Cole Irvin is making waves on the west coast for the Oakland A's

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Baseball is a game of hot streaks and slumps, and as a fantasy baseball manager it's sometimes difficult to know when to part with someone on your roster to take a chance on someone new.

Here we'll examine three players you may want to consider moving on from if you have them rostered, and provide three potential replacements for them. Just like in real baseball, sometimes you have to make the tough moves in order to win. But if you don't know what the right moves are to make then you just end up looking like the Pittsburgh Pirates of your fantasy league.

Here's some advice for you so you don't become the Pirates of your league.


First Up

Cole Irvin Oakland A's SP (30% Rostered in Yahoo)

Irvin hasn't allowed more than two runs in the past four starts and will carry a 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 34/5 strikeout to walk ratio heading into his next one against Tampa Bay this weekend. To put how effective Irvin has been into perspective, he's averaging nearly a strikeout per inning while only .1 walk per inning.

Even if Irvin comes back down to earth a little, now is the time to pick him up while he's riding this hot streak. He is coming off a game against the hard-hitting Blue Jays where we saw him set his career-high in strikeouts with nine over eight innings. Take into consideration he has three quality starts (out of six) and his most recent loss was to the Rays who he sees again on Saturday. In that last appearance against Tampa he went six innings, striking out eight, allowed only two runs and earned a quality start in a loss.

If you're looking for a long term option at starting pitcher, Irvin presents a great opportunity to snag a hidden gem off waivers but don't expect him to last much longer if he puts in another strong performance against the Rays on Saturday.



First Down

Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs SP (88% Rostered in Yahoo)

Hendricks seems far removed from his 2016 season where he helped lead the Cubs to a World Series win and finished third in NL Cy Young voting. In the three seasons that would follow we'd see Hendricks' ERA slightly climb higher and his strikeouts decline. We thought we saw a glimmer of hope that his fortunes were reversing in the shortened 2020 season as he did well enough to finish ninth in NL Cy Young voting last year.

However, what we've seen from him this year is enough for us to have already raised the red flag, and at this point we're giving up. It seems early, but if you gave us the straight up choice between Hendricks and the aforementioned Cole Irvin, it's an obvious decision for us.

Hendricks' ERA currently sits at 6.07, but that's only after reducing it from 7.54 in just one game. Sure Hendricks pitched great against the Dodgers in that last start, but it appears that the great start from Hendricks is the anomaly now.


Second Up

Shane McClanahan Tampa Bay Rays RP (25% Rostered in Yahoo)

So McClanahan is a tough one to put accurate value on as it stands today. What we do know is that he's looked impressive in his two starts this season. Yes, even though McClanahan is listed as a relief pitcher, he's getting starter reps in Tampa. Kind of.

McClanahan is one of the Rays' most valued prospects as a hard throwing lefty and we have seen their plans to limit the amount of pitches we'll get to see from him this season. Going only four innings in both of his starts this season he's amassed a stat line of 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and has a 10/2 strikeout to walk ratio. He has hit over 100 mph on the gun a few times and has displayed a 93 mph slider.

You may not get a ton of innings out of him or many crooked numbers in the win column, but he is a viable replacement for a reliever in your bullpen that has possibly lost their role as closer.


Second Down

Alex Colome Minnesota Twins RP (47% Rostered in Yahoo)

Speaking of closers who have lost their role, it's time to sell Alex Colome immediately. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced on Tuesday that he was moving Colome to a "lower-leverage role" making way for Taylor Rogers to assume the closer position. Now Rogers has also struggled in that role, but considering the struggles we saw out of Colome, it should be safe to assume Baldelli will give some time for the new pecking order to play out.

Don't keep Colome on your roster waiting to see what happens. Go drop him and grab Shane McClanahan for the meantime. Trust us, Colome will be on the waiver wire if you ever want to grab him again.


Third Up

Willie Calhoun Texas Rangers OF (12% Rostered in Yahoo)

If I were to tell you there was a player available in nearly 80% of leagues that has hit .318 with three home runs and five RBI over the last two weeks you would probably be excited to pick him up. Until I told you that player was Willie Calhoun of the Texas Rangers. At that point you would probably have an audible response of "Oh".

But don't sleep on Calhoun, especially when he's riding a hot streak like he is now. That is especially if you had stock in the recently injured Luis Robert.


Third Down

Luis Robert Chicago White Sox OF (79% Rostered in Yahoo)

Robert suffered a very serious injury this past week, being diagnosed with a Grade 3 hip flexor strain. That doesn't sound as bad as it really is. It's a complete tear, and at this point surgery is still an option being kicked around the organization. The timetable for a return puts Robert out for another 12-16 weeks minimum, but surgery would likely end his season.

Robert and the team's decision may not be decided until later on in his initial recovery stage as they may decide to shut him down for the year if the team is falling out of contention in a very deep AL Central. It would be wise to try to keep him on the injured-reserve list if your league offers one, but if it doesn't or if you are just low on available IL spots don't shy away from dropping Robert.

Sure he was a top pick in your draft, but the likelihood that Robert returns this season is slim already, and by the time he'd be back you would be sacrificing a lot of production from any player that is just flat out healthy and available. Willie Calhoun is a solid option for at least a short-term replacement. Replacing someone like Robert won't be easy and it may require streaming throughout the rest of the season until you find the right player.

Start with Willie Calhoun, because compared to Robert he has one ability that the star prospect doesn't, and that's avail-ability.


Dak Prescott

Week 13 of the NFL season kicks off tomorrow night with the New Orleans Saints hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Caesars Superdome. The Cowboys opened as 5-point favorites, but after much of the early money was bet on the struggling New Orleans Saints, the spread has dropped to 4.5 points.

Both of these teams have recently fallen on hard times and are trending in the completely wrong direction. Despite winning a game with Dak Prescott injured, Dallas has lost three of their last four games since Prescott returned to the lineup. They are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss on Thanksgiving to the Las Vegas Raiders. Meanwhile, after starting the season 5-2, the Saints have dropped four consecutive games with Trevor Siemian under center. It will be interesting to see how the Saints fare as their postseason chances are dwindling.

Betting on the NFL makes games even more exciting among fans. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week. Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let’s take a look at who the public likes in Week 13’s Thursday Night Football matchup, and where you should place your wagers.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (+4.5)

The Saints and Cowboys tend to play very competitive games against one another. In their last three meetings, each game has been decided by one possession. The Saints defeated the Cowboys the last time these two franchises met in 2019 (12-10). However, the Cowboys are clearly the superior team this season and are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games while the Saints are 4-6 against the spread over that same timeframe. So will Dallas snap their five-game losing streak on Thursday Night Football?

Although there were reports about Ezekiel Elliott being rested this week, Jerry Jones said he expects Zeke to be fed a sizable workload. It appears that although Tony Pollard will continue to get touches in this backfield, Elliott will serve as the lead-back in Week 13. The Cowboys’ offense has been very up and down over the last month. However, Dallas’ Thanksgiving day loss cannot be blamed on Prescott and the offense as they produced more than 400 yards and put 33 points up on the scoreboard. Plus, the Cowboys should get starting wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb back from injury this week. Although the Saints have a solid defense, they did just allow Josh Allen and the Bills to post 36 points on Thanksgiving.

The Saints’ offense really struggled on Thanksgiving against the Bills. This was largely due to the absence of running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Both backs are expected to return this week, and Taysom Hill is clearly an upgrade at the quarterback position over Siemian. However, New Orleans still lacks playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end position. With tight end Adam Trautman injured, the Saints will have to rely on Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris to get open against the Cowboys’ 26th-ranked defense.

Dallas’ defense has some elite talents such as youngsters Micah Parson and Trevon Diggs, but they are still allowing opponents to gain close to 370 total yards of offense per game. But the Saints’ 27th-ranked offense will be a welcomed opponent for a defensive unit that just allowed Derek Carr to lead the Raiders to 36 points without the services of tight end Darren Waller.

Overall, both of these teams are looking to get back on track. The Cowboys have more wiggle room due to their 7-4 record and weak division, however, a loss could throw this team into complete chaos.

The public thinks that Dallas will cover the spread as 68% of the bets placed on the spread are backing Dallas and a whopping 75% of the money wagered has the Cowboys covering the 4.5-point spread. However, professional gamblers like the odds on the Saints upsetting the Cowboys outright. Despite 70% of moneyline bets being on the Cowboys, 53% of the money is on the Saints. I’m following the smart money here and tailing the sharps. While I’m not quite comfortable taking the Saints outright, I think they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to keep this game close. I’m also going with the “smart money” on the over/under. While only 56% of bets are on the over, an eye-popping 78% of the money expects this game to exceed the 47.5-point total.

Picks: Saints (+4.5) and Over 47.5 points

Prediction: 27-24 Cowboys

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2020 Fantasy Running Back Primer
Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports

While many Americans will be preparing for Black Friday, perhaps just as many will be betting on the three NFL games on Thanksgiving. The Chicago Bears will be facing the winless Detroit Lions, the Raiders travel to Jerry World to take on the Dallas Cowboys, and the Buffalo Bills face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.

Some of you may be sick of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving, and it's understandable considering they have yet to win a game this season. And if you aren't a huge fan of your family at the dinner table, saying that you need to go watch the Lions game to avoid a conversation about what you're grateful for or politics isn't a great excuse. However, if you place a wager on the game, that's the only excuse you need.

Last week, by looking at the public betting trends, we nailed all three of our recommended bets, including a bonus bet. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week.

Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let's take a look at the public betting trends for the three games on Thanksgiving.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Thanksgiving Day Public Betting Trends

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (+3)

Although the Bears are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games, they have won a whopping eight of their last nine games as the favorite. Meanwhile, Detroit is 0-13-1 straight up in their last 14 games as underdogs with an average defeat of 13.07 points.

The spread was originally 3.5 points but it dropped to 3 points with Justin Fields looking doubtful for the first game on Thanksgiving day. Andy Dalton will take over as the starter and he actually looked fairly good in Chicago's close loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. But the Bears aren't the only team that may be missing their starting quarterback. After missing Week 11 with an oblique injury, Tim Boyle will reportedly start for the Lions. Detroit is dealing with several other injuries outside of Goff on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions are now missing three starting offensive linemen and they don't have any noteworthy receivers. D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson should see a ton of touches on Thursday. However, Chicago is dealing with many injuries of their own in addition to Fields. Allen Robinson is highly questionable with a hamstring injury, meaning Darnell Mooney will continue to be peppered with targets. Marquise Goodwin could also see more snaps if A-Rob is unable to suit up. Plus, a defense that looked pretty scary at the beginning of the season will be missing All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack, who is out for the season, and Akiem Nicks and Eddie Jackson may not be active on a short week after missing Week 11.

Both teams have underperformed this season but the Lions have been atrocious on Thanksgiving in recent years. Favorites playing on the road at Ford Field are 10-2 against the spread on Thanksgiving. Plus, the Bears have won six of their last seven games against Detroit, including two games on Thanksgiving.

A common strategy in sports betting is fading the public, which is exactly what I'd recommend in this clash between two terrible teams. Although 92% of the money line bets are on the Lions, I expect the Bears to win this game fairly comfortably now that David Montgomery is at full strength. And I actually think Chicago might be better with Dalton under center. And even though 72% of the money on the spread favors Detroit, I just can't imagine Tim Boyle keeping this game within a field goal. This is the ideal spot to make a contrarian wager.

Pick(s): Bears ML and Bears (-3)

Prediction: 23-14 Bears

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Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Dallas is coming off their worst performance of the season after getting absolutely shut down by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Dallas is 8-2 against the spread this season, 6-1 against the spread in it's last seven home games, and the Raiders have lost all three games this season against teams with winning records by an average deficit of 17.67 points. After starting the season 5-2, the Raiders have lost three consecutive games and have not looked good at all during that span. They were upset by a 3-7 Giants team, were manhandled to the tune of 41-14 against the Chiefs, and most recently lost 32-13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Vegas has only scored 43 points over that three-game span. The Raiders offense just doesn't look very good and Derek Carr has really struggled to get tight end Darren Waller involved.

Although the Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper for the second consecutive week, CeeDee Lamb is on track to play after exiting the Cowboys' Week 11 loss to the Chiefs with a concussion.

https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1463543514025844744

This looks like a bounce-back game for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense. The Raiders are tied with the Jaguars with the seventh-most points allowed per game this season (26.2 points). Although the Bears-Lions game will most likely be a low-scoring affair, I'm expecting tons of points in this matchup. Despite just 52% of bets being placed on the over, 63% of the money wagered is on this game eclipsing the 51.5-point total. The "smart money" is on the over in this game. Not only are Prescott and Lamb going to dominate the Raiders' secondary, but Ezekiel Elliott is going to have a massive game against a Raiders front seven that allows over 100 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game to opposing running backs, equaling the seventh-most fantasy points allowed per game to running backs.

Some bettors might be a bit reluctant to lay the seven points with the Cowboys, but I'm expecting a high-scoring blowout on Thanksgiving.

Pick(s): Over 51.5 points and Cowboys (-7)

Prediction: 34-20 Cowboys

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Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (+6)

Recent trends suggest that the Saints are going to cover the spread in this game. The Bills are just 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five contests while New Orleans is 9-1-1 against the spread in their last 11 games as the underdog. Not to mention, the Saints have won five consecutive games against Buffalo by an average of 21 points and they have covered the spread in each of those matchups.

Although 68% of bets on the spread are backing the Bills, 52% of the money is backing New Orleans. While I expect the Bills to narrowly escape with a victory, I think the Saints will play this game down to the wire, especially with Alvin Kamara expected to be back in the lineup.

Buffalo has been incredibly unpredictable this season. They have terrible losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, but they have also put up some huge point totals in other contests. Buffalo has lost three of their last five games and Josh Allen has thrown six interceptions during that span. It's hard to know which Bills team will show up on Thanksgiving. I don't think that Allen and the Bills will struggle as they did last week, but this won't be an easy task against one of the elite defenses in the NFL. The Saints allow the 10th-fewest points and 10th-fewest yards per game this season. Meanwhile, the Bills allow the fewest yards per game and the second-fewest points per game. This game has the under written all over it, especially since despite only 34% of bets being placed on the under, 54% of the money is anticipating this game to not exceed the 45.5-point total. Don't forget that Thanksgiving night games have gone under in 10-of-14 seasons, including six straight. I expect this to be a defensive battle, with the Bills winning on a last-second field goal, failing to cover the spread.

Pick(s): Under 45.5 points and Saints (+6)

Prediction: 20-17 Bills

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