The year was 2005 and my buddy kept talking about his fantasy baseball team. I had no idea what he was saying most the time, because I had never played the game before. Actually I had barely watched any baseball at all. I was a jaded strike fan who was as casual as they come with my knowledge of the game. I knew a little about the local teams and that was about it. Any the hoo, he kept going on and on about this Ryan Howard kid until that name was stuck in my head. Fast forward to March of 2006, he talked me into playing with him and “his” friends for fun… and money. I get to the 10th round of the draft and I need a 1B, so I remember the kid that got drilled into my head the year before and I take Ryan Howard with the pick. That year he put up a 104/58/149/0/.313 line and I won that league. Actually I won for lots of reason, I rosterbated before I knew what that was and I streamed like a mofo. I also never gave him a dime, he took my entry out of my winnings, kept some of it for the next season and I played with them for free for the next five seasons. I hearted Howard like Grey hearts Giancarlo. He was my savior that year. I think I drafted Gagne in the 5th and Fatolo in the 4th… I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned the game by doing and picked it up pretty fast, and now you get to see me at least twice a week. If this angers you, then blame occasional commenter the Birdman for me being here. It’s all his fault.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a lot of hate towards qualifiers out there. I get it, you feel like the odds are long when you have to spike two rosters to make it count. I also get the sentiment that people feel like they get raked twice when they play qualifiers. If you can win a qualifier however, and you do spike that second lineup, that my friends is bankroll changing. I’m not saying to stop playing you regular tournaments or anything, I’m just trying to make sure you aren’t ignoring what could be a great opportunity to drastically increase your fun money. I’ll lay it out for you using one of DraftKings upcoming featured contests, the Slugfest. This contest is a $33 buy-in, $300K total prize pool event with 10,300 total entrants. Buying straight into that bad boy might be a little out of your price range, and that’s fine. Perhaps the Moonshot tournament is more your style, at $3 buy-in and 30,600 entrants. You may want to consider passing on the Moonshot one or two nights and maybe playing a $3 Slugfest qualifier instead. These qualifiers are 758 entrants with the top 60 earning a spot in the Slugfest. Roughly 8% of entrants will win here. Low odds you say, and you’re right. If we compare these odds to the Moonshot odds however, you’ll see it’s not that bad. In order to win enough in the Moonshot to pay for your buy-in to the Slugfest you’d have to finish 130th or better (winning $40). Your odds there my good friend are a mere 0.4%. Them’s bad odds right thur. If you have a lineup that can get you in the top 8% on the night of the qualifier and then just min cash in the Slugfest (a top 20.1% lineup will get you there), you’d walk away with a cool $65. If you’d like to turn your $3 Moonshot into that kind of cash, you’d have to place in the top 60, in other words a top 0.2% lineup. The other great thing about these qualifiers is, since they have such a bad rap, there is often overlay. Overlay is your friend. Look for it, embrace it, play it often to great success. Look, I’m not saying playing these things is going to allow you to quit your job or anything, I just want you to be aware of them. Don’t let a good thing slip by just because you heard it was bad, try it for yourself and see what you think. Now, let’s cover some plays that might help you win yourself a ticket tonight.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

But wait, there’s more! Sticking with the program here, last Tuesday’s Razzball Friend’s and Family DraftKings contest was none other than your humble author. I feel a little awkward shouting myself out, but hey, at least you know the guy handing out advice isn’t finishing 23rd out of 25 every night, so there’s that. Now, back to regular scheduled programming.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Evan Gattis went 2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers, while hitting four homers in the last three days. After the game, Gattis likened this streak to the five red lights in a row where the first car to stop had broken windshield wipers and Gattis had a squeegee. Adding, “Right now, I’m swinging the squeegee as good as ever. There was one guy, Non-Tall Paul, who claimed to get a six-red-light streak back in ’98. Non-Tall Paul reminds me of Altuve, actually. Size-wise. Not smell-wise. He smelled of grapes. Very, very rancid grapes.” Okay, Gattis! This weekend Gattis reminds us how ridiculous it was that people wanted to drop him in the first week-plus when he was striking out like Non-Tall Paul at a plus-sized model runway show. I think someone even asked me in the first two weeks if I had revised projections for Gattis. Guys and five girl readers (we have a new one! Hey, lady!), the season isn’t even a month old yet. You need to trust your players. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll be honest, picking a creeper early in the year is not an easy task. We have small sample sizes to work with, players under performing and pitchers very hard to predict. I ask myself every week as I prepare these: what angle can I find to make a call? What is a constant that doesn’t change? Where are my pants? Well, the third question is nearly impossible to answer because it’s like trying to figure out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. The other two are things we always look for, regardless of what point of the season we are at, are park factors, lefty/righty match-ups, Schmotatoness, and batter vs. pitcher history. For example, this week, Brad Miller plays six games and for five of them, he faces right-handers. On the year, he bats .348 against RHP (good thing), but among the five he faces this week, he bats .191 against (not so good), and Hitter-Tron (-$2.5) says he won’t be any good. I’ll pass too. That’s a little snapshot into my process.  This week, I’m going for Schomtatoness and park factors to make my call. Would you like to hear more? Oh c’mon, I’ll give you some Arby’s coupons? Dairy Queen? Fine, then skip to the top 100 and we can fight about that in the comments instead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Call the Sons of Sam Horn! Get Matt Damon on the line! Someone tweet @RemDawg! Unfreeze Ted the Head! Avengers Assemble! The Red Sox are set to promote their next top super-prospect, Blake Swihart, today to serve as the primary catcher while Ryan Hanigan is on the shelf. If the legends spoke of in ancient Fenway lore are true, he could be the one who will bring balance back to a Red Sox pitching staff that has looked somewhat questionable in the early going. A late first round pick in 2011, Swihart gathered a lot of buzz in spring training this year after slashing .333/.375/.533 with a HR and 8 RBI. In 18 games with AAA Pawtucket this year he’s hit .338/.392/.382 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. With just 22 home runs in five minor league seasons I wouldn’t expect much power from Swihart, but as a spray hitter the bat certainly seems to be major league ready. Initially, Boston felt Swihart’s defense needed a bit more seasoning in the minors, but there is unquestionably some offensive upside, especially in Boston’s heavy hitting, run scoring line up. Here’s what Razzball’s prospector Mike said last week about Swihart, who was ranked #11 in his Prospect Power Rankings, “With the injuries and such at the catching position right now, folks will be chomping at the bit to add Swihart to their teams when he arrives.” He’s so right, you guyz, if your fantasy catcher situation is anything like mine, you’re cycling out a cast of characters the likes of Nick Hundley, Tucker Barnhart, Crash Davis and Caleb Joseph, some of whom do more harm than good. I’d take a chance on Blake Swihart if you need a catcher, he’s owned in less than 5% of ESPN leagues but as soon as Brandi-Lynn from Southie finds out everyone will know so act quickly. There is potential runs and average here, and like every Sawx prospect, there is all that sweet, sweet upside, so here’s hoping Blake can rake.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It happens all the time. You love Player A, but he’s on a slate you’re not playing, but you love him in a tasty matchup the next day. Not many people know about him except for sharp daily players and you’re all set to roster him and count some cash. Then, disaster strikes. In that early slate, in a not-so-good matchup, the most non-profitable thing happens: He plays well. Not just well, though, but look-at-me well.

The next day you roster him anyway, hoping everyone won’t be on him but there it goes, his ownership well into double digits. Player exposed, and value play ruined. Cash harder to come by.

I’ll walk through an example about this phenomenon later in the article, when I highlight David Peralta, who people know but had slid back under the radar and hadn’t been rostered a heck of a lot by my count lately in GPPs. That situation is no Dan Uggla situation, who came from the dead Tuesday in a DFS REVENGE game against the Braves, but Peralta should have been a solid recommendation that now looks like recency bias and chasing. Se la.

Tell me about when this happened to you in the comments area and good luck on a very top heavy pitching day.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Never once did I think I would be writing about a creeper older than I am, and yet here I am, talking about Torii Hunter. Being the ageless wonder (or is it the wonder of agelessness, I’m not really sure), he still suits up every day and goes out and plays. I was racking my brain for some kind of analogy for the creeper and I found my inspiration from the Paleolithic 80’s flick Quest for Fire, for like this movie, we are just a bunch of uncivilized men searching for a player to catch fire. So why not a Hunter? Haha…get it? Okay, I’ll stop with the bad jokes. Hey, at least I didn’t do Caveman with Ringo Starr. Come to think of it, Hunter could be considered the Twins Ringo. Doesn’t really matter if he’s there or not. Oh well, the moment has passed and now we move on to why we are here…

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Only 15 games into the 2015 season, I asked myself: “Is it too early to compile positional rankings?” Considering most readers love rankings, the answer was a resounding “NO”. However, what was more troubling was the fact that I consistently find myself talking to myself. Allow myself to introduce myself. That was awkward. You should only hear half the sh*t that goes on inside my head, but we’ll leave that exploration into my thoughts for another time…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jake Lamb hit the DL with a stress reaction in his foot. Now the Diamondbacks’ defense will go from Lamb to the slaughter with Yasmany Tomas taking over. Yasmany makes Sandoval look like a gazelle. Yasmany has the agility of an extra-wide trailer. Yasmany looks like the genie in Aladdin, which means the D-Backs’s 3rd base shituation was Lamb-or-Genie, which is also a northern Italian farmer’s lamb that he hung a car medallion around its neck and rides around to swap meets. I’d look at Yasmany in all leagues (yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 1 run with only one error!), because he does have power to spare — think 27-homer power — and he could surprise people with some regular playing time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Addison Russell was playing some some 2nd base in Triple-A yesterday, minding his own business, when the Cubs management heard something they didn’t like, five full minutes of non-Cubs prospect talk on sports radio. Four minutes is not cool, but five? Nuh-uh, they said, as they wagged their finger. So, the Cubs called him up, and plan to send down Arismendy Alcantara. This offseason I said, “So, the first thing we know about Russell is Billy Beane traded him away. This is obviously a strike against him. The last prospect Beane gave up on was Brett Wallace, and that was partly because Wallace looks like his face is constantly pressed against a window and that’s disconcerting. Right now, it appears Beane got the worst side of this Russell trade. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to get back to the gym to pump iron and waited to negotiate a better deal. It’s still early though, and prospects can flame out. Russell, however, doesn’t look headed in that direction. Russell looks like he could be better than Starlin Castro as early as next year. Second thing we know about Russell is he’s got power and speed. Yummers! Third thing we know about Russell is there is no third thing. Russell’s shown solid power in the minors (17 HRs in High-A in 2013 and 12 HRs in only 50 games in Double-A last year after the trade to the Cubs). His speed is a tad below that, which concerns me a bit because speed is the one thing we can always count on translating. He did steal 21 bags in High-A, but, well, that’s High-A. They call it that because everyone’s stoned. Last year in Double-A, he only had five steals all year, and two after the trade. It’s not great, and I think we’re seeing closer to his actual speed level in Double-A. Maybe he’ll reach 15-20 steals at some point, but he’s never going to be a 40-steal guy. He did hit .294 at Double-A after the trade, and I don’t see him hitting much below .280 without some bad luck.” And that’s me quoting me! While drinking Sanka with Lou Avery, I’ve decided Russell should be owned everywhere. Yes, even that league. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 61/12/44/.287/6 with upside from there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?