After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted. If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season. Hey, Prince Fielder, no hard feelings from me. We are totally fine. Please enjoy these cyanide pills I made special for you. If you went right, you might’ve won your league. Last year, I said the end-of-the-season rankings of the 1st basemen was the sorriest group I’d ever seen. That remains true. Last year was sorrier. This group isn’t exactly the meow’s cat, but you didn’t lose your league due to these guys. You lost your league due to guys that didn’t make this list like Chris Davis, Mauer, Hosmer, Cuddyer, Votto, Trumbo, Allen Craig and the afatmentioned, Fielder. To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Au Shucks, Au No, Au Crap, Au Whatever You Want To Say, it’s Au Not So Good. Au contraire mon frere, it’s auful. On Friday night, in a meaningless at-bat in a meaningless game in a meaningless season by the lowly Diamondbacks team, lowly’s meaning: less, Paul Goldschmidt entered the game as a pinch hitter and was plunked* (*trademark Eric Plunk), and now has a broken hand. Au, c’mon, can’t we have anything nice? Au, guys and four girls, it’s au so bad. Am I au right? Au, sadly no, I’m not au right; shizz has gone pear shape and au wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have paid retail for this word ‘au;’ now I feel compelled to use it so auften. Aufortunately, Goldschmidt is droppable in redraft leagues. Here’s hoping he’s fine for next year. Au please. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cardinals traded for one of the most unreliable starters this year, Justin Masterson and his 5.51 ERA. Ouch. The Cardinals fell asleep and the Indians drew a shaft and balls on their forehead. People are snickering at you, Cardinals, because you have a shaft and balls on your head. Unless it’s a non-Leaning Tower of Pisa that is partially obscuring a tractor trailer so all we’re seeing is its giant wheels. Then, it’s a lovely scenic landscape, but you still got had. This saves the Brewers a lot of trouble because I heard they were going to trade for Masterson and then ‘accidentally’ leave him behind on their next road trip to St. Louis. No reason to obfuscate, my dear Milwaukee friends. Masterson gets a slight uptick in value just going to the NL, but he needs to prove he’s healthy and able to throw a Quality Start before I’d start him anywhere. So, he’s gone from a Waiver Wire guy, to an On My Bench Until He Shows Something guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I mentioned in my first/intro OPS post, we’re looking at OPS differential by using expected (x)Homerun and expected (x)BABIP differentials. If you like Captain Planet or laser beams, or want to understand my general approach, then I recommend a gander. If you provide your email below, I can furnish the full list that you can sort. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to copy and paste it all pretty for you.

Let’s start with my xHR formula (PA*Ct%*OFFB%*HR/OFFB%). Here are the top 10 guys likely to drop off from a HR perspective: Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, Justin Morneau, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Brett Lawrie, Hunter Pence and Salvador Perez.

Here are the top 35 guys likely to drop off from a BABIP perspective that you actually might own (meaning I’m excluding the Martin Maldonados of the world): Josh Rutledge, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Pollock, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Vogt, J.D. Martinez, J.J. Hardy, Eugenio Suarez, Hunter Pence and Matt Adams.

Looking at both xHR and xBABIP differentials, here are guys you might own that I would consider selling in OPS leagues based on their expected vs. actual OPS (the differential is in parenthesis just like this statement. See what I did here?):

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Lights cigarette, takes a deep inhale, ahhhh that was satisfying. Looks over at DraftKings app and says “It’s good to have you back”. That’s how I felt last night with the return of baseball. After what seemed to be the four longest days of my life, I was more than happy to get back to a night of watching baseball and playing in Razzball’s Daily Leagues. In my best night in awhile, I cashed in all but one contest I entered. Winning one of our two nightly leagues, placing in a GPP, and winning a couple of head to heads. It was a good start to the second half! Well we’re back again today with another contest for the 11 games this evening. It’s an unusual Saturday in that the majority of games are tonight as opposed to afternoon contests.

Other than myself, congrats to last night’s other winners PC Bomberos, and Rasjuba who were the 2nd and 3rd place winners from contest one. As well as the winner of our 2nd contest and the owner of the highest total (139.15) between the two leagues; our very own Schlurricane. He was followed by Bearcats594 and jackieinertia respectively. If you’re not playing DraftKings yet, do yourself a favor and get signed up. Just for joining with us today you’ll get a free entry into a contest. It’s a sweet deal! Plus we have tons of tools to help you get setup and on the right track with your lineups. Check out the DFSBOT, the Stream-o-Nator, the Hitter-tron, and the Ombotsman.

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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OH-WA-AH-AH-AH! Woah, sorry about that. A little rough for a Saturday morning for you? Well what can I say but toughen up, kiddos. There’s only a little over 60 games left on the season for you to tell your significant others that you’re scouring the waiver wire for decent players at 12:30 AM on a Tuesday morning with that ‘Brown Chicken Brown Cow’ sound in the background playing on your computer and no, you’re not listening to Trace Adkins. You don’t like country and you don’t even know who that is. But you do know who Jason Kipnis is…was that a segue? I’m not even sure. If it was, it was a little weak at best but it’s done and now we’re here so lets get down to the goods of it all. Kip – I can call him that since I have a friend from OH with whom I’m bros with; that’s how these things work – hit 2 bombs from the lead off spot for the Tribe on Friday, finishing the night 2/5 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs. And here’s me telling you to sell on dat chit. He’s had a little hotty toddy, we likes to party July, hitting near .300 with 2 said HRs and 5 stolen bases but let us not forget what he has done for his career in the second half. He loses about 20 points of average, about .040% on Slugging and even finds a way to steal less down the stretch. Obviously, past doesn’t always dictate the future. I mean, look at people who get married a second a third time. The percentages staying together get better right? *Looks at percentages*…oh. History is just not on the side of Kipnis being a second half savior for you and I’d make a move if I can still get a price return on him close to what you had to draft him for. In other news from the All-Star break return to our 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…oooh, on the TLC tip! Just a friendly reminder that myself and some other cool cats (I think Mike might be a Toyger) do this thing called DraftKings for you all every day of the week. That last link takes you away to Daily Fantasy land care of our VIP card but this link shows you all the content we’ve been providing to help you get the game down while you’re with us. BTW, didn’t bring up Mike just cuz. I’m swinging for Dan Pants today because apparently he’s pantsless or something. I told him just to change his name to Dan Assless Chaps for the day but he declined. That said, I’m gonna be away from the good ‘ole ‘puter for the day but Mike will be fielding all your burning questions. No, not those questions. If it burns down there, go see a doctor. Mike is just a cool cat and cats aren’t doctors. Duh. But enough chicanery, let’s really get back to this show…

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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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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.

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So, we had our first July 31st trading deadline deal, and it paid off for all the A’s fans who paid Oaktown’s own, Bubb Rubb, to break into Billy Beane’s office and turn his iCal forward a month. “Any ideas what you want to do for the 4th of July, Billy?” “I celebrated last month with some friends.” Screen spirals out and slam cuts to Bubb Rubb, maniacally (bubb)rubbing his hands together. When the A’s are playing like it’s playoff baseball in September, don’t say your mustachioed over-the-internet friend didn’t warn you. So, the trade that went down was Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for David Addison Leave Me Alone Maddie Russell, who I will get to after this lede. Samardzija and Hammel both gain value going to the A’s, which isn’t often the case with an NL pitcher going to The Land of Milk and Honey-Flavored DHs. Wrigley isn’t a great place to pitch — one day it’s overcast with winds blowing straight out, another day winds are just swirling overhead like a toilet bowl genie. As we’ve seen in the past, pitchers can do just about anything in a short period of time. Could Hammel and Samardzija completely poop the sheets? Fo’sho. Likely? Prolly not. O.co is like Petco and Metco, a big cavernous wasteland for hitters and they have more foul territory than Roseanne Barr’s privates. Samardzija brings strikeout stuff to hitters that aren’t as familiar with him and could be the 2nd half’s Kazmir. Yesterday, in his first A’s start, he had a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks. Dividends paying out quick there. Hammel keeps the ball down and O.co will love him. This trade only really hurts Tommy Milone, who was shipped to the minors. The A’s just made themselves a serious contender and having a friend in Bubb Rubb pays off once again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

Please, blog, may I have some more?