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Wolf's Big Board:     Monday, May 29, 2017     Tier One - The Big Three   1 ) David Johnson (ARI) RB1   2 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB2   3 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) RB3   Tier Two - High-end WR1 and RB1s   4 ) Antonio Brown (PIT) WR1   5 ) Julio Jones (ATL) WR2   6 ) Mike Evans (TB) WR3   7 ) Odell Beckham JR. (NYG) WR4   8 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN) RB4   9 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC) RB5   10 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF) RB6   11 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA) RB7   12 ) AJ Green (CIN) WR5   13 ) Jordy Nelson (GB) WR6   14 ) Michael Thomas (NO) WR7   15 ) Dez Bryant (DAL) WR8   16 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB8   Tier 3 - Lower-end RB1 and WR1s, elite second options   17 ) Lamar Miller (HOU) RB9   18 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR9   19 ) TY Hilton (IND) WR10   20 ) Leonard Fournette (JAX) RB10   21 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE1   22 ) Brandin Cooks (NE) WR11   23 ) Demaryius Thomas. (DEN) WR12   24 ) Jordan Reed (WAS) TE2   25 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR13   26 ) Amari Cooper (OAK) WR14   Tier 3.5   27 ) Todd Gurley (LAR) RB11   28 ) Carlos Hyde (SF) RB12   29 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR) RB13   30 ) Jordan Howard (CHI) RB14   31 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK) RB15   32 ) Davante Adams (GB) WR15   33 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI) WR16   34 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE) RB16   35 ) Tyreek Hill (KC) WR17   36 ) Keenan Allen (LAC) WR18   37 ) Spencer Ware (KC) RB17   Tier 4 - Elite QBs, Solid #2 RBs + WRs, side TE1s   38 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ) RB18   39 ) Tom Brady (NE) QB1   40 ) Sammy Watkins WR19   41 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB2   42 ) Travis Kielce (KC) TE3   43 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS) WR20   44 ) Allen Robinson (JAC) WR21   44 ) Mike Gillislee (NE) RB19   45 ) Mark Ingram (NO) RB20   46 ) Golden Tate (DET) WR22   47 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS) WR23   48 ) Greg Olsen (CAR) TE4   48 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL) RB21   49 ) Willie Snead (NO) WR24   50 ) Doug Martin (TB) RB22   51 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK) WR25   52 ) Brandon Marshal (NYG) WR26   53 ) Julian Edelman (NE) WR27   54 ) Donte Moncrief (IND) WR28   55 ) Drew Brees (NO) QB3   56 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET) RB23   57 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA) TE5   58 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE6   59 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR29   Tier 5 - Last Startable WRs and RBs + TE1 Candidates   60 ) Pierre Garcon (SF) WR30   61 ) Eric Decker (NYJ) WR31   62 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA) WR32   63 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR33   64 ) Samaje Perine (WAS) RB24   65 ) Joe Mixon (CIN) RB25   66 ) CJ Anderson (DEN) RB26   67 ) Matt Ryan (ATL) QB4   68 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN) WR33   69 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR34   70 ) Ty Montgomery (GB) RB27   71 ) Hunter Henry (LAC) TE7   72 ) Corey Davis (TEN) WR35   73 ) Adrian Peterson (NO) RB28   74 ) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) WR36   75 ) Delanie Walker TE8   76 ) Paul Perkins (NYG) RB29   77 ) CJ Prosise (SEA) RB30   78 ) Eddie Lacy (SEA) RB31   79 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN) RB32   80 ) Theo Riddick (DET) RB33   81 ) Frank Gore (IND) RB34   82 ) Cameron Meredith (CHI) WR38   83 ) Mike Wallace (BAL) WR39   84 ) DeSean Jackson (TB) WR40   85 ) Martellus Bennett (GB) TE9   TIer 7 - side QB1s and Top WR and RB Lottery Tickets   86 ) Andrew Luck (IND) QB5   87 ) Derek Carr (OAK) QB6   88 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS) QB7   89 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN) QB8   90 ) Philip Rivers (LAC) QB9   91 ) Ben Roethlisberger QB10   92 ) Dak Prescott (DAL) QB11   93 ) Jameis Winston (TB) QB12   94 ) Joe Williams (SF) RB35   95 ) Derrick Henry (TEN) RB36   96 ) Kareem Hunt (KC) RB37   97 ) Jamaal Williams (GB) RB38   98 ) Davante Parker (MIA) WR41   99 ) Josh Doctson (WAS) WR42   100 ) Ted Ginn (NO) WR43  
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings 2017: Closer Report

Every year one of the most contentious fantasy baseball debates revolves around closers. When do you take them? Do you start the trend or do you wait for the ball to start rolling before you grab one? How many do you take? What is the meaning of life (maybe too meta for this subject matter, but I connect the two)? These are all wonderful questions (for my quick advice, never start the trend, but once it start makes sure you get at least 2 top-line closers and another 2, possibly 3, more, but that’s an article for a whole different day…along with the meaning of life). While we may all disagree about their importance, what we can all agree on is the importance of knowing which player is going to be the closer and the security of that player’s job. So let’s delve into the fantasy baseball closer rankings and break down each situation, hopefully clearing the always-muddy waters of the fantasy closer lagoon.

Update @ 12:45pm on March 30th: Dusty Baker has officially named Blake Treinen as the Washington Nationals Closer to begin the 2017 season. Given his propensity to miss bats and keep the ball on the ground with his power sinker, and the Nationals high projected win total, I would bump Treinen to 24th in my rankings in the “Big Gulps and Deep Breaths” category. Command and location will be key for him given his high walk rate and reliance on his sinker. With Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover still looming (and the very real possibility of a trade for a Closer at the deadline *hello David Robertson*), his job is still in flux.

The Elite

  1. Kenley Jansen (LAD)
  2. Aroldis Chapman (NYY)

No doubt about it, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman are the gold standard for closers. While ranking them can be like splitting hairs, fantasy is all about being more correct (no matter how slight the difference) than your opponents…and I have never shied away from an argument. Vegas predicts the Dodgers to win 10 more games than the Yankees. Wins do not always mean more saves, but they do mean more opportunities. Also, the back up to Kenley Jansen is Sergio Romo, a solid reliever who always found a way to lose the closers job in San Francisco whenever they gave him a chance. Behind Chapman? Strikeout machine and superstar reliever Dellin Betances. Now obviously Chapman’s job is safe, but Betances has proven to be one of the more reliable setup men and formidable arms in the league, so the Yankees will surely turn to their 1B option to give Chapman some rest.

Sure Things

  1. Zach Britton (BAL)
  2. Mark Melancon (SF)
  3. Craig Kimbrel (BOS)
  4. Sung-Hwan Oh (STL)
  5. Edwin Diaz (SEA)

Zach Britton barely missed The Elite cut as his oblique strain leaves me a little queezy, as does his absurd ground ball rate.  Craig Kimbrel is due for a bounce-back year as he builds more confidence as the guy who turns the lights out at Fenway Park. Don’t let Sung-Hwan Oh’s age fool you, his low FIP and rather league-average peripheral metrics suggest a highly-repeatable (and fantastic) 2016 campaign.

(Questionably) Very Confident

  1. Kenneth Giles (HOU)
  2. Roberto Osuna (TOR)
  3. Wade Davis (CHC)
  4. Kelvin Herrera (KC)
  5. David Robertson (CWS)
  6. Cody Allen (CLE)
  7. Jeurys Familia (NYM)

Very solid relievers appear under this section, but I have some nits to pick with each. Kenneth Giles is the high-upside guy here playing on a loaded World Series contender, but will I get the 9.00 ERA April Ken Giles or the 1.69 ERA ace from June to July? Cleveland rosters the scariest 1-2 relief punch in the game, but that does not help us for fantasy purposes as the love is spread too thin. Wade Davis could also vault up these rankings as the season progresses, but his injury history and Joe Maddon’s sporadic and unpredictable bullpen usage leaves lots to be desired.

Still Viable

  1. Cam Bedrosian (LAA)
  2. Sam Dyson (TEX)
  3. Alexander Colome (TB)
  4. Tony Watson (PIT)
  5. Jim Johnson (ATL)
  6. Francisco Rodriguez (DET)
  7. A.J. Ramos (MIA)

Cam Bedrosian is the best pitcher of this group, as displayed by his elite strikeout rate and ability to avoid hard contact and keep the ball on the ground. Unfortunately the Angels are not a very good ball club. Jim Johnson could be a breakout surprise in the later rounds of drafts as the Atlanta Braves will field a talented lineup capable of scoring lots of runs, but can their newly added, deadly geezer combination of 42 year old R.A. Dickey and 43 year old Bartolo Colon help stabilize their rotation. I am not buying A.J. Ramos’ stock with Kyle Barraclough (and even Brad Ziegler) behind him. Barraclough’s strikeout percentage ranked 4th behind Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Kenley Jansen (ever heard of those guys) and his walk rate decreased by over 25% in the second half of last season.

Big Gulps and Deep Breaths

  1. Neftali Feliz (MIL)
  2. Greg Holland (COL)
  3. Fernando Rodney (ARI)
  4. Brandon Kintzler (MIN)

Given the Rockies’ offense and his track record for greatness, Greg Holland makes for a nice speculative late round pick. We are not far removed from that 4-year stretch of dominance from 2011-2014 when he posted a 1.86 over 250+ innings. I have nicknamed Fernando Rodney the Angel of Death because he usually starts out as a closer for some horrific team and, occasionally, gets off to a good start. But then water very quickly seeks its level and his stats will quickly drown you in a sea of 9+ERAs, 2+ WHIPs, and 8 self-induced comas after slamming your head into a wall.

What Have I Done

  1. Jeanmar Gomez (PHI)
  2. Koda Glover (WSH)
  3. Brandon Maurer (SD)
  4. Ryan Madson (OAK)
  5. Rasiel Iglesias (CIN)

These closing situations are so absurd, John Nash wouldn’t know what to do with them. I do not know who or what a Jeanmar is, but poisting an 8.33 post All Star break ERA is, in a word, bad. Dusty Baker recently sparked the hot stove by saying Koda Glover had the inside track to the closers job, but has given up 5 runs over his past 5.1IP. Shawn Kelley has the best stuff (career 10.59K/9) on the Nationals roster and at least has a history of closing games, while Blake Treinen remains in the mix as well.. Carter “Hoppy” Capps looms over the San Diego job and will assumedly have the inside track to the job once healthy. Ryan Madson and Rasiel Iglesias are unofficially the leaders in the clubhouse in their respective closer-by-committee situations, so relying on one of them is like hitting on 19 in blackjack, a pure gamble, with a sizable helping of insanity.

Consider this article CLOSED out (got you guys again). Check in daily for updated Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings, especially the murky ones. Now go out there and avoid drafting Fernando Rodney at all costs.

To contact me with any questions or general fantasy baseball discussion, please email me at redsocker45@gmail.com or tweet me @AJGamballer.

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