Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t really remember the first time I played ‘lambs’. It’s hard to remember much after being chloroformed, to be honest, but let’s just say I’m glad the game didn’t go on for too long. It was really creepy hearing Grey pet Ted and call him ‘Precious’ while asking ‘Would you F@#$ me? I’d F@#$ me’. Mainly because you’re supposed to tuck and do that into a mirror while dancing and tucking your junk. He screwed the game up so badly, we had to start over. The human body can’t take this much chloro! But all this to say, I’m ready and willing to play again, only I want the bucket to be filled with Kyle Lohse this time. What, you wanted a more seamless segue? Sorry, we can’t all be Christian Bale taking an axe to Jared Leto whilst waxing poetic about Huey Lewis & The News, ok? Let’s just talk baseball since that’s what you’re here for. Heading into the game against Peralta last night, the Cubs were striking out 27.5% of the time over the last 7 games while rocking a .274 wOBA. These numbers go in the ‘no bueno’ section of your baseball stats. So unless the wind is blowing monstrously out, I’ll take Kyle for the miniscule $8K price tag with the hopes of him going at least 7 while K’ing 6 and coasting into a 20+ DraftKings point night.

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!

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I read a press release that Universal had greenlit the new buddy cop movie, Ham and Moobs, but I thought it was the usual PR stunt. When I heard they cast Kirsten Dunst as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who would be helping take Josh Willingham from loner without a job in Minnesota to new heights in Kansas City, where she would be sneaking him onto a plane to go — surprise! — parachuting and slipping him into a cage of alligators to get over his fear of being eaten alive, I was hooked! That Dunst girl will annoy the pants off you! So, The Other White Meat moves to KC, and I hear the Royals made the trade simply by pressing this button. This doesn’t hurt Wilingham’s value, but it doesn’t necessarily help it either. He’ll be the majority shareholder of the Royals DH slot and could be good for a little pop here and there, but not worth owning in most mixed leagues unless he’s hot. This does open the way for Kennys Vargas to remain the Twins DH and I’m a big fan of his. Both of his. All the Kennys you got. Every one of them. Okay then. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before I get into today’s post, I have some news. The Guru vanished. No idea where he went. One moment he was on the Razzball tour, next moment he was talking to a group of bears dressed as swimsuit models luring him into their car. You also catch more Gurus with honey, apparently. I await the A. A. Milne book with Guru in the Pooh gang. Any the hoo! The Football RCL signups are still underway, but if you joined one of Guru’s leagues, you need to sign up for a new football league. Repeat, there will be no Guru leagues; he got in a Hyundai filled with masquerading bears. Anyway II, the roundup:

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I don’t know about you, and let me preface this by saying most if not all of my league mates at least know I contribute fantasy baseball (OPS) content, but I keep getting the old “But, he’s a Catcher/Shortstop so he’s worth more” and from a position scarcity perspective, that’s obviously true. However, I am A) going for the win-now so all I want is to take the lead in certain (all) categories and B) position scarcity-schmarcity: give me the best available.

So it’s time for your 5×5 (HR,SB,R,RBI,OPS) rankings for both position scarcity and position schmarcity.

FYI, I use the FVAR (fantasy value above replacement) approach to fantasy valuation vs. SGP (standard gains points) approach since I don’t have all of your leagues’ current and historical information. Feel free to look this up or ask below.

For reference, here are the positional replacement 5×5 values and associated players (the 5 z-scores for each category are summed up; the sum is adjusted in each position by this positional replacement value i.e. each Catcher gets .73 added to their z-sum while each First Baseman only gets .01 added to their z-sum i.e. all catchers values are inflated more because of the lower replacement-value):

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As I discussed recently with a good friend, I just missed my musical times growing up. I started getting into the rock of the early 90’s. Y’all can call it grunge, I’m cool with that. Don’t really care what you want to label it as but I enjoyed my Alice ‘n’ Chains and Soundgarden in my Middle School years. And just as high school began, the good music started to die. I got stuck with the fallout of all the Mouseketeers becoming music stars and invading my audio living space. Gone was ‘Burden In My Hand’ and in was ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. It was a jolt, to say the least. I finished out my High School years going backwards musically, exploring all the bands that influenced the bands I loved growing up so I could avoid the complete and under dreck that was on the radio every day. Of course, that does not make one immune to it. Hell, even people who admit to hating Journey can probably sing a few bars. When Thong Song hit my ears, I thought it was a joke. I mean, it quotes Ricky Martin’s ‘La Vida Loca’. Who does that if they’re trying to be taken seriously? Sisqo I guess. And no, Sisqo, I won’t look up how to make the weird mark above the ‘o’. You’re just not worth it. But more to the point, ‘If Loving Kolten Is Wong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right’ has been used so I decided to bring upon you the pain of my late teen years to make a title. Sorry about that (ok not really), but I thought you’d like the song (ok, not really again). Of course, I bring to you this conversation about Kolten Wong because he hit 2 homers Thursday night to go along with a steal and now has 9 HRs and 17 steals on the year over 251 AB. Stretch that out to 500 AB and you have an 18 HR, 34 steal season at 2B. To put that in perspective, Daniel Murphy is on pace for 13 HRs and 17 steals in 656 at bats this year and is the 7th best 2B on the year, according to Yahoo. Like I told Nick on the podcast over the All-Star Break, I think Wong turns some teams around down the stretch run. Given that it’s his rookie year, I’m willing to look past the up and down that his been this year with Kolten and realize his .247 average is masking something that could be great in 2015 and beyond. That Wong, wa-Wong, Wong, Wong! In other news for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

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Signs you should’ve had someone else name your group: mispelling a common word is NOT a band name. Seriously, try it. Tom Petty Andd The Heartbreakers…yeah, did ya need the extra ‘d’? Rhetorical. No you didn’t. Hrm, maybe it’s just a sign you’re a bad group and should give up music entirely? Well, history has made it so. In many ways, streamers are just like one hit wonders, even when you look back and wonder how they even had a hit at all. By the end of the year, the Reds should get guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips back, making Cincy’s lineup a bit more imposing down the stretch. But we’re not there now, we’re here where guys like Ramon Santiago is batting second in the lineup and they’re starting two catchers. You shouldn’t even do that in a fantasy league that doesn’t require two Cs. Every fantasy player knows this but the Reds literally have no choice right now. All this to say, maybe some day you’ll look back with nostalgia on that one time you started Tom Koehler against the Reds and came out with some major DraftKings change for doing so. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Reds owned the worst team wOBA of the major leagues over the last 14 days while striking out 25.7% of the time. Though Koehler’s numbers on the season aren’t that inspiring, he does average 6 more DK points at home then he does on the road. Considering he’s only $6,400, he’ll leave you all the room you need to roster a big arm or big bats. And when he’s done, I’ll probably never start him again and forget how awesome he was for that one day. But for the time being, Koehler, I Wanna Sex You Up.

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!

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Greetings! Tis I, the one and only Tehol Beddict, AKA Beddict Shmurda, here to put you on game and put lames to shame, but first let me show you how to do my dance. It’s been a rough week for your old pal, Tehol, as I’ve been house hunting, searching Seattle in it’s entirety for the perfect Beddict Mansion. I located what I believed to be my dream house, only to have my offer rejected for another in the wee hours of the night, sending me into the type of violent rage that would even make Mel Gibson cringe. The fury soon morphed into sorrow, as I curled up a$$ naked on the floor, cradling my beloved chicken, Beatrice, bawling my eyes out while screaming insults at the Elder Gods for all to witness. I tell you this, not so you’ll empathize with me, but so you’ll know that if some of my predictions end up being a tad off, it’s because the Elders are clearly continuing their massive and almost unbearable onslaught of punishment against me. This may sound as if I’m already making excuses, but if you knew the Elder Gods at the depths at which I do, you’d know never to curse them, let alone curse them within earshot of other mortals.

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So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

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My name is Tehol Beddict, I’m a sexaholic (Hi Tehol)
I have a disease and they don’t know what to call it
Better empty out your leaguesafe funds ’cause I’m coming up quick to strip your cash
Joined your fantasy league just to come and whip your ass

Greetings! Welcome to another, hopefully exciting edition of Disgrace/Delight. I’m your host, Tehol B., and I’ll be trying my mightiest to fulfill your fantasies (baseball that is) in mentioning the players I feel have either disgraced themselves, their families, and their organizations or those of whom deserve feet and rings kissed, as well as animal sacrifices done so in their name. I don’t have time to dilly dally, for I have to shoot a commercial Thursday morning and Brother Beddict needs his beauty sleep. For optimum enjoyment (yours and mine), I should probably begin these memorable pieces of literature earlier then the day before they need to be submitted. That way, Beddict can truly be 100 percent balls deep, and that’s really what we all want, right?!  I didn’t choose this lifestyle, the lifestyle chose me. Let this quest beginith.

Please, blog, may I have some more?