I’ll be honest, picking a creeper early in the year is not an easy task. We have small sample sizes to work with, players under performing and pitchers very hard to predict. I ask myself every week as I prepare these: what angle can I find to make a call? What is a constant that doesn’t change? Where are my pants? Well, the third question is nearly impossible to answer because it’s like trying to figure out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. The other two are things we always look for, regardless of what point of the season we are at, are park factors, lefty/righty match-ups, Schmotatoness, and batter vs. pitcher history. For example, this week, Brad Miller plays six games and for five of them, he faces right-handers. On the year, he bats .348 against RHP (good thing), but among the five he faces this week, he bats .191 against (not so good), and Hitter-Tron (-$2.5) says he won’t be any good. I’ll pass too. That’s a little snapshot into my process.  This week, I’m going for Schomtatoness and park factors to make my call. Would you like to hear more? Oh c’mon, I’ll give you some Arby’s coupons? Dairy Queen? Fine, then skip to the top 100 and we can fight about that in the comments instead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

True story: in a 15-team league last year, I toyed with dropping Corey Kluber in April. He was being dropped in multiple leagues, most shallower than mine. If you think I’m crazy as a loon wearing a “I’m crazier than a loon” t-shirt, you have selective memory about him from last year. I decided to stick it out with Kluber and he ended up winning the Cy Young last year. This true story, of course, makes me sound even more moronic than usual. It also highlights a point, Kluber likes the cold weather about as much as a chapped nipple. Or maybe he just takes some time to get going. Either way, his Aprils have been forgettable for the last two years. This year, his April is actually better than last year’s by any measure that means anything. His K-rate is up, ground balls are up (not literally), fly balls are down (literally), xFIP is way down, walks are down and his K/BB is up. You have to do some serious digging to find something that is negative for him this past month other than his ERA. His velocity is down a hair (0.5 MPH on his fastball) and his line drive rate is up (people are making better contact). Everything else is nails, and not as in Lenny “Nails” Dykstra just invested me in this mutual fund and I lost my retirement savings. There’s some worry to some that Kluber threw too many innings last year. That’s not a worry. He’s 29 years old; a jump in IP from one year to the next is for pitchers 25 years and younger. Also, plenty of great analysis here and elsewhere has shown that jump in innings isn’t the end all/be all, even if it applied, which it does not. As the weather warms up, his sensitive nips will be less dry and he’ll likely have months of a sub-2 ERA. If you can buy him now, do it. Quickly! Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It seems loud and clear that the roof is closing on Adam Wainwright‘s season. If only he had a 3rd Achilles he could sub in! We should be able to have a schadenfreude party since I told everyone not to draft him this year, but there’s always a few people who still draft him against my wishes, so do we ignore these people and still schadenfreude or do we show pity? *thinks for a millisecond* We schadenfreude party! The schadenfreude party is being held in the superiority complex. Put up the pinata of someone’s ego that is smarter, prettier, funnier or richer and we beat it down! Put on some tunes and let’s do the Point and Laugh Dance! That’s not the Point and Laugh Dance, that’s the African Anteater Ritual. So, Wainwright’s done for 2015 and Carlos Villanueva, Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney could step in at first, but this will likely be Marco Gonzales’s job for the majority of the year once he returns from the minor league DL with a shoulder issue. I like Gonzales for very deep leagues, especially NL-Only ones, so if you have room, I’d grab him. He’s around a 7+ K/9, low-2 BB/9 guy that could have a 3.75 ERA or under with a good WHIP. Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m headed back to the schadenfreude party, hungry for self-satisfaction, eager for some prigs in a blanket! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Tigers announced that Joe Nathan had a torn UCL and would require season-ending Tommy John surgery. This could be the end of a once-illustrious career. To commemorate all that Nathan has done for baseball, this Fourth of July, at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, they will be eating Nathan’s discarded elbow tendons. Takeru Kobayashi said, “I’ll be training on udon and Brandon Beachy tendons for the next few months, then a week before I will eat nothing but Sabathia’s knee ligaments to widen my gullet.” Gotta love that guy’s ambitious spirit. So, Nathan’s done and Joakim Soria now becomes a top twelve-ish closer with the chance of being top seven-ish by season’s close. As long as -ish don’t kill my vibe! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of my favorite things about Razzball besides the glorious mustaches, amazing daily recaps and the best projections/rankings on the net is the community we’ve got here. We’re all huge nerds around these parts and I love striking up intelligent fantasy baseball discussions with my fellow Razzballers. Come on into the comments section and let’s talk shop. These conversations and debates are where the fun is and where real answers can be found. I’ve chatted with a few folks recently and conversations have gone something like this:

Me: So, have you tried DFS yet?

Anonymous Nobody: Yea, I tried it once, but I lost and haven’t played again.

Me: Oh, well, you should give it another go.

Anonymous Nobody: Ya, maybe

So, in a season that spans 7 months these Anonymous Nobodies have played 1 day of DFS, lost and never went back. I’m here to tell you, that is just not enough action to make a decision on this great game. Baseball has more variance than any other sport on a night to night basis and even on a night where you make all the “correct” plays, you’re going to lose. It happens. It’s what makes bankroll management so key here. Playing 5-10% of your roll per night is critical to surviving. A friend of mine who just got into baseball side of DFS recently joined the Razzball Framily Plan $2 league and won the whole kit and kaboodle. He e-mailed me after saying what a confidence boost that was and I completely understand that sentiment. Winning early is probably the biggest factor in people sticking with this. I’d just like to suggest you give yourself enough rope to play for 20-30 days. Track your results and then make a decision. Don’t make the call to quit after one day. If your process is a good one over the span of 30 days, you’ll see a profit. That, over the long haul of the baseball season, really adds up. Now, let’s get to some picks that will get you winning early and hopefully winning often.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Pump the brakes! Something I told myself I wanted to do when I took this gig was to shoutout the previous week’s winner of the contest posted in my article. I’m starting that this week and hope to keep it going. So, if you take down the Framily Plan on a Tuesday night, look for you name here the following week. Everyone likes to see their name in print. This week, it’s a shout out to my aforementioned friend, Joshyb714 who squeaked out a 4 point victory to take home the top prize. Let’s see if you can earn yourself a shout out next week, hop on in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Drew Pomeranz notched his first win of 2015 last night pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and punching out six Mariners. You my boy, Drew! Not too long ago, Pomeranz was once a highly touted prospect with Colorado, children. Yes, believe it or not, the Rockies have pitching prospects just like every other team. It’s funny how an Oakland A uniform changes things. OakTown is the place to be if you’re a highly touted pitching prospect. In the club house, they feed you coconut water, fancy cheeses and all the extra foodie overflow from the SanFran yelpers. Also, warm towels and artisan breads. Pomeranz put up a more than respectable 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 64 Ks in 69.0 IP (10 GS) in 2014. Yes, more please. How about that .244 BABIP last year? See where I’m going with this? Did I mention how he was a highly touted prospect? Why is he available in over 90% of leagues? If I were you, I’d live your life, watch then delete everything in your DVR, eat your favorite foods in your fridge and probably sleep with your girlfriend several times. I would also pick up Drew Pomeranz so when you return to your body you wouldn’t have missed your opportunity. DP gets the Astros next week and something tells me Pomeranz come up big this year. The A’s always have that one break out starting pitcher, right? Why not Drew? He was highly touted, people! So grab him before someone else does.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night (*Opening Week Edition*):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grey say, “Devon Travis my boo-boo.” Obama say, “What it do?” The Buy/Sell Column say, “Did you miss me?!” During the offseason, while you were diddling and thinking about how your middle school nickname was Skidmark, I, The Buy/Sell Column was re-reenacting scenes from The Act of Killing with puppets in a staged production on the western tip of Alaska because I’M HARDCORE! You want some Rip Taylor-wannabe, throwing confetti at your feet or you want a Buy/Sell Column that be cutting puppets’ necks with chicken wire while bundled up because it was frickin’ cold in Alaska during the winter!? Mental midgets, you want the latter! I’m eating puppet stuffing like I’m George “The Animal” Steele just to prove how crazy I am! Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery, I love Devon Travis like his momma. Let’s throw out what he’s done this year so far for small sample size reasons — that’s what she said! Huh? — and simply look at Travis’s minor league stats. In Single-A, he hit .352 with 6 homers and 14 steals in 77 games. That’s a young man’s professional ball level, let’s move up higher. In Double-A last year in 100 games, he had 10 homers, 16 steals and a .298 average. He didn’t strike out a lot. He wasn’t getting by on his good looks and high BABIP (for him). If you take me out of the equation, ZiPS gives him 13 HRs, 11 SBs in only 116 games. Unless he gets hurt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at least 140 games, so that makes him a 17 HR, 15 SBs guy. Oh. Wait a minute, that’s glorious. Also, I think the Jays are gonna move him to the top of the order by May 1st. Let’s just pray that the Jays don’t do something stupid when Izturis is healthy again. Because…They say with Devon love comes first! We’ll make Devon a place on earth! Sing it, Belinda Carlisle! (By the by, Belinda Carlisle? Hot Cougar Alert! She could be 85 years old and sexy as all get out!) If you’re hurting at MI, I’d grab him, because I’m randy for Travis. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

better-call-saul

You’ve got to be schlitting me, right? There’s actually a pitcher with the last name Schlitter. I was watching a Cubs spring training game last week and this guy was on the mound. It was literally a mound of schlit. I wonder… when he has an awful outing and someone asks him how he pitched, does he say “schlitty”? Another pitcher with an interesting last name is Jeff Manship. Manship! Sounds like the Carnival Cruise line that doesn’t allow any females. Or perhaps it’s the mode of transportation that Sean Doolittle will be offering to the dudes he bought tickets for to fill the seats in Oakland on LGBT Pride Night. And what about Josh Outman of the Atlanta Braves. Is he the guy that told everyone who secretly bought a ticket for the man ship? Any chance Josh Phegley is on that list? Wow, that really got outta hand fast. Did anyone throw a trident?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the easiest things to do in DFS is to abandon ship. On Twitter, you can find all the folks you follow in total shambles over the results of the evening’s gameplan. So as you prepare for the next day, it would be real easy to see a good play but pass on it because you feel the burn of the previous evening’s results.

Rather than bailing on the play, there is no better time to double-down on that play, because there are going to be plenty of people who will not get on the boat again, leaving you to be the one to cash in on what you knew was a good play.

You have to have a cornerback’s mentality to have fun at DFS, otherwise you’ll find yourself with a Do-Not-Roster list longer than the player’s eligible. Do your research and trust your process. What you can’t trust is your own recency bias.

With that said, it takes a real thick-skinned player to go back to the well a third time when the other two times haven’t worked out. Yet, that’s exactly what I’m doing tomorrow when I have at least one lineup with a Milwaukee Brewer stack in it for tournament play.

The Brewers have scored a whopping two runs in their first two games, at home, against the not-so-intimidating Colorado Rockies staff. Wednesday they face Eddie Butler, a hard-throwing but otherwise hittable arm that occupies the three slot in the Rockies rotation. So, Adam Lind, Jonathan Lucroy, you’re not leaving my lineups just yet.

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

By now, most of you have drafted your fantasy baseball teams, and while there may be a few stragglers, the majority of you will be turning to Razzball for in-season info, not draft info.  You can no longer wait till the wee rounds of your home league to grab that super sleeper you have been pining for since the Winter Meetings.  Adding clutch players will either have to be done via trade or the waiver wire.  In my weekly “Deep Impact” series, I’ll be focusing on the players that you can acquire from the latter from of those transactional options — the waiver wire pick up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?