Welcome to Fantasy Island

As some of you might have noticed, Braves 3rd baseman Chipper Jones learned today that he is done for the season and possibly for his career with a torn ACL.  In a cruel twist of irony, Jones suffered the injury on a magnificent defensive play (Jones was never known as a stellar defensive player).   If Jones is in fact done, I believe he is a no-doubt Hall of Famer.  He is arguably the 4th best 3b of all-time behind Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Eddie Matthews (I see Jones and Brooks Robinson as a toss up).  Chipper wasn't a real factor in fantasy this year because he was too prone to injuries, but I do believe that this makes Omar Infante worthy of a pick-up in deep leagues if you need help in batting average.

Let's take a look at some noteworthy performances over the past couple of weeks.

Johan Santana - If you need an ace starting pitcher for the stretch run, Johan is your man.  He was dominant vs. the Rockies today (8/12) and has been a 2nd half stalwart throughout his career.  He has been plagued by some bad luck and poor run support this year, so you might be able to get him at a reasonable price.

Chris Johnson - This guy must think he is the Titans' Chris Johnson or something!  Johnson is hitting .432 over the last 30 days and he is hitting for some decent pop.  If Brad Mills would only move him up in the order, he might have even more RBI opportunities.  I think he is a must grab if, by some chance, he's still out there.

Angel Pagan - All this guy does is produce.  Throughout this year, I have been down on Pagan because I thought he would get into a time crunch in the potentially crowded Mets outfield.  But he has quietly put together a great year, with 26 SB to go along with a solid plus .300 average and 52 RBI.  With Jason Bay a question mark the rest of the way, go get this guy.

Luke Scott - Here's another guy that has quietly gone about his business on a bad Orioles team.  Scott is batting .293 with 21 HR and 52 RBI and might be a good source of cheap power if you need it.

I must say, I was very entertained by the recent Reds v Cardinals shoving match.  Though I think these scrums are a bit silly, there's no denying the hatred between these two ballclubs.  My guess is that the Cardinals win the division, but we will see!

On that note, let's shift our focus to the gridiron.  Ahh...don't you just LOVE preseason football?  Ok, maybe it's not the real thing, but I actually enjoy seeing some of the borderline guys fighting for their professional lives.  I also think you CAN get some useful tidbits from these games.  Especially from rookies.  My eyes are going to be on Ryan Matthews for the Chargers.  All indications are that he is set to get a bunch of touches on a team that wants a feature back.  Matthews could give you first round production, but you won't need to spend a first round pick to get him.

A couple of other guys to watch this preseason -

Beanie Wells - If Wells can correct his fumbling issues, I see big things for him this year.  Cardinals OC Russ Grimm is a big fan of Wells and I think the Cardinals will try to take some of the pressure off of Matt Leinart by establishing this dynamic back in the running game. 

Shonn Green - If you paid attention during the postseason last year, Green showed plenty of juice and Jets coach Rex Ryan was quoted as saying that Green would be their "bell cow" back.  Draft Green as a top 10 back and you won't be sorry.

Johnny Knox - Knox showed flashes last year in an up and down Bears offense.  With passing guru Mike Martz in the fold, Knox looks like a good fit and could be a top 15 WR at a cheap price.

Jermichael Finley - Simply put, this guy is a beast and a down field threat along with his red zone prowess.  Finley is Exhibit A as to why you can wait to draft a TE (but not too long!).

My top 10 RB for 2010

1 - Chris Johnson - A true game-breaker.  He might not total over 400 touches again, but so what.  He's a threat to take it to the house on every play.

2 - Adrian Peterson - I would put him at #1, but his fumbling issues scare me.  Also, it remains to be seen what affect Favre's decision might have.

3 - Maurice Jones-Drew - He is as consistent as they come and is just as dangerous   out of the backfield as a receiver on screens.

4 - Ray Rice - He proved to be a play maker in both the running and passing game a season ago and figures to be aided by the Ravens' addition of Anquan Boldin.

5 - Frank Gore - 49ers figure to grind it out and they will have their OL at full strength this year. 

6 - Rashard Mendenhall - No Big Ben = more Mendenhall.  Maybe we will see the Steelers of Merrill Hoge and Barry Foster yesteryear.

7 - Michael Turner - The Burner is a year removed from the insane workload of 2008 and figures to have more pop in his step.

8 - Ryan Matthews - I am higher on him than most, but I see big things from him this year. Huge upside.

9 - Steven Jackson - He was the Rams offense last year, which isn't saying much.

10 - Shonn Green - A sleeper from the Jets.  Isn't that an oxymoron?

I hope you have enjoyed this week's stay at Fantasy Island, I look forward to our next chat when we can touch on baseball's pennant races and some preseason football action.