I shall open this column by quoting September 1st Grey: “I’m not enthused by the guys headed to the majors this September.” I agree completely – I thought there would be a lot more intriguing under-the-radar call-ups to discuss, both for NL or AL-only help over the next few weeks, or to grab with an eye on next year in keeper leagues. Instead, I’m reminded that keeping one’s head in the fantasy baseball game can be less fun and more chore-like with each passing day as we inch towards October.

In September, there’s a lot more inventory, but less of value. Veteran players on non-contenders are getting rested more often, as are young studs on playoff contenders. Starting pitchers are hitting innings limits. And since expanded rosters mean that there’s often no need to officially DL players, it can be hard to tell who is going to get at bats at all, and who is pretty much done for the year. If you’re still actively managing a fantasy team in a deep league at this time of year, there may be more names than ever to choose from on waivers… the tricky part is finding anyone who might actually help your team over the next three and a half weeks.

Now, just since I started writing this, news has arrived that J.P. Crawford and Luiz Gohara have reached the show, so things are getting at least a little more interesting. Meanwhile, here’s this weeks handful of guys who may still be floating around in the deepest of leagues:

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Who doesn’t love them some BOGO sales? Girls love them, hell even flamboyant fake baseball players like it.  I prefer the pun value in them better than buying two pairs of shoes, only of which I need one.  Which leads us to Javier Baez.  I equate him to that sushi roll that you aren’t sure that you like and don’t exactly know what’s in it.  Like a Ahi Tuna special, but in a baseball hat.  Entering play (as of me writing this) he had 21 Homers and 9 steals.  Not fantastic by any stretch of the SAGNOF variety, but I wanna see if there is more juice to squeeze out of the North Side orange.  We are fully entrenched in the here and now of fantasy, but always need to be looking to next year.  So with his uptick in speed over the past eight games (3 steals), making everyone aware of their surroundings in the SAGNOF world seemed like a good spot to write about Javy for the first time this year.  Batting average is not what you want him to be a stalwart on your team, but the 21 taters with 12-15 stolen base potential with SS, 2B and 3B eligibility heading into next year, he is someone with name value that you may want to ask to your fantasy prom.  Enough with the debate about Baez for now and later, let’s get to the Stealers and Savers for the week…  Good luck down the stretch lads!

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Doh!  A deer, a female deer and also what the Dodgers say.  Ray, a drop of golden filth.  Me, a name I call myself who owns J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray.  Fa, a long long way to run if a Bostonian is saying far.  SO another name for strikeouts.  LA is where the game took place.  Ti I dribble down my face, when J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray play.  Yesterday, Ray went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 14 Ks, ERA down to 2.80.  Robbie Ray is an ace.  No matter how you slice that pecan pie, he’s an ace.  No matter how you put that pancake batter on the skittle.  No matter how you put whipped cream in my mouth.  My God, I’m so hungry.  Cougs has got me doing this Whole30 diet and I’m legit about to eat my hand.  At Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 starters for this week, Ray’s ranked 6th.  Can’t argue that, and last night he dunked all over the LA K’ers.  Then, J.D. Martinez got my goosepimples all a-titter.  He went 4-for-5, 6 RBIs with his 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th homer.  Someone has to Just Dong, so who better than Just Dong?  Who?!  Sorry, I’m writing this wearing an owl costume.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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I think you’ll agree (because Would I Lie To You?) that it’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for us Saturday FanDuel devotees when it comes to pitchers. But I’m pleased to report that this week, we’re swimming in them (so to speak). Yes, you could, of course, play Clayton Kershaw, but TBH I’m leery of starting anyone against the Rockies right now, and ClayKer does have his worst ERA at home (that’s 3.11, mind you, but still), and given he costs $12,300, I’m going to steer clear and look to some other, more affordable pitching options. And there are a few, as you shall see. My very favorite is Robbie Ray: yes, his start today takes place in the somewhat terrifying Chase (The Ball Across The) Field in Arizona, but it’s versus the Phillies, who hit .233 against lefties and now have the least wins in the entirety of MLB. (Sorry to remind you of that, Phillies Fans.) Let’s check out some more options after the jump.

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s Peacock week here at Razzball, and I for one, have been trying my damnedest to use some of the lessons taught to me by my mentor, the sometimes debonair, but mostly creepy, world-renowned pickup artist Mystery. You might remember this sexual predator from MTV at some point in the last 10 years. MTV, ruining everything since 1981! You might not recall this, particularly if you’ve never been under the spell of a man dressed as the lead singer of Jamiroquai, but Mystery has long preached the word of “Peacocking”. I can’t be sure, but I’m almost certain that this is the act of pretending you’re Brad Peacock to pickup women. I mean how could this not work have you seen “The P-Cock” in all his glory? Gorgeous just like a horse is, to say the least. The 29 year old Peacock has spent parts of 5 seasons in the majors, mostly as a shuttle arm, between AAA and the majors. In 2017 however, the righty has been a bit of a revelation for the Astros, first in the bullpen, and now in the rotation. Grey wrote him up on Friday, and he’s been one of the more interesting streams over the last few weeks. If only due to that heavenly 15 K/9 over his first three starts. So let’s dig into Peacock and see what he’s doing on the mound, when not going into liquor store rages.

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I’ve been trying to figure out if I should use a percentage-owned threshold to determine which players I cover in this column, but have come to realize that it’s probably best not to use a hard and fast rule for this. There are just too many different sizes and shapes huddled together under the “deep league” umbrella, and a few differences in rules and roster restrictions can make a huge difference in how deep the player pool goes. I have a 12-team one AL-only league where we have huge rosters, we’re only allowed to add minor leagues at a supplemental draft once a year, and we can never add a player on the DL. The waiver pool is miniscule, consisting mostly of players who are 0-1% owned or less in CBS leagues. I have a couple NL-only leagues, meanwhile, where there are often a handful of 20 – 40% CBS owned players.

One of the reasons I’m mentioning this is because I’ve gotten in the habit of using percentage owned as my go-to way to sort players when perusing the waiver wire, trade possibilities, etc., and I want to make sure I’m not using it as an unnecessary (or even harmful) crutch, especially in my shallower leagues. I feel like in the past, I’ve actually gone to pick up a player in a mixed league and changed my decision at the last minute because it seemed so wrong to be adding a guy who was 8% or 17% or 25% owned in a league where every lineup is packed with 80%-plus owned players. (I guess the deep, ‘only’ league equivalent of this is picking up a 0% owned player… nothing like the boost of confidence it gives you to see that you have a couple guys in your lineup that, according to the internet, basically don’t exist in fantasy baseball).

While ownership percentages can be a good way to sort players, I think paying too much attention to them can be a big mistake, including when it comes to evaluating trade value. If you think a player can help your team or have a gut feeling about a guy, don’t let others’ perceived value of him keep you from pulling the trigger. Now if you can squeeze more out of the other owner by mentioning that you’re taking on lesser-owned players, go for it. And you can feel free to use it to your advantage the other way as well – if you’re trying to move, say, Julio Teheran, who hasn’t looked like he belongs on a fantasy team of any size all season, feel free to mention that he is owned in an absolutely inexplicable 91% of CBS leagues (but don’t include the part about it being inexplicable). With that being said, on to some deep-league names…

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The Phils have a game plan, and it looks a something like this:  trade and/or sign washed-out AL East starters.  Worked last year with Jeremy Hellickson, and now they’ve traded for Clay Buchholz.  This is the first trade where I can declaratively state both teams won and I don’t even know who Josh Tobias is, the infielder the Phils sent to the Red Sox.  Yes, I used declaratively.  Watch out, reading comprehension!  Looks like Tobias has some speed, but it doesn’t matter.  The Sox needed Buchholz off their team because they have a set rotation without him, and the NL East is about as good a landing place can be, even if Citizens Flank is slightly offensive-minded, and I don’t just mean the insults that rain down from the stands.  “The only time the Phils ever strung three W’s together is with their website.”  That’s a Philly fan.  “Now lean down so I can puke on you.”  That’s the same Phils fan.  Buchholz looks to be in possession of all his pitches that he had when he had a 3.30 xFIP in 2015.  Of course, those pitches couldn’t have looked more pear-shaped than last year with his 5.32 xFIP.  Honestly, I think he could be anywhere from a 3.50 ERA pitcher to a 4.50 ERA one.  Is he a mixed league starter?  Maybe as a streamer, or if he starts off well, but not out of the gate, as they say in horse racing.  For NL-Only, I’m going to like him as a late-round flyer.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 8-10/4.07/1.31/117 in 145 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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If you’re not familiar with Sia, then I encourage you to take a minute and enjoy her golden voice. If you’re still not convinced then I feel bad for you, cause she got Heidi Klum to star in this video Fire Meets Gasoline. Sorry I couldn’t edit the dude out, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of sharing my German crush that’s even hotter than my last name. Yes, Heater really is my last name and I’m banking on Jose Fernandez, $12,800 vs SF & Kevin Gausman, $8,500 at OAK to ignite our DK lineups even hotter than that clip, so we can cash in tonight. J-Fer’s splits are well documented, but I did the old stop short when I actually looked them up. Check this shizz out (that way you can come to your own conclusions) 113 Ks in 76.2 innings to go along with a 2.11 ERA and a 9-2 record vs 79 Ks in 55 innings with a 3.93 ERA and a 3-4 record. Yeah, dude is hotter than the girls wearing bikinis on Beachfront Avenue when he takes the mound in Miami, he’s straight FIRE. Fire definitely needs some Gausoline to make it go boom and our boy Gausman is primed with a great matchup in the friendly confines of the O.co Coliseum. Oakland’s offense has been the worst AL team at home when it comes to scoring and with a flame throwing righty on the mound that trend will continue tonight. Gausman has been roughed up this year being in the AL Beast, but he’ll feast on his AL West opponent tonight with at least 7 Ks and he’ll offense will do the rest to get him the win.

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