2015 NFL Trade Reviews

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Last year I combined my trade analysis with my free agency recap, but with so many trades this season I had to make a separate article, just to keep everything organized.  Here’s my take on the trades that have taken place so far in the new NFL year.

Mike Wallace traded to Minnesota from Miami
Dolphins gets Vikings 2015 5th round pick. Vikings get 2015 7th round pick.

Like I said after the Stills move for Miami, it was pretty clear they would be getting rid of Wallace, and at least they were able to get an asset (even if the value is minimal) for what would have been a cut if nobody made an offer. I think the offense takes a small hit, but if the Dolphins spend that money elsewhere the trade will be worth their while. The Vikings, after being relatively inactive in free agency, gave up a close to nothing for a player with a lot of speed and an up-and-down history of success.  They weren’t going to spend the money on anything this year anyway, and if Wallace doesn’t work out they can cut him without losing anything.  Probably not the ideal fit for the offense, but it’s a low risk move for sure.

Winner: Tie

Kenny Stills traded to Miami from New Orleans
Dannell Ellerbe to New Orleans from Miami
Saints get Dolphins 2015 3rd round pick

I’m not sure how the Saints got such a haul for Stills, who was a 5th round pick in 2013, has 8 total touchdowns in two seasons and is a pretty one dimensional talent. He has speed, and it’s elite speed, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t think too much of Ellerbe (he’s lucked into some nice stats playing next to Cameron Wake and has a big cap number), so the player swap isn’t important, but the pick seems like too much. I think the Saints will probably wind up cutting Ellerbe or restructuring, but even if they do it’s a nice move.

For the Dolphins, they got a good deep threat. Unfortunately, they already have a better version of that player in Mike Wallace, and if the last two year has taught us anything, it’s that Ryan Tannahill struggles getting the ball downfield.

I could see Miami cutting Wallace now and thinking that the addition of Stills will be a cheaper option for the same level of production, which could be very true. I just don’t think clearing cap space is worth the 3rd round pick.

Winner: SaintsContinue reading “2015 NFL Trade Reviews”

2015 Football Free Agency Recap

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Here’s where I’ll be posting my takes on NFL free agents and where they sign.

DeAngelo Williams to Pittsburg from Carolina

The story of what never was. Trapped in a quagmire of running back mediocrity, Williams always showed the most potential in Carolina, and got paid like a top back in the league. His injuries were always untimely, and as a result he hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2009. Now 31, he’ll be the primary backup for Le’Veon Bell.

Darren McFadden to Dallas from Oakland
2 years $5.8 million

It has looked like McFadden lost some of his burst after so many injuries. The Cowboys aren’t giving up much to get him, so it’s a low risk option in the backfield. I have a feeling they’ll add another back (possibly in the draft) before the start of the season.

DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia from Dallas
5 years $42 million

This is a good move in terms of fit. His skills go really nicely with the Eagles play calling and offensive line.  However, the financial aspect of the trade are all out of whack.  In trading McCoy earlier this month, it looked like the Eagles were trying to save money at running back, which would have been smart.  Then they gave a ton of cash to Murray and Ryan Matthews, two very injury prone backs. If Murray stays healthy like he did last season he’ll put up great numbers. That just isn’t a guarantee.

Brian Orakpo to Tennessee from Washington
4 years $32 million

Mostly due to injuries and being part of a bad defense his entire career, Orakpo has never lived up to expectations. He’s probably a good fit in Tennessee, who desperately needed defensive help, and if he plays all 16 games this year should earn his money. It’s a little risky, but a risk that might pay off.

Andre Johnson to Indianapolis from Houston
3 years $21 million

It’s hard not to look at this as a straight Wayne/Johnson swap, and it’s a perfect fit. Johnson is 3 years younger, is faster, taller and has about the same injury risk as Wayne. He’s never been a beast in the redzone like one might assume, but he’s also never had a quarterback close to as good as Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Johnson wasn’t nearly as good as most probably expect him to be, but the fit looks right.

Nick Fairley to St. Louis from Detroit
1 year $5 million

Fairly was a beast when he was on the field last year, but a lack of consistent effort through his rookie contract is probably what prevented him from grabbing a long-term deal. He joins an already stacked front seven in St. Louis, so even though his role will be diminished, he’ll have an easy time making an impact.

Continue reading “2015 Football Free Agency Recap”

Preseason Prediction: Final Season Top 25

Like the title says, this is what I expect the top 25 will look like going into Championship weekend.  I’m sure I’m wrong, but I like keeping an archive of these things when I can. Enjoy. (already, my South Carolina pick does’t look too hot.  A&M is looking surprisingly solid.)

1 Florida State (12-0)

2 Alabama (10-2)

3 Michigan State (11-1)

4 LSU (10-2)

5 UCLA (11-1)

6 Oklahoma (10-2)

7 Oregon (10-2)

8 Ohio State (11-1)

9 Baylor (10-2)

10 Stanford (9-3)

11 South Carolina (10-2)

12 Wisconsin (10-2)

13 Georgia (10-2)

14 Auburn (8-4)

15 Ole Miss (9-3)

16 Clemson (9-3)

17 Arizona State (9-3)

18 Kansas State (9-3)

19 USC (8-4)

20 Washington (9-4)

21 Nebraska (9-3)

22 Oklahoma State (8-4)

23 Miami (9-3)

24 North Carolina (9-3)

25 Texas (8-4)

2014 MLB Preview #1: St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals (101-61)
Team Ace:  Adam Wainwright
Breakout Player: Matt Adams

The Cardinal’s one weakness last season was their defense, and improving that aspect of their game was the top priority in the offseason.  The Cardinals cut ties with Carlos Beltran in order to get younger, faster and to steal a few more runs in center field with Peter Bourjos.  They moved Matt Carpenter to 3rd base to replace David Freese, and now have the combination of Mark Ellis and Kolten Wong  at second base, both who bring consistent offensive production and top defensive skills.  Also, by moving Allen Craig to the outfield, they have an opening for Matt Adams at first, which with the addition of Jhonny Peralta will try to replace Beltran’s bat in the lineup.   Even if the Cardinals suffer some injuries in the outfield, middle infield or at first, they have options to replace them.  Jon Jay always’s manages to steal at bats every year, and is a great piece in the outfield. Prospect Oscer Taveras looks like he’ll be joining the big team sooner rather than later, giving them even more versatility. And they still have Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso, who played around 130 games each last season, riding the bench and ready to fill in at 3rd, 2nd, or short if needed.Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #1: St. Louis Cardinals”

2014 MLB Preview #8-2

8. Cincinnati Reds (90-72)
Team Ace: Mat Latos
Breakout Player: Billy Hamilton

I can’t see this team beating the Cardinals for the division title, but even with there injuries coming into the year I don’t see a scenario where the Reds fail to make the playoffs either.

The only real change in the offseason was replacing Sin Shoo Choo with speedster Billy Hamilton in center field. Defensively Hamilton is a huge improvement (Choo ranked at the bottom of the league in defensive runs saved last season), and the two players are completely different offensively.   Choo was an all around player, combining modest speed with a great OBP and some power.  Hamilton won’t be nearly as effective getting on base, or driving in runs from the leadoff spot, but when he gets on base will give the team a lot of options.

It’s unrealistic to expect Cueto to start more than 16 or 17 games at this point, but the team does have a few strong options at the top of the rotation.  Homer Bailey has been improving ever so slightly every season since he’s been in the major, and he’ll take another step this year, and can be a poor man’s Madison Bumgarner.

Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #8-2”

2014 MLB Preview #9: The New York Yankees

The New York Yankees (90-72)
Team Ace: CC Sabathia
Breakout Player: Michael Pineda

The Yankees have an extremely wide range of outcomes for this season, and I decided to go by the numbers with my favorite team (partly because I felt it was a way to be less bias, and mostly because it seemed really fun to do).  Lets start with the facts; the Yankees had 85 wins last year, after having 95 wins in 2012.  Their team ace, CC Sabathia had the worst season of his career (career worst 4.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .3 WAR and in pitches per inning, and worst K rate since 2005).  They suffered major injuries with four of their previous year’s regular starters, with Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Granderson all missing at least 100 games.  The team was forced to mix and match any players they could find, and although they didn’t make the playoffs still managed to be surprisingly competitive relying on guys that were at or below replacement level.   Everything that could have went wrong for the Yankees did in 2013.  To me, this all means that 85 wins is a worse case scenario for this team this year.

Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #9: The New York Yankees”

2014 MLB Preview #15-10

You’ll be finding playoff contenders from this point on in my rankings.

Since I started writing my power rankings a few weeks ago, a lot of things have changed, most of them injury related.  I’ve adjusted my remaining team rankings accordingly but am leaving my projected records the same (they’re too hard to change across the board, and I’ve already published so many that I wouldn’t want to go back and change all of them)  So the records and ranks might not make too much sense together at this point, but I am confident with my order.

Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #15-10”

Fantasy Baseball: Top 230 Players Projections for Points Leagues

For any of you that are curious, here’s the player order I used for this year’s draft.

  1. Miguel Cabrera
  2. Mike Trout
  3. Edwin Encarnacion
  4. Clayton Kershaw
  5. David Ortiz
  6. Andrew McCutchen
  7. Paul Goldschmidt
  8. Joey Votto
  9. Robinson Cano
  10. Adam WainwrightContinue reading “Fantasy Baseball: Top 230 Players Projections for Points Leagues”