Fantasy or foolish? Bengals, Browns land three each in top 100 fantasy mock draft; NFL MVP Matt Ryan nearly out of the picture

Published: Friday, July 28, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Darrelle Revis of the Jets tries to tackle Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Getty Images
Darrelle Revis of the Jets tries to tackle Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.(Getty Images)

If you’re a fantasy footballer and a fan of the Bengals, the suggestions of NFL.com Senior Fantasy Analyst Tony Fabiano may appeal on a couple levels as he thinks highly of Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green and believes that rookie running back Joe Mixon is on the rise.

Should you be a combo FF/Falcons fan, not so much.

Fabiano predicts that Atlanta quarterback and defending NFL MVP Matt Ryan will be fantasy’s biggest bust.

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Is this guy nuts, or a genius?

In putting up a 10-round mock draft that features 10 selections per round, he has Green going No. 8 overall. His take:

“Green was on pace to finish fifth in fantasy points among wideouts before he went down with an injured hamstring last season, so don't let his finish (34th) fool you. The veteran out of Georgia remains a top-10 overall selection in fantasy drafts.”

In Fabiano’s pre-text, before he rolls out the mock, he writes:

“While the first round of this draft hasn't changed that much, you will see some serious movers and shakers over picks 11-50 (I'm looking at you, Joe MixonTyreek Hill and Martavis Bryant).

With Mixon going in his 30th draft spot: 

“The more I research Mixon, the more excited I get about his prospects at the next level. The Bengals backfield is crowded to be certain, but the rookie should pass Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard on the depth chart. I'll take the risk right here.”

This draft projection pegs Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert at pick No. 88.

Among Browns in there, Fabiano rates running back Isaiah Crowell No. 24, wide receiver Kenny Britt No. 84 and running back Duke Johnson No. 94.

Steelers back Le’Veon Bell is No. 2, wideout Antonio Brown No. 4 and wideout Bryant No. 48.

For the Ravens, running back Danny Woodhead is No. 68, running back Terrance West No. 82 and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin No. 87.

You don’t like this?

What about Ryan, whom Fabian projects at the No. 93 pick, in the 10th and final round. The hack’s take in his opening paragraph (he offers no specific commentary on players selected in rounds 6-10:

“With the turn of the calendar to August and just a few short weeks until the start of the regular season, the fantasy football chatter is heating up across the NFL landscape. Who will be the biggest bust? (Matt Ryan).”

In Fabiano’s estimation, six quarterbacks should be valued higher than Ryan, who last season completed 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 117.1 while leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers (Packers) No. 36; Tom Brady (Patriots) No. 50); Drew Brees (Saints) No. 55; Andrew Luck (Colts) No. 62; Russell Wilson (Seahawks) No. 77; and Marcus Mariotta (Titans) No. 92.

So, is that all about right?

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Cruiser cam: Troopers rescue Colombian players from I-71 berm

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 5:51 PM

Ohio State Trooper finds Colombian disc team on I-71

Three Colombians in Ohio for the World Flying Disc World Championships chuckled as they were delivered to their hotel in an Ohio Highway Patrol cruiser on July, a cruiser-cam video shows.

The drop-off at the Cincinnati Marriott Northeast concluded a series of events on July 12 touched off when two players and a volunteer affiliated with Oso Club Ultimate were put off a Greyhound bus about midnight on Interstate 71 north of Cincinnati, according to Lt. Scott Kuntz, commander of the highway patrol’s Cincinnati post.

RELATED: 3 Colombians in town for world championships put off bus on I-71

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“Sorry you guys had a bad experience,” the unidentified trooper said after pulling up next to the three men standing with their luggage in the berm.

The trooper also expressed surprise the men were let off on I-71.

“The interstate is dangerous,” he said in the video obtained by this news organization.

RELATED: 5,000 expected for ‘Olympics of Ultimate’

After talking briefly with the men, the trooper tells them he will have to call for another trooper to carry them and their luggage to the hotel.

He also expressed surprise after the men, one of whom was able to speak some English, told him they were let off because they spoke Spanish.

“That’s not illegal,” the trooper said.

Kuntz said a motorist reported “pedestrians walking on the interstate” southbound in the northbound lanes.

“We were just basically helping them get to where they needed to be,” Kuntz said Friday.

No citations were issued.

RELATED: 128 teams from around world coming to Warren County

“We were just thankful we were able to get them where they needed to be,” Kuntz said.

The incident prompted some controversy after another player contacted media and posted on social media claiming the three were taken off the bus for speaking Spanish.

Greyhound investigated and issued a statement:

“Upon our investigation, we determined that this was not an act of discrimination. In fact, English is not the driver’s first language either. Our policy states that customers must be transported to the destination that is printed on their tickets, and the customers were upset and became unruly when the driver refused to drop them off in another city about 32 miles outside of Cincinnati.”

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On Friday, the Oso was still playing to place, but was out of medal contention.

Play continued in Lebanon today and moves to Mason on Saturday for the final games and closing ceremonies at Mason High School.

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Hamilton grad impressive, but Dragons fall 1-0 in 10 innings

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 5:42 PM

Hamilton High School graduate Patrick McGuff turned in another impressive outing for the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night, but that couldn’t prevent the host Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers) from posting a 1-0 win in 10 innings.

»KATZ: After the draft

McGuff made his second start since being signed as a free agent from the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out three.

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Dragons reliever Wendolyn Bautista (3-5, 3.61 ERA) was charged with the loss. He was just as impressive, working 4.2 innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out six.

»RELATED: Dragons photo gallery

All minor-league games begin extra innings with a free runner at second base. Dayton couldn’t score despite runners on first and third with no outs.

Andy Sugilio had three hits to lead the Dragons and catcher Mark Kolozsvary the team’s other two hits. Both had doubles.

»RELATED: Dragons fall in series finale

It was the third straight loss for the Dragons (12-15 second half and 43-52 overall). Wisconsin (12-14, 43-52) hosts Dayton in the series finale at 8 p.m. Friday. Scheduled to start for the Dragons is pitcher Hunter Greene (3-7, 4.69 ERA). It’ll be his first appearance since pitching in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game.

»FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton

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After the draft: Teams always on the lookout for the next best thing

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 4:18 PM


            Dragons outfielder Malik Collymore was signed by the parent-club Reds as a free agent. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons outfielder Malik Collymore was signed by the parent-club Reds as a free agent. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

With the potential of 40 new players being signed by major league franchises every summer from the free agent draft – not counting international free agents mostly out of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic – it would seem franchises would have enough players to stock their teams.

Think again. Attrition – including injuries, releases and other needs – create vacancies, especially in the minor leagues.

»RELATED: Dragons photo gallery

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Certainly the Reds have enough players to fill their seven stateside minor league teams. The rookie-level Greeneville, Tennessee Reds were added this season. They just don’t want to have 18 second basemen in the system and no catchers. Sometimes, though, extra players are needed.

That’s why all teams check out other players, often working trades or signing dropped free agents.

This season, the Dayton Dragons have already used six players not originally signed by them: outfielders Lorenzo Cedrola, Malik Collymore and Logan Taylor as well as pitchers Aneurys Zabala and Patrick McGuff and catcher Hendrik Clementina.

»RELATED: Dragons drop series opener to Timber Rattlers

To have so many imports in the low minor leagues is not unusual. The Reds have a history of dipping into independent leagues, where teams are not owned by major league franchises. McGuff and Taylor fit that profile.

One of the most successful Reds’ acquisitions came near the end of the 2002 season when the Dragons ran out of healthy catchers. Reds farm director Tim Naehring – and other scouts – spotted undrafted Ryan Hanigan in the collegiate Cape Cod League.

Offering an immediate position, the Reds landed Hanigan in late August. He hit .273 while playing excellent defense with the Dragons in six games.

»RELATED: Dragons fall in series finale

That was enough to get him invited to spring training, followed by a longer stint at Dayton, where he batted .277 in 92 games for the Dragons, augmenting his defense, in 2003.

He made it to the Reds in 2007, playing most of 11 seasons in the majors. This summer, he is with the Giants’ Class AAA Sacramento River Cats.

Oddly, in the same season he joined the Dragons, Hanigan became teammates with Matt Boone, who was signed after failing to get higher than Class A ball with the Tigers over several seasons. Matt is the son of Bob Boone, who was winding down a short career as manager of the Reds. Bob insisted Matt was the best of his baseball-playing sons, which was not the case.

»RELATED: Making rosters work just part of the formula

Matt Boone hit .190 in limited duty in 2002 and .195 in ‘03. He still wasn’t going to get out of Class A ball, but the Dragons had a third baseman.

There was also the case of infielder/outfielder Jeremiah Piepkorn, a fifth-year senior at North Dakota State who was signed prior to the 2004 draft. He looked like a bust, too, posting a .168 batting average over 28 games before his season abruptly ended with what was thought to be an appendicitis attack - it was food poisoning.

The next season, now 25 and still in the Midwest League, Piepkorn hit a fine .266, leading the Dragons with 22 homers and 77 RBIs. He played a couple more years, making it to Class AA, and finished his career in an independent league.

Minor league teams also obtain players from trades made at the major league level.

»RELATED: Dragons first baseman suspended

That’s how Hendrik Clementina made it here, a prospect gained from trading pitcher Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers. Former major league outfielder Scott Van Slyke also came to the Reds in that trade. He was released, picked up by the Marlins and released again. Clementina is among the Dragons’ top hitters.

Sometimes a trade will cost a minor league team a player. In the Ken Griffey Jr. trade to the Reds in 1999, outfielder Mike Cameron and pitcher Brett Tomko went to the Mariners and minor leaguers Jake Meyer and Antonio Perez went west. Perez likely would have been Dayton’s second baseman in 2000. He eventually made it to the majors.

Also in 2000, pitcher Brian Reith was traded from the Yankees to the Reds and played for the Dragons, eventually becoming the first Dragons player to make it to the majors.

Reith came to the Reds organization along with celebrated former Michigan quarterback Drew Henson, a third baseman whose major-league career spanned just nine at-bats and one hit.

The following March, Henson went back to the Yankees along with outfielder Michael Coleman for Wily Mo Pena, a star with the 2001 Dragons who had received a large free agent bonus from the Yanks.

Sometimes you don’t have to draft a player to get a good one.

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Amazing stat explains just how good this Reds player is at the plate

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 12:53 PM

The Reds' Joey Votto hits a grand slam in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds' Joey Votto hits a grand slam in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto pointed to his ability to hit the ball hard and where he wants to on a consistent basis as his greatest strength last week.

“If I want to hit fly balls all the time, I can,” Votto said. “If I want to hit line drives all the time, I can.”

» ASK HAL: Should Riggleman win Manager of the Year Award?

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The numbers prove that. According to FanGraphs.com, Votto has popped out on the infield only 16 times in his career and not at all in 2018. Jeremy Frank, of NGBaseball.com, brought this stat to everyone’s attention this week on Twitter.

Votto has popped out in the infield only seven times since 2010, and according to Frank, the average player with the same number of plate appearances (5,341) would have popped up in the infield 127 times.

» MORE ON REDS: Five questions for second halfThree storylines to follow

Votto and the Reds return to action Friday in their first game after the All-Star break, playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Votto leads the National League with a .422 on-base percentage. He’s hitting .289 with nine home runs and 55 RBIs.

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