Something funky is going on in Denver. At the 2016 all-star break, Charlie Blackmon was a 30 year old OF sporting a career line of .292/.342/.446, good for a 99 wRC+. Since then, he’s been a .327/.375/.612 hitter, which has been good for a 140 wRC+. At the 2016 all-star break, Carlos Gonzalez was a 30 year old OF sporting a .297/.355/.541 line as a member of the Rockies, good for a 125 wRC+. Since then, he’s been a .252/.310/.403 “hitter”, which has been “good” for a 70 wRC+.

At some point during those 5 days right around the 2016 All-Star break, Charlie Blackmon tapped into some dark magic and cast a voodoo spell on Carlos Gonzalez, draining all of Cargo’s talent and keeping it for himself. Blackmon went from being an average-ish centerfielder with decent on-base skills to a legitimately good centerfielder who can hit for average and power. Poor Cargo went from a good power-hitting corner outfielder to a broken shell of a man who has been a liability since the 2016 All Star Break. Even Neifi Perez, the walking embodiment of an all-glove no-bat shortstop, managed to cobble together a .282/.313/.411 triple-slash line as a Rockie, and Cargo can’t even beat that right now! Poor Carlos Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Charlie Blackmon has become a legitimately great DFS hitting centerfielder who bats leadoff for a team playing half their games in Coors Field – mmmmm…tasty. As for how he’s done it, if my theory is correct (and this is a real, scientific theory), that means that Charlie Blackmon is a real life Shang Tsung, and I really don’t want to offend someone who can drain my soul, so please Mr. Blackmon, if you’re reading this, you’re my favorite player and your beard is awesome, although it’s not as good as this one, I still cannot lie.

On to the picks once Shang Tsung steals my soul…

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In 2008, Eric Thames was drafted by the Blue Jays. At the very end of Spring Training in 2012, he won the starting left fielder job over Travis Snider (it was a fierce competition, but in our house, it was always Team Thames). It did not go well and by August 2012, he’d been traded to Seattle for relief pitcher Steve Delabar. (Steve Delabar who, now relegated to the Cleveland minor league system, was given an 80-game suspension for PED use this week.) Shortly thereafter, Thames took his talents and his fine, fine biceps to the Korean league, and the rest, as they say, is history. As a Jays fan, I’m pretty depressed about all this back-story (well, I’m Jays-depressed generally right now, TBH; the highlight of my baseball week was Chris Coghlan’s audition for the Cirque du Soleil), but I’m going to make myself feel better by building a whole damn FanDuel lineup around Eric Thames. I choose to believe that this Saturday is not the day he stops hitting, and this matchup versus lefty Jaime Garcia, at home in Milwaukee, is the gift that all mournful baseball girls (and boys) deserve. I’m slotting Mike Trout in as well and filling in the gaps around them both. Thankfully, there are also some good pitchers on the slate today who won’t break the bank.

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Did you see last night’s Yankee/Red Sox clash? No? It lasted a super fast 2 hours and 20 minutes and here’s a recap: Sale crushed souls to start the game and then gave up runs late. Masahiro Tanaka threw the year’s first Maddux (CGSO under 100 pitches) and it was glorious. Maddux’s are fantastic. The dominance and efficiency is a thing of beauty (Come on DFS sites, let’s get a Maddux bonus!). On the other side, the Red Sox offense continues to struggle. They have the league’s worst isolated power (.107) and are a below average offense (99 wRC+) with the league’s 2nd best BABIP (.319). They are thoroughly mediocre despite getting well above average offense from Benintendi (143 wRC+), Betts (144) and Moreland (151). Hanley (62), and Pedroia (66) are going to rebound, but I’m not sure that regulars Chris Young (77) and Pablo Sandoval (74) will improve by much – those numbers are likely just who those two players are at this point in their careers. A rebound from Hanley and Pedroia will likely be offset by the normal regression of Benintendi and Moreland and the extreme regression of Christian Vazquez after he just had the best 25 PAs of his life (254). All of this means the Red Sox might be an offense to target in GPPs with pitching because without Ortiz it relies on Betts and Benintendi and a bunch of average-ish bats.  As we are seeing with Toronto right now, you take a link or 2 away from a very top-heavy chain and the entire thing breaks down.

On to the picks once we celebrate the year’s first Maddux, which are better than no-hitters…

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I’m with Streamonator: Carlos Carrasco is your No-Brainer O’ the Day. (Not to be confused with your Darren O’ the Day, which is a fish submarine sandwich.) The last time Carrasco faced the White Sox, at home, it was to the tune of 1 ER over 7 innings, and this matchup is in the more pitcher-friendly Sox park. (Mind you, his last start versus the Tigers was a tad more worrying — still only 2 ER, but he struggled with command.) But today on FanDuel, he’s $10,300. And at the same time, the Giants are in Coors. I’ve set myself a silly challenge: to play Carlos Carrasco AND stack as many Coors bats as possible, all while plugging the remaining holes as cheaply (and well? Ha) as I can. And you’ll see that through my own stubbornness, I’ve created possibly the most lopsided FanDuel lineup ever, one that will need complete rejigging if any one of my players doesn’t actually start. Like George Michael, I may come to be filled with regret and (totally logical consequence to cheating on someone!) never dance again, but it’s not for nothing that my mother calls me Victoria Mary Quite Contrary. So here goes!

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So smooth and well crafted. Not talking about the Irish Whiskey. Talking about Pittsburgh Pirates Ace Jameson Taillon. Already matched zeros with Chris Sale in his first start, going 7 innings and striking out 6. The young prospect showed a lot of promise last season posting a 3.37 ERA in 104 innings of work. Priced at $16,200, he has good value as the Pirates are the biggest favorite of the night at -185. He faced the Reds last year at PNC Park and was able to come away with a Quality Start (6 IP, 1 run, 6 Ks). I expect a similar stat line and  hopefully come away with the win as the Reds are throwing a rookie pitcher. Saving up on pitching can allow to rack up on some bats in Coors, a game in which Jared Weaver is involved and should be a slugfest. Now on to the picks.

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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Right off the top, you know this is Part 1, since I put it in the title and all.  There’s too many outfielders I want to say something about, and this post shouldn’t feel like homework, though if fantasy baseball articles are homework, I would’ve cared a lot more in school.  But I don’t want that much math (like geometry, calculus, trigonometry, hard math).  As an accountant people always say, “I bet you’re good at math.”  No, I can use a calculator.  But you’re going to need a calculator to add up the OPS Outfielder rankings coming up right now! (not worst segue ever, but honorable mention for sure).

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Oh no he dint!  I dit.  No, he dint!  I dit!  Dint!  Dit!  That was my right and left side of my brain debating Carlos Gonzalez as overrated.  You’d be surprised at how often the two sides of my brain get in these verbal sparring matches.  The left side of my brain was in the Debate Club in high school, so you’d think it was an unfair fight, but the right side of my brain conjured up an imaginary Debate Club with six imaginary debaters, an imaginary Debate tourney and an imaginary trip the Debate club went on where I lost my very real virginity.  The left side of my brain is like, “Wut!?”  Since the right side of the brain made up all of that, it’s understandable that the best argument the left side of my brain can come up with is ‘Oh no he dint!’  Of Coors, I don’t like going against Rockies hitters.  This is the first time I’ve labeled a Rockies hitter overrated since I went after Tulo, which came out aces, prolly.  No false modesty here, I’m never wrong on these schmohawk posts.   You short a schmohawk and you’re golden.  Like my Ocean Pacific Bermudas, these are the greatest shorts ever.  Anyway, why is Carlos Gonzalez overrated for 2017 fantasy baseball?

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I have no idea if anyone at ESPN actually ranks people.  There’s talk of it.  Like, “Yo, Klara Bell, you do your rankings yet?”  “No, did you?”  Then Cockcroft makes farting noises with his armpit.  All I ever see at ESPN is consensus rankings.  I have to figure out how to do this “consensus” thing.  Talk about a nice way to avoid taking any blame for anything.  “Hey, man, sorry about Andrew McCutchen being ranked so high this year, but these are ‘consensus’ rankings.”  Let’s turn to a conversation between two random fantasy baseballers.  “Cockcroft has said he doesn’t like Cano this year.”  “But ESPN has him 34th overall.”  “Yeah, doesn’t apply when talking about Cockcroft.”  “So, when does it apply?”  “When talking about ESPN.”  “But Cockcroft is at ESPN”  “Yeah, still doesn’t apply.”  “Can you explain that?”  “Nope.”  Then heads explode.  Consensus rankings are done by committee.  Only thing ever done better by committee is jerk seasoning.  Now, while you might think ESPN’s rankings have a ton of jerk seasoning, they are just an indecipherable mess.  But why bring up all of this when I’m about to take a blowtorch to Yahoo’s 2017 fantasy baseball rankings?  Thanks for asking, clunky expositional question!  Yahoo has consensus rankings, but they also show their work.  Each ‘pert is accounted for in their rankings.  This is already much better than ESPN.  You can at least see what Pianowski, Funston, Behrens and Triple D are thinking individually.  This, of course, doesn’t mean I agree with all of their rankings, but at least I can point to how they came to their consensus.  Anyway, here’s where my 2017 fantasy baseball rankings differ from the 2017 Yahoo fantasy baseball rankings:

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Our 2017 Razzball Commenters Leagues are in full signup mode.  I even heard there were a few people from Anonymous that signed up!  They said, “To the world, I’m Anonymous, just another white man who sits in parking lots with binoculars watching women.”  Man, that Anonymous guy is depressing!  As we always do about this time, I eviscerate the haters and complicators!  I eviscerate the not-knowers and the over-knowers!  I eviscerate the ESPN goers and the garden hoers!  I overuse a word like eviscerate that I just learned!  I am the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it) and I’ve come for your children!  See, because blog writing doesn’t pay so well, I’ve taken a second job as a bus driver, so I’m literally here for your kids.  Like a baller!  A shot caller!  An “I’m outside of Hot Topic at the maller!”  My eviscerating (I’m conjugating my new word!) today comes at the expense of ESPN and their 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  To the tune of Kanye’s Runaway:

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