I start the podcast by letting Ralph’s real first name slip on air by accident in a conversation about me fearing that I would let Ralph’s real first name slip on air by accident (I don’t think he heard me, though, shhhh). We then discuss the blockbuster Eloy Jimenez trade, along with how much the news of Jay Groome’s father’s arrest should impact his fantasy value, if at all. We talk fake call-ups (Yoan Moncada), real call-ups (Zack Granite), and prospective call-ups (Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins, Brent Honeywell, Dominic Smith, Scott Kingery, and many more). Finally, I look forward to Rappin’ Ralph and Nick the Smooth Dick being featured on an upcoming RotoRhymes track, but in the meantime, make sure to head over to RotoWear.com and enter promo code “SAGNOF” to get 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy game right now. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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Since it seems like the rest of the Razzball “professors” (notice the quotes) are putting out their second half rankings I feel overwhelmed by the pressure of doing the same. Even if there are only twelve points league readers I still owe it to them to put a little elbow grease into this and generate a solid set of rankings and rest of season projections. Speaking of the people’s elbow, it looks like The Rock is moving forward with plans to run in 2020. Ok, well maybe these aren’t exactly his plans, but there is a committee that is standing behind him. Will Dwayne Johnson become the most electrifying president in American history? Is he going to “rock the vote”. Ha! I can’t wait for the debates.

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After one month spent as a visiting blogger for Monday picks, I have returned to the spot where I really broke through in the world of Daily Fantasy Blogging, FanDuel Friday. So we’re back to a one-pitcher site and positions mattering. And on today’s slate, we actually have a perfect example of how positions matter, because Third Base is loaded today. You’re going to have to make a tough choice at third, and that choice  may well be the difference between winning and losing (because if your third baseman stinks, you’re in trouble because with so many good choices in good matchups, odds are the public will get good production at the position). It’s actually to the point where the Braves decision to move Freeman leftward on the defensive spectrum makes everything more complicated – if Freeman was a 1B, he’d be the lockiest chalk-lock of all-time today, and you’d have one less quality 3B to consider. Instead, we have an absolute logjam at 3B, and very little in the way of cash-viable 1Bs. I remember the good ol’ days of one month ago, when Donaldson and Beltre were hurt, Turner and Lamb were overpriced, Machado and Seager were still priced as if they weren’t in massive slumps, and Nolan was priced as if he was playing in Coors even when he wasn’t – you were pretty much looking at either spending up for Bryant, spending down with Gyorko or Castellanos, or splitting the difference with Longoria. Those were the good ol’ days!

On to the picks once Freeman is 1B again…

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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Since there were no games this week and players haven’t been able to get hot or cold or humid, this Buy/Sell is going to be slightly different.  This Buy/Sell includes some players that are owned in more than 50% of leagues.  Okay, that’s not different for the Sells, but it does change the Buys.   “Hello?  No, B-U-Y-S.  Thanks, you too!”  That was GLAAD calling me about potential insensitivity.  I have not triggered anyone in almost three days, unless you count that fisherman I saw with a pipe that I called “Hipster Popeye.”  As I mentioned in my top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, my biggest Buy of the 2nd half is Manny Machado.  He’s about to come on in the 2nd half like he’s Mickey Maris in 1927 with Barry Bonds’s personal trainer.  For the 2nd half, I gave Machado the projections of 48/18/49/.288/3.  This year he’s been gun shy.  He’s swung at 4% less pitches inside the strike zone.  Either guessing wrong, or just being flat out beat by fastballs.  Ground balls have gone through the roof (especially if ants are reading) and fly balls have fallen, and I don’t mean a defective zipper.  Bad swings, and weak contact?  I’m gonna call them flailing balls, lightly chuckle to myself and sip my Tom Collins.  That’s all bad news, said Mr. Exposition.  The good news is, it’s a small sample size — that’s what she said snidely! — and it’s been mostly propped by a terrifically terrible — terribically? — May.  His May was so bad it will hold down his season-long stats.  In May, he had a 6% line drive rate and a 51% ground ball rate.  El oh what?  Was he a 78-year-old Jeter for a month?  By the way, 78-year-old Jeter is dating your 23-year-old niece, and you’re proud of her.  You absolutely should buy Machado, and on the pronto.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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As in our inaugural post last week (in which we managed to break both Jason Vargas and Jim Johnson! Who will it be this week?), Dr. Easy and I will be taking another look at a few more players who may be doing better or worse than you thought they were. To do this, once again we went trawling through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (all hail Rudy, Rudy for king — hell, let’s just elect him Fantasy Baseball Overlord), looking for surprising performances to help you with trade targets, waiver wire pickups and DFS plays.

Precipiently* (*not a word), in Monday’s daily goodness, Grey referred to the crap-ton** (**not a Système International unit, for the scientists playing along at home) of home runs that are being launched at the moment. “I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind,” he hath quoth. Dr. Easy and I had just started to think about a similar thing: in this brand-new reality, in each category considered by the Player Rater, what constitutes “falling behind”? Take a guess: what would constitute a good HR or SB season? How many home runs are enough home runs? How many steals does a player have to have — or be on pace for — to be giving you value in a particular category? So this week, we’re taking a look at that too…

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Seems like even the injury bug is down in Miami enjoying the All-Star game so we’ve got a light load of injuries this week. However, I fully expect him to come back twice as strong once everyone starts exerting themselves again after enjoying Mama’s home cooking and catching up on Orange is the New Black on the couch for the week.

As always, if you’ve got league specific injury questions please leave them below in the comments and I’ll get back to you! 

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With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now”. I was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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