Marlon Tuipulotu, top defensive tackle recruit, flips to USC

first_imgThe top defensive tackle in the nation for the class of 2017, Marlon Tuipulotu, announced Monday night via Twitter that he will be decommitting from Washington and joining the USC football team next fall as a freshman. The announcement comes nine days before National Signing Day.USC hosted Tuipulotu on an official visit this weekend before the five-star defensive lineman announced his decision Monday. “This was a tough decision for me, and I have nothing but love for the players, the school and the coaches at the [University of Washington] … I honestly wish them nothing but the best in everything they do,” Tuipulotu said on Twitter. “I am still planning to graduate early and will be attending the University of Southern California.”Tuipulotu will be graduating from Central High School in Independence, Ore. this week; he will enroll early at USC and arrive on campus this semester. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive lineman was selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in his senior season. Recruiting sites such 247Sports have rated Tuipulotu as a five-star tackle, while Rivals projected him as a four-star prospect. Tuipulotu was rated the top recruit from the state of Oregon this season. He is ranked the No. 60 player overall nationally in the composite rankings. The acquisition of Tuipulotu is crucial for USC. Tuipulotu will aid in filling a large hole at defensive tackle for USC after the team lost players such as Noah Jefferson to transfer and Rose Bowl MVP Stevie Tu’ikolovatu to graduation. Tuipulotu, a long time Washington commit, made his initial verbal commitment to play for the Huskies back in April 2016. In addition to recruiting Tuipulotu, USC also hosted the No. 2 rated defensive tackle in the nation, Jay Tufele,  on an official visit this past weekend.last_img read more

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Fantasy Baseball Tiers, Draft Strategy: First Base

first_imgBecause of the multi-position eligibility of many of these players, it’s not a bad idea to grab them for your bench in deep leagues. Ultimately, they’re likely waiver wire fodder, but grabbing one, especially if it’s a handcuff to one of your starters, isn’t a terrible idea.TIER 5Steve Pearce, Red Sox (OF)Brandon Belt, GiantsRyan McMahon, Rockies (2B, 3B)Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers (2B, SS, OF)Niko Goodrum, Tigers (2B, 3B, SS, OF)Jose Martinez, Cardinals (OF)Eric Thames, Brewers (OF)Mitch Moreland, Red SoxGreg Bird, YankeesJay Bruce, Mariners (OF)Adam Duvall, Braves (OF)Matt Adams, NationalsChris Davis, OriolesTodd Frazier*, Mets (3B)Justin Bour, AngelsMarwin Gonzalez, Twins (2B, 3B, OF)Peter O’Brien, Marlins (OF*)Hunter Dozier, Royals (3B)Yandy Diaz, Rays* = Not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there throughout the season By now you’ve undoubtedly added some 1B rankings and 1B sleepers to your cheat sheet in anticipation for your fantasy baseball draft, and while those can help you find a few draft-day targets, you can get an even better idea of a draft strategy for the position by breaking down the rankings further into tiers. Tiering has its plusses and minuses, as simply drawing imaginary lines where you feel player pools drop off doesn’t always lead to sound drafting practices. If anything, it can lead to overdrafting a player at the “bottom of a tier”, and it doesn’t take into account a player’s strengths/weaknesses in relation to your team’s strengths/weaknesses.  DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: 2019 ultimate cheat sheetThis phenomenon might be least pronounced at first base, where many players have similar profiles. Few steal many bases, if any, and most can hit at least 20 HRs with decent RBI totals. The main difference comes in average and run, but even then the variations can be subtle. Draft strategy tend to be relatively easy with 1B: If you don’t get an elite option in the first or second round, just wait and grab a guy when he seems like a fair-to-good value. You don’t really need a target round for a 1B, nor do you need a target set of players (unless you have a specific plan at other positions that would necessitate a 40-plus HR guy at 1B). Of course, it’s never quite that simple once the actual draft gets going, so we’re here to help by breaking down our rankings into subsets we call “True Tiers”.2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Who are the best fantasy baseball 1Bs?Currently, there are no 1Bs in the top 16 on FantasyPros’ ADP report, and only two are in top 24. For us, the top three first basemen, Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, and Anthony Rizzo, are pretty close in value and should all be targeted in the second/third round. There’s a fourth 1B-eligible player, Whit Merrifield, who is also in that third-round range, but he’s likely to be slotted at 2B for the teams that draft him. However, if you do take Merrifield and play him at first base you’ll be gaining a major advantage in SBs…and taking a hit in HRs and RBIs. Is that trade-off worth it? Probably not, but the bottom line is Merrifield could have more overall fantasy than all three of the 1Bs listed below in the “Tier 1A” category when you factor in position scarcity. Don’t consider Merrifield being in “Tier 1B” a declaration that he’s “less than” all three of those other guys — it just means he provides a different type of fantasy value.There’s nothing wrong with grabbing Goldschmidt, Freeman, or Rizzo in the first few rounds. Hardly any 1Bs can flirt with a .300 average and 10 SBs, let alone do both while hitting 25-30 HRs, driving in 100-plus runs and scoring around 90. Rizzo came up short of those marks in most categories last year, but he gets a bump from his durability, as he’s played in at least 153 games in each of the past four seasons, something Freeman has only done twice. There’s safety in these three players, and you’re not taking a hit in any categories with them — something you can’t say for most first basemen. Getting them gives you a nice four-category foundation for your team.TIER 1APaul Goldschmidt, CardinalsFreddie Freeman, BravesAnthony Rizzo, CubsTIER 1BWhit Merrifield, Royals (also eligible at 2B, OF)More Fantasy Baseball Rankings Tiers, Draft StrategyCatcher | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Closer2019 Fantasy Baseball 1B Rankings: Tier 2We’re going to cast somewhat of a wide net with the next group because, honestly, that’s how fantasy baseball drafts work. Each of these guys can go in the early/early-middle rounds (Rounds 4-8) — it really just depends on what type of team you’re building. Because many in this group (and even the next) are somewhat similar, it’s likely you can wait until the end of the above range to grab one, but if you really value/need a certain stat and/or durability, you can take the plunge. The two sub-tiers below are basically split by these criteria: Tier 2A features sluggers with 30-40-HR upside but low-to-medium batting average upside; Tier 2B features higher-average guys who could still approach 30 HRs. Again, we’re not saying 2B is “below” 2A, just different.Obviously, not all players are perfect fits for these categories, but they’re close. Joey Gallo will hit 40 HRs, but it comes at a tremendous cost to your batting average. He’s a guaranteed negative in one category, so if you’ve already drafted some questionable batting averages, tread lightly. Conversely, the jury is still out on Jesus Aguilar. He hit a solid .274 last season, but his career .271 minor league batting average doesn’t suggest he’s much of an average hitter. With little major league track record, it’s tough to know what to expect this year, so we’re taking a cautious approach with him, though it’s fair to also think he could continue to improve in that category.The tougher guys to figure out are in Tier 2B. Votto is 35 and coming off forgettable season, but in 2017 he hit .320 with 36 HRs, 106 runs, and 100 RBIs, so perhaps there’s some juice let. Abreu is also coming off a down year across the board, missing 34 games and failing to hit at least .290 for the first time in his career. Murphy should get a boost from playing in Colorado, though he’s still likely to have the fewest HRs of anyone in either tier (but also the highest batting average). It’s entirely possible all three 32-and-over players are stayaways in your mind, but few 1Bs can hit for average like they can. These are definitely risk-reward players who could vastly outproduce their ADPs or leave you scouring the waiver wire in May.TIER 2ACody Bellinger, Dodgers (OF)Rhys Hoskins, Phillies (OF)Jesus Aguilar, BrewersJoey Gallo, Rangers (OF)TIER 2BJoey Votto, RedsJose Abreu, White SoxDaniel Murphy, Rockies (2B)SLEEPERS & BUSTS: All-Breakout Team | All-Overrated TeamFantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Middle-round 1Bs to targetIf you’re approaching the middle rounds of your draft and you’re still without a 1B, that’s OK. The “guaranteed homers” are getting thinner, but there are still some solid sluggers and potential bounce-back candidates. The tough thing about these sub-tiers is many players will likely be drafted to play other positions, most notably Travis Shaw, Matt Carpenter, Max Muncy, and Robinson Cano. Chances are, at least Carpenter will be gone at this point in the draft anyway. Either way, you should have a starting 1B (and possibly CI, depending how deep your league is) by the time you get through this tier.These tiers are broken up by HR upside (Tier 3A), ability to chip in some SBs in addition to some power (Tier 3B), and high-average veterans with age issues (Tier 3C). There’s an argument for Carpenter, Muncy, Edwin Encarnacion and perhaps even Miguel Sano to be in the tier above, but Muncy came out of nowhere at age 27 last season, Carpenter blew past his career high in HRs at age 32, Encarnacion is 36, declining, and could see a few more playing time issues than in year’s past, and Sano was actually sent to the minors last year and has health issues. (Update: Sano will miss the first month of the season because of a heel injury, causing us to drop him a tier.) None of these guys are a guaranteed 30 HRs, though it’s likely at least one will hit that mark (and probably well past it). Average is also worry for all of the players in Tier 3A, with Sano clocking in at .199 last year. Carpenter is more of an on-base guy than an average hitter, so .260 is about max you can expect from this group. Anything better is a bonus. We’re banking on mild bounce-backs from Justin Smoak (power) and Carlos Santana (average), but both have likely already had their best seasons.For Tier 3B, you have a player with legit 20/20 ability in Desmond and another with 25/15 upside (but more likely 20/10) in Braun. Desmond is 33 and Braun is 35, so a fall-off from either wouldn’t be a shock, but Desmond’s proven power-speed production is nice to pocket, especially with him in Colorado. It’s unclear if Braun can play in 145 games at this point in his career, but he’s in the right lineup in the right park, so if he does have one more good season in him, he could really pay off at a mid-round price.Tier 3C is probably one most fantasy owners won’t want to deal with. Miguel Cabrera has hit 19 HRs over the past two seasons (168 games), and his average dropped to .249 in 2017, so the idea of him as a “high-average”, 20-HR hitter might be wrong on both levels. But the first-ballot HOFer can’t be completely written off just yet (or can he?). At 35, he’s an obvious risk, but there’s also some reward given his relatively low ADP. Robinson Cano will likely be drafted as a 2B, but he has .300-20-85 upside in him, which plays at 1B. Eric Hosmer really doesn’t fit into any of these tiers after a rough first season in San Diego, but just two years ago he hit .318 with 25 HRs, 98 runs, 94 RBIs, and six SBs in Kansas City, so he’s kind of a amalgamation of all these sub-tiers…or none.TIER 3ATravis Shaw, Brewers (2B, 3BMatt Carpenter, Cardinals (2B, 3B)Max Muncy, Dodgers (2B, 3B)Edwin Encarnacion, MarinersMatt Olson, A’sJustin Smoak, Blue JaysCarlos Santana, Indians (3B)TIER 3BIan Desmond, Rockies (OF)Ryan Braun, Brewers (OF)TIER 3CMiguel Cabrera, TigersRobinson Cano, Mets (2B)Eric Hosmer, Padres2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Each teamFantasy baseball breakouts, bounce-backs, and moreHere’s where we get into a real hodgepodge of 1Bs. You should have your starting 1B by now, so these players should be considered bench depth, UTILs, and CIs. Some are lotto tickets absolutely worth investing in; others are boring veterans who could easily go undrafted in some shallow leagues despite the “guaranteed” production. Basically, if you’re considering any of these players (not counting the catchers, who will be long gone at this point), you’re at least nearing the “anything-goes” portion of your draft, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook these guys. Some will wind up paying off in a big way and be slotted in one of the above tiers next season.Tiers 4A and 4B are basically the same in terms of potential production, but we differentiated between veterans who we’ve likely peaked and guys who could reasonably still improve. Tier 4C is a mix of players many consider “boring” with limited upside; Tier 4D is moderate-power, moderate-speed threats; Tier 4E is a low-power, high-average guy; and Tier 4F is a pair of catchers who you don’t even need to worry about.Tier 4B is probably the most interesting group, as all five players have showed 20-HR upside (likely more, especially for someone like Peter Alonso), but all but Josh Bell and maybe Ronald Guzman will have to worry about potential platoons at some point this season. Bell is the only one proven over the course of a season, but after last year’s drop-off, he’s sort of in limbo. At 26, he still has upside, though.The bounce-back candidates s in Tier 4A have all hit at least 28 HRs in a season, with C.J. Cron getting to 30 last year and Ryan Zimmerman posting a .303-36-108 line in 2017. None of them figure to come with an average much better than .260, at best, but there’s a reasonable level of decent baseline production here with the proven upside for more.Tier 4C is remarkably similar, only without the past big seasons. Both Trey Mancini (48 total) and Ryon Healy (49) have popped at least 24 homers the past two years, and at 26 and 27, respectively, it’s silly to think they can’t spring for 30-plus. However, because of likely mediocre averages, sub-mediocre run totals, and average-at-best RBI totals, neither is considered to have the upside as the guys in Tier 4A. Wilmer Flores might not have 30-HR homer upside, but now in Arizona, he could hit 20-25 HRs.Jake Bauers and Jurickson Profar could easily hit 20 HRs and steal 10 bases next year, though the latter likely will be drafted to play other positions. Yuli Gurriel is 34 and seems unlikely to hit even 20 HRs, but he’s batted .299 and .291, respectively, the past two years, giving you production in a category you can’t find from many first basemen, let alone ones this late in your draft. However, because he’s also eligible at 2B and 3B, it’s unlikely many will be looking at him as a 1B on draft day.TIER 4A​C.J. Cron​, Twins​Jake Lamb*, D-backs (3B)Ryan Zimmerman, NationalsMiguel Sano, Twins (1B)Kendrys Morales, Blue JaysYonder Alonso, White SoxAlbert Pujols, AngelsTIER 4BLuke Voit, Yankees​Ryan O’Hearn, RoyalsPeter Alonso, MetsJosh Bell, PiratesTyler White, AstrosRonald Guzman, RangersTIER 4CTrey Mancini, Orioles (OF)Ryon Healy, MarinersWilmer Flores, D-backs (2B, 3B)TIER 4DJake Bauers, Indians (OF)Jurickson Profar, A’s (2B, 3B, SS)TIER 4EYuli Gurriel, Astros (2B, 3B)TIER 4FJ.T. Realmuto, Phillies (C)Buster Posey, Giants (C)Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers: 1BsMaybe “deep sleeper” isn’t the proper term for all of these guys…or really any of these guys with the exceptions of Ryan McMahon and Niko Goodrum, both of which will be drafted to play other positions. But the bottom line is there is upside to most of these players if they start getting everyday at-bats. Brandon Belt doesn’t seem to bring much to the table at this point, but even someone like Chris Davis or Todd Frazier could have bounce-back campaigns and produce similar seasons to the guys two tiers above them.last_img read more

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