The 411: Hey everyone, it's Mike and Cory, we are here and ready to go! Please keep your questions brief though so we can answer as many as possible
expos_gost: What about Andruw Jones -- can he rebound?
Cory: I think Jones will bounce back to a fair extent this year, think .260 with 30-35 homers. Dodgers Stadium is a good home run park, and Jones admitted his elbow hampered him last year.
wells880: How high do you draft Matt Holiday? Is he a 2-3 or is this too high?
Mike: Matt Holliday is clearly the No. 1 outfielder in fantasy and I would be shocked if he doesn't get drafted in the first round. Two or three isn't nuts but I haven't seen him go there that much. It's been more about Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and maybe the odd Albert Pujols or Johan Santana sighting.
angelsown3417: What do you guys think of Howie Kendrick and where do you think I should target him for drafting?
Cory: I like Kendrick's upside a lot here. He got yanked around the field in '06 and had two hand injuries in '07, but is still a .305 career hitter. Upside: .325, 12, 80, 15.
Mike: I agree with Cory on Howie's upside, but you know what? That doesn't really do much for me if he doesn't hit .320. Plus, I'd much rather take my chances on Rickie Weeks.
RedsFan47: What are realistic expectations for Carlos Lee this year?
Cory: Lee is a clockwork orange: .285, 32, 115, 12 steals. Book it.
Mike: El Caballo!
Boblheader: What's the earliest (late February, early March, late March) you would consider being in a draft?
Mike: Great question! I think the later the better due to injuries and job battles but anytime around St. Pat's Day is acceptable.
hollis1: I am in a 12-team head-to-head with three keepers. My keepers are Miguel Cabrera, A-Rod, and either Pujols (injury?), David Ortiz, Joe Mauer or B.J. Upton. Who would you recommend?
Cory: Until/unless I hear otherwise, I think you have to go with Pujols. The Cards may rest him more this year to protect his elbow, but when he plays, he mashes.
huskersfan: Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, Hunter Pence and Brandon Webb are my keepers. Second-year. 12-team, head-to-head vanilla. Pujols' owner is getting nervous, do I trade for him? If so, who? Do you have any inside info yet, Cory?
Mike: Go for it. Get the best deal you think you can get and realize that the worst thing that can happen to you is you get "stuck" with Fielder. This Pujols stuff is starting to remind me about the year everyone was worried about Helton's back and he went out and raked.
utah_711: Do you think Jake Peavy is worthy of a late second- early third-round pick?
Cory: The real question is, will he last that long? In a 12-team league, that's questionable ... in a 15-team league, he won't clear the second round. Nor should he.
Mike: It all depends on where you think Johan goes and will that make an itchy trigger finger go off.
utah_711: Could I get your thoughts on Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Pena?
Mike: Soriano -- wish he wasn't leading off but still a great player. Beltran -- super solid and is talking about getting back to stealing bases. Pena -- I think last year was his career year and he will have problems in '08.
metsuked07: Is their any down side in picking players from the same team?
Cory: The better the team, the more of their guys you should pick! But there's no shame in having a lot of players on one team if they are the right ones.
Mike: People think I pick Yankees because I'm a Yankees fan. I pick Yankees because they are good.
mgk2000: Cory, as appreciated as the composite projections are, I have some confusion about their relative "lowness" compared to the MLB projections. For example, the composite has Ian Kinsler as a 20HR/19SB guy, whereas the MLB projections have him for 30HR/26SB.
Cory: Each projection system varies in its baseline. Some are conservative and clearly those weighted down the comp projections. MLB.com's are obviously more aggressive. I prefer conservative so you don't overestimate the quality of your team.
metsuked07: Why isn't Justin Verlander considered to be on the same level as Peavy or Santana? He has the team, the stuff, and the track record.
Mike: Track record? How many Cy Young's does Verlander have? Verlander is a great talent but not in that class yet.
metsuked07: What numbers do you see Pedro Martinez posting this year?
Cory: I think Pedro can put up decent numbers this year, but won't throw a ton of innings, and he won't be Vintage Pedro. A 3.50 ERA in 140 IP is probably reasonable.
bartdogg42: What would be your preferable order be in a KDS-style draft?
Mike: As close to a wheel as possible so 1, 2, 3 or 10, 11, 12.
Cory: I like 2-5 this year so I can get one of the top three shortstops, or either David Wright or Holliday.
maa25: Rank these players: Derrek Lee, Garrett Atkins, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada. And what is going to happen with Tejada?
Mike: This is so tough because to me because Tejada is the biggest wild card in fantasy this year. New home great results? Or too distracted by death in the family/possible perjury investigation? All things being equal, I'll go Lee, Jeter, Atkins, Tejada, but Miggy could blow this up.
dylster13: Better keeper -- Jeter or Pence? Other keepers are Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jonathan Papelbon, and B.J. Upton.
Cory: Jeter probably goes first in scratch drafts, and I think he'll show a little more in stolen bases this year with Joe Girardi at the helm. He's still as consistent as they come and shortstop does not have great depth.
flashstg04: A trade that just got accepted in my 16-team league: I get Jose Reyes and Russell Martin, I give Hanley Ramirez and Alex Rios. Your thoughts?
Mike: I like Reyes and Martin better due to the lousy catching situation in fantasy (only five guys worth a toot, as my wife would say).
tanktapper: What do you see Mike Pelfrey doing this year, the loose end of the Big Five?
Cory: I'm big on first impressions and mine is that Pelfry is a mediocrity. He throws a very straight fastball with no secondary pitches to speak of. If he develops a useful changeup and better command, I might get interested. But for now the Mets Big Four -- which should be very formidable -- will have to carry him.
wells880: How soon do you draft B.J. Ryan or Roy Halladay?
Mike: Anyway, Ryan to me is a great sleeper this year because he may be ready for April, which makes him a huge candidate for low risk with high reward draftee. Halladay is a nice ace to have if you wait for the run to die down after Johan, Peavy, Haren, etc.
expos_gost: I have good starting pitching: John Lackey, Halladay, Dontrelle Willis, Jon Lester, Phil Hughes and Tom Gorzelanny. I need outfielders. Someone offered me Corey Hart for Halladay. I said no. What kind of outfielder can I get for The Doc?
Cory: See if it's still available, I would do that deal in a heartbeat. Halladay does not provide the K's of a top pitcher, and Hart's combo of power and speed makes him very valuable. That lineup should offer plenty of run and RBI chances, too. Do that deal if you still can!
chrisdigi: I am doing my first auction draft this year. Any tips on preparation?
Cory: Know the competition as much as you can so you can properly anticipate how much to budget for hitting vs. pitching. Most leagues are 65/35 but some go as much as 70-72 on bats. And add premiums to the top guys, not the $1-2 guys.
Mike: Over prepare but expect the unexpected. Bid with your head not your heart and give just as much prep time to the $1-$5 players as you do the $30-$40 players.
Cory: Get Matt Berry for your auctioneer if you can. He's not pretty, but he's funny.
Mike: Joe Sheehan is cheap and just shows up to give one liners. Also Lenny Melnick is a great auctioneer.
utah_711_2: Thoughts on Peavy? Where do you take him, if at all?
Mike: See above.
bobsaget_2: Does Ryan Braun impending outfield eligibility add anything meaningful to his value? When is the earliest he can be drafted without it being a reach?
Mike: Yeah, it does but Braun is a legit first rounder even if he stayed at third and booted grounders all over the place. He's dropping in some drafts, but to early- or mid-second round.
Cory: Braun might be more valuable in the outfield given the lack of quality depth there. Who woulda thunk it?
glenn_pdx: What do you expect from J.R. Towles and Geovany Soto? At what round do they become value picks?
Mike: I like both, but don't reach on these guys because there will be better players at other positions available in those rounds. I'd rather get a top-five guy and move on.
Cory: Words of caution on both -- Towles still has to beat out Brad Ausmus, which isn't hard on talent, but you never know if Cecil Cooper will prefer the vet. Also, like Mike's beloved Brandon Larson, Soto needed a third year in Triple-A to break out last year, and is already 26, so he's not exactly a youngster. Both could be solid, but don't over spend.
Mike: Speaking of the Cubs, check out Carrie Muskat's article on the closer situation for the Cubbies. It's going to be an interesting spring for Bob Howry, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.
Cory: Nice shameless plug. Good job by you.
kylegass: Do you guys think taking three outfielders in the first five or six rounds is a good strategy? I like Grady Sizemore, Corey Hart, and Chris Young a lot, and I want them all. Should I do that?
Mike: Kyle Gass no way! Well KG, it's a little too much outfield I don't mind, two but three could hurt you with catcher, middle reliever, closer, etc. The one thing I'm having a problem with is if guys like Young and Hart are top 24 outfielders, that means they are your No. 2 outfielder in a 12-team league, I'm having trouble digesting that.
Cory: KG, I prefer a bit more diversity early on, one should be enough.
yankeeduke: Who do you think will be the No. 1 fantasy player at the end of the year?
Cory: A-Rod. But thanks for coming.
Mike: I go A-Rod with Chris Gomez a close second.
kcjayhawks: What do you think about Ryan Church having a breakout year with the Mets this year? He hit a lot of doubles for Washington and now has better talent in the lineup.
Cory: I think Church is a reasonable late-round gamble in a mixed league, but breakout is pushing it. Remember, he's 29 already, not a prospect. Think .275-20-70 and you won't be disappointed if he goes .265-17-62.
CSishotNYY: I have just joined a mafia-existing keeper league and I have had a horrible pre-draft. What draft strategy should I adopt in rectifying this problem and how to handle the draft, as this is my first year in a keeper?
Mike: Trade, trade and trade some more. Worry about keepers in September hopefully.
mays-ways: Ten-team, points, keeper league. I'm keeping A-rod, Chase Utley, Carlos Lee. Carl Crawford ... need two out of Dan Haren, Roy Halladay, Carlos Zambrano, Yovani Gallardo, Nick Markakis, Bobby Abreu? (One has to be a pitcher) Thanks, great show!
Cory: Thanks. Haren is a slam-dunk for the pitcher and I'd still go with Abreu as my outfielder. Markakis has a very bright future but Abreu is a proven producer in the middle of an utterly loaded lineup. Johnny Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada ... gimme some of that!
Mike: Abreu finished second in runs scored behind A-Rod in the AL in '07.
draysfan3: NL-only keeper league, should I keep, if any: Ian Snell $6, Dave Bush $9, Shawn Hill $7.25, Ubaldo Jimenez $6, Sergio Mitre $11.50.
Cory: None of these guys even belong in the discussion with Ian Snell. Here's a list of 12 favorites this year -- check out fantasy411.mlblogs.com for more. Shameless plug, sorry.
rich_ball: I want to know what you think about Jason Schmidt, Cliff Lee, Chris Carpenter, Andy Pettitte and Wandy Rodriguez.
Mike: Schmidt is a sleeper IF he stays healthy. Lee has a lot of work to do to get in the Tribe's and fantasy players' good graces. It was his terribleness that got Fausto Carmona his shot last year. Carpenter we can't talk about since he isn't due back until maybe second half. Pettitte will do his usual, and no, I don't think he will be distracted. Wandy threw a bunch of innings last year, so keep an eye on him to improve.
BadPete: Can I get opinions on two players from Chicago? Alexei Ramirez, 2B/OF, and Felix Pie, OF.
Cory: Ramirez is in the OF/2B mix, but has to beat out Jerry Owens, Juan Uribe and Danny Richar to win a job at either position. Good AL-only gamble, watch him in the spring. Pie has a great power/speed mix and hit over .350 in his Triple-A debut last year. His upside: he's huge and he's very underrated in mock drafts so far.
yankeees27: In which first-round pick should you draft Chase Utley?
Cory: Utley is still the No. 1 second baseman, but there are more good options now with Brandon Phillips, Ian Kinsler, etc. He'll probably go somewhere between 7-10, which is very reasonable.
mikemc1964: Could you please explain pitcher ditch? Is this something that only works when you can make daily changes? In my league we make changes once a week, can this still help me?
Mike: Love me some POD. It is way more effective in daily transaction leagues and the biggest hurdle to clear is to not fall in love with players, because to pick up arms on certain days you need to take the ax out and cut some people.
Cory: I can tell you from experience, POD is much harder to execute in weekly, unmixed and/or deeper leagues. It's all about leveraging depth on a timely basis.
rocco518: How does one become a Fantasy 411 Hall of Fame member?
Cory: Send cash or gifts to Mike and Cory c/o MLB.com, and you'll get on the waiting list.
Mike: That and contribute to the show on a regular and meaningful basis. I'm being honest when I say that. Our HOFers have helped out fantasy not only on MLB.com but in the industry in one way or another.
hotcorn_r: If you need outfield help, and have plenty of starters, what outfielders should I target for Johan Santana?
Mike: This is a big-time question since you better get Matt Holliday or a Sizemore/Crawford type, but Holliday may be the only guy I would do this for straight up, the others I may want more then just Grady or Crawford.
cojackson: Am I crazy to think Eric Byrnes will steal 70 bases this year? He stole 33 in the second half last year.
Cory: I do think you are crazy, yes. Byrnes is clearly a late bloomer, but he's not a burner like Reyes, and he stole "only" 78 bags last year. Even 50 again would be a shock ... expect 30 as a safe target.
rocco518: When drafting a No. 1 pitcher, is it beneficial to go after his closer?
Mike: I don't think so. It may make it a little more interesting, but I'd rather have Johan and K-Rod then Johan and Wagner. This isn't a QB + WR relationship like Fantasy Football.
tiswhattis: Mike, I know you go for a relief pitcher after round 4 or so ... Corey, what's your thinking on when to get a relief pitcher?
Cory: I always like to have at least one top-shelf closer, but never the No. 1 closer ... as soon as someone cracks the lid on closers, I'm right behind him in line, whether that's the third or fourth round or whatever.
brucegcks: What are both of your top six picks in fantasy in order that you take them?
Cory: Hall of Famer in the house! Top six this year are A-Rod, Hanley, Reyes, Wright, Holliday and Rollins. That order works for me.
Mike: I'm assuming you stopped at seven because you have Johan there? If the Pujols questions weren't swirling, he would crack this but it is what it is.
yankeeduke: Compare Jimmy Rollins to Albert Pujols this year -- who do you think is going to do more for your team?
Mike: While we're at it. Rollins is the safer bet because he's coming off the better year, is healthier and plays shortstop again. Wish Albert was 100 percent to see how different this could be.
mrpaulyb: What do you expect out of Wily Mo Pena this year?
Cory: A lot of homers and strikeouts, with how many of both depends on his playing time, which is dependent on Nick Johnson, Dmitri Young, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes. In any case, Pena is no more than a .260 hitter.
Mike: Would love to see this guy get 500 plus at-bats one of these days, just to see what the heck would happen. Career high is 336 in 2004.
mr__man1: How well do you think Ryan Braun will produce this year?
Cory: I think he's a legit slugger, although he won't hit .325 again with a 112-29 K-BB ratio. I don't think 40 home runs and 15-18 stolen bases are a stretch, but expect .280-290 rather than .325.
ryom: What about Matt Kemp? .300, 25 homers?
Mike: I have Kemp as a nice value pick in 2008 and maybe the last time. So yeah.
Cory: I'm big on plate discipline and he has little of it, but he has plenty of power and speed. I think .275 is more likely than .300, but he's a legit 20-20 candidate if Juan Pierre doesn't get in the way.
stargellstars: A quick evaluation of two outfielders -- Justin Upton and Andre Ethier.
Cory: Upton has a great power/speed combo and an All-Star future, but expect some struggles this year. Either is a more polished hitter right now, and could hit .300 with 20 homers, but only if Juan Pierre doesn't get in the way.
DRAY: Is it a good strategy to simply get the best player available in the first two to three rounds, regardless of position or type of player?
lentz: Who do you think will be the Cubs closer? I have been listening to you guys for two years now and you have been a huge help, hence winning three out of five leagues last year.
Mike: We mentioned this earlier but I think it's Howry. Read this.
rich_ball: How about Frankie Gutierrez and Elijah Dukes? What kind of numbers should I expect?
Cory: Gutierrez is a very nice late-round sleeper in mixed leagues, he has good power and some speed and is in a good lineup. Dukes has playing-time issues as noted above, so he's a much greater gamble and not necessarily a greater upside. Go with Franklin.
delmundo: Do you think any of the youngsters in the National League West are worth taking a shot on?
Mike: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Chase Headley, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Stephen Drew, we could go on and on.
johschmi: How do you think Bronson Arroyo is going to perform 2008?
Mike: I think he bounces back from an awful first half, but solid second and helps Aaron Harang form a good one-two punch that makes them a dark horse team in the Central.
dudditz: It seems like B.J. Ryan and Rafael Furcal could be good value picks this year. What round would be good to start considering them in a standard 12-team league?
Cory: Ryan is a great late-round value, he will be the Jays closers if he can pitch, and is going very late in mock drafts. In a 12-team league he'll go in the mid-late teens. Furcal should bounce back some from last year, probably worth a seventh-eighth round pick or so ... later than that is a bargain for a 30-plus stealing shortstop.
Mike: By the way, we unveil our sleepers and busts on March 10 at 2 p.m. ET.
mr__man1: What are your expectations on Edwin Encarnacion this year?
Mike: Love Eddy, had him as a sleeper the past two seasons, which means this is his year. He is one of the main reasons third base is deep this year. Great ballpark, more experience and again, a fairly decent team.
Cory: Huge value pick for this year. If I said you could get Adrian Beltre's stats from last year, but with a .325 average and corresponding bumps in runs and RBI's, is that something that would interest you?
d_vano: I had one more quick question on my 14-team AL-only league -- how should I draft a closer and a catcher?
Mike: Spend high and get Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz or Jonathan Papelbon. Try to get V-Mart, Jorge Posada or Joe Mauer, and if you don't wait around and take a leap with Ramon Hernandez, or AJ-type guy.
shea_diddy: Cory, 6x6 with OPS and quality starts. Could you pick two from Carlos Lee, Adam Dunn, Abreu, Cole Hamels, and Robinson Cano?
Cory: Abreu and Hamels. In a 5x5 I go for Lee over Abreu, but Abreu's walks and OBP make him very valuable. Hamels' upside is massive if he can make 32-33 starts. Remember, God rested on the seventh day because he was tired from creating Cole Hamels on Saturday.
The 411: Thanks to everyone for the questions, we had a great time. Catch the transcript on fantasy411.mlblogs.com and of course our show weekdays from 2-3 p.m. ET. We'll do this again in March and during the season, as well. We have live games next week, enjoy.