It’s hard to pick which Ross is hated more: the one in Friends whose character is so annoying David Schwimmer could never get work again, or the dynamite starter for the Nationals, who even after pitching mad impressive through his first few starts, wasn’t even the first SP to get the call when Stephen Strasburg went back to the DL yet again.  Why wasn’t he the first call?!

After Joe Ross‘s first run in June, I kept him in the ranks a few more weeks even without a for-sure rotation spot, and when Strasburg tweaked the oblique, I was ready to vault him into the top-50.  But nooooooo, instead they use, I dunno, Taylor Jordan or someone who doesn’t matter?  C’mon Nats, what did Ross ever do to you?!  Finally the Nationals got Ross back up to face the Mets last week in a decent – albeit underwhelming – start given the matchup, so I decided to break down his 5th MLB start at the Pirates, in a pitcher’s duel Sunday afternoon against Gerrit Cole.  Here’s how Ross looked:

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If you can remember back a few years, Johnny Cueto 401KO’d Jason LaRue with a kick to his head. When he got up, LaRue couldn’t see straight and needed to retire. Elsewhere, Yordano Ventura (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 5 Ks in what might’ve been a spot start) has been honing his fight-picking and ability to be held back by teammates so it doesn’t look too obvious that he wants to be held back. After every game this year, Ventura sat in his hotel room, perfecting his Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue coronation. “Yo, if you want a real man, you come find me!” There was really only man that Ventura admired the league over. One man as diabolical. As lowdown! And now through a trade between the Reds and Royals, Cueto joins Ventura! This is like thunder meeting lightning! Bonnie and Clyde if they were both men! Germany and Italy joining forces to rid the world of non-mustached, non-broad shouldered women! Wonder Twin powers activate in the form of pure evil! So, Cueto’s trade to the Royals obviously doesn’t hurt him. He’ll be on a team that can win games and it’s a much better home stadium, but he also leaves the NL. That makes this feel like a push in value. Right now, his ERA is 2.62. How much lower could it be? Not much is my guess. He’s a 2.50-3.15 ERA pitcher anywhere he is, so that’s what he’ll continue to be. Unless Yordano throws Great Kabuki-style green dust into every hitter’s face when the ump’s back is turned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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“I don’t know what my face is doing right now.” “It looks like you ate a full Tony Luke’s cheesesteak and forgot to swallow.” “No. I mean, I did, but I took the sub out of mouth and put it in my glove compartment for later. But this is something else. Feel my cheeks, they’re, like, pushed up.” “You get that f**kin’ Botox?” “No! I’m a 45-year-old construction worker with bad knees. Why would I get Botox?” “Then what’s wrong with your cheeks? You’re freaking me out!” “Wait, I know what it is. I’m…I’m smiling and I’m a Phillies fan. This is better than the day Charlie Manuel stopped at our job site to use our Porta-Potty!” Yesterday, Aaron Nola looked great — 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, and Phillies fans, or Phans, have something to smile about. I watched a portion of the game and he looked like he could be an ace. Love, love, lurve the control and mid-90’s fastball. At worst, he’s a number three. I was pretty jazzed at what I saw. Whenever you have a guy that has great command and can strike out people, there’s a chance for wonderful. With that said (hold on to the starboard, Grey’s turning around!), he’s a rookie and there will be some Growing Pains, and not the good kind of boners. I would absolutely own him, but in shallower leagues I’d be careful of roofies. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Growing up everyone had their favorite school lunch. Didn’t matter if your Mom packed you one or if you paid Bertha $1.25 for the crap they served on the foam divided plate. Everybody had a favorite. Maybe you were a lima beans and ravioli guy, a P,B, and J-er, did you crush fluffernutters like a boss? Or did you wait all week for pizza on Friday? I had several favorites and they evolved as I got older, I’m sure that’s the same for you too. So this week we compare pitchers to some of my favorite brown bag meals. Excuse me while I go heat up some Dino-shaped chix nuggets. Yummmm weird chicken type meat smoothered in sweet baby rays….Yummmmmm. So anyway we’re all starving for some fantasy baseball coming out of the break, and what better way to ring in the second half than a little elementary school nostalgia? Two Start Pitchers week 16 gentlemen and four LADIES.

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Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them! Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post. Here make yourself some java. Okay, you just poured rat poison into your coffee. Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Pablo Sandoval in the 1st half. Oh, you owned him and that’s why you poured it into coffee! Now, I’m following! Hey, who’s leading here? Well, whoever it is their taillight is out and I’m gonna have to make a citizen’s arrest. Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2015 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up! But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest! So, as with all of the other 2015 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 Au Shizz number two on the top 100 list for the second half of 2015 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Goldy. Why soil a good thing, ya know? 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 2015. 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. It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2015:

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C.J. Cron blasted two home runs last night to help the Angels to a convincing victory over Seattle. Cron has got it going on right now, after his 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI performance last night, he’s got five homers and 18 RBI on the year and is batting a modest .255. Since being recalled from AAA Salt Lake June 29, MegaCron is hitting an insane .448 in eight games with 7 runs, 4 home runs, and 12 RBI. Cron Air, indeed! I’ve got nothing but praise for C.J. Cron right now, Nic Cage! High praise! Since his return to the bigs after struggling earlier this year, Cron has managed to raise his average from under .200 to a respectable .255. Also, dude is just 25 years and is a potential 30 home run hitter. He was batting .323 at AAA with 6 homers so there’s little doubt that he belongs here. The only issue is the playing time, The Sciosciapath may very well play a host of other shmohawks as Grey mentioned when he told you to BUY this week. Methinks if Cron keeps hitting jacks he will force Scioscia’s hand, and hopefully C.J. is Anaheim’s primary DH going forward. Regardless, he is hotter than Rihanna’s VEVO right now and if you are in need of power numbers, the young slugger has tons of upside and is worth grabbing in most leagues before he’s going, going, Cron!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Before I put internet pen to internet paper about my leads, I want you to know something: I do research. I know, I know, it may SEEM like this stuff is off the cuff because it’s so off the chain (kids say that still, right?) but I swear to you, I spend a good amount of time looking into season long stats as well as current trends before I start snuggling up to my starting pitchers, especially when I’m looking to go cheap. As you know by now if you’ve played a bit on DK, strikeouts for pitchers are the black gold of fantasy baseball DFS so scouting out the right scenario to rack them up is key. So first I go and look at team K% for the season to see how teams are fairing and see – sarcastic drum roll please – the Astros sitting on top at 25.1%. Then I change the view to last 7 days and guess what? The Astros are still waiving their bats in the air like they just don’t care as they’re at 26.2%. Why check both? Well, it puts you on going after teams that are perhaps slumping or it could make you recognize a particular team that normally Ks seems locked in as a group and may not be one to pick on at the moment. But for now, I’m following this whiff wagon and taking the Erasmo Ramirez discount of $5,600 so I can have all of the Coors. No not the beer, silly! I’d rather be a teetotaler than do that. I’m talking about those Atlanta and Colorado bats, of course. And of course, now that I have, I don’t have to mention them again. Damn, I covered a lot in this opener, I should just quit now! But instead, we’ll keep this Friday post rolling. Here’s some of my other hot takes for this Friday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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I hope everyone had a pleasant, footloose, but not finger-freeing July 4th weekend. I did. In the tradition of our forefathers, specifically Benjamin Franklin, I had an iced cold latte, three whole frankfurters and flew a kite with a key on the string. Also, since this year our country passed the right to gay marriage, I ate those frankfurters in the gayest way possible. *Graphic description of how I ate the hot dogs deleted* Also, on this wonderful holiday where we pretend to be the greatest country in the world, I’m reminded of an ally from the 1700’s when we first got this ship afloat. That country was Germany and their concept of schadenfreude, the enjoyment derived from others’ misery. I’m sorry if you lost Miguel Cabrera for six weeks. Really, I am. *bursting with the schadenfreude giggles* The Tigers say he could return around late-August, which is a bummer. *barely containing myself* Hopefully, he can return and give you a solid four homers and .300 average the rest of the way. Thank God, this schadenfreude concept has no karmic retribution attached to it. *reading that Strasburg is also hurt* NOOOOOOO!!! Can’t I have one nice thing?! Ugh. I’m sorry I laughed at your loss of Miggy, can I have Stressbird back? Please! I can’t, can I? Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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busta

When did Busta Rhymes get so fat? Dayam!!! Dude looks like he ate the Busta Rhymes I remember that put out some great music back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I’m not much of a rap fan, but I was always a Busta fan. When he sang “Gimme Some More” who knew he was talking to the guy that was putting food on his plate. Did you hear what the talking M&M said to Busta in that unreleased M&M’s commercial? Put your hands where my eyes can see. Sorry Busta, it’s too easy. Please spend less time at the all you can eat buffets with Billy Butler and CC Sabathia and more time making dope music. I’m sure there’s a spot in the Fast and Furious 8 Soundtrack for you.

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Dude’s on fire. No. Need better! He is a high-speed torrent download of a yule log burning. Need better! He is Smokey the Bear at a Porno for Pyros concert, wearing earbuds and listening to Firestarter by Prodigy. Need better still! He’s a pyrotechnician smacking a sparkler out of your hand and giving you instead the detonator for the Statue of Liberty’s 4th of July celebration fireworks. Yesterday, Mitch Moreland went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 13th and 14th homers, and now has five homers in four games and six homers in six games. I already told you yesterday that Moreland has been better than Brandon Belt, Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss, and some other corner infidels, according to our Player Rater. That’s on the year, not in the last week. In the last week, Moreland’s been better than everyone. Let’s take a hootie-hoo at who Moreland has more homers than on the year: Prince Fielder, Beltre (not close), Adam Jones, Big Papi, Tommy Tomstein, Freeman, Yoenis, Billy McDugal, Kris Bryant, Tulo, McClutchin and Sandoval. Sure, some of those guys I only named to rub salt in my own wounds — I hate you, Sandoval! — and other guys I mentioned don’t even exist, but Mitch don’t kill my vibe for the better part of the season now, and, if he’s available, I’d grab him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?