So long, farewell, goodnight, Prince Fielder. One of the most disappointing starts to the 2014 season has been Mr. Fielder with his .162/.205/.216 line.  To exacerbate things, his offseason move to Texas led to him being hyped heading into drafts and his current owners paying top dollar to roster his .421 OPS. Following a disappointing 2013 season, his slow start has caused some owners to panic, pointing to his inability to walk or hit a home run. So what do I recommend doing at this point? Buy Prince Fielder while you still can. I really don’t like using “small sample size” to dismiss early starts, because it feels like the lazy way out. A better approach would be to see that Fielder has had 0 for 4 games against Alex Cobb, David Price, etc., notice that his batted ball distribution hasn’t dramatically changed, and remember why he was rated so highly in drafts. Even with the slow start, I’d be surprised if Fielder didn’t improve on last year’s .279/.362/.457 line this year, especially the slugging. And while it’s on my mind, here’s a few other players who have had surprising starts and what it means for OPS and OBP leagues:

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Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90’s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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So this DraftKings thing is new to the ole Smoke dog. I am not much of a gambler; I gamble every morning wondering if I hit the snooze button correctly and bare the frustration of never really falling back asleep. I dig it though, daily fantasy and it starts over and it only costs me a few shekels. So for today’s goodies I used a little bit of guesswork, some stuff I learned at Julliard and the crafty Razzball tools; Stream-O-Nator and Hitter-Tron. I mean with so many tools at your fingertips here between Razzball and DraftKings how could you lose? You literally should be winning everyday, splitting the profits with your local needy organization and basically making it rain at your own delight. There are lots of great division rivalries today, some that are avoidable but some that are going to be chocked full of nuts and stats. So build your team wisely oh master of your own domain and if you do win come back, gloat and throw it in everyone’s faces. Hatin’ on people is the new American past time. And if you wanna hate on people with even more cheddar in hand, try out the Sweet Spot contest. You can get a free ticket for simply signing up with DK. Wanna help us help you? Sign up using our promo DraftKings link. With that out of the way, enjoy the foray of games and good luck.

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As of 4/10, these middle infielders are all owned in less than 10% of ESPN leagues, and contingent on the context, I would conditionally own them all. And that’s how you alliterate league format dependency.

While they’re ranked by %ownership, I’ll furnish my zeal for each:

#1 – Kolten Wong (6.5%) – He’s only 23, so give him a little time. He’s already got a top-20 contact rate this year and has impressively walked more than he struck out. He’s batting .276 with a .382 OBP and 2 stolen bases. I’m not sure why he’s owned < 10%. Mark Ellis (DL/knee) and Daniel Descalso won’t consume that much time away from him. Very soon, he’ll be owned in over 10% of leagues, so make that happen sooner than later. 70+ runs near the top of that lineup with a 7HR-45RBI-20SB-.270BA is playable at MI.

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“I’m a prince, boy. Have you ever been with a prince? …Take off your clothes.”

No, this isn’t Tehol quoting Tehol, regurgitating the way I speak to my Thai boy handlers when I’m doing  thong shoots in Phuket. Very similar verbiage, but no, this fascinating quote comes from none other than the legendary, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne, a man I’m positive you will come to love throughout season four of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Like a supreme vortex, “GOT” has sucked in the entire nation, and it’s well past time it was brought forth into the wondrous world of fantasy baseball. [Ed. Note– Oh, you mean like here, and here, and, ahem, here? FIRST! Bwahahahah.] Some people say fantasy baseball is the equivalent of D&D for jocks. Well, I for one, want a piece of both worlds! The season four premier was a masterful work of art, as I’m fully reminded as to why I was so entranced by the novels. Let’s have some fun and intertwine some of the premium quotes from the season premier with the annual Delight/Disgrace column. Will you allow me the pleasure of doing this? No? Too late, for I am already balls deep. and I’m on some Geno Auriemma/Charlie Sheen winning type-ish thing. So let us begin. [Warning, Game of Thrones Spoilers ahead!]

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First off: Poop joke. Secondly: next poop joke. Good, now is it out of your system? Well if it ain’t, pinch it off we’ve got to keep dropping these DraftKings posts like they’re hot. Alright, alright, we can’t get things moving with you so backed up on this topic. Here, have some yogurt. Better? Good! Now I have to ask you to draft a guy who’s only $6,000 on DK and is pitching in Petco and he’s not a Padre pitcher. In fact, he’s playing for a team that could actually get him a win. You interested? Me too! His name is Rick Porcello. He enjoys going six to seven innings, loves ground ball outs, and can probably K about five or six guys today given that his opponent is the Padres who have scored 20 total runs in nine games to start the year. For you non-math majors, that’s 2.22 runs per game. You don’t even need to look at the Hitter-Tron to know these Padres won’t help your hitting lineup. I would’ve said just 2 runs since you can’t actually score .22 runs but I didn’t wanna make the lovers of San Diego cry more than their team has already made them. But of course, I’m just a man with an idea. What say you, Stream-O-Nator? Only the 11th best pitcher tomorrow? Balderdash! Oh wait, tons of aces on the mound tomorrow. I mean, Jose Fernandez is the 6th best pitcher tomorrow on there? Well that changes things now doesn’t it. Considering he’s about half the price of the big arms taking the mound, you can take him, buy an ace, and still have room in your budget for more Activia. Seriously, go talk with your doctor, you’ve got a problem. But enough about that, let’s do a few more quick DK pimpings and then move on. We’ve mentioned it a few times but there’s a little game we like to call the Sweet Spot on DraftKings. That’s a $400,000 pot. The cool thing about the link I just gave you? You sign up for the first time to DK you get a free ticket which you can turn into a ticket in the Sweet Spot. How often do you get to tell your wife you actually WON money playing fantasy sports (we’re friends here, you don’t need to lie to me). In either case, if you want in on this DK fun, that would be a great way to start. With that, let’s get on with it. Here’s the Razzball slant on the 4/11/2014 slate for your DraftKings lineups…

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We are going to take a break from the closenado news to bring the middle-reliever news and updates for those of you that are in Holds and NSVH leagues. While it’s not as sexy as the closer news that you usually expect, it is still fundamental in forming a well-balanced pitching staff. It has been a bizarre season, as far as Holds go, and no one person is showing their stoutness and running away with being “that guy”.  The usual candidates are lying in the weeds [Ed. Note– you haven’t smoked it all?] waiting to jump out and show you how to make balloon animals. So here are some snippets that I’ve noticed so far this year, though the season is still short ‘n sweet. There’s a long ways to go my friends. So be patient when it comes to the dudes who pitch after the dudes, but before the dudes that really matter.

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I don’t practice Santeria. I ain’t got no crystal ball. Well, if I had $6, I’d spend it all…

…I’d spend it on these Corner Infielders (owned <10% on ESPN as of 4/3)! They are placed in the order of my zeal, because my zeal smells nice and fresh. What does that even mean? Post now includes bonus CI Prospect list as well! (And maybe thermal packaging. What can I say? It’s a demand-driven commodity.) Follow me after the jump to find out what this all means… maybe.

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When Sky came to me and asked if I was interested in DraftKings I said “sure, sounds like fun”. When I received the e-mail asking me what day I would like to do it, I said “Thursday, less games, less room for error”. When he told me my article was due this Thursday I panicked, I thought I was getting an invite to play daily fantasy on his dime. Oh how wrong I was…..Now I feel like Matt Williams playing blindfolded dartboard lineup card. Now, could we call this the blind leading the blind? Not exactly, but it sure is going to be an adventure. Actually I have been playing DraftKings lately and I have to say this shizz is the real deal Holyfield….or at least as real as all those real kids he has out there. I believe it’s 20 in Las Vegas and 15 in Atlantic City. Go figure. It’s a lot. That’s the last time I trust Sky, you would’ve thought I’d learned my lesson when he sold me his Mexico timeshare, Ciudad Juarez, and told me to buy on Atlanta Braves starters this year, Medlen and Beachy, and thought Fister going to the NL was a good fantasy move. Thanks Sky! Before I move on I want you all to know about the sweet spot tourney where they have $400,000 in prizes to hand out. It’s a two dollar buy in and is the best two dollar fun you can have. Pass on the extra tall can tonight and go get in this thing. It’s a friggin blast.

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Starling Marte was one of my favorite sleepers last year, Grey’s too.  He looked really good during his 2012 rookie trial, hitting six triples and five homers in under fifty games, while also stealing twelve bags.  The following year, Marte’s first full season, he basically tore it up.  He posted an 83/12/35/.280/41 slash.  Not too shabby.  He is looking to repeat that success, much like Weekend At Bernie’s II improved on the clearly flawed original.

I’m going to run an experiment on how I write these articles, and if it works out, I’ll continue doing it throughout the season.  I’m going to grade players in several areas, and give each area a score.  Scoring 50% of the points in a category is my baseline for repeating the previous year’s performance.  I will combine the scores at the end using a fancy algorithm (I call it, “addition”) to compute a final score.  This score will be standardized out of 100%.  Scores above 100% mean the player does better than the previous year, whereas scores below 100% mean the player regresses.  Please give me your feedback, so I can make your experience on Razzball Airlines as pleasurable as possible.  Shall we begin?

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