So loyal readers of mine are probably thinking – why the switch to Monday, and why the switch to FantasyDraft? Well, simply, the editors asked me to, and I said yes. Now, FantasyDraft and FanDuel have a lot of differences in gameplay, but one of those differences far outweighs all the other ones – the use of a second pitcher in your lineups. All the other differences are cosmetic.

Therefore, it makes more sense for those new to FantasyDraft to compare it to other two-pitcher sites – such as DraftKings. And when you look at it, the two sites are very similar in scoring systems and in salaries (FantasyDraft is almost always double DraftKings, with a few exceptions for what I like to call “pricing buckets”). But there is one major difference between FantasyDraft and DraftKings/FanDuel/most other DFS site that I know of – positional requirements. FantasyDraft requires you to have 3 Infielders, 3 outfielders, and 2 utility players. You do not need to roster a shortstop specifically – you can have Thames, Goldschmidt and Rizzo in a lineup, or for that matter, you could have a lineup of Alcides Escobar, Andrelton Simmons and J.T. Riddle (in which case, send me your FantasyDraft screen name so I can challenge you to a h2h match).

FantasyDraft’s different roster requirements, flexibility and pricing buckets can create a whole host of issues, but there is one noticeable consequence that pops up frequently and it has to do with being able to roster several outfield punts and not have to use punts (or pay up for subpar high end) at very weak positions. For the most part, value plays on DraftKings at every position except outfield are the glove-first, bat-second (or glove-first bat-never) players. Only in the outfield do you get value plays who actually can hit – Gregory Polanco and Billy Hamilton are both very affordable (and yes, I know Billy Hamilton can’t hit, but if you’re reading a DFS article, you know that stolen bases are important). Just to illustrate my point – today, Alcides Escobar is $6,000 and Gregory Polanco is $6,800. There is not a single scenario that does not involve Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale where I would voluntarily play Alcides Escobar over Gregory Polanco were it not for positional requirements.

More on this and today’s picks once I find a reason to play Alcides Escobar on Fantasy Draft…

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Kenley Jansen over his career has thrown 436.1 innings, has struck out 40.1% of batters faced, walked 7% to go with a .64 HR/9. He’s been worth 15.4 WAR over his career, which is pretty good for a reliever. His last 2 years, he’s basically done away with those walks, walking 4% and 4.4% of batters. And this year, he’s down to 0%. Yes, that’s right, he’s walked no one this year. Yes, I know he’s a reliever and he’s only thrown 27.2 innings this year, but it’s still pretty impressive. His 45% K-BB% would be the best since 1946, except Craig Kimbrel this year exists with his 49.5% K-BB%. But, the thing that makes Kenley Jansen so amazing is that unlike pretty much everyone else, he really only throws one pitch over and over again (Kimbrel throws fastball, curve). Once Jansen mostly junked his slider earlier in his career he’s thrown his cutter nearly 90% of the time, which is similar to the great Mariano Rivera. Kenley Jansen is able to get Major League hitters out throwing one pitch over and over again and is one of the main reasons why the Dodgers pen is so good. Now I know you’re saying – this is a DFS article, why is Kenley Jansen being discussed? Well, first of all, you actually can play relievers (just unclick the “Show Probable Pitchers Only” button), and there actually are some theoretical situations where you can justify it (2 or 3-game slates with a juicy Coors matchup is the most obvious one). But more importantly, with baseball (correctly) moving more and more to the “starting pitcher goes 5-6 innings, 7 innings tops, and the bullpen handles the rest”, bullpens become more and more relevant for analyzing whether or not a hitter has a good matchup. If the hitter is going to get 2 at-bats against the starter and then 2 at-bats against relievers, a batter facing a weak Dodgers starter becomes less attractive if half of his at-bats will be against Ross Stripling and Kenley “I Just Get Hitters Out With One Pitch, Man” Jansen. Meanwhile, facing the Twins becomes that much more attractive when their best reliever is Chris Gimenez. So while your main focus when analyzing a hitter’s matchup should always be on the starting pitcher, the bullpen is absolutely part of the equation so ignore it at your own peril.

On to the picks once Kenley Jansen walks a batter…

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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Eric Thames is in Arizona vs Randall Delgado. Yes please. Delgado historically has been a fly ball pitcher with a career 42.4% ground ball rate. You know what Thames does to fly ball pitchers? He takes them in and spits them out and slugs nearly 1 vs them. Randall Delgado throws with his right hand and you know what Eric Thames does to pitchers who throw with their right hand? He hits .422/.576 with a .303 ISO. Player X (I’m sure you can guess who it is, given that this article is about Eric Thames) has a .417 wOBA, hits 2nd vs a below average fly ball pitcher in a top hitters park. What would you expect this player to cost? For comparison’s sake – Joey Votto has a .410 wOBA and costs $4,300 and is in a pitchers park. So, maybe $4,300 for Player X? Nope. Not $4,300. Paul Goldschmidt has a .416 wOBA and in Arizona and costs $4,500 without the platoon advantage, so Player X must be priced comparably to that, right? Nope, incorrect. Player X inexplicably costs $3,000. Player X is Eric Thames (huge shocking surprise there, I know). Three thousand dollars for one of the better hitters in baseball in a hitters park vs a fly ball pitcher with the platoon advantage.

On to the picks once The Thames inspires you to win money…

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryon Healy (44.7% owned – increase of 18.3%) has hit 13 home runs in 57 games this season. In 72 games last year, Healy clubbed 13 home runs in 72 games. For those that are too lazy to use their desktop abacus, that comes out to 26 home runs in 129 games to begin Healy’s major league career. As John Hickey of The Mercury News wrote, “For the A’s, only two men have done better – the Bash Brothers. Mark McGwire hit 42 homers in his first 128 games and Jose Canseco hit 28 over the same number of games to start his Oakland career.” Yo Grey!!! Time to schedule another interview with Jose. The thing that immediately jumps out to me is the .331 BABIP. Regression, right? Well, he had a .352 BABIP last season. The projection systems have him slated for a .310-ish BABIP and .270-ish average for the remainder of the season. I’m not one to argue with the computers. It’s the same reason why I married Chinese. Just in case either take over the world, I’ve got some protection. As I continue to research Healy, the numbers look good. The contact rates are good (88.3% in the zone and 76.5% in general) and swinging strike rate is decent for a power hitter (10.9%). The chase rate of 34.2% is high (Top 30), but a far cry from the 47.1% by Corey Dickerson. Healy is mashing lefties (.408 average with five home runs), but what’s most impressive are the .346 average and 10 home runs at O.co Coliseum, which is an albatross for power. The cherry on top is that Healy plays everyday, which is sometimes worrisome with the ADD platoon nature of the A’s. TREASURE

Here are a few more players that caught my eye on the most added/dropped list for the week:

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Not one to toot my own horn (who else is going to toot it then?) but I’m feeling a little props for Hunter Renfroe’s grand salami on the same day he’s the lede in OPS Leaguers Unite!, right?  I really like him and still think you should add him, but c’mon, a couple hours after post goes up he crushes a homer and I watched it live on TV; that’s just cool to me.  So anyway it was a good Sunday even before spending the day at the beach.  Day before that I was at Dodger Stadium to see the Cubs continue to suck it up.  First off I have to thank commentor PublicEnemy#1 for the excellent parking advice a few weeks back; worked like a charm.  As this was my first time there I have some observations so buckle up.

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In just his first full week back J.D. Martinez topped the charts in week 7 coming in with 40 points and doing what he does best, hit dongs. I freaking sound like Casey Kasem with that opening line. Is he still doing top 40 countdowns? I haven’t heard him in quite some time. But then again I pretty much only listen to the Howard Stern Show. En route to those 40 points, J.D. smacked four home runs, drove in nine and walked ten times. Owners that have been stashing him until now must be pretty happy with themselves. Have yourself a shot of JD! Jake Lamb fell one point short of Martinez with 39.

The winner for week 7 is the contestant that picked Nelson Cruz (21 points), Corey Seager (23 points) and Jose Bautista (33 points). That person is Peter guigli with a total of 77 points. Coming in at second on the charts was Smallwine who scored 76 points by picking Nelson Cruz (21), J.D. Martinez (40) and Buster Posey (15). With both selecting Cruz, it came down to Seager and Joey Bats versus J.D. and Posey, with just one point separating them.

Here are the top-5 from Week 7:

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For this Buy on Adam Frazier, we are hoping C**nt Hurdle doesn’t mysteriously bench Frazier for, say, Jose Osuna, Alen Hanson or John Jaso.  You’re thinking to yourself, “No way Hurds benches a guy that’s batting near-.360.  No way Hurds does this to a guy that regularly hit for a .300+ average in the minors.  No way Hurds does this with a guy that had a .400+ OBP in the minors and with an OBP near-.450 in the majors.”  Yeah, well, Hurds and way, Little Miss Muffet.  I have no proof of this, but I think C**nt Hurdle came up with the idea for gas station TV.  Not that there’s anything dumb about TV above the pumps while you get gas, but it’s so stupid that every 15 seconds it says, “Welcome to Gas Station TV!”  Imagine this anywhere else, “Hello, and welcome to living room TV!”  “Welcome back to guest bedroom TV, after just telling you that you were watching guest bedroom TV literally 15 seconds ago!”  “We now interrupt the conclusion for this week’s Better Call Saul finale to tell you exactly where you are.”  That Hurdle came up with announcing Gas Station TV every 15 seconds tells you how smart this guy is.  Frazier does appear to be as good as most leadoff guys around the league for OBP and speed.  Think a poor man’s Ender.  I will call him, Watching The Ending Of A Show On Gas Station TV.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Dirt McGirt, Dirty Nasty, Tha Ol’ Dirty Chinese Restaurant, Big Baby Jesus, Odubel Herrera went 0-for-5 with 5 Ks.  Last Phillie to do that was Pat Burrell.  Burrell remembers wistfully, “Ah, yes…’Slump Buster September 2008.’  That was Jamie Moyer’s granddaughter’s friend.  She was like a keg with two arms.  She looked like Matt Stairs with longer hair.  I believe Brett Myers introduced us.  Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why she was always flinching.”  Odubel’s average is down to .226 and his OBP is .275.  M-E-T-H-O-D MAN that is bad.  Shame on a Herrera.  Ooh, baby, I like it raw, but that’s filled with salmonella.  He swings at the third most pitches outside the strike zone and his strikeout rate is up 4% while his walk rate has fallen 4%.  Put it all together and you have one of the worst hitters in the majors right now.  So, can he come out of it?  Future:  Cloudy.  He’s more of a .265 hitter, but swinging at balls outside the zone can quickly spiral and shove him further into his slump.  Before last year, he had a full season of 8 HRs and 16 SBs, couple that with .265 and you’re not looking at the guy you thought you were getting in March.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Okay, this is weird, but Sonny Gray and I are complete opposites.  Sonny Gray is in Bay Area, and it’s Grey Albright in Los Angeles.  Weather you like it or not, that’s weird!  Pun noted too!  Grey Albright plays fantasy baseball; Sonny Gray plays reality baseball!  It’s freaking me out!  Grey Albright’s face is mustachioed; Sonny Gray’s is not.  Sonny Gray is athletic; I am not.  He works for a newspaper called Ballrazz, which is super-terse and serious.  It’s uncanny!  Yesterday, Gray (him) went 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.34.  Okay, time to take a new look.  I did like him at one point in his career, before everything went sideways.  His velocity and two-seam fastball are back.  Right now, his two-seam is his best pitch, however, his curve is not back to where it was in 2015.  Watching some video on him showed a guy that can get swings and misses, but had a bit of a favorable strike zone yesterday.  I’d be careful in shallower leagues, but he looks closer to his breakout from two years ago than he has in a while.  Now, if he’s married to a younger woman, I’m gonna plotz over all of our opposites.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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I almost don’t know what to do with myself this week. There are only nine fantasy baseball relevant players who made it into this week’s Ambulance Chasers (I said relevant Jered Weaver — relevant.) That is the lowest total since Week 1 of this series. Maybe players are just playing safer to avoid injury. Or maybe there are just less players left  to get injured…

  • Week 1: 9
  • Week 2: 15
  • Week 3: 14
  • Week 4: 11
  • Week 5: 14
  • Week 6: 16
  • Week 7: 13
  • Week 8: 9

As always, leave a comment below if you’ve got any injury questions that are specific to your league!

Please, blog, may I have some more?