Welcome to the Island

041311_Howard_400
Ryan Howard has a league-leading 12 RBI. (Barbara Johnston/AP)

Welcome to philly.com's new fantasy sports blog. I will begin posting all my fantasy news, notes and analysis right here. Some of my colleagues will also contribute guest posts.

I will also post links, minutiae and other various fun things, as well as keeping you up to date on the latest and greatest FanDuel offerings.

The first thing I wanted to tell you about is tomorrow's FanDuel $1,000 MLB Single. Hurry and sign up now because it is restricted to 222 participants and the spots are filling up quickly.

The top 18 finishers win prizes, but if you're already a philly.fanduel.com user or sign up via the above link, and you place in the money, FanDuel will double your winnings.

Make sure you sign up through those links for the "Double Your Money" bonus. If you win double, you will receive the bonus money within 24 hours.


HOWARD A VALUE PICK?

I was shocked this spring to see that Ryan Howard was the 8th first baseman going in most fantasy drafts. For a guy who has been among the league leaders in most power categories for the last few seasons (with the exception of last season, even though he still had very productive year), that seemed a bit surprising.

Then I thought about it. Chase Utley is out for who knows how long and Jayson Werth took his talents to the nation's capital. Perhaps fantasy owners were weary that he would suffer from their absences.

So far this season, it has been quite the opposite. Howard is batting .359 with 3 home runs, 9 runs scored, and a league-leading 12 RBI.

With the way the rest of the guys in the lineup are getting on base for him, Howard could be in for big things this season.

Another interesting number is Howard's strikeout rate. Last year, he struck out in nearly 29% of his at-bats. This year, he has lowered that number to 20%. True, it is a small sample size, but it is a good sign for Howard's fantasy production.

Perhaps more telling is the fact that Howard has only struck out twice in his last 22 AB's.

Not bad for the eighth-ranked first baseman.

VICTORINO FEELING THE LEADOFF SPOT?

Up until last night's 0/5 performance against the Nationals, one could argue that Shane Victorino was the hottest player in the league.

He was 13/23 in his last five games before last night. In that span, he scored 5 runs and knocked in 8 more. That's efficient.

I don't expect him to keep up those numbers all season, but right now, he is doing wonders for the Phillies in the leadoff spot.

WILLIE BLOOMQUIST - .349 AVG, HR, 9 R, 5 RBI, 6 SB, and a 9-game hit streak

I didn't really know what else I could say about Willie Bloomquist. The numbers say it all.

He has gotten a hit in all his games this season, meaning that his big numbers aren't the product of just one or two big games. In addition, there are only 2 games this season where he hasn't scored a run.

His consistency makes him extremely valuable to any fantasy team, especially in FanDuel's single-day format. Couple that with the fact that in most leagues his position eligibility allows him to play several positions, Bloomquist is a must own if for some reason he is still a free agent in your league.

With the return of Stephen Drew, however, his playing time could be reduced. However, if rookie manager Kirk Gibson wants to keep his job, he'll find a way to get him into the lineup. It would be a sin to sit a guy playing this well.


Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at mmullin@philly.com. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

Continue Reading