Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello everyone, and welcome to Sunday!

Like always, we have a great slew of games on our hands to discuss today, as there are 11 games on the main slate today, and if you want to sweat it out the entire day, there is also a set of 15 games in the all-day slate. These games we see today aren’t ace-filled like the previous ones have been, yet we are coming up on a new challenge to face this Sunday. The sample size.

Baseball is very stats-driven, but they biggest key of effectively using these stats is to interpret them: Which ones are noise, which ones are the most beneficial to us, and when to start looking at these beneficial statistics.

At this point in the season, for Starting Pitchers, most of our options have pitched through 5-6 starts, except for those who have been hurt, promoted from AA/AAA ball, etc. I personally believe that 5-6 starts is enough to see how these SP’s have been doing against a whole bunch of teams, and how they look in 2016. Yes, we haven’t seen double-digit starts yet, but we can get an idea of how they’ll continue to do throughout the season. But what about our bats? This is tricky.

For the studs who have played every on most days, we are looking at anywhere between 100-125 total plate appearances. For the normal guys, we have seen anywhere between 80-100 appearances, and for the low-tiered guys, we have seen mostly between 50-80 appearances. Is this enough? Sometimes, as we can start to get an idea about how these certain players will do, however we have to keep in mind of how baseball is such a high-variance sport, and 100 plate appearances may not do it enough.

For me especially, I will make sure that if the appearances are solid (because one guy could have a 30 K% in 2016, but only have 10 PA’s) and consistent, and continuing my theme of breaking down the pitchers we want to use, who we want to attack against, and the bats to do so.

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Noah Syndergaard steps into a giant metal milk can and submerges himself.  At first, bubbles come up, then nothing.  Only Houdini has ever been able to escape this, and even then Tony Curtis struggled to keep his life in order afterwards.  The beautiful-despite-her-pantyhose girl locks him in.  Everyone watches, and Noah just sits there, locked in.  The audience shifts, then realizes this is what they want.  They want Noah to stay this locked in.  This locked in leads to Cy Young awards.  This locked in carries teams to championships.  One man stands in the audience and screams, “Grow gills and stayed locked in!”  The crowd erupts.  Harvey’s looked just okay, that other Mets pitcher put out the welcome Matz to opposing hitters and deGrom is battling an injury.  Syndergaard?  Oh, he’s so locked in.  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 12 Ks and looked like he could’ve beat the 1927 Blue Jays in Coors Field.  If you own him, ‘gaard your grill and knuckle up if anyone tries to trade you for him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Meet Erik, 35 years old. After meeting a fantasy baseball expert on the internet, he took his last three dollars, entered it in the Early Moonshot on Monday, April 11, 2016, and won $5,000. His conscience never came into play.

All of the above is true, except the part about Erik‘s last three dollars, of course. See, Erik has now done what the vast majority of DFS players have not–he’s taken down a large GPP. This sucker had 28,750 entries. Impressive to say the least. Instead of going all-in with David Price, he pivoted to Michael Wacha. Combine that with nine Aaron Nola strikeouts, a rare offensive outburst from Yadi Molina, home runs from Chris Davis, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez, respectively, and a 19-point punt play in Aledmys Diaz, Erik nailed every single player on Monday’s early slate. Good on you, Erik. You are truly a DFS inspiration and I’m proud to call you one of my good friends. Rags to riches, homie, you ain’t done. You got 99 Problems, but winnin’ a GPP ain’t one. Enjoy that Four Roses Bourbon. Just remember you’re picking up the bar tab when you come to Pittsburgh in June. It’s the least you can do! (Also, bring me a bottle of that bourbon. On the house, of course.)

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Fall in line, Metropolitans!  Fall in line, you strumpets!  *Jerad Eickhoff goose steps up and down the starting lineup, screaming*  I am going to go nutzi on these weak sister Metropolitan hitters!  Nein chance!  You have nein chance!  *leaning in on Nieuwenhuis*  You look Anglo-Saxon, maybe I take it easier on you.  Not you, Michael Conforto…*then a small beat, in a pipsqueak voice*  Unless you know Mussolini.  Do you?  *can’t wait for Conforto to answer*  Forget it!  Fall in line!  And the Mets hitters did fall in line.  Jerad Eickhoff went 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 10 Ks, to lower his ERA to 2.65, and now has back-to-back 10-K games.  Maybe this guy isn’t a Jer-khoff.  *looks at his minor league numbers*  Yeah, I have no idea.  His minor league numbers give the impression that he’ll be a fourth to fifth starter.  That’s not for fantasy, that’s for real baseball.  A fourth or fifth starter on the Phils, even in 2016, doesn’t scream excitement to me.  Sorry, strumpets.  For this year, drop him and check out the Stream-o-Nator, there’s only three days left.  AHH!!!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Lucas Duda went 3-for-5, 3 RBIs with two homers (26, 27).  He now has five homers in the last three days.  Duda goes from doodie to Duda in the blink of an eye.  He’s like a sports car that goes 0 to 60 in five seconds flat that you only drive three times a year, because, while your penis may be small, you’re also reasonable enough to realize if someone crashes into you, you’re going to cry and that’s embarrassing in front of your future trophy wife.  It seems like no matter how many games Duda misses and no matter how deep his slumps get, he gets scorching hot at some point and will get to thirty homers.  His hot streaks are shorter, but he reminds me of a poor man’s Chris Davis.  I will call him Piss Davis.  Maybe I won’t call him that to his face.  Somehow, Duda is available in over 40% of ESPN leagues. (Though 85% of leagues are abandoned already so he’s owned in 125% of leagues.  Hmm…) So, if he’s out there, grab him before he takes the car back into the shop and pays $54,000 for a new taillight.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“We all started mainlining fame when we hit it big. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the lights, the drugs, or most importantly, the groupies. Sure, Slater and Screech told me I was out of control popping at least 4 or 5 caffeine pills a night and then hitting the slums of whatever city Zack Attack was in that night to find some anonymous woman to sleep with. But when you’re the biggest backyard birthday party band in the world, how could I not? I could afford any legal over the counter pill I wanted. But all I really wanted, was approval from Mr. Belding.”

– Zack Morris, lead singer, Zack Attack

Much like his fair haired brother in Los Angeles arms, Zack Morris, Zack Greinke has been on the attack all season, sporting a ridiculously low 1.61 ERA. But, just as danger waited around the corner for Morris as he chased the fruits of his fame, so too might Greinke have a crashing to earth experience himself.

Greinke has been carrying a FIP of 2.77, an XFIP of 3.22 and a SIERA of 3.31, meaning that, good as he is and has been, he probably shouldn’t have been that good. Still here he is pitching well and posting solid, if unspectacular DraftKings points. Over his last 15 games, Greinke has put up 26.38 DK points. It’s really good, but at his price of over $13,200, it needs to offer more than that. We’ve been paying up for aces and haven’t been disappointed lately, like Arrieta last night. Greinke is neither pitching as well as Arrieta lately nor does he have as good a matchup, but he is an overwhelming favorite and the Diamondbacks have the lowest team total at 2.5 runs. And being not as good as Arrieta is hardly a conviction of poor play. Greinke has been more than just solid and he is going at home, which has been a bottom ten ballpark for hitting this season. For cash games, he’s a solid play.

You might think that the fact that Greinke just pitched against the Diamondbacks 10 days ago might mean trouble, since often when a team sees a pitcher so close together, the hitters are more locked into that SP since they just saw him recently. However, Greinke had a similar situation in August against the Reds. On 8/16, Greinke held the Reds to one run over seven innings in Los Angeles. Then, eleven days later he faced them again. This time, Zack attacked (oh yeah!) and this time held the Reds completely scoreless over seven innings. He struck out eight and nine in those two outings.

I’m rostering Zack in cash games but looking at lower cost alternatives to get the Coors bats (which I don’t preview in this piece because you don’t need to be told to roster those guys, I’m sure.) in the lineup as well as some other high cost, high yield bats I’ll discuss down below.

You may think it’s time for the Zack Attack to crumble, but I think there’s one more hit song for sure.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The original title Rudy suggested was, Love Is To Own Lindor, but Rudy tells me that title only makes sense to people forced to watch Frozen 5+ times.  Let it go…Let it go…Let it go…  I just sang that in perfect key and it still caused a cat to screech and paint to peel.  Luckily, I don’t have a kid, a cat or paint.  Let’s count the ways I love Francisco Lindor.  *five minutes later, makes farting sound with hand in armpit*  And that’s it!  Oh, yeah, I should count the ways I love him aloud so you can hear.  Fair enough, you nitpicker, you.  Yesterday, he hit his 9th homer (3-for-4, 4 RBIs), topping off a week when he was hitting over .400, a month when he’s hitting over .340, a 2nd half when he’s hitting over .350 with 7 homers and 7 steals.  He’s only 21 years old.  At 21 years old, you fell asleep on a couch outside of your local bar waiting to talk a girl that you think might have been interested, only waking after a passing bus splashed a puddle of your own vomit onto you.  Guys and five girl readers, he has 9 homers in 82 games (essentially a half a season) and he has 30-steal speed.  I just got goose pimplies.  To emphasize them, I’m drawing little goose faces on my pimples like those psychopaths draw on grains of rice.  Yes, you should own Lindor on your teams for this year, and I can’t wait to draft him in sixteen after twenty.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I start my lineups these days in one place: the starting pitcher. They’re the fulcrum upon which all things must work. You can find way more diamonds in the rough among the hitters than you can on the hill, so it behooves you to focus on this position first before attacking the rest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t target hitters, especially when there are Coors games and the like, but those hitters aren’t going to lift you as high if there is a SP in your slots working a negative number.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should just pop the first two pitchers you come to in the salary list and then mine the lineups for values. That happens sometimes, but what you should really do is look at the SP trends, matchups, splits, parks, swinging strike and K-rates to whittle down the slate to a few good men you could live with for the night.

Oh I’ve gone through this process and ended up with some strange birds on the hill. There was a night this season where Joe Blanton, patron saint of gas cans, actually went into Safeco and helped me to a nice payday. Recently, even, Kris Medlen has been helpful with his low salary and decent performances, allowing me to target more prime bats.

As I look at the slate for Wednesday, I was hoping I could log on, take a quick glance and know where I was going, but I couldn’t. This was because the best two SP on the slate happened to be the highest paid as well:

David Price, SP: $12,500

Jake Arrieta, SP: $14,000

Price in Atlanta and Arrieta in Pittsburgh were, at first glance, the best SP, so I had to dig deeper just to be sure and, sure enough, they came through the process on top.

Since they are so high priced, about 6K more than I like to dedicate to the cause, I didn’t automatically ink them in the lineup until I could see if there was indeed enough value in the hitters to make it work. Looking down the list, it was clear that I could roster two or three Phillies, who can hit a lefty fairly well and have a nice home park, to make it happen. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who has a mid 4s SIERA and nearly 800 OPS vs. righties over the last 30 days also made it easy to go that route.

So I did. It looks like a newb move, rosting the top two SP of the night, but you have to trust your process. Other nights, I would lay up short well short of this $$ commitment at SP, but tonight, it’s pay up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?