July 3rd often goes unforgotten. Proper preparation is key to a successful event. You simply can’t just watch baseball to be successful in DFS. Since you all have busy days, let me do the research for you. Before heading out to buy beer and fireworks, why not throw in a couple line ups and wake up with extra money on July 4th? You have to pay for all that stuff somehow. Today we have four aces pitching today all priced over 11K. Two are facing off against each other, one is facing the Jays in Rogers Centre, and one gets the pitch against the Twins. That pitcher who gets the twins is a good American boy Cole Hamels. Like the weather, Hamels’ arm has continuously heated up throughout the season. His fastball averaged 94 mph on the radar gun in June. The increased velocity may be a reason for the success he has had in his last 4 starts, where he allowed only 2 runs over 27.2 innings of work. More importantly, he averaged 27.6 fantasy points in that span. If he can maintain his increase in velocity he should find more success against the Twinkies. When facing fastballs from LHP over 94 mph, the Twins are only batting .175. Hamels has nearly a strike out per inning, which he should be able to maintain as the Twins have a 24.3 K% vs LHP. They have not handled LHP very well, as they have a 91 wRC+ and an 8.1% BB%. Sano is back off the DL, so if he gets the start that should be at least 3 strikeouts for Hamels on the day. Let me do the research for you so you have more time to prep for July 4th. Here are the rest of DFS picks for July 3…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 4th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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I know, I know.  Most boring Pitcher Profile in the lauded history of the Pitcher Profiles…  But Tim Lincecum has been the talk of the town in some circles, that is, if the circle you’re in is at a retirement home…

I was hotly debating writing this week’s profile on the sexy new call-up Cody Reed, but legit decided to flip a coin to see who’s 2016 debut I would go with.  One side was Jennifer Lawrence and the other side Sir Laurence Olivier.  As in he’s old!  Wait, I don’t think he’s even alive…  Don’t fact check that…

It’s been several years since Old Tiny Tim has been fantasy relevant, and it’s only fitting that the reason why is a hip issue.  He shoulda pressed the Life Alert earlier!  But now he’s had the surgery, showed some flashes in his Minor League rehab games (7 inning 1-hitter with 8 Ks his last AAA start), and debuted for the Angels on Saturday afternoon.  Here’s how his 2016 debut went down going at the A’s:

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No, this is not a cheerleading move that requires an upside down split at the top of a human pyramid or some new fangled dessert menu item. Instead, it is a much less exciting and tasty occurrence with the pitchers throwing in Coors tonight. Typically, the intro paragraph is a great place to layout the best value of the day. Specifically, the best value pitcher of the day. Today however, it’s going to be used as a blanket statement to avoid stuffing my picks below with a ton of Yankees and Rockies hitters. Thanks to continuous interleague play (which I really can’t stand) we get a fun, little two game home and home between the Rox and the Yanks. Tonight will be game two of the Coors field showdown, which means all your Yankee starters should be good and used to the elevation and ready to drop a ton of fantasy points on poor Chad Bettis. At first glance you might think to load up on all the lefty bats the Yankees have. If you dig into Bettis’ stats a bit, though, you’ll notice that for his career (and this season) righties have actually hit him for a better average and a higher slugging percentage (.110 points higher to be exact). Some sneaky, against the grain plays might be Rob Refsnyder and Starlin Castro in the middle infield. On the other side of the rubber will be Ivan Nova who, believe it or not, also has some reverse splits going on. For his career, his platoon splits are about even, with an ever so slight nod to the righties. If you just take a look at this year so far you’ll see a .100 point uptick in OPS for righties vs. lefties. This is very rare for a right handed hurler and it’s worth noting. Most DFS players will blindly follow left/right match-ups when making a lineup decision. While it may not matter it what could be a typical Oprah-style showdown at Coors (“You get a homer, you get a homer, you get a homer…) it could also be a nice little edge for those keen enough to do some digging. Mark Reynolds and Nick Hundley may be avoided by many and could turn a nice profit tonight. Let’s see what else is cooking with today’s picks:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 20th 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’m fascinated by things that are outside of the box and things that challenge what is considered the “norm”.  A good knuckleballer is a joy to watch.  Trevor Bauer and his pregame routine and training regime is so intriguing.  I wish he’d have some success so people might take it a little more seriously.  Basically, it’s no fun doing things the exact same way every, single time and there’s no way to evolve and learn if we don’t try something new.  In this same vein, we have Hector Santiago, the only pitcher in the major leagues to throw a screwball last year.  He will also probably be the only pitcher to throw one in the majors this season.  This pitch was very popular back in the early days of baseball but has since become almost entirely extinct due to the threat of injury it possess.  I get it, but you’d think if you’re the only pitcher throwing a pitch that funky in MLB, you’d have an advantage.  Well, Mr. Santiago is having himself a year so far in the early going, but I’m not so sure it’s screwball related.  Santiago has raised his K/9 from 8.07 last year to 8.71 so far this year and he’s lowered his BB/9 from 3.54 to 2.61.  Also of note is the 2 MPH he’s added to his fastball.  Early jumps in fastball velocity are typically a great sign that a pitcher’s early season success might be more than just a fluke.  Another sign that something has changed for Santiago is the change in GB/FB ratio.  Santiago has typically been an extreme flyball pitcher, which wasn’t always wonderful in US Cellular field.  His flyball percentage is still high-ish, but it’s dropped from an average of 48% for his career to 44% this year.  The big change though is in his ground ball percentage which has jumped from his career average of 33% up to 47% so far this year.  That has lead his GB/FB to jump from a career norm of 0.7 to over 1.0.  So, we’ve got a pitcher with increased fastball velocity, with better control and who’s inducing more grounders.  Did I mention he’ll be facing the Mariners where he’ll have the platoon advantage against just about everyone outside of Nelson Cruz?  At $8,400 he’s the perfect compliment to Jose Fernandez for the night slate.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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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Noah Syndergaard steps into a giant metal milk can and submerges himself.  At first, bubbles come up, then nothing.  Only Houdini has ever been able to escape this, and even then Tony Curtis struggled to keep his life in order afterwards.  The beautiful-despite-her-pantyhose girl locks him in.  Everyone watches, and Noah just sits there, locked in.  The audience shifts, then realizes this is what they want.  They want Noah to stay this locked in.  This locked in leads to Cy Young awards.  This locked in carries teams to championships.  One man stands in the audience and screams, “Grow gills and stayed locked in!”  The crowd erupts.  Harvey’s looked just okay, that other Mets pitcher put out the welcome Matz to opposing hitters and deGrom is battling an injury.  Syndergaard?  Oh, he’s so locked in.  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 12 Ks and looked like he could’ve beat the 1927 Blue Jays in Coors Field.  If you own him, ‘gaard your grill and knuckle up if anyone tries to trade you for him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Meet Erik, 35 years old. After meeting a fantasy baseball expert on the internet, he took his last three dollars, entered it in the Early Moonshot on Monday, April 11, 2016, and won $5,000. His conscience never came into play.

All of the above is true, except the part about Erik‘s last three dollars, of course. See, Erik has now done what the vast majority of DFS players have not–he’s taken down a large GPP. This sucker had 28,750 entries. Impressive to say the least. Instead of going all-in with David Price, he pivoted to Michael Wacha. Combine that with nine Aaron Nola strikeouts, a rare offensive outburst from Yadi Molina, home runs from Chris Davis, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez, respectively, and a 19-point punt play in Aledmys Diaz, Erik nailed every single player on Monday’s early slate. Good on you, Erik. You are truly a DFS inspiration and I’m proud to call you one of my good friends. Rags to riches, homie, you ain’t done. You got 99 Problems, but winnin’ a GPP ain’t one. Enjoy that Four Roses Bourbon. Just remember you’re picking up the bar tab when you come to Pittsburgh in June. It’s the least you can do! (Also, bring me a bottle of that bourbon. On the house, of course.)

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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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The other day the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball was straight sexy like when a model on America’s Next Top Model knows how to smize and booty tooch.   Then, the next day, the top 20 for 2016 fantasy baseball was all the flavors of the Skittles rainbow melted into one giant Skittle that was a color that was not-black even though all colors together should’ve been.  Today, the top 20 catchers for 2016 fantasy baseball is the direct opposite of those wondrous achievements.  This post, here, is, um, catchers.  Lowercase yay.  Most of you know how I feel about catchers.  If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers.  Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight.  I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues.  I Reggie Roby them.  Last year, Posey was the top ranked catcher at the end of year.  Yet, he was only the 8th best 1st baseman, about as valuable as Albert Pujols, who hit only .244.  The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position.  The top five catchers last year were Bust Posey, Bri McCann, Eve Gattis, Russ Martin and Sal Perez.  Only one guy was drafted in the top 100.  No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers.  They’re all hot garbage with a side order of gefilte fish, or kapelka as Q-Tip calls it.  Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats.  There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness.  Last year, Welington Castillo was the tenth best catcher.  He was on waivers for at least half the season.  He was the tenth best catcher with a line of 42/19/57/.237.  Yo, Q, forget kapelka, Welington Castillo makes me vomit.  Also, with this crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity.  You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis.  Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft d’Arnaud.  In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them.  You can see other top 20 lists for 2016 fantasy baseball under 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Listed along with these catchers are my 2016 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend and if all went well, a profitable one. Labor Day weekend is a fine time to cruise for overlay as it’s a busy outdoors weekend for many folks. I, for one, took the weekend off from DFS. I enjoyed some of the great outdoors and took part in a few fantasy football season-long drafts. I’m ready to hit MLB hard for the last five weeks as people become less focused on it and turn their eyes instead to NFL. With any luck, that will lead to some dead money out there. Terrible transition time as we go from dead money to the Grateful Dead. I know there’s a few deadhead fantasy baseballers out there reading Razzball, I’ve seen the steal your face avatars. Truth be told, I’m a fan via love as the woman whom I live with and to whom I’m related by marriage is a huge fan. When I saw that both Sonny Gray and Jon Gray were pitching tonight and both had nice match-ups, I couldn’t help myself. I’m choosing to focus on Jon Gray since, frankly, Sonny Gray has, and will continue to be, a great play all year. Jon Gray on the other hand, gets the hard to handle task of pitching in Coors for his home games. We saw the effect this can have when he faced the Mets at Metco and was on the golden road (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks) and then faced them again a couple weeks later at Coors and had the Mexicali blues (1.2 IP, 7 ER, 0 Ks). Gray faced the Padres in Coors a few weeks ago and made barely a ripple, giving up just one run in 5 IP and striking out five friars. Doing some quick math means he should only give up negative five runs when he faces them in Petco Park. It’s like a box of rain when a promising young arm gets drafted into the Rockies system, but we always have their away games to look forward to. Gray’s got a pretty nasty looking 95+ MPH fastball and a nice change-up (85 MPH)/slider combo that makes him at least serviceable with upside for more. Thanks to his home park and some rough outings there, he’s practically free for $4,600. The pitching friendly Petco Park and a bottom three team OPS for the Padres makes me pretty excited to roster the young gun tonight. You should be too and if nothing else, we will get by, we will survive.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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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Greetings to the end of August which is a firm reminder we’re just one month away from the fun ending. Or for some of you, the question might be…did it ever really begin? Well no worries because if that’s the case, you’re not reading. Hrm, borderline philosophical question: if you lead with making fun of people who don’t read what you have written, have you really insulted them? DEEP. Speaking of deep, here’s the dig down on those Cinci Reds. Though they haven’t been the greatest team or offense in the second half overall, they’ve really tanked in August as they hold the third worst wRC+ at 79 while maintaining a healthy 21.8% K rate. And with that, in enters Kyle Hendricks. Kyle is a bit of a home schooler as his ERA goes down a full run when in Chi-town and his K/9 jumps from 7.18 to 8.67. Given the matchup and the K potential, I’m a tad surprised to find Hendricks so reasonably priced at $6,700. I’m probably not leaning towards him in cash games but if you’re a GPP addict like myself, you know exactly what to do with this call. Snort it up your nose, of course! Oops, wrong addiction. But enough about nose candy, let’s go. Here’s my red hot takes for this Monday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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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Left-handed hitters are always going to be popular given their tendency to hold the larger “half” of a platoon’s playing time situation, but as we enter the final five weeks of the season — or in DFS — production of any type is worth employing. While most of these names aren’t flashy, all of these players have something to offer in terms of counting or rate stats for hitting southpaws. The ownership rates (not the availability) are listed after each player for the three major fantasy sites. To add an arbitrary filter to things, we’re looking at 50 plate appearance minimums, with numbers excluding Monday’s games.

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