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Week 2 Rankings:         Top-20 Quarterbacks   1 ) Tom Brady (NE)   2 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB)   3 ) Matt Ryan (ATL)   4 ) Drew Brees (NO)   5 ) Derek Carr (OAK)   6 ) Jameis Winston (TB)   7 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN)   8 ) Cam Newton (CAR)   9 ) Philip Rivers (LAC)   10 ) Matthew Stafford (DET)   11 ) Russell Wilson (SEA)   12 ) Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)   13 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS)   14 ) Tyrod Taylor (BUF)   15 ) Alex Smith (KC)   16 ) Carson Wentz (DAL)   17 ) Dak Prescott (DAL)   18 ) Jay Cutler (MIA)   19 ) Carson Palmer (ARI)   20 ) Joe Flacco (BAL)   Top-40 Running Backs   1 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT)   2 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF)   3 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)   4 ) Kareem Hunt (KC)   5 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC)   6 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA)   7 ) Ty Montgomery (GB)   8 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN)   9 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL)   10 ) Todd Gurley (LAR)   11 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK)   12 ) Mike Gillislee (NE)   13 ) Leonard Fournette (JAC)   14 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN)   15 ) Jordan Howard (CHI)   16 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR)   17 ) Jacquizz Rodgers (TB)   18 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE)   19 ) CJ Anderson (DEN)   20 ) Tarik Cohen (CHI)   21 ) Lamar Miller (HOU)   22 ) Mark Ingram (NO)   23 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ)   24 ) James White (NE)   25 ) Terrance West (BAL)   26 ) Jonathan Stewart (CAR)   27 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL)   28 ) Javorious Allen (BAL)   29 ) Thomas Rawls (SEA)   30 ) Carlos Hyde (SF)   31 ) Kerwynn Williams (ARI)   32 ) Robert Kelley (WAS)   33 ) Theo Riddick (DET)   34 ) LeGarrette Blount (PHI)   35 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET)   36 ) Alvin Kamara (NO)   37 ) Joe Mixon (CIN)   38 ) Jeremy Hill (CIN)   39 ) Adrian Peterson (NO)   40 ) Frank Gore (IND)   Top-50 Wide Receivers   1 ) Julio Jones (ATL)   2 ) Jordy Nelson (GB)   3 ) Mike Evans (TB)   4 ) Antonio Brown (PIT)   5 ) Amari Cooper (OAK)   6 ) Brandin Cooks (NE)   7 ) AJ Green (CIN)   8 ) Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)   9 ) Keenan Allen (LAC)   10 ) Michael Thomas (NO)   11 ) Tyreek Hill (KC)   12 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA)   13 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)   14 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)   15 ) Demaryius Thomas (DEN)   16 ) Golden Tate (DET)   17 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN)   18 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK)   19 ) Dez Bryant (DAL)   20 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT)   21 ) Davante Adams (GB)   22 ) Devante Parker (MIA)   23 ) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)   24 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS)   25 ) Jeremy Maclin (BAL)   26 ) Adam Thielen (MIN)   27 ) Randall Cobb (GB)   28 ) DeSean Jackson (TB)   29 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI)   30 ) Danny Amendola (NE)   31 ) Cooper Kupp (LAR)   32 ) Sammy Watkins (LAR)   33 ) Tyrell Williams (LAC)   34 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA)   35 ) Corey Coleman (CLE)   36 ) Corey Davis (TEN)   37 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS)   38 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)   39 ) Pierre Garcon (SF)   40 ) TY Hilton (IND)   41 ) Ted Ginn (IND)   42 ) Chris Hogan (NE)   43 ) Eric Decker (TEN)   44 ) John Brown (ARI)   45 ) Nelson Agholor (PHI)   46 ) Kenny Golladay (DET)   47 ) Allen Hurns (JAC)   48 ) Rishard Matthews (TEN)   49 ) Paul Richardson (SEA)   50 ) Brandon Marshall (NYG)   Top-20 Tight Ends   1 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE)   2 ) Zach Ertz (PHI)   3 ) Jordan Reed (WAS)   4 ) Greg Olsen (CAR)   5 ) Travis Kelce (KC)   6 ) Martellus Bennett (GB)   7 ) Delanie Walker (TEN)   8 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA)   9 ) Kyle Rudolph (MIN)   10 ) Charles Clay (BUF)   11 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN)   12 ) Jared Cook (OAK)   13 ) Austin Hooper (ATL)   14 ) Jason Witten (DAL)   15 ) Julius Thomas (MIA)   16 ) Hunter Henry (LAC)   17 ) Coby Fleener (NO)   18 ) Benjamin Watson (BAL)   19 ) Cameron Brate (TB)   20 ) Zach Miller (CHI)   Top-15 Defenses   1 ) Seattle   2 ) Arizona   3 ) Baltimore   4 ) Oakland   5 ) Carolina   6 ) Houston   7 ) Denver   8 ) Pittsburgh   9 ) Los Angeles Rams   10 ) Philadelphia   11 ) Cincinnati   12 ) Jacksonville   13 ) Kansas City   14 ) New York Giants   15 ) Tampa Bay   Top-15 Kickers   1 ) Justin Tucker (BAL)   2 ) Stephen Gostkowski (NE)   3 ) Matt Bryant (ATL)   4 ) Giorgio Tavecchio (OAK)   5 ) Will Lutz (NO)   6 ) Blair Walsh (SEA)   7 ) Dan Bailey (DAL)   8 ) Mason Crosby (GB)   9 ) Cairo Santos (KC)   10 ) Graham Gano (CAR)   11 ) Younghoe Koo (LAC)   12 ) Brandon McManus (DEN)   13 ) Matt Prater (DET)   14 ) Dustin Hopkins (WAS)   15 ) Chris Boswell (PIT)  

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Depth Chart Week 9

Welcome back to the Wednesday Weekly Closer Report where I will break down and rate each team’s bullpen situation. First off yes, Italy was amazing. The Colosseum is where the first men were born, the Sistine Chapel is the most breathtaking work of art on the planet, the serenity of Florence is overwhelming and the canals and beauty of Venice is unmatched…But what about my closers Redsocker!?!?!?! Fantasy baseball never sleeps, so I am back to provide you with that much needed closer breakdown going forward. With some sticky bullpen situations still floating around, you must keep your eyes open and stay tuned in every single hour of every single day. As always, do not forget to check out the rankings of the ‘Immediate Waiver Pickups’ at the end of the article to see who has the most upside going forward for his team’s closer job.

 

American League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentBOSCraig Kimbrel Joe Kelly
ConfidentNYYDellin BetancesTyler Clippard
ComfortableBALBrad BrachDarren O'Day
ConfidentTORRoberto OsunaJoe Smith
ConfidentTBAlexander ColomeDanny Farquhar

As I said in my first ever Closer Report, there really is not too much to the AL East when it comes to closers. Yeah, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman still find themselves sidelined with injuries, so other faces do appear on this list. But when they are healthy, no division can match this one in terms of closer stability. Craig Kimbrel continues his warpath having allowed only 6 hits and striking out 40 batters in just 20.1IP. Pretty meh if you ask me. Similarly Roberto Osuna recently found his stride this month allowing only 1 run in 10.2IP in May with 13 strikeouts. Alexander Colome, likewise, continues to carry over his 2016 success into this year, posting a 1.78 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. If you own any of these closers, your heart rate should be relatively low when it comes to the ninth inning.

American League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCWSDavid RobertsonNate Jones (INJ)
ConfidentKCKelvin HerreraJoakim Soria
ConfidentMINBrandon KintzlerTaylor Rogers
ComfortableDETJustin WilsonAlex WilsonAlex Wilson
ConfidentCLECody AllenAndrew Miller

After allowing just 4 hits and 2 runs in his first 15.2IP, Justin Wilson allowed runs in 3 of his last 5 appearances, giving up 5 runs and 8 hits in his previous 5.1IP. Now none of us expected Justin to continue his torrid pace, but it is worth noting that fellow Wilsoner Alex Wilson still maintains a sub 2 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. His strikeout numbers do leave something to be desired and he has greatly benefited from a very generous .167 BABIP, so regression is to be expected. While I am not calling for Justin Wilson’s job, given his inexperience in the closers job, lack of high-end talent and absence of a proven track record of stellar pitching, I would not be entirely surprised to see a shorter leash than usual.

American League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ComfortableLAABud NorrisBlake Parker
ConfidentSEAEdwin DiazJames Pazos
ConfidentTEXMatt BushKeone Kela
UnstableOAKSantiago CasillaRyan MadsonRyan Madson
ConfidentHOUKen GilesWill Harris

I never thought the move from Edwin Diaz to a committee approach was a permanent one, so when Diaz regained the job after just two scoreless appearances I thought Scott Servais played the situation correctly. Diaz simply needed a breather to settle his young nerves down and find his inner dominance. In his 6 innings since the removal, Diaz has blanked his opponents, striking out 7 and notching both his save opportunities. He may experience a few more pains and bumps along the way, but Diaz will not relinquish the job again any time soon. As a put-away, flame-throwing reliever, the Mariners would best serve Diaz by cultivating their young stud’s arm (and confidence) and allowing him to wrestle through any obstacles in his way. Expect him to grow more and become the next Billy Wagner once he officially blossoms.

National League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ComfortableWSHKoda GloverShawn KelleyKoda Glover
UnstablePHIHector NerisJoaquin Benoit
ComfortableATLJim JohnsonArodys Vizcaino
ComfortableMIAA.J. RamosKyle Barraclough
ComfortableNYMAddison ReedJosh Edgin

I guess we can finally stop the Washington Nationals closer roulette game! For now at least! Starting with Koda Glover‘s save that officially spelled the end of Shawn Kelley on May 21, Glover has allowed only 1 hit over 5 appearances, going 4/4 in save opportunities. In 18 appearances this year, Glover has allowed a run in just 3, boasting an impressive .487 OPS and fantastic 1.56 FIP. The strikeouts are not as impressive as his minor league career, but this year his walked rate has dipped to just 1.10 BB/9 innings pitched. With no real threat to him on his team (we all know David Robertson or Kelvin Herrera will end up as a National this year), Glover should hold down the job for the foreseeable future. I wish I could christen Kyle Barraclough the official closer of the Miami Marlins, but with a 7.66 BB/9 and 1.70 WHIP, that would be like betting on a one-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby. A.J. Ramos really has not been good this year, posting a 4.67 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, but the fireballing Barraclough (career 12.52 K/9) cannot seem to command anything right now. Ramos should hold down the fort for now, but with a disturbing 16.7% HR/FB rate and 6.23 BB/9, the Marlins may want to turn to their young, heat-seeking missile just to see what Barraclough can do.

National League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCHCWade DavisCarl Edwards Jr.
ConfidentCINRasiel IglesiasDrew Storen
ConfidentMILCorey KnebelJacob Barnes
ConfidentSTLSeung-Hwan OhTrevor Rosenthal
Comfortable PITTony WatsonFelipe RiveroFelipe Rivero

Once Mark Melancon left town, we all knew that the job was Tony Watson‘s to lose. And right now, he is doing a very good job of losing it. His strikeout rate is poor (6.85 K/9), walk rate is high (3.22 BB/9) and he does not do a good job of keeping the ball in the park (16.7% HR/FB ratio). So what is he doing coming out of the Pirates bullpen in the ninth still? I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is someone in there that can help. Felipe Rivero may not be the sexiest or most notable name in baseball, but did you know that he posted a 10.75 K/9 last year in 77 innings across 75 appearances? Pretty impressive to say the least. Rivero is still 25, coming into his own, and has the stuff to dominate his opposition. Throw in a .167 batting average against and .470 OPS and you are looking at elite-caliber performance from someone available in almost three-quarters of leagues. Personally, I think the Pirates have a soft spot for the tenured Watson, who has pitched all 7 years of his big league career in the black and yellow. But, not just for this year but for the long term as well, they should give the keys to Rivero and see how his nasty stuff plays out in more high leverage situations.

National League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentLADKenley JansenPedro Baez
ConfidentSFMark Melancon Derek Law
UnknownSDBrandon MaurerBrad HandBrad Hand
UnstableARIFernando RodneyArchie BradleyArchie Bradley
ConfidentCOLGreg HollandAdam Ottavino

While sporting a horrific 6.00 ERA, Brandon Maurer‘s body of work this year is not as bad as it seems. He owns a 10.29 K/9, 2.55 FIP, 2.78 xFIP and mere 1.71 BB/9. So what is the problem? A career worst .351 BABIP. With some more luck, Maurer could actually be looking at a pretty decent season. Unfortunately, that is how the cookie crumbles and your ERA is your ERA. Sorry, but I am a man of facts, stats and numbers. He did convert his two most recent appearances on May 28 and 29, but he did cede two to Brad Hand on May 24 and 25. Hand has been striking out batters at a blistering pace (11.53 batters per 9 innings pitched) and figures to be a name at the top of the list of many contenders come late July. However, for now, he remains the main competition to Maurer, and a very real threat at that, making this a very murky situation going forward. Just think what would happen if we ever got a real update on Carter Capps.

Ranking of the Immediate Waiver Pickups

  1. Koda Glover (WSH, 61% Yahoo ownership)
  2. Felipe Rivero (PIT, 28% Yahoo ownership)
  3. Brad Hand (SD, 29% Yahoo ownership)
  4. Ryan Madson (Oak, 38% Yahoo ownership)
  5. Archie Bradley (ARI, 19% Yahoo ownership)
  6. Alex Wilson (DET, 7% Yahoo ownership)

And that’s a wrap for the Closer Depth Chart Week 9. Be sure to scour the waiver wire for all these relievers and check back every Wednesday for the latest updates regarding the closer jobs around the league. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open and your nose to the ground.

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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