Halted Breakout Seasons

For the four MLL teams that did not make the playoffs this season, they all had outstanding players who had breakout seasons. They all grew their game play over the 2012 season to become a house hold name. These players will definitely help their teams grow in the future to become playoff bound teams. The four players are Jordan MacIntosh of Rochester, Jovan Miller of Charlotte, Kevin Crowley of Hamilton, and Kyle Hartzell of Ohio.

Jordan MacIntosh was a part of the Rochester Rattlers fire power during the 2012 MLL season. Even thought he could not help the team get over the playoff hump, he was a vital part of the offense. After being picked up by the Rattlers from the player pool in 2011, he has been able to show his colors this year. The Rochester midfielder was third in total points for the Rattlers with 27. He was able to net 23 goals and had four assists. MacIntosh ended the season by recording eight points in the last three games which helps establish that he will be ready for next season. If he can build on his 2012 play for the 2013 season, the Rochester Rattlers should be able to make a strong playoff push.

The inaugural season for the Charlotte Hounds was not a total success but also not a total failure. They had some great play by many of their players such as Jovan Miller. He had a disappointing rookie season by being selected 8th overall in the 2011 Collegiate Draft. He only recorded eight points. The 2012 season was a whole different story for Jovan. In 14 games, he scored 13 goals with 2 of them being 2-pointers. He also had six assists for a total of 21 points. This breakout also helped Jovan’s image as his fame has grown throughout the league. The 2012 season helped Jovan’s popularity grow as well as his play on the field.

Kevin Crowley was able to double his production during the 2012 season. In his rookie season, 2011, he was only able to produce 20 points in just 10 games but in 2012 he exploded. He recorded 37 points with 24 goals and had 13 assists. He was a production maker for Hamilton and probably could have eclipsed the 40 point mark if he played all 14 games for the Nationals. His team’s record was not the best at the end of the season but he definitely was one of the main reasons his team won games. In the future, the Nationals are going to look to Kevin to jump start the offense and put points up on the board.

Finally, Kyle Hartzell was able to increase his stats total this season. In the past, he had been a solid player but this season his name was on the stats sheets more often. Before this season, Kyle had only been able to produce eight points and 102 ground balls in 39 which are decent for a long pole. But in the 2012 season he took his game to a whole new level. In the 14 game of the season, he almost tripled his points with 21. This included 11 goals, nine 2-point goals, which put him sixth on the single-season records list, and one assist. He also picked up 60 ground balls in 2012. The trade to this expansion team, the Ohio Machine, has helped point Kyle’s career into the right direction.

MacIntosh, Miller, Crowley, and Hartzell have all benefited from the 2012 season. Before this season, all of these players have had decent careers. They took the off season to refuel and came out strong in 2012. Unfortunately they were not good enough to help their teams make the playoffs but they are able to give them a bright future. If the teams can build of off theses players’ success, then they will have a better 2013 season.

-Steve G.

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Looking Forward

As the 2012 MLL fantasy season comes to an end this week, I took the opportunity to analyze next season’s fantasy stars. This year’s rookies have gained experience in the professional game and will now have a full season make an impact on the fantasy game. I have my eye on a couple of young guys who may be sleeper picks to pair on your team alongside some of the more proven stars in the league.

This year’s number 2 overall pick in the collegiate draft, Steele Stanwick , has played in just 8 games for the Ohio Machine but has collected 9 goals and 17 assists. He became a staple in the middle of a talented Machine offense that should even see improvements in the offseason. With a 14 game schedule, Stanwick is definitely a threat to become one of the top attackmen next season.

The Long Island Lizards number one overall pick this year, Rob Pannell, did not play this season but is expected to join the Lizards next season. The former Cornell attackman should make an immediate impact in the MLL and Coach Spallina went so far as to compare him to current MLL greats, Brendan Mundorf and Ned Crotty. He should help relieve some pressure from Matt Gibson who has been matched up against the opposing defenses top long pole week in and week out. With more weapons on the offensive end, Gibson’s fantasy value definitely increases and he could become a solid fantasy start with the right match-up. While Pannell is not necessarily under the radar, he is likely to put up consistent fantasy numbers so he too is definitely worthy of consideration when drafting your team.

Although not one of the league’s younger players, FOGO Geoff Snider seems poised for a strong 2013 campaign after sitting out all of this season so far. Coach Cerino said Snider is likely to play this week against the Rattlers so this should be an interesting preview of what to expect from Snider next season. Throughout his career, Snider has consistently been one of the league’s best face-off men but may be overlooked next year due to the highly productive seasons of Chris Eck and Greg Gurenlian. Snider still has the ability to compete as a top face-off guy and will likely finish next season towards the top in face-off percentage.

This is just a few players to keep an eye on as next season approaches. Obviously keep in mind that Paul Rabil and Brendan Mundorf are a few of the league’s best but finding undervalued talent in addition to your superstars is key to winning the fantasy title.

– Max

By MLL Fantasy Lacrosse Posted in Max

Who’s #1?

After a long summer, the MLL regular season is coming to a close this weekend. As expected it has come down to the wire with teams trying to make the playoffs and fighting for the top seed. On Saturday Denver will travel to Chesapeake to take on the Bayhawks. The victor of that game will head to Harvard as the #1 seed. Is it that important to be top dog during Championship Weekend or will we see these teams try to rest some players?

These two teams met earlier in the season in an absolute shootout with the Bayhawks coming out on top 18-16. There were star performances all over the field. Kyle Dixon lit up the Outlaws for three goals, two of which were 2-point goals and two assists. Steven Brooks and Drew Westervelt also put up solid numbers across the board in the win. On the other side of the ball, Brendan Mundorf had arguable one of the best games of the season with three goals and five assists. Jordan McBride and Mark Matthews were right on his heels with four goals and two assists each.

This time around it may be a different story. The Bayhawks haven’t been the same dominant team as earlier on in the season. Whereas the Outlaws have looked unstoppable coming out of the All-Star break. They’ve scored at least 17 goals in each of their last five games. Chesapeake is going to have their hands full with Denver’s high powered offense. Look for Brendan Mundorf and Mark Matthews to find the back of the net on Saturday. I’d also play Kyle Dixon and Steven Brooks if you’re fortunate enough to have any of these players on your team.

I think Denver is going to come out victorious this weekend. Their offense will be too much for Chesapeake to handle. Unless the Bayhawks can get some strong play from Kip Turner and Brian Spallina, I don’t see the Outlaws losing.

Prediction: Denver 19 Chesapeake 16

-Tim

By MLL Fantasy Lacrosse Posted in Tim

Offensive Explosion

This year the MLL has added an additional two games to the schedule due to the two expansion teams joining the league. This gives players a chance to further improve on their numbers from last season. At this point, teams have competed in twelve games matching the total from last year. Yet for some bizarre reason, the stats for goals, assists, 2 point goals, and almost every other offensive category have exploded this season. It’s not that the leaders are running away from the rest of the pack. Instead, the players who make up the middle of the stat sheet are well ahead of those from last year. Let’s compare the numbers.

At the end of the 2011 season, the top five goal scorers had 30, 30, 29, 28, and 23. For this year, the numbers are a little bit lower with 32, 26, 26, 26, and 24.  But we can’t just look at the top five guys and try to apply that to the rest of the data. The average number of goals for the top 25 guys in 2011 was 20.4. In 2012 that number has risen to 21.4. A single goal increase over the course of a year doesn’t necessarily explain the drastic increase in stats.

As we move right along to the next category it’s on to assists. In 2011 the top five assists numbers were 21, 20, 19, 18, and 15. This year players have been sharing the ball a lot more. The top five for 2012 are 34, 30, 24, 20, and 19. Right away there is a significant difference between these two groups. This continues when we look at the averages with 10.96 in 2011 and a noticeable increase in 2012 with 14.24. That’s a 3.28 increase in assists over the course of a year. At this point there in an increase of 4.28 in points from this year to last (1 for goals and 3.28 for assists.)

Another considerable difference from the two past seasons has been the number of 2-point goals. In 2011, the top three guys had 7, 6 and 4. In 2012, we’ve seen a boost with 12, followed by 8, and 7.  As far as averages go, we’ll look at the top fifteen instead of the top 25 due to the low number of 2-point goals. For 2011, the average number was 4.22. In 2012 it’s jumped up to 6. With 2-point goals being such a difference maker in games, this increase helps explain the point totals jumping this season.

The average difference from 2011 to 2012 for the top 25 players in their respective categories goes as follows: +1 increase in goals, +3.28 increase in assists, and +1.78 increase in 2-point goals. As we can see, stats are up all across the board. Although there is no clear cut answer as to why players are putting up such high numbers, it’s been an exciting and entertaining season to watch. With all the great play that’s been happening, it’s going to make it tough on fantasy owners next year to figure out who gets drafted and who doesn’t make the cut.

-Tim

By MLL Fantasy Lacrosse Posted in Tim

Season Impactful Trades

The 2012 season is almost over and there have been many impactful trades that went down this year. They all helped out at least one of the teams in making the team better and more likely to make the playoffs. All of the players are impressive and are difference makers. The three players that have helped their team the most are Kiel Matisz, Nicky Polanco and Anthony Kelly.

Kiel Matisz was drafted in the 2012 by the Hamilton Nationals in the 7th round. In his three games with Hamilton, he was only able to record one goal on seven shots. On June 11th, he was moved to the practice squad and then was traded to Ohio on the 13th. After at day, he turned his game on. Since the trade, Kiel has scored eight goals with one assist in only six games. His best game was against the Denver Outlaws with three goals. Even though the Machine are 2-7 this year, Kiel has shown a ton of promise and will help the Machine in the future. This trade was extremely impactful for the future of the Ohio Machine. 

For the past seven seasons, Nicky Polanco has been a Long Island Lizard. But before he could step on the field for the 2012 year, Nicky was traded to the Chesapeake Bayhawks for three draft picks, one being C.J. Costabile. Nicky was an anchor for the Lizards defense and now he was moving to a different team with different responsibilities. With the Bayhawks, he has been able to play with players such as Brian Spallina. In the 2012 campaign, Nicky has been helpful by working with Spallina and making the Bayhawks the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Polanco has not helped offensively too much but the Bayhawks defense has been better than last year with this new addition. Nicky Polanco was a great pickup for the Chesapeake Bayhawks in helping them on their 2012 run for the Championship.

Finally, the trade the Denver Outlaws made for Anthony Kelly was a great piece to their puzzle. He was traded from Ohio to Denver at the beginning of July and has stepped up his game. Before the trade as the popular FO man as he is, Anthony was only winning about 49.38% of his face-offs. This is a solid number but he has embraced the trade with the Outlaws. Since joining them, he has won 56 of his 97 face-offs for a 57.7%. His best game was his first one when he won 76.66% of his face-offs against the Charlotte Hounds in a 21-7 win. Kelly has been much more productive than the other FO men that Denver was at the beginning of the season. The Kelly’s trade was a brilliant move by the coaches and staff of the Outlaws to propel them into the playoffs and give them a great chance at the X.

All of these player acquisitions have been impactful for their teams. They are helping their respective team for the future, on defense or at the face-off spot. They helped their team in the present and their teams hope that they can keep helping in the future. Every trade that happens can help or hurt a team and these players have really helped their new team. Which other players do you think have helped their new teams after being traded?

-Steve G.

The Chase Is On

With three teams now eliminated from the playoff hunt (Ohio Machine, Charlotte Hounds and Hamilton Nationals) and the Bayhawks assured of a postseason berth, I will focus my fantasy efforts around the four remaining teams battling for the final three Championship Weekend slots.  The Boston Cannons, Denver Outlaws, Long Island Lizards and Rochester Rattlers continue fight to keep their playoff hopes alive. They must play well in their final three games to be around for Champ. Weekend so I expect strong fantasy production coming from these playoff hungry guys.

Boston Cannons

Paul Rabil and Ryan Boyle should be locked into your fantasy line-up each week regardless of their match-up. The defending champions’ two leading scorers will need a big final three weeks to get by Chesapeake on Saturday and Ohio in Weeks 13 and 14, so I expect their scoring production to continue. If you are lucky enough to have Ari Sussman on your roster, he is definitely worth consideration as a starter on your fantasy team. He has continued to have success since his 5-goal breakout game against Hamilton three weeks ago and I don’t see him slowing down as the playoff chase heats up. For many of you who have relied heavily on goalie Jordan Burke, I would look for other options as he faces an unfavorable match-up this week against the sharp shooters of Chesapeake.

Denver Outlaws

The Outlaws can secure a playoff appearance this week with a win and a loss by the Rattlers or Cannons so I expect them to come out with a lot of firepower at home against the Nationals. Brendan Mundorf has become a mainstay in most fantasy line-ups so look for him to continue his MVP-caliber season this week. I would also look for rookie Mark Mathews to have some success against a vulnerable Nationals defense, after a 2-goal game last week. Goalie Jesse Schwartzman is one of the best fantasy options in goal this week as well. In Denver’s last match-up against Hamilton, Schwartzman saved 12 shots and allowed just 5 goals.

Long Island Lizards

The theme of the Lizards over the past few weeks has been the effectiveness of their youth. Last week’s Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week, Tommy Palasek, scored 6 goals in his third consecutive 3+ point game. If you were wise enough to predict Palasek or fellow rookie Matt Gibson’s success before the season and drafted them to your team, start them this week in a potential playoff clinching game against Charlotte. Veteran Greg Gurenlian has been an anchor for this young Lizards team this year. Gurenlian leads the league in face-offs at 61.8% and should be dominant this week against the Hounds whose team face-off percentage is 33.6% (worst in the league.)

Rochester Rattlers

Led by Steve DeNapoli and Joel White, defense has been the story for the Rattlers this season. DeNapoli is second in the league in scoring among defensemen with 11 points while White is right behind with 10 points. Both defensemen should have open opportunities in transition against an inconsistent Machine defense. Kevin Leveille has 4 consecutive 3+ point games and does not appear to be slowing down as the Rattlers enter the most critical point in the season. If he’s on your fantasy roster, go ahead and give him the starting nod this week.

The playoff hunt looks like it may come down to the final week of the season but in the meantime it is important to look at each week’s match-ups when making your fantasy line-up decisions.

– Max

Rookie Galore

With the MLL regular season coming to a close with just three weeks left, the Cascade Rookie of the Year race is extremely close. There are four players that all have a great chance in winning the league award. They are all putting up great numbers but they are also contributing in other ways to their teams. The four standout players are Matt Gibson of Long Island, Mark Matthews of Denver, Chris Bocklet of Denver, and Tommy Palasek of Long Island.

 Matt Gibson started off the season extremely hot. In his debut week of playing in the MLL in which he played against Charlotte, he won the Rookie of the Week award with one goal and four assists. He kept the spectacular play up in his first five games by netting 10 goals, 10 assists for 20 points. He won his second Rookie of the Week award after going off against Denver with three goals and one assist. Since that weekend, Gibson has only been able to record four points. Even though he has been cold lately, or you can call it just being a rookie, Matt Gibson can still put up a great last three weeks and grab the year award.

 Mark Matthews has won two Rookie of the Week Awards in just six MLL games. He won them when he played Chesapeake and Charlotte by putting up four goals and two assists in each of the games. This season he has 16 points in six games but 12 in just two. It might hurt him that he has only four points in four of his games and showing no production in two of those. It will be interesting to see if he can have another amazing week or if what he has done now is good enough to issue him the award.

 Another possible winner could be Chris Bocklet of Denver. In just four games, he has 13 points with 11 goals and two assists. This is just over three points a game which is leading all rookies. His standout weeks were five and nine and both against Ohio. In week five he recorded three goals and two points for five points. In week nine, he netted four goals. These numbers are great for just playing in the league for only four weeks. Hopefully the low number of games does not hurt him in his race to the Rookie of the Year award.

 Finally there is another Long Island rookie stand out Tommy Palasek. He has won two Rookie of the Week awards and just recently won Week 11 when he put up seven points with six goals and one assist. This season in his eight games, he has recorded at least one point in all of them. He has been consistent and hot all season long. Let’s see if this consistency will put him at the top of the rookie leader board at the end of the year.

Those are the top 2012 MLL Rookies that have the biggest chance in winning the Rookie of the Year award. They all have their assets and problems. The last three weeks will really show who the contenders will be at the end of the season for the award. Keep an eye on these four rookies and see who succeeds. Who knows, maybe someone else will surprise us and show up on the stats sheet at the end of the year.

-Steve G.

Playoff Seeding Predictions

There’s only three weeks left in the regular season. It’s amazing how quickly the year has gone by. For those of you out there trying to climb into first in fantasy leagues there’s still time to make the jump. As far as the teams go, there are a couple of things that have already been decided. Chesapeake has already clinched a playoff spot and is now playing to have the #1 seed heading into Championship Weekend. Ohio, Charlotte, and Hamilton have all been eliminated from playoff contention and are trying to play spoiler in their remaining games. Denver and Long Island have opportunities to clinch postseason berths depending on certain teams winning and losing. What it really boils down to is who is going to have a chance to play for the Steinfeld trophy?

Chesapeake Bayhawks

Why they’re going to make it: Quite simple. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot. With three games left in the season it will be interesting to see what the Bayhawks do in their remaining contests. None of these are a cakewalk either. They travel to Boston to take on the Cannons this week and finish up the year at home against Long Island and Denver. There is a strong chance that Chesapeake will be facing one of these teams at Harvard so one would think Coach Cottle wants his guys to take the games seriously to gauge how they will do when it really counts.    

Prediction: Bayhawks get the #1 seed

Denver Outlaws

Why they’re going to make it: Denver can clinch a playoff spot by winning this weekend and having either Rochester or Boston lose. Rochester is home against the last place Machine making them favorites to come out with a victory. Boston on the other hand is home against the Bayhawks trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the Cannons struggling lately, I think the Outlaws will clinch a spot. Denver plays Hamilton, Rochester and Chesapeake all on the road. Although there is a chance Denver can win out and claim the #1 spot, I don’t see them beating Chesapeake on the road.

Prediction: Outlaws get the #2 seed.

Long Island Lizards

Why they’re going to make it: Same reason as Denver. Long Island gets into the postseason with a win and a Boston loss. I just don’t see the Cannons pulling off an upset against the Bayhawks on Saturday. I know they played them tough on the road losing 14-13, but with the Cannons current status, I’d be shocked if they pulled out a W. Long Island plays Charlotte at home Saturday. The Hounds were embarrassed by the Outlaws two weeks ago and only mustered five goals last week against Rochester. The Lizards will take care of business and head to Harvard.

Prediction: Lizards get the #3 seed.

Boston Cannons

Why they’re going to make it: Last year’s champs are hanging on to the last spot by a thread. Luckily for them, they hold the tiebreaker over Rochester which is why they’re going to have a chance to defend their title. Besides having to take on the Bayhawks, Boston finishes the year against Ohio…twice. The Machine will have nothing to play for except for the chance to ruin Boston’s season. As bad as the Cannons have been playing recently, I don’t see them dropping either game to Ohio. The Machine hung around with the Bayhawks and gave them a scare last week. Boston will take care of business.

Prediction: Boston gets the #4 seed

Rochester Rattlers

Why they’re not going to make it: The only way I see Rochester heading to Harvard is if they win out. The Rattlers have shown flashes of brilliance this year knocking off Chesapeake, Boston, and Long Island. Yet they also lost a costly game to Ohio. This week they get a chance to redeem themselves against the Machine but then take on the Outlaws and Hounds. I can see them beating Ohio and Charlotte but I’d be very surprised if they can beat Denver the way they’ve been playing.  I think Rochester and Boston will finish with 8-6 records with Boston holding the tie-breaker in goal differential (+11).

Prediction: Rochester misses the playoffs

-Tim

By MLL Fantasy Lacrosse Posted in Tim

Face-off Domination

Week 10 was a one sided affair at the Face-off spot. In each of last week’s five games, there was always one dominate player winning the majority of the face-offs. Before Week 10 the leading FO man, the person who had won the most face-offs, was Chris Eck of the Boston Cannons. But after last week, two players were able to jump over him to take the lead and another player closed the gap behind him. The players that had spectacular weekends were Anthony Kelly of Denver, Greg Gurenlian of Long Island, Matt Dolente of Hamilton, and Adam Rand of Chesapeake.

Anthony Kelly came out of nowhere this past week by winning 23 out of his 30 face-offs which is a 76.6 winning percentage. He out right dominated rookie Dan Cooney of the Charlotte Hounds and helped the Outlaws win big 21-7. The amount of face-offs that he won this weekend grew his total 30% and it is 23% of his new total. This was a great week for him and hopefully he can build on it next week against Chris Eck.

At the beginning of the week, many people would have thought that Greg Gurenlian would have a tough challenge against Boston Cannon’s FO, Chris Eck. But he proved all critics wrong by winning an astonishing 19-28 face-offs for a 67.8 winning percentage and helping the Lizards pull of a 14-11 win. These numbers helped Greg jump over Eck in both winning face-off percentage and total face-offs won. Greg has 170 wins with a 61.37% for the 2012 season.  Hopefully Greg can stay at the top of his game for the rest of the season and its starts with Matt Dolente of Hamilton this upcoming week.

The Nationals Matt Dolente will have a great matchup this week against Greg Gurenlian as he is only seven face-off wins behind Greg.  Last week Matt had two games to win face-offs and climb the leader board. In the first game on Friday, Matt went 20-28 against only Eric O’Brien which is a 71.4 winning percentage. In his second game, Matt had the same face-offs stats as Greg with 19 out of 28 wins. In this game, he had to face both Eric O’Brien and Ray McGill who might not have as good of a resume as Chris but they are still tough FO men.  Matt helped his team win on Friday and gave them a chance on Saturday. The way Matt went about his business last week was great and hopefully he can stay on course and possibly jump ahead of Greg this upcoming week.

The final winning FO man this past week was Adam Rand of the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Against Tim Fallon of Rochester he went 15 for 22 which is a 68.2 winning percentage and it helped the Bayhawks win 13-7 of the Rattlers. This was a great week for Adam and he has been consistent all season and has 150 wins on the season. This week, Adam gets to face either Eric O’Brien and/or Ray McGill this weekend against Ohio.

This past week when the face-off specialist dominated the X, their team won. It happened in four of the five games but also has happened a ton this season. Keep an eye out for more domination this week and a great matchup with Chris Eck and Anthony Kelly on Thursday. The X is where the game is controlled.

-Steve G.

Do or Die

With only four weeks left in the regular season some team’s playoff chances are beginning to dwindle. Even though nothing is set in stone as of right now, three teams have the potential to be eliminated from the playoffs. Those three are Ohio, Hamilton, and Charlotte. Meanwhile on the flipside, Chesapeake is the only team that can clinch a playoff spot. Here’s an overview of what can happen and guys to think about starting.

The Machine are in danger of being eliminated from postseason competition as they stand in last place with a 2-8 record. On Saturday night, they face off in a must win game against the Bayhawks. Chesapeake is coming off a 13-7 victory over Rochester and will be gunning to solidify their spot for championship weekend. Max reported last week about Ohio stars such as Steele Stanwick, Chazz Woodson, and Jim Connolly putting up impressive fantasy points. Since their backs are against the wall, I would think about starting one or two of them if you have them on your team.

Hamilton and Charlotte are in a similar situation with 3-7 records. The Nationals will need a big game from Joe Walters, Kevin Crowley, and David Earl if they want to keep their postseason dreams alive. Depending on which Long Island team shows up, Hamilton will either have their hands full or be able to cruise to an easy win. Charlotte is traveling to Rochester on Friday to take on the Rattlers. Rochester has shown they can hang with the top dogs in the league but playing at a high consistent level has been a problem throughout the year. The Hounds need Jeremy Boltus, Matt Danowski, and Jovan Miller to show up big time to stay alive. They had the upset of the year two weeks ago when they defeated the Bayhawks 13-12 but got pounded a week later by the Outlaws 21-7. Charlotte can’t afford to come out flat again if they hope to beat the Rattlers.

Last team I want to talk about is the Cannons. Currently they stand one game behind the Outlaws who they just so happen play tomorrow night at home. If Boston wins, they can jump over Denver in the standings and hold a potential tie breaker over them (Head-to-head record would be 2-0). This would also put them in a great spot heading toward the end of the season. However, a loss to the Outlaws keeps them right above Rochester no matter if they win or lose. I expect Paul Rabil, Jordan Burke, Brendan Mundorf and Jordan McBride all to have big games in a high scoring contest at Harvard Stadium. Make sure you tune in to all the games this week as the playoff picture begins to unfold.

-Tim

By MLL Fantasy Lacrosse Posted in Tim