The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies.  It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown.  I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted.  Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth.  Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around.  Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April, and then they disappear.  With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest.  To read more about streaming as a draft strategy.  There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck.  Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to shift due to which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs.  Finally, the best starters can give you four categories.  The best hitters can give you five categories.  As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections.  Also, Rudy’s released his Steamer Projections with auction values.  Here’s the Steamer Hitter Projections, the Steamer Pitcher Projections and the fantasy baseball auction values for every conceivable league.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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boston-red-sox

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post… Brendan O’Toole, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Boston Red Sox!

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The Red Sox signed David Price to a seven-year deal for $217 million.  MFW I heard.  I get that half goes to the government, and ten percent goes to his lawyer, and ten percent goes to his agent, and ten percent goes to his business manager, and ten percent goes to his accountant, and ten percent goes to the guy in his business manager’s office that is pretending to be his business manager and moving money straight to a bank account in Turks and Caicos without anyone knowing, but $217 million is ludicrous.  The Ghost of Curt Flood says, “Ya’ll abusing the crack baby out free agency.”  The ‘crack baby’ modifier is popular amongst ghosts.  The Ghost of Marion Barry started it.  This contract makes me long for the days of collusion.  This doesn’t even take into account how stupid it is from the Red Sox perspective, and I don’t mean just due to Price’s unstellar (Made Up Word of the Day!) playoff history.  There will never be a contract where this much money ever makes sense.  Look at your World Champion Royals, they don’t have one guy making more than ten million.  Look at the past handful of huge contracts, have any of them looked good in hindsight?  By the third year, this will look as egregious as the contracts given to Sabathia, A-Rod, Cano, Ryan Howard…Okay, nothing will look as bad as Ryan Howard’s.  It’s not like contracts are secret either.  It’s not as if the Red Sox are sitting there scratching their heads wondering how much the Royals are paying Hosmer.  Big contracts get you nowhere!  I said that last sentence while pounding my fist on a lectern as a few kids dozed in the front row.  As for Price, he’ll turn 31 years old during the 2016 season, which is not exactly when pitchers get better, but he looks like he could stave off decline for a year or two.  Last year, his fastball velocity went up from 2014, his K-rate was above his career average and his walk rate was within sneezing distance of his career mark.  He was a tad lucky on homers, LOB% and BABIP, but he appears to be 2.70-3.20 ERA pitcher with neutral luck.  Of course, I wouldn’t draft him since I don’t buy number one fantasy aces, but I doubt Fenway or the AL East really hurt him that much.  At least not until the third year of his deal when there will be 217 million reasons why the Red Sox want to unload him.  For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 17-7/3.03/1.10/225 in 220 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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All the final 2015 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2016 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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ss2

Despite a season of disappointment and injury, Stephen Strasburg won me my points league championship. As one of my keepers coming into this season, I was excited for the potential of a Cy Young campaign. Instead what I got was a season of heartache and despair as he spent more time on my bench than he did in my lineup. In his last three starts however Strasburg threw a total of 23 innings, striking out 37 batters, walking 3 and yielding only 2 earned runs. During that three game stretch he scored 103 fantasy points for an average of 34.33 points per start. I’m happy when I get 25 points from a start. Just when I thought I had my keepers figured out for next season, Strasburg has to go and do this and put his name solidly back into the mix. On a side note, a few weeks back I suggested he grow a Bumgarner-like beard in hopes of helping him find his lost ways. Instead he seems to have shaved himself clean and I am thrilled with the result it has had on his performance. I just re-read that sentence and it can certainly take on a different meaning.

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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:

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In the preseason I projected Dee Gordon to finish this season with 272 points. Those projections included 1.8 home runs, 33.83 RBIs, 71 runs scored and 51 stolen bases. Through 135 games Gordon has 333 points, with 3 home runs, 42 RBIs, 78 runs and 53 stolen bases. Had he not missed about three weeks with a thumb injury those numbers would be even a little better. All told my projections were pretty accurate. So where did the extra 61 points come from? Singles. Dollar dollar bills y’all. I projected 115.75 singles and a .268 batting average. He currently has 157 one-baggers and a .332 average. When asked how he felt about my 272-point projection, Dee responded with “do you like tapes or CDs?”

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“All year.  All.  Year.  I’ve been starting Jeff Samardzija in one 15 team league.  It’s an NFBC league so I couldn’t drop him (there’s no waivers).  It’s not a great league to bench starters.  I had options like Colby Lewis and Adam Warren.  Not great options.  But, finally, yesterday, I decided enough was enough.  If I was going to lose, at least I would lose with Samardzija out of my lineup.  So, Samardnuts goes out and throws a one-hitter (9 IP, o ER, 1 Hit, Zero Walks, 6 Ks).”  That was how I concluded the story to the doctor when I first ended up in the mental asylum.  Samardzija is actually easier to type while wearing a straitjacket.  Coincidence?  Immediately following the story, I cackled myself to sleep in a puddle of my own bodily fluids.  I’m not even sure what fluid it was.  I’m guessing urine, but you got me on specifics.  As we know, earlier this year Oxford Dictionary replaced &@*^&*@%! that connotes a curse word with Samardzija, and I can think of nothing more fitting than screaming SAMARDZIJA!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s been a rough week to be Dallas! Last Sunday the Cowboys lost Bryant for 2-3 months and yesterday Romo went down with a broken collarbone. Tough break for the Cowboys but you’re not here for Da Boys, so let’s talk about the other Dallas. Last Wednesday night, Dallas Keuchel got shelled for 9er against a Texas lineup that’s leads all of baseball in K’s vs LHP. I for one paid up for Keuchel last week as it seemed like a no brainer. Granted his home/road splits lean towards that Houston home cooking, but I definitely didn’t see a season worst performance coming. I mean this is a guy who’s supposed to be tops on a short list of AL Cy Young candidates. The same guy that has put up 24 quality starts this year and has gone at least 6 innings in 29 of his 30 starts. In fact you’d have to go all the way back to last July to find an outing that he lasted 5 or less innings prior to last Wednesday’s Cleveland Steamer. In DFS you have to have a short memory and tonight is a perfect example as I’m doubling down and buying in big on Keuchel for $11,400. He’s third on the board tonight, but I think he’ll be a top the leaderboard with an excellent HOME matchup against the not so Angelic Anaheim club. Anaheim is limping into Houston after a 4 game set with Min, which had them play a double header on Saturday and yesterday they only put up 1 run . In fact LAA is hitting just .232 against LHP and Keuchel has owned them this year putting up 2 W’s, 21 K’s and just 4er in 18.1 innings. Luckily for this Dallas he can bounce back a lot quicker than the other Dallas team that will be licking their wounds for the next couple months.

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.

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So as the two-start pitching post comes to a close, I thought I’d take a break from our usual theme based format and make this week’s edition as straight-forward as possible. But then I wrote the first draft in Old German and realized that translating it back to English was neither simple or straight-forward. There are some terms in Old German baseball vernacular that just don’t translate. Then again most of it is comparing pitchers mechanics to field work. This all gave me a great idea for a sequel to Million Dollar Arm with John Hamm. The premise is simple, upon his return from India J.B. Bernstein is driving through Lancaster County and witnesses a 16 year old Pennsylvania Dutch lefty by the name of Ezekial Miller striking out teams of grown men from a near by town. Bernstein fresh off his cricket adventure, believes he’s found his next project and wacky hi-jinx ensues. It’s one part Kingpin, One part The Natural, and one part Hoosiers. The last part only fits because there’s a lot of veiled racism that only Disney could produce. So that’s my pitch (pun point). What do you guys think, shall I kick start a Kickstarter campaign? Let’s make this happen, I have a football team of little Lifshitz to feed, or as I call them a bunch of Lil-Shitz. You like?

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