I think you’ll agree (because Would I Lie To You?) that it’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for us Saturday FanDuel devotees when it comes to pitchers. But I’m pleased to report that this week, we’re swimming in them (so to speak). Yes, you could, of course, play Clayton Kershaw, but TBH I’m leery of starting anyone against the Rockies right now, and ClayKer does have his worst ERA at home (that’s 3.11, mind you, but still), and given he costs $12,300, I’m going to steer clear and look to some other, more affordable pitching options. And there are a few, as you shall see. My very favorite is Robbie Ray: yes, his start today takes place in the somewhat terrifying Chase (The Ball Across The) Field in Arizona, but it’s versus the Phillies, who hit .233 against lefties and now have the least wins in the entirety of MLB. (Sorry to remind you of that, Phillies Fans.) Let’s check out some more options after the jump.

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Our Commissioner Manfred presses his intercom, “Please escort in the Guatemalan baseball stitchers.”  Manfred’s secretary brings six men dressed in blanket ponchos and straw hats.  Their leader steps forward, “Mr. Manfred, the Capri Suns you have us using to juice the balls is not working.”  Their leader pulls out a baseball that is dripping with Ecto Cooler.  Manfred turns in his seat, silhouetted with the setting sun.  He lights a Virginia Slim 120 and pulls, coughing slightly.  “I no longer want the balls juiced.  Now….I want you and your friends to go to Dodger Stadium and blow.”  “Mr. Manfred, we are not sex workers!”  “Not blow like that!  Put your lips together and blow.”  “Like Bogey and Bacall?”  “Yes!  Now go!”  …And this was how Dodger Stadium became a launching pad.  Yesterday, Corey Seager (4-for-5, 6 RBIs) hit three homers (10, 11, 12), Yasmani Grandal (3-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 7th homer and Cody Launchangler (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) did it again, hitting his 22nd.  Granted, someone needs to put Cody Launchangler in carbonite for Cooperstown — we can’t risk something happening to him playing baseball! — but this Seager guy is pretty good too, huh?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Holy cow! Somebody call Phil Rizzuto because scooter pies are on this week’s menu. I’ve never even seen one of these, let alone eaten one, but from what I gather they are very similar to moon pies. Can anyone confirm said statement? Personally I was more of a Devil Dog, Ring Ding and Yodels kind of guy. I was a staunch supporter of Drake’s Cakes back in the day. I used to love collecting the baseball cards on the back of the boxes when they ran that promotion. I still have a bunch of them buried in some box in my baseball. I’ll have to dig them suckers up one of these days.

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Derek Fisher was called up by the Astros to replace the concussed Reddick.  First off, Derek needs to stop singing that jingle, “Trust the Astros Fisher, man.”  Tres annoying.  Saying tres instead of very is tres annoying, too. Fisher was hoping Reddick was some combination of reddish and haddock.  “Get that seaweed out of my face!”  That’s Nori Aoki.  Everyone in MLB is happy for Fisher except this guy.  If you thought Strickland-Harper was something… Sorry, for Derek Fisher, that was a layup.  As for fantasy, Fisher has power and speed, has had strikeout issues, but no worse than Bellinger.  He could be a difference maker if he plays 75%+ of the time.  One of the best guys in the minors this year.  Better on power than speed, inefficient as a runner.  Yes, PCL, but MLB is kinda PCL-like nowadays.  Might outproduce Brinson, though Fisher needs to stick in a job for that.  Yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his first home run, and I think Fisher is for reel, and not just on the casting couch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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I’m at my computer checking baseball news about six months a year.  Give or take about five hours here and there.  On Saturday, it was one of those times I was away from my computer, due to a family wedding in Cape May.  Closer change, prospect call-up.  Happens when you’re away from the computer, that’s it.  Call it a wrap.  With Prospector Ralph in the league, there’s no chance for me.  Around 6 PM, I got the dreaded text.  “Lewis Brinson was called up.”  Too bad I didn’t see it until about 7 PM.  Had a lavender-flavored champagne in one hand, a lobster claw in the other hand, my mom was like, “You have butter dripping down your chin,” my grandfather was complaining Bruno Mars doesn’t have good choruses in his songs, and there was the text, sitting there on a locked iPhone screen.  Done.  Sigh.  Well, if you got him, or can still get Brinson, you should.  Jonathan Villar hit the DL, and, brucely, he wasn’t playing well and Keon Broxton (1-for-4 and his 7th homer yesterday) moves to a platoon role.  Unless Brinson totally flames out, he’s up, and playing for good in center.  In Triple-A, he had six homers and seven steals in 45 games, which is what I’d expect from him in the majors.  Your basic 25/25/.280 guy.  Yesterday, he hit leadoff went 0-for-2 with two walks and stole his first base. Yes, he should be owned everywhere, and could be the Trea Turner-type call-up of the year.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Hello everyone, I’m happy to be back for another stupendous slate on FanDuel today!  Today is interesting with no real pitchers sticking out to me.  I first want to tackle the staple for all my lineups today: that’s going to be the one, the only Eric Thames at 1B for $3,000.  I know what your going to say… “but he’s going up against a LHP.”  I know he is, but I expect him to break out and what better time than against a bad pitcher.  I’m not the only one that likes him either, Hitter-Tron has him as the 6th highest hitter for today and the 10th best bat on the FanDuel DFSBot.  I think he’s too good of a hitter to struggle this bad; the guy is just due.  Play him, watch him go deep twice, and then get “randomly tested.”

Now on to the picks…

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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Some days, in my FanDuel lineups, I put my faith and my cash into a big-name pitcher and fill in the holes around him; some days I pick on pitchers and build against him. Today is one of the latter sorts of days. It feels like the slate is a mishmash of meh pitchers against good teams or good pitchers in iffy parks. I’m even a little leery of Stream-o-Nator’s top two picks: first is San Diego’s Jhoulys Chacin versus Colorado. [Sidebar: I had to look up how to pronounce “Jhoulys”. It’s You-Lease (more or less), so I should stop saying “Ghoulish”, I guess.] That is going down at Petco, but as I write this on Friday, Colorado are tied with Arizona at the top of their division; they’ve been hitting well and I’m not eager to run a pitcher up against them, even in San Diego. Second is Matt Shoemaker, pitching in LA versus Minnesota. I could go for that, but I’m not excited about the idea, a bit like Hawaiian pizza. So, I’m slapping a bandage over the pitcher slot today and playing Tyler Chatwood, the cheap, but risky (deviating from Stream-o-Nator always feels risky!), other Petco option while paying up for hitters instead; I’m focusing particularly on the Astros (versus Andrew Cashner) and Tigers (versus Miguel Gonzalez).

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?