It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.

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One of the best pieces of DFS advice I can give is that it’s always helpful to look at the slate on a macro-level first before turning to micro-level decisions. The reason why this is often helpful is that some slates have obvious cash plays who have such juicy matchups, or are so grossly underpriced, that it’s hard to justify pivoting off of them in your GPP lineups.  This, in turn, makes playing GPPs quite tough as you’re likely looking at lineups that are chalky and not very unique. Other times, there are very few obvious cash plays, as everyone who would be considered for cash has some sort of a wart. In such a case, the slate is better geared for playing GPPs, as no one is likely to be high owned, and there’s an incredible amount of variance. The idea of a “GPP-only slate” becomes even more apparent when it’s the pitchers who are the ones where there is simply no obvious play. This is one of those slates. The high-end pitchers include one facing a top-5 offense (deGrom), one who is not pitching at the level he was at even earlier in the season (Bumgarner), one on a team that doesn’t let their pitchers go deep and facing a low-strikeout team (Darvish), and one who is a touch overpriced for what he brings to the table (Paxton). The best mid-range option is the single most upside-capped pitcher around (Nova), and while he makes great sense as a cash SP2 on two-pitcher sites, on a one pitcher site, it’s always tough to roll with him no matter how safe he is. Now, all of these pitchers have the upside potential to do very well (or just well in Nova’s case). I’m even going to tell you which of them I prefer today. But they all have warts, so it makes cash on FanDuel today icky, for lack of a better word. Offensively, it’s also fairly icky beyond Coors Field, although there are a few no-brainers in the outfield, leaving the “ickiness” to the infield. If you feel comfortable with one of the pitchers, then by all means, plug him in and fire up as much cash as you want. But if you don’t, then find a core of hitters you like, build that hitter core, and then play mix-and-match with a bunch of pitchers and the final few hitters.

On to the picks once this slate gets less icky…

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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Maybe Carlos Rodon is a bit more high, ahhh, ummm, profile than the usual pitching, ahhh, ummm, profile candidate I cover. After all, at points over the last few years this is a guy who’s been universally owned. Things have definitely been a different story in 2017, as he missed all of April and May, and most of June recovering from a biceps injury. Following two strong starts upon his return, we’ve seen “Bad Carlos” over the last three turns. The former third overall pick has been steady, but inconsistent throughout his first two seasons in the big leagues. Apt to spells of poor control and command, that typically led to some ugly pitching lines. Is that what’s happening here? Simply a case of “Bad Carlos”? Good or bad, something has obviously been amiss the past few starts, let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s going on. Are these problems fixable or is there a lingering injury? On Sunday Rodon faced the red hot Indians and my guess is you already know what happened. Here’s what I saw.

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Adrian Beltre was promoted to the Dodgers the same year I moved to Los Angeles.  I distinctly remember listening to AM sports radio a lot that summer, and, man, did people in LA hate Beltre.  With justification too, he struggled for six seasons.  When he finally broke out in 2004 (48 HRs, .334), no one believed it.  If you would’ve told people in LA, Beltre would be a surefire Hall of Famer, they would’ve thought you were related to him.  This would be the same as now saying Nick Castellanos will be a Hall of Famer in 14 years.  Yesterday, Beltre went 1-for-5, 2 runs and secured his place in history with his 3,000th hit.  Good on, Beltre, may all your cheap beers and head remain untapped.  As for fantasy, well, doesn’t mean anything, but it’s a hat tip, while a hat pat is forbidden.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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You know how some days you stand in front of the fridge with the door open (until your wife/husband/love-ah/mum/dad/other shouts at you for letting the cold out), staring at all the perfectly nutritious, healthy, slimming foodstuffs you bought from Whole Foods in a fit of enthusiasm because really you ate far too many crab cakes and drank too much Natty Boh while on holiday in Baltimore, and you know you should make a spinach and hard-boiled egg salad because that has like zero calories, but none of it is exciting, and all you really want is a honking great Big Mac? Well, that’s what the pitching slate is like today. It’s all…spinach. Yes, you know your only real options are Corey Kluber (at the White Sox; $11,900), Rich Hill (at home versus the Giants; $9,400—and hopefully starting, after his respiratory ailment), or Zack Greinke (at the Cardinals; $10,200), because they’re all good and they all have decent match-ups. But $$$$, you know? And then there’s Dinelson Lamet ($7,900) and Jacob DeGrom ($11,200) with iffy match-ups, followed by Ivan Nova ($8,300; more on him below), and after that the pitching options fall off a cliff. None of it is particularly appealing. Today I want something heavy, calorie-laden, sexy. I just want to use a cheap-ish pitcher as a plate for my delicious FanDuel hitter pancakes and smother the whole lot in syrup and whipped cream: in other words, Mama’s gonna stack. (Mama is also hungry, can you tell?)

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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If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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The list of two-start starters for Week 16 is pretty ugly. Not only did it take some time to materialize as teams figured out their rotations following the All-Star break, but once the dust settled and we had a good idea of who would be starting when many of the names we were left with were not all that appealing. Sure, the high-end options like Kershaw (for now), Strasburg, and Greinke were there, but the meat and bones of the list were lacking.

Just ignore Clayton Kershaw. At this point in the season, I am convinced that Dave Roberts reads this post every week and then trolls us all by changing his rotation on Sunday night. He is at the top of the list as of this writing, but that could easily change in the next few seconds. The Dodgers have a dozen or so possible starting pitchers, and Roberts shuffles or adjusts his rotation pretty frequently.

One name to take a look at this week is the soft-tossing Brent Suter. While he does not exactly light up the radar gun, he has been very effective in his recent stint as a starter for the Brewers. In his last two starts, he shut out the Orioles over six innings while striking out eight and then allowed just two earned runs over 6 ? innings against the Yankees while striking out five before the break.

Throughout his career in the minors, Suter has been consistently solid-yet-unremarkable. In other words, he has never really been great but hasn’t been bad, either. He has a 3.44 ERA across six seasons in the minor leagues while throwing to a 3.12 ERA during his time in the show. His 2.96/2.78/8.23/2.63 (see chart below) is also solid.

Streamonator does not like him as much as I do. The ‘nator has Suter up around its 20th best option or so (with a negative value), while I have him at the top of the Standards category below, which puts him around 15th or so. He is, however, only owned in 1% of all RCLs, so he should be available to everyone reading this except the one person who is in the league with that one guy or gal who already picked him up.

If you are in need of an arm in the short term, especially in a two-start week, you can do worse. You can do better, too, but I like Suter as a guy who can offer some solid short term numbers. Other guys Streamonator likes for the upcoming week who are owned in less than 50% of RCLs: Matt Moore, Zack Wheeler, and Rafael Montero.

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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Legit, this is longest July 4th weekend of all time.  In 1776 on July 4th, Ben Franklin grabbed six ladies, and was like, “This will be better than Flag Day.  We will call this Flagellation Day.  Now twerk with a firework!”  That lasted for three days until Ben yelled out an Astros’ hitter last name and called for a volunteer fire department to put out his redness.  Any hoo!  Ian Desmond hit the DL with “I wanna rest for a few extra days before the break.”  It’s an epidemic that is going around the majors right now.  This especially sucks for those that had him in their weekly lineups because you’re getting ziplock.  But, for the rest of us, we got Raimel Tapia (3-for-4, 2 runs and his 2nd homer).  Fun fact!  He has a brother who drinks too much and can’t control his lasciviousness.  His name is Felasleepon Tapia.  Raimel gets a huge boost in value with Desmond’s DL stint.  He’s a grab for every league, especially if you need SAGNOF.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?