This draft was so slow that I lost half my starting rotation before the draft ended. This draft was so slow that when it started Minnie Minoso was still alive. This draft was so slow when it started Tupac was still dead. I didn’t enjoy my time last year in the 15-team NFBC slow draft. I drafted Mark Trumbo, Prince Fielder, Cliff Lee, Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin and my only chance was a big year from Nadir Bupkis, who gave me just that. See, there’s no waivers and the league is 50 rounds deep, so if you’re hit by injuries, you’re done. So, I was talked into doing the league one more time, but knew I had to draft starters early and often, and, of course, prior to the draft even completing I lost Zack Wheeler and Tony Cingrani. Many will disagree with me, but I’m under the firm belief that it’s a lot harder and more fun to win a league like a Razzball Commenter League, than it is to win a super-deep league. With super-deep leagues, if you’re hit by injuries, you’re done. That’s neither fun nor challenging. That’s just shizzy luck. You can say I should’ve known Wheeler and Cingrani weren’t safe, and I’d say to you that neither are any of the pitchers that are healthy all year. They just happened to stay healthy. It’s not like the guy that drafted Alex Cobb is any smarter than the guy who drafted (insert pitcher that is healthy right now that may not be healthy by the time you read this). How’s dem grapes? Sour! Anyway, here’s my 15-team, 5×5, roto, NFBC slow draft team and thoughts:

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Like the 2nd basemen to target, this is necessary. You want to take flyers on late middle infielders. I like a few top shortstops this year: Hanley, Desmond and Tulo, but if you don’t get them, don’t sweat it and definitely don’t ‘panic reach’ for another shortstop just because you feel like you need one. This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2015 fantasy baseball. The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2015 projections. Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist, Hester Prynne, is forced to wear a red “A” on her dress as punishment for committing adultery.  Like Ms. Prynne way back in the 1600s, you too will be heavily penalized if you choose to cheat on your fantasy team by drafting Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder Billy Hamilton — a man with a different red letter on his uniform.

Hawthorne’s critically acclaimed tale concerned itself with many moral indecencies.  At the center of it all was the notion that adultery was a sin, and anyone who perpetrated this lascivious act would pay the consequences.  Attempting to gain an early edge in the stolen base category is one of the most heinous fantasy crimes an owner can carry out (cue the Law & Order: SVU opening).

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In the first article of this series, I looked at some of the most disappointing fantasy performers from this past season and attempted to project what should be expected from those players in 2015. If you missed it, you can check out that post here. This time around, I’m going to break down a few players who unexpectedly produced some of the best overall numbers in fantasy baseball during the 2014 season. None of these guys were thought of as core players for fantasy owners to build around prior to the season, but all of them found their way onto many championship teams due to their elite production.

Are these breakout performances sustainable going forward? Should significant regression be expected? Let’s investigate further…

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I’ve already gone over the top 20 catchers for 2015 fantasy baseball, the top 20 1st basemen for 2015 fantasy baseball and the top 20 2nd basemen for 2015 fantasy baseball. Last year, I thought the top 20 shortstops for 2015 fantasy baseball looked a whole lot better than the 2nd basemen. I said that’s not usually the norm, but you gotta be malleable in this fantasy baseball game. Then going on to say I’d give a free car to a brother and sister who were named Norm and Malleable. No one won the car and I was pretty off with where I thought shortstops had depth. They showed up last preseason in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and seemed interesting. Then they turned around and it was Sally Jessy Raphael and we should’ve ran the other way. As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections. All the 2015 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2015 fantasy baseball rankings. Unsuccinct! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen and the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 are in the books. What a strange, glorious trip it’s been! Though not really. Today, the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball get to shine. Hmm… Actually, most of these won’t shine. They’re cloudy with a chance of crapballs. To be a bit more specific, Dee Gordon was 5th for 2nd baseman, here he’s second overall. Then it stabilizes with Zobrist being 13th at 2nd basemen and only 12th here. But then the shortstops flat line with guys like Jordy Mercer and Brock Holt appearing on this list and not even making in the top 20 2nd basemen. Either way, it’s ugly. Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery. To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Here’s an example from your own life. You walked into a bar and negged the first girl you saw. Told her she had nice hair, then immediately asked her how often she dyes it. Never worked before. This girl laughed and talked to your dopey ass. She even thought it was charming when you told her to pay the bar tab. Went home, had great sex and the next morning she’s moving some of her shirts out of her dresser, so you have room to bring a few of your things over. You tell her that’s not necessary and she shrugs, goes into the bathroom, calls her mother and starts crying loudly. Seemed awesome, turned out psycho. Now imagine she didn’t reveal she was psycho for three months. That’s Steve Pearce. At some point in 2015, he will start moving his shirts out of his dresser and you’re gonna feel real awkward. Right now, he’s insane. Yesterday, was part of that insanity as he hit two homers, bringing his season total to 20. No longer is the fortune cookie’s ending ‘in bed,’ it’s now ‘with Steve Pearce.’ There’s some noise about him changing his stance and that’s led to him having a breakout season. Yeah, don’t buy it. He’s 31 years old. Not the death knell for anyone, but when you’re barely rosterable as a utility man for a major league team for almost seven years, you don’t suddenly change your stance and everything’s great. He’s a 10-homer utility man, disguised as Jesus. It will end at some point in 2015, but for now Pearce your genitals, make the devil horns and ride the lightning! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Even though I’m recommending Mike Moustakas this week, I still can’t help but booooo! him. Honestly, all Royals hitters this year, except Alcides Escobar, gets the booooo! treatment from me. I’m starting to feel like I’m a Philadelphia resident with my booing of these players regardless of what they do. [Jay’s Note: Needs more Duracell.] Even Alex Gordon has turned into boresville in my book. I’m going to take a moment and shred the Royals, who regardless of their recent run in real baseball, have been a fantasy train wreck. Eric Hosmer has been unable to build on last seasons breakout and has become the Midwest’s version of James Loney. Billy Butler can’t channel those moobs for power like he did in the past and will struggle to hit 10 HR’s this year. Norichika Aoki has been a dud of a lead-off hitter after Alex Gordon created a blue print in KC, and for all of his 14 dongs, Salvador Perez has not been the .290 hitter we all wanted to see. The naysayers can state that Hosmer was a line drive hitter with a very un-homerun swing, Billy Butler is a fatter version of Hosmer, Aoki was more of a pipe dream than a lead-off man, and that Sal has never got over the loss of his abuelita. Well screw you Royals! I will never draft another offensive player from this team again. You are all dead to me….in fantasy! Speaking of fantasy, have you signed up for a Razzball Football RCL League yet? Get on the good foot and shimmy over to the football side and sign-up? Click here and let all your fantasy football dreams come true… which of course is winning a bobble-head of yourself (and a Best Buy gift card is up for grabs if you create a league!). Buying one is just straight weird, but winning one is perfectly acceptable and very cool.

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Who misses Making the Band? I know I do. For the uninitiated and unhip (not really) of the early-aughts, it was a reality show about Puffy (or Diddy … or whatever he went by back then) and his never-ending quest to form the world’s greatest rap group. It was an epic failure on the music front, but damn, it was good TV. It also spawned one of the greatest Chappelle’s Show skits of all time. How does this relate to baseball? It doesn’t, but the title makes me giggle and should serve as a reminder to fade Zack Greinke against the Brewers tonight. The price is steep ($10,400), and he just hasn’t been that good lately. He’s also surrendered 9 ER in 10 IP versus his former crew, so I’m shutting down the studio on Zack Attack (bonus points if you get that reference). Now, let me spit hot fire about who I like tonight.

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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Wanna really mess with your brain? Think about how you could have the same thing as Guy Pearce in Memento and you would never know. Okay, don’t think about it too long, it’ll mess with your brain too much and then I’m gonna get sued by your loved ones. “Judge, Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it), told my darling boy, Josh, to think about how he could have a brain dysfunction and now I have to change his diaper and order in for Chinese food every fifteen minutes because he keeps forgetting he just ate.” That’s your momma in front of the judge, suing me. Steve Pearce is a thirty-one-year-old journeyman. That’s not a cartographer, that’s a guy who isn’t very good and just travels around offering his services for all-you-can-drink Gatorade. Yes, he hit two homers yesterday and has hit 9 homers in just two months while batting .336. This isn’t a matter of “Maybe he’s breaking out now.” No, there’s no breaking out for Steve Pearce. He doesn’t even sound right if you don’t say his full name. There’s no Steve and no Pearce. There’s only Steve Pearce and he’s the hottest schmotato in the land and is worth picking up while he’s swinging a hot bat, but I wouldn’t expect it to last that long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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