July 31, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Paul Forrester
Contemplating A Blockbuster
Manny Ramirez :: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

They're kidding, right? The Red Sox aren't really working hard to trade Manny Ramirez, are they. According to numerous reports, Boston is set to deal the former World Series MVP to the Marlins and pickup Jason Bay and Josh Grabow from the Pirates, who would receive Jeremy Hermida and some prospects in return. Believe it or not, Bay's numbers are comparable to Manny's, save batting average. And we'd be willing to bet Bay requires a lot less hand-holding. And with a lot more protection in the Red Sox lineup than he probably ever received in six years in Pittsburgh, Bay will likely find hitting a whole lot easier. (Who doesn't in Fenway?) For his part, Manny may not find his new surroundings as hitter-friendly, but he will find a lot more protection in the lineup than you might think, what with the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham in the same dugout. Hermida? Uh, has your league's trade deadline passed?

Let's Hold Off On The Applause

SI's baseball guru, Jon Heyman, reports an AL exec is thumbs-down on the White Sox's proposed deal for Ken Griffey Jr. since the Reds OF "can't play." To our way of thinking, offense wasn't the ChiSox's weakness, not for a club that leads the AL in home runs and is fourth in runs scored. More important to fantasy fans, The Cell is not nearly as friendly to hitters as Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark, and Griffey's addition may well drive down the values on both Paul Konerko and Nick Swisher. Neither has been stellar this season, but with Griffey likely to play center, Konerko and Swisher could become a fantasy-stat-deflating platoon at first base. Thanks, Griff.

Stay Tuned

As you may have surmised, it's trade deadline day in Major League Baseball, which may be the single-most exciting afternoon of the regular season. Playoff runs will be made. GMs will sew the seeds of their eventual firings. Fantasy waiver wires will tingle with excitement. How best to keep abreast of the latest developments? How about SI.com's trade blog, courtesy of the aformentioned Jon Heyman, who has had a phone surgically attached to his head for the day.

Here We Go Again
Ron Artest :: AP

Well, that didn't take long. Not 24 hours after the Rockets dealt for Ron Artest, Ron-Ron is making veiled threats about wanting a new, long-term deal and trying to teach new teammate Yao Ming about race in America. In other words, you shouldn't expect Artest to be any less likely to fire away next season, no matter how ill-advised the shot, especially if the Rockets make him play out the final year of his existing deal.

Still, and not to get all Jerry Maguire on you, Nathaniel Friedman at Sporting News.com feels Ron Artest may very well "complete" Tracy McGrady. He goes so far as to speculate they could be basketball "soulmates." If it keeps both on the court for a full season, we'll spring for the wedding cake.

Where Hype Meets Reality

The Falcons doled out a six-year, $34.5 million contract to former Chargers backup running back Michael Turner in the belief that he had the ability to be a No. 1 back for the team's rebuilt offense. Pro Football Outsiders takes a stab at determining if Turner is up to the task by examining his performance in the biggest game of the Chargers' '07 campaign, their 21-12 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game. The findings should be a bit troubling for a Falcons team with a dodgy offensive line. Fantasy owners be warned: just because a back is a featured back doesn't necessarily mean he'll produce feature numbers.

Failure Is A Strong Motivator ...

The Hardball Times hosted a roundtable discussion debating which non-All-Stars will prove to be the best fantasy hitter and pitcher of the baseball season's second half. Those of you who own Cole Hamels will be pleased. Those of us who don't, well, we haven't been pleased about that all season.

... But Comfort Isn't

Andris Biedrins makes SI.com contributor Scott Sargent nervous. After inking a new $60 million contract with the Warriors, the Dropping Dimes analyst wonders if the Latvian big man will play with the same type of motivation he demonstrated last season when he was angling for the new deal. To Sargent's way of thinking, the 20-year old reminds a bit too much of Cleveland's Anderson Varejao, who suffered through a disappointing campaign last year after inking a new deal, albeit one that wasn't signed until the regular season had begun.Sargent can't say the same for Emeka Okafor, who also signed a new deal - for $72 million. But of course, Okafor simply has to board, play defense and block shots to justify his deal. Of course, we'd ask for a bit of scoring for $12 million a year.

It Could Be Big Year in Browns Town

First, SI's Jay Clemons, and now Jamal Lewis himself predicts a big season -- 1,500 yards, to be precise -- after arriving at Browns camp at a svelte 237 pounds, his lowest weight since he was a junior at Tennessee. I'm feeling better about tabbing Lewis over T.O. in the second round already.

Make Way For The Kids

One key side effect of MLB's trade deadline is the flood of minor-league prospects arriving to play out the rest of the season in place of departed veterans. Some will be merely placeholders; others, though could represent the beginnings of All-Star careers. Jason Revelia of SI.com contributor RotoExperts.com offers a cheat sheet of sorts for the fantasy prospector by ranking the top 200 fantasy prospects.

Come One, Come All

At long last, SI.com has a fantasy football game, complete with all of the drafts, waiver wires, stats and analysis you need. Take the grand tour here and sign up a league. Heck, sign up two leagues if you want. We'll be waiting.

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