In a time long ago, when men were men and athletes freely used performance enhancing drugs to little or no consequences, there was a gameshow. A show that celebrated such athletes both male and female, athletes that invested their time, money, and focus into becoming the most gargantuan human beings they could become. On this show they matched average everyday sclubbs against these well built steroid fueled warriors in feats of strength and agility. What is this show pray-tell? Well of course it’s a little show called American Gladiators. Ever heard of it? No young-ins, I’m not talking about that gross bastardization of a program that was on 7-8 years ago, I’m talking the genuine article. The flag waving, patriotic leotard rocking, testosterone train ride, where the women had high hair and the type of muscles that would have you asking them to open the olive jar. The early 90’s were a simpler time friends.

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As the Greek myth goes, the Yellin’ of LaTroy is the closer that launched thousands of fantasy baseballers to the waiver wire to pick up his set-up man, Adam Ottavino. There’s something to that great myth. There’s also the Greek myth about the LaTrojan Horse. In that one, the Greeks sent a closer that seemed like a workhorse onto the field, but once the battle began the LaTrojan Horse opened up and inside was marshmallows and the opposing team made a campfire, lit up the LaTrojan Horse and ate Smores. There’s also the Greek myth of Mike Mostsuckass, but that isn’t appropriate for right now. LaTroy Hawkins was spotted one out in the ninth inning and still gave up three earned runs, allowing a homer to the 135-pound power slugger, Dexter Fowler (who had a slam and legs and went 2-for-5, 2 RBIs). Whether the Rockies come out and say Hawkins is finished or on thin ice, I’d still stash Ottavino. He’s about to become a 35-save guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Ma nishtana, how is tonight different than every other night? Because there’s some G-D regular season baseball! Ah fanabla! The Padres aren’t wasting any time with bird sex or Joaquin Benoit either as they traded for Craig Kimbrel. Why do I get the sense that the Padres played 2,500 games of Strat-o-Matic this offseason and on Saturday it was 1249 to 1249 and they were like, “Nuh-uh, we didn’t pay $750 million in free agents to tie the World Series. We need to get to that twelve hundred and fifty-first win!” Then the Padres’ management patted themselves on the back saying they were Strat-o-Maticians like that wily Epstein guy. Then another Padre official even said he thought that guy’s name was Wily Epstein. So, Benoit now has the value of a film degree in Hollywood. “Well, we were gonna let Spielberg direct this film, but this guy over here has a Master’s degree!” In Atlanta, Jim Johnson or Jason Grilli could close games. A Braves official said Juan Jaime could even close games. I’m pretty sure he made up the name Juan Jaime. Grilli seems the most likely candidate, and this has all the makings of a situation where you’re so pumped to be the first one to the waiver wire to grab him until Grilli is actually closing games and giving up three runs in the one lead the Braves have every two weeks. Let’s get out of the lede to talk about the rest of the trade and actual baseball that was played last night! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend for fantasy baseball:

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I swear to you with the sincerity of someone you’ve never met, I woke up yesterday and saw the news about Zack Wheeler and decided it wasn’t a catastrophe for my already-drafted teams. At least I only drafted him in one of three leagues. I liked him a lot, so things could’ve been worse. I felt downright well-adjusted. Breathe in, breathe out, Grey’s fine. So, I went to my car to go on my morning trip to Starbucks, where I have the pleasure of buying an overpriced coffee and having my name misspelled, but, when I got in my car, it wouldn’t start. The car’s not a clunker, never had problems before. Then I realized something very profound. There was a higher power that would not let me be well-adjusted to Wheeler breaking down. A higher power that insisted I mourn the lose of my Wheeler even if it meant hitting me over the head with sad, sad irony that my four-wheeler wouldn’t start either. That higher power’s name, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Now I have no car and no number two starter on one of my teams. As I said in yesterday’s podcast that was taped on Sunday prior to the official Wheeler news breaking, the Mets said Wheeler’s elbow was fine so that meant he’d need Tommy John surgery. I was being facetious at the time, but is there any such thing as being facetious when talking about the Mets? Not to answer, but to ponder. Terry Collins said on Sunday, and I quote to let you absorb fully what teams say vs. what is actually going on, “There is nothing alarming or different from what’s been going on before. I know (Wheeler)’s got some issues with the finger (a blister). Other than that, just a little rest and he’ll be fine.” On Monday, Wheeler’s UCL was fully torn and needed Tommy John surgery. That’s one heckuva blister! Wheeler’s biggest challenge will now be finding time to see Dr. James Andrews. He’s getting booked up quickly! I’ve removed Wheeler from my top 40 starters and my top 400. To add insult to Wheeler’s injury, the Mets will moved Dillon Gee into the rotation and not Noah Syndergaard. Gee, terrific. Gee’s a 4+ ERA, 6+ K-rate guy that I won’t add into the rankings because he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues. Also, he’ll be bumped in June for Syndergaard, assuming no more Mets pitcher injuries– Ha! Damn, almost got through that last sentence without laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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So here we are in week 24 if you don’t count the All-Star break. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that this whole marathon got started. Tehol was speaking of the blessings bestowed upon Dominic Brown by the elder gods, Grey was telling you pitching was crazy deep, and Sky was freaking Nick and everyone else out with his creepy masks in the background of his podcast segments. Things were simple then, we all had hope, some of us still do. Oh who am I kidding you read Razzball of course you have at least one team in the playoffs. Everyone knows we only cater to savvy fantasy owners and snappy dressers. Maybe mustache aficionados also, but they only read Grey for the avatar. Mustachioed men are like the rich and Greek Nationalists, they stick with their own.

Regardless, the end is neigh good citizens of fantasy land. It’s now officially the end of  the beginning of the season. My beginning just so happens to last 5 months. The real ending for fantasy and real life players alike is that last month chasing a championship. Hence the end of the beginning, beginning of the end title. It’s also a not so subtle nod to my favorite Murs album  and possibly song, Done Deal.  The point is you have 3 weeks left max, and should be doing all you can to edge your league mates in the H2H playoffs or Roto standings. Either way we’re all hustling like Freeway Ricky Ross, and I mean the Drug Dealer not the rapper. I’d only say we were like Rick Ross the rapper if I was in a room with Matt Adams and Billy Butler. Even then it would be about them and not me. For the record I’m built like a Greek God and bearded like one as well. I’m sort of a fantasy sports version of Dan Bilzerian, but without the trust fund, harem, and over the top douchiness. Well I guess the last one is up for debate. Okay everything I just said about myself is up for debate…Sad Trombone.

You know what isn’t up for debate (Segue! FTW) the quality of the high end double dipping starters this week. We have 4! Count’em! 4 must start options this week in Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester. That’s great for any owner with those guys and bad news bears for any owner facing them in the playoffs. It’s okay there’s some hidden gems in the lower tiers with some good matchups. Also feel free to chime in with any double dippers flying under the radar. Whether you feel I’m overlooking them, or that they have under appreciated fantasy appeal. We’re all in this together, unless you’re in one of my leagues, then you’re on your own.

The tier names this week are a nod to my all-time favorite HipHop Group Gang Starr…

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The other day I talked about the dark underbelly of roster expansion and how, due to teams not DL’ing their players, it can actually hurt us in this thing we call life. Well, some of us call it fantasy baseball instead of life. Some of the less obsessed of us. To those people, I ptooey in your direction. If you’re not completely obsessed over your hobby, let me say this… Get a new hobby! The national pastime’s pastime? Maybe if you’re a stutterer! This shizz is more like the national pastime’s full-time, 24/7 job like taking care of your uncle who has been lying on your sofa for a month because your aunt started dating a guy she met on Tinder! “Uncle Frank, maybe you put on sweatpants so I can have company.” No, Uncle Frank won’t put on sweatpants, just like you won’t have company until you find another first baseman to replace Anthony Rizzo. Uncle Frank is comfortable in his gotchies! Are you kapeeshing me? So, Rizzo has a muscle strain, and the Cubs said they would DL him if the rosters hadn’t expanded, but instead they’re going to let Anthony Rizzo slice garlic really thin — so thin it melts when it hits the pan — while he whittles away the year on the bench. Sadly, you have to move on to another first baseman in redraft leagues. You can’t count on him the rest of the season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Alright Head-to-Headers and Weekly League players. This is more than likely the most important week of your season. You’re either kicking off the first round of playoff match-ups or you’re grinding out the last week trying to get that ever elusive playoff birth. Not to worry my peeps, the Legendary Lifshitz is back and ready to drop some two start pitcher science on y’all. In fact I’ll be taking over as your captain from here on out and into 2015. That’s right! I’m your 2015 Two Start Huckleberry! Think of me as the top prospect getting called up for roster expansions with an eye on the starting job next year. You know like Xander Bogaerts but less of a disappointment. Unless you’re my third grade teacher Ms. Schultz. Then I’m more of a disappointment. What can I say the women had high hopes.

As for the roster of Double dippers, it’s not bad. Lots of good streamers and ton of middle of the road options. I’ll try and focus a little more on the arms with lower ownership levels, knowing those are the guys you’ll be looking to for the extra counting stats to put you over the top. This is one of the most fun times to be a fantasy baseball manager. This is for those digging through the wavier wire looking for that streamer to get you into the dance, or that spot starter to help you lock down that swing category to get you into the next round of the playoffs, or even the roto owner looking to capitalize on the less savvy owners who hit their innings limits this week. May you use this as your guide good sirs! Unless you’re in a league with me, then I hope all your pitchers get shelled. Sorry but I’m in it to win it no matter the cost!

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Adam Wainwright went 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 5 Ks as he was out-dueled by Jeff Locke (7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks). Wainwright being out-dueled seems to be the norm lately. In August, his ERA is 5.17 and he says he’s going through a ‘dead arm’ phase. Ways that a dead arm could help (in no particular order): tricking a zombie while playing dead, making your other arm feel more alive, doorstop, can’t pick up a bill because your wallet is in the dead arm pocket, screaming out “Sorry, dead arm!” when cutting off people while driving and making your Bernie Lean more believable. Ways that a dead arm won’t help: pitching. Verlander’s arm must be so dead that necrophiliac stray dogs try to constantly hump it. You have to hold onto Wainwright and hope he comes out of it, but obviously this was not what you wanted to hear. By the by, Rudy tells me after he learned his wife was preggers with twins he went through a ‘dead penis’ phase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ’em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Uh-oh, I feel a rhyme coming on. Chris Carter‘s schmotato was born on August 4th wearing the Astros hat, 40 ounces he doesn’t pour forth cause that forty-oh is his bat. If you can’t respect that your whole perspective is wack, maybe you’ll love him when he goes by Charlie Really Black. Man, he was conceived as Hurry K’d Carter, but that was just for fun, big hands, I know you’re the one. What’s this a Violent Femmes mash-up, must be the Grey album. Eggs over easy, Carter’s going swat! What’s that albumen? No, it’s snot! So, Carter now has 7 homers in the last ten games. If he could only hit .260, he’d an exact clone of a young Ryan Howard. We want mo’ Howard! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck! Instead, we’ll take what Carter’s giving now, which is crazy power and Ks. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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