The Oakland A’s have been the team to beat in the first half of 2014. They own the best record the majors, their offense, which is comprised of a ragtag bunch of misfits from the other side of the tracks, ranks second among all teams in RBIs and total bases. They lead the league in ERA and WHIP, and they just upgraded their rotation with the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, all without the help of fat Jonah Hill. You don’t need Andy Serkis’ acting school to show you you’d be a real monkey to doubt these guys. They’ve been just as good from a fantasy perspective. Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Sonny Gray have carried over their success from 2013, and Jesse Chavez, Sean Doolittle and the two-headed catcher platoon of John Jaso and Derek Norris have all been first half surprises. So which A’s can you hitch a ride on for some second half fantasy glory? Jed Lowrie (2-for-4, RBI) can get real hot, real quick, and is currently on a seven game hitting streak, with multi-hit performances in six of those games. You might want to scoop him up before he explodes, or gets injured again. Similarly, Stephen Vogt (3-for-3, HR (4)) has been excellent since receiving everyday at bats and is slashing .435/.480/.652 over the past two weeks.  He’s got an 11 game hitting streak (six multi-hit games in that span) and two homers in his past three days, and that catcher eligibility makes him extra valuable. P. Diddy says Vogt or die, so you should grab Stephen while he’s still just under 30% owned. We may be through a little over half of the fantasy season so far, but there’s still plenty of time to ride the Oaktown bandwagon to some fantasy glory, at least until they get to San Antonio. #keeptheAsinOakland!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night (*All-Star Edition*):

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Manny Machado‘s epitaph: He always found more success throwing a bat at a ball. Better than Salvador Perez’s: Together again! Machado wasn’t just struggling, he was like that friend of yours that not only is having a rotten time at a party, but also sucks the prettiest girls in the room into his sad funk of despair and before long, the girls are like, “I don’t want to go out and get drunk and party and potentially hook up with you. Your friend Manny Machado is too depressed.” The buzz kill friend. Yesterday, Machado went 5-for-6, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 8th homer, and fourth homer in his last seven games (skipping the suspension games). About time he listened to your advice, did a body shot off the tummy of the girl that wants to be a physical therapist and cheered up! I don’t own Machado anywhere this year, due to the knee issue coming into the season, but he just turned 22 years old (almost literally; his birthday was Sunday) and I’ll be all over Machado again next year. Of course, if you can acquire him in a trade this year, by all means, which sounds like it was said by Malcolm X’s less militant brother, Bobby X. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Wanna really mess with your brain? Think about how you could have the same thing as Guy Pearce in Memento and you would never know. Okay, don’t think about it too long, it’ll mess with your brain too much and then I’m gonna get sued by your loved ones. “Judge, Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it), told my darling boy, Josh, to think about how he could have a brain dysfunction and now I have to change his diaper and order in for Chinese food every fifteen minutes because he keeps forgetting he just ate.” That’s your momma in front of the judge, suing me. Steve Pearce is a thirty-one-year-old journeyman. That’s not a cartographer, that’s a guy who isn’t very good and just travels around offering his services for all-you-can-drink Gatorade. Yes, he hit two homers yesterday and has hit 9 homers in just two months while batting .336. This isn’t a matter of “Maybe he’s breaking out now.” No, there’s no breaking out for Steve Pearce. He doesn’t even sound right if you don’t say his full name. There’s no Steve and no Pearce. There’s only Steve Pearce and he’s the hottest schmotato in the land and is worth picking up while he’s swinging a hot bat, but I wouldn’t expect it to last that long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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July 4th is right around the corner, and I know you got tons of big (that’s me finger quoting) plans for the weekend.  So I’ll cut right to the chase and break down some of the injuries affecting fantasy baseball at the moment. Just remember, when you’re two cases of beer in and your starting shortstop breaks his finger sliding headfirst into second base, don’t, I repeat, don’t take out your frustrations by launching fireworks at your computer.

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As many of you know, Bruce Bochy has the biggest head in the major leagues. As a player, when he was traded, he would have to take his helmet with him to his new club because the new team wouldn’t have a helmet big enough for him. It made traveling easier, since everything he needed would fit inside the helmet. We all know the story about how when Giants rookie, Joe Panik, was called up, he forgot to make arrangements to stay somewhere in the San Fran area, so he draped a sheet over Bochy’s cap and slept in there. Lots of good has come of Bochy’s giant melon. Of course, the 27-pound bowling ball has its drawbacks. Like when he went to see Toy Story and blocked half the audience. Lots of angry parents that day. Or the time he was in South Dakota and people starting climbing up his side thinking he was Mount Rushmore. Sometimes what would take a person with a normal-sized head a week or two to figure out, thoughts bounce around in Bochy’s Metrodome much longer. So when Sergio Romo wasn’t good for the month of May, then again in June, it took longer for Bochy to realize a change was needed, but he finally figured it out. Bochy said Santiago Casilla would replace Romo, then he banged the side of his head for 15 minutes waiting for another thought, and finally it came out that Jeremy Affeldt would see some situational saves, as long as Gilbert Gottfried isn’t introducing Affeldt at games. Yesterday, Affeldt got hit, and Casilla looked solid as he has all year. I’d grab Casilla in all leagues if you’re SAGNOF’ing around for saves. Hopefully, even if Bochy thinks about putting Romo back in the role, it takes a few weeks for that thought to land in the right spot in his cavernous whale head. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Oh man, what a week for The Pitcher Profile! First we had Andrew Heaney called up right when last week posted, Danny Duffy stayed hot after a big ascent in the rankings, and then Rick Porcello throws 6 scoreless for his 9th win. Power of the Profile!

The cherry on top – Heaney was awesome in his debut. I’ve had him ranked since the very unfortunate TJ for Jose Fernandez, envisioning a rotation spot sooner than later. Then when he moved up to AAA (and subsequently dominated), I moved him into the top 50 calling him a must-own. Ahead of the hype! I was able to catch most of his debut live, and I’ve got to say, I’ve had some Game of Thrones-esque daydreams since. Some Will Ferrell with the blow-up doll moments… “You’re my boy, Blue Heaney!”

I’m all the more excited to go back into his sizzling debut for profiling this glorious Monday, and already have a new nickname for him: McDreamy. McDreamy Heaney! Wow, this is going too far… *clears throat and deepens voice* “Beer! Titties!” Here’s how Heaney looked pitch-by-pitch in his first career MLB start:

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The Royals are Daddy Rich from Car Wash or Max Scherzer owed Verlander a favor. “Hey, Scherzer, do me a solid and do a solid on the mound so my Monday start doesn’t look so bad. You feel me? If you do, I got a Ms. Upton to feel you.” Little did Scherzer know that Verlander wasn’t talking about Kate Upton, but about Justin and B.J.’s sister, Misshapen. “Misshapen, your legs are so curvaceous they remind me of the coastline of Africa.” Or maybe Verlander is just spreading something around the clubhouse. Anibal, you better not touch him or I will know it! Scherzer only lost once all of last year at home, which is slightly misleading like I’m saying he is that much better at home. He only lost twice on the road last year and his ERA on the road was almost a run and half lower. Yesterday, it all went to pot — Lincecum, “That’s where I want to go!” — as Scherzer gave up 10 runs in four innings. Leyland was right. Pitchers are like barbecuing pork. You need a lot of indirect smoke to tender up their shoulder and get ‘em right. If this allows a buying opportunity on Scherzer, unlike Verlander, I do think this was a hiccup rather than a long, extended burp. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Since returning from the disabled list, Chris Sale ($11,600) has pitched nine scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts and only one walk. He tops the Stream-o-Nator this morning at a $29 value and faces a Padres lineup that is dead last in team batting average and also in the top ten for team strikeout percentage (21.9%). He’s the most expensive option at DraftKings today, but he still comes in at under $12K so it doesn’t completely handcuff your hitters. I’m building around him and counting on 25 points from the 25-year-old southpaw.

If you are new to DraftKings, use our promo link to get started. New players that click on that link will get a free contest ticket with a first time deposit (only new users eligible). The winner of the contest gets entry into our $500k Showcase with a $100k top prize. Also, if you haven’t tried the DFSBot via Rudy, check it out: it compares projected values to actual DFS prices for the day. Here are some of today’s other picks for DraftKings contests on 6/1/2014…

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I’ve said before Homer Bailey is someone you should acquire in a trade. SAME! I’ve said Homer and homers are synonymous. SAME! Those homers should come down, literally. SAME! I…went…scuba…diving…while…eating…Captain…Crunch…SAME! His K-rate is down from last year and his walks are up…NOT SAME! I’ve also said his BABIP is absurdly high, which means he’s getting unlucky. SAME! I’ve said before the difference between his xFIP and his ERA are huge, but after his last start his ERA is starting to come down. Um, SAME but different? He’s not the same pitcher as he was last year. SAME NOT SAME! His Ks are a bit off. NOT SAME! It’s more likely he has a low-3 ERA the rest of the way than the plus-5 ERA he has right now. Um…Well…Dah, the Gobstopper! I wouldn’t trade anyone too huge to acquire Bailey, but the beauty of this is you don’t have to. He’s got a 5+ ERA, so trade for him your Never Nude jorts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The Braves called Tommy La Stella up to replace Fuggla. Here’s what I said about a month ago, “Incredibly, we already had a Tommy La Stella fantasy post. Don’t you people sleep?! There, Dano compared him to Pedroia and not because he needs his tippy toes to get on a roller coaster. I think that comparison might be a tad bizzonkers. Or as the gentle fantasy writers of our day would say, “That’s a bit more bullish than I’d say.” Has any group of people said the word bullish more? This word feels like it’s dominating all fantasy conversations. It’s a polite way to say, someone is smoking more crack than another person. Of course, in a world of small sample sizes, anything could happen, but La Stellllllllllla looks like an NL-Only play with a chance for 5 homers, 7 steals and a decent average if he were called up in June.” And that’s me quoting me! Now that he’s been called up, I’d add him in deeper mixed leagues (think 15+), but I still don’t have high hopes for him outside of maybe a decent average. He’s basically a forty-twenty. If Fredi Gonzalez had any brains in that squishy melon on his shoulders, he’d bat La Stella leadoff and move Heyward down the order. Smarts and managing baseball teams don’t always go hand-in-hand though. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?