No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

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What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Saves can often come from little known sources.  That concept is something we Razzballers call SAGNOF – Saves Ain’t Got No Face.  I played in one RCL (Razzball Commenter League) last year and in that league I owned Sean Doolittle from Sunday March 30th until the last day of the season.  I didn’t draft him.  I picked him up because I was looking for someone that could help with ERA and WHIP as well as adding some additional Ks (the latter of which can’t be bolstered through extra starting pitchers because of the games started limit) and his projections indicated he was worth it.  I didn’t really care about whether he was going to contribute any saves because I had David Robertson, Steve Cishek, and a DL’d Aroldis Chapman which seemed like a good group for a 12-team league.

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Some people consider it a made up stat, I say hogwash or peeee-shaw.  For the people who play in the leagues where the stat matters, it matters.  That’s about as devout as I can get since I had to sell my soapbox to pay for my addiction of collectible thimbles.  Now, I get it, the Hold stat isn’t for everyone. The basis of actually being a stat is wonky at best. These guys do more than just come in for one inning or one batter, they hold your periph numbers in check.  If you don’t believe, that’s fine, I don’t believe myself half the time.  Heck, I have no reading comprehension, so it’s more of a “in one ear out the other” type thing.  See, I already forgot what I was discussing here.  So this year, some of the top options that are going to be the go-to-holds guys are actually jumping up and taking the starring role for their teams due to injury. So I will delve into a few situations to monitor from a Holds perspective, as well as a nice handy chart with some predictions on the side of caution for the top-20 middle relievers, in terms of them garnering the coveted stat of the Hold.

Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!

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Does anything feel as comforting, yet restricting as a pair of fuzzy handcuffs? They just lack the masculinity that a normal grown man would like to admit…But you sprinkle in the testosterone laced excitement of fantasy baseball, and BOOM.  The fellas that we will be examining this week should be drafted in all leagues that speculate in the save department. Note to you, that is every league.  You are basically looking for these few outliers to light your path to save endearment.  First, pick a closer situation that has one clear cut guy as the fall back option. Second, find a team that looks to be on the right side of standings, which in theory is the left side, because that’s where wins go.  Third, you want a team that utilizes a keen sense of relief inevitability, vis-à-vis a manager that likes guys in certain situations; for us, that’s the guys that will be the best shut down reliever not named “closer” in the bullpen.  It’s pretty simple math there, no helmet needed or safety strapping cabinets, so you don’t pinch your digits.  So let’s have at some of Smokey’s smorgasbord of top guys you should wanna be sniping from other purveyors of the save.  Oh and by the way, I am ignoring guys like Wade Davis, Andrew Miller , and Ken Giles because if your league doesn’t draft them, then you should skip baseball and focus on Fantasy Soccer.

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I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz.  But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success.  I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling.  Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft.  Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up.  It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch.  It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone.  It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win).  It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups.  These groups are broken down by usefulness.  We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.

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Man do I hate the end of the year. People chasing saves are all into it, while the ones that are dead in the water couldn’t care less. And let’s be honest, they were prolly dead in the water all year when it came to saves. The end of the year chase is starting to show casualties, like the fall from grace of Glen Perkins. Glen is the kinda guy that I like, home-grown guy, pitching in his home state, took a nice friendly contract from the team. He can totally date-my-sister type. Unfortunately, he is staggering to the finish with an unimpressive last few weeks. I personally feel bad, because I own Perkins in a lot of places. I have so many teams, that I actually counted and the only closer I don’t own is David Robertson. Yes, every other single closer on this list is owned in some way shape or form by yours truly. So back to Perkins… his ERA and his K/9 rate have seemed to morph into some sort of Jeff Goldblum fly concoction of fantasy uselessness. Overwork and or an injury are the only things I can think that are the problem. He is/was a semi-elite guy until the wheels fell off. So if you’re still chasing, Jared Burton and Casey Fien look to be the guys lost likely to take the helm until Perkins rights the ship…which will prolly be next year. Only two weeks to go and we will get one Bullpen Report and one more Closer Report to end the year. The last will be a souped up version with lot’s of 2015 treats and stuff. So stay tuned or don’t. Your choice.

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Nicholas Tropeano sounds like a sitcom character, doesn’t he? Like that’s his real name, but he goes by the nickname of The Boof or simply Boof. Then only his mom, Mrs. Tropeano calls him Nicholas. Some girls call him Nick, but Boof or The Boof, that’s what you know him as. At one point, he even went to a technical school with Arthur Fonzarelli and Joseph Tribbiani Jr. I went over The Boof briefly the other day when he threw a five inning, meh start. There I said, “Breezed through the minors as only an Astros prospect could. What I mean is they don’t have a ton of major league options, so if someone does okay, they promote the crap out of them. In Triple-A, he had a 8.7 K/9, 0.99 WHIP and a 3.03 ERA in 124 2/3 IP.” And that’s me quoting me! This Buy is more for AL-Only leagues and keepers (I’ll go over mixed league starters to stream in the post). Shoot, this Boof buy could even be considered more for 2015 fantasy baseball. Now, maybe I’m really just having residual feelings for what Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel did this year, but Tropeano looks like a $1 flyer in very deep leagues that could reap similar benefits. I know it’s far from glamorous to put faith in Astros, but I’m likely to call Tropeano a sleeper for 2015 and point back to this post next year. I’d love if his velocity was a tad faster to go with his nasty change, but The Boof could pay dividends for savvy owners in deep leagues. Ayyyyy! *pounds wall, jukebox turns on* Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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This week’s most added player was Mookie Betts (+60%). The rookie outfielder has been in the lineup every day since August 18th and has hit nearly .300 since that date with three home runs and four stolen bases. Going forward, Betts is a good option for a little bit of everything in standard 5×5 leagues. As the season winds down, lead-off hitters like Betts are even more valuable as that extra at bat can mean another hit, run, or RBI for your fantasy roster. Betts is still just 21 years old and figures to be part of Boston’s plans moving forward despite the arrival of Rusney Castillo. He’s a good example of how the value of prospects can change quickly. Drafted in the fifth round in 2011, he wasn’t a big name on prospect lists and yet finds himself contributing in the major leagues before his 22nd birthday. He doesn’t strike out much (14%) and picks his spots to steal (83% SB success rate). Even with the recent surge he’s still available in 35% of ESPN leagues. Give him a look if one of your outfielders is hobbled or under-performing in the stretch run. Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball…

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That’s what time of year it is! Juan Lagares gets a buy lede. Read between the lines here, and what does it tell you? That as you get older you have to eat salad for lunch three times a week? Hmm, I’ve found that too, but that wasn’t what I wrote between the lines. Try again! That you don’t get embarrassed being seen in a public restroom, but get embarrassed being seen walking out of one? Me too. Still not what I wrote between the lines. You look for the skinniest person in a conveyor belt sushi place and sit next to them? Didn’t write that between the lines either, but lambda! (Lambda is the Greek letter used to indicate wavelength, so when you want to indicate you are a nerd and to tell someone you’re on the same wavelength just say lambda. That’s what I do. “I was thinking we should go to a movie.” “Lambda.” See? Now go have nerd babies!) Okay, between the lines it actually read that we’re firmly in the part of the year when it only matters what a player did in the last week. Lagares is about as hot as anyone right now. Better still, Terry Collins said he wants Lagares to run more. Let’s do a quick equation. Player who is trying to prove their worth + Suggested by manager that they run = Merle Haggard! Wow, math’s off there. Was supposed to equal tremendous fantasy value. Now, if Lagares wasn’t hitting it wouldn’t matter that Collins told him to run, but he is hitting and running like crazy — five steals in the last week while hitting over .300. He’s also been inserted into the leadoff spot. Thinking you should own him? Lambda! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?