Fantasy Pitcher Rankings

Fantasy Pitcher Rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

The following pitchers are ranked assuming a 5x5 format (wins, saves, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts).

1. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
NOTE: The contract doesn't look that silly now.
2. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
3. John Axford, Brewers
NOTE: Nasty stuff, and right mindset for role.
4. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
5. Fernando Rodney, Rays
NOTE: At this point, don't question it.
6. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
7. Jim Johnson, Orioles
8. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
9. Joe Nathan, Rangers
10. Jason Motte, Cardinals
NOTE: Could use more movement on fastball, but nonetheless reliable.
11. Santiago Casilla, Giants
12. Chris Perez, Indians
NOTE: Opening day mess was a false alarm.
13. Brett Myers, Astros
14. Rafael Soriano, Yankees
15. Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
16. Tyler Clippard, Nationals
NOTE: Has the skills to handle any role.
17. Jose Valverde, Tigers
18. Jonathan Broxton, Royals
19. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox
NOTE: He's been sharp since mid-April meltdown.
20. Addison Reed, White Sox
21. Ernesto Frieri, Angels
NOTE: Major heat, gorgeous strikeout rate.
22. Scott Downs, Angels
23. Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
NOTE: Might stick in ninth even after Santos returns.
24. Heath Bell, Marlins
25. Frank Francisco, Mets
NOTE: Turned it on in the nick of time.
26. Huston Street, Padres
27. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
28. Matt Capps, Twins
29. Brian Fuentes, Athletics
30. Dale Thayer, Padres
31. Brandon League, Mariners
NOTE: Temporarily removed from the ninth.
32. Steve Cishek, Marlins
NOTE: Has roto value, no matter his role.
33. Darren O'Day, Orioles
NOTE: Deepest bullpen in the AL.
34. Pedro Strop, Orioles
35. James Russell, Cubs
36. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
37. Sergio Santos, Blue Jays
38. Javy Guerra, Dodgers
39. David Robertson, Yankees
NOTE: While he rehabs, Soriano runs with gig.
40. Sergio Romo, Giants
41. Drew Storen, Nationals
NOTE: Don't expect second-half miracle comeback.
42. Alexi Ogando, Rangers
43. Vinnie Pestano, Indians
44. David Hernandez, Diamondbacks
NOTE: Mandatory hedge for Putz owners.
45. Robbie Ross, Rangers
46. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
47. Mike Adams, Rangers
NOTE: Hasn't been sharp in recent outings.
48. Jason Grilli, Pirates
49. Craig Stammen, Nationals
50. Tim Collins, RoyalsNOTE: Love the zesty strikeout rate
51. Jesse Crain, White Sox
52. Scott Atchison, Red Sox
53. Nate Jones, White Sox
54. Sean Marshall, Reds
55. Grant Balfour, Athletics
56. Jonny Venters, Braves
NOTE: Never chase last year's set-up hero.
57. Ryan Cook, Athletics
NOTE: Might get a look if Fuentes struggles or moves on.
58. Sean Burnett, Nationals
59. Josh Lindblom, Dodgers
NOTE: The third man here.
60. Logan Ondrusek, Reds
61. Jose Arredondo, Reds
62. Cory Wade, Yankees
63. Jake McGee, Rays
NOTE: Big arm, getting more leverage spots.
64. Brandon Lyon, Astros
65. Jordan Walden, Angels
66. Matt Thornton, White Sox
NOTE: Useful, but they never liked him closing.
67. Antonio Bastardo, Phillies
68. Wilton Lopez, Astros
69. Koji Uehara, Rangers
70. Tim Byrdak, Mets
71. Jon Rauch, Mets
72. Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
73. Joaquin Benoit, Tigers
NOTE: The second in command after Valverde.
74. Clay Hensley, Giants
75. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
NOTE: Unlikely to unseat Rodney.
76. Randy Choate, Marlins
77. Shawn Camp, Cubs
78. Andrew Miller, Red Sox
79. Brad Ziegler, Diamondbacks
NOTE: Ziggy plays guitar.
80. David Phelps, Yankees
81. Octavio Dotel, Tigers
82. Charlie Furbush, Mariners
83. Henry Rodriguez, Nationals
NOTE: His window has closed for good.

Bears quarterback Connor Shaw reportedly suffers broken leg in preseason loss

Bears quarterback Connor Shaw reportedly suffers broken leg in preseason loss

A little over a year ago Connor Shaw suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason game with the Cleveland Browns.

Unfortunately, history has likely repeated itself.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Shaw endured a broken leg right above his left ankle in the Bears' 23-7 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday afternoon. After connecting with wide receiver Josh Bellamy for an 18-yard completion in the fourth quarter, the Bears quarterback had his left leg folded by Chiefs defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches. Shaw stayed on the grass for a few minutes, writhing in pain, before having his left leg put in an air cast and leaving Soldier Field on a cart. 

Following the game, Bears head coach John Fox said that Shaw's injury is "very serious" and that he was on his way to the hospital for further examination.

[MORE BEARS: Bears severly outplayed in another home preseason game]

The devastating injury comes at inopportune time for Shaw who has arguably been the best player in a Bears uniform this preseason.

Before leaving Saturday's game, Shaw was 5/6 for 68 yards with a QB rating of 153.5 including a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cameron Meredith. Shaw also showed an ability to make things happen with his legs as he had two carries for 15 yards. It was the second consecutive eye-opening performance for Shaw. In last week's preseason loss to the New England Patriots, Shaw was for 4/6 with 42 yards and a touchdown pass.

Shaw had already surpassed David Fales as the Bears' third-string quarterback, and was starting to push Brian Hoyer — who coincidentally suffered an injury to his ribs against the Chiefs — for the backup job behind Jay Cutler. At worst, Shaw would have been a practice squad candidate.

"I've known him since his rookie year in Cleveland and he's really worked hard," Hoyer said. "He's done a good job and to see that, it's really heartbreaking obviously for him, and for a guy that's watched him develop and grow you just really feel for him.

"He's a tough and resilient kid. He's going to be back, but now it's going to be a dark time. That's just the way it is. That's part of football and unfortunately happened to a great kid."

[SHOP: Get your Bears gear right here]

Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who played with Shaw at South Carolina, has no doubt Shaw's will bounce back from the injury.

“It’s a tough break,” Jeffery said. "He was having a hell of a camp. He was doing a hell of a job out there. You hate to see any teammate go down, but I know him personally being with him in college. He’s a fighter. He’s going to come back.”

Bears severly outplayed in another home preseason game

Bears severly outplayed in another home preseason game

It's easy to dismiss preseason games, but they can't be ignored when a team is severely outplayed in every sense of the word.

That was the case for the Bears on Saturday afternoon as they were dismantled by the Kansas City Chiefs, 23-7, in front of a crowd of 48, 377 at Soldier Field to remain winless on the preseason.

The Bears starting offense compiled a net of 65 yards as they couldn't find a rhythm against a Chiefs defense playing without Pro Bowlers' Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Tamba Hali.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was able to stay upright for most of the game as the starting offensive line allowed just two sacks, but Cutler was plagued by a few drops from his receivers and was off target for most of the afternoon, finishing 6/15 with 45 yards and a passer rating of 47.9. The Bears starting wide receiving tandem of Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White registered the same amount of drops (three) as they did receptions. The lone highlight from the starting offensive unit came from second-year running Jeremy Langford who twice turned broken plays into positive gains, showing a remarkable improvement in that facet from his rookie season.

[SHOP: Get your Bears gear here]

While the starting offensive unit will draw much-deserved criticism for their performance against the Chiefs, the defense didn't fare that much better.

The starting 11, playing without Pernell McPhee and Kyle Fuller, allowed 239 total yards in the first half. The starting unit also lost their only proven cornerback when eight-year veteran Tracy Porter entered the NFL's concussion protocol after taking a knee to the head by teammate Harold Jones-Quartey in the second quarter. 

Despite Saturday's mediocre play by the defense, there were some positives including the first NFL interception by Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre' Hall who looks to be squarely in the mix for a starting cornerback job with the abundance of injuries at the position. Rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard also continued his strong preseason play with another sack. First-rounder Leonard Floyd suited up but didn't play due to a hamstring injury.

The Bears finally broke a near 55-minute scoring drought when third-string quarterback Connor Shaw connected with wide receiver Cameron Meredith for a 16-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Shaw suffered a left ankle injury on the next series and had to leave on a cart. He finished the game 5/6 for 65 yards and a touchdown, also adding 15 rushing yards on two carries.

In two preseason home games the Bears have been outscored 45-7. They were blanked by the Denver Broncos back in Week 1 on Aug. 15.

The Bears will look to avoid going winless for the first time in franchise history in preseason when they close out their exhibition slate against the Browns in Cleveland next Thursday.

Bears great Jay Hilgenberg to new C Cornelius Edison: “You deserve to be there”

Bears great Jay Hilgenberg to new C Cornelius Edison: “You deserve to be there”

The storyline has already been formed: If the Bears are forced to go with undrafted Cornelius Edison as their center, the 2016 season is lost.

“I mean, how ridiculous to think that an undrafted free agent could be the starting center for the Chicago Bears, and they win,” deadpanned Jay Hilgenberg, making less than no attempt to mask the irony in his voice.

With very good reason.

Because Hilgenberg himself came into the NFL as an afterthought, undrafted out of Iowa in 1981 and then going on to an 11-year career with the Bears, capped by a Super Bowl ring in 1985. Seven Pro Bowls, five All-Pro selections.

Ridiculous.

Edison may come nowhere near the heights reached by Hall of Fame nominee Hilgenberg. Or of Hall of Fame Miami center Jim Langer, also undrafted. But Hilgenberg has a strong bit of advice for Edison, who started Saturday in the Bears preseason game vs. Kansas City and could be their starter on Opening Day, depending on health elsewhere on the interior of the Bears offensive line.

“I would say to him, ‘You’re in an NFL camp because you can play football,’” Hilgenberg told CSNChicago.com. “Don’t let how you entered that camp take anything away from you. You deserve to be there. You just need to prove it a little bit more than the first-rounders.’”

[SHOP: Get your Bears gear right here]

It may not always be easy, of course.

Hilgenberg, who fought his way onto the final roster in 1981, once famously turned to then-teammate Revie Sorey on the bench during a blowout of the Bears in Hilgenberg’s first season, and said, “Revie, we’re the worst team in the NFL.”

Sorey, never one to duck the truth, nodded.

Hilgenberg added, “And I’m the worst player on this team.”

Again, no disagreement from Sorey.

“So that makes me the worst player in the NFL, doesn’t it?” Hilgenberg concluded.

Silence from Sorey.

Hilgenberg turned out to not be the worst player in the NFL, but not without epic struggles, and he knows what Edison will be going through. And how the young center can make it.

[MORE BEARS: Rookie class making much-needed impact]

“To be honest there is always a little insecurity in you,” Hilgenberg recalled. “I had confidence that I belonged but I had to fight every day. And the truth is, I wanted it more than anything else in the world. I was going to make it.

“I didn’t have Plan B. I didn’t want to go back to Iowa then, so I didn’t have Plan B.

Hilgenberg used teams’ not drafting him as motivation, and Bears teammates recalled him savoring facing supposed elite defensive linemen, No. 1 picks, and handling them. Beyond his attitude, however, was a method.

“I played against a lot of big, strong guys in the NFL, and I wasn’t going to back down from anybody,” Hilgenberg said. “As soon as you learn how to play with the right fundamentals, you learn that there’s no Supermen out there. If you can play fundamentally and with good technique, you can block anybody… .

“Offensive line play is honestly all about how bad you want it. How much are you willing to do? How important is it to you? What does it mean to you?”

Edison is in the process of answering those exact questions.