Way back in January, when the very first signs of ADP data sprouted out of the ground, I went down the rabbit hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of early signs of value. ADP at that point was more convoluted than forming an expectation for how much Pablo Sandoval would weigh coming into Spring Training, but since it was the only sign we had as to the ‘market’ rate for various players, I utilized it as much as I could.

James Paxton was the poster-boy of my early preseason eyebrow raise. He was going past the 200th overall pick with a maximum just outside of the 11th round. Paxton sits right now with an ADP around 192 overall according to NFBC data, with a max that has ticked up to 109 overall. Grey has Paxton as his 41st ranked starting pitcher and his 162nd overall player. Finally in the process of publishing my personal rankings, Paxton is my 27th overall starting pitcher and my 115th overall player, with still some finagling to bring that up even more if I feel so moved.

What Paxton accomplished last season was nothing short of fascinating. We see mechanical changes in pitchers a lot, but rarely do we see changes that cause such palpable success and subsequent expectations that aren’t afraid to project out that success. Fangraphs did a really nice dive into exactly what Paxton changed and why success followed. Simply put, Paxton reverted to his natural arm slot on the mound, opting to venture away from the ‘over-the-top’ motion he used that we’ve seen cause problems in the past – see Wacha, Michael. This slot helped him hone his command on the inner third of the plate to righties, opening up the outside of the plate to his insanely effective cutter/slider. Eno Sarris breaks this down in the piece linked above.

When I uncovered this story last season, I was wildly intrigued for one reason. A natural arm slot, logically to me, would mean less risk for injury. The DL is something Paxton hasn’t been able to avoid for most of his career, but if there was ever a storyline to give hope for health, I can’t think of a better one than him being more comfortable on the mound…

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The 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link.  Why are you lifting your computer?  Not literally under that link!  Okay, you’re thick like a CVS receipt folded in half twelve times.  In years past, the top 40 starters is a mix of guys I like and don’t like.  Like a high cholesterol cow, it’s about half and half.  This year, I really had to struggle to find guys that I didn’t want to draft in the top 40 starters.  In the end, there were five starters in this top 40 starter post I was less okay, and more amscray.  Each fantasy team needs about six starters total, so tell me again why you need to draft starters early?  There’s a ton of them, like, this is simple math.  So, simple, there’s no actual number and just ‘a ton.’  As with past rankings, my tiers and projections are included for the low, low price of $19.99!  Kidding, they’re free.  The oxygen you need to live while reading them is gonna cost you though.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Earlier this week, I posted the first six rounds of the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft. You’re never going to believe this, but I’m now going to post rounds 7-12. At the end of it all, there will be four posts and 23 total rounds. It’s a lot of work, but you guys are worth it.

Here is a quick recap of the league rules for this mock:

This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1).

As I did the last time, I’ll post the rounds below with some of my thoughts beneath the picks. I’ll keep the thoughts brief since we have a bunch of rounds to get through. That pissed off at least one commenter last time who apparently wanted more Mike Maher analysis and less Mike Maher patting himself on the back. Let’s see if I can do better this time around…

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Image result for new tv season

Ren & Stimpy. Beavis & Butt-head. Laverne & Shirley. Will & Grace. Tom & Jerry. Sanford & Son. Rizzoli & Isles. Franklin & Bash. Hollywood has always had a fascination with highlighting the relationship between two. It makes sense. The world is dualistic in nature. Yin and Yang. Good versus Evil. White and Black. Whatever the reason, that is what the people enjoy and, whatever the people enjoy,  is where the money flows to. The world is such a simple place. With the inaugural baseball Bear or Bull article coinciding with the beginning of the new television season, I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to the famous pairings of TV past and bring you pairs on a weekly basis. I am a person of the people after all. Honestly, Jay, my editor and top-10 fantasy football ranker, asked me to talk about two similar players every week. That wouldn’t make for an interesting open though. So with that said, until the regular season starts, you shall be blessed with a double shot of Bear or Bull every week!!! Who doesn’t like a 2-for-1? Well, I usually do except when that one owner offers up Kenta Maeda and Jacoby Ellsbury for Mike Trout every week. EF that guy!

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Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

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All the final 2016 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2017 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Welcome back for another star-studded event!  Assuming you hack into your favorite online dictionary and replace the definition of ‘star’ with “guy who lives in his mom’s basement and screams when someone finishes his Doritos,” and next to the definition of ‘stud’ you put a picture of yourself.  The Razzballies are the only award show where it’s totally fine to show up in sweatpants, and for your fingers to be orange from Cheetos.  We don’t judge.  We will occasionally mock.  Mock-judge, tomato-tomahto.  Get over it!  I hope you enjoyed the clip show where I inserted myself into various baseball clips from this year.  How about the clip where I was Joe Maddon intentionally walking Bryce Harper?  Hee-lar-e-US!  So, before I’m talking to no one but a room full of seat-fillers, here’s the year-end awards for the best and worst of fantasy baseball:

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On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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At this point, points leagues should be over or wrapping up today (Sunday). I hate when fantasy leagues carry on into the last weeks of the MLB season and teams are handicapped when their players, usually pitchers, are shut down. In my main points league the World Series ended with week 22. No championship should be decided because one team lost its ace because he had reached his innings limit. Although there are some that will contend that is all part of the package when you roster said player. After all the Nationals did shut down Strasburg in 2012. Regardless, it is now week 25, sh!t or get off the pot!

Now that the points leagues season is over, at least as far as I am concerned, I have decided to announce my 2016 Points League Awards. Television has the Emmys. Broadway has the Tonys. Movies have the Oscars. Music has the Grammys. And points leagues have the Malamoneys.

Just a quick explanation. The “Best” category is awarded to the best overall player at a position. The “MVP” award considers other factors such as average draft position and position eligibility into its equation.

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I’m OCD about my iTunes.  I listen to a new album a few times, pick out some songs that I like, five star them, and then play them endlessly until I’m sick of them.  My top 20 for most played is embarrassing.   I like Lil Wayne more than anyone should ever admit.  Sometimes I have a song on repeat, and I’ll get a phone call (rare; only old people use the phone for calling people), the doorbell will ring (less rare; Cougs orders a ton of shizz on Amazon) or I’m just called away from my desk for some reason.  Then I’ll forget I have a song on repeat and I’ll go to lunch, dinner or…No, those are the only reasons I leave my fantasy cave.  When I come back and see a song’s play count has been artificially boosted with me not listening, I will edit info in iTunes and reset the play count to where it was before the accidental repeat.  It’s important to have a gage to tell how much you like a song.  Do you like it enough to play it 200 times like, say, Aloe Blacc’s Red Velvet Seat or do you like it enough to listen to it 120 times like, say, Tom Petty Yer So Bad (actual play counts)?  Why do I bring this up now?  Because Rick Porcello should roll his win count back to 15.  21 wins?!  C’mon!  That is misrepresenting him in every conceivable way.  Yesterday, Rick Porcello went 9 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.08, to move his record to 21-4 <–LIES!  He’s pretending to be Eazy E vs. Johnny Cash (great song; play count 278) when he’s really Randy Newman’s Short People (good song, but you ain’t listening to that nonsense more than once every few months; play count 59).  His ERA isn’t even accurate.  It’s saying, “I’m Bon Iver’s Skinny Love (play count 175),” when it’s really You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb by Spoon (play count 96).  The only thing that is sort of legit is his 0.98 WHIP, but that’s more Men At Work’s Overkill (play count 186) legit.  Have a season, Rick Porcello, but you are so Rihanna’s Diamonds (play count 86) and not Martians vs. Goblins (play count 365).  Also, if you want more, we talk about Rick Porcello on today’s podcast.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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