Whilst doing some exhaustive research on mascots (i.e., I stumbled across this ranking of MLB mascots by a two-year-old, which you should read because you probably need a break from real news this week), I discovered that the San Diego Padres’ mascot is a priest-like figure named the Swinging Friar. … “Swinging”? Ohhhh…kay. Anyway, it seemed a propos in a way because I predict a lot of swinging and missing of the strikeout kind as Stephen Strasburg ($10,400) takes on the Padres in Petco today. I’m starting him in my FanDuel lineup, even though he costs a small fortune. I’m with SON and its no. 1 pick for the day: it’s Strasburg versus the Padres today, all the way, baby. Yes, he costs a slightly horrifying $10,400 on FanDuel. Yes, this is a return-from-the-DL start, and we don’t usually fancy those — also, at time of writing on Friday night Dusty Baker is still being coy about whether he’ll actually be activated on Saturday, so keep an eye on that. But I’d like to remind you that last time he faced San Diego, he earned himself 15 strikeouts in 7 innings, with 3 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs. Today he’s in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, to boot. Three days ago, he breezed through his rehab start; in fact, after 66 pitches in 5 innings, “he made such quick work of the Salem Red Sox that he had to throw in the bullpen to get up to the 75 the team had prescribed.” However, you may be dubious — that start was against single A hitters, after all — and it’s also a Rockies-at-home day, so perhaps you want to save money for batter-stacks instead. If so, I have an answer for that…

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As the season rolls along, my choices for starters to profile should be wearing thin. Luckily for all of you, myself, and my relationship with anyone not in the Crab Army, spot starts and rookie callups give me the perfect intersect of my two worlds. Now as any good Seinfield fan knows, worlds colliding can be catastrophic. Just ask George Costanza. That however is not the case for your loyal and eccentric Prospector/Pitchspector. It’s all good on this end. Why? Because I’m more than happy to dig into the ratio roulette that is rookie starting pitchers. In the grand tradition of my messiah like activity on the prospect side, I’m here to observe these wild cards, provide my take, and lead you on the path to true fantasy salvation. This is a really long winded, and pompous, way to say I’m profiling Reynaldo Lopez’s White Sox debut today. I’ve been lower on Lopez than many other prospectors in the industry. For what feels like two years now, I’ve been constantly banging my shoe on the table of the United Prospect Nations, sternly proclaiming that “Lopez is a pen arm!” I’d make a joke of my followers storming the town square with Pier 1 style tiki torches, but the rest of the Lifshitz clan prolly wouldn’t appreciate that. Anywho, here’s what I saw.

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Don’t ask me how I stumbled across this (*cough* Wikipedia *cough*), but today I learned that a “toxophilite” is a “lover or devotee of archery; an archer.” And that’s me and Stream-o-Nator both today: lovers of Chris Archer versus the Rangers. Archers and Rangers! I feel like I’m assembling a party for Dungeons & Dragons rather than a lineup for FanDuel. Or maybe I’m just reading too much fantasy right now (Lev Grossman and The Magicians series! Spoiler: it’s awesome! It’s the Narnia books crossed with Catcher in the Rye!) and jonesing for a quest of some sort. Anyway, as usual, I’ll throw out some ideas for how your ragtag squad of adventurers might come together — more details below, but in summary it’s a good day for cheap-ish pitching and good stacking. Let’s restring our bows, fill our quivers, and practice sliding our swords in and out of our scabbards so we don’t look like dummies, and get to it.

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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Seems like even the injury bug is down in Miami enjoying the All-Star game so we’ve got a light load of injuries this week. However, I fully expect him to come back twice as strong once everyone starts exerting themselves again after enjoying Mama’s home cooking and catching up on Orange is the New Black on the couch for the week.

As always, if you’ve got league specific injury questions please leave them below in the comments and I’ll get back to you! 

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Here we are halfway through the season – still a small sample size of games in the grand scheme of things, but I’m finally willing to admit that some of this year’s most surprising breakout hitters may continue to help fantasy teams as the season progresses. Just looking at the All Star starting lineups, each team has several pretty huge surprises (unless you correctly predicted back in April that Ryan Zimmerman, Zack Cozart, Justin Smoak, and Corey Dickerson would all be starting). In the outfield, I certainly didn’t see Marcell Ozuna and Aaron Judge getting the starting nod.

With all of these guys, I feel like the tendency from a fantasy perspective would be to sell high while you can, and avoid trading for them at all costs when their value is sky-high (and if you own any of them and you can, say, get a king’s ransom for Aaron Judge in a re-draft league, go for it). But if you find yourself on the other side, getting offered a guy like Ozuna by an owner who you suspect might be desperate to sell him when his value is as high as possible, making a deal to add a perceived over-performer may not be the craziest thing in the world.

Last year, I traded for Daniel Murphy right around this time of year, even though I knew I was getting a player who was most likely at the peak of a career year. But I knew that even if his batting average came down substantially (amazingly, it didn’t) and the power evaporated somewhat (it did, to about the extent I expected), he would still be a huge asset to my team in terms of helping me in a couple categories that would, and did, lead me to gain a few points in the standings. It never feels good to buy high on a player, but I don’t like to discount it as an option if I feel it might ultimately help my team over the long haul – especially in very deep leagues where you know the waiver wire pickings are always going to fall into the slim-to-none category. And speaking of slim pickings on the waiver wire, let’s get to some names who might be relevant in AL and NL-only leagues.

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Alex Wood. He has a 33.1% K rate, 7.6% BB rate and a 62.8% gb rate. All are elite and combine for a 2.17 xFIP, 48% better than league average. How is he doing this? Well, his starts have been @Cubs, @Arizona, @Giants, vs Giants, vs Pittsburgh and @ Colorado. Outside of the Cubs there aren’t any powerhouse offenses, but it’s 2 games in hitters havens, one of which he got hit around (Arizona) and the other he destroyed the Rockies, and loyal readers know what I think of the Rockies (hint: it rhymes with schmucks). He’s facing the Marlins this fine Friday and although the Marlins are an above average offense vs lefties this year, they don’t walk (8% BB-rate, 24th in the league) and are 16th in K rate (21%). Even though they have been above average so far, I don’t believe them to be an above average offense with the bottom of the order as bad as it is right now and nothing too good versus lefties outside of Stanton and Ozuna. Wood’s velocity has been ticking up after dropping to 88-89 in 2015. In 2016 it was 91-92 and he’s come out this year gassing it up to 93 (he only throws sinkers, very few 4 seamers). The other thing with Wood that keeps his price down is he hasn’t been allowed to go past 6 as a starter, in fact it’s a Dodger philosophy to (correctly) not let your starter go through the lineup more than 3 times and frequently it’s even less. Since Dave Roberts took over the Dodgers, no team has let their pitchers face fewer batters per start. The Dodgers starters have faced 22.3 batters per start, with the Reds coming in 2nd at 22.87. The Dodgers starters are also 2nd in fWAR since Roberts took over. The average fWAR rank of the non-Dodgers bottom 10 is 23.1. Most teams who don’t let their pitchers go far into games do it for good reason, the pitchers aren’t very good. The Dodgers let their pitchers air it out for 22.3 batters and then pull them to get better pitchers in. Given the times through the order penalty, this makes sense and is the future of baseball. But, in the meantime, for DFS, when there are teams like the White Sox (what?) and Giants who just let their pitchers throw until Dr. James Andrews tells them to stop, you will want to avoid non Kershaw Dodgers pitchers unless the price and matchup is right. This is especially true for FanDuel, because the QS bonus is a significant part of a pitcher’s overall DFS production, and the QS bonus requires you to pitch at least 6 innings.

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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Usually, as one does, I type with my fingers.  Hunt and peck with mostly the index’ers, but definitely fingers all the way.  I’m so pumped up going for the win this year I’m typing up this post with both fists.  WE MUST WIN!  BY WE I MEAN ME!  BY ME I MEAN I, IF “I” WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED IN THAT SENTENCE INSTEAD OF ME; I DON’T KNOW, AND AM TOO HYPED UP TO LOOK INTO IT, IN FACT, THIS SENTENCE IS KINDA KILLING MY HYPE BY EVEN DISCUSSING GRAMMAR.  GRAMMAR BOO!  WINNING THIS LEAGUE YAY!  Actually using my fists is not enough.  I will now type up this post by banging my forehead on the keyboard.  ABCJIVS1I7$  Damn, that didn’t work so well.  Maybe I’ll try my nose.  Hekko, froend.  Ugh, that didn’t work either.  Okay, I’m gonna use my fingers again, but I’m just as pumped up.  RAWR!  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family team, it’s a 14-team, mixed league:

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As I begin to prepare my projections and rankings for the 2017 season, I like to look back on the previous season’s attempt to not only assess my work, but also to learn how I can do better next time. Projecting statistics in any sport is a tedious and arduous task. The variables, formulas and algorithms are constantly changing and if you don’t adapt with them, your results will lose their precision and accuracy. However, I’d like to make one point blatantly clear, projections are nothing more than calculated guesses. Some are better than the next, but none are even close to perfect.

Let’s see how I fared with my 2016 efforts. For all positions I will provide the following six numbers: projected points, actual points, projected rank, actual rank, projected points per plate appearance and actual points per plate appearance. I am including points per plate appearance because it helps put a player’s projections vs performance into perspective when they’ve missing time due to injury. For pitchers I’ve replaced points per plate appearance with points per start. I’ve also included a column showing the percentage by which my points projections were off. Any player with an “n/a” listed in this column is because that player spent at least 30 days on the disabled list.

Lastly, a quick note about the rankings listed in this post. These rankings are based purely on points. This season I plan to provide additional rankings that allow me to adjust them based on three important factors: intuition, gut and my sporadic conversations with Nostradumass.

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The shortstops are stacked, yo.  They are stacked like Dolly Parton on top of a stack of hotcakes.  There is gorge as far as the eye can see.  If a young boy happened upon this post, he would see love for the first time, then Norman Rockwell would paint him because it was the essence of Americana, if Norman Rockwell were alive and working as a caricature artist at a carnival.  I wanna roll around in these shortstops like I’m Natalie Wood rolling away from a drunk Robert Wagner.  Okay, enough hubbub!  If you’re just joining us, all the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link-ma-whosie.  With each player is my projections and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Not quite as spiritually moving as John Lennon, but imagine for a moment Jose Abreu were to actually put together two solid halves in the same year.  “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.  No ‘He’ll end up below Andrus,’ for half the year.  Above Andrus only this Jose guy.  Imagine Abreu playing a decent, full season like today.  Aha-ha…  Imagine there’s no countries.  It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to drop or trade for, and no ‘Abreu’s so cold it’s like this hell has a fridge in it’ too.  Imagine all the people living to get a piece of…Abreu…  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!  I hope some day Abreu’ll be better than Andrus, and play an entire season as one.”  So, Jose Abreu hit two homers yesterday (3-for-7, 7 RBIs, and 21st and 22nd HRs), and he’s been great recently, but it’s hard to get that excited about a guy for 2017 who invariably takes three months off every year.  Can’t imagine he’s a top 25 player ever again.  You-WHO-OOH!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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