Happy first Thursday after the All-Star break. I won’t lie, I missed sitting down with a glass of Pinot Noir to write my weekly advice piece last Wednesday.

The first thing I noticed when I opened up my DraftKings app was how damn expensive Clayton Kershaw is. I mean, he’s still the best pitcher in baseball despite his numbers not reflecting it this year, but is he worth spending $14,500 on? Well, he’s facing the Mets, so yeah. In face, my last article was title “Dream of Californication” due to the amount of Dodgers and Angels in my lineup. That title could apply here, too.

Let’s get straight to the cash, homie.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 15 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?

Before I put internet pen to internet paper about my leads, I want you to know something: I do research. I know, I know, it may SEEM like this stuff is off the cuff because it’s so off the chain (kids say that still, right?) but I swear to you, I spend a good amount of time looking into season long stats as well as current trends before I start snuggling up to my starting pitchers, especially when I’m looking to go cheap. As you know by now if you’ve played a bit on DK, strikeouts for pitchers are the black gold of fantasy baseball DFS so scouting out the right scenario to rack them up is key. So first I go and look at team K% for the season to see how teams are fairing and see – sarcastic drum roll please – the Astros sitting on top at 25.1%. Then I change the view to last 7 days and guess what? The Astros are still waiving their bats in the air like they just don’t care as they’re at 26.2%. Why check both? Well, it puts you on going after teams that are perhaps slumping or it could make you recognize a particular team that normally Ks seems locked in as a group and may not be one to pick on at the moment. But for now, I’m following this whiff wagon and taking the Erasmo Ramirez discount of $5,600 so I can have all of the Coors. No not the beer, silly! I’d rather be a teetotaler than do that. I’m talking about those Atlanta and Colorado bats, of course. And of course, now that I have, I don’t have to mention them again. Damn, I covered a lot in this opener, I should just quit now! But instead, we’ll keep this Friday post rolling. Here’s some of my other hot takes for this Friday DK slate…

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The title really should have something to do with Dodgerland or Mannywood. Maybe the Best Team That Money Can Buy (Can’t wait for the book to come out Tuesday, by the way)? But I have to include Mike Trout in here, too.

I love Felix Hernandez. I truly do. In my short time living in the great northwest, I understood the appreciation that they have for King Felix. The King’s Court is something you should witness at least once if you are a baseball fan.

But for some reason, Trout has had his number throughout his career. There are three current Angels that are hitting above .200 in their career against Felix Hernandez. Erick Aybar (.220), Albert Pujols (.222) and Mike Trout (.345). It’s no small sample, either. He’s 20-58 against Hernandez with 3 home runs and 12 RBI. He’s the fifth-highest price outfielder behind J.D. Martinez and Andrew McCutchen, which makes sense. However, Cameron Maybin and the injured Giancarlo Stanton both cost more than him. It’s a large enough sample that I feel confident to zig with Trout while others will zag. That’s why after selecting my building block (SPOILER: It’s always a pitcher for me), I knew Trout was the first hitter I was getting in my lineup. Let’s get into it more, shall we?

Straight to the cash, homie.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 15 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?

Growing up, I, like many of my friends, held the All-Star Game to be a true collection of the best baseball players in the game. We’d watch Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Johnny Bench and the National League beat up on Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue and the American League year after year. But even then, and as time has moved on, there have been some head scratching choices as All-Stars along the way. Some of it can be pinned on the rule that each team has to have an All-Star, lending to some interesting choices. But some, like Alfredo Griffin, who was named to the 1984 American League squad simply because he came with actual All-Star Damaso Garcia and the AL needed some when Alan Trammell got hurt, didn’t belong and years later, it still looks odd. There has been Chris Brown, Mike Sharperson, Jay Howell, Ron Coomer, Cesar Izturis and a host of so-so relievers since the age of the relief pitcher in the All-Star game has taken full bloom.

Even with all that mediocrity in the AS game, it still surprises me to see names I am fairly sure will stand out years from now that have now been minted All-Star. One of those is D.J. Lemahieu. Lemahieu is nothing special as an offensive player. He has a decent contact rate, average walk rate, good speed. He’s a good fielder at second base this season, too. But nothing about Lemahieu says All-Star, except the offense in which he plays.

But little of that matters in daily fantasy. LeMahieu can be as basic as a game of tic-tac-toe, but if he’s batting second, which he has often this season, and the game is at Coors Field, Mr. Average can be rostered with confidence that he’ll be putting that decent contact rate and speed to good use. For you.

So enjoy the All-Star game, D.J., what do I care? As long as you keep on delivering in DFS.

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cody Anderson took a perfect game into the 7th inning yesterday and ended up with a line of 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 baserunners, 2 Ks, and his ERA is at 0.57 thru two starts. The Indians staff just keeps getting sexier. Now their rotation is Cody, Corey, Danny, Trevor and Carlos. Sounds like a boy band, K-Nudo. Only Cody doesn’t strike out as many — he’s the sensitive one. Anderson has an interesting backstory. He’s from Idaho, and he signed with the Tribe out of a junior college for $250,000. Imagine that. One day, Anderson’s asking ma if they have to eat potatoes yet again for dinner and saying a lot of “Aw, geez,” then he signs for a quarter of a million dollars, which is more than the state economy of Idaho. Suddenly, he was able to purchase the state of Idaho and all its trout. (I have no idea if they have trout there, but Guy Fieri seems to stop at a Diner and/or Drive-In and/or Dive at least once a week in Idaho for trout.) “Aw, geez, ma, I have to pay to pave highways now? Money is evil!” As for fantasy, Anderson’s not quite as big city-ish. He has very few Ks thru two games, but he does throw hard-ish (93 MPH fastball) with a decent slider, and he also has decent control. His minor league numbers portend a mid-rotation guy at best and he’s not at his best yet, so there’s still room to grow, but I’d let him grow on someone else’s team in mixed leagues. If you wanna check the Stream-o-Nator on him, go for it, but outside of AL-Only leagues, I wouldn’t own him yet. Just as I wouldn’t eat trout from Idaho. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball Exclusive! The Twins were seen on Saturday at the Factory Outlet Mall in St. Paul, shopping for an outfielder. Unhappy with the selection — everything was odd-sized or someone they had called up and sent down numerous times — they headed back to the car, deciding to go on to the Duluth Shop ‘n Zoo, a place, contrary to the name, that doesn’t sell animals. When they got back to the car, they realized they forgot their change purse in the mall. They raced back, but it was too late; it was gone. Frustrated and angry, they asked to use Spencer Gifts’ phone because they didn’t want to incur long distance charges on their own. Fed up and at their breaking point, they called up Byron Buxton, while also spotting a gag gift, fake vomit, that they shoplifted, figuring they can use it to play shortstop. Here’s what Prospect Mike said this offseason, “Buxton is ranked numero uno on my Top 50 fantasy prospects list, and it’s thanks to his ability to fill all five roto categories. He might be the closest thing we have in the minors right now to a first round fantasy talent with the power to hit 20 homers, the speed to swipe 30+ bags, and the ability to hit for a high average. Injuries limited him to 137 plate appearances in 2014, but that shouldn’t stop the 21-year-old from seeing the majors later this season. The ceiling is a perennial All-Star outfielder and a top ten fantasy player overall. In short, he’s wonderful and Grey’s terrible.” Oh, man, c’mon! In Double-A this year, Buxton had six homers, 20 steals (in only 59 games!) and was hitting .283. At points during this season, Mike has compared him to Carlos Gomez. That sounds like an apt comparison, which isn’t the same as roomier with two bathrooms. That’s an Apt. comparison. You should grab him in every league. Yes, even that 10 team league, where it’s you playing against nine of your email aliases. By the way, I can’t believe you’re losing to Imtoosexyforthisemail@aol.com. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes you think you know what a player is. He’s a stud. He’s a stiff. He’s hot. He’s not. And so on. Players get labels pretty quick as they come into our consciousness and it’s awfully hard to shake that.

The same goes for teams throughout a season. Oh, they aren’t hitting well or that’s a hitter’s park. These types of unwitting biases can keep you from rostering the exact players you need to win so it’s important that you keep investigating the trends that are going on throughout the season.

Those that though, prior to the 2014 season, that Anthony Rizzo can’t hit lefties were right…..prior to that season. In 2015, Rizzo broke out and it was, in a significant part, due to a much improved approach against LHP. Those that didn’t just accept the current track record were rewarded when they rostered Rizzo against lefties when few other people did.

This season, maybe it’s a guy like Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez, who looks to be turning the corner as a pitcher and has put up some solid numbers so far this season. You might write him off as stinky based on prior track record or by him burning you when you did roster him, but a look at the most recent 30 days show a different story.

It’s a good idea to look at a player’s metrics over the last 30 days or so to get an idea which way the player it trending or if he’s been able to continue a trend that he hasn’t exhibited before. You’re likely to find some player emerging and give you an edge over your competitors who are still reading last month’s news.

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

His name is Bills because his parents were told at the hospital that you can’t put an apostrophe in a name, and got mixed up when the nurse asked, “Whose birth certificate will this be?” and they said, “Bills.” Bills is now 34 and wears jorts and an American flag tie-dyed t-shirt all year. Same ones. Doesn’t have five dozen of the same shirt and jorts, but Bills sometimes tells people he does. Bills’s jorts remain fresh because he washes them every night, though this has caused them to fray. Bills has one love, fireworks on July 4th. Bills travels all around the Midwest, picking up fireworks at 24-hour fireworks stores. Bills laughs when people question why a fireworks store would be open 24 hours a day. Bills says, “For when you can’t sleep.” Now, if Bills were to set up all his fireworks on July 3rd and fire them off at midnight on July 4th, Bills would be Jeff Luhnow. On Sunday, Carlos Correa was called up, and wasting no time, he followed that up with Vincent Velasquez, the Astros prized pitching prospect. His fireworks cannon was filled, and he’s firing! Prospector Mike said this offseason, “While Mark Appel pushes into #2 starter territory, Velasquez sits comfortably with #3 starter upside and shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s got Tommy John on the books already and missed some time this past year with a groin issue, so his development has been slowed a bit, but he’s got two plus pitches in his fastball/changeup and he survived a 55 inning stint at High-A Lancaster. Despite the missed time, Velasquez could see the majors quickly thanks to above average command of his fastball. To give you an idea of a different above-average command, ‘Die, Grey, die.'” Hey, what’s the big idea?! This year in Double-A, Velasquez had a 12.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 1.37 ERA. Basically, drool, drool and more drool. I tried to grab him in every league, but I was too slow. He’s worth the flyer to see if he surprises hitters with his 95 MPH fastball and devastating change. There’s a real chance here for some fireworks for Bills. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let me start by saying that for once, I’m not going to complain about the Thursday slate. Weird, I know. There are only seven games today, but after messing around with the slate and pricing, I’m pretty pleased with the options tonight.

But see one of those options, can’t be called that. No, instead, we have to call him mandatory. Tournament, cash, side bet with Grandma — it doesn’t matter. It is Matt Harvey day, and while it’s lost its luster the past two times out, he’s a must for today’s slate.

Straight to the cash, homie.

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?

It’s the oldest trick in DFS. Blah blah blah Rockies blah blah blah Coors blah blah blah all the money. It’s true. If you are the type to play multiple lineups in a day (as I do in low dollar contests), it behooves you to follow the blah blah and build a Rockies stack, as well as their opponent. Right now, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers, the same early season juggernaut that sees them second in road wOBA and tops overall against RHP.

Sometimes the Coors stack goes awry, but not in this series. It’s been some delicious soft serve home runs for many of the participants, largely due to the usual questionable Rockies pitching. Now Wednesday starter Chad Bettis has been better than most Rockies starters. After all, he does sport a spiffy 3.42 SIERA, which isolates the actual skills of the pitchers. He also has missed 10% of the bats he’s faced so far this season, a good measure of the man. Same for the other side, where Michael Bolsinger has surprised, sporting a shiny 3.14 SIERA of his own.

(Sidenote: For comparison sake, Corey Kluber has a 2.45 SIERA, Chris Sale a 3.08 and Mark Buehrle is saddled with a 4.64 number.)

So does that mean you shy away from the game? By no means! There are some excellent bats to target, provided they are playing. In the interest of staying away from this obvious stack below the weekly DraftKings contest invite, here are the names I am tracking for the game today, presented without comment:

Michael McKenry, C: $3,400

Ben Paulsen, 1B: $3,300

Alexander Guerrero, 3B/OF: $3,700

Andre Ethier, OF: $4,400

Joc Pederson, OF: $5,100

The other guys, like Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado and Adrian Gonzalez, I would love to roster and with some of the picks below, maybe you can fit them in without sacrificing starting pitching. Good luck!

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?