In 2008, Eric Thames was drafted by the Blue Jays. At the very end of Spring Training in 2012, he won the starting left fielder job over Travis Snider (it was a fierce competition, but in our house, it was always Team Thames). It did not go well and by August 2012, he’d been traded to Seattle for relief pitcher Steve Delabar. (Steve Delabar who, now relegated to the Cleveland minor league system, was given an 80-game suspension for PED use this week.) Shortly thereafter, Thames took his talents and his fine, fine biceps to the Korean league, and the rest, as they say, is history. As a Jays fan, I’m pretty depressed about all this back-story (well, I’m Jays-depressed generally right now, TBH; the highlight of my baseball week was Chris Coghlan’s audition for the Cirque du Soleil), but I’m going to make myself feel better by building a whole damn FanDuel lineup around Eric Thames. I choose to believe that this Saturday is not the day he stops hitting, and this matchup versus lefty Jaime Garcia, at home in Milwaukee, is the gift that all mournful baseball girls (and boys) deserve. I’m slotting Mike Trout in as well and filling in the gaps around them both. Thankfully, there are also some good pitchers on the slate today who won’t break the bank.

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Another week, another contest. Another contest, another winner. But before I announce who won week 3, let’s find out which batters accrued the most points. Scoring 43 points, Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper led the way. Since Harper is an Unpickable, Mr. Freeman stands alone. In 29 plate appearances Double F hit four home runs, drove in six, scored seven and stole one. He also farted 42 times. Now there’s a stat you can only get at Razzball. On the season Freeman is batting .380 with seven homers, and is tied with Mike Trout at 85 points. Somehow he only has ten RBIs, but I’ll leave that statistical blackhole anomaly for a much more experience writer to tell you about…

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Did you see last night’s Yankee/Red Sox clash? No? It lasted a super fast 2 hours and 20 minutes and here’s a recap: Sale crushed souls to start the game and then gave up runs late. Masahiro Tanaka threw the year’s first Maddux (CGSO under 100 pitches) and it was glorious. Maddux’s are fantastic. The dominance and efficiency is a thing of beauty (Come on DFS sites, let’s get a Maddux bonus!). On the other side, the Red Sox offense continues to struggle. They have the league’s worst isolated power (.107) and are a below average offense (99 wRC+) with the league’s 2nd best BABIP (.319). They are thoroughly mediocre despite getting well above average offense from Benintendi (143 wRC+), Betts (144) and Moreland (151). Hanley (62), and Pedroia (66) are going to rebound, but I’m not sure that regulars Chris Young (77) and Pablo Sandoval (74) will improve by much – those numbers are likely just who those two players are at this point in their careers. A rebound from Hanley and Pedroia will likely be offset by the normal regression of Benintendi and Moreland and the extreme regression of Christian Vazquez after he just had the best 25 PAs of his life (254). All of this means the Red Sox might be an offense to target in GPPs with pitching because without Ortiz it relies on Betts and Benintendi and a bunch of average-ish bats.  As we are seeing with Toronto right now, you take a link or 2 away from a very top-heavy chain and the entire thing breaks down.

On to the picks once we celebrate the year’s first Maddux, which are better than no-hitters…

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As the old expression goes, you can count on three things in life, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers ruining your week/month/season with an injury of some sort. This is a slight update on the late 80’s iteration of this expression, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers at a snowstorm. If you’re a Noah Syndergaard owner you might want to hit up Doc’s medicine man, because the mighty righty was skipped in the rotation due to a sore bicep. Apparently curls are for the girls, and the DL too. Seriously how does Bartolo stay healthy eating like Kristie Alley on a bender, while Thor spends his free time living like Schwarzenegger in the beginning of Twins? Nothing makes sense, I’m writing the Notes! Riddle me this, Does that mean Colon was birthed from his poop? Or is it the other way around. Yes, I was an odd child. As for Thor, and his right arm, he’s headed for an MRI today. After first experiencing pain between bullpen sessions, and playing catch. He said he “felt great” playing catch, two things, “who doesn’t feel great playing catch?” and as far as I know “felt great” doesn’t mean I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder. But Syndergaard is from Texas and a Viking, so he may speak a different language. Oh, yeah, that’s not a joke. He actually said I “felt great playing catch”, but his bicep “stiffens up when it gets cold”. Funny, mine does the opposite when it gets cold. The worst part is that gem of a comment was followed with “I couldn’t really lift my arm above my shoulder at that point”. However, the Mets and Terry Collins assure us that Thor isn’t hurt. In fact, he showed up to the park ready to pitch! But old cautious Terry pulled the plug, because as he so eloquently put it, “when you are talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen.” Damn, the man has the vocabulary of Sling Blade! Not going to lie, I’m intrigued about these “other things” happening in Syndergaard’s bicep. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s week four and The Hey Batter, Batter, Batter contest is in full swing. And since it’s week four that means it’s time to announce week two’s winner. Before I do, let’s take a look at the top batters from that week. Eric Thames is hitting the ball like a guy that just whacked the shit out of the ball in the Korean Baseball Organization. Oh wait, he did that? For the last three years Thames has done his best Mike Trout impression for the NC Dinos by averaging 41 homers, 127 RBIs, 114 runs scored, a .347 batting average and 21 stolen bases. Heck, those stats make Trout seem like a second rounder. Many did not expect his success to translate back to the MLB, but I wasn’t as skeptical. My preseason projections were higher than most as I had him as a top twenty outfielder in points leagues. His 200+ ADP allowed me to scoop him up in many of my important leagues. I can’t imagine he keeps up his current pace, but he should be opening up a lot of eyes. Unfortunately the “buy low” period was during draft season.

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Boy, do we have a lot of games going today. I’m tired just thinking about it. Waitress another coffee please. Let’s cut straight to the good stuff ladies and gentlemen. I thought about getting cute today and suggesting someone other than Noah Syndergaard but then I remembered we’re all here to win money. This will be Thor’s first start at home this season and its a night game so expect the crowd to be there rooting on their ace. If you take a look at his career splits you’ll notice he loves pitching at Citi. One of the most important things to remember when playing FantasyDraft is to pick pitchers with a high K upside and a pitcher who is going to limit the runs. Thor comes in at a modest $22,800 and by modest, I mean most expensive. Cripes! Now let’s see if I can sell you on the most expensive pitcher of the day. Last season Thor finished 4th in k/9. Not sold yet? He finished 3rd in ERA last season. Still not putting him in your lineup? What if I told you he has the lowest o/u and is a heavy favorite to beat the Marlins. Okay I give up, don’t put him in your lineup (sarcasm).

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After fourteen drafts/auctions I am finally done selecting players. It was a long (and tiring) stretch of two weeks, but I don’t regret one thing. Although give me a few more days of watching my pitchers get knocked around and I might have a change of heart. The aforementioned drafts consisted of four points league auctions, one points league snake draft, five various mock drafts with the fantasy baseball gurus over at CBS, and four Razzball Commentator Leagues, concluding with the Razzball Experts league. Towards the end, my selections almost began to feel robotic. Something akin to a human auto-drafter. And while we’re discussing auto-drafting, I’d like to announce that I hate auto-drafters. Not the actual person, but the act of auto-drafting. Unless you’ve actually taken the time to legitimately rank your players, your presence (or lack there of) at our draft annoys me. And if you end up with two or more catchers or a handful of middle relievers/closers I’m talking about you.

Of all the drafts/auctions I participated in the one I’d like to discuss is the experts points league auction for the league known as The Points League. I’ve accepted that points leagues are the red-headed step child of fantasy baseball, but the bottom line is that many do play the format. Despite this fact most “experts” refuse to give points leagues much, if any, attention. And if they are in a points leagues, they generally don’t publicize as much. I bet the number of closet points league players is staggering. It’s 2017 people, you can come out of the closet.

A few weeks back I decided I was going to attempt to organize an experts points leagues by inviting some very smart, and mostly respected, fantasy baseball analysts/writers from across the online world of fantasy baseball. When all was said and done, and the league was filled, here are the fierce competitors vying to be the champion of The Points League:

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Holy Shizz!  I can’t believe Opening Day is already here, it seems like a couple weeks ago I was opening up the 2016 season with Mad Max.  I hope you all had a great off season, but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and started building that DFS account.  Practically every ace is going today, so I know you’re asking yourself, why Danny Duffy, $16,800?  Although I maybe a little rusty with my picks, I can assure you The Duffman won’t be showing any signs of rust as he’s already in mid May form.  I’m sure you all followed the WBC this year, dude was absolutely lights out grabbing 2 W’s, 8 K’s, and 1 ER in 8 innings of work.  He has a solid matchup versus the Twins and I think he’s stretched out enough to give us a solid 6 innings.  Granted, it’s early so dumping all your money on top arms isn’t the best strategy, so I’m really feeling the mid level guys like Duffy, Kendall Graveman at $11,200 and Jon Gray at $15,200.  Just a quick update on the DFS format.  We’ve changed gears this year and I think you guys are really going to enjoy the format with FantasyDraft Sunday thru Tuesday.  It’s still a two pitcher roster, but you have three IF, three OF and two Utility spots, so the positions don’t matter.  That means no more catchers; Woo Hoo!  There’s still catchers available to roster, but you won’t hear much from me about them.  I’m really excited about the new format as it allows for a lot more flexibility.  Anyways, on to the picks!

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Writing this as I watch the WBC Championship game I might be drafting Marcus Stroman on a few teams.  The World Baseball Classic is pretty darn entertaining with so many good lineups and watching the US pull off the win has been awesome.  I like that over the past couple weeks I can have it on in the background because it’s competitive baseball, but there’s no fantasy implications so I can just enjoy it.  These are all-stars playing for their country (for the most part, we all know that “team” Italy, Israel and the Netherlands are stretches) and so so so much better than watching spring training games.

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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