After nearly three consecutive months of travel and boozing I think I might just be falling apart. I have little to complain about jumping from bachelor party, to wedding, to cider launch party and returning home to the heart of wine country. But, add in the grind of the fantasy season, nursing a pregnant wife and, well, nursing a pregnant wife and I’m all but convinced I am going to need to replace approximately 50% of my organs in the next 8 years. It’s time to bare down and build a bit of a stack at DraftKings as the final third of the season commences and put it all on the long shot to win the Super Bowl. Ok, not sound gambling advice, but I’m feeling like it’s all or nothing with these failing organs of mine!

Before you build your lineup today, ensure that you’ve taken a good look at the DFSBot. Rudy’s phenomenal tool, as Mrs. Gamble calls it, cranks out the day’s best value plays and even breaks it down to expected $ per point. As the Ombotsman has proven, the DFSBot has been a much more accurate method of ranking value than Draftkings salaries have been.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?

Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!

Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?

You: I think I’m entitled to…

Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?

You: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

[Jay's Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer...] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.

You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?

Me: I did the job…

You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?

Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How great would it be for the Braves to trade for Marlon Byrd? Byrd and Ervin reunited. Byrd, of course, would have to bleach his skin like Sammy Sosa, put a giant yellow Brillo pad on his head for hair and wear some butt-hugging shorts that even white boys got to shout, “Baby got back!” Then Isiah can show up early, kiss them all on the cheek and watch from the sidelines. Ah, to dream (team). Due to a slightly inflated BABIP, Ervin Santana‘s ERA is up a tad from where it should be. Right now, he has the 27th best xFIP, right in front of Adam Wainwright. Speaking of Wainwright, Ervin’s K-rate is better than his. Is Ervin Santana pitching better than Wainwright? I wouldn’t go that far, but I wouldn’t go so far away from that statement either. Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore? It would be fine to see your face– Sorry. The great thing about Ervin compared to a Wainwright, he’s not even owned in some leagues. In the leagues where he is owned, how much would it take to get him in a trade? A Brain Freeze? A potato chip that’s in the shape of Sloth from The Goonies? A free ticket to an autograph show where Shelley Duncan is dressed up like Tackleberry from Police Academy? I.e., not much. Go, get Ervin, he’s magic, abracadabra. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in June, about six weeks ago, the Twins were liking their chances this year. They went out and spent money on Kendrys Morales, just to put them over the hump. Then about five weeks and six days ago, they realized their chances for the playoffs were slim to anorexic, and regretted their move. They had buyer’s remorse quicker than Betty Draper’s new husband. “How could Don not appreciate this blonde beauty?” Dot, dot, dot. “Oh, that’s why.” I personally thought trading for a complement to Willingham, Arcia, Plouffe and Colabello was a good idea. I mean, who among those guys is a power, lousy average and no speed threat? Oh, wait, they all are. Now back to the Mariners, yeah, they need another 1B/DH-type. We’ll assume Kendrys plays every day (which he should). In the 2nd half of last year, he hit 9 homers and a .274 average. I don’t see much more from him this year. If anything, maybe a few less homers since he’s been struggling. Basically, what you can get off waivers in most mixed leagues. Or what the Mariners already had in Coreygan Smoakison, their Frankenstein 1B/DH. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Odrisamer Despaigne almost threw a no-hitter yesterday (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks) in his Padres camo fatigues, which had Fidel completely uncertain how to react. “I love to wear camo too, but now he’s doing it for the American Baseball Organization and representing their military? I am torn like Natalie Imbruglia.” Luckily, Fidel had someone who burped too loud to assassinate to take his mind off things. Odrisamer Despaigne, or Otis Spunkmeyer as I always want to call him, now has a 1.31 ERA on the year (34 1/3 IP) and a laughable K-rate (4.46). Speaking of communists, that’s even laughable for Correia. Maybe the Mets couldn’t see Spunkmeyer’s pitches because the Padres were also using their trademark camo-painted baseball? Oh, wait, this is the Mets we’re yakking up. How silly of me. Spunkmeyer is definitely worth riding when in home starts, and even favorable road matchups while throwing well, but I wouldn’t trust him long-term. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Playing daily fantasy can be a bit of a grind, but when you hit big nothing feels better. However, when you get slapped upside the head with a cold streak nothing feels worse. As we hit the halfway point of the MLB season your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru has had a profitable season. Yet, when a cold streak comes a knockin’ you just have to know when to walk away and know when to run. And I’ve hit a “Winter is coming”-sized cold spell the last few days. Nevertheless, I’ve never listened to Kenny Rogers and I’m ready to dive into the deep end of the DraftKings pool. I’m coming for your cash. Or, the way things have been going lately, maybe I should just hand you mine.

Before we get to today’s picks, let’s talk some strategy. If you’re a DFS shark feel free to skip ahead, I don’t mind, I’ll still get paid by the word. We have talked a lot about hitting this year and constructing lineups. What we have not touched on is pitching. We give you the tools in the Stream-o-Nator and the DFSBot and we send the Razzball Hotsheet to your email everyday so finding the right arms shouldn’t be too tough. When it comes to choosing two pitchers on DraftKings there are three ways to go and maybe even a fourth way – which is kind of a DraftKings secret. 1) Take the two stud arms and find value bats. This is not generally the way I go, but it can be effective in some Cash Games like cheap 50/50s. 2) Punt the pitchers and load up on bats. This can work on a night like last night where there were not a lot of high priced arms and we had high over/unders in Arizona, Boston, Colorado and Texas. 3) The stud and the scrub philosophy. This is the way I usually go. Grab the one big pricey arm and one low priced arm that’s going to give you Ks and won’t get shelled. Last night I went with Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Young. It didn’t work. Tonight I will sacrifice a chicken to my Luis Tiant bobblehead in order to change my recent luck. And 4) The Mystery way. A lot of players don’t realize this, but on DraftKings if you select the “All” option on the roster page it will show a complete list of players that includes relievers. And they are cheap! The other night I started Hisashi Iwakuma and grabbed Kevin Quackenbush for $2000. Iwakuma had a big night and Quackenbush outscored Tyler Matzek – who was one of the cheapest pitchers of the night but still triple the price of the Quackenbush. It cashed as I was able to take the stud bats in Arizona and Texas. It’s a risky move, but it can allow you to load up on hitters and win big. Give it a shot in a free game and let me know how it works. Come to think of it, I have should went this way last night as I owned Julio Teheran and his -6.5 points everywhere. It was a bad night and my liver is not happy.

With all the said, let’s get to the plays of the day. We do have a bit of split slate today with four games this afternoon and 11 tonight. I’ll offer up the pitching studs, scrubs and punts I like today and throw in some bonus bats in as well.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Sunday again gang – hope there weren’t too many of you that overdid it with your personal firework shows to celebrate the 4th – baseball (as always) seems to help us in that regard every year around this time, and the big Billy Beane shocker provided everyone a great finale for a lot of contenders. Of course this also helps bring more clarity for those looking to make a run at the MLB-level (obviously defining the market for ANY contender looking to shore up their rotation) just as it will ultimately lead to even more prospect machinations and opportunities as we move forward.

Given the rising level of prospect interest this time of year (both in potential trade/promotion opportunities, but in general as well), and in addition to our hopes of expanding our prospect coverage and helpful information and discussion for you guys in our Razzball community, Sundays will feature, what I’ll refer to as my Sunday Twelve-Pack, as opposed to a Sunday Six-Pack. As always, pace yourselves – Monday morning still looms, and never drink and drive!!!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Sunday gang – I’ll be stepping into the box now on Sundays (in addition to my weekly Panning For Gold installment on Wednesdays), and will continue to at least somewhat mirror Scott’s Sunday updates. Moving forward, Minor Accomplishments will stay mostly the same (with tweaks here-and-there at times). But as you’re used to, I’ll be pointing out some of those (often) more-heralded prospects that are on the verge of promotions or are worth consideration of addition to your roster. Like all the rest of the Razzball crew that has always done such a good job before I became involved, my goal is the same; to bring you guys as much information and insight as possible to help make those tough calls you make regarding your teams at least a little easier!

As is always the case this time of year, we’re now entering the stretch where everyone needs to begin to keep closer tabs on the near MLB-ready prospects that have been climbing their respective ladders – we’re well past the point that most MLB GM’s have to worry about players’ Super Two statuses (in most cases), so you can start to expect to see more of those true “impact” names begin to surface as contenders look to fill holes before having to consider going outside their own organization for extra firepower as they begin to make their stretch runs.

Without further ado…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ugh! Not another silly Grateful Dead reference and about their one commercial hit from 1987 at that. Seriously that song is the least Dead song in the history of Dead songs. It’s not my fault that Sonny Gray’s last name is Gray and not Sonny Darkstar or Sonny “Sugar” Magnolia. I wasn’t in charge of giving out sir names whenever that happened, so give me a break. Anythewho back to baseball! Today I get to advocate you drafting one of my favorite young arms in the game in Sonny Gray ($8,400). It’s crazy to think the 2011 first rounder hasn’t yet had a full season of major league ball. Since being called up to the bigs last July, Gray has gone 12-6 with ERA/FIP/xFIP of 2.82/3.03/3.22 with K/9 and BB/9’s of 8.45 and 2.98. 25 starts into his young career and Gray looks like an ace, or at least the best pitching arm produced by the A’s since the days of Barry Zito and Tim Hudson.

Gray is a nice mix of a groundball pitcher that also has the ability to punch guys out. This combination allows him to get deep into games while also being a model of consistency. He’s been so consistent that he’s only given up more than 3 runs in a start 4 times in his 25 turns. His ability to give our fake team’s quality innings with little worry of a meltdown is invaluable in all formats. I fully expect another high ceiling/ high floor start from Sonny today against the Marlins in Miami. Though the Marlins have certainly been far better than expected thus far in 2014, they aren’t without their flaws. For example, the fish have the second highest K% of any team in baseball with a 23.2%. This should setup nicely for Gray to put up 7 IP and 7-8 K’s. When looking at pitching in DraftKings format, my focus tends to be K’s and IP because that’s where your big points come from. The price on Gray is very nice today as well only costing a measly $8,400 compared to a half dozen other options in the 5 figure range. The Stream-o-Nator doesn’t love the start, but doesn’t hate it either, ranking Gray at 9 overall today and 5th best of the afternoon slate. The streamer is slightly coo-coo ranking Matt Cain and Gerrit Cole in the two spots ahead of Gray. I wouldn’t advocate you drafting either of those options today.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been organizing daily Razzball leagues on DraftKings and they’ve been a blast. We went from having trouble filling 10 teamers two weeks ago to consistently filling 20 team leagues every day for the last week. This is thanks in large part to Razzball’s great community of readers and writers. I’m making another jump today and organizing two 20 teamers, one for the early set that will kick off at 1:05 pm (EST) and another that will cover the night games kicking off at 7:05. The early league is $1 buy in with the top 3 taking home prizes and the late set is a $2 buy in with the top 3 once again taking home the cash. If you haven’t yet signed up for DraftKings you can do so here by clicking this link. The best part about signing up with us today is that DraftKings will give you a ticket for a free game just for joining. It’s a total win-win. If you’re interested in getting on the invite list for our Daily Leagues simply leave your DK username in the comments and I’ll add you to my ever growing friends list. Ohhh internet friendship!

BTW if you think I’m a dope of the highest caliber, you can always make your own informed decisions by consulting with our suite of tools here on Razzball. Check the Stream-o-Nator, DFSBot, and Hitter-Tron for all the info you need to make that money!

Without further ado, Razzball’s DraftKings picks for June 28th

Please, blog, may I have some more?