The 32 day party kicked off last night in the Pacific Northwest with many of the Razzb-All-Stars tearing up World Sports Grille.  Nick Cappozzi, Guru, Sky and Tehol devirginized the clean streets of Seattle bringing Razzball swagger the size of the Space Needle.  The National Football League is kicking off the preseason and if you need any help on that front check out the football side of things.  But here at Razzball we got plenty of love to spread around and the baseball season is approaching its climax.  As the 32in32in32 tour departs on its journey around the country, King Felix Hernandez is staying put, headlining the after party at Safeco, unofficially sponsored by DraftKings.  With the Braves lubricating the equation, the $12,700 Felix Hernandez is primed to be C-blocking.  It should be comical watching the Brave swingers strikeout all night.  Ladies will likely have better luck at the plate tonight.  So far in the 6 game West Coast swing, the Braves have managed just barely more than 2 runs per game and more than 9 Ks per game including facing Eric Stults.  Felix is running hot too, with 24 Ks over his last 21 IP while giving up only 3 ER combined against very proficient offenses in the Orioles, Angels and Indians.  I’m RSVPing now and ensuring I get Felix in every DraftKings lineup today.

Outside of King Felix, I aim to bring you the coupons of the day.  I know you’re aware that Mike Trout is a phenomenal hitter and Jose Abreu is hotter than Kate Upton.  I have my recommendations, but the real genius lies in the DFSBot.  Rudy’s phenomenal tool cranks out the day’s best value plays and even breaks it down to expected $ per point.  As the Ombotsman has proven, the DFSBot has been a much more accurate method of ranking value than Draftkings salaries have been.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Two of the smaller pieces that stand to gain value after Thursday’s massive trade deadline are Tiger center fielders Ezequiel Carrera and Rajai Davis. The two will see all of the starts in center now that Austin Jackson has been traded. Davis should see the majority of playing time between the two speedsters, but Carrera could still be good for SAGNOF in some deep leagues or AL-only leagues. The 27-year-old had stolen 43 bases in the minors prior to his call up and while he only played a handful of games with the Indians last season, he stole 43 bags in the minors in 2013 as well. Meanwhile Davis started in center and led off both Friday and Saturday. The Jackson trade was really a big boost to Davis owners, since playing time had been his biggest concern and now he’ll get a shot to play every day in center.

For those looking to gamble on Carrera it’s worth mentioning that he bats left-handed while Davis bats from the right side. This could shift Davis’s value in the wrong direction should he begin to yield starts with right-handers on the mound. I don’t think it happens, but it’s worth keeping an eye on if Davis slumps. Carrera could also see a few starts for defensive reasons, as Davis posted a -3.8 UZR in left prior to the trade and center field isn’t exactly easier to play. However, Davis came up in the minors playing center field so expecting Carrera to play over him for defense is still a bit of a stretch. All in all, it’s just a situation worth monitoring if you’re a Davis owner or play in a deep league (15-team+) where Carrera is readily available. Here are some other steals options for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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Don’t be confused, I don’t want you to pass on Alex Cobb today. I want you to inhale his awesomeness and value today and play play play him. Usually an $8,100 play on an off day Monday should be reason enough to convince many of you to go with the Cobb. Oh no J-FOH, he has to go on the road to Oaktown and face the Amazing A’s!  I know I know diligent commenter but over his short career he owns a 1.80 ERA at the O.Co with 13 K’s in 15 innings. Career against them he sports a 2.78 ERA over 35.2 innings with 28 K’s. The only player on the A’s that has been his killer is Coco Crisp who has been out with a nagging neck injury. I like the start a lot and Stream-O-Nator is pretty neutral on him at a $7.5 dollar play. Cobb has been getting back into the form (July stats: 2.23 ERA in 32.1 innings with 36 K’s) that made him such a highly touted pitcher coming into the year. To close out 2013 he had a mid 2 ERA with 58K’s in 59.2 innings and is looking like he has found himself again. You could say he is hitting his montage scene for 2014.  Montage? Hhmmmm… Ok I’m inspired now and here are some classic 80′s montage’s off the top of my head for you guys to have some fun with: Real Genius, Back to School, Better off Dead, and the greatest motivator for you to finish 2014 strong montage. Speaking of 80′s movies, my buddy the Birdman’s buddy Chazz, who I met at the bachelor party, looks like the perfect 80′s campy movie villain. He would be an Alpha Beta in Revenge of the Nerds or challenge me to ski the K-12 in Better Off Dead or even get the other Cobra Kai’s to hold me so he can kick my ass. Chazz is rad to the max to hang with. For realzzz.

If you still aren’t sure about DraftKings then lets change the words around and say let’s play King of the Draft. How’s that for you? You think you have what it takes to be king of the hill? The high hog of the trough? The top of the heap? You get what I’m saying. The worst thing that happens is you lose a few bucks you would of spent on something else you don’t need in your life and if you are a stickler for the monthly budget then live a little and mix it up. I’m kidding though, you can also play for free but why not throw down a little scratch and challenge some readers and writers at Razzball and take our pride and money. Ralph has been really good at roaming the comments to pick up any new players that post their info so go sign up, post your handle and Ralph will get you in. It’s that easy.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If the weather cooperates today, I’m hoping Stephen Strasburg ($9,300) comes through as my ace in DFS games. There’s a chance of storms for this match-up with the Phillies, so start at your own risk. That said, the Phils own a wRC+ of 84 against right-handed pitching. That’s good for 28th in baseball and Strasburg should have little trouble against them. In his last start against the Phillies, the 26-year-old right-hander gave up two earned runs while striking out nine batters in just 5 2/3 innings pitched.  That was part of a recent string of four starts with at least eight strikeouts. He’ll have a tough time sealing the win with Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phils, but the strikeout upside here is enough for me to want him as my SP#1 this week. He’s ranked #1 on the Stream-o-Nator today at a $24 value.

If you are new to DraftKings, use our promo link to get started. New players that click on that link will get a free contest ticket with a first time deposit (only new users eligible). The winner of the contest gets entry into our $500k Showcase with a $100k top prize. Also, if you haven’t tried the DFSBot via Rudy, check it out: it compares projected values to actual DFS prices for the day. Here are some other picks for DraftKings contests on 8/3/2014…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what a creeper of the week really is, and how best to put it out there for you readers. I’m the pimp, uh, I mean dating service, and you are the receiver of a good time… for about a week. You might say a “batty call with benefits broker”. Since the majority of us are men, except Prezzi, who looks like he struggled with sophmore English last year and is waiting on puberty to complete. (Writers note: I would rather look young to slay more cougars than what I do now.) It’s safe to assume that for most of you (except the four girl readers), I’m setting up man dates every week. Which brings me to this week’s hot date– David Murphy. Hi David, I see you’re only 12.2% owned, so I know you’re available. Would you like to hop in my car and go for a  little drive… for a week! This officially got weird, so you can call me Creeper McCreeperstein from now on.

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The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

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It’s not easy being Hensley Meulens. Not only is his name Hensley Meulens, he’s also responsible for a Giants offense so inept of late that the Padres have a wOBA 20 points higher.  Don’t get me wrong being, the Giants Batting Coach isn’t easy; his team plays in a canyon of a ballpark, his lineup is on the yuck side of meh, and he works for a GM that thought taking a flier on Dan Uggla was a good idea. It’s gotten so bad that Giants fans don’t even know what a great hitter looks like anymore. My brother-in-law is a Giants fan and recently told me how much he loves watching Hunter Pence hit. Really? Would he have to wear depends if he watched say Jose Abreu everyday? What I’m getting at is the Giants can’t hit and you can start pretty much anyone against them. Well with the exception of Mike Minor he sucks and I hate him. Seriously homeboy got pooped on by the Padres last night.

Enter Jacob DeGrom. The Mets pitcher has far exceeded expectations this season coming out of nowhere like a shart on a “going commando” day. Only his results have been good, unlike an underwear-less shart which is just a mess. A big mess. DeGrom has been good to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, 8.59 K/9 and a BB/9 of 3.21. Sure you’d like the walks a bit lower but according to his FIP/xFIP (3.06/3.44) he’s only been slightly lucky. In all honesty, I’ve only started him once on DraftKings in his 14 starts this season. Razzball readers that all changes today. After back to back 20+ point games, I’m all in on DeGrom and his cushy date with the Giants. Sure he’s the second most costly arm on the board but it’s still only $9,800. At that price you could grab another solid arm (there’s a few today….read on) and still have enough coin left to buy premium bats.

Do you think all the DraftKings writers at Razzball are idiots? Are you against handsome men like myself? Does the picture of J-Foh that surfaced scare you? Are you feeling alienated and alone? Do you only trust Rudy and his sweet afro/glasses combo? No fear we have a set of tools to help! Check out the Hitter-Tron, Stream-o-Nator, DFSbot, and the Ombatsman.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tommy Medica had the game of his life last night, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (5 & 6), 4 runs and 4 RBI. Somebody call a doctor, because Tommy Medica is so sick! Now wait just a minute, hold onto your coffee, and don’t drop anything or anyone just yet, (especially not your coffee because that may burn and I can’t afford a lawsuit). Medica, who generally sits against righties, has been filling in for Yonder Alonso the past month or so while he’s on the shelf. He has squandered the opportunity, batting just .217 with zero homers and 4 RBI in 46 at-bats in July. Even for the Padres, that’s barely a major league starter. I guess his hitting coach has been advising him to study Jedd Gyorko early season game tape. More likely than not, Medica will be headed back to the platoon role once Yonder Alonso returns, but the trade of Chris Denorfia could potentially open up some more playing time. Either way, what a game Tommy Boy! Holy schnikes! I added Medica in a few places on the off-chance this performance buys him some more playing time, but I’d keep the expectations low outside NL-Only and deep mixed leagues. For the time being, Tommy Medica is batting 1.000 and slugging 2.200 in August and certainly a name worth monitoring over the weekend.

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

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As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?