Fantasy Sports

5 guys to avoid in Fantasy Baseball in 2017

5 guys to avoid in Fantasy Baseball in 2017

This is all about value.

I can't sit here and say any of these guys on the list are going to have poor fantasy seasons or won't be worth owning on any rosters. In fact, I'd make the case all these guys should be starters on fantasy teams, even if you're in a 10-team league.

But value is important — maybe the most important aspect — in drafts and all five guys on this list are being selected way higher than I think they should be.

Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies

Is Charlie Blackmon really a Top 15 fantasy player? 

So far this spring, he is currently being drafted ahead of Carlos Correa, the uber-hyped Trea Turner, Corey Seager and even Joey Votto. 

In an incredibly deep outfield class — far and away the deepest offensive position — if you're gonna select an outfielder with your first or second pick, you want a guy with essentially zero question marks.

That's not Blackmon.

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Are his power numbers for real? He's never displayed his 29-homer, 69-extra-base-hit performance in the past (including the minor leagues) and his slugging percentage jumped 102 points from 2015 to 2016. 

In his defense, it's not Coors Field-driven, as he posted nearly idential home/road splits (.939 OPS at home, .926 on the road) and actually hit 17 of his 29 homers away from Denver's thin air.

But even with all of that power production, Blackmon still went from a 43-steal guy all the way down to a 17-steal player and now 30 years old, it's hard to see that number jumping back to "elite" status.

All told, to get Blackmon on your team, you'd have to draft him early in the second round and in doing so, you'd have to be absolutely positive he's going to approach 30 homers again and believe his stolen base numbers would return to an above average level.

Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers

Verlander had an absolutely fantastic 2016 season and I'm with Kate Upton — he got robbed in the AL Cy Young voting.

But will he do it again? I'm not so sure.

2016 represents Verlander's second-best strikeout season (10.0 K/9) and his only better season in that regard was all the way back in 2009, when he was a 26-year-old (10.1 K/9).

Now 34, Verlander's 2016 seems like the aberration. 

From 2013-15, his average season looked like this:

11-11, 3.84 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 across 29 starts

For a guy being drafted as the No. 8 pitcher taken in drafts (and 33rd overall), those numbers won't come close to cutting it.

That means the only way Verlander supplies any value in that selection slot is if he duplicates his 2016 season, and do you really think that's likely? 

He's got the talent and his velocity is trending in the right direction after a mysterious dip a few years ago, but it still doesn't seem like a very safe bet to assume Verlander will do it again.

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tigers

I'm not trying to pick on the Tigers here, I swear.

But I've noticed how highly regarded Kinsler has been in fantasy circles this season and I've been scratching my head as to why.

Don't get me wrong, his 2016 was great — .832 OPS, 28 HRs, 14 SBs, 117 Rs — and he had some big hits in the World Baseball Classic.

But he'll turn 35 this summer and those numbers represent a huge jump from the rest of the decade.

Kinsler hasn't reached his 2016 mark in runs, homers or OPS since he was a 29-year-old in 2011 with the Texas Rangers and in the four seasons between those offensive explosions, he's averaged 96 Rs, 15 HRs, 77 RBI, 15 SBs and a .750 OPS.

History dictates it'd be a risky endeavor to pay for Kinsler's 2016 season and that's essentially what you'd need to do to secure his services for 2017 as he's ranked as the No. 8 second baseman in average draft position, going somewhere in the fifth or sixth round.

He's still a very valuable fantasy second baseman, but certainly not at that price. Wait until the eighth or ninth round or later to draft Kinsler if he falls that far, otherwise don't be the owner in your league to reach for him.

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Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins

At this point, I'm not sure if Dozier is so overrated he's underrated or vice versa. Either way, he's absolutely been one of the most polarizing fantasy players this winter after posting a ridiculous second half on his way to season totals of 42 HRs, 99 RBI, 104 Rs, 18 SBs and an .886 OPS.

You know not to expect that kind of output every season. That will almost assuredly go down as Dozier's career year whenever he decides to hang 'em up.

I mean, his OPS jumped 124 points from his previous career high (.762 in 2014).

Dozier is a really nice player, a guy with some of the best pop from either middle infield spot and a solid blend of speed, on-base percentage and runs hitting atop the Twins lineup.

But that profile is not a third-round draft pick, as he's currently being selected. Don't overpay for one fantastic season.

Jean Segura, SS, Mariners

I am, apparently, picking on middle infielders in this post.

But in my mind's eye, as I thought about this post, Segura was the first name that popped in my head.

He was the No. 6 guy on ESPN's standard Player Rater after the 2016 season after hitting .319 with 102 Rs, 20 HRs, 64 RBI and 33 SBs. Make no mistake, that's a phenomenal season, especially from a shortstop.

But it won't happen again. 

Absolutely everything went right for Segura last year as his Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) went from ridiculously-unlucky levels in 2014-15 (.275 and .298, respectively) to a .353 BABIP and he flashed surprising power while leading the game in hits (203).

For starters, he's out of Arizona's hitter-friendly environment and now in Seattle's hitter-unfriendly environment, so don't expect him to approach 20 homers again.

As for the average, if you want to bet he'll get that lucky again, be my guest. This is still a guy who has only 118 walks in 632 big-league games and did not see a major jump in that regard in 2016 (his 5.6 percent walk rate is only a small improvement from his previous career high of 5 percent in 2014).

Segura was a guy that was barely ownable in fantasy from 2014-15 and I'd say it's just as likely he returns to that level as it is he actually earns the value required to make drafting him in the seventh or eighth round worth it.

D Rose is training at the Bulls' practice facility

rose-509.jpg
USA TODAY

D Rose is training at the Bulls' practice facility

Don't get too excited, Bulls fans, but Derrick Rose is playing basketball in Chicago in a Bulls facility.

The former NBA MVP was spotted training at the Advocate Center, the Bulls' practice facility in Chicago.

https://twitter.com/RaeJohnsonBC/status/994336940156579841

Rose just finished a partial season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (a.k.a. the TimberBulls), playing under former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, and seemed to regain some of his former glory by averaging 14.2 points per game in five playoff games off the bench. He is now an unrestricted free agent.

Could this mean he is going to return to Chicago for another stint with the Bulls? Probably not.

Rose is, of course, a native Chicagoan and the Advocate Center opened in time for Rose's last two years with the Bulls. Both the city and the facility are familiar to Rose, which makes it an ideal place to train in the offseason. That surely won't stop hardcore Rose fans in Chicago from wishing it into an omen.

All the best moments from the Cubs-Marlins benches clearing incident

cubs-marlins_benches_clearing_tickle_fight.jpg
USA TODAY

All the best moments from the Cubs-Marlins benches clearing incident

The Cubs and Marlins delivered a benches clearing incident Tuesday night at Wrigley Field but instead of tempers boiling over, a ticklefight ensued a few feet from home plate.

Lewis Brinson lined a hard single to right field off Cubs pitcher Rob Zastryzny in the fourth inning. Ben Zobrist came up firing with an absolute beauty of a throw to home plate to nab Derek Dietrich trying to score:

Some things to focus on:

First off, what a throw from a guy that's about to turn 37 later this month and has played a lot more second base than outfield since joining the Cubs.

Secondly, it was interesting and amusing to see the bullpen doors open and both teams come sprinting out from under the bleachers to join the foray. A couple years ago, a benches clearing incident would've just resulted in each team's bullpen coming from a couple hundred feet down the foul line.

Willson Contreras was MOVING out of the Cubs dugout, looking like he was ready to hand out some serious punishment to protect his fellow catcher.

But instead of an actual fist fight, however, we got some comedy gold, like Bryzzo teaming up to play-fight with former teammate Starlin Castro.

First there was Kris Bryant tickling Castro:

Shortly after that moment, Anthony Rizzo jokingly pushed Castro from behind and the two players laughed it off:

Javy Baez loved it all:

Nobody was ejected and the coaches and umpires were able to quickly gain control of the situation, which couldn't have been that difficult when opposing players are out there tickling each other and laughing.