Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

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Just do it, you wuss. Yeah, she was probably hammered and will scream when she sees you in daylight, but you never know, the chick might actually like you. So pick up that phone and dial those digits she gave you. What’s that? It’s a number for a cat hotel? That sounds like an awful job … poor girl. Oh, the number was fake … gotcha. Well, that’s good because now you have plenty of time to play some DraftKings tonight, and better yet, you don’t even have to take a shower. You, my friend, are now living the DFS dream.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 Teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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Wada start! Wada player! Wada guy! Tsuyoshi Wada continued to pitch well last night, tossing six innings, allowing just four hits and one walk, while giving up two earned runs and striking out six. He didn’t get the win but Wada you gonna do? After dominating AAA earlier in the year (113.2 IP, 2.77 ERA, 120/28 K/BB ratio), he struggled a bit in his second big league outing versus San Diego (4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K), but T-Dubs has rebounded since then, letting up just 2 ER or less in his past three starts with a 2.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 18/4 K/BB ratio. Maybe you’re thinking, Wada crock! But the next level stats don’t suggest any regression is coming, although it is a small sample size.  His 3.60 xFIP is great, as is his .292 BABIP and 7.7% HR/FB.  In addition, his excellent 21.7 K% demonstrates he can be a plenty useful starter for your fantasy leagues. He gets the Brewers next week and I’d take a flier on Tsuyoshi Wada if you are in need of a starter. He’s available in over 90% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. So Wada you waiting for… pick him up!

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

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As I discussed recently with a good friend, I just missed my musical times growing up. I started getting into the rock of the early 90′s. Y’all can call it grunge, I’m cool with that. Don’t really care what you want to label it as but I enjoyed my Alice ‘n’ Chains and Soundgarden in my Middle School years. And just as high school began, the good music started to die. I got stuck with the fallout of all the Mouseketeers becoming music stars and invading my audio living space. Gone was ‘Burden In My Hand’ and in was ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. It was a jolt, to say the least. I finished out my High School years going backwards musically, exploring all the bands that influenced the bands I loved growing up so I could avoid the complete and under dreck that was on the radio every day. Of course, that does not make one immune to it. Hell, even people who admit to hating Journey can probably sing a few bars. When Thong Song hit my ears, I thought it was a joke. I mean, it quotes Ricky Martin’s ‘La Vida Loca’. Who does that if they’re trying to be taken seriously? Sisqo I guess. And no, Sisqo, I won’t look up how to make the weird mark above the ‘o’. You’re just not worth it. But more to the point, ‘If Loving Kolten Is Wong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right’ has been used so I decided to bring upon you the pain of my late teen years to make a title. Sorry about that (ok not really), but I thought you’d like the song (ok, not really again). Of course, I bring to you this conversation about Kolten Wong because he hit 2 homers Thursday night to go along with a steal and now has 9 HRs and 17 steals on the year over 251 AB. Stretch that out to 500 AB and you have an 18 HR, 34 steal season at 2B. To put that in perspective, Daniel Murphy is on pace for 13 HRs and 17 steals in 656 at bats this year and is the 7th best 2B on the year, according to Yahoo. Like I told Nick on the podcast over the All-Star Break, I think Wong turns some teams around down the stretch run. Given that it’s his rookie year, I’m willing to look past the up and down that his been this year with Kolten and realize his .247 average is masking something that could be great in 2015 and beyond. That Wong, wa-Wong, Wong, Wong! In other news for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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Sorry my Razzball peeps but everybody’s favorite bearded genius J-FOH is hanging with Mickey Mouse today. So while J-FOH does his initiation with these guys, I’m stepping in to pinch hit. Think of me as a super sexy Matt Stairs, only instead of late innings hits I’m dropping Daily Baseball science on y’all! Speaking of daily fantasy science, check out Rudy’s Franken-tool the DFSBot. Why do I call it a Franken-tool? Because it’s a monster!

So now that introductions are out of the way, I have a question. Have you guys seen Adam Wainwright‘s price today on DraftKings? He costs a measly $9,500! For a pitcher of Wainwright’s caliber that’s downright stealing. Which leads me to my next question. What does DraftKings know that I don’t?

On face value I think 1. He faces the Red Sox in St. Louis which means they will be sans a DH. When the Red Sox are DH-less either Mike Napoli or David Ortiz are on the bench. That takes a lot of pop out of an already punch-less lineup. 2. The Red Sox offense stinks to begin with. Take a look at the numbers the last two weeks. They have the second lowest run total, the third highest K%, and the lowest wOBA. So they’re a bad lineup WITH Napoli and Ortiz. What’s worse than bad? Ice Cold! Thanks Andre 3000! Sure they upgraded their offense at the deadline, but Allen Craig just hit the DL and Yoenis Cespedes is 0/4 vs Wainwright lifetime with 3 K’s. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Wainwright is in line for a dominant performance tonight. Expect a minimum of 7 innings of one run ball, with 8 K’s.

To play devil’s advocate, the Wainwright problem on DraftKings lately is his steadily evaporating strikeouts. The K/9 this year of 7.37 is down a full whiff from his norm the last 4 years of 8.25. Even worse, his K/9 was a pedestrian 6.91 for the month of June and a disturbing 4.59 for the month of July. So a question for another time and perhaps another article all together is, where have they gone and will they come back? Well I can tell you tonight’s matchup sets up nicely for Wainwright to return to DraftKing‘s points glory. BOLD PREDICTION – 9K’s, 8IP, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 BB, AND THE WIN. 37 DraftKings points.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 Teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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The 32 day party kicked off last night in the Pacific Northwest with many of the Razzb-All-Stars tearing up World Sports Grille.  Nick Cappozzi, Guru, Sky and Tehol devirginized the clean streets of Seattle bringing Razzball swagger the size of the Space Needle.  The National Football League is kicking off the preseason and if you need any help on that front check out the football side of things.  But here at Razzball we got plenty of love to spread around and the baseball season is approaching its climax.  As the 32in32in32 tour departs on its journey around the country, King Felix Hernandez is staying put, headlining the after party at Safeco, unofficially sponsored by DraftKings.  With the Braves lubricating the equation, the $12,700 Felix Hernandez is primed to be C-blocking.  It should be comical watching the Brave swingers strikeout all night.  Ladies will likely have better luck at the plate tonight.  So far in the 6 game West Coast swing, the Braves have managed just barely more than 2 runs per game and more than 9 Ks per game including facing Eric Stults.  Felix is running hot too, with 24 Ks over his last 21 IP while giving up only 3 ER combined against very proficient offenses in the Orioles, Angels and Indians.  I’m RSVPing now and ensuring I get Felix in every DraftKings lineup today.

Outside of King Felix, I aim to bring you the coupons of the day.  I know you’re aware that Mike Trout is a phenomenal hitter and Jose Abreu is hotter than Kate Upton.  I have my recommendations, but the real genius lies in the DFSBot.  Rudy’s phenomenal tool cranks out the day’s best value plays and even breaks it down to expected $ per point.  As the Ombotsman has proven, the DFSBot has been a much more accurate method of ranking value than Draftkings salaries have been.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

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This never should have happened, but do you remember a time when Gangnam Style was cool? It’s hard to remember, I know, but I’m talking about the dark ages of 2012; the same year Jeremy Hellickson was last an effective pitcher. Following a disastrous 2013 campaign, Hellickson underwent offseason surgery, and tonight will be his third start off the DL. Against very mediocre competition (BOS and KC), he’s looked rusty (as expected), and I don’t think he’ll get his groove back against the Angels, who are probably my favorite stack of the night. Los Angeles of Anaheim of California of Earth has struggled to put up runs recently, but I expect an outburst at the Trop. So, feel free to take a hit off my stack pipe, but if you’re chicken, see below for some other players who gon’ do the damn thing.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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Signs you should’ve had someone else name your group: mispelling a common word is NOT a band name. Seriously, try it. Tom Petty Andd The Heartbreakers…yeah, did ya need the extra ‘d’? Rhetorical. No you didn’t. Hrm, maybe it’s just a sign you’re a bad group and should give up music entirely? Well, history has made it so. In many ways, streamers are just like one hit wonders, even when you look back and wonder how they even had a hit at all. By the end of the year, the Reds should get guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips back, making Cincy’s lineup a bit more imposing down the stretch. But we’re not there now, we’re here where guys like Ramon Santiago is batting second in the lineup and they’re starting two catchers. You shouldn’t even do that in a fantasy league that doesn’t require two Cs. Every fantasy player knows this but the Reds literally have no choice right now. All this to say, maybe some day you’ll look back with nostalgia on that one time you started Tom Koehler against the Reds and came out with some major DraftKings change for doing so. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Reds owned the worst team wOBA of the major leagues over the last 14 days while striking out 25.7% of the time. Though Koehler’s numbers on the season aren’t that inspiring, he does average 6 more DK points at home then he does on the road. Considering he’s only $6,400, he’ll leave you all the room you need to roster a big arm or big bats. And when he’s done, I’ll probably never start him again and forget how awesome he was for that one day. But for the time being, Koehler, I Wanna Sex You Up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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The Cardinals traded for one of the most unreliable starters this year, Justin Masterson and his 5.51 ERA. Ouch. The Cardinals fell asleep and the Indians drew a shaft and balls on their forehead. People are snickering at you, Cardinals, because you have a shaft and balls on your head. Unless it’s a non-Leaning Tower of Pisa that is partially obscuring a tractor trailer so all we’re seeing is its giant wheels. Then, it’s a lovely scenic landscape, but you still got had. This saves the Brewers a lot of trouble because I heard they were going to trade for Masterson and then ‘accidentally’ leave him behind on their next road trip to St. Louis. No reason to obfuscate, my dear Milwaukee friends. Masterson gets a slight uptick in value just going to the NL, but he needs to prove he’s healthy and able to throw a Quality Start before I’d start him anywhere. So, he’s gone from a Waiver Wire guy, to an On My Bench Until He Shows Something guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?