5 Things To Know: #NFL Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1.

It’s A Clown-Show Bro!

If you want to hoot with the owls, you have to be able to soar with the eagles – the problem for Manziel is, he’s a turkey.  Allegedly, he was spotted in Vegas.  Allegedly Johnny was wearing a Ric Flair-wig and a Bobby Valentine-mustache and went by the name Billy.  Allegedly he showed up drunk to the Browns facility.  We say allegedly because there is an Instagram of him on Sat.Night with his dogs.  Documenting, that Johnny-Boozeball was home.

We know better.  We are watching the vortex of dumb that is Manziel play out like he is Charlie Sheen and we all get to witness the Adonis DNA, mixed with tiger blood that still cannot read a defense and no one believes that Johnny even cares.  But hey, the Browns have the 2nd pick – ain’t that right Jimmah?!


2.

FanDuel – 2×4’s and Milk

Source: NFL Week 17 Retrospectacle: Peyton Manning’s Return Makes Things Interesting

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QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (32.72 FanDuel points)—He finished as the No. 1 fantasy quarterback with his 293-2 passing and 6-10-2 rushing. Now, he will get WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) back next season and has turned WR Devin Funchess (7-120-1 Sunday) into a strong sidekick. It is tough to be better than Newton was this season, but his arrow is still pointing way up, even if his price will make him tough to afford this postseason and in 2016.

WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (29.2)—Usually, a strong supporting receiving corps cuts a No. 1’s production from elite to very good or even merely good. The Steelers’ weaponry hardly dents Brown’s status. He is the clear No. 1 fantasy wideout and legitimately in the conversation for the No. 1 overall player in fantasy for 2016. He’s already certain to be the priciest player in FanDuel’s postseason contests after his 13-187-1 monster finish to the regular season.

Houston Texans Defense (29.0)—That was some performance against a red-hot Jacksonville Jaguars offense: eight sacks, four turnovers and a touchdown. This will be an interesting Wild Card Weekend FanDuel play at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Seattle Seahawks or Chiefs might be the only others in the conversation for your defensive play.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (25.76)—If he could stay upright and healthy for a full season, he might have a chance to average the near 350-3 he put up Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. A healthy Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell (knee), Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton is a scary proposition. The Cincinnati Bengals better be ready for a shootout, especially since Big Ben hasn’t played well against them this season. Payback might be coming in spades.

QB Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys (25.4)—His 435-3 is as surprising as it is worthless for fantasy owners. There is no way he’s a starter in the NFL, but he might have earned himself a solid backup role for 2016.

QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (24.92)—Something really started clicking for Stafford and the Lions offensively after the coordinator change. There is likely an offseason of turnover coming, but Stafford (298-3) is smack dab in his prime with his arrow is still pointing up in fantasy for 2016.

WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (24.7)—He is no longer a first- or second-round draft pick, but his 10-137-1 caps a strong finish and makes him a steady 80-1,100-10 candidate at age 31 next season.

RB Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (24.6)—The Giants saved the veteran’s legs in the early season, but his 27-170-1 came too late to help most fantasy owners. The fact he will be 31 next season should preclude him from being slotted as a feature back or even a starter ever again, either.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (23.7)—As much as you might not be impressed with Tannehill yet, he is going to be due for a 4,500-30 breakthrough next season with a burgeoning star in WR Jarvis Landry (111-1,159-4) and 2016 breakout threat WR DeVante Parker (5-106-1 Sunday). Here’s to hoping the Dolphins get a gunslinging play-caller as offensive coordinator with their new regime.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (22.6)—Whether or not you care for the Jets or Marshall, FanDuel players are going to miss having him as an option in postseason contests. The 31-year-old finished 8-126-1 and posted arguably the best season of his strong, but controversial career at 109-1,502-14. You have to crop his 2016 projections down to 80-1,000-10, but he should still outproduce expectations that are set low by the game-manager at quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

WR Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (21.3)—He saved his best for last with 8-173-0 and should be a sleeper to go 80-1,000-10 next season at age 27 if the Cowboys can find more health and consistency at quarterback.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (21.18)—His monster second half, capped by his 197-3 Sunday, puts him in the conversation for one of the top five fantasy quarterbacks for 2016. You might not love his matchup at the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday, but that matchup returned monster production in Week 13. We will be curious to see how the return of Marshawn Lynch (hernia) might affect the Seahawks’ offensive approach, because it took the Lynch injury for Wilson to take off this season.

WR Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (20.9)—There is change coming in Philly, but Matthews proved with his strong finish (7-54-2) and season (85-997-8) that he is a No. 1 fantasy wideout no matter who the quarterback is or whom is calling the plays.

QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (20.36)—He has proven he is no longer a star fantasy quarterback, but he will lead the pack of the drafted backups. There are going to be 350-3 performances, but the Falcons need someone to play off WR Julio Jones (136-1,871-8).

WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (20.2)—His 5-117-1 was highlighted by his long catch and run with QB Brock Osweiler in the game, but he is far more intriguing for the second week of the postseason with a healthy Manning under center. We cannot wait to see what his price and matchup are, because there should be some FanDuel value coming our way here.

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QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (5.56)—Despite the 35-touchdown Year 2 breakthrough, he choked in his fantasy finale with two interceptions, a fumble and no touchdowns. This performance proved he’s not ready to be an elite fantasy quarterback. Those are guys immune to tough matchups, which Bortles clearly wasn’t here. It’s a shame after all he has done for us in FanDuel action this season.

QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots (5.26)—Our bitter FanDuel selves might be seeking retribution from Brady and the Pats by watching them regret not putting away the AFC home-field advantage against the lame-duck Dolphins. Just 134 yards and no touchdowns? We haven’t seen a performance like that from Brady since Week 17 of 2014. On second thought, perhaps we should have known better.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.1)—The matchup against the Browns should have revealed a stud, not a dud. He rushed just five times for eight yards, ruining what was a fantasy MVP-like second half.

WR Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (0.5)—One catch for no yards? Come on, dude. This was the Browns, not the ’85 Bears. The only good thing to say about this is Bryant will be a cheap option if he can avoid the injury report this week.

TE Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (2.2)—He had some moments with Bortles this season, but his 2015 finished the way it started…in the toilet. Just two catches for 12 yards and another Jags player who proved he is not elite because he is not immune to tough matchups.


3.

Cam Newton And Antonio Brown Co-#DFS-MVP’s

It was good year in Daily Fantasy Football and it is made even better when several people #win big using your reports, along with the Lineup-Analyzer – Straight-Ca$h-Homey!  With that, let’s took a look back with performances from “Eli Manning’s and Drew Brees’s shootout to David Johnson’s clutch performance in the fantasy playoffs,” Michael Beller presents the 12 best performances of the 2015 fantasy football season.


4.

These Times They Are A Changin’

Television is going to change.  It already has for most of us, and just like newspapers, if the cable/satellite companies continue to fail in understanding how people are consuming media – they will find a similar fate.  The first battle is being fought with Major League Baseball and as outlined in the Hollywood Reporter, MLB, its 30 teams, DirecTV and Comcast will have to defend the status quo in a class-action lawsuit that will change how games are distributed.  This could mean that small-market clubs and TV revenues are in danger by cord-cutters.


5.

Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 17

All we want to do is provide you valuable information at a great price.  We’ve already helped hundreds of people learn how to make some extra lettuce playing fantasy sports; so let us Teach You How to #win!

Giving you the Perfect Lineup is easy and we tweet it, post it on Facebook and create an entire post about our RESULTS, so……What about if you had the greatest value lineup of all time?  A Lineup that every player chosen had low ownership, way less, and never cost you more than $6k – well my friends this is the Ultimate Value Lineup – culled directly from the numbers and our reports – look for us on twitter when we post the less than 12% lineup and follow along with the value-madness!!!

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#FanDuel #NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

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Forget Black Friday. It was a dark and dreary Sunday for fantasy football‘s top tight ends, as both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were carted off with knee injuries. They say injuries are a part of the game, but we sure wish they weren’t.

Graham has already been ruled out for the season with a torn patella tendon, while the New England Patriots hope for the best from Gronk’s tests this week.

We might get some bargains from their potential replacements, but FanDuel players have to hate seeing their premium tight ends—if Graham was one still—go down.

The reports on Gronk’s injury early Monday morning were promising, as the Boston Herald‘s Jeff Howe observed Gronk moving around in the locker room without any noticeable trouble or pain, walking out of the stadium “without crutches or barely even a limp.”

“He’s the best tight end in football,” Brady told Howe. “It’s so hard to see these guys get hurt like this. I always have a lot of respect for players who play this game because you risk a lot to play. I think a lot of times, that gets overlooked because you sacrifice a lot. I think guys sacrifice their bodies. It’s hard to see your friends get taken down like that. It’s part of the sport. We understand that. I have a lot of respect for the players who take the field.”

Despite the optimism, if Gronk were to miss at least some time, you can turn your FanDuel plays to Pats backup Scott Chandler ($5,300). He caught a season-high five passes Sunday night for 58 yards and a touchdown for 14.3 FanDuel points.

The Graham loss is a lot more troubling, and not just because of its season-ending severity. The backup, Luke Willson ($4,800), has had only sporadic moments of fantasy football success. He will be a full-timer now, though, as The Seattle Times‘ Bob Condotta reported.

“Everybody loves him,” Willson told Condotta of Graham. “Great guy in the locker room and extremely hard worker, for a guy with his talent to see him work as hard as he does is pretty cool and you don’t ever want to see that happen to anyone on the NFL, let alone a guy like Jimmy.

“I know Jimmy, he is probably down right now, but what I have gotten to know of him these past six, seven months he will attack this rehab and be back next year.”

The news wasn’t all bad for FanDuel players. We review the Sunday studs, in addition to the duds, and what those performances mean to one-week fantasy players going forward in our Monday Week 12 Retrospectacle.

Factoid Tweet of the Week

Studs

WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (35.5 FanDuel points)—The game has really opened up for him of late (6-145-3 Sunday) and his FanDuel price ($6,200) is only creeping up. The matchup at Minnesota for Week 13 isn’t favorable, but you have to trust he is the clear-cut, go-to man with Graham down.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (35.2)—He has eight touchdowns and over 600 yards passing since Marshawn Lynch (hernia) was officially ruled out. It is a shame Graham won’t be around for this stretch run out of Wilson, whose price is a reasonable $7,800, even if the aforementioned matchup is difficult.

RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (31.7)—At least we have one trustworthy running back worth the FanDuel premium ($9,100). Peterson (29-158-2 rushing) faces those Seahawks and their No. 5-ranked run defense. A healthy Peterson is worth the price against anyone, especially since he dominates his team’s touches.

WR Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (30.8)—We will consider it the FanDuel video jinx. After being featured here (see video below) amid his outrageous first half (6-158-2), Watkins disappeared without a catch after the intermission. The takeaway here, more than Watkins’ periodic excellence, is the Chiefs secondary is one to take advantage of. They have been dead last in fantasy against wideouts, per FFToday.com.

WR Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (30.6)—We figured Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant would be marginal plays against the Seahawks on the road, but we didn’t figure it would be because Wheaton would dominate across the middle. Wheaton was Ben Roethlisberger’s hot hand, going for 9-201-1. While you can love Wheaton’s $6,000 price for Week 13, you have to consider Brown and Bryant the wiser plays still.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (29.6)—Few could have imagined he would average nearly one touchdown per game with the historically woefully quarterbacked Jets franchise. Marshall’s 9-131-2 proves he is 100 percent after being banged up midseason. At $8,100, he draws the New York Giants secondary in Week 13. Lock him up.

WR Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (29.4)—He capitalized on Darrelle Revis’ (concussion) absence with 13-165-1, a performance that might get us to stop calling him a poor man’s Odell Beckham. Landry looks golden at $7,400 against the suspect Baltimore Ravens secondary next week.

RB C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (29.3)—That was a big-time performance (15-113-2 rushing and 4-40 receiving) that likely handed him his feature-back role back. Notably, Anderson isn’t yet priced as an elite back ($6,800) and draws the worst team in fantasy against running backs, per FFToday.com, in Week 13, the San Diego Chargers.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (29.18)—This 277-4 performance has to inspire you if you’re looking for a $7,500 bargain quarterback play for Week 13 against the Giants. Fitzy at least has some elite targets to throw to in Marshall and Eric Decker ($7,200).

QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (28.9)—He shows he should not be buried (300-4), even if his Chargers’ playoff hopes and his FanDuel price of $7,600 are down. You cannot play him against the Broncos’ No. 1-ranked defense next week, though.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (26.5)—There have been some lean weeks of late, but Maclin’s 9-160-1 revival sets him up nicely against a suspect Oakland Raiders secondary (fourth-worst against the pass). His price ($6,500) for that matchup is almost too good to be true.

WR Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders (26.3)—His 6-113-2 is a sign of things to come, especially if you like the $5,400 value against the Chiefs secondary that made Watkins look like Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (26.24)—This performance (291-3) made him look like the bargain FanDuel start he was early in the year, but you cannot love him (even at $7,400) for Week 13 against the resurgent Houston Texans.

K Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts (15.0)—They are much more of a field-goal threat without Andrew Luck (kidney) right now and Vinatieri is priced to play at $4,700, which is tied for just 15th on the FanDuel kicker board for Week 13.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense (17.0)—They generally don’t get much love, but the Week 13 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on a short week has their price up to $5,100. They still might be worth it after their dismantling of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Duds

RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (2.8)—You shouldn’t have played him against the Jets’ No. 1-ranked run defense, but if you went contrarian you are kicking yourself after his five carries for just two yards. Things should be looking up going forward, especially as his price is trending down at $6,700.

RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (3.5)—We probably should grant the rookie a dud pass. This is his first single-digit FanDuel performance since taking over as the starter. The matchup for Week 13 against the Arizona Cardinals (No. 4 vs. the run) shouldn’t excite anyone, though, especially at $8,400.

RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (4.7)—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers limited him to 24 yards on 19 carries—19! Wow, Gore is finally showing his age. Week 13 is at the Pittsburgh Steelers and their No. 7-ranked run defense. No thanks, even at $6,200.

WR Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (1.9)—We thought his being announced as active Sunday was good news. Nope. One catch for 14 yards and a lot of ticked-off FanDuelers. The only good thing to come from this was his priced dropped under $6K at $5,900 for Week 13.

WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (4.1)—The Broncos might not miss the old Peyton Manning (foot) amid this two-game win streak and overtime victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots, but Thomas does. He caught just one of his team-high 13 targets from Brock Osweiler. There isn’t a price low enough to trust Thomas right now—definitely not at $7,600.

Source: NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

Monday Dreg

On this day…

March 2nd, 1962

Today 53 years ago, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the Knicks. It was the first time that a professional basketball player had scored 100 points in a single contest; the previous record, 78, had been set by Chamberlain earlier in the season. During the game, Chamberlain sank 36 field goals and 28 foul shots, both league records. — courtesy of the History Channel

NBA DiRTy Plays 3-2-15

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Today is Franchise Tag day and already we have learned that the Lions will not use the franchise tag on DT Ndamukong Suh, making him an unrestricted free agent.  That the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on OLB Justin Houston (league-leading 22 sacks) and the Broncos are expecting to tag Demaryius Thomas before the deadline expires at 4pm EST.  There are rumors that Lesean McCoy will be used as a bargaining chip to move up the draft to take Mariota and that Dallas is going to let Demarco Murray test free-agency, after using the franchise tag on Dez Bryant.

Both DeMarco(392) and LeSean(312) led the league in rushing attempts.  The danger for DeMarco and your fantasy team is the curse of 370.  The curse inflicts itself on RB’s who carry the ball 370+ times, and limiting their numbers from the previous year, due to injury or freak-o-nomics.  Considering the history DeMarco has staying healthy – you’d be wise to avoid him in 2015 regardless of where he goes.  I know of only 3 players in NFL history that equaled or outperformed their previous years stats and DeMarco is not LaDanian Tomlinson, Earl Campbell or WALTER PAYTON!.  As for the Eagles willing to part ways with LeSean, it signals louder that the position of running back is less relevant than it used to be.  More and more teams believe in divas like Dez, than guys who earn their yardage running the ball.

For those like Ndamukong Suh who are not tagged, the Lions (teams) have 7days to negotiate a contract or let them go via free agency.  There are several places that will bid heavy for a force like Suh.


 

Ty Lawson.  The only reason to watch the Nuggets.  Word is that now when breaking the huddle the Nuggets are counting down the end of the season – “1-2-3…6weeks!”  Good for them! When you look at what the front-office has done in just two short years – how do you blame the players for wanting this long-drawn-out-fiasco to last?  On Friday night, the Nuggets got blown-out by the Jazz 104-82.  The No-guts have not had a winning month since October when they were 1-0.

They sent Affalo to 1st place (in the division) Portland and Faried has done nothing offensively to earn his new contract.  So what’s the plan?  The No-guts have no off-the dribble threats nor do they have any reliable perimeter scorers.  So all that is left is Ty Lawson, the Todd Helton of the Nuggets during an extensive rebuilding project.  Do not expect him to be on the team next year, as Sacramento will do what they can to trade for him after the end of the season.

So with a top 10 pick looming in the June draft and cap space, do we really have faith in a front-office that blew up a team that won 57 games and was a number 3 seed two years ago?  As long as kroenke the younger continues to insert himself into the day to day, this franchise will never be good.  We’ve had past-glimpses, only to have us slapped awake by the reality of what it takes for championship basketball in Colorado.  First things first, maybe we get rid of the name Nuggets and go from there…


 

Considering the calendar has turned and conference tournaments are gearing up for their entrance to the Madness – we bring a few thoughts on recent games and what they might mean for our brackets – courtesy of Ryan Fagan

Resume potential

BYU 73, Gonzaga 70. This says more to me about Gonzaga than BYU but...the Cougars (23-8) knock off a potential No. 1 seed, and they did it on the road on Gonzaga’s senior night. BYU does have a couple of ugly losses on the season — swept by Pepperdine — and nothing is guaranteed, but an elite win like this one will go a long way with the selection committee.

St. John’s 81, Georgetown 70. This was a good win for the Red Storm, who lost to Georgetown by 22 the first time they met. Add to this a pair of season sweeps of Providence and Xavier — two at-large quality teams — and St. John’s should be OK when Selection Sunday rolls around.

Boise State 56, San Diego State 46. The Broncos already owned a record of 22-7 and had won 11 of their past 12 games. On Saturday, Boise State finished its sweep of the Aztecs and picked up what is easily its best win away from home. With other bubble teams struggling down the stretch, the red-hot Broncos offer the committee an alternate look.

Dayton 59, VCU 55. The Flyers (22-6) might have been OK, but beating a quality team like VCU on the road moves them toward the much more secure part of the bubble. At least, it helps make up for the loss at Duquesne last Saturday.

LSU 73, Ole Miss 63. Really, this one could go in the “Blowing Bubbles” category, too. It was a nice win for LSU (21-8), but it’s the second consecutive loss for Ole Miss (19-10). The Rebels can’t afford for this streak to get any longer.

Davidson 77, George Washington 66. Once upon a time, George Washington was in line to get an at-large bid. That’s no longer the case, but this is still a win that boost Davidson’s thin resume. And, it keeps the Wildcats (21-6) in a first-place tie atop the Atlantic 10 heading into Thursday’s game at home against VCU.

Blowing bubbles

Boston College 79, N.C. State 63. This was maybe the most confounding result of the day. Boston College was 1-14 in the ACC heading into this one, and the Eagles held at least a 20-point lead for much of the contest. The loss dropped N.C. State to 17-12. It doesn’t knock them out of contention — the committee will still love the Wolfpack’s wins at Louisville and at North Carolina — but it’s not a good look.

Villanova 78, Xavier 66. This isn’t a bad loss for Xavier (18-12) — Villanova is a potential No. 1 seed — but it was a missed opportunity for the Musketeers, who led by seven at halftime and could have used the boost that comes with beating an elite team.

Kansas 69, Texas 64. As with Xavier, this wasn’t a “bad loss” for Texas. But, unlike Xavier, the Longhorns really needed this victory to counteract a growing list of losses to solid teams. At some point, the resume needs a big win or two, and this is one that got away.

North Carolina 73, Miami 64. The Hurricanes really, really needed another win against an at-large caliber foe, and they let this one slip away. Now, they’re 18-11 and probably on the wrong side of the bubble, though they’ll have ACC Tournament opportunities.

Texas Tech 63, Oklahoma State 62. Oklahoma State, at this point, is in a bit of a free-fall. The Cowboys (17-11) have lost four in a row, and two of those losses (this one and at TCU) were to teams that aren’t making the NCAA Tournament. Travis Ford’s team is in big trouble right about now.

Taking care of business

Georgia 68, Missouri 44. The epitome of a don’t-screw-around game, and the Bulldogs (19-9) didn’t screw around with this one.

Rhode Island 59, La Salle 56. The Rams (20-7) led the host Explorers come back a bit but wound up holding on to keep hold of their share of first place in the Atlantic 10 at 12-4.

Cincinnati 63, Tulane 47. The Bearcats (20-9) lost their home game to Tulane, so there was zero chance they were taking this one for granted. They didn’t.

Iowa 81, Penn State 77 OT. The Hawkeyes have had an up-and-down season, and this was nearly one of those ugly downs. But Iowa (19-10) survived in overtime, which is what matters.

Illinois 86, Northwestern 60. The Illini (18-11) had lost three in a row, so this was key.


 

Rousey v Zingano Whole Fight GIF

This is Ronda Rousey and the fight took 14 seconds.  Here are a few things that take longer:

  1. NFL decision on Ray Rice
  2. Bathroom break
  3. Josh Hamilton relapse
  4. Derrick Rose comeback
  5. Nomar Garciaparra at bat
  6. Prius merging onto highway

 

It’s Spring Training and we already have freakish injuries and embarrassment.  The Phillies opened up Spring Training by losing to the number one team in Division II – the University of Tampa, 6-2!  It’s meaningless baseball but it sure doesn’t read well to begin this way if you’re a Phillies fan.  The Rockies play the University of Phoenix on Tuesday, so….lord help us all.

As for your typical ‘only in baseball‘ injuries we have a torn meniscus from stepping on a sprinkler head – Michael Saunders; a fractured shoulder from getting out of a swimming pool – Ronald Belisario; to Chris Sale fracturing his foot steeping off the back of his truck.  There needs to be a Federal inquiry into why baseball players seem to suffer, by order of magnitude, more freak injuries than other sports’ athletes.

Here are some ‘might take the next step’ guys: — Courtesy of Dave Tobener

Brandon Belt, Giants: His breakout likely would’ve happened last year if not for a broken hand followed by a concussion. Belt had 9 home runs in early May and looked like he could easily reach 30 at the rate he was going. An on base machine, Belt has the potential to hit for both power and average and is also a sneaky stolen base threat. He’ll likely bat third for the Giants and could be due for that monster season everyone has been expecting ever since he tore through the minor leagues in 2010.

Zack Wheeler, Mets: Wheeler showed signs of being an ace last year and is poised to take a big leap in 2015. If he can cut down on his walks, he has the potential to be special. He averaged more than a strikeout per inning last year and had games where he looked absolutely unhittable. It’s a shame he won’t get much support from his offense, but he should still post good numbers.

Joc Pederson, Dodgers: Pederson’s path to playing time was cleared when the Dodgers unloaded Matt Kemp, and the rookie will get his chance to make people believe the hype. There’s nothing left for him to prove in the minors, and Pederson presents real 20-20 (maybe even 30-30) potential with regular at bats. He’s the most exciting outfield prospect to come around in a while and it’d be no surprise to see him make an impact early.

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 25:  George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on May 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

George Springer, Astros: If he ever finds plate discipline, watch out. He may have struck out a ton, but Springer was still very impressive last year and could make a huge leap in 2015 if he can figure out the strike zone. He’s a big, strong guy with 30-plus home run potential who also possesses uncanny athleticism. He could easily lead the league in homers if he figures things out; on the flip side, he might strike out 220 times, too. But a big year awaits.

Oswaldo Arcia, Twins: He’s hit 34 home runs in parts of two big league seasons but doesn’t get a lot of press (or any press) for a variety of reasons. The Twins may have bigger prospects in the pipeline, but Arcia has shown he’s ready for an every day role and should finally get the chance in 2015. He has definite 30 homer potential and his minor league numbers suggest his OPS should rise, too. Arcia is the definition of a sleeper.

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins: He had an excellent 2014 and should be ready to take a huge leap forward this season. Ozuna basically skipped two levels of minor league ball and went straight to the majors, yet he’s performed so well it’s clear he wasn’t rushed prematurely. With a better lineup around him in Miami, the time seems right for Ozuna to reach the next level.

Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays: Will he start? Will he close? No matter, since Sanchez has the pure stuff to succeed in either role. He was virtually untouchable in 33 innings last year, and if the Blue Jays don’t trade for a proven closer it’s easy to picture Sanchez putting up huge numbers there for an improved Jays team. He should have the same kind of success as a starter, but his innings will likely be limited if he’s in the rotation. Either way, he’s poised to make a lot of noise this season.

Gerrit Cole, Pirates: You can argue that he’s already broken out, but the potential is there for Cole to be a perennial Cy Young candidate. His third year should be the year he finally puts it all together and dominates for a Pirates team that expects to be in contention. He should get closer to 200 IP this year if he can stay healthy and it’ll be interesting to see how his numbers react. With as much talent as he has, those numbers should be big. This should be the year Cole proves everyone who named him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball right.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: He didn’t live up to the hype in his rookie year, but asking any young guy to play shortstop in Boston and put up big numbers is a tall task. Now, removed from the hype and surrounded by a much better lineup, Bogaerts should be able to relax and let his natural ability shine through this year. He’s a shortstop with 20-plus home run potential, something that doesn’t come along every day. While the fans and media focus on all of Boston’s new acquisitions, Bogaerts can go about his business and show that everyone was right about his potential…just a year late.

Eric Hosmer, Royals: You’re forgiven if you feel like Hosmer has been around for 10 or so years, considering the immense hype and expectations that were pinned to him before he even debuted. But Hosmer is only 25, coming off a huge second half and postseason and poised to build on that success in 2015. He’s had a nice career up to this point, but nowhere near what many thought he was capable of when he debuted in Kansas City. This should finally be the year that Hosmer establishes himself as the dangerous middle-of-the-order hitter Royals fans have wanted him to be for years. A 25 home run season isn’t out of the question.