It’s Sunday morning and somebody must make some tough decisions at the pitcher position today. I’m not overly thrilled with the pitching matchups today and struggled to piece together my favorites. DFSBot is showing some love to sir Brandon McCarthy who has been pitching extremely well over the past few weeks. He gets a difficult matchup against the Rockies though this game is being played in LA. The Rockies home/road split confirms that the Rockies bats are not intimidating when they are away from Coors. McCarthy is nothing but a safe play to score 20+ points. He won’t get you many K’s but he’ll limit the hits and walks and should walk away with the win. McCarthy makes for the best starter in double ups today due to his consistency at home. His price is also a modest $15,000.

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Every year, there are surprises in fantasy baseball. Some players come out of nowhere and breakout or, in the case of Aaron Judge, absolutely dominate. Other players regress after a breakout season the year before. There are even the players who have long track records of mediocrity who, all of sudden, appear to have figured something out en route to becoming legitimate contributors both in fantasy and in, you know, real baseball. I like to call these players Justin Smoak-Logan Morrison-Yonder Alonso. The more popular terms among Razzballers for these players are Schmohawks and Hot Schmotatos.

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I use a number of different tools, sites, and metrics every week to adjust my rankings and to determine exactly who I should focus on each week. I usually try to focus on players owned in less than 60% leagues, players who are rising or falling and who you should probably buy low or sell high on, or players who are new to the Top 100 or on the cusp of joining the ranks. It has only been a few weeks since I took over these rankings for the legendary M@, so I am still working on creating the most efficient system (I spend wayyyyyy too much time agonizing over these rankings every Sunday).

I start by going over my notes and spreadsheets from the previous week, then take a peek at Razzball’s Player Rater and look at the current rankings and the Rest of Season Projections. Once I jot down some notes from those, I take a look at ESPN’s PR15 Player Ratings for the last 15 days. Lastly, I check FanGraphs with a focus on the best wOBA for the last 14 days and the last 30 days. Usually, once I am finished with that process, I have an idea of who I am going to write about and a starting point for adjusting the rankings.

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Are you also old enough and/or vaguely goth enough to know “Severina” by The Mission (if you do, hit me up in the comments! 1986 represent!)? And perchance does that song also pop into your head every time you think of Luis Severino? I’m starting him on FanDuel today, not only as an attempt at earworm exorcism, but because I like his chances versus Baltimore in the [email protected] series (a.k.a. the “baloney” series). The last time he faced the Orioles, he struck them out 8 times, walked 1, and gave up 1 earned run. I also like his price ($9,500): how nice it will be to build a good, balanced lineup around that, rather than trying to do my usual balancing trick of going top-heavy on pitching or bottom-heavy on hitting. Note that he is pitching at home in Yankee Stadium, where he’s given up 5 home runs thus far this year and has a 3.77 ERA — not horrible, it’s a quality start, but sure, maybe you’d prefer to steer clear, like all the boys from a goth girl in late-eighties nightclubs (#notbitter). So let’s gird up with eyeliner and take a look at some other options. I’ve leaned pretty heavily on Tigers (dangerous!) and Astros in the lineup I’ve created for FanDuel, but you could also look to stack Cleveland hitters against the White Sox’s David Holmberg, and Yankees versus the Orioles’ Chris Tillman.

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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Let’s begin by having a moment of silence for the fact that we will be without Mike Trout for two months. I dropped him to 23 in the rankings below, which are considered ROS trade value. I know it is hard to justify Trout over some talented players who aren’t going to miss two months, I just couldn’t bring myself to drop him much lower. The Razzball Player Rater has him all the way down to 71 for ROS projections. Personally, if I were to trade Trout, I would hold out for the highest bid and make someone overpay. Otherwise, I’m not moving him. And in keeper leagues, I would still have him at number 1 and wouldn’t entertain offers.

Now, for the players who are playing right now. The two players I moved up and want to focus on this week are Justin Bour and Justin Smoak. I received some questions and comments on here and on Twitter last week about Smoak, so let’s take a look at him first. He has looked great this season, but I have my doubts.

While Smoak’s slash line and counting stats look great right now, unless he finally figured everything out at 30 years old, I have my doubts. Yes, he is currently on pace for almost 40 home runs. Yes, he is striking out 17.9% of the time, which is almost half as much as he did last season and is well below his career average of 23.5%. Through 55 games and over 200 plate appearances in 2017, the metrics back up what he is doing.

But here’s the thing.

Smoak has been in the league for eight seasons and has over 3,000 plate appearances. He’s a career .227 / .311 / .402 hitter. His previous high for home runs in a season is 20, which he did back in 2013. Take a look at his wOBA by season:

Translation: Smoak isn’t this good. This probably isn’t going to last, and a regression is coming.

Now, as far as Justin Bour goes, I am still skeptical but am less skeptical. Bour is 29 but has just over 1,000 plate appearances at the MLB level. He has displayed this kind of power before, both at the major league level and in the minors, so it is easier to believe that his current power stroke is real. Will he continue to hit up around .300? No, but it is reasonable to expect him to hit in the .250-.270 range and offer up 30 home runs, as long as he can stay healthy (which he can’t always do).

The main point here is that, while Bour is only a year younger, he doesn’t have as much of a negative track record that we can hold against him. He has also displayed plus-power in the past, while Smoak has always struggled to fulfill his potential in that department. Bour is likely to regress a bit as well, but I don’t think his regression will be as extreme as Smoak’s. If I had to pick between these two first basemen as a guy I value higher ROS I am taking Bour every time. Maybe I’m just biased now that I live in South Florida, or maybe their track records are telling us everything we need to know about them…

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Hope everyone is ready for a sun tan today!  The Tampa Bay Rays are going to give our skins some much needed color…ok, I’m done I promise.  I’m sure you already know, but I like the Rays as a whole today.  As a team they’ve been heating up, and they’ll be facing off against a pretty unknown pitcher in Austin Bibens-Dirkx.  WHO?  I didn’t even know he existed before today, nor if he was any good or not.  I did some digging and his stats aren’t terrible in the minors with a little over 3.00 ERA this year.  Also has an ERA of just under 4.00 this year in long relief.  I’m still going to load up on bats here.  Mostly because of three things: stadium, conditions, and how often does a long reliever last more then a few innings?  The bats I’ll be targeting start with Logan Morrison at $3,500.  I think he’s a great play for the price and the potential.  I also like Evan Longoria at $3,300.  He’s had a rough time this year but I think he’s a much better hitter then what he’s shown.  Corey Dickerson at $4,200 seems obvious at this point, but he’s always in play if your stacking Rays.  Last guy I really like from this team is Tim Beckham at $2,900.  The former #1 pick hasn’t done much of anything in his career but with the injury to Matt Duffy, he’s finally getting a chance to play everyday.  Its beginning to pay off as he’s showing a power stroke and a decent average.  I expect his success to continue through today, at least.

Now on to the picks…

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Over the past few weeks, Yasmani Grandal has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Despite being a pinch-hitter who sometimes wears the wrong helmet, he has been hitting .345 with a .392 wOBA over his last 30 days. Part of that has to do with an unsustainable .409 BABIP during that span, but most of it has to do with Grandal being locked in and being more aggressive at the plate. While he has a history of being frustrating to fantasy owners who aren’t utilizing him in OPS or OBP leagues, Hot Yasmani has been very different this season.

Regular Yasmani is a patient hitter who posts OBPs 100 points higher than a mediocre AVG, who walks 15% of the time and strikes out 25% of the time. He can hit home runs but hurts AVG in standard leagues. Last season, he rewarded fantasy owners with 27 home runs, which is great, especially at the catcher position. But, again, he hit just .228, struck out 25.4% of the time, and recorded just 86 hits. That means a third of his hits went for home runs. With 116 strikeouts and 62 walks, it also means that he either struck out or walked 50% of the time. Other than the home runs (which, again, are great to get at the catcher spot), those numbers are fine for OBP/OPS leagues but are not ideal for your standard leagues.

Hot Yasmani, 2017 Yasmani, is a different story. Hot Yasmani has no time for patience at the plate. He wants to eat. HY’s BB% over the last 30 days is less than 6%, and it’s below 10% on the year. He already has 42 hits and is on pace for well over 100 for the first time in his career. He his hitting around .300 after hitting below .235 the last four seasons. The home runs are down, for now, but he is making up for it with career marks in nearly every other offensive category (except walks, of course). I included HY in this week’s Top 100 because he is no longer just posting good numbers for a catcher; he’s one of the hottest hitters not named Charles Cobb Blackmon (full name, look it up) right now.

Now, for a few guys who are not so hot right now…

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Happy Memorial Day DFSers.  Be sure to pause and give thanks today for those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  They are the true heros.  We’ve got a nice, full early slate today and a five game late slate, a little backwards from how most days run.  It’s a pretty grey day where I live, perfect for sitting in and enjoying a full day of MLB and DFS.  I hope you’ll join me and with any luck we’ll all win a little somethin somethin to make our holiday weekend even better.

I’m almost always a fan of Carlos Carrasco (except when he’s talking about elbow issues in the preseason causing me to avoid him in drafts and end up with Danny Salazar instead…ugh) and today is no exception.  Carrasco is the 4th highest salary player ($18,000) on the early slate, but he’s the number one pitcher on the slate in my opinion.  Carrasco gets the strikeout prone A’s at home.  These A’s are 8th in the majors in Ks and Just wrapped up being struck out 34 times in 3 games at the house next to the house that Ruth built.  CC Sabathia struck out 9 A’s for crying out loud! CC!  Carrasco has looked amazing so far this season, pitching to a 9 K rate and a sub 1.00 WHIP.  His FIP (3.29) is right in line with his ERA (2.93) as well, so it’s no fluke.  Cookie will be an auto-roster for me today and I suggest you do the same

New to FantasyDraft? 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 you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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Pineda, Polanco, let’s call the whole thing off!  Actually, let’s get it on!  Happy Memorial Day weekend fellow DFSers.  I hope you’ll join me in BBQing, enjoying adult libations and winning some cash while sleeping it all off Monday morning.  It’s Clayton Kershaw Day mixed with a Coors Day, which means we have some serious decisions to make.  I’m personally fading Kershaw and instead starting a little cheaper at starting pitcher with good friend, Michael Pineda ($19,200).  I’m such a sucker for Pineda and that crazy K-rate.  His 61:9 K:BB is a fair impersonation of Kershaw and for $6K cheaper, I’m all in.  Pineda gets a play-date with the Oakland A’s who are tied for 7th in the league in strikeouts.  Fellow roation-mate Masahiro Tanaka just K’d a baker’s dozen and Pineda will be looking to duplicate that effort.  So, grab a hotdog and raise a glass to the unofficial beginning of summer while hoping Pineda delivers a 12 pack.  Remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice this weekend and allow us all to live in a land where (most of us) can freely wager some dough on our ability to pick the highest scoring group of fantasy baseballers.  Those men and women are true heros.

New to FantasyDraft? 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 you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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I’m not a religious girl, but when I was sitting down to write this post and saw the magic words “Stephen Strasburg versus the San Diego Padres” and [email protected] (mmm, strudel), I raised my hands and gave up a “hallelujah.” Which caused some raised eyebrows in the coffee shop I was sitting in, let me tell you (ugh, whatEVer, Man Yelling Into Skype About His Deck Repairs).

So it’s fair to say I’m reasonably excited about Stephen’s match-up today. Even if he does cost me $11,100 (gulp). Collectively, the Padres are hitting .221 at time of writing. They’re the third-worst team in MLB (and I hate pointing all this stuff out — I do root for the Padres). I have some worries: so far this year, Strasburg’s K/9 is a little down (8.80) and his ERA at home is not ideal (4.00 at home versus 2.70 away), but I gotta have faith. I also want to stack some Rockies and Cardinals bats. Trying to squeeze all this into my FanDuel salary cap is gonna hurt like kneeling too long at church when you’re as old as I am, but I’ll make it work.

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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