Fantasy Mailbag: Changes for Browns, Lillard's value, more
We're going to experiment with a fantasy mailbag at SI.com. Ask us questions about anything, either in the feedback link above or on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. We will respond, make you (plausibly) famous and almost guarantee the right answers are going to be sometimes wrong.
Confused? We'll make it all simple for you. Ask away.
Rob Chudzinski does what to Trent Richardson/Brandon Weeden's fantasy value next year?
-- @AlexJHuang, from DraftDay.com
There is a prevailing thought Chudzinski is an offensive guru who is going to turn the Browns around right now. I don't get it. Sure, he made a career backup Derek Anderson a 29-touchdown quarterback in 2007 as the Browns offensive coordinator, but that same Anderson was actually completely different under the same "guru" in 2008, a fraud.
If you're a Richardson owner, do you really like what Chudzinski did for DeAngelo Williams and/or Jonathan Stewart in Carolina? Chudzinski, guru? More like Chumpzinski.
To stop with the bad word play, we will answer your question: We have no idea what Chud will do for Richardson and Weeden (tongue in cheek; sorry, Mr. Huang), but he could help some, perhaps. Norv Turner, the recently hired offensive coordinator will be the more important figure.
Richardson is not Ryan Mathews -- that's good news -- and he is going to remain a focal point of the Browns attack. Richardson's touchdown rate might decline if the pass becomes a bigger factor in the red zone, but the big plays will keep Richardson a first-round pick.
Weeden will still be a low-end fantasy backup quarterback. Josh Gordon will be just off the radar as a fantasy starter, while Greg Little is going to become an intriguing sleeper.
Is Damian Lillard the new Russell Westbrook?
-- @briansflood, New York
No, he's better. Or, we should say, he will be better.
That might be a tough sell, because Russell Westbrook, 24, is one of the best scoring point guards in fantasy. But has anyone watched a Weber State game? Me, either. Lillard was as unknown as a sixth-overall pick could be. But we have discovered he's an even better shooter than Westbrook, and that gives him a higher ceiling.
If you have scored on Lillard as a rookie breakout, congrats. He's the boss.
Who are your top three picks for fantasy baseball '13?
-- @captainpyper, Detroit
SI.com's initial Top 100 is already out and we will be unveiling the Top 300 before pitchers and catchers report.
There are some potential changes coming to be sure, but the top three of Mike Trout, Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera are safe, barring anything disastrous. Any of those three could go No. 1 in your league, but the incredible ceiling Trout displayed as a rookie makes him our top choice. Our .306-32-100-115-50 (.379-.532) projection might wind up being too cautious for an outfielder oozing with talent.
So who closes: Drew Storen or Rafael Soriano? I'm guessing Storen?
If you're asking me who I would choose before the Nationals make an official announcement, I would go with Storen as the closer for the Nationals. He's younger and more of a long-term option in the role. But Soriano's two-year, $28-million deal certainly looks like a closer's contract.
The good news for Storen keeper owners is that Soriano, 33, is a candidate for an injury. He's had just as many injury-shortened seasons as pristine ones.
But Soriano will become a top-five closer the minute his deal is officially announced, while Storen and Clippard will be options for deeper fantasy formats (mostly in rotisserie for their ERA and WHIP help). Before finalizing that thought, though, wait until the Nationals make an official announcement. There might be a slim chance they give Storen a chance to regain his closer's role.
DEEP 16-team league, each team keeps 10. Was offered Pierre Garçon and Dwayne Bowe for my Julio Jones. Right now I have six stud keepers, four weak."
-- @NathanPalatsky, Nebraska
While Garçon and Bowe each have the potential to be in Jones' class of stud receiver, their situations are far less secure right now. If you can wait, do so. You need Bowe to find the right home this winter and Garçon needs a ready-for-the-season Robert Griffin III.
If you're a chance-taker, it is a good deal. If you play it more conservative with a great talent like Jones, hold off until there is more clarity to Garçon and Bowe this winter.
Send us your perplexing dilemmas and we will give you the right answer every Friday -- even if the right answer might be one that flies in the face of logic. Remember, sometimes you have to think like the opposite of the masses to separate yourself in fantasy.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com and gives invaluable advice from one of the most experienced fantasy analysts in the business. You can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before posing a question to him @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).