Greetings and welcome to the first installment of the offseason stock report. If you love this silly, fake game as much as I do, you’ve either shined up your 2014 winner’s trophy several times and have shamelessly admired it since the end of the season or have shed many tears over the disappointing fantasy results that you’ve just endured. Either way, it’s time to move on and look forward to the start of the 2015 season.

In this series, I will attempt to analyze the performances of various players from this past season and project what can be expected from them next season. After digging into all of the underlying peripheral statistics, each player will be deemed either a “buy” or a “sell” depending on whether he can be expected to improve, regress, or maintain his most recent level of production. Much like commodities on the actual stock market, the idea is to buy low on a player that stands to gain value in the near future while selling high on one that is likely to lose value. Of course, players who are already valued highly but appear likely to maintain a high level of production should be targeted, while players who have experienced a sharp decrease in value and appear unlikely to improve upon their current production levels should be avoided.

Without further ado, let’s dig into three of the biggest early round busts from the ’14 season and decide if their poor results are a sign of things to come or if a rebound is on the horizon.

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Went over the catchers, 1st basemen, 2nd basemen and shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Guess what’s next! No, not pitchers. Read the title, man. In 2010, there were only 5 outfielders that hit 30 homers, in 2011 there were 9, 14 in 2012 and in 2013 there were 3. This year, small bounce back with 6. That did just mean there were less homers from other positions though, it didn’t mean a bounce back all around for baseball. We are only a few years away from someone leading the league with 25 homers. Steals were still around. There were 14 outfielders who stole 30 bases in 2012, 10 in 2013 and this year there were 11. As before, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Every year we get together in a Schenectady Sheraton to give away fantasy baseball awards for the past season. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice — What’s up, guys and four girls?” On the red carpet for everyone’s arrival is the Comatose Rangers Fan, “Let’s get started, I need to get home to see my Rangers face the Tigers!” Joining us up on the balcony is Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department, “I’m high above the crowd, in more ways than one!” Today’s very special musical guest opening the show is…Counting Crows! Coming straight from opening for Pink! Not playing on stage prior to her performing, but literally opening a door for her. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2014 Razzball Year End Awards:

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Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo did his part to ensure he’ll be over valued in fantasy leagues next year going 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base last night versus the Yankees. He’s now 4-for-7 with two homers, four RBI and a steal starting in center field in the past two games. I guess it’s pretty clear from his bat that’s where he’s most comfortable. With New England, the new home for Cuban All-Stars and Big Papis, sure to be buzzing all offseason over these final games, the hype should build enough that Rusney Castillo is the next Manny Ramirez by draft day. At the very least he’ll be the next Jackie Bradley, Jr.  Still, desperate times, call for desperate fantasy measures and Castillo could be a hot schmotato with a whole lot more to prove in these final two games than most players.  We know he can steal. We’re seeing him hit. Two homers in two days, people! It’s mathematical! You’re trying to win a championship, right? Well, this Rusney trombone could be the reach around your fantasy team needs for the final push. Did I just type those words that way? Doesn’t matter it’s my last day of the season, is anyone still reading this? If you are, it’s about time you picked up Rusney Castillo and let him help you bring home a trophy.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ll be honest, I really wanted to do a title about Rudy. After having a top-7 pitching week and moving into the top-10 overall, I wanted to kiss some a*s to the other man in charge. It was supposed to be “Rudy Comfortable”, a play on Rudy Huxtable, but then Grey told me to talk about you guys and four girl readers. I obliged and started looking at the top-10 and the player rater to see what they have in common. The top-4 teams, 5 total in top 10, all have Mike Trout and 3 of the top 5 have Jose Abreu. The top two teams have both. Jose Altuve, Todd Frazier, Michael Brantley, and Corey Dickerson are scattered throughout the top ten. In the pitching it’s a little all over the place. One trend I found interesting was in the bullpen where Cody Allen is on 4 teams and Wade Davis is on 3. I’m pointing those two out because they were both solid all year and probably owned all year. Allen being a draft day stash for save savy owners and Davis being a K/9 machine that caught our attention back in April. Take note of this next year. Instead of drafting next season’s Jose Veras, grab a great handcuff with a high K-rate and some faith. I know that’s easier said than done, being that very few MR’s repeat from year to year. Unless your name is Tyler Clippard. There are always themes to successful teams, if you got the first or second pick and drafted Trout your chances of winning increase exponentially, share with us in the comments how your team’s did where you got that sexy fish or any other studs that put you over the top. For the Trout owners you deserve a hat from the man himself.

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What a world we live in. Just a couple of months ago, me telling you an Oakland stack would be a good idea would’ve lead to you rolling your eyes, giving me your best Charlie Sheen, and ignored the rest of what I had to say because I was clearly not giving any info others weren’t already doling out. YO GUYS LISTEN TO ME, KING FELIX IS A MUST START TODAY. Sheeeiittt, like we don’t know a top pitcher is a good get for the day. But again, days go by and still I think of the times when the Athletics were the stack du jour. You couldn’t tune into any write up about DFS without being told to at least throw in a Brandon Moss or a Josh Donaldson. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Not only have the A’s relinquished the lead in the AL West, they’re now scratching and clawing just to stay the lead wild card for the AL. But that’s what happens when guys like Moss hit 21 bombs in the first half and follow up in the second half with only three while hitting .178. Yes, it’s been that brutal. Why did they trade away Cespedes again? Oh well, what’s done is done. But that definitely makes them a nice stack on a day in which they should be good but probably won’t be looked upon given their offensive struggles. Fair warning here: this stack call ain’t for the faint of heart. The Athletics have scored more than 10 runs just twice in the last two months. This is an offense that’s been giving us more struggle face than Rob Ryan could ever muster. But I will be building an Athletics stack for GPPs today and yes it will have it some Donaldson and Moss. Heck, it might even get a Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Josh Reddick, and/or Adam Dunn. We all know everyone is gonna be on the COLvsLAD game in terms of stacks but that doesn’t always win you the tourney calls. You have to think outside the box and the Athletics have become just that. Oh and I guess we should talk a bit about why: Nick Tepesch. Hrm, you need more than that? Well what about his .378 wOBA away from Texas. Yes, he’s worse on the road than he is at home. Hard to do, I know, but given the Rangers season we can’t be all that surprised. But now that I’ve given you an off the wall stack, let’s get down to business. Here’s how I’d play today’s DK slate the rest of the way…

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 check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Baltimore’s shiny new outfielder, Alejandro de Aza, was 4-for-9 with two triples and 2 RBI in yesterday’s double header. Welcome to Plaza de Aza, where we help win fantasy baseball leagues for you. Perhaps you hadn’t noticed in the past five days Alejando de Aza has been doing work for his new team, gathering in a hit in his sixth straight start. He’s also got two stolen bases, two homers, five runs and six RBI in that stretch and he’s doing every thing he can to contribute to the O’s postseason run and your fantasy team right now. Buck Showalter is clearly feeling what Alejandro’s putting out there, as de Aza is steadily moving his way up to the top of the lineup. If he gets hot, he’s a guy that could help you in a lot of categories in the two final weeks. Grey told you to BUY him and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone who you’re dropping or selling to pick up this hot little crab cake, be it Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Davis, Josh Hamilton, Anthony Rizzo, your soul, etc. Just don’t think about it. Forget about it. Just do the deed, close your eyes and click add/drop. You’re trying to win this thing and Alejandro can help.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve got serious questions surrounding the top pitching options today. Strasburg could quite possibly be the most overrated pitcher in the National League if not all of baseball. He gets owned by the Braves. James Shields faces the surging Detroit offense who he has a history of having trouble with. Samardzija has a history of really wearing down in September. If I have to go with one of the top salaried guys in DraftKings today, I’m taking Hisashi Iwakuma. His K rate versus the Astros is around 25% and they love to strike out. He still has some matchup issues with them so I’m going to fade all of the top salaried pitchers on DraftKings today.

Taking risks is the name of the game in DFS and I’m rolling the dice with the surging Rockies youngster Tyler Matzek. With a thrifty price tag of only $7,300 and facing a Mets squad who just lost its leading threat against lefties in David Wright for the year, Matzek should be poised to deliver plenty of value for today’s DraftKings contests. Matzek has historically struggled with his control in the minor leagues, but seems to have figured things out the “Rockies way”. They preach pitching to contact and he’s relinquished his obsession with getting punch outs in lieu of letting guys on base. Since joining the senior circuit he’s lowered his WHIP by nearly .2 and his ERA has been cascading downward of late. He’s made 4 consecutive quality starts with a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings heading into his matchups against the Mets. Metco suppresses hitting as we all know and the Mets hold the 3rd worst wOBA versus southpaws and the 2nd worst K rate in all of baseball.

I got plenty more great plays today below, but nothing really compares to the DFSBot for daily fantasy baseball. Make sure you check today’s rankings for some couponless savings.

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With Matzek at the eye of the Schlurricane today, here’s the rest of the destructive debris to wreak havoc on your opponents.

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We’re starting to run out of ways to superlative Clayton Kershaw.  I think today’s DraftKings salary may be the best way.  The asking price is $14,900.  For some reason, I felt that the period was more emphatic than an exclamatory dot-line vertical stack there.  Perhaps the punctuation is in line with the excitement level of an 8 IP, 9 K W from the Kersh.  Yawnstipating, no.  Expected, yes.  $14,900 huh?  So like, three top tier bats?  That’s the equivalent of Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and Jose Bautista as your outfield.  Tough call Razzballers… I can’t make it for you.  That’s your gamble.  I’ll offer up my recommendations with and without C-K-sub-2-ERA.

There are so many ways to go today.  The HitterTron is bonkers over bats.  I love the entire top 20 today.  The Stream-O-Nator is calling a big shot on Mike Minor today as well as breaking down values.  But there’s really nothing better for daily fantasy baseball than 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.

At this point, if you’re new to Draftkings, you should probably hop over for the 20 team NFL Razzball play that was gonna go live tomorrow with Sky but shhhhh, don’t tell him I snuck in and stole his linkage.  The result will be riches or fun.  The choice of the two is yours to make.  Just remember to sign up through us before you partake. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?