Tennessee RB Chris Johnson Doesn’t Want Help in Titans Backfield

RB – Chris Johnson –

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Apparently Titans running back Chris Johnson doesn’t believe in the two-back system which Tennessee is likely to adopt during the 2013 season. Johnson says that the two-back system didn’t work for him in college at East Carolina and he wouldn’t be happy with it in the NFL.

Johnson has developed quite a reputation as a whiner in the NFL blaming everyone but himself when things don’t go his way.

He crawled out of the gate during the beginning of last season rushing for a stunning total of ONLY 45 yards in his first three games and did nothing but blame his offensive line.

Johnson really needs to take care of his own performance. During the last six games of the 2012 season, he broke the 100-yard mark just once and still got paid a $9 million bonus. 

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Fantasy Baseball – Top Five Shortstops to Draft in 2013

1. Troy Tulowitzki 

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki appeared in only 47 games last season due to surgery on his left groin, but he’s still seen as the best shortstop in the game when healthy.

The Rockies are confident that Tulowitzki will be ready to go in 2013 as he made a highlight play during Monday’s game against the Rangers in Arizona, charging a slow ground ball with authority and making a successful off-balance throw to first. “I didn’t have to think about it. I just let my instincts take over,” Tulowitzki said of his quick reaction.

The 28-year-old two-time Gold Glover is expected to build on his .292 career batting average in a major way in 2013, yet again proving that he is the top shortstop in baseball.

Keep an eye on Tulo’s progress as he may be a contender for the NL MVP award in 2013.

2. Jose Reyes 

The Toronto Blue Jays have made a number of key acquisitions this past offseason, including 29-year-old shortstop Jose Reyes, who will benefit from the Jays’ recently stacked lineup.

Reyes will likely assume the leadoff role for the Jays in 2013, with Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion rounding out the 2-4 hitters.

Cabrera, Bautista and Encarnacion combined for a .289 batting average, with 80 home runs and 235 RBI’s last season, giving fantasy owners hope that Reyes will score more runs than all other shortstops in baseball in 2013.

Expect Reyes to thrive as a member of the Blue Jays with the potent Toronto offense around him.

3. Starlin Castro

Chicago Cubs up-and-coming superstar Starlin Castro turns 23-years-old in March, and will look to prove himself as one of the top shortstops in the league in 2013.

During the 2012 season, Castro showed his durability as he played in all but 11 innings, racking up 78 runs scored and a batting average of .283.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum says Castro will likely start the season as the number two hitter, with Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano expected to bat third and fourth.

Expect Castro to shine in his new role in the Cubs lineup as he will see more at-bats and likely score more runs hitting before possible RBI machines in Rizzo and Soriano, providing higher dividends for fantasy owners in 2013.

4. Hanley Ramirez

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez led all shortstops in baseball with a dismal 132 strikeouts during the 2012 season, but he also led all shortstops with 92 RBIs.

Ramirez’s status as a marquee player has never been questioned until recently, as his 2012 batting average of .257 was good enough for eleventh among all shortstops in the MLB.

The 29-year-old slugger will look to re-establish himself as a top-tier shortstop in 2013, during what will be his first full season in a stacked Dodgers offense.

Ramirez’s ability to hit for power alone makes him a solid early-to-mid round pick in 2013.

5. Ian Desmond

Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond played out of his mind in 2012 leading all shortstops in baseball with 25 home runs and was the only player at his position to hit over .260 with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals.

Desmond is not expected to hit in the leadoff spot this season as the Nationals have acquired Denard Span, who will likely take over the role, during the offseason.

Look for Desmond to hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup, allowing him to show his full power potential as there is more of a chance for him to come to the plate with runners on base.

Desmond’s hitting ability makes him an easy early-to-mid round pick in all fantasy formats in 2013.

*** Rounding out the top ten shortstops in 2013:

6. Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay Rays)

7. Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia Phillies)

8. Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers)

9. Alicedes Escobar (Kansas City Royals)

10. Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)

 

Can Ryan Braun Overcome PED Allegations?

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun continued to prove himself as one of the top hitters in baseball during the 2012 season, launching an NL leading 41 home runs, finishing second in the NL with 112 RBIs and third with a batting average of .319.

The 2011 NL MVP has continuously faced allegations surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs since he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the 2011 playoffs. His following 50-game suspension was ultimately reversed due to questions surrounding the “chain of custody and collections procedure,” according to ESPN.com.

Recently, Braun has dealt with allegations surrounding possible ties between himself and the anti-aging clinic that supposedly supplied New York Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs.

The 29-year-old’s ability to remain consistent at the plate has never been in doubt as he has sustained a .313 career batting average with an average of 33.7 home runs and 107.2 RBI’s per season.

Braun should be a shoe-in for a top five pick in all fantasy formats and will likely be a top contender for the NL MVP award, assuming he is able to distance himself from the latest allegations of ties between himself and performance-enhancing drugs.

 

Chiefs Pull Trigger on Alex Smith Deal

QB – Alex Smith –

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As expected, Andy Reid made sure he snagged the right quarterback to lead his West Coast offense in Kansas City. The deal isn’t official yet, but it appears that the Chiefs did not want to take any chances in the team’s pursuit of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.

As long as the deal doesn’t fall apart between now and March 12th, the Chiefs will trade away the team’s second-round pick in 2013 and a similar pick in 2014 for the services of quarterback Alex Smith.

The 28-year-old was having a strong season before going out during Week 10 with a concussion. He was replaced in the lineup by Colin Kaepernick and was never able to get his starting job back.

Smith will now be embedded into a pass-happy Andy Reid offense with the Chiefs. In 80 career games, Smith has thrown for 14,280 yards with 81 touchdowns against 63 interceptions.

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Dodgers Outfielder Matt Kemp’s Recovery Coming Along As Planned

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp appeared in only 106 games during the 2012 season, hitting 23 home runs, 69 RBI’s with a batting average of .303 in 403 at bats.

Kemp dealt with a wide range of injuries last season as he was forced to the DL twice with lingering hamstring issues. He also underwent surgery in October due to a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Friday that Kemp would likely be eased into action as a designated hitter sometime in the middle of March. This move will give Kemp’s shoulder more time to heal before the start of the regular season. 

If all goes as planned, Kemp should be primed for another stellar season in 2013.

Keep an eye on the 28-year-old All Star’s recovery as he is an easy first round pick in all fantasy formats when healthy.  

Which NFL Rookies Can Jump-Start Your Fantasy Team?

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Drafting rookies to your Fantasy Football team can be tricky, but it can also make or break your fantasy season. It’s no secret that this year’s crop doesn’t have the same offensive fire power as the Class of 2012, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore these guys completely. Here are a few of the rookies you need to keep tabs on:

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR- Tennessee

This Tennessee Volunteer is no stranger to good competition coming out of the best division College Football has to offer; the SEC. Patterson holds the SEC record for combined punt return and kick return yards averaging 27.6 yards per return.

He also set a school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012 and was the first NCAA player to score a touchdown in four different ways in a season since 2008 (receiving, rushing,kick return, punt return). At 6’2″ and with good speed, this versatile wideout should prosper at the NFL level.

2. Tavon Austin, WR- West Virginia

He is the talk of the NFL Combine, running a blazing 4.34 40-yard dash and proclaiming himself to be the best all-around player in this years class. There is a lot to like about Austin, we all know about his speed and he his big play potential. 

Austin stands at just 5’8″ and will play slot in the NFL, he may also get a chance to return some kicks.

Austin needs to work on his route running according to scouts, but he has a huge upside. With comparisons to Wes Welker and Percy Harvin, he has the potential to be a fantasy juggernaut.

3. Tyler Eifert, TE- Notre Dame

Standing at 6’5, this Fighting Irish Mackey Award winner is a big guy with big NFL potential. Eifert led the Irish last season on their road to the national championship recording 50 catches for 685 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Scouts say Eifert has strong hands that can come down and make the tough catches in traffic and is tough to take down.

With Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the Saints leading the charge, the Tight End position has become a very valuable position for fantasy football owners. Look for Eifert to make a splash this season no matter which team he plays for.

Which NFL Rookies Can Jump-Start Your Fantasy Team?

Fantasy Buzzer – NFL News from around the league

Drafting rookies to your Fantasy Football team can be tricky, but it can also make or break your fantasy season. It’s no secret that this year’s crop doesn’t have the same offensive fire power as the Class of 2012, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore these guys completely. Here are a few of the rookies you need to keep tabs on:

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR- Tennessee

This Tennessee Volunteer is no stranger to good competition coming out of the best division College Football has to offer; the SEC. Patterson holds the SEC record for combined punt return and kick return yards averaging 27.6 yards per return.

He also set a school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012 and was the first NCAA player to score a touchdown in four different ways in a season since 2008 (receiving, rushing,kick return, punt return). At 6’2″ and with good speed, this versatile wideout should prosper at the NFL level.

2. Tavon Austin, WR- West Virginia

He is the talk of the NFL Combine, running a blazing 4.34 40-yard dash and proclaiming himself to be the best all-around player in this years class. There is a lot to like about Austin, we all know about his speed and he his big play potential. 

Austin stands at just 5’8″ and will play slot in the NFL, he may also get a chance to return some kicks.

Austin needs to work on his route running according to scouts, but he has a huge upside. With comparisons to Wes Welker and Percy Harvin, he has the potential to be a fantasy juggernaut.

3. Tyler Eifert, TE- Notre Dame

Standing at 6’5, this Fighting Irish Mackey Award winner is a big guy with big NFL potential. Eifert led the Irish last season on their road to the national championship recording 50 catches for 685 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Scouts say Eifert has strong hands that can come down and make the tough catches in traffic and is tough to take down.

With Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the Saints leading the charge, the Tight End position has become a very valuable position for fantasy football owners. Look for Eifert to make a splash this season no matter which team he plays for.

Fantasy Baseball – Five Rookies Expected to Make An Impact in 2013

1. Adam Eaton (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton is expected to start in center field during the 2013 season.

Eaton is currently battling for the lead-off role in the lineup and going wild at the plate during spring training.

He struggled a bit during his 22 appearances with the big club last season, as he hit .259 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s.

The Diamondbacks have shown nothing but confidence in the 24-year-old prospect, and he should be the new center fielder of the future with the departure of Justin Upton.

Keep an eye on Eaton in 2013 as he is a top contender for the NL Rookie of the Year.

2. Bruce Rondon (Detroit Tigers)

Detroit Tigers 22-year-old reliever Bruce Rondon is next in line to take over the closer duties with the departure of Jose Valverde this past offseason.

Rondon has yet to play in a major league game but the Tigers have high hopes for the right-handed fireballer as he has posted 219 strikeouts in 196 career innings in the minors, yielding an opponent’s batting average of .189.

Rondon is one of the only rookies in baseball that is expected to play a major role for his team at the start of the 2013 regular season.

If he’s the closer for Detroit in 2013, consider him a huge sleeper pick with the potential to rack up a lot of saves with a potent offense in Detroit.

3. Jurickson Profar (Texas Rangers)

Texas Rangers middle-infielder Jurickson Profar is largely considered the top infield prospect in baseball as the 2013 regular season approaches.

Profar would be starting at shortstop for most big league clubs at this point. But most clubs don’t already have a shortstop with the talents of Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers are leaning toward keeping Profar with the big club for the start of the regular season while allowing him to take on the role of a utility player, which should allow him to earn enough innings to prove his worth in 2013.

Continue to monitor the 20-year-old’s progress as 2013 may be his breakout season.

4. Wil Myers (Tampa Bay Rays)

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Wil Myers has reportedly impressed the Rays throughout spring training and is currently battling for a starting spot in the lineup.

The Rays have made it clear that Myers will not be rushed into MLB action, so don’t be surprised if he starts the season in Triple-A.

With Myers’ hitting prowess, along with his status as the Rays number one prospect, he should be an every day starter in Tampa Bay by mid-season at the latest.

Consider the 22-year-old a top contender for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

5. Tyler Skaggs (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs is currently battling for the fifth spot in the rotation in 2013.

The 21-year-old lefty is considered the top pitching prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system as he has made huge strides with his sometimes scattered control.

Skaggs walked 13 batters during his brief stint of 29 innings last season after being called up to the majors.

Skaggs’ above-average curveball and knowledge of the game makes him the top contender for the ace of the future in Arizona.

Continue to monitor the pitching situation in Arizona. If Skaggs does earn a spot in the rotation, he could be a nice sleeper pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

Patriots Rob Gronkowski Needs 3rd Surgery on Left Arm

TE – Rob Gronkowski –

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For the third time in the past three months, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent surgery on his left arm.

Gronkowski broke the arm on November 18th against the Colts and has been plagued by problems with the same arm ever since.

The first two surgeries were conducted to set broken bones, last week’s surgery was needed because the arm got infected.

No matter how you spin it, three surgeries in three months on the same arm is a problem.

ESPN reported that doctors caught Gronkowski’s infection early, but fantasy owners should officially be concerned about Gronkowski and the health of his left arm going forward.

Fantasy Buzzer – NFL News from around the league

 

Patriots Rob Gronkowski Needs 3rd Surgery on Left Arm

TE – Rob Gronkowski –

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For the third time in the past three months, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent surgery on his left arm.

Gronkowski broke the arm on November 18th against the Colts and has been plagued by problems with the same arm ever since.

The first two surgeries were conducted to set broken bones, last week’s surgery was needed because the arm got infected.

No matter how you spin it, three surgeries in three months on the same arm is a problem.

ESPN reported that doctors caught Gronkowski’s infection early, but fantasy owners should officially be concerned about Gronkowski and the health of his left arm going forward.

Fantasy Buzzer – NFL News from around the league