While it’s all well and good that Noah Syndergaard got to be on Game of Thrones, I cannot fathom why the powers that be did not consider using someone who actually looks like he belongs in Westeros (albeit beyond the wall) – the ginger-god himself, Justin Turner. Seriously, how could they not get Justin Turner to play a freefolk. He legitimately looks just like Tormund Giantsbane – you’re telling me you couldn’t have him be Tormund’s brother (or long lost son), Turner Giantsbane? That’s a massive opportunity entirely blown by the writers and casting. Anyway, turning to DFS for a second, Justin Turner-Giantsbane is having quite a season so far. A career .284/.351/.419 hitter before the 2015 season, Turner had seemingly taken a big step forward over the past two seasons by posting numbers a step above his career to that point – .294/.370/.491 in 2015 (142 wRC+), and .275/.339/.493 (124 wRC+) in 2016. But just like how Tormund went from small character to a well-liked secondary character to a full-blown fan favorite, Justin Turner has gone from decent major league (everything up through 2014) to respectable major league hitter (2015-2016) to full blown MVP candidate this year by batting .348/.441/.561 (currently good for the 3rd best wRC+ at 166 – fourth if you want to include Mike Trout, which is mandatory because he’s Mike $%^&*[email protected] Trout). And of note is how he’s done it – so far in 2017, he’s destroying lefties on a level that even Edgar Renteria and Alex Rodriguez would be impressed by – so far this season, he’s batting .398/.489/.759 (222 wRC+) against lefties. Sure enough, he’s facing a lefty today, and not a good one either – Clayton Richard. Now, I will be the first to admit that his L/R splits in a single season are the product of small sample size. But while the lefty-mashing will likely regress, the righty-hitting will likely also likely regress (in the opposite direction) as he reverts towards his career norms of having no real split. And yes, it’s probable that the 2015-2016 Justin Turner is the “true” Justin Turner, but the 2015-2016 Justin Turner is still pretty damn good. And he’s in a great matchup, facing Clayton Richard today. So ride the ginger wave, and roster Justin Giantsbane. If he continues the 2017 Justin Turner, complete with lefty-mashing that can only be rivaled by Arya’s list, you’ve got an absolute monster today. And if he’s just the 2015-2016 Justin Turner? Well, you’ve still got one heck of a good play today.

On to the picks once Turner Giantsbane is a character in Game of Thrones

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It’s safe to say that Danny Salazar ($9,300) is back on his game, after striking out 12 batters in seven innings his last time out against the Yankees. Salazar’s numbers have been bonkers since returning from the DL, striking out 28 batters in 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA. The strikeouts should keep coming on Thursday against the Rays, who have the third-highest K-rate against righties at 25.0%. Other fantasy players may be scared off by Tampa’s strong-hitting lineup, but Salazar’s upside makes him a great contrarian play. He looks straight up untouchable, and I’ll be starting him in just about every lineup.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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Far out brussel sprout! Kevin Gausman with a 5.10 ERA? *cracks knuckles, puts on ‘Danger Zone’* this could take a while… Okay really, you can break down Gausman’s season into four chunky sized Manilla folders. First, there’s April/May Gausman: 7.50 ERA, six home runs, innocent bystander in Red Sox kafuffle. June Gausman: 19 earned runs allowed, fantasy owners convulsing with hate. July Gausman: 45 strikeouts, serious trust issues. August Gausman: urge to add rising, “I told you he’d come good” from every armchair expert. Gausman starts today @ the Angels. Good call, he is one of my pitcher picks for today’s slate ($9,100) and since the Angels have struggled against righties at times this year, there’s no rhyme or reason why you shouldn’t take full advantage of that discounted price tag. Here’s who else I like for Wednesday’s slate:

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And suddenly, it’s August. Week 18 of the season. Ahhh, I remember the good ol’ days of April, when former World Series contenders (*cough* Blue Jays *cough*) still had hopes of surfing their wave of 2016 success into 2017. I also remember the very first post I wrote for you lovelies, on April 8th, because here we are again, on a new go-around on the great Monopoly board of life (do pass “Go”; do collect $200), with the Phillies facing the Rockies in Colorado. The last time this match-up happened on a Saturday, poor old Jeremy Guthrie gave up 10 runs—on his birthday, to boot. I don’t wish that on anyone, but I do want all those runs again! A platter of relatively slim pickings on the pitching front has me wishing I didn’t have to start any pitchers today in my FanDuel slate, but we do what we must: fade (just a little) on pitching while paying up for hitting. Luckily, there are a couple of reasonably priced pitchers today — Gerrit Cole and Drew Pomeranz, I’m looking at you — around whom we can build our lineups.

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One of the best pieces of DFS advice I can give is that it’s always helpful to look at the slate on a macro-level first before turning to micro-level decisions. The reason why this is often helpful is that some slates have obvious cash plays who have such juicy matchups, or are so grossly underpriced, that it’s hard to justify pivoting off of them in your GPP lineups.  This, in turn, makes playing GPPs quite tough as you’re likely looking at lineups that are chalky and not very unique. Other times, there are very few obvious cash plays, as everyone who would be considered for cash has some sort of a wart. In such a case, the slate is better geared for playing GPPs, as no one is likely to be high owned, and there’s an incredible amount of variance. The idea of a “GPP-only slate” becomes even more apparent when it’s the pitchers who are the ones where there is simply no obvious play. This is one of those slates. The high-end pitchers include one facing a top-5 offense (deGrom), one who is not pitching at the level he was at even earlier in the season (Bumgarner), one on a team that doesn’t let their pitchers go deep and facing a low-strikeout team (Darvish), and one who is a touch overpriced for what he brings to the table (Paxton). The best mid-range option is the single most upside-capped pitcher around (Nova), and while he makes great sense as a cash SP2 on two-pitcher sites, on a one pitcher site, it’s always tough to roll with him no matter how safe he is. Now, all of these pitchers have the upside potential to do very well (or just well in Nova’s case). I’m even going to tell you which of them I prefer today. But they all have warts, so it makes cash on FanDuel today icky, for lack of a better word. Offensively, it’s also fairly icky beyond Coors Field, although there are a few no-brainers in the outfield, leaving the “ickiness” to the infield. If you feel comfortable with one of the pitchers, then by all means, plug him in and fire up as much cash as you want. But if you don’t, then find a core of hitters you like, build that hitter core, and then play mix-and-match with a bunch of pitchers and the final few hitters.

On to the picks once this slate gets less icky…

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If you need a refresher on how insane Alex Wood‘s season has been, I got you. Wood has a 2.38 ERA in 98 1/3 innings with a 10.07 K/9 and 2.47 BB/9, including a 2.52 FIP and 2.96 Deserved Run Average, or DRA. Those are straight up ace numbers. So while he’s coming off of two bad starts, this is no time to avoid him. Wood is a perfect buy-low, as his price is usually much higher than $9,600. The 26-year-old lefty is one of the game’s most dominant pitcher, and with the Dodgers lineup behind him, it’s no wonder he’s got a 12-1 record. Wood is a near-lock for a win, along with some quality innings and lots of strikeouts.

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Pitching options tonight are not for the faint of heart. We have a bunch of guys who can allow 5-6 runs and be knocked out of the game by the 4th inning. I counted 11 listed starters who currently have an ERA north of 5. Today could be a day where you can load up on some expensive bats and stream a couple guys with good match-ups. Brent Suter ($7,500) posted a sparkling 1.50 ERA over his 5 starts in July, during that span he has a 25:5 K/BB ratio. He looks to keep it rolling into August as the St. Louis Cardinals come to town. They hit much worst vs. LHP than against RHP. For the season, they have struggled to a .239 AVG and .718 OPS agaisnt lefties; that would rank them as a middle of the road team. Another pitcher that could provide a decent start is JC Ramirez ($7,600). He has a fantastic matchup versus the Philadelphia Phillies who rank towards the bottom in all major offensive categories. Has pitched over 6 innings in his last 4 starts and should continue that trend tonight. Great chance for the win as Angels are decent size favorites at -200. Now lets take a look at the rest of the picks.

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You know how some days you stand in front of the fridge with the door open (until your wife/husband/love-ah/mum/dad/other shouts at you for letting the cold out), staring at all the perfectly nutritious, healthy, slimming foodstuffs you bought from Whole Foods in a fit of enthusiasm because really you ate far too many crab cakes and drank too much Natty Boh while on holiday in Baltimore, and you know you should make a spinach and hard-boiled egg salad because that has like zero calories, but none of it is exciting, and all you really want is a honking great Big Mac? Well, that’s what the pitching slate is like today. It’s all…spinach. Yes, you know your only real options are Corey Kluber (at the White Sox; $11,900), Rich Hill (at home versus the Giants; $9,400—and hopefully starting, after his respiratory ailment), or Zack Greinke (at the Cardinals; $10,200), because they’re all good and they all have decent match-ups. But $$$$, you know? And then there’s Dinelson Lamet ($7,900) and Jacob DeGrom ($11,200) with iffy match-ups, followed by Ivan Nova ($8,300; more on him below), and after that the pitching options fall off a cliff. None of it is particularly appealing. Today I want something heavy, calorie-laden, sexy. I just want to use a cheap-ish pitcher as a plate for my delicious FanDuel hitter pancakes and smother the whole lot in syrup and whipped cream: in other words, Mama’s gonna stack. (Mama is also hungry, can you tell?)

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Raise your hand if you did not trust Danny Salazar ($8,200) in his first start off the DL facing the Blue Jays.  I’ll admit, I benched him everywhere to feel him out and wasn’t touching him with a stick in DFS.  All he did was give up 1 hit and ZERO walks while striking out 8 in 7 IP.  Where the heck was that all year Danny?  All can be forgiven if you keep that up for two months though.  Tonight, the Czar gets to face the lowly White Sox who are in the midst of fire-bombing their major league roster that quite frankly, wasn’t very good to begin with.  The Chi Sox rank in the bottom three in all of baseball in team OPS vs. RHP and that was before shipping off Todd Frazier.  The Pale Hose are middle of the pack in strikeouts, but Danny has big time upside in that department, probably the biggest of any pitcher on the slate today.  Ks pay the bills and that’s why Danny will the pitcher I have the most exposure to tonight.  Let’s see who else I’ll be exposing myself to on this fine July night below:

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We’re on an ultralight beam on Thursday as Zack Godley takes the mound against the Cardinals. It’s been a God dream for Zack this season as he’s got a 3.32 ERA with a 9.30 K/9 in his 13 starts this season. He’s completely supported by his 3.12 FIP as well as his 2.83 Deserved Run Average. Godley’s 55.8% groundball rate is one of the best in the majors, mostly due to increased usage of his outstanding sinker. The best part about Godley’s start is that he’s on the road, away from the dangerous Chase Field. Godley’s price is only $8,500 on FanDuel, so he’s not getting treated like a legitimate starter, which makes him a fantastic pitcher to buy.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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