The University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team continued their winning ways this weekend with a pair of road victories over then-No. 14 Purdue University Friday and Indiana University Saturday.The No. 2 Badgers (12-1, 4-0 Big Ten) have now won seven straight games since falling to then-No. 11 University of North Carolina, with four of these wins coming against ranked opponents.Head coach Kelly Sheffield and the Badgers were aided by the return of junior outside hitter Lauryn Gillis this weekend, who had been sidelined with an ankle injury for the past three weeks.“Before her injury I thought she was playing at an All-American level,” Sheffield said. “Happy this weekend to get Gillis back in the lineup and try to work her back in.”The return of Gillis, however, came with the simultaneous loss of another Badger.“It seems like there is this invisible baton being handed off,” Sheffield joked. “It’s literally the day we get Gillis back, Lauren [Carlini] injures her hand … then [Amber] McDonald takes about the hardest ball I’ve ever seen anybody take to the face … So we’re still not sure how much longer she’s gonna be out.”Volleyball: No. 3 Wisconsin silences any doubt of road strugglesDespite facing a 2-1 deficit to then-No. 14 Purdue University Friday night, the No. 2 University of Wisconsin volleyball team Read…Injuries may have been a bigger issue in the past for the Badgers, but this year’s roster depth has allowed coach Sheffield to adjust his lineup while still maintaining winning results.“Our depth is a little bit so that we can move some people around,” Sheffield said. “Now part of it is; we’re getting people back, how do the pieces fit together?”Despite these cyclical injuries, the Badgers continue to step up and excel. Wisconsin is already off to a hot 4-0 start in the Big Ten, a conference that currently boasts nine ranked teams.This week, UW travels to Rutgers University (4-13, 0-4 Big Ten) Wednesday and returns home for a battle with No. 24 Illinois (10-5, 3-1 Big Ten) Saturday night as the Badgers hope to bring home their eighth and ninth consecutive wins to help stay atop the competitive Big Ten conference.Despite their outstanding play of late, coach Sheffield only sees room to improve.“We see so much more area that we can get better at,” Sheffield said. “Hopefully we continue to get healthy and we’re able to work on some of these connections.”As the Badgers continue to battle through injuries, such as the one to senior setter Lauren Carlini, they hope to do so in dominant fashion by staying perfect in the Big Ten and taking another step closer to a national championship.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) sent a high level delegation led by Mr. Almamy Kabele Camara, the CAF 2nd Vice President and Chairman of CAF Organising Committee of CHAN, and accompanied by CAF Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Essam Ahmed, and CHAN 2014 CAF Event Director, Mr. Amr Fahmy to conduct host cities inspections for the 3rd Edition of the African Nations Championship (Orange CHAN 2014) which will take place at the 3 Host Cities; Cape Town, Mangaung (Bloemfontein), and Polokwane between 11 January and 1 February, 2014.Accompanying the CAF delegation was the Local Organising Committee led by the CEO, Mr. Mvuzo Mbebe. The team conducted inspections at facilities and sites such as stadiums, training sites, and hotels, to determine the state of readiness and to confirm minimum requirements stipulated by CAF to host a tournament of this nature.Addressing the joint CAF/LOC media conference held at the OR Tambo Southern Sun Hotel, Mr. Kabele Camara expressed his full satisfaction and confidence in the 3 cities and their readiness when he said: “I could not have expected anything less from South Africa and the 3 cities as your country has a proven track record in hosting successful international events. With 162 Days to go today, the LOC and the 3 host cities are already hard at work in ensuring that CHAN lives up to the same standard recently witnessed when the country hosted Orange AFCON 2013. We visited and conducted a detailed inspection of the competition areas in the stadium including training sites, media operations, hospitality areas, as well as team, referees, media and CAF hotels. Judging by the state of preparedness and readiness, I can assure you that these cities are preparing for an excitement football tournament that will once again make your country and the continent proud. I only have good news to report back to the CAF President, Mr. Issa Hayatou”. The CEO of the LOC, said: “We are not going to let the success of Orange AFCON 2013 get into our heads and we are not taking anything for granted. We are applying the same formula we used during AFCON as well as the lessons learnt to make sure that Orange CHAN 2014 delivers in accordance with our objectives as well as CAF expectations. We are still going to return to the host cities for another round of visits as the LOC, at the end of August and again in November, together with CAF again. This is how serious we take this competition.We also share the same sentiments expressed by the CAF Vice President and Deputy Secretary General of CAF and we are pleased with what we have seen so far.”
2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Generally speaking, most fantasy owners don’t have a set draft strategy when it comes to OF, especially if they play in just a three-OF league. If your league starts five OFs, the position is more of a priority, but even then, you’re just looking for good values as they come to you in the draft. Most owners want some steals from at least one of their OFs, but if you load up on SBs in your infield, you can’t necessarily need anyone who will swipe more than 15 bags. Regardless, diversifying your OF is a good way to balance your team and fill in the category cracks. That’s why our sub-tiers are really more important than the tiers themselves. Finding players who are more of a help in a particular category, be it steals, average, or homers, is how you adjust quickly and have a successful draft. As such, it’s important to note that our sub-tiers are based on the type of production a player offers. Just because a player is in, say, Tier 3C doesn’t mean he’s worse than a player in Tier 3A — it just means he typically produces more or less in a specific category. It should also be noted that our OF rankings are based on the idea that a player is solely eligible at outfield. Players eligible at other positions may be ranked higher in our overall rankings. DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat SheetWho are the best fantasy baseball OFs?Eligibility based on Yahoo default settings* = Player not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there during the seasonAll seven of our Tier-1 OFs are first-round worthy. There’s a strong case to be made for the players in Tier 1A to be the first three picks in the draft, as all hit for average, hit for power, and can steal a good amount of bases. Mookie Betts will probably steal the fewest bases among this group, but we know what kind of overall upside he has. The guys in Tier 1B can steal bases, too, but they project to top out around half of the Tier 1A guys. These are still bona fide superstars, though, with each capable of hitting .300 with close to a league-leading amount of HRs. Juan Soto hasn’t done either yet, but you know it’s in him. We put J.D. Martinez in his own sub-tier because he doesn’t steal bases, but he can mash with the best of them and post an average well over .300, which is a rare combination at any position. Starting your draft with any of these players puts you in a great spot. If you take Martinez, you’ll probably want to look for some steals in the second or third round, but you will have plenty of time to fill in that gap. TIER 1ARonald Acuna Jr., BravesChristian Yelich, BrewersMookie Betts, DodgersTIER 1BMike Trout, AngelsCody Bellinger, Dodgers (also eligible at 1B)Juan Soto, NationalsTIER 1CJ.D. Martinez, Red SoxMore 2020 Fantasy Baseball: Auction Values | Mock Draft Simulator2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers: Tier-2 OFsEven a quick glance at our Tier-2 OFs might make you question some things. Guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have more power upside than Nicholas Castellanos and Kris Bryant, yet they’re in the same sub-tier, and Charlie Blackmon stole just two bases last year and hit 40 points higher than Bryce Harper, but they’re also in the same sub-tier. Look, if we really wanted to pick nits, we’d probably have about six sub-tiers in each tier, but when you’re drafting these players (as early as the second round, but likely in Rounds 3-6), you’re thinking in general terms: Who hits more homers? Who steals a few bases to go with their power? Who steals a lot of bases and has moderate power? Tier 2A features power hitters, and while some will hit more than others, these are all 30-plus HR guys who can drive in 100 runs and hit around .280 over a full season. Stanton is probably going to have the lowest average of the group (if he ever gets on the field), but most of these guys will hit somewhere between .275-.300. Tier 2B features solid-HR hitters who can also steal 10-20 bases over a full season. As we noted, Blackmon stopped running last year, which could easily happen again this year, but he stole at least 12 bases in five straight seasons before, so that pace is within reach. Tier 2C features a pair of players who can hit a decent amount HRs and steal a lot of bases. It’s a bit of a moot point to include Villar here, as he will likely be slotted into an infield spot by whoever drafts him (and he won’t be OF-eligible during your draft), but he’s a difference-maker in SBs. Because virtually every first-round pick (with the exception of SPs and possibly Trea Turner) hits homers, the guys in Tier 2A likely won’t be “targeted”, per se. Rather, they’ll be drafted highly when they present fair value. The guys in the other sub-tiers might be specific targets because fantasy owners are always hunting for SBs. That might cause them to go earlier than expected.There’s nothing wrong with reaching for one of them, but it’s important to realize that someone like Harper or Meadows isn’t going to swing a category for you. Likewise, it’s important to remember that you’re giving up some HRs and RBIs with Villar and maybe even Marte, so plan accordingly with your other picks. TIER 2AGeorge Springer, AstrosAaron Judge, YankeesYordan Alvarez, AstrosGiancarlo Stanton, YankeesEloy Jimenez, White SoxKris Bryant, Cubs (3B)Nicholas Castellanos, RedsTIER 2BBryce Harper, PhilliesCharlie Blackmon, RockiesAustin Meadows, RaysTIER 2CStarling Marte, D-backsJonathan Villar*, Marlins (2B, SS)2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfielder | Starter | Each team2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Tier-3 OFSOnce again we have a big tier, and most of the guys in Tier 3 aren’t that much different than those in Tier 2. This is where that “razor thin” differentiation comes in. Tier 3A features guys who can hit HRs with good averages and steal a decent amount of bases. Andrew Benintendi has had declining HR totals the past two seasons, so projecting him to get to a significant amount might be a bit of a stretch, but he’s hit 20 HRs before, and at 25, he should be coming into his prime. The averages are what really separate these guys and make them worthy of sharing the same tier as some of the other players who hit significantly more homers or steal more bases. The guys in Tier 3C are pretty similar, though they have higher SB upside. All will still likely hit a good amount of HRs with regular playing time, but batting average could be mediocre for all except Whit Merrifield. Most fantasy owners won’t care about the .265 averages or relatively mediocre RBI totals since they’re getting legit power-speed threats, and we don’t blame them. Tier 3B is your classic slugger tier. The averages don’t figure to be great in this tier (though one or two could surprise), but there’s big homer potential from most of these players. Bump that up to bigger potential for Jorge Soler, Joey Gallo, and even Aristides Acquino, assuming he plays regularly. If you invested in a Trea Turner-type early, targeting one of these mashers in the seventh round makes sense. The reliability of players starts to drop off after this tier, so you probably want at least two or three OFs from the first three tiers, depending on how many you start. You can live with only one, but you pretty much know what you’re getting from these guys barring injury. TIER 3AKetel Marte, D-backs (2B, SS)Andrew Benintendi, Red SoxRamon Laureano, A’sTIER 3BJorge Soler, RoyalsFranmil Reyes, IndiansKyle Schwarber, CubsJoey Gallo, RangersAristides Acquino, RedMarcell Ozuna, BravesMichael Conforto, MetsWillie Calhoun, RangersJustin Upton, AngelsTIER 3CWhit Merrifield, Royals (2B)Oscar Mercado, IndiansVictor Robles, NationalsLuis Robert, White SoxTommy Pham, PadresKyle Tucker, Astros2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers, Draft Strategy:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Starter | RelieverFantasy Baseball Tiers: Tier-4 OFsWhen it’s time to start drafting Tier-4 OFs (early-middle rounds), it’s all about the categories. It’s possible someone will fall too far and be too good of a value to pass up, but for the most part, you’re thinking about balancing your team. If you need good HR upside and a few SBs, go for the guys in Tier 4A. If you need a good average and a few less HRs, go for Tier 4B. If you need steals, Tier 4C is for you. And if you need someone with a more balanced power-speed upside, look no further than Tier 4D.Byron Buxton and Mallex Smith aren’t exactly the same type of player. Buxton should hit more HRs and provide more RBIs, but Smith figures to steal more bases. Still, both qualify as “steals guys”. Tier 4D is likely the one most people will target, though with all but one player eligible at an infield position, it’s likely most will be drafted earlier and won’t be used as OFs by their owners. All the players in these sub-tiers have value and upside, and unless you’re desperate for steals or you think a sleeper like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. or Nick Senzel is going to break out this year, you don’t need to reach for them. Look for value and fill in as you go. TIER 4AEddie Rosario, TwinsMax Kepler, TwinsAristides Aquino, RedsBrandon Lowe, Rays (1B, 2B)Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Blue Jays (2B)Andrew McCutchen, PhilliesAvisail Garcia, BrewersTIER 4BMichael Brantley, AstrosDavid Dahl, RockiesJeff McNeil, Mets (2B, 3B)Bryan Reynolds, PiratesTIER 4CByron Buxton, TwinsMallex Smith, MarinersTIER 4DCavan Biggio, Blue Jays (2B)Scott Kingery, Phillies (2B, 3B, SS)Danny Santana, Rangers (1B, 2B, 3B, SS)Ian Happ, Cubs (2B, 3B)Tommy Edman, Cardinals (2B, 3B)Wil Myers, Padres (1B)Nick Senzel, RedsFantasy Baseball OF Rankings: Tier 5We could have easily put many of our Tier-5 OFs into Tier 4, but for whatever reason, most have a few more question marks. Tier 5A features guys who can hit some HRs with a few SBs. Tier 5B has a pair of players who will hit slightly fewer HRs and steal a few more SBs (with good averages and runs scored, too). Tier 5C is for middling-average power hitters, though as noted with Tier 3B, we could see some surprise averages (like J.D. Davis’s last season). Tier 5D is one of the few low-power speedsters left in the league. There will probably be a few big seasons from guys in this tier. Maybe Kole Calhoun hits a ton of HRs; maybe Alex Verdugo is an RBI machine in Boston’s stacked lineup. Either way, you’re probably not going to be excited about any of these guys, but they make for great backups/fourth or fifth OFs in the late-middle or late rounds. None are worth targeting or reaching for unless you really need power or steals. TIER 5AGregory Polanco, PiratesShin-Soo Choo, RangersRyan Braun, Brewers (1B*)TIER 5BLorenzo Cain, BrewersAdam Eaton, NationalsTIER 5CRandal Grichuck, Blue JaysHunter Renfroe, RaysKole Calhoun, D-backsJ.D. Davis, Mets (3B)Joc Pederson, Dodgers (1B)David Peralta, D-backsMark Canha, A’s (1B)Hunter Dozier, Royals (1B, 3B)Brian Anderson, Marlins (3B)Alex Verdugo, Red SoxTIER 5DJarrod Dyson, PiratesFantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Auction | Keeper/Dynasty | PointsFantasy Baseball Sleepers, Deep Sleepers, and Veterans: Tier-6 OFsDepending how deep your league is, you’re going to want to stash at least one of the young sleepers from Tier 6. Someone like Trent Grisham, Jo Adell, Austin Hays, or Tyler O’Neill could break out at some point this season. Of course, like many of the others in this tier, they could also never get regular at-bats and do next to nothing. At a certain point when looking over the 2020 fantasy baseball OF rankings, your eyes start to glaze over. Is there really a difference between the No. 34 outfielder and No. 54…or even No. 73, for that matter? When players produce in similar ways, it can be difficult to group them into tiers, especially at a position with so many options. But there are always subtle differences, be it age, injury history, or upside in a certain category, and noting these differences on your cheat sheet can go a long way when hunting for sleepers or putting together a draft strategy. Aside from the top tier, our OF tiers cast a pretty wide net. It’s not because we’re lazy (well, not entirely); it’s because there are so many similar players in terms of production and upside. We all know there will be surprise breakouts and disappointments every season, and with so many OFs available, we don’t want owners to overdraft a guy in a higher tier when the difference between him and someone else is razor thin. At certain points, we have to make those discernments, and we’ll do our best below to explain why. There are some dependable players here, like Brett Gardner, Nomar Mazara, and a few others. Unfortunately, the ceilings for those players are limited, so many fantasy owners will skip over them in the quest to find this year’s big breakout OF. That’s makes sense, but if you need a little power and speed, don’t be afraid to grab a veteran from Tier 6A. And if you just need some pop, don’t ignore a sure decent amount of HRs from someone in Tier 6B, such as Jay Bruce, who should be helped by the universal DH.TIER 6ABrett Gardner, YankeesTrent Grisham, PadresHarrison Bader, CardinalsJurickson Profar, Padres (2B)Jackie Bradley Jr., Red SoxA.J. Pollock, DodgersAustin Hays, OriolesKevin Kiermaier, RaysDomingo Santana, IndiansBrandon Nimmo, MetsJake Fraley, MarinersJake Bauers, Indians (1B)Kevin Pillar, Red SoxJordan Luplow, IndiansEnder Inciarte, BravesTIER 6BAustin Riley, Braves (3B*)Jesse Winker, RedsTeoscar Hernandez, Blue JaysNomar Mazara, White SoxJo Adell, AngelsEric Thames, Nationals (1B)Dominic Smith, Mets (1B)Yoenis Cespedes, MetsYoshi Tsutsugo, Rays (3B)Jay Bruce, Phillies (1B)Tyler O’Neill, CardinalsMike Yastrzemski, GiantsAnthony Santander, OriolesStephen Piscotty, A’sCorey Dickerson, MarlinsDominic Smith, Mets (1B)Garrett Cooper, Marlins (1B)Jesse Winker, RedsJose Martinez, Rays