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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As in our inaugural post last week (in which we managed to break both Jason Vargas and Jim Johnson! Who will it be this week?), Dr. Easy and I will be taking another look at a few more players who may be doing better or worse than you thought they were. To do this, once again we went trawling through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (all hail Rudy, Rudy for king — hell, let’s just elect him Fantasy Baseball Overlord), looking for surprising performances to help you with trade targets, waiver wire pickups and DFS plays.

Precipiently* (*not a word), in Monday’s daily goodness, Grey referred to the crap-ton** (**not a Système International unit, for the scientists playing along at home) of home runs that are being launched at the moment. “I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind,” he hath quoth. Dr. Easy and I had just started to think about a similar thing: in this brand-new reality, in each category considered by the Player Rater, what constitutes “falling behind”? Take a guess: what would constitute a good HR or SB season? How many home runs are enough home runs? How many steals does a player have to have — or be on pace for — to be giving you value in a particular category? So this week, we’re taking a look at that too…

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
R.A. Dickey held the Nats in check last night pitching seven innings of three-hit baseball, allowing one run, a walk and striking out seven. Hey, Atlanta, 2012 called, they want their Cy Young back. Might as well send them 2012 Matt Kemp as well. I think he was banging Rihanna at that time? Mmm. Wild wild wild thoughts. Unfortunately for Dickey, Jim Johnson failed to lock down his win allowing three runs on four hits and a walk for his seventh blown save of the year. Methinks Braves might be a team to watch if they could figure out their ugly bullpen. Arodys Vizcaino come back soon! Irregardless! Despite posting just two wins in the stretch, R.A. Dickey has been absolutely en fuego over his past four starts going at least six innings in each, while allowing just one run or less (27.0 IP, 17 hits, 3 ER, 23/6 K/BB ratio). Also with Dickey back to being fantasy relevant I have so many phallic jokes I have saved for you guys!  Let’s see now…oh no, I’m blanking! Nothing worse than a Dickey blog that fires blanks. Unless those blanks are shutouts! How about, Dickey got a rise in Washington? Wait. Pause. Am I actually suggesting you pick up a 42 year old knuckle baller who pitches for the Braves? Well, I’m just saying for a player available in over 80% of fantasy leagues, the 1.35 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over the past two weeks is worthy of your attention. Maybe he can recapture some of that 2012 magic. Okay I got it, last one–Dickey was standing at attention last night, but Johnson blew his happy ending. Boned! Cough. Ahem. I will see myself out.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Friday fellow DFSers!  As you all likely know, Friday is the day of the biggest and best DFS contests of the week.  This makes sense, it’s a full slate day with all the games pretty much starting at 7 ET (Naturally we have 2 games starting early today…WTF Philly?  6:35, really?) and it’s basically the weekend, so everyone is fake working while researching and building their DFS lineups.  Hence, more action.  So let’s get started with the first piece of the puzzle as we try to get our piece of that big action, starting pitcher.  If you’re trying to win a GPP tournament where 100,000 of your closest friends are all trying to do the same, it helps to uncover that low owned play that scores big.  It’s always nice if that play is a pitcher so you can pay up for big bats in a good match-up, especially when Coors field is on the slate.  Tonight, I’m looking at James Paxton ($9,200) to be that play.  Most people will go towards Max Scherzer as the “safe” bet tonight.  That’s well and good but if you’re looking to differentiate yourself a bit, I’d look to Paxton instead.  The Braves are actually the 4th hardest team to strikeout this year.  Sure, Mad Max is an alien, but something has to give and I think his upside might be a bit limited.  Paxton of course has been less alien, more Jekyl and Hyde this year.  He does however, get a home date with the Oakland A’s, MLB’s 3rd most K-happy team.  It would not surprise me in the least if Paxton strikes out out as many A’s in 6 IP as Scherzer does in 8 IP, at which point the Nationals closer, Matt Blake Enny Sammy Solis Albers Treinen will surely lose the win for him.  So, stray from the pack a bit tonight and take a chance on Pax.

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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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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The Yankees called up Clint Frazier on Saturday.  The Yankees are like you at a concert after your first bathroom break.  “I had sixteen beers and I really gotta whizz.”  *goes to the bathroom, then sips your seventeen beer*  “Damn, I just took a whizz, and now I have to go again.”  The childproof seal has been broken.  The Yankees waited about five years too long to promote some of their rookies, and now they’re taking a whizz every third day.  (I’m mixing metaphors, aren’t I?)  I wonder if the Yankees are aggressively promoting rookies now because of how well Judge is doing.  It’s confirmation bias, or some Psych 1010 term.  In the minors, Frazier went 12 HRs, 9 SBs and .257 in 73 games.  His strikeouts weren’t terrible, and that line looks like it could hold in the majors, i.e, 20/15/.250 in 162 games.  That’s if he has playing time the rest of the year, which is, of course, no guarantee with Holliday, Hicks, Gardner, Ellsbury, though if they were candy, they’d all be brittle.  I’d grab Frazier in all leagues to see what he can do.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend 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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I wish I knew more about Street Fighter so I could come up with better Ryu puns or references. My knowledge of SF (do people abbreviate it like that?) ends at knowing it was fighting video game I had growing up that wasn’t as good as Mortal Kombat (hot take alert). And for the record, yes, I know Hyun-Jin Ryu pronounces his name differently. Give me a break, and go with it.

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?