APOLOGIES for my absence last week, but I’M BACK to help you through another week of NFL/MLB/AFL fantasy havoc. With the NFL season close to kicking off and the MLB/AFL season winding down people attention is stretched in opposite directions, so remain focused to kick off/conclude your season with a bang!

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NFL

  • THE biggest news in both real football and fantasy football was the suspension handed down to Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. His six game ban is being appealed, but if upheld Dallas is likely to use Darren McFadden as their primary back and Zeke’s absence will definitely have an impact of QB Dak Prescott.

Trends In NFL Fantasy Mock Drafts Worth Knowing BannerImage from bloggingtheboys.com

  • THERE is a real debate over who should be the No 1 selection come draft time with Le’Veon Bell’s contract issue opening the door for the Cardinals RB David Johnson. While Bell is still clearly the best player, you can’t be blamed for taking the safer choice with Johnson as the risk of Bell missing time grows.
  • IF you are new to NFL fantasy, just know the New York Jets are sh*thouse. To make matters worse their woeful quarterbacks now have no decent receivers to throw to, with their No. 1 guy succumbing to a neck injury (more details below).
  • STAND out performers from Week One of preseason action should be taken with a grain of salt. Most teams barely used their first team players with the likes of back up quarterbacks DeShone Kizer (Browns) and Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) garnering the headlines.

INJURY NEWS – THE aforementioned Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will likely be sidelined for the whole season after a neck injury derailed his preseason. Other popular picks who are out for indefinite periods of time include Texans WR, Will Fuller and fellow Chargers wideout Mike Williams. Players like Eric Ebron (Lions TE), Matt Forte (Jets RB), Jordan Reed (Redskins TE), Andrew Luck (Colts, QB), Bilal Powell (Jets, RB) and James Conner (Steelers, RB) all battling niggling injuries.

MLB

  • IF you have been following baseball over the past week you will know that Giancarlo Stanton has been on absolute fire. The Marlins outfielder has hit six home runs (taking his season tally to 44) and has been the in-form player in the comp over the past fortnight. Lesser owned players like Tim Beckham (Orioles, SS/2B, 58.2% ownership) and Cory Spangenberg (Padres, 2B/3B/OF, 28.4% ownership) have also been on fire in the past fortnight and therefore are worth adding if their form continues.
  • J.A. Happ is the in form pitcher (Blue Jays, 56.0% ownership) with three straight wins in August conceding just three runs while striking out 23 batters. Trevor Bauer (Indians, SP) is the most added pitcher after going a month without a loss and chalking up 20 K’s in his last two starts.

Fantasy Fridays - 18th August 1Image from theintelligencer.net

  • FOUR straight L’s for Michael Fuller (Tigers, SP) sees him trending in the wrong direction after giving up five or more runs three times in those outings. Sean Manaea (Athletics, SP) is another pitcher being dropped by owners due to poor form, while Evan Longoria (Rays, 3B/DH) and Brett Gardner (Yankees, OF) were the batsmen who found their way onto the scrap heap. An 8/48 and 8/52 batting performance respectively in the last 15 days tells you all you need to know.

INJURY NEWS – A gruesome knee injury to Bryce Harper (Nationals, OF) isn’t as bad as first thought with the MVP candidate suffering a bone bruise that will keep him out for a few weeks. Astros All-Star Carlos Correa could be taking batting practice as soon as this weekend and Royals catcher Salvador Perez is nearly over his injured oblique and but won’t need a rehab start. Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox 2B), Russell Martin (Blue Jays, C), Brian McCann (Astros, C) all find themselves among the most dropped players because of recent injury issues.

DODGERS ace Clayton Kershaw is still out but expected to throw roughly 45 pitches in a simulated game on Monday. LA isn’t the only one missing a pitcher with Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals rehabbing from an elbow injury. Washington hopes he will return to action next week and be removed from the DL over the weekend. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will likely miss a game or two to overcome a hamstring issue, while Noah Syndergaard (Mets, SP) threw a bullpen session on Tues as he ramps up his return after being sidelined since the end of April. Johnny Cueto (Giants, SP), Lance McCullers (Astros, SP), Andrew Miller (Indians, RP), David Price (Red Sox SP) and Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees, SP) all find themselves on the 10-day DL after recent injury complaints.

AFL

  • MOST AFL Fantasy coaches should find themselves at close to full strength this week with the return of popular players Zach Merrett, Josh Kennedy and Alex Witherden. Brodie Grundy will still miss one week with a suspension, but coaches should using their second last batch of trades to gear up for a grand final assault.
  • OF course, last week wasn’t without some torment with usually reliable players Lachie Neale (32), Jack Macrae (75) and Sam Docherty (78) all letting their owners down.

Fantasy Fridays - 18th August 1Image from richmondfc.com.au

  • DANGER, Adams and Beamer all scored huge in Round 21 though with 130, 128 and 143 respectively! Dayne Beams had his 3rd score over 140 in a month making him one of the most traded in players this week while little owned Josh Jenkins (130), Cam Pedersen, (125) and Nathan Jones (118) all putting up big numbers.
  • DON’T get too sucked into looking at a players schedule to determine your trades this week. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good indicator, but it shouldn’t factor in as the be all and end all when you are making your choices for the last fortnight of the season.

MY TRADES

L.Young > L. Pierce & D.Mountford > B.Gibbs

WITH just four trades remaining I’m trying to best my team as much as I can and while Lewis Young of the Bulldogs still has some growth left I’m cashing him in this week. Mountford also makes way after being serviceable and reliable over the past few months and I’m backing in Bryce Gibbs over the likes of Zorko/Parker/Beams to score more in the final fortnight of season 2017.

INJURY NEWS – LACHIE Neale was a popular trade in after his 152 in Round 19, but a low score and knee issues will see him miss this week and possibly the final game of the year. Gary Ablett also finds himself out for another week, but the likes of Jack Ziebell and Nick Riewoldt are returning for the Roos and Saints. As mentioned above Alex Witherden and Josh Kennedy are back overcoming hamstring issues, but the biggest inclusions this week are easily Jaeger O’Meara and Harley Benell. O’Meara has battled knee issues in his first season at Hawthorn but dominated in the VFL last week earning a quicker than expected recall. Finally, after two years on the Dockers list, Harley Bennell will make his highly anticipated debut for the Fremantle Dockers. The former star Sun has had calf and personal issues in the past that have derailed his chance of appearing in a game for Freo. Many are considering bringing him into their Draft or Classic teams to potentially win them a matchup this weekend. Stay tuned…