The first week of baseball.  The sights.  The smells.  The bacon-wrapped corn dogs stuffed with jalapeno cheddar tots.  What a week it was indeed.

A long winter has passed and many things changed.  Most notably, was Ricky Vaughn, who shed his trademark leather jacket and punk rock hairdo for a suit, tie and styling mousse.  Jack Taylor’s knees were weaker than ever, and Pedro Cerrano ditched the rum-loving Jobu for Buddhism. Even Willie Mays Hayes elected to have cosmetic surgery.

Some things need to be replaced.  The classic film Major League was not one of them.  Yet they made a sequel.  Not the worst baseball movie to grace the big screen, but we could’ve done without it.  Unlike the original Wesley Snipes character, in fantasy baseball, finding replacements is part of the game.  It’s how leagues are won.  You can’t just sit back and watch as players are picked up off the wire while you “wait to see how the guys you drafted do”.  That’s one of the most common phrases I hear early on.  Yes, it’s early, so you’re not kicking any studs to the curb, but if the “sleeper” you drafted in the 29th round has begun the season 1-for-16, and there’s a player on the wire who is playing well, go grab him!  Hanging on to an older vet with the delusion that he’ll somehow hit like he’s not 36 years old (Chase Utley, 100 percent owned on ESPN), will keep you from realizing your championship dreams.

This is the “Deep Impact” column, where I’ll only be featuring players under 10 percent owned in ESPN leagues.  During Opening Week I’ve been asked more questions about middle infielders than any other position, so I figured this would be an opportune time to reveal some of my top adds heading into the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The infidels are coming. They are storming the stronghold and sieging the castle. Cover your children’s eyes and lock up your grandmas. As a general rule, I’m not drafting a middle “infidel” early unless it comes at great value or I’m tinkering with the zig strategy. Scarcity has over taken too many owners who pass up great numbers to fill a positional need and have been blinded by the fact that numbers are numbers. As I’m writing this, I’m looking at all the great depth for MI and I wonder why the heck should I even be writing this. It’s pretty obvious that there is great upside late by reading Grey’s coverage of second base. Add to that some of the bounce back golden oldies, and you got generations at the keystone. Speaking of golden oldies, did you all catch the ridiculously redumbasshatily things Brandon Phillips had to say the other day?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear to you with the sincerity of someone you’ve never met, I woke up yesterday and saw the news about Zack Wheeler and decided it wasn’t a catastrophe for my already-drafted teams. At least I only drafted him in one of three leagues. I liked him a lot, so things could’ve been worse. I felt downright well-adjusted. Breathe in, breathe out, Grey’s fine. So, I went to my car to go on my morning trip to Starbucks, where I have the pleasure of buying an overpriced coffee and having my name misspelled, but, when I got in my car, it wouldn’t start. The car’s not a clunker, never had problems before. Then I realized something very profound. There was a higher power that would not let me be well-adjusted to Wheeler breaking down. A higher power that insisted I mourn the lose of my Wheeler even if it meant hitting me over the head with sad, sad irony that my four-wheeler wouldn’t start either. That higher power’s name, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Now I have no car and no number two starter on one of my teams. As I said in yesterday’s podcast that was taped on Sunday prior to the official Wheeler news breaking, the Mets said Wheeler’s elbow was fine so that meant he’d need Tommy John surgery. I was being facetious at the time, but is there any such thing as being facetious when talking about the Mets? Not to answer, but to ponder. Terry Collins said on Sunday, and I quote to let you absorb fully what teams say vs. what is actually going on, “There is nothing alarming or different from what’s been going on before. I know (Wheeler)’s got some issues with the finger (a blister). Other than that, just a little rest and he’ll be fine.” On Monday, Wheeler’s UCL was fully torn and needed Tommy John surgery. That’s one heckuva blister! Wheeler’s biggest challenge will now be finding time to see Dr. James Andrews. He’s getting booked up quickly! I’ve removed Wheeler from my top 40 starters and my top 400. To add insult to Wheeler’s injury, the Mets will moved Dillon Gee into the rotation and not Noah Syndergaard. Gee, terrific. Gee’s a 4+ ERA, 6+ K-rate guy that I won’t add into the rankings because he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues. Also, he’ll be bumped in June for Syndergaard, assuming no more Mets pitcher injuries– Ha! Damn, almost got through that last sentence without laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Looking over Shortstop in OBP leagues is not pretty. Even the top-5 gets ugly quick; Troy Tulowitzki (.432), Hanley Ramirez (.369), Ben Zobrist (.354), Danny Santana (.353), and Starlin Castro (.339) round out the top-5. The top guys tend to have good OBP numbers and will be a plus at the position while there are a few guys throughout the rankings that will kill your OBP…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Just do it, you wuss. Yeah, she was probably hammered and will scream when she sees you in daylight, but you never know, the chick might actually like you. So pick up that phone and dial those digits she gave you. What’s that? It’s a number for a cat hotel? That sounds like an awful job … poor girl. Oh, the number was fake … gotcha. Well, that’s good because now you have plenty of time to play some DraftKings tonight, and better yet, you don’t even have to take a shower. You, my friend, are now living the DFS dream.

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s a scenario for you: Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Gonzalez get onto a plane. Knowing their inability to stay healthy, you A) Get off the plane. B) Purposely get yourself thrown off the plane by calling the male flight attendant, Mr. Stewardess, and asking him if he’s the pimp for the female stewardesses and if you could have a multi-person shag in the lavatory. C) There’s no C. Any of the above answers would work, even C and there wasn’t a C. CarGo can’t stay healthy and Hanley doesn’t seem to want to. If you count 145 games played as a full season, CarGo’s played one full season. This year, he might not play in 71 games and he’s at 70. Yes, he could be done for the year. Yes, it’s bad news with CarGo. Freight so. Even if he plays again, he has 11 homers and 3 steals in 70 games. Yunel Escobar looks at that and talks to a trademark attorney. It’s gonna be fun next year hearing people draft CarGo while they say, “I just need him to stay healthy for 120 games.” Those people are called delusional. As for Hanley, he’s supposed to return as soon as his DL stint is over, and he should as long as he doesn’t have to play hard in a rehab assignment. That would be impossible for him even if healthy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wait, what, it’s f’n August already? I had no idea, because every day is Opening Day in the world of DFS. Sure, it can be a Baby Bitch, but I always come back for more; even if last night’s roster sported a LD% of 42.6 with a .189 BABIP (ouch). Nerd alert! I made those numbers up, but you know what I mean. Speaking of numbers, check out the Stream-o-Nator, Hitter-Tron, DFSBot, and of course, the Ombatsman. Rudy created them to help you win DraftKings contests like the Razzball 20-Teamer brought to you on the reg by THE Ralph Lifshitz. Dude is the host with the most. Today is the dawn of a brand new season, so bring it!

P.S. Always fade Stephen Strasburg on the road. Always.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s not easy being Hensley Meulens. Not only is his name Hensley Meulens, he’s also responsible for a Giants offense so inept of late that the Padres have a wOBA 20 points higher.  Don’t get me wrong being, the Giants Batting Coach isn’t easy; his team plays in a canyon of a ballpark, his lineup is on the yuck side of meh, and he works for a GM that thought taking a flier on Dan Uggla was a good idea. It’s gotten so bad that Giants fans don’t even know what a great hitter looks like anymore. My brother-in-law is a Giants fan and recently told me how much he loves watching Hunter Pence hit. Really? Would he have to wear depends if he watched say Jose Abreu everyday? What I’m getting at is the Giants can’t hit and you can start pretty much anyone against them. Well with the exception of Mike Minor he sucks and I hate him. Seriously homeboy got pooped on by the Padres last night.

Enter Jacob DeGrom. The Mets pitcher has far exceeded expectations this season coming out of nowhere like a shart on a “going commando” day. Only his results have been good, unlike an underwear-less shart which is just a mess. A big mess. DeGrom has been good to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, 8.59 K/9 and a BB/9 of 3.21. Sure you’d like the walks a bit lower but according to his FIP/xFIP (3.06/3.44) he’s only been slightly lucky. In all honesty, I’ve only started him once on DraftKings in his 14 starts this season. Razzball readers that all changes today. After back to back 20+ point games, I’m all in on DeGrom and his cushy date with the Giants. Sure he’s the second most costly arm on the board but it’s still only $9,800. At that price you could grab another solid arm (there’s a few today….read on) and still have enough coin left to buy premium bats.

Do you think all the DraftKings writers at Razzball are idiots? Are you against handsome men like myself? Does the picture of J-Foh that surfaced scare you? Are you feeling alienated and alone? Do you only trust Rudy and his sweet afro/glasses combo? No fear we have a set of tools to help! Check out the Hitter-Tron, Stream-o-Nator, DFSbot, and the Ombatsman.

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?