 12... still good catchers there.

ACC (Baldwin)

Baseball, Please pick two keepers from Ellsbury, M. Holliday, Kipnis, Allen Craig ?? Thanks for all your insight in 2012!

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Holliday is a second rounder, so he's definite. And I'd go Kipnis. I think Craig will have better numbers, but first base is deep. And I tend to overrate middle infielders that have power and speed!

Mike (San Diego)

True or False: Wil Myers ends 2013 as a top 40 outfielder.

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

I'd say no. I do like Myers and think the power is a given, but there's no guarantee Tampa Bay plays him in April. No guarantee he hits for average. And 40 outfielders... the position really is deep. Hunter Pence isn't a top-40 outfield. Deeeeeeeeep.

Mike (San Diego)

How deep of a league would you need to be playing in before you draft Matt Carpenter? I don't think he's as good as Allen Craig, but his role coming into this year looks similar to what Craig's was entering 2012.

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I don't think Carpenter has the power upside Craig did, but I see your point. Might play corner, might play outfield, second base. I just think it's hollow batting average.

Ben (Dover, De)

Is Mccutchen a sure fire 1st rounder even though he has no protection around him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Lineup protection doesn't matter in baseball. Trust me. McCutch had a great 2012, he'll do it again.

Matt (Steinway)

As of now, how do you think the 2013 Broncos backfield works out? What round would you project for Knowshon if the Broncos don't bring in an FA? Thanks and have a happy new year!

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

I think Moreno is more likely to be a Bronco than McGahee, no? Wow, tough call on what Denver does. I do think they don't view Hillman as more than a third down back. Perhaps they keep all 3, making none great for fantasy.

Rob (Philly)

Who leads the league in taters in 2013?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Joey Bats and the first place Toronto Blue Jays!

Randall (SD)

What source of data would you miss most if you lost it in preparation for your fantasy baseball drafts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

My brain. Honestly, if you know the players, the stats, the situations... I just use a sheet to cross out the player names, if anything. I do like updated player news, though. But I will say I would miss ESPN the most!

Mike (San Diego)

Who's going to be the most overrated #2 hitter going into this year because he's hitting in front of a few studs? I think Howard Kendrick and Brennan Boesch tied for that award last year.

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

People honestly believe hitting second makes a player so much better. Watch Torii Hunter drop to .250 this season! I don't want to blanket say whomever hits second for the Angels between Trout and Pujols is overrated. Someone like Aybar could thrive there.

darrell (my desk)

Carl Crawford...discuss please

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Won't be on my teams. Won't be ready in April, for one. And what is he in LA? They need leadoff guy, but can he get on base? He doesn't walk. I'm just not that optimistic. Not in my top 100, but I was one of the few that left him out last year...

Brad (Cincy)

You had Finley as your top TE this week, but went with Daniels who was more expensive? Not worried about Cobb coming back cutting into Jennings' targets?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Not really worried, no. And not worried about the prices in the game when I did the rankings. Just stats for me. Finley and Daniels are about even.

Phil (Berkley)

Need a keeper for next year. Don't have to give up anything. Calvin, AJ Green, Gronk, Doug Martin.

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Wow, nice choices. I'd narrow it to Calvin and Martin. I have them ranked in the top 10, same area. Prob lean to Martin in a keeper.

Mike (San Diego)

The third headline on ESPN's NHL page is about Alex Ovechkin's engagement. This lockout sucks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

I do miss the sport. And when I hear/see people say they love hockey and won't come back... please. I don't buy it. This is entertainment. They haven't wronged us. The minute the Flyers are back on ice, I AM WATCHING. I can't keep counting the days to pitchers and catchers. It's awful.

ACC (Baldwin)

Just wanted to say thanks I read up on your analysis for taking as many running backs early as you could and waiting on quarterback specifically Peyton. Much appreciated I won my league because of this.

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Awesome! And I won leagues with my QBs-after-round-5 strategy as well. I'm sure people won leagues with Rodgers and Brady, too, but that's not the point. Different strategies work.

Greg (Amherst)

Carl Crawford... laugh please. No serious, has this guy ever been anything more than fantasy speed. Worst contact int he history of baseball

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

When he was stealing 50 bases a year and hitting for average, he was great. But was still overrated. You need power early. You can't take Michael Bourn in round 3 anymore (or ever) because then you're chasing power the entire draft.

Todd (Cleveland)

Are the days of Hanley being a stud over? Just seems like an average killer now. Where do you see him hitting in that lineup? 2 or 5?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Might have to lead off... who else in LA? Mark Ellis? I think he can still be a very valuable fantasy asset due to his position eligibility and the likelihood of 20 homers and 20 steals. We're spoiled. Even if he hits .250, take it.

lm (to)

Dujuan harris expectations this week?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Packers should have full compliment of players, so remains to be seen if Harris is the top RB. Could be a healthy Green. I doubt it's Grant. I ranked Harris well but you know the Packers prob view them all similarly.

Lily (Kingsville)

I am on the fence about making deal for Tulo. You think he rebounds or is just injured again???

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I think both. Honestly, could hit like a fiend for his 120 games. Still worth a third-rounder, at worst.

Scott (Charlotte)

Need to keep 3, all late round keepers so round value is similar. Headley, Hosmer, Sal Perez, and Profar. Who do I drop?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Keep Hosmer and Headley for sure. I'd keep Profar. Monster upside. And there are plenty of catchers out there and they all get hurt too.

Tom (Calif)

Thx for your help this past season. Here is a best finish candidate for you. Down 11 points with with less than 2 mins left and have Romo and Alf Morris left for me..done I thought. With less than a min left, Alf needs 1/2 yard to get a 200 yd bonus (5 points), a TD (6 points) and the 1 point for the last 10 yds to 200...12 in all total. The hand off goes to Alf, he scores and gets the 200 yds and I win the championship by a point. It aint over until it is over!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Fantasy football is tremendous... every point counts! I lost a league in the semis, despite having the best team and it would have won Week 17, because of the Frank Gore fumble/TD against New England. It happens! Congrats!

Scott (Ohio)

do you keep rutledge in a 12 team league? What about plouffe?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Surely Plouffe first, but in a 12-teamer... I dunno. At shortstop, I'd keep Plouffe. I don't see Rutledge playing every day.

Kyle (NY)

Keeper league pick two: BJ Upton, Ellsbury, Manny Machado, Matt Wieters (already keeping J. Upton, Billy Butler, Longoria, Lawrie and Giancarlo). Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I'd keep Upton and prob Machado. Wieters is great I suppose, but there should be catchers avail. Machado is still young...huge future.

Greg (Amherst)

I wouldn't go over 3 years, but in this situation it could be interesting. KC offers K. Lohse 3/40mil, who do you think says no?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Lohse is nuts to turn that down. Royals are nuts to offer it. That's baseball. I bet Lohse thinks he can do better...and Royals really should have enough rotation depth at this point. They should have kept Myers and signed...ah, forget it.

Randall (SD)

Pick 3, keeper league- AGone, Ellsbury, C. Lee, Halladay, Bruce

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Bruce, Halladay, Lee.

darrell (my desk)

Medlen, hart or vmart..pick dos

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Can't say I like any as keepers. I'd throw back Hart.

Rob (Philly)

After many years fighting it, I think I may finally have to keep a closer. It's Craig Kimbrel over the likes of Ian Desmond, Carlos Santana, Ben Zobrist, and David Ortiz. Better or worse, that's the move, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Nah, I'd keep Zobrist and Desmond and then Santana over any closer.

Todd (Cleveland)

Keeper help. Need to let 1 guy go... Price 20, Moore 13, Jones 17, Bautista 17, VMart 5, Longoria 25, Andrus 17.

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Man, all good prices. Jones is Adam, I presume? Not Todd. I'd prob cut Jones. I love Moore's upside.

Alex (PA)

If Trout is the #1 hitter, who is the #1 SP to draft? Verlander? CC? Weaver?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Most do not have Trout as the top overall pick. They have Cabrera or Braun 1-2 in some order. All similar. I have Verlander first pitcher, most do.

Trevor (CT)

Altuve a good bet to repeat 2012? Have him for a $1...

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I don't see why he would get worse... will certainly earn a dollar for the steals alone.

Alex (OH)

Speaking of draft stragegies, I drafted Vick and Rivers as my two Qbs and still won my league. Colin Kaep and Moreno were my pickups of the year!

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Not shocking, because playing the waiver wire is obviously important. It's all about the timing.

Charles (Kingsville)

I see you picking some pitcher keepers over hitters... any reason for this thought you liked to go heavy on hitters then fill in with pitchers.

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I do, but it's not a blanket statement, either. It doesn't hurt to lock up an ace or special pitcher, especially if the keeper option plays catcher, first or outfield.

Brandon (RI)

Do you think the Trout/Harper 2012 success is going to result in guys reaching for this year's young crop (Machado, Profar, Myers etc)

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Yes. I think Trout and Harper are special, like generationally special. We'll look back on 2012 in a decade and say wow. And Harper will be awesome. Like 40 homers and eventually 30 steals awesome in time. Like better than Trout potentially.

Dan (Illinois)

Please discuss Todd Frazier. Where do you rank him among 3rd basemen?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Misses my top 15 third basemen, because he's probably not good enough to hit .280 over 500 at-bats, and with the power again.

Leslie (Towson)

You like Dickey to be successful in Toronto or major regression?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

I don't see major regression, but probably more like his 2010-11 seasons. Age is not a factor. The AL East, believe it or not, is not a factor. The extra runs Toronto will score, not a factor.

Jason (NY)

Football keepers next year, keep 3 are: Alfred Morris, Peyton Manning, Roddy White, Demarcco Murray or Wes Welker?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Morris first. White second. Then... yikes, I guess Welker. Welker should remain in New England, but Murray has the talent to be top-10 RB. Just assume he misses half the year.

Mark (AL)

Alfred Morris has put up elite RB numbers. RG3, Luck, and Wilson have not put up elite QB numbers. Why isn't Morris being considered for OROY?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Griffin put up elite numbers. Definitely. If he doesn't miss that game he might have ended up fantasy's No. 1 player. And I don't think we can presume who is and isn't being considered for top rookie. But I think a QB will win it for sure.

Brian Will (Glen Allen, Virginia)

I have the number 2 pick in my fantasy football draft next year. As a die-hard Packers fan who has never had Aaron Rodgers on his team, do I take Rodgers or Arian Foster?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Take Foster.

Chad (Greendale)

Better keeper for the next two years at $10 salary: Lawrie or Machado

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

If just two years, Lawrie. If it's five years, Machado.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

Well, that is all the time I have been given for today's chat, so thank you for all the questions and Happy New Year to all! Best of luck in your playoff pools and/or Gridiron Playoff Challenge and those baseball drafts and ... well, adios!