Bulls

Week 16: Start 'em, Sit 'em picks

967455.png

Week 16: Start 'em, Sit 'em picks

If you have made it to the fantasy football championship, congratulations and you're welcome for the free advice. If you're out and have come to see us mess up again, our bad and we'll try and do better next year. It's finally Week 16, which means the final week of the fantasy football year. Injuries continue to bite teams, and others are fighting for playoff position and will be using their stars accordingly. Take that into account when you set your rosters, and take these options into account, too.
Just a reminder for those keeping score at home (though we'll do it for you), for players who each analyst starts, these are the points they will receive:
Start 'em
5 points if a player scores 25 points4: 20-243: 15-192: 10-141: 5-90: negative-4
Sit 'em
5 points if a player scores negative points to 5 points4: 5-93: 10-142: 15-191: 20-240: 25
Without further adieu, here are our picks for Week 16. Good luck!
Mark Strotman (Week 15: 19 points; Season total: 195 points)
With just one week to play, it feels good knowing I can take home the crown with just a marginal week. But we're here to help, and that means making the right picks that will help win you your fantasy league championship. If you're reading this and aren't in the fantasy championship, we appreciate the clicks. As always, I'm looking for high-upside guys in the playoffs. You need your rock-solid starters, but if you have a toss-up you had better play the guy who can explode for 20 instead of the one who will for sure get you 9-10. Just go with it.
Start 'em
DeAngelo Williams, RB -- CAR (vs. OAK)
How about this? Williams has scored 16 and 18 points the last two weeks, respectively, yet hasn't found the end zone. Ever since Jonathan Stewart's ankle injury sidelined him, Williams has been the guy the Panthers were hoping he would be all year. I like him to find the end zone at home this week, as the Panthers' offense has rolled the last few weeks.
T.Y. Hilton, WR -- IND (@ KC)
Welcome to your boom-or-bust play of the week. Hilton is quickly becoming Andrew Luck's favorite receiver and, while his receptions don't do him justice, he's got deep-ball threat written all over him and should get behind the Chiefs' secondary multiple times this week. If Hilton is somehow on the waiver wire or on your bench, change that.
Jermichael Finley, TE -- GB (vs. TEN)
Rare to see a tight end in here, but Finley is really starting to turn it around and probably not in your starting lineup. With two regular season games left to prove his worth (either for the Packers or another team), you can bet Finley is going to "magically" pick up his production. He showed a bit of it last week, and with Jordy Nelson questionable again he'll have some targets come his way. I like him as a TE1 with, yes, high upside.
Sit 'em
Andy Dalton, QB -- CIN (@ PIT)
Dalton has thrown for four touchdown passes in three career games against the Steelers, and I don't see those numbers getting much better this week. It isn't a great matchup, but Dalton is also playing below-average for a QB1. Furthermore, BenJarvus Green-Ellis looks fantastic as of late. If there's a Matthew StaffordRussell WilsonColin Kaepernick on your bench, Dalton may have to ride the pine in a tough road contest.
LeSean McCoy, RB -- PHI (vs. WAS)
I really have no idea why the Eagles, playing for nothing, are risking the only player on their roster with real All-Star potential for the future. That being said, it looks like he'll play but will be splitting time with Bryce Brown, who hopefully you handcuffed. Owners will be excited to plug McCoy into lineups, but don't expect a big game from him.
Jeremy Maclin -- WR -- PHI (vs. WAS)
Outside of a fluky 104-yard, touchdown-receiving performance against the Bucaneers, Maclin can't seem to produce with Nick Foles. It's hard to blame anyone for the Eagles' woes at this point, but I'm staying away from Maclin, even against an average Redskins' secondary. Find a better upside player like, oh, I don't know, T.Y. Hilton.
Scott Krinch (Week 15: 15 points; Season total: 183 points)
Well things haven't gone according to plans for me. I dropped even further behind Mark and after a first-round bye in one of my fantasy leagues, I was ousted in the semifinals. Oh and the Packers celebrated once again at Soldier Field. With Christmas less than a week away, hopefully Santy Clause will help me turn my luck around.
With all of that being said, -- I know you could care less about my misfortunes -- I think I have a good sense of who to startsit this week. I've done my research and hopefully my picks will lead you to fantasy glory...that's if you decide to listen to me.
Start 'em
Russell Wilson, QB -- SEA (vs. SF)
Week after week, Wilson is proving he belongs in the same category as his rookie counterparts Andrew Luck and RGIII. Lately, the former minor league baseball player has been doing it in the air and on the ground, scoring a career-high three rushing touchdowns against the Bills. Normally I'd be against starting a QB against the 49ers defense, but after Tom Brady torched them, they're starting to look vulnerable. The Seahawks NEED this game and expect Wilson to play a large role in a Seattle upset.
Matt Forte, RB -- CHI (@ ARI)
I was wrong about Forte last week. Sorry if you listened to me. But this week, I have faith in Forte's matchup against a Cardinals defense who are allowing 136.5 rushing yards per game. That's not the only factor in No. 22's favor. Michael Bush was just placed on the IR and it looks like all those goal-line touches -- that's if the Bears offense finds the red zone -- will belong to Forte. The Bears are in a must-win situation and will need a monster day from their lead back. Start him with confidence and you will be reaping the rewards.
Danny Amendola, WR -- STL (@ TB)
Amendola showed no signs of a foot injury after catching six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. This week he will get the opportunity to feast on a Brutal (emphasis on a capital B) Tampa Bay secondary. Opposing wide receivers have totaled 3,059 yards and reeled in 16 touchdowns against the Buccaneers. I see Amendola as a must-start this week. I'm thinking at least 10 catches, 100 yards and a score for the rich man's Dane Sanzenbacher.
Sit 'em
Matthew Stafford, QB -- DET (vs. ATL)
What has happened to Stafford this season? You're probably regretting taking him in the first-round in your fantasy drafts by now. He's still putting up the yards, but the touchdowns just haven't been there. After seeing the Falcons dominate Eli Manning and the Giants, I don't have any faith in Stafford putting up a stellar game. Search your waiver-wire, there are much better options still out there. HINT HINT...Russell Wilson.
Knowshon Moreno, RB -- DEN (vs. CLE)
Moreno has come out of the doghouse (no pun intended for the former Georgia Bulldog) and has been running with a purpose the last two games with Willis McGahee out. With that said, I still don't trust Moreno in a fantasy championship matchup. The Browns have been playing better lately and I see this being a low-scoring game. I could be completely wrong on this one, but I just have a hunch that Moreno won't have another double-digit performance.
Mike Wallace, WR -- PIT (vs. CIN)
My first sit of the year was Wallace and I find it only fitting that I end our startsit with the disappointing Steelers wideout. You probably think I hate Wallace and you may be right. The last few seasons he had been my favorite wide receiver in the league, I drafted him on all my fantasy teams and I was furious the Bears didn't draft him back in '09 out of Mississippi. I really soured on him after his holdout in the offseason and it looks it's hampered his play in 2012. Only two 100 receiving games, not something you want out of a No. 1 wide receiver. This week he'll go up against a Bengals defense that's been dominate as of late. If you want to start a Steeler, go with Andre Brown or Heath Miller.
Tony Andracki (Week 15: 15points; Season total: 175)
It's championship week. Do or die. If you're still reading this, hopefully it means you're going for it all, and not just some consoltion prize. Though, I'm a big fan of leagues having some sort of reward (or punishment) for such spots as third place, winner of the consolation bracket, or loser of the dreaded Sacko Bowl.
At this point in the season, you probably don't need much prodding on who to play. It's obvious Michael Turner's value relies solely on touchdowns and Randall Cobb has become a bonafide option as a receiver. You don't need us to tell you that. But we all know that second-guessing that goes on before your biggest matchup of the season. So we're just here as another voice, telling you which guys might be the best plays...and which are not.
Eli Manning, QB -- NYG (@ BAL)
Eli has been the ultimate hit-or-miss fantasy quarterback thsi year -- he's scored five or less in four games, and 20 or more in four games. The Ravens have not been playing well lately and the Giants need to win out to get into the playoffs. It's make-or-break time for the New York Football Giants, too, so they're in the same boat as you. They need Eli as much as you do. Trust him this week.
Stevan Ridley, RB -- NE (@ JAC)
We've all seen what this Patriots' offense can do, even against the league's best defense. So how will they handle one of the league's worst Ds? New England figures to be up by a lot in this game, and fast, so Tom Brady won't have to throw so much. Or, at least that's what I'm hoping since I'm playing Brady for the 'ship. Ridley had scored in six straight games before that Sunday night game, and expect him to get back into that rhythm this week.
Cecil Shorts, WR -- JAC (vs. NE)
Shorts has emerged as a must-start wide receiver, which he proved by catching six balls for 101 yards in Week 15, which came after he missed a game with a concussion. The Patriots certainly give up points in the passing game, and the Jags will definitely have to throw. Start Shorts with confidence, and keep an eye on him next year, especially if Jacksonville figures out its quarterback situation.
Sit 'em
Ben Roethlisberger, QB -- PIT (vs. CIN)
Roethlisberger has been on fire since he returned to the field, with at least 285 yards and 2 TDs in both games. Couple that with the fact it's a must-win game for the Steelers and you'd think Big Ben would be a must-start. But he hasn't played the Bengals well the past couple of years and Cincy needs to win, too, so they'll be focusing on slowing down Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh passing game.
Chris Johnson, RB -- TEN (@ GB)
It's a lost season for the Titans, and they have nothing to gain by giving Johnson 25 touches in each of the final two games. Plus, his fantasy value is almost exclusively tied up in whether he can break a long run or not. The Packers will probably score early and often, which could see the Tennessee gameplan stray away from the run, as well. Start somebody else if you have a better option.
Torrey Smith, WR -- BAL (vs. NYG)
Two catches in the last two weeks? That's ridiculous. Smith has just three games this year with more than four catches and the Ravens offense has been horrible, especially lately. Don't worry about starting Smith. There are better options.

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

anferneesimons.png
USA TODAY

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

white_sox_prospects_update.jpeg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Class A Winston-Salem

Gavin Sheets hit his first home run of the season in a 12-4 loss. While it's taken him this long to hit his first ball out of the park, Sheets has a .380 on-base percentage and his 24 walks make for one of the top 10 totals in the Carolina League. Blake Rutherford doubled in this one, while Sheets, Rutherford, Alex Call and Luis Alexander Basabe combined to draw five walks.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 9-3 win.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had two hits in a 9-3 loss.