Tyler’s Unqualified Fantasy Corner: Championship Week

We made it. It’s here. Championship week.

It’s been a hell of a season, a whole lot of highs, a ton of lows.

Whether you picked Saquon Barkely first overall and it derailed your season, or you stole Lamar Jackson in the back end of the draft that led you to near eternal glory, this season was one of lessons.

Usually, you can take a lot from a Fantasy Season, for example, whatever I say…do the opposite! It always works out!

Some other lessons learned:

  1. First and foremost, just pick Christian McCaffrey, it always works out.
  2. Pick a top 5 or 6 tight end. If you get one of the big 5 or 6, it makes setting your lineup a whollllle lot easier.
  3. DO NOT OVERTHINK. If a guy is questionable and he’s an unquestioned starter, leave him in there.
  4. Don’t trust any Dolphin or Redskin or Bengal or Lion when Stafford isn’t playing.
  5. Having Lamar Jackson on your team is fun.
  6. Playing against Lamar Jackson is not fun.
  7. Trust the young guys.
  8. Don’t reach for a quarterback, you end up with Phil Rivers or Big Ben if you do that and then you’re screwed.
  9. We have to do something next year to keep Nick Downey out of the championship, it’s getting ridiculous.
  10. If you’re making 60 moves on your way to the end of the season, it probably isn’t going to end well. Trust yourself.

Maybe that should be the Fantasy Football Commandments. At least for this year. They will be amended for 2020 when Joe Burrow is quarterbacking the Cincinatti Bengals and the Dolphins pick 37 people in the first round.

OK, people (except for @789Media’s own Chris Collymore) it is time to go win your championship and achieve eternal glory (and some cash)

LET’S GO

WHO I WOULD START

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(Photo: CBS Sports)

Michael Gallup, DAL WR

Well….he’s playing the Eagles.

WHY I’M WRONG

“BECAUSE THE EAGLES ARE WINNING SUNDAY AND PUTTING THE CLAMPS ON THATS WHY!!!” He yells while crying into the void.

Breshad Perriman, TB WR

Chris Godwin and Mike Evans have moved on as force ghosts (until 2020) and there is nobody left but Perriman, OJ Howard and Joey Galloway’s makeup from that college football show. This guy is catching a 70 yard bomb on Saturday and I am willing to guarantee it.*

WHY I’M WRONG

*and by guarantee it I mean simply I HOPE SO!

Greg Ward Jr., PHI WR

It is hard for me to write this as I am screaming inaudible nonsense from my roof ever since the last drive against the Redskins on Sunday, but Ward is going to continue to step up, on the way to the Eagles miracle win Sunday. A beautiful sight to see really.

WHY I’M WRONG

It’s simple. I won’t be. The Eagles definitely won’t do that thing where after two wins they completely disappear and get blown to smithereens. Nope. There is no way.

WHO I WOULDN’T START

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(Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

OJ Howard, TB TE

Frankly, I don’t care that there is literally nobody left for Jameis to throw to, Howard night just be the biggest fantasy disappointment this entire season, and you’re going to put your championship in his hands? Uh…PASS

WHY I’M WRONG

Like I have said about 3 times already, there is literally nobody left for Jameis to throw to. Literally, no one.

Melvin Gordon, LAC RB

As people close to me know, I have been telling everybody Melvin Gordon stinks all years. Obviously, he doesn’t. However, for fantasy purposes, he is second fiddle in the Chargers backfield, The Chargers are terrible, and they’re offense is terrible. There are plenty of star table players on the offense, Gordon is not one of them. If Gordon didn’t cost you a shot at the title this week, don’t let him cost you this week, sit him.

WHY I’M WRONG

You know that Gordon is going for 100 yards and two touchdowns, right? This is going to the Gordon’s last fantasy week on the Chargers. He’s going off. Surely.

Tom Brady, NE QB

He’s cooked. Well, not really. But maybe? I don’t know. Don’t start him, he’s not winning you a fantasy title. He may win his real team another one, but not you. You aren’t getting one if you start him.

WHY I’M WRONG

Live look at you when Brady throws his 4th touchdown:

First off I want to thank everybody for their continued support throughout the season. It means the world to me.

To be able to do this for a second year is something I never even thought possible, and the fact people even read and interact with me on these still blows my mind every time.

So again, without getting too sappy, thank you so much to everybody who helps contribute, help with the jokes, players etc. You all mean the world to me! Be sure to be on the lookout for non-Fantasy related content soon.

TD out.

Tyler’s Unqualified Fantasy Corner – Round 1

The battle is over, but the war continues.

That’s a bit dramatic, I know. I’m trying to captivate the audience to start the article. What can I say, I’m an entertainer at heart.

The regular season is OVER! And boy, was it wild.

Our season ended in dramatic fashion, with 4 of the 5 6-6 teams in the playoff hunt winning knocking out our own commissioner by less than 10 points.

I never do this, but I want to give a big shout-out to Mike McNichol, our 12th place winner (loser). The guy had a bunch of injuries (Tyreek Hill, Hunter Henry), bad luck (scoring a grand total of about 22 points after 6 PM Week’s 12 and 13 combined) and unlucky draft picks that he continued to fight through and make the last week a sweat for literally 4 teams (myself included).

I had the pleasure (luck?) of facing Mike in Week 13 this year, it was possibly the most fun/awful/excruciating/hilarious fantasy match up of all time, that literally went on until CJ Ham fumbled that kickoff Monday night at about 11:30 PM EST.

Mike came in dead last by only 23 points, barely losing to Harney’s team, which featured Odell Beckham’s ghost and Kalen Ballage’s corpse.

Mike has gone about having to make the infamous fitness account as graceful as one could (lord knows I wouldn’t handle it well), and I hope everybody follows the account in it’s first year of existance (the @ to come, stay tuned..) Give my guy some clout, will ya?!

Alright, now that the fight for the instagram fitness account has come and gone…it is time for the real show: the PLAYOFFS! It is about dang time.

Let’s pick some winners (and losers) shall we?!

LET’S GO

WHO I WOULD START

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(Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Gardner Minshew, JAX QB

THE KING IS BACK! I here at @tdowney_ (follow me) have been a long supporter of Nick Foles. I wanted him to go get his money and do well. At least one of those things happened, because he stinks; and the Jags do too with him under center. Minshew is back to light this thing up.

WHY I’M WRONG

He’s still a 6th round rooki-oh who am I kidding LOOK AT HIM! MINSHEW MANIA!

Image result for gardner minshew"
(Photo: Young Kwak)

Carson Wentz, PHI QB

The Eagles are bad. The Giants are worse. Homer take incoming, I’m just as annoyed as everybody else. Eagles stink, fire everybody, Carson stinks blah blah blah. Wentz is gonna have 300 yards and 3 touchdowns Monday Night and Joe Tessitore is going to be yelling like the Eagles just got elected president. Birds by 50.

WHY I’M WRONG

I can think of 400 reasons I am. My simplest take is….I won’t be.

Jarvis Landry, CLE WR

The Browns stink, but it doesn’t matter for Landry! The dude is putting up numbers. He has great chemistry with Joe Pesci, excuse me I’m sorry, with Baker Mayfield playing quarterback. His coach is a disgrace and their offense is sad, doesn’t matter for ole Landry, he’s producing. Start him and forget about it.

WHY I’M WRONG

Finally, the week Odell goes off! Yay!!! Good thing you started the other guy!! Enjoy the offseason.

WHO I WOULDN’T START

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(Photo: BrownsWire)

Odell Beckham Jr., CLE WR

Now…on the other side of the offense. What the hell happened to OBJ? Does Baker hate him? Did Freddie Kitchens forget about him? Is he going to be traded again? I have no idea, but if you drafted him and made the playoffs, congrats, because I can’t believe it. Don’t start him.

WHY I’M WRONG

10 catches 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. 38.7 fantasy points. It’s a formality.

Brandin Cooks, LAR WR

I am pretty proud of my fantasy teams. Playoffs all around, I even got a bye in my league with the squad from Shippensburg. Brandin Cooks…not my proudest pick. For myself and anybody else who has him, it’s not great! He’s back but you wouldn’t know it. I watched plenty of the Rams/Cards game, he was hardly noticeable. Not only should you not start him, I would think about cutting him. He’s just taking up space.

WHY I’M WRONG

I can pretty much hear the whistle sound of the ball flying 70 yards down field as Cooks catches that long touchdown ruining your season, I can HEAR it.

Terry McLaurin, WAS WR

I have been a big fan of scary Terry this year. He is the only receiver on the Redskins you could even think about starting. With the playoffs here, you shouldn’t trust him. At all. If he didn’t burn you on your quest to get into the tournament, don’t let him do it now. Stay far away.

WHY I’M WRONG

Sitting a young Washington player in a critical fantasy game with the risk of him going off? Boy, does that sound familiar to anybody? No? Okay.

Good luck everybody, if you have that bye week, sit back, kick your feet up, and watch the Eagles season go up in even more flames. If you are in the wild card round: good luck, godspeed and I will see you on the other side!

Tyler’s Unqualified Fantasy Corner: Week 13

It allll comes down to this.

Week 13, the season finale, which hopefully for you all goes better than the Season 8 finale of Game of Thrones.

I did not watch Game of Thrones, but it certainly sounded like everybody hated it on twitter.

I am three sentences in and I am already distracted.

ANYWAY!

It’s the last week, everything is on the line, are you going to make the playoffs and start your magical run toward eternal glory, or are you on your way to trying to up your follower count on your brand new instagram fitness account?

Whether your quarterback is Lamar Jackson or Jeff Driskel, you have to do your hardest to try and figure out a way to pull out the win, even if you’re going against the guy who benched Devante Adams for Willie Snead…and it worked out for them.

Without further ado….our final regular season picks.

Let’s go.

WHO I WOULD START

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(Photo: The Buffalo News)

Cole Beasley, BUF WR

The Cole Beasley revenge game, everybody knew it was coming, and if they didn’t, they are lying. Beasley is lowkey on fire as of late, and he is going against his former team that didn’t want him back this year on National TV on Turkey Day. The Bills are rolling again and a good win against the Cowboys would be great for their psyche as well as mine. I’ve got a big Beasley game here.

WHY I’M WRONG

Uhhh, the Bills are frauds. You know it, I know it, we all know it. And you are relying on Cole Beasley to take you to the promised land….yikes.

Ryan Tannehill, TEN QB

So…..Ryan Tannehill looking good was NOT something I had in mind. Is he playing himself into the Titans quarterback of the future? It’s too early to say. I will say, however, that it is not ridiculous to start him this week. Every game he has had at least 19 points, including a 32 spot this past Sunday. They are playing the Colts and my favoite player, Jacoby Brissett, on Sunday. If the Titans win this one, they would be right within grasp of the AFC South title. Start Tannehill and don’t think twice.

WHY I’M WRONG

Image result for ryan tannehill dolphin faceplant"

Kyler Murray, ARI QB

As we have just seen, the Rams got toasted by a quarterback who can move his feet. Seeing as Kyler is one of those quarterbacks, I think he is going to do just fine. Kyler is the 5th ranked QB this year in fantasy, and he has been making plays all over the field on the road to what should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The Rams are reeling, this one is easy.

WHY I’M WRONG

The Rams and Jalen Ramsey STINK. Cards are stealing this one. Book it.

WHO I WOULDN’T START

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(Photo: Newsday.com)

Sterling Shepard, NYG WR

I would tend to stay away from Shepard, who has multiple concussions this year and plays for a team where I am not so sure they drafted the correct quarterback. Between the other options the Giants have, coupled with the fact that they are hot trash, stay away.

WHY I’M WRONG

Golden Tate is hurt, Saquon stinks and Evan Engram is MIA. Shepard will get the ball. Because somebody has to. I think.

Brian Hill, ATL RB

I swear to you, one of these weeks I am going to take my own advice.

WHY I’M WRONG

Let’s just move on, PLEASE.

Literally Any Player playing for the Dolphins or Redskins

There just simply isn’t a player worth even trying to field this week for either of those sorry teams. I looked, there isn’t. I would say the Bengals too but some of their guys get points sometimes…I think.

WHY I’M WRONG

I don’t care that Kalen Ballage scored while carrying the ball 11 times for 9 yards. It isn’t a good play! And neither is Adrian Peterson after the year 2014.

I want to wish a good luck to everybody this weekend, even my opponents, fantasy football is cool regardless whether you win or lose. It truly is about coming together with your friends and making football even more fun that it already is.

I’m just kidding, it’s about winning and bragging to everybody how much better you are than them. DUH.

But seriously, good luck, y’all. I will see everybody for Round 1!

Tyler’s Unqualified Fantasy Corner: Week 12

As we come down to the wire here, I am going to do something I don’t usually do, talk about my fantasy league. I’m sure you all don’t normally care about hearing about other people’s fantasy leagues, but frankly, this is very funny.

I am in a league with 11 of my closest family and friends and have been now for four years in a row. We have many rivalries here. For example, we have three sets of siblings, one set of them being twins, a parent of two other league members, a pair of roommates, and Harney and anybody he beats. They have been compared to the battles of Ancient Rome.

“I can’t believe I’m relying on Joe Mixon to save my season,” Tim Egan, 26, twin brother of Conor Egan, explained to me recently.

“Can you believe he threw me down an elevator shaft for THIS?!” Emperor of the Galactic Empire Sheev Palpatine explained, “All I did was suggest that Zach Ertz was washed!”

We have added and gotten rid of rules and other quirks of the league, and this year is a lot of firsts. My Dad has beat his arch-rival, Bill Ghaul, for literally the first time in four years. This is the first year I have gone over 5 wins in a single season (not to brag of course). It’s also the first year our commissioner, Dylan Drumm, a close friend of the program, has locked down more than 4 losses for the first time in this league’s first term.

“It’s crazy,” Dan Ehinger, 25 year old man with a good K/D in Modern Warfare described to me, “one minute I’m in dead last, I wake up a year later and look at the standings and I’m at the top!”

While it’s subject to change, we’ve had only 2 champions (my younger brother Nick and my pal and another close friend of the program, BigKoov) in the three years before this season and they’re both outside the playoffs right now. Again….talk to me in a week about that one when Kev beats me and vaults Nick ahead of me.

Another first for us is the illustrious last place punishment. We have tinkered with this idea for years, only this year we finally came up with a solution: last place makes an Instagram fitness account that one must post on once a week.

I reached out to BigKoov, aforementioned local man in last place, for comment on the race for the account, he said to me: “Shut up sir, I’m contacting the police.”

For context, out of 12 people, one played real college sports, so yes, we’re all world-class athletes. So our league account is going to set the globe on fire with our sponsors.

There are 4 teams in the running, and it is coming down to the WIRE.

The moral of the story here, if you’re my friends Kyle, Kev, Koov, and noted Lamar Jackson non-believer Mike, you can’t throw away the bad year strictly because of Tyreek Hill’s injuries, or because you can’t get a quarterback to score more than -1, and definitely not because you picked 7 running backs and no defense or kicker, you have to fight til the end. Each of them are set up quite nicely to absolutely ruin somebody else’s season (MINE) and save themselves from the Instagram infamy(?)

Then again, maybe I should get back to running more instead of writing about managing my fake football team and worrying that since I’ve written this I’ve cursed myself to saving at least one of them from punishment.

You’re right, silly idea.

LET’S PICK!

WHO I WOULD START

Image result for dallas goedert"
(Photo: RotoBaller)

The Colts Backfield

So Marlon Mack broke his hand, because of course he did. Right when I’m gearing up for a run. He’s gone. SO, it’s time to believe in the Colts Committee, led by Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and some guy named Williams, I trust them. Right after the Texans get thrashed by King Lamar, they’ll be licking their wounds on a short week. Opportunities are aplenty. Start those Colts.

WHY I’M WRONG

You don’t even know this dudes name and you’re starting him. Remember when I told you to start a guy named Brian Hill 7 days ago. Yeah that went well.

D.K Metcalf, SEA WR

He’s playing the Eagles.

WHY I’M WRONG

He’s playing the Eagles.

Dallas Goedert, PHI TE

I know. He’s on the Eagles. That alone should warrant you to just not. However, Goedert will get looks, he’s been getting more targets recently because the Eagles are starting 6 guys from my fantasy league at wide receiver. Well, they might as well be. He’ll get the ball, and the Hawks stink against tight ends.

WHY I’M WRONG

WHO I WOULDN’T START

Image result for nick foles"
(Photo: CBS Sports)

Brian Hill, ATL RB

I am so sorry, just don’t.

WHY I’M WRONG

If I’m wrong for the second consecutive week on Brian Hill I will do absolutely nothing except pretend nothing ever happened in the first place.

Nick Foles, JAX QB

So BDN is back, great news; however, not great news if you’re trying to start him. He struggled against the Colts and now he’s got Tennessee. The suddenly frisky Titans. They’re pushing for the playoffs. I think they’re going to give ol’ St. Nick fits.

WHY I’M WRONG

Screenshot this and send it my way after DJ Chark’s third touchdown Sunday.

Darius Slayton, NYG WR

The guy I affectionately called “WHO!??” for 6 weeks to start the season. Darius Slayton has come on a bit here for the G-Men. Sadly for him, so has Golden Tate, who’s on fire and should be in your lineup unquestioned. Slayton has the skills, he just isn’t there yet.

WHY I’M WRONG

I don’t know the Giants are bizarre they might mess around and win. Okay, they won’t, but Slayton might make some noise.

ALRIGHT, saddle in, folks. It’s going to be a wild Week 12. I’ll keep everybody posted on the Great War for the Instagram Account. It’s going to be ELECTRIC.

If your league has a hilarious punishment, let a guy know @tdowney_ so we can inevitably steal it for our league.

Shoutout to the gang for letting me expose the league this week.

See y’all next week!

Tyler’s Unqualified Fantasy Corner: Week 11

Well…that was bizarre.

What a week. Colts lose to the Dolphins, Lamar Jackson might be the greatest person at their job I have ever seen in my entire life, and Jared Goff couldn’t have beaten St. Bernies in the Turkey Bowl with that performance.

You’re always due for one extremely bizarre week of football late in the season, and I think we got that this weekend. We had title contenders getting punched in the mouth, tanking teams doing the punching, and SaQuon Barkley getting a single yard rushing.

It was an odd week, but you can’t let that deter you from the goal. It’s Week 11, there’s THREE weeks left not to mess this up, this is not the time for drastic measures. You stay the course, play who got you here (barring injury and bye weeks of course) and ride your hot hands.

Let’s not waste any time! Pick time.

WHO I WOULD START

Image result for brian hill"
(Photo: Yahoo Sports)

Tom Brady, NE QB

WHY I’M WRONG

Boy, do I hope I am.

Christian Kirk, ARI WR

I think we have finally hit the point of the program where Christian Kirk is a must-start. Yes, just the week prior, he had 2 catches for 8 yards…which is not good. However, you saw Kirk at full strength for the first time all year this past weekend. The Cardinals have San Francisco again this weekend. I don’t think they slow him down again.

WHY I’M WRONG

The 49ers slow him down again. Just like I predicted the entire time. Because I am always am right.

Brian Hill, ATL RB

I have to be honest with everybody, I was exactly today years old when I found out who Brian Hill was. Brian Hill had 21 carries Sunday, and I watched a majority of that game. I had no idea. Guess what, that is EXACTLY why you should start him Sunday. The unknown is the most certain thing in fantasy football. This guy is going off. I can FEEL it. Start him. Forget about it. Reap the rewards.

WHY I’M WRONG

I’m sorry….you started WHO???!???

WHO I WOULDN’T START

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(Photo: USA Today)

Randall Cobb, DAL WR

Randall Cobb certainly had a good game last week. That is something you can’t really say a lot of nowadays. With Gallup, Cooper and Zeke, I just don’t see Cobb’s success being sustainable. There’s too many options for Prescott to go to, Cobb isn;t reliable enough. If you are starting Cobb at this point, you have booked your ticket to the toilet bowl.

WHY I’M WRONG

Cobb zips on by the deterioting Lions defense in the first game the Cowboys have played during the day in what seems like 7 months. & catches 132 yards and a touchdown. Book it.

Zach Pascal, IND WR

What I have come to notice as a Jacoby Brissett stan is that during these Colts games here, when Brissett and T.Y. Hilton don’t play, these guys STINK! I don’t understand, Frank Reich is a great coach, but the guys outside those two aren’t getting the job done. I like Pascal, but until the Colts skill players earn trust, nobody outside the two mentioned above and Mack should start.

WHY I’M WRONG

Pascal is going to look like Randy Moss with Jacoby coming back in a big division game. Jags stopping the Colts? Yeah right.

Mike Williams, LAC WR

I miss good Mike Williams, because this one isn’t fun. The Chargers are a bumbling mess, they can’t get anything going. They are still crazy talented, but for some reason can’t put it together. It’s like watching your favorite TV show that has come super close to winning multiple Emmy awards flop right before your very eyes in the final season on the air. Don’t start Williams

WHY I’M WRONG

First off, I would like to thank the academy for single-handedly willing Mike Williams to a good fantasy week, Secondly, I am super glad I am not playing him this week after throwing him the ole’ Tyler Downey reverse jinx. I really am for the people.

Don’t lose focus now, people, the time is now to secure your spot in the playoffs, or earn that bye week, or absolutely tank away your season. Stay focused and embrace the hustle.

Now, if you will excuse me, I will be watching Disney+ (not sponsored, Disney, hit my line, let’s talk.)

See y’all next week!

2019’s Top 50 MLB Free Agents with Predictions

1.  Gerrit Cole – Dodgers.  Seven years, $235MM. I think the off season’s top prize will end up in LA.

Many think the Angels will ante up for Gerrit Cole. I think it will be the other Los Angeles team that makes the big splash for the top arm on the market.

In the past few seasons, the Dodgers have gotten painfully close to a World Series crown. A common theme in the team’s failure: less than stellar starting pitching.

Pairing Cole and Kershaw for the next few seasons should allow the Dodgers to stay atop the National League, and give them a few more shots at a World Series championship.

2.  Anthony Rendon – White Sox.  Six years, $200MM.  I believe Rendon will cash in and move on from the Nationals.

The White Sox, a team on the rise and looking to make a splash, are a good fit for Rendon, who would add a strong bat to the middle of the team’s order.

There will surely be competition for Rendon’s services, but I believe is market will cap right around $200 million, limiting his suitors. The White Sox should have money to spend this off season, and will be looking to help the team take a step forward in a weakened AL Central.

3.  Stephen Strasburg – Nationals.  Six years, $180MM. This seems like it may be a lock.

Strasburg, a Scott Boras client, has reportedly begun re-negotiating a contract with the Nationals.

While he was due nearly $100 million over the next four seasons, Strasburg made the wise decision to opt out, and I think the Nationals will reward him by adding on two additional seasons to his deal and another $80 million.

He earned it this postseason.

4.  Zack Wheeler – Phillies.  Five years, $110MM. 

Wheeler fits almost every team in the league, and due to not being the top arm on the market, he will surely have an increased number of offers.

The Phillies are one of the most desperate teams for starting pitching across baseball.

After spending big last off season and landing OF Bryce Harper, I believe the Phillies will play below the top of the market this off season, and look to capitalize on a guy like Wheeler.

He does come with risk, as Wheeler is a former Tommy John recipient, but now two years removed from the surgery and with one of his best seasons coming in 2019, I believe he can score over $100 million.

5.  Josh Donaldson – Braves.  One year, $22.5MM. The Braves and Donaldson were pretty much a perfect marriage last season.

Donaldson returned to near-MVP form and didn’t struggle with injury while adding a big right-handed bat to the middle of Atlanta’s order. He handled the third base job all season, despite 3B Austin Riley making his debut at the Major Leagues.

Frankly, Riley didn’t instill a ton of confidence for me to believe the Braves would be willing to move on from Donaldson, leading to another one year deal with a buyout or mutual option for a second year.

6.  Madison Bumgarner – Yankees.  Five years, $120MM. Bumgarner is the most intriguing arm on the market, in my opinion.

A former World Series winner and clutch playoff performer, Bumgarner suffered a shoulder injury a few seasons ago that cost him some time and made some question if his best days were behind him.

Then, Bumgarner was able to put up over 200 innings in 2019 for the first time in a few seasons.

Despite a rising ERA the past three years, Bumgarner is still a proven performer that was tasked with pitching on some bad Giants’ teams of late.

A move back to a contender could bring out the best in Bumgarner, and the fact that he’s left-handed increases his value as well. That’s why I believe he will end up getting more than Wheeler, reeling in that sum from the Bronx Bombers, who could desperately use a top-of-the-rotation arm.

7.  Yasmani Grandal – Reds.  Four years, $70MM. Grandal bet on himself, taking a one-year-deal with the Brewers last off season, and responded with his best season as a pro.

Now, I believe he will cash in, and return to the team that drafted him: the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds have been searching for Grandal’s replacement since they traded him, and his return would add a huge boost to the Reds’ lineup and pitching staff.

8.  Nicholas Castellanos – White Sox.  Four years, $60MM. Castellanos is a difficult one to place.

He is likely going to sign with an American League team, so he could be utilized in a team’s DH spot, as well as its outfield.

If the White Sox truly are looking to make a splash as I believe, Castellanos is just the kind of guy they could be looking to add.

A bat-first player, Castellanos would add depth to the middle of a White Sox order that would be a huge pain to deal with.

Plus, his defensive shortcomings should limit what he can make on the open market, making him more affordable for Chicago.

9.  Hyun-Jin Ryu – Dodgers.  Three years, $50MM.  Ryu set himself up nicely for free agency with arguably his best season in 2019.

However, he will be 33-years-old next season, and has dealt with a major shoulder injury in the past.

Therefore, I believe familiarity will prevail, allowing Ryu to stay in LA while earning a pay raise.

10.  Jake Odorizzi – Twins.  Three years, $45MM. Odorizzi is firmly in the second tier of available arms this winter.

With a number of guys of his ilk available, my gut feel is that he may have trouble finding a deal he likes, which could lead him returning to the Twin Cities.

Odorizzi was one of the Twins best starters in 2019, and the team surely can’t let all of their arms walk in free agency. He should be reasonably priced, which is why I believe he will return.

11.  Marcell Ozuna – Giants.  Three years, $50MM. Ozuna is one of the more under-the-radar type guys available this year.

While he can be inconsistent, Ozuna has shown the ability to be a solid middle-of-the-order producer when he’s going right.

The Giants aren’t a team that will be competing for the playoffs next season, but one of the team’s many holes is in the corner outfield, and Ozuna would surely fit quite well.

12.  Didi Gregorius – Marlins.  Three years, $40MM. Queue up my Derek Jeter-Yankee connection here.

Look: The Marlins are in for another tough year in 2020, but did take some steps forward this season.

The team would surely benefit from Gregorius’ veteran presence, and his left-handed bat in the middle of the team’s order. He would also serve as a fine place holder for top prospect SS Jazz Chisholm.

I think DiDi would be exactly the kind of guy that the Marlins will be looking to add.

13.  Will Smith – Phillies.  Three years, $39MM. Smith has been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball over the past four years.

The Phillies are one of the most bullpen-needy teams in the league.

After being burned on some pitching signings in recent years, Philadelphia will surely be looking for consistency.

Enter Smith, one of the most consistent relievers in the league. Another plus: he has closing experience. I’d expect the Phillies to be among his top suitors.

14.  Dallas Keuchel – Angels.  Three years, $45MM. After having to wait until June for a deal from the Atlanta Braves, I believe Keuchel will have a much shorter wait on the free agent market this time around.

The Los Angeles Angels, one of Keuchel’s former rivals when he was a member of the Houston Astros, will be searching for pitching this off season.

Enter Keuchel, a pitcher the team has a ton of experience with, generates ground balls, and is left-handed.

I think a number of teams will be interested but if the Angels can guarantee three seasons, that may be enough to land Keuchel.

15.  Cole Hamels – Phillies.  Two years, $20MM. This one should be a lock.

Hamels himself has said he wants to return to Philadelphia, even on a one-year deal.

When healthy, Hamels has shown he can be a consistent performer, even at his advanced age.

The Phillies are in need of starting pitching, and I believe they’ll bring Hamels back to finish his career with the team.

16.  Jose Abreu – White Sox.  Three years, $40MM. I have the White Sox making some big splashes in free agency, but that doesn’t mean I think they’ll forget one of their own.

Abreu seems to be a team leader in Chicago, and I can’t imagine it would be a popular move for the team to let him walk.

He still provides consistent production in the middle of the order, and if the Sox make the other moves I’ve predicted, Abreu would be returning to the best White Sox team he’s ever played on.

17.  Michael Pineda – Braves.  Two years, $20MM. The Braves will be seeking veteran arms to add to the team’s young rotation this off season.

After missing out on some of the team’s top targets, I have Atlanta re-routing and snagging Pineda, who had one of his most healthy years in some time in 2019.

While he comes with big injury risk, Pineda is now an experienced Major League pitcher who has good, hard stuff when healthy.

Plus, due to his past, he shouldn’t break the bank for the dollar-conscious Braves.

18.  Mike Moustakas – Nationals.  Two years, $30MM. With the Nationals losing out on Rendon, the team will need a third baseman.

The Brewers, who Moustakas resigned last off season, are likely to spend money on pitching this year than retaining the third bagger.

I’d think Moustakas would have a fair amount of interest on the open market, and would be a decent way to replace Rendon for 1/8 of the price.

19.  Kyle Gibson – Brewers.  Two years, $20MM. The Brewers are one of the most starting pitching-needy teams in all of baseball.

While Gibson’s numbers won’t blow anyone away, he has shown consistency over the past few seasons.

For a Brewers pitching staff that has been riddled with injuries over the past few seasons, they’d likely love to pencil in an easy 180 innings over 30 starts.

Enter Gibson, who shouldn’t break the bank for a financially-limited Milwaukee club.

20.  Tanner Roark – Mariners.  Two years, $18MM. Roark is another interesting, difficult to place arm on this list.

He’s definitely a back-of-the-rotation starter, but he’s an innings-eater and starts 30 games year in and year out.

I have Roark landing with the Mariners, due to the team’s need for starting pitching and my belief that Roark’s numbers would get a nice boost from pitching half his games at Safeco Field.

21.  Julio Teheran – Giants.  Three years, $25MM. A few years ago, it would’ve been unimaginable that the Atlanta Braves would let the ace of the team’s young staff hit free agency.

Yet, two lackluster years later, and Teheran will probably move on from Atlanta.

He’ll still only be 29 next season, which should appeal to clubs that aren’t ready to compete.

The Giants are one of those teams, and they need to add a few arms during free agency.

Teheran’s weakness is giving up the home run, which is something he’d be able to stifle in the Giants’ home park.

22.  Will Harris – Astros.  Two years, $18MM. Harris has been one of the most consistent relievers in the league for a few years for the Astros.

No way they let him walk.

23.  Drew Pomeranz – Royals.  One year, $8MM. It was a mixed bag for Pomeranz in 2019, after struggling as a starter with the Giants and finding success as a reliever with the Brewers.

Ultimately, it will be impossible to know how a team will plan to deploy him next season, but the guess here is that Pomeranz will want another chance to start, and that might have to come on a rebuilding team.

He would have plenty of opportunity to pitch on the 2020 version of the Kansas City Royals.

24.  Wade Miley – Astros.  Two years, $16MM. Not-broke-so-don’t-fix-it.

Miley had one of his best season’s last year with the Astros. After likely losing out on retaining P Gerrit Cole, keeping Miley will become more of a necessity.

25.  Corey Dickerson – Padres.  Two years, $16MM. After struggling with injuries in the first half of 2019 with the Pirates, Dickerson was traded and rebounded to have a strong second half with the Phillies.

He’s likely to parlay that performance into a starting job in the corner outfield.

The Padres have spots open, and the team’s lineup would be very deep with the addition of Dickerson.

26.  Travis d’Arnaud – Rays.  Two years, $14MM.  Another case of not-broke-so-don’t-fix-it.

d’Arnaud struggled with injuries every stop of his career, and wasn’t able to put it all together until this season with the Rays.

After a successful run and the versatility he provides, I expect the Rays will retain d’Arnaud.

27.  Chris Martin – Phillies.  Two years, $14MM. One of the Phillies’ biggest weaknesses out of the bullpen was the issuing of the free pass.

Enter Martin, who walked only 5 batters across 55 innings last season.

Seems like a fit to me.

28.  Daniel Hudson – Nationals.  Two years, $12MM. I forsee Hudson parlaying his strong 2019 season into a new contract with the Nationals.

One of the team’s playoff heroes, Hudson has fully rebounded from an injury plagued few seasons and was able to provide strong innings out of the back of the bullpen for Washington.

I expect the two sides will be able to work out a new deal.

29.  Avisail Garcia – Indians.  Two years, $18MM. Garcia had a solid season with the Rays last season, and I expect he will be able to get a little more than the Rays will be willing to offer in free agency.

The Indians have struggled with injuries in the outfield over the past couple seasons and are likely to let OF Yasiel Puig leave free agency.

Enter Garcia.

30.  Howie Kendrick – Mets.  Two years, $12MM.  After a strong postseason run, Kendrick will be sought after by contenders.

The Mets are a team hoping to make the postseason in 2020, and have multiple older players in positions where Kendrick could back them up. I see it as a decent fit.

31.  Rick Porcello – Padres.  Two years, $30MM. After missing out on some of the top names on the market, I think the Padres will go out and get a veteran pitcher to lead their staff.

Porcello has pretty much done it all in his career, and could benefit from pitching his home games in Petco Park.

Plus, I bet the Padres would be willing to overpay to secure his services.

32.  Brett Gardner – Yankees.  One year, $10MM. Could you really imagine him somewhere else?

Despite Gardner rising in age, he still provides value to a contending club.

The gut feel here is that the Yanks find a way to keep him around for another season.

33.  Robinson Chirinos – Astros.  Two years, $10MM. All is well in Houston, right?

Chirinos fits the Astros and the team’s pitching staff. Doubt they would let him leave.

34.  Jason Castro – Angels.  Two years, $10MM. Catcher has been a dark hole for the LA Angels for some time now.

I believe they address that this off season by bringing in Castro, who has regressed to a middle-tier offensive catcher at this point in his career.

However, even mid-tier is better than anything the Angels have received from the catcher’s spot over the last few seasons.

35.  Craig Stammen – Indians.  Two years, $10MM.  Stammen continued his late career resurgence with the Padres in 2019.

It’s tough to place middle relief options in free agency. Yet, I have him landing with the Indians.

36.  Steve Cishek – Diamondbacks.  Two years, $10MM.  Cishek has had a solid couple seasons with the Cubs, and could now be in a position to find a closer’s job.

Arizona could afford to add late inning arms, and Cishek would certainly be an affordable option.

37.  Yasiel Puig – Blue Jays.  One year, $10MM.  Puig is one of the toughest players to place on the list.

Apparently, he had bad blood when he left the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Then, the Reds were inspired to trade him after his antics ended in a benches clearing brawl in 2019.

In my mind, a team would need to be willing to take a risk with Puig.

The Toronto Blue Jays are one of MLB’s brightest up-and-coming teams, but aren’t expected to compete in 2020.

The team does have holes in the corner outfield, and adding Puig’s bat to the team’s lineup would certainly deepen it. Plus, if things go sour, Puig could be a fine Trade Deadline chip for the rebuilding club.

38.  Edwin Encarnacion – Yankees.  One year, $10MM.  I mean, they can’t really let The Parrot walk, right?

But seriously, after a year in which both 1B Greg Bird and 1B/DH Luke Voit were less than stellar, I think it’s a no-brainer for the Yanks to re-sign Encarnacion.

39.  Alex Wood – Cardinals.  Two years, $20MM.  Wood is another intriguing option on this list of free agent arms.

In 2019, Wood was only able to make seven starts with the Reds while dealing with injury all season.

However, he was able to start 27 games in 2018 and is only two years removed from a year that he started 25 games with a 2.72 ERA in just over 150 innings.

Due to his injury history, I expect that Wood won’t be able to land a long term deal, despite being 28-years-old.

The Cardinals appear to be a decent fit for Wood, as the team could use a left-handed starting option at a decent price.

40.  Adam Wainwright – Cardinals.  One year, $8MM.  To be honest, I though Wainwright might retire.

Then, I realized what a good season he had for a 38-year-old pitcher, and have read that Wainwright isn’t necessarily going to hang them up.

He’s a career Cardinal — that would never change. I expect he gives it one more go around with the Red Birds.

41.  Brock Holt – Phillies.  Two years, $8MM. Holt is one of the most versatile players on the market, and one of the Phillies’ weaknesses last year was bench depth.

Plus, manager Joe Girardi should be plenty familiar with what Holt can do, after managing against the former Red Sox player for years.

42.  Josh Lindblom – Padres.  Two years, $8MM. A precedent has been set for former Major League flame outs to return to The Show after some success in Korea while playing in the KBO.

Each of the past two off seasons has seen a pitcher return to the Majors, with mixed results.

I believe Lindblom will be the third, and could even return to his former team in the Padres, who will be turning over every rock to find pitching this off season.

43.  Dellin Betances – Phillies.  Two years, $16MM. Betances is coming off of an injury-plagued year that saw him make only one appearance all of 2019.

While the Phillies have been burned by injury-riddled bullpen acquisitions in recent seasons, Betances will still be considered one of the best relief options available, and has familiarity with manager Joe Girardi.

Plus, the opportunity to close some games in Philadelphia may be too enticing to pass up.

44.  Kole Calhoun – Pirates.  One year, $6MM.  Calhoun is coming off a season where he hit a career-high 33 HR’s, but it was the season of the juiced ball, of course.

With OF Shohei Otani returning to the mix and OF Jo Adell on the rise, I figure the Angels will let Calhoun move on.

Last off season, the Pirates tried to plug a corner outfield spot with the left-handed hitting Lonnie Chisenhall.

Unfortunately for the Buccos, Chisenhall was hurt for most of the season.

I think they attempt to get another left-handed hitting option in Calhoun.

45.  Shogo Akiyama – Rays.  Two years, $6MM.  To be honest, I don’t know much about Akiyama.

He’s a 31-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder that appears to be a decent option for the top of the order, due to his high on base percentage while playing in Japan.

My player comparison would be Nori Aoki, another former outfielder that transferred from Japan to MLB.

Of course, its tough to place Japanese players due a number of factors, but he would appear to be a fit for a contender, and would fit the Rays lineup well.

46.  Rich Hill – Dodgers.  One year, $8MM.  Rich Hill just keeps on pitching.

I would’ve thought he would’ve retired about five times by now, but he still finds a way to keep being productive.

The biggest issue with Hill is his injury history, and he is not likely to make it through a full season healthy.

However, he has provided the Dodgers a steady, veteran presence in their rotation and clubhouse the past few years, and I believe they will bring Hill back one last time in 2020.

47.  Michael Wacha – Twins.  One year, $8MM.  Wacha is one of the more interesting bounce-back candidates available in my opinion.

In arguably the worst season of his career in 2019, Wacha gave up 26 long balls and had an ERA of 4.76.

However, he is just a year removed from making 15 starts with a 3.20 ERA, so a return to form isn’t necessarily a laughable idea.

I believe the Twins will lose some of the guys in their rotation from last season, so adding Wacha into the mix on a cheap deal as a rebound candidate is just the type of move I could see Minnesota making.

48.  Ivan Nova – Rockies.  One year, $5MM.  The Rockies are another team that will be desperate to add starting pitching this off season.

Unfortunately for the team, I don’t know too many pitchers that will be signing up to pitch their home games at Coors Field.

Enter Nova, one of the game’s best ground ball pitchers.

If there were ever a fit for Colorado, it would be the sinker-baller. Plus, it also helps the dollar-conscious Rockies that Nova wouldn’t cost much, as well.

49.  Pedro Strop – Angels.  One year, $6MM.  While I believe the Angels primary focus will be the team’s starting staff, the team needs to make a few bullpen editions as well.

Strop was able to develop into one of the game’s better late inning options over the past few seasons with the Cubs, but ran into some struggles in 2019, finishing with an ERA near 5.00.

For the Angels, Strop would offer the team a late inning option that has closing experience and wouldn’t break the bank, making these two a fit.

50.  Drew Smyly – Mariners.  One year, $4MM.  Smyly was an end-of-year rebound candidate with the Phillies last season.

After posting a few good starts, Smyly stuggled with consistency down the stretch.

A fly ball pitcher, Smyly would fit best in a cavernous home park.

Safeco Field in Seattle would be a good fit, and the team is in need of rotation arms that will be able to eat up innings this season.


Thanks for checking out my picks! Keep up with all the moves this off season and let me know what you think in the comments!