Chris Sale, P: $11,800 & Max Scherzer, P: $11,600 – I’m not going to even waste your time telling you how good they are. Play them.

Wait a second…I’m sure all you faithful readers out there are saying “But this is a FanDuel article, we only get one pitcher!”. You’re right. So, Sale or Scherzer? This comes down to matchups and ballparks. Scherzer is facing a very good Arizona lineup, in Arizona – and unless it’s confirmed that the humidor has begun being used, Chase Field is a top-3 non-Coors offensive ballpark. On the other hand, Chris Sale is facing the pathetic Angels offense, which is approaching 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers territory for lopsidedness. For those who don’t remember, that’s the Cavs team that made the finals with Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a small forward that remains comically underappreciated and underrated throughout his entire career. The problem is, baseball isn’t basketball. One amazing hitter can’t carry an otherwise inept lineup. The 2002 San Francisco Giants demonstrated that absurdly lopsided offenses only work if you have the single greatest offensive player of all time and a second elite-level hitter (and have at least one or two other guys that aren’t complete embarrassments – that year it was Benito Santiago and David Bell). Trout’s trying his best to be Barry Bonds, and Andrelton Simmons, shockingly, isn’t a complete embarrassment, and neither is Luis Valbuena. But the lack of Jeff Kent means this offense isn’t going to give anyone trouble. Additionally, Angel Stadium is an offense-killer, although it does get credit for not selling its naming rights (although the Cubs played in Cubs Park, but then changed the name for the 1927 season to a gum company, which is now considered a non corporate name, so the lesson is, just last a long time). So while I couldn’t fault anyone for deciding that Scherzer’s their guy tonight, when you consider that Sale is facing a vastly inferior lineup and pitching in a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark, the choice (for cash) seems fairly straightforward. And yes, astute readers of mine should note that Scherzer’s GPP-value is through the roof as my hunch is that Sale’s ownership is far higher, and it’s entirely possible Scherzer outscores Sale as both are quite dominant and it may just come down to who gets 11 strikeouts as opposed to 8.

On to the picks as soon as Guaranteed Rate Field becomes a fun, cozy name…

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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The greatest rivalry in sports reasserted its standing this weekend.

New York versus Boston; corporate versus blue collar; Mookie Betts versus Aaron Judge; Aroldis Chapman versus…. himself?

Baseball rivalries are unique in the frequency at which the clubs meet. More than twenty times in a given season, you’ll see navy and red clash, and even though common intuition might assume this devalues each individual matchup, the tenacity of a decades-old rivalry like this abandons the adoption of that rule.

If you’re looking for a fantasy rivalry of the same caliber, it is with great pleasure I bring you a centuries-old matchup.

Grey versus Rudy…

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Matt Harvey in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2017 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt.  If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Bryce Harper number two on the top 100 list for the second half of 2017 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Bryce.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued.  It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache.  This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while Mike Trout did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because, well, Mike Trout.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2017.  I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2017:

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So, this legit blew my mind.  As you know, I’m busy getting my top 100 for the 2nd half ready for next week, and I was looking at our Player Rater.  So, Domingo Santana?  He’s top 50 on the season!  No, not for outfielders.  For all players!  Seriously!  For all hitters and pitchers.  Digest that for a second.  What are you swallowing?  I was speaking metaphorically.  What does this mean?  Invest in players with home games in domestic swill parks.  Rename PNC Park to Iron City Park and I want me some Jordy Mercer!  Busch Stadium is the exception that proves the rule, whatever that means.  This also means fantasy value is about filling out five categories.  All your Miggys and Edwins are purdy, but you get a guy that hits 15 homers and steals bases, and you’re getting value.  Yesterday, Domingo went 4-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th steal, as he hits .288 with 14 homers on the year.  That’s how you get fantasy value.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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If you’ve hung with me on previous Saturdays, you’ll know that in real life (where I’m Victoria in a hat rather than Victoria on a hat), I live in Canada. And so on this first day of July, I’d like to take the opportunity to say happy birthday to my adopted homeland! Because today is Canada Day, which is like your Independence Day, only with more beavers and people saying “sorry”.

The magic number of the day is 150. That’s how old Canada’s turning today. It’s how many “Canada Day Sale!” emails have arrived in my inbox in the last 10 minutes. It’s how many degrees below 0 it is here, every single day of the year. It’s how many Altuves you need to stand on so you can pat a moose on the antlers. It’s the thread count of my plaid sheets. And it’s how many strikeouts Chris Sale is going to record against the Toronto Blue Jays on our nation’s birthday. (Some of these things may not be true.) Historically, the Jays who have faced him have hit a collective .184. Josh Donaldson has the best shot, having gone 5-for-18 with two home runs against Sale in the past, but offset that against his .150 (magic number!) average in the last week, and I think this match-up is pretty safe. So for my FanDuel slate today, I’m happily paying $11,600 for El Condor, even in Canadian dollars, and I’ll live with sticking the rest of my lineup together with maple syrup and poutine gravy. No, really — you’ll see what I mean.

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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There is no truth to the rumor that Elvis Andrus stole his entire playing career from “Fats” Domingo, “Ivory” Roberto Kelly or Nate King Colbert.  Elvis hits the covers off the ball better than Cam “Carl” Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Brinson.  It is not Elvis’ fault that the way he plays the bat is seen as an appropriation of a top shortstop of yesteryear.  He’s got the chops to knock down that axe!  (All guitar knowledge I possess was used in that nine word sentence.)  Yesterday, Elvis Andrus had the best game of an already great season, going 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 8th and 9th homers.  On our Player Rater, he’s in the top 20 overall.  Not for shortstops, for all hitters and pitchers.  Love me tender!  Some of the names he’s above Giancarlo, Correa, Mookie and Dee Gordon.  Love me sweet!  Never let me go!  Well, not so fast there.  If I thought you could actually get value for Andrus in a trade, I could see it since he’s likely at his peak value.  Unfortunately, there’s little chance you’d get back in a trade anything resembling Andrus’ value, so I’d Bubba hold Tep.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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One of the things I love most about baseball, but particularly covering prospects, is when a guy I totally missed on pops up, and exceeds expectations. Sure, I could become obsessed with my own reputation, and shoot down any suggestion that I missed on a player. But what fun is that? So, when it comes to Nick Pivetta, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t see this coming. Hell, I wrote up 15+ Phillies prospects, and name dropped another 7-8, and didn’t even mention Pivetta. Fangraphs covered 33 Phillies prospects, and Pivetta ranked in at 27! All this to say, that the “out of nowhere” label is somewhat appropriate when it comes to the Phil’s righthander. After an outstanding outing vs the Red Sox at home a few weeks ago, the strikeouts, and numbers in general seem to be trending in the right direction. So why not check him out, and see if we in fact have a breakout bubbling. Before we begin, big shouts to Oaktown Steve, who’s been hyping up Pivetta in the comments the past few weeks like a Sabermetrics Flavor Flav. Only he turned in his giant clock (read that fast), for an abacus, which I’ve heard can get a bit bulky when worn as a necklace. Anyway, let’s get into Pivetta’s last start vs the Cardinals at home, the second time he’s faced the Redbirds in four starts. He’s going today in Arizona, so maybe we’ll see if he’s worth rolling out… Actually no rookie pitcher with a heavy fly-ball approach should be started in Arizona, but that’s just common sense. On to the profile!

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