James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Wait, what, it’s f’n August already? I had no idea, because every day is Opening Day in the world of DFS. Sure, it can be a Baby Bitch, but I always come back for more; even if last night’s roster sported a LD% of 42.6 with a .189 BABIP (ouch). Nerd alert! I made those numbers up, but you know what I mean. Speaking of numbers, check out the Stream-o-Nator, Hitter-Tron, DFSBot, and of course, the Ombatsman. Rudy created them to help you win DraftKings contests like the Razzball 20-Teamer brought to you on the reg by THE Ralph Lifshitz. Dude is the host with the most. Today is the dawn of a brand new season, so bring it!

P.S. Always fade Stephen Strasburg on the road. Always.

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When I was growing up, we had a hutch. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what piece of furniture it was that my grandparents used to call a hutch. So, like a child of the naughts, I Googled it. On Wikipedia, it says a hutch is where one prepares an evening tipple. Let me just say, I don’t remember anyone in Jersey ever preparing an evening tipple. An evening Sloppy Joe? Sure. An evening ‘bang on the side of the TV so the picture would come in?’ Yup. An evening ‘curse at the neighbors?’ Definitely! An evening tipple? Not in my Jersey. But, for the sake of argument, let’s all pour ourselves an evening tipple for Drew Hutchison. Last night, he went 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk and 8 Ks. See, nothing to it. The only mistake yesterday was a long ball surrendered to Chris Davis (now has back-to-back games with ding-shots). As I said when Hutchison was called up, he could be as great as any pitcher to come up this year. Sadly, it may not be this year that he is great. It’s the pickle that is young pitchers. I would own him, shoot, I’d even have a tipple with him, but I wouldn’t fully trust him until he has a longer track record. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Alex Cobb‘s line was 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 12 Ks. March Grey, “You’re welcome.” April Grey, “Figures you show your face now.” May Grey, “You know how much crap I took for you, March Grey?” June Grey, “Seriously!” All the Greys start yammering over each other. March Grey, “Hey! Hey! Hey! July Grey, defend me here!” July Grey, “Don’t be too hard on him, Cobb was injured. He has a 2.23 ERA in July.” April/May/June Grey, “Shut up!” March Grey, “What about the Ks, July Grey? Tell them about those too.” April Grey, “We don’t want to hear it!” July Grey, “36 Ks in only 32 1/3 IP in July. Oh, and in April his ERA was 1.89, so I have no idea what your problem is.” April Grey, “Peer pressure.” March Grey, “April Grey’s still in a daze from Dozier’s April.” June Grey, “Yeah, April Grey, how’s Mike Morse doing too?” April Grey, “You know what? I’m hanging up now.” May Grey, “Probably wants to check on his Brett Lawrie-led offense.” So, Cobb hasn’t been dazzling all year like I expected, but his ERA is down to 3.54 on the year, his K-rate is 8.6, walk rate is 2.6 and his xFIP is 3.27. Everything I liked about him in the preseason still stands. March Grey, “That’s what I’m saying! Now, are you sending the bail money or what? This Nicaraguan prison sucks. Greys? Are you guys still there?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I don’t know about you, but even I get hung up on the individual site rankings for my leagues’ player pages, even though they have little to do with the categories that we use. For example, in my CBS dynasty league, we use Runs Produced (RBI+R-HR), net Stolen Bases (SB-CS), Slugging, On-base Percentage, and Plate Appearances [Jay's Note: We use OBP, TB, W+QS, 2*Sv+H in a couple of my dynasty's], yet I am still at times impulsive to pick-up whomever sits at top of the sites’ rankings, which is based off standard 5×5 formats. Well, you’re welcome– This post is to help you distinguish the value differential for OBP and OPS leagues relative to the ESPN player rater rankings. It should give you targets to trade for or trade away.

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Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As I mentioned in my first/intro OPS post, we’re looking at OPS differential by using expected (x)Homerun and expected (x)BABIP differentials. If you like Captain Planet or laser beams, or want to understand my general approach, then I recommend a gander. If you provide your email below, I can furnish the full list that you can sort. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to copy and paste it all pretty for you.

Let’s start with my xHR formula (PA*Ct%*OFFB%*HR/OFFB%). Here are the top 10 guys likely to drop off from a HR perspective: Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, Justin Morneau, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Brett Lawrie, Hunter Pence and Salvador Perez.

Here are the top 35 guys likely to drop off from a BABIP perspective that you actually might own (meaning I’m excluding the Martin Maldonados of the world): Josh Rutledge, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Pollock, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Vogt, J.D. Martinez, J.J. Hardy, Eugenio Suarez, Hunter Pence and Matt Adams.

Looking at both xHR and xBABIP differentials, here are guys you might own that I would consider selling in OPS leagues based on their expected vs. actual OPS (the differential is in parenthesis just like this statement. See what I did here?):

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So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

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Most things that can be enjoyed in life are temporary and fleeting. When it comes to owning Carlos Gonzalez (OF, $4,700) in fantasy, the previous statement couldn’t be more accurate. The only thing CarGo is better at than putting up big fantasy numbers is racking up DL stints and games missed. Which is why he is the perfect player for Daily Fantasy formats like DraftKings. When he’s in the lineup and playing, he’s typically hitting and there are few players in baseball more exciting to watch. When he’s not in the lineup and he’s taking up residence in your DL spot, there are few players more infuriating to own. I typically avoid Gonzalez in drafts because the price is high and the risk is great. My approach in the first few rounds is to buy low risk/high floor players. In DFS I just want great players and great matchups. With Cargo returning to the Rockies lineup yesterday and a home matchup with punching bag Kevin Correia, he’s both! In the early set the Rockies stack is very much in play. Even better there are some great low cost pitching options on the slate to help fit those premium Colorado bats into your lineups.

We have a couple of 20 Teamers setup again today, one for the earlier set and another for the later bunch. We filled two 20 Teamers for last nights games and they’ve been filled every night for the last couple of weeks. We’ve had Razzball personalities like Sky, The Guru, J-Foh, Tehol, Schlurricane, BTXJ, and Nick Cappozzi. To extremely competitive players from our Comments section like LoneRiders, ddmcd 1974, nrk5014, Resnati, and heatster. Going forward they’re going to be a daily drop in our DraftKings blogs. So get yourself together and join DraftKings today. In case you didn’t know, DraftKings will give you a ticket for a contest just for joining with us by clicking here. So let’s review, you get to compete against your favorite Razzball personalities and fellow readers, and you get a ticket for the sweet price of Free.99. Don’t forget we have some great tools to help you optimize your lineups in the DFSBot, the Stream-o-nator, and the Hitter-tron. So use them and thank Rudy!

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Jay(Wrong) sent presentation rights over to me with the departure/hiatus of Tom Jacks. Tom passed the torch to me by way of a Captain Planet quote: “The Power is Yourz.”

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You all seemed to appreciate his content, and I hope to fill your passion-buckets with the same sense of quality. I will offer some value in my next post through OPS differential and possible pick-ups, but I wanted to take this time to summarize a few thoughts from Mr. Jacks’ last post, while sharing my general approach. Hopefully Jay(Wrong) strategically publishes this in a slot where you all aren’t salivating for immediate pick-ups! That’s right. In my very first OPS post, I wrote Jay, slot and salivate in one sentence. [Jay's Note: Go easy on the ladies my friend.]

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