Not gonna lie: the pickings are slim at this time of year. After a couple of weeks where it seemed like there were actually a few almost-interesting names on the wire in NL and AL-only leagues, the pool is pretty dried up.  When I looked up “blech” on dictionary.com just out of curiosity to see whether or not it was considered an actual word, I was amused to see the sample sentence for its entry:  “Blech, I feel like vomiting.”  I suspect that is how many of us feel each time we peruse the waiver wire looking for help in an NL or AL-only league.  In deep leagues, it can get incredibly frustrating reading recommendations about how it might be a good time to grab Reynaldo Lopez or Rhys Hoskins, when those guys have been owned in your league since April (if not before). But every once in a while, an under-the-radar minor leaguer, post-hype prospect, or washed-up pitcher who has a surprisingly good run of starts slips through at this time of year, so it’s still worth paying attention to who’s getting added and dropped.

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As the old expression goes, you can count on three things in life, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers ruining your week/month/season with an injury of some sort. This is a slight update on the late 80’s iteration of this expression, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers at a snowstorm. If you’re a Noah Syndergaard owner you might want to hit up Doc’s medicine man, because the mighty righty was skipped in the rotation due to a sore bicep. Apparently curls are for the girls, and the DL too. Seriously how does Bartolo stay healthy eating like Kristie Alley on a bender, while Thor spends his free time living like Schwarzenegger in the beginning of Twins? Nothing makes sense, I’m writing the Notes! Riddle me this, Does that mean Colon was birthed from his poop? Or is it the other way around. Yes, I was an odd child. As for Thor, and his right arm, he’s headed for an MRI today. After first experiencing pain between bullpen sessions, and playing catch. He said he “felt great” playing catch, two things, “who doesn’t feel great playing catch?” and as far as I know “felt great” doesn’t mean I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder. But Syndergaard is from Texas and a Viking, so he may speak a different language. Oh, yeah, that’s not a joke. He actually said I “felt great playing catch”, but his bicep “stiffens up when it gets cold”. Funny, mine does the opposite when it gets cold. The worst part is that gem of a comment was followed with “I couldn’t really lift my arm above my shoulder at that point”. However, the Mets and Terry Collins assure us that Thor isn’t hurt. In fact, he showed up to the park ready to pitch! But old cautious Terry pulled the plug, because as he so eloquently put it, “when you are talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen.” Damn, the man has the vocabulary of Sling Blade! Not going to lie, I’m intrigued about these “other things” happening in Syndergaard’s bicep. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday (but really every time he pitches), Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA down to 0.91, and yet another no decision.  Elias Sports Bureau said, “Chris Sale had his 4th start in last five seasons on Thursday with 8 IP, 10+ Ks, 0 ER without getting win; no one else has more than one.  Also, there’s 16 different vending machines in our company to choose from, but only one has M&M’s and Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie for 50 Cent that elicits Snickers with the wrappers.”  God, what a bunch of nerds!  Not like us fantasy baseball cool kids!  I wanna tent the Elias Sports Bureau office, fart in there and leave.  Seriously, that’s what I want.  I need a wish genie, up in here!  Up in here!  So, Chris Sale is flippin’ awesome once again, and nothing can stop him except a rock vs. his scissors.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s never too late to start talking about next year, is it?  Well, that is the direction I am heading.  I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but second base, and for that matter middle infield, is going to be an interesting position come draft time or even for some keepers.  This is the first time in a few years that there will be a dearth of players with a value at the position, so I am personally sorta excited, about as excited as getting a onion ring in my french fry order.  The middle rounds for these second base eligible guys is going to be an interesting pecking order of who covets who more, and what we have seen this year steers them.  Now, this is a steals post and most of the guys I am talking about are going to have value there and in some ancillary stat contributions, I am not talking about the over-drafting of Brian Dozier, and to some extent, Robbie Cano.  Steals only guys, they in this case, have faces until at least your draft or keepers are pot committed. So this week, I am looking at some second sackers that will shine for you next year based on the second half stats.  For giggles afterwards, since the season isn’t over, some two-week guys that will help you down the stretch and of course some save stealers…

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Mookie Betts was 5-for-5 and drove in two runs Friday night. It was the first five-hit game of his career and the number of pets in New England being named Mookie is climbing quicker than his batting average. Let me gush about Betts for a minute, even though it might be tough because I know Xander is reading. (Do not worry, you are still my number 1, Awesome-X.) Mookie is slashing .320/.360/.557 with 28 homers, 93 RBI, 21 steals, and 99 runs scored. He is the only reason I am winning anything fantasy baseball this year and he is an early favorite for AL MVP. I tell all my real life friends, who are definitely all real life humans and not people I just made up for the purposes of the post, that Mookie Betts is my spirit animal. However, I was recently told I can’t say this because I’m not Native American and if you ain’t Native you can’t have spirit animals. That’s their thing. Quit trying to take their thing. Well, I just did San Pedro cactus and tripped out in the desert last weekend, does that mean I’m a real native now or nah? At the very least I’d hold it makes me much more spiritual. In the past two weeks, Betts is hitting .387 with 12 runs scored, 5 homers, 18 RBI and 3 steals. If those numbers don’t bring you existential enlightenment, I’m not sure a psychedelic cactus or a sweat lodge will either. He’s hitting close to .400 in August as he attempts to carry the Sawx to the promised land aka the postseason. In addition, since moving from lead off to clean up over the past week and a half he’s only gotten better, slashing .400/.455/.550 with two jacks and 8 RBI. I love Mookie Betts more than I could ever love a human baby. I think I am feeling more spiritual already.

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

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tuxes

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Matt Lyons, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Cleveland Indians!

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We are so close to the top 20 starters you can almost taste it, and it tastes like limoncello.  I wonder why that is.  From the top 20 outfielders through to this top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball has been like the greatest mini-series ever.  Sorta like what I hope the O.J. Simpson show is.  By the way, don’t Google O.J. Simpson, major spoilers!  In most fantasy leagues, you won’t need to draft guys from this top 100 outfielders, and they’ll be waiver wire pickups.  A few of these guys will be drafted by people saying things like, “I’m really loving (fill-in name from this post) as a late sleeper,” then those same people will get to the middle of April and be saying things like, “I can drop (fill-in player’s name), right?”  As with other rankings posts, I go over where tiers start and stop and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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I’m going down the path of J-FOH and others here and trying to give general, “win your league” type advice these last couple weeks.  I’ve decided this week that advice will come in the form of how many games each team has left, along with noting which teams have Monday and Thursday off days. It’s not only useful for stolen bases but whatever category you need.  And I’ll also be noting as I did last week, some speedsters that have gained playing time recently, these are players to consider for streaming stolen bases these last two weeks.  So definitely couple this advice with the stolen bases versus starting pitchers SAGNOF tool and stream, stream, stream for steals, if you are up to the task.  Here’s this weeks “Names to consider” from speediest to least speedy:  Sam Fuld (Athletics), Abraham Almonte (Indian), Mikie Mahtook (Rays, decent power too), Andrew Romine (Tigers), Cory Spangenberg (Padres).  Some of those aren’t exactly household names, which is basically the point.

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Troy Tulowitzki left Saturday’s game after colliding with Pillar.  That was the same way Julius Caesar hurt himself, forcing him out of baseball and into ruling.  Crazy what the stadiums were made of that the Romans used to play in.  Alas, as Caesar said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Those roads over there took seven months!  Freakin’ teamsters.”  The MRI on Tulo’s ribs and back came back negative, though it was as in:  Doctor, “Can you move?”  Tulo, “Negative, Doc.”  Because what the MRI originally failed to mention was his cracked shoulder blade.   He won’t be shaving with that shoulder blade anytime soon!  Or possibly playing baseball for two to three weeks, according to the Blue Jays.  Ryan Goins is Goins to fill-in, and that’s the Blue Jays’ shortstop comings and Goins!  Stay tuned for more fantasy news and reborts coming up after the break.  Offscreen voice, “It’s reports, not reborts, you jackass.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Matt Kemp went 2-for-3 with his 21st homer, and his 5th homer in the past ten games.  With the help of his last ten games, he’s quietly put together a decent season.  You’re likely thinking, “Quiet, yes.  Decent?  Well, he’s worn pants, if that’s what you mean by him getting himself decent.”  On our Player Rater, where do you think Kemp ranks overall?  For all players, not just outfielders or hitters.  If you said top 40, you’d be right and you likely cheated, because he did not feel like a top 40 fantasy player.   Outfield is absolutely stacked this year, and Kemp is only around the 15th best outfielder.  He’s been better than quite a few guys that you might think have been better Michael Brantley, Mookie Betts, Adam Jones…Okay, maybe you don’t think Adam Jones has been better.  Kemp is still nowhere near what he once was, nor will he be in 2016, and moving to San Diego from LA has had its challenges.  For instance, there’s real military at games and not just Mark Harmon fresh from the set of NCIS.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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