It’s Draft Day! 10KL 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Could Manti Te'o be an option for the Vikings in Round 1?

Could Manti Te’o be an option for the Vikings in Round 1?

Coming off a surprising 10-6 season last year, the Vikings have a chance to build on that success with a strong showing in this weekend’s NFL Draft.

Last year’s draft yielded left tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith and kicker Blair Walsh. Both Kalil and Walsh made the Pro Bowl as rookies, and Smith brought playmaking ability to the Vikings’ safety spot for the first time in many years.

Armed with 11 picks in this year’s draft (including two first rounders and six picks total in the first four rounds) GM Rick Spielman and company will have plenty of ammo to try to replicate the success they saw in the 2012 draft.

Despite the arrival of Greg Jennings, the Vikings could still use more talent at the wide receiver position. Linebacker, defensive tackle and cornerback are also areas of need. More depth along the offensive line and a speedy, change-of-pace running back would be welcome additions as well.

The 2013 Draft is said to be low on elite high-end prospects, especially at quarterback, but relatively deep with that next tier of solid talent. In theory, it is a good year for the Vikings to have so many picks.

While I sure there will be a multitude of trades tomorrow (maybe even involving the Vikes), I’m not going to try to predict those. Keeping that in mind, here is how I see the entire first round possibly shaking out: Continue reading

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Your 2013 Twins Season Preview

So, it’s spring. Yes, I know it could have fooled me, too. You see, I live in the land of 10,000 lakes; in fact, I live hella high up in that land and we still have two feet of snow on the ground. I just saw a couple-dozen snowmobilers ride by on our street. People are still ice fishing. In fact, there are still pick-ups on the ice (in northern Minnesota they’re called pick-ups; not trucks; trucks have 18 wheels. Get it str8, yo).

Anywho, apparently… BASEBALL! All I can say is: pack your long johns! So, the game time temperature today is going to be in the lower 30s with a 20-odd degree wind chill… and the Twins are facing some guy named Verlander. I’m not sure what Vegas is giving on the odds of a no-hitter, but it’s gotta be about even money. No, seriously, it’s funny that the Twins revealed their opening day roster today, because nobody knows whether it’s an April Fool’s joke or not. But I had better get on to the preview, because I have a pizza in the oven and I have allotted exactly fifteen minutes of my life to analyzing what’s going to happen this year. Anything more would be, uh, unnecessary. So.. here… we… go…

Opening Day lineup (with projections R/HR/RBI/AVG/SB)

1. Aaron Hicks, CF 75/10/50/.240/18

Thank God we have Hicks out there to make things interesting. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Darin Mastroianni.. wait, no I don’t. I don’t expect a crazy good year from Hicks and he really isn’t an ideal leadoff hitter, but who the hell cares. Let’s get him a million at-bats. There is so much more upside here than with anyone else.

2. Joe Mauer, C 80/10/72/.307/5

I think we’ll get another solid Mauer season, though that 29 homer season wasn’t so much his ceiling as two floors above what we can expect from here on out.

3. Josh Willingham, LF 65/22/80/.243/4

I think we should have sold high on Willingham, just don’t see a repeat of last year. Hope I’m wrong.

4. Justin Morneau, 1B 70/22/80/.265/0

However, I see a decent bounceback for Morneau. We’re never going to see anything approaching MVP value again, but I think we will see 20 homeruns again and a solid-enough average. Even if this is a poor four-slot slash.

5. Ryan Doumit, DH 50/13/55/.252/2

Yeah, I know, this is getting very exciting…

6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B 60/24/62/.238/4

Here’s the thing with Trevor Plouffe: I don’t know what the hell to expect from Trevor Plouffe. This guy will probably either hit 30 HR or be released/optioned/designated for assignment (I’m too lazy to figure out which we can do with him) by July 1.

7. Chris Parmelee, RF 65/15/65/.260/1

I’m all-aboard the Parm-train, and it’s not just that I own him in a fantasy league and I’m irrationally excited about it. Yeah, I know, you would get excited about a 1B/OF projected to hit that line, too… wait, crap.

8. Brian Dozier, 2B 62/7/52/.245/14

I have a theory about Dozier. His name sounds like he was one of those fill-in guys on a really good squad. “Like, remember when the Yankees had Berra and Mantle and Dimaggio and Maris, was their second baseman again? Oh yeah, Dozier!” So, the Twins are clearly hoping his name elevates the rest of the lineup. That’s about the only theory I can come up with.

9. Pedro Florimon, SS 50/3/42/.225/12

See Dozier, Brian—RE: names that seem like they should be on good baseball teams. For the record, I don’t expect Florimon to play all year because I just think the average will be terrible.

 Starting Pitchers (with projections W-L/ERA/WHIP/K)

1. Vance Worley, RHP 8-11/4.20/1.32/120

I like Vance. That’s all I got. Expect, wait, he’s our frickin’ opening day pitcher? Sweet Jesus, who are the remaining guys?

2. Scott Diamond, LHP 10-12/4.42/1.38/99

OK, I know this guy. So, he’s starting the year on the DL (yay!) but he should be aight.

3. Mike Pelfrey, RHP 5-11/4.85/1.48/85

It only goes downhill from here (that’s a scary thought)

4. Liam Hendriks, RHP 6-13/5.25/1.48/92

Uh yeah, the crazy thing is that Hendriks is going to get plenty of starts. I’m not kidding when I say I think he has a shot at Bonderman’s 20-loss season.

5. Kevin Correia, RHP 7-12/4.95/1.45/82

I’m actually OK with Correia as a placeholder. It’s just that he might be holding that place for a long, long time.

Other guys:

Kyle Gibson will be up eventually and probably serviceable, but don’t look for much this year—maybe something like 4-6/5.20/1.50/50.

Cole DeVries will get plenty of starts (cuz everybody will be hurt at some point—that’s right, everybody, not somebody). He could get 3-9/5.55/1.52/75

 Bullpen (with projections ERA/WHIP/K)

 Closer: Glen Perkins, LHP 35 saves, 3.20/1.18/70

Jared Burton, RHP 3.65/1.22/40, plus 28 holds

Brian Duensing, LHP 3.90/1.34/62, plus 22 holds

Also, there are guys like Casey Fien  and Tyler Robertson who we will see plenty of. Honestly, you’ll get to know your bullpen like the back of your hand this year.

 Outlook

So, here’s the thing. Don’t expect much and you’ll be happy. This is another year of development for Buxton, Sano and company. It’s another year until we see Alex Meyer. Just enjoy watching baseball. Hopefully you aren’t 95 years old, on hospice and desperately wanting one last Twins WC. If you are, I’m sure there’s baseball in heaven. Otherwise, wait til 2016 or 2017.

Projected record: 60-102

Best case: Hicks wins rookie of the year, Morneau rediscovers his old swing and nobody in the starting staff has an ERA over 5. In that case… the Twins finish 77-85.

Worst case: Gibson gets injured, Hicks gets demoted, we trot out 17 different starting pitchers and battle the Astros and Marlins for worst record in the majors… then get a top three pick… maybe that isn’t so bad….

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Week 14 Fantasy Pickups – The Playoff Shuffle

Alright here’s the deal, at this stage of the year, you’re either in or you’re out.  For those of you that are in the playoffs, your starting lineup is pretty much set in stone, and you already have a good idea of who you’re going to play these last few weeks.  So, from now-on, I’ll give you a few players at each position that I’d actually feel comfortable inserting directly into my starting lineup.  As for those of you who are on the outside looking in, well, better luck next year.   Continue reading

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Week 13 Fantasy Pickups – What Can Brown Do For You?

However corny or predictable that title may be, the question is valid – and the answer is – well, he can get you to the fantasy playoffs, that’s for sure.  But, can you rely on him once you’re there?

Now, let me start by saying that I don’t expect Bryce Brown to still be available in your league, so this profile is to analyze his usefulness going forward – for the owners lucky enough to have him.   Continue reading

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Trading Denard Span Makes Sense, And Here’s Why

Denard Span has been traded to the Washington Nationals for minor league RHP Alex Meyer.

Span will be missed, but trading him was a necessary step back to respectability

Let me begin this post by saying that I believe Denard Span is a consumate professional, a class act, and a slightly above average — if not very solid — centerfielder. He’s left everything on the field for the Minnesota Twins in his career, and overcome adversity every step of the way. He was considered a potential bust prospect as he was an extremely slow starter after being taken 20th overall in 2002 by the Twins. In 2008, he ended up beating then-top prospect Carlos Gomez out for a job despite initially losing that battle and being sent to the minors. He kept grinding, and eventually ran Gomez out of town. He’s been a rock at the top of the Twins lineup ever since, and I sincerely wish him the best of luck in Washington, and I’m sure that he will be a great fit for the Nationals.

That said, Denard Span needed to go, and he needed to go this offseason. Span’s value was never going to be higher. He’s signed to a team friendly contract and is in the prime of his career. There are too many reasons to try to move Span and too little reasons to justify keeping Span and trying to contend in 2013. Let’s start with the makeup of the Twins organization.  Continue reading

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Week 12 Fantasy Pickups – Jacquizz Could Be Playoff Gem

It may seem weird to spotlight a backup running back when no injury has occurred to the starter – but in this case, there’s reason to believe Jacquizz Rodgers could still star with Michael Turner in the lineup.  For starters, Rodgers played more snaps than Turner on Sunday (31 to 23), and was the only running back used in the 4-minute offense to close out the game.  Sure, you’re probably thinking that’s nice, but Turner still gets all of the short yardage and goal-line work – wrong!  Rodgers’ lone touchdown came from 5 yards out on a 3rd-and-1 – two situations in which you’d expect Turner to get the nod.

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Week 11 Fantasy Pickups – Hillman Ready for Stretch Run

It seems like every year around this time, a relatively unknown player emerges from an injury, right into starting lineups for the stretch run.  This year, that guy could be Denver Broncos running back, Ronnie Hillman.  Willis McGahee was diagnosed with a torn MCL on Monday – likely ending his ‘fantasy’ season.  It’s still unclear whether or not the Bronocos will actually use Hillman in a featured role, or continue to have him split work with Lance Ball.  However, it is worth noting that even though Ball got first crack at the carries after McGahee went down, Hillman received double his workload by games end.

Hillman’s skill set actually fits the Broncos offense much better than Ball’s, but Ball has the edge in pass protection.  Still, I think it’ll be Hillman that garners the majority of touches in an offense that will rack up yards.  I mean, nobody puts his players in better situations to succeed than Peyton Manning, so I could see Hillman winding up with 100 total yards or a TD in every game the rest of the way.  Plus, there isn’t a single defense left on their schedule that scares me – @KC, TB, @OAK, @BAL, CLE, KC – play him with confidence.

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