Early season DFS is tough.  DFS on the regular isn’t easy, but add in the uncertainty of playing time, crazy weather, early slumps, offseason adjustments, new teams, new teammates and there are a lot of extra factors.  It’s for this reason I tend to ease myself into the DFS waters.  I take it pretty slow in April while we let some data collect.  When May hits we can start ramping it up and really be ripping come June.  We’ve got three weeks worth of data to work with so far and Ivan Nova ($15,600) has been fantastic.  The strikeouts have been a bit lacking but it’s hard to quibble with a 2.25 ERA and a sub 1.00 WHIP.  If you are prone to quibbling, I’d point out that Nova is smack dab in the middle of the road for pricing today, allowing you to afford those sweet Coors bats we all crave.  Plus, I mean, come on, #RevengeGame, #EnoughSaid.

New to FantasyDraft ? 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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With roughly two months worth of baseball activity behind us, it’s time to re-rank some stuff. Sure, that’s an awful reason to rank things, and what’s baseball activity anyway? But Keith Law gets to update his after a couple of months, so why can’t cha boy Ralphie L? Some things have changed, for sure, some top prospects have either graduated, or are on the cusp of graduating. Most notably Andrew Benintendi, Dansby Swanson, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Glasnow. I figure if you’re in the majors, I ain’t gonna rank ya no more. There’s been a few jumps, the most significant of which is Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ. For those of you who don’t follow minor league box scores, he’s pretty much the Eric Thames of the minors leagues. Only minus the beard or the Popeye muscles. My excitement over Lewis Brinson and Cody Bellinger should be easily identified, they slot second and third respectively. As for the rest of the list you’re going to have to see for yourself. No, I won’t be sliding Tyler Mahle into my Top 25, after the perfect game last night. I had to get it in somewhere, right?

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In a week where Clayton Kershaw is slated for two starts (pour one out for that first one. It should have been another epic matchup of Madison Bumgarner against King Kershaw, but alas…dirt bikes. Ugh!), the pitcher drawing the most attention, or at least the most reaction like the one above, is from none of other than the guy doing the reaction above! It’s like those Gronk wearing a shirt of Edelman, wearing a shirt of Gronk, wearing a shirt of Edelman things. You’ll get through this. I promise. And no more mention of anything Boston in this post. You have my word. (Still butt hurt about the Super Bowl. Always will be.)

Now, back to the matters at hand. Jason Vargas. Jason freaking Vargas. I was in an AL-Only auction at the end of March. $270 budget, 33 roster spots, 10 teams. Jason Vargas? Thrown out around #300 and went for a cool $2. I mean, who in the I want to cuss right now ever saw this coming? Certainly not ol’ Vargas himself. Why? Because this version of Vargas, the 34 year-old version, is every bit the same version as last 11 years who never held a K/9 north of 7 when pitching more than 12 IP in a year. And yet, here we are in Week 4 and Vargas is the ever-deserving candidate to be highlighted leading into this week, joining the echelon previously only befitted by Kershaw and MadBum.

Paul Sporer at FanGraphs said, “Jason Vargas is pitching out of his mind right now…His velocity has always been underwhelming (~86-88 mph) and it’s on the low end this year at 86.6. Vargas is using essentially the same pitch mix, too…I don’t really know what to make of this.” It’s a fascinating article that shines some light on the deeper stats of Jason’s breakout. Go nerd out for a bit after you finish here, because somewhere between his last healthy season in 2014 and now a beast has emerged. An 87 MPH beast. Can it last? Let’s hope it continues for at least his next two!

(For the record, I nailed the Eric Thames Top 100 and Andrew Triggs Two-Starts highlights last week. That probably means Vargas implodes this week, haha.)

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent 8 toughest or 8 easiest opponents according to team wOBA for last 14 days.

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There’s no denying that Madison Bumgarner works hard. Well, he plays even harder. So it should have come as no surprise when news broke that the San Francisco ace was placed on the disabled list after injuring his left shoulder in a dirt bike accident. Wait. You were doing WHAT? But why!? You can’t expect Madison to get his kicks doing regular pleb things like playing Xbox or frisbee golf, it’s gotta be EXTREME. Regardless, this is a huge blow for Giants fans and Bumgarner owners alike. Madison is sporting a 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 28/4 K/BB rate through four starts and early reports suggest he is set to miss over two months. Bummer. But honestly, what do you want from the guy? For him to not participate in dangerous extreme sports on his days off? I mean, come on, his hands were tied. Ty Blach is set to fill in the interim. Blach and his just 21.2 innings of major league experience. Blach is a ground ball pitcher with just a 13.4% strikeout rate, so he’s probably not the answer to your Bumgarner woes. More like, Ty Blech, right? Lol. He is slated to take on the Dodgers next week, but if you’re feeling dangerous you’d likely be better off dirt biking than picking up Ty Blach outside of deep NL-Only leagues. Here’s hoping at the very least Bumgarner got some sick air.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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I’m with Streamonator: Carlos Carrasco is your No-Brainer O’ the Day. (Not to be confused with your Darren O’ the Day, which is a fish submarine sandwich.) The last time Carrasco faced the White Sox, at home, it was to the tune of 1 ER over 7 innings, and this matchup is in the more pitcher-friendly Sox park. (Mind you, his last start versus the Tigers was a tad more worrying — still only 2 ER, but he struggled with command.) But today on FanDuel, he’s $10,300. And at the same time, the Giants are in Coors. I’ve set myself a silly challenge: to play Carlos Carrasco AND stack as many Coors bats as possible, all while plugging the remaining holes as cheaply (and well? Ha) as I can. And you’ll see that through my own stubbornness, I’ve created possibly the most lopsided FanDuel lineup ever, one that will need complete rejigging if any one of my players doesn’t actually start. Like George Michael, I may come to be filled with regret and (totally logical consequence to cheating on someone!) never dance again, but it’s not for nothing that my mother calls me Victoria Mary Quite Contrary. So here goes!

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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Chase Headley  is a guy that I haven’t been able to get on board with, really ever. Even when he had his Brady Anderson year back in 2012, I couldn’t allow myself to believe that he was a top-tier ballplayer. When the Red Sox and the Yankees were both in the market for a third baseman, and Pablo Sandoval and Headley were the best bats available, the AL East superpowers each signed one. And, while the Sandoval contract has been an unmitigated disaster, Headley has actually had some middling success. He isn’t exciting, which is perhaps why I never took a liking to him. But, OBP isn’t particularly exciting either. And, it is in OBP where Headley will shine.

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We’ve reached the end of the line for Cole Hamels‘ viability.  It happens to everyone.  Robert De Niro went from Meet the Fockers, a respectable comedic turn as Rex Reed likely said, to total garbage.  Maybe Hamels throws a couple of good games here and there, just as De Niro might have a scene or two here and there after the Fockers.  Silver Linings Playbook wasn’t all bad, but if you’re going to see a movie because of De Niro, you’re about to sit through crap that he did for money.  Hamels is heading out there with a 6-ish K/9 and starring in Last Vegas.  His xFIP and velocity look like Dirty Grandpa.  Hamels’ walk rate is still not right and you’ve walked into the wrong theater and now you’re watching The Intern and a grandmother is standing in front of the exit telling you to sit back down.  I want out!!!  Please God!!!  I would attempt to sell Hamels before it’s too late.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Even being 1/10th of the way through the season, it is never too early to see some trends forming.  The trends I am learning you about are the bullpen usage rates.  Not every team follows an A to B to C type formulas, and it would be nice, but usage rates in certain situations, even 15 games into the season, peak their heads out for fantasy usefulness.  The ancillary stats that no one really notices, and that I use all year, are runners inherited and appearances with the lead.  All key factors for what a reliever is and what they are at sustaining.  The inherited runners stat is a ruiner, not only for themselves but for the pitchers they are replacing.  Basically a sad trombone in the case of reliever sad trombones.  The appearances with the lead factor is what we all eat our Holds and gravy with.  It basically says that they are pitching with a lead, granted, holds are scored the same as a save.  So all that less than four runs runner on deck shenanigans that people made up for it to qualify.  So welcome to the first Holds/bullpens post of the year as we embark on a road far less traveled then it should.  Holds matter, regardless of color.

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It’s week four and The Hey Batter, Batter, Batter contest is in full swing. And since it’s week four that means it’s time to announce week two’s winner. Before I do, let’s take a look at the top batters from that week. Eric Thames is hitting the ball like a guy that just whacked the shit out of the ball in the Korean Baseball Organization. Oh wait, he did that? For the last three years Thames has done his best Mike Trout impression for the NC Dinos by averaging 41 homers, 127 RBIs, 114 runs scored, a .347 batting average and 21 stolen bases. Heck, those stats make Trout seem like a second rounder. Many did not expect his success to translate back to the MLB, but I wasn’t as skeptical. My preseason projections were higher than most as I had him as a top twenty outfielder in points leagues. His 200+ ADP allowed me to scoop him up in many of my important leagues. I can’t imagine he keeps up his current pace, but he should be opening up a lot of eyes. Unfortunately the “buy low” period was during draft season.

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28.4, 12.2, 21.4, 34.1, 24.9, 43.6, 28.7, 31.4. What Power Forward game log is this? You have a 7x day where he puts up 20 points and 15 rebounds, a day where he flopped hard because he got in foul trouble, and then a lot of 4x and 5x scores. Wait, what’s that? It is the last 8 games of Eric Thames? That’s absurd. I’m not even saying he’s a great play simply because of his last 8 games, but Adam Wainwright’s a decent innings muncher, who is losing the ability to get ground balls so Thames is in play again, even at his elevated price. Are we at the point where Thames is always in play because he’s a good hitter who obliterated the KBO and will spend 2017 obliterating major league pitching. I think the previous sentence answers your question. You might be asking where does Eric Thames rank in the greatest hitting seasons ever with a minimum 50 PAs? And I would tell you that it’s not first, it’s actually 2nd. Yes, Eric Thames 281 wRC+ ranks 2nd. That’s because Freddie Freeman this year has a 282. It helps when you decide that outs really aren’t your thing for 3 games. I’m also sure you are wondering who’s 3rd, and I will tell you that this year Bryce Harper is 3rd at 256. We’ve had some insane starts this year, but only one of them is making crotchety old pitching coaches and grumpy veteran pitchers subtly hint “things.”

On to the picks as soon as Freddie Freeman makes an out…wait, that may be a while…I’ll just do the picks now…

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