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Random observations from every corner of the fantasy sports world.
* Tim Tebow saw his fantasy draft prospects for next year jump with the huge playoff upset of Pittsburgh. Many experts had dismissed him after he was gobbled up and spit out by New England late in the regular season, and started already projecting back-up Brady Quinn as next year's starter. Tebow faces the Patriots again this week, and regardless of how he does, we saw again last week that with his fast receivers out-running coverage he can be a big-play QB. He doesn't necessarily need to throw mid-range, and probably shouldn't unless defense start playing to prevent the long ball. I don't know how many 300-yard games he'll have next year, but if he can pass for 100+ yards, run for at least 50 and account for two to three TDs per game, that should make him a top second-tier QB next year.
* Josh Smith is a fantasy basketball heartbreaker - that's what I've learned in the past anyway. He's capable of leading the SF position in steals and blocks, but is often terribly inconsistent. He started out this season in similar fashion, logging points in every fantasy category, but shooting horribly. Last week, I advocated trading him, but within the last five games, his production has exploded across the board, including field-goal shooting above .500. I'm keeping him for now, but cautious about how long the good will last.
* Ryan Braun could have been the top pick in many fantasy baseball drafts this spring. His positive test for banned substances, and the increasing likelihood that he'll be banned for the first 50 games of the season, means that won't happen. Assuming he's given the 50-game punishment, I'd figure him more as a third- or fourth-round pick (the former is you want to beat other owners to the punch). That makes him a second or third outfield on most fantasy teams, and he should still easily hit .300+, pound 20+ HRs and drive in 60+ RBI. However, that means you also definitely have to draft an above-average fourth outfielder, which in turn means another position will get less of your attention.
So, who should be the No. 1 pick in fantasy baseball drafts for 2012? I am a week or two from compiling my top 20, but right now, I'm leaning, not confidently, toward Matt Kemp.
* Opposing View has a solid analysis of Braun's draft status.
* Bleacher Report likes Grizzlies center Marreese Speights as a Zach Randolph replacement. Randolph is out for a month with a knee injury and Speights just arrived via trade, though Marc Gasol may be the better big man from Memphis to own.
* NFL Soup has an early NFL Mock Draft, featuring QB Andrew Luck at No.1. Some young QBs - Tebow, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, T.J. Yates - made big fantasy impact this year, but don't expect that from Luck with Peyton Manning coming back.
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