Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Sorry, always wanted to pretend I was the announcer for a monster truck rally…wouldn’t want to pretend to be AT one, exactly. Hell, wouldn’t want to be at one for real, either. Feel like I grew up in monster truck rally/WWE territory and have been doing my best to find intelligent life on Earth since and let me tell you, the occurrences have been slim…that excludes current company, of course. I’m sure none of you have an The Rock Fat Head in your room. Or better yet, I’m sure none of you have one that you wish to reveal now save for maybe Tehol but said Fat Head is on the ceiling above his bed and I’ve stopped asking why about these things. Sometimes its best to just go with the flow and that’s what I’m doing with today’s slate. DK is telling me I have a lot of expensive options to choose from but we’re being presented with a nice middle of the road price of $7,800 on Joe Ross today. At this point in the season – the season that is a whole seven days of data worth old – I tend to angle myself towards a very simple approach. That simple approach is: is the player good and if the answer is yes, is his price good? Ross’ price is good so I’m sold. Last year, Ross ticked a lot of the boxes on the stats I love. Good walk rate? At a BB/9 of 2.47, yup. Then you ask, does he K anyone? At an 8.10 K/9 rate, yes he does. Then I ask myself, can he keep the ball in the park? With a 49.8% GB rate, I’d have to say that’s also an affirmative. Ross will be scattered across pretty much every lineup I have today as he comes at a great price and will probably go overlooked on a day where there are so many aces on the mound. So feel free to join me in grabbing a Natty…no, not those Nattys. That’s gross, bro; it’s 2016, there’s better beer than that. Instead, join me on this Joe Ross is boss Natty train and let the money follow you in. And with that, we’re off so here’s my Robosaurus hot takes for this Sunday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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.

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So far I have rolled out the entire infield minus shortstop in our OBP series, and it appears there is no avoiding it anymore. As you might have expected, the average “spread” for qualified shortstops in 2015 was the worst of all positions analyzed thus far- sitting at .050. And while that total might not seem too horrible in its own, the names after the top five drafted are what can make a man lose his mind. I mean really, this position is brutal.

How bad is it…be honest? Is it Windows Vista bad? It’s not iPhone 4 bad…is it? Fu**. Don’t tell me this is Zune bad?!

I’m sorry boys…. It’s Apple Maps bad.

And here you have it…my risers, fallers, targets, and sleepers at the shortstop position!

 (Keep in mind, the format is 12-team 5×5 OBP)

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If you caught the corner edition of this series, then you know what’s going on with the title. If you missed it (shame on you), go and click on that link now… Grey went over his second basemen and shortstops already, so now it’s my turn. Actually, it’s a different turn for a different game… for the most part. These are for the deeper and the desperate. The DDs! Speaking of DDs, have you signed up for an RCL yet? There is still time, so click here to join one or start your own. Okay, now that I got the shameless RCL plug out of the way, are you all ready for 2016? Feeling the burn yet? Selected your draft day spirits? I’ve been stuck in this scout.com for what feels like an eternity with the end still a week away. Anythehoo, let’s get to the players already…

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The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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To make sure I don’t miss any player in my rankings, I go through every team’s depth charts and I go through every eligible player who is projected for at least one at-bat by Steamer.  After I looked through the players with at least one at-bat at 2nd base, I vomited in my mouth, then spit said vomit onto the ground and it spelled out, “Gnarly.”  My vomit is right.  2nd base is not a pretty position.  Shortstops got younger in the last year and some guys are coming to make it even better.  The top 20 1st basemen wasn’t straight gorge, but there was plenty of talent there from veterans.  The top 20 catchers are always ugly, but these top 20 2nd basemen are giving the catchers a run for their money.  There’s only three guys with legit 20-homer power and three guys with easy 20-steal speed.  One that will hit .300 and zero that will get 100 RBIs.  I don’t know what happened to the latest crop of 2nd basemen, but I have a theory.  Twelve years ago, when these 2nd basemen were learning the position, their role model was Bret Boone.  Boone used to frost his hair blonde, so all the kids learning 2nd base at that time, frosted their hair too.  Then their friends beat the crap out of them, and that was the end of all future 2nd basemen.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are under that linkie-ma-whosie.  As always, my projections and tiers are included for the low, low price of zero dollars.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, the Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for serial-killer-in-name-only, John Ryan Murphy.  Here’s what I said earlier this year, “When Hicks first came up, people thought he was going to be better than that Pollock fella.  No, not a stereotypical dumb person, but as in A.J. Pollock.  In Double-A, Hicks had 12 homers, 32 steals and a .285 average.  Then strikeouts enveloped his game in the majors and he hit .192 with a 27% K-rate in 2013, and hit .215 with a 25% K-rate in 2014, but this year, .277 and a 17% K-rate!  That’s a huge improvement.  That’s what she said!  What?” And that’s me quoting me!  On a side note, am I the only that sees K-rate and then tries to chop in half a wooden block while screaming hi-ya?  “Today, Daniel-san, we will talk about K-rate.”  No?  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  *Grey does a flying crane kick*  “Oh, he’s been practicing his K-rate.”  Still nothing?  Okay, I’m moving on.  One more Pollock comparison that is likely coincidental but I’m gonna throw it out there.  Pollock didn’t break out until his age-27 season and Hicks is only 26.  Okay, one more Pollock comparison, Pollock never stole 39 bases in the minors leagues, but just did it in the majors.  Hicks never stole more than the aforementioned 32 bases, but that means nothing.  Okay, fine, one more Pollock comparison!  Pollock never hit more than ten homers in the minors and he just hit 20 homers in the majors.  So who cares Hicks never hit more than 13 homers in the minors.  That’s still above anything Pollock did.  Okay, and I really mean it this time, one more comparison to Pollock.  The excitement I had last year for A.J. Pollock when I called him a sleeper is nearly identical to the excitement I have right now for Hicks.  Okay, okay, one final thing on Pollock!  The mistake I made last year when I didn’t draft him after flagging him as a breakout won’t be repeated with Hicks.  Let’s go over quickly what Hicks did last year, he hit 11 homers with a 11% home run to fly ball ratio, which is completely repeatable, so last year in 155 games he would’ve had 18 homers.  He also had 13 steals and four steals in September.  If he stole 4 bags every month, he’d have 24 steals.  Last year, he had a .256 batting average with a .285 BABIP, which is low for him.  He’s got some speed and a .310 BABIP isn’t out of the question (he had years of a .340+ BABIP in the minors).  If he gets to a .310 BABIP, he’s going to hit .270.  Really, that’s not a stretch, which is also a nickname no one ever called Altuve.  18 HRs, 24 steals with a .270 average on the year?  If he would’ve done that, I’m not sure we’d even be talking about Hicks as a sleeper, but rather as a top 20 outfielder.  And this isn’t me fighting hard to get him to these numbers.  Like a migrant worker, I’m cherrypicking a little with the steals by saying he’s going to get four a month because he did that in September, except (!) he’s likely closer to a guy that could take six bags per month.  When Steamer projects Hicks for 10 HRs and 11 steals with a .256 in 2016, it doesn’t worry me.  It actually makes me more excited because that means most people aren’t going to be excited about him.  Steamer is very conservative and doesn’t flag breakouts; that’s my job.  For 2016, I’ll give Hicks the projections of 82/15/52/.274/26, assuming the Yankees find a way to get him a starting job this offseason, which seems all but assured.  So, my question for you is, who’s the Pollock now?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tonight we get to play everybody’s favorite game, “Guess the lineup for Game 2 of the Coors Double Header”. Just rolls off the tongue really. I love me some Coors field, but I dread days like this when there’s a double header with start times spaced 5 hours apart. What stinks about this is when the first game gets finished up around 6:30 EST or so, there’s 30 minutes until most games kick off and zero percent chance that Walt Weiss can muster up a lineup in that small amount of time. This leads us to either fade Coors, yikes, or take a guess at what we think the lineup will look like and leaving our lineup flexible enough to make changes late. This might mean we fade the early games entirely and it creates some interesting opportunities depending on how much you want to gamble. Here’s what I mean: if you think a lot of people will be off the Coors game due to lack of lineups and not wanting to sit around and wait for them, stack away and hope for a big leg up on the field. On the other side, if you think a lot of people will be waiting for those lineups to post and thus ignoring the 7:00 EST start times, load up on earlies, find a nice stacking option and hope you can shoot the moon. If you are going to wait around for the Coors lineups, I’d suggest having a lineup ready and being prepared for as many scenarios as you can. This means going through the options if each player is out of the game 2 lineup. There’s a handy feature DraftKings has that I’m not sure a lot of people know about or use. If you click on “My Lineups” up at the top there’s a button that reads, “Create New Lineup”. Here you can play around with all the lineups you want to create, you can make one for every scenario you can dream up and save them all to your lineups page without entering a contest. Having these lineups ready to go will not only give you a better handle on your options when, say, AJ Pollock is suddenly out of the game 2 lineup, but will also make for a little less sweating as you can simply import your “No Pollock” lineup and be ready to roll while others are floundering. I love fish puns, let’s get to some more picks, just for the halibut.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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.

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A player’s eligibility is a huge factor in evaluating their price or draft status. All else being equal, a 20 home run outfielder is very different from a 20 home run shortstop. Of course, from this season to next there will be a number of hitters losing specific position eligibility, and thus their value takes a dip as well. The season is not yet over so these could change, but as of right now, we’re losing a lot of third base eligible players.

A few quick notes:

  • The players are separated into their respective divisions. The following is not every player losing eligibility, just those most fantasy relevant.
  • I’m using Yahoo! eligibility rather than CBS or ESPN not because of any specific fondness, but Yahoo! has the most lax requirements at 10 games appeared or five games started.
  • I considered splitting up center field specific players from the general outfield, however in standard leagues no such distinction exists.
  • All these players can be plugged into a utility spot, so when I say outfield only, I’m implying UTIL as well.
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Of course, the title is referring to Nelson Muntz, but Jimmy Nelson sounds like a sitcom character too. Like the kid who is sweet to the parents, but is really the devil incarnate when no one is looking. Eddie Haskell, if your references go back that far. Fun fact! Chad Billingsley’s grandma starred in that show. So, Jimmy Nelson had a solid game last night (6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, and his ERA is down to 3.57), but that’s not THAT good (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics). No, but his month of July ERA was 1.64. THAT is THAT good (not for emphasis, but now my autocorrect ‘learned’ THAT and wants THAT capped and I can’t shut THAT off). Where is all of this coming from? Great question, clunky expositional transition! I’d say it’s not where it’s coming from, but where has it been? Ooh, you like that switcheroo. Nelson had a 1.46 ERA in the PCL with a 9.2 K/9 last year, throws 93 MPH and has worked hard to add a curve that he never had before this year. He feels like a guy that will click at some point, and be a top 20 starter. This year could be rocky still, but I think he’s worth trying for a few starts to see if he’s already turned that corner. I’ve been rocking three starters in my RCL league since April, but after streaming Nelson yesterday, I kinda want to hold him. While an Air Supply song plays softly in the background. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?