Some things are easy to pinpoint when it comes to DFS. Overall, chalk plays tend to annoy me. More often than not, they don’t pan out the way they should. With that said, Nelson Cruz is chalk on Tuesday and he’s going to be in all of my lineups. Cruz is a lefty killer and faces off against Jon Niese and the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season, Cruz has 19 homers, 10 of which have come against left-handed pitching. When you set your lineup, start with Cruz and build from there; you will not regret your decision….we interrupt this broadcast for a special announcement. *Makes the static-like noise knowing full well you can’t hear them*. Hey you. Yes you. What other you it would it be? You’re the one reading…anyhoo, if you’re just used to cruising by the italics, you might not want to today and moving forward. If you’ve reading these like a wallflower at the dance, now’s the time to sign up. For the rest of the year, you can get a free subscription to the DFSBot if you sign up through us through DraftKings. ‘But how do I do that’, you ask timidly, tears welling in your eyes all while clutching your Adventure Time lunch box. First off, you gotta be of age so either you’re kinda weird or you’re kinda not gonna be able to do this. Secondly, we’re ok with kinda weird; it’s our brand, after all. A, B, C’edly, you can click on the link in the italics below here to sign up which will give you access to one of the best projection tools in the entire industry. Anyways, the clicky-pops are just below here so don’t miss out on this great offer. And just so it’s clear as mud, here’s some legalese on how to make things go right from the Razzball Subscriptions page: Make a first-time deposit of at least $5 at DraftKings and open a free Cointent account (click here) with the same e-mail address to activate your subscription. This will provide access to the DFS Premium Package which is all the tools EXCEPT the lineup optimizers which will require a $50/season upgrade. This is the DFS Premium package. Please allow for up to 24 hours of activation of your account. This is the editor’s note signing off!

New to DraftKings? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 4th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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I’ve never had the privilege of posting Sunday, so forgive as I couldn’t resist the Mega Monster Truck lead in.  With truck names like Demon Seed, Ball Buster and Dutch Oven how can you not get fired up for Sunday!  Now that we’re fired up, let’s talk about the Monster Arms that are on the schedule for today.  Clayton Kershaw, $14,200 at Pittsburgh, Johnny Cueto, $13,600 vs Philadelphia, Jose Fernandez $13,100 vs Chicago, Chris Sale, $12,400 vs Toronto, and Justin Verlander, $10,700 vs Cleveland.  Aces are wild today, so who do we roll with in order to cash in?  Honestly you can’t go wrong with any of the top 3, but I’m leaning towards Cueto & JFer, as I think most people will roster Kershaw and I love the match-ups at home.  JFer has been straight nasty in his last 8 games, going 6-1 with a 1.16 ERA and 78 K’s in just 54 innings.  Yeah, he’s back folks and he’s facing a slumping Cubbies lineup that’s dropped 5 of their last 6 games. Now that all the Aces have been dealt, who can we roster so we can go all in?

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 27th to wet your DK whistle.  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.

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I’ve never been a big fan of the small slates with 3-4 games. DraftKings calls them “turbos”, I call them, “no-gos”. In a game with so much variance, I don’t need to mess around with rosters with 75% overlap. Therefore, we’ll be taking a look at the night slate on this Wednesday. The full day contests aren’t really much more enticing. I have a hard enough time setting aside the time to research for my lineups, get them built, check the weather, and monitor things up until 7:05. Adding in more random start times throughout the day just doesn’t do much for me. So, during this night slate we have some interesting pitching choices. Max Scherzer is the (very) good, then there’s some “meh” and finally, there’s a whole lot of ugly. We all know Scherzer’s upside. Even his last time out when he gave up 5 runs before Nats fans even got settled into their seats, he still settled down to go 7 IP with 6 Ks and turn a negative 12 point outing into 13+ points. He’s a horse and against the Phillies and their third worst team OPS, he’s the #1 cash game option of the night. That’s a no brainer. Maneuvering through the uglies is where things will get tricky tonight. Let’s do some digging and see if we can find a 10 hidden among the slew of ugly:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 6th 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?

This week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Oakland A’s third baseman Danny Valencia (63.8% owned; +36.4% over the past week), has undergone quite the transformation over the last calendar year. Prior to the 2015 season, he was just a part-time player who mashed left-handed pitching in the Ryan Raburn/Scott Van Slyke mold. From his MLB debut in 2010 through the end of the 2014 season, Valencia’s .870 OPS vs lefties far surpassed his .615 OPS against right-handed pitching. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, it’s been business as usual vs LHP (.907 OPS), but he’s improved considerably against RHP (.845 OPS). His ISO also jumped from .142 (pre-2015) to .225 (2015-present day) during that period. Hmm… a player displaying a huge power surge at 30 years old isn’t suspicious at all! Well, there may be a couple of reasonable explanations for Valencia morphing from Kelly Johnson into Ryan Braun at the plate virtually overnight. The first thing is the addition of a leg kick in his swing courtesy of former teammate and elite slugger Jose Bautista. The second thing is the opportunity to play every day. Valencia never received that opportunity until late last season in Toronto, and his performance during that time convinced the A’s to give him a shot as their starting third baseman. Through his first 14 games this season though, Valencia’s power disappeared, as he managed just a .353 slugging percentage with no homers and 2 RBI in 55 plate appearances. Maybe that power surge was just a fluke after all. After a DL stint at the end of April into the beginning of May, however, the power returned with a vengeance. Since returning on May 7th, Valencia has produced a .354/.360/.729 triple slash line, which includes smashing 6 homers across five games from May 13th-17th. He looks like a good bet for a .280 average and 15-17 homers moving forward, so add him if you can (or more likely, try to get him on the cheap via trade).

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While Bryce Harper is ice cold, Major League Baseball’s other superstar, Mike Trout, is heating up. Over the last seven days, Trout is batting .370 with two home runs and gets a cake matchup on Tuesday night. It may be tough to fit Trout into your lineup given his price tag, but it’s going to be worth it. Trout is like a tall glass of water. He’s a beacon of light on the hill. A superstar in his mid-20s, Trout is who women want and who men want to be. If you can fit Chris Sale and Trout in the same lineup with a solid number two SP, you could be well on your way to god status. Alright, enough with the superlatives. Just play Trout and enjoy the elite production.

New to DraftKings? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday May 30th 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?

Hold the Internet presses (which is just posting a silly video; that makes the internet stop)!  Jonathan Villar isn’t owned in more than 50% of leagues?  That feels like a personal slight against my manhood.  And my manhood is already slight!  Hey, Previous Sentence Grey, not cool!  My bad, Next Sentence Grey, but you set yourself up!  This is like a Yo Momma episode on MTV where everyone called in sick so they had one schizophrenic guy play both sides.  Yo, Momma is so fat her blood type is gravy!  *same guy runs to other side*  Oh!  Oh!  Okay, well, your Momma is so dumb she drafted A.J. Pollock!  Snap!  *runs to the other side, but pulls hammy*  Yo Momma, shoot, can we pause?  My hammy’s torn. *collapses onto ground*  Don’t think MTV didn’t consider the one man Yo Momma show.  Insider talk, they are one of the cheapest channels.  It’s no surprise all of their shows star unknowns.  Okay, this is neither funny nor that illuminating.  I love Villar because SAGNOF.  I hear ya, prematurely balding man, what happens when Arcia is called up?  Well, we don’t know when Orlando Arcia will be called up and Villar can play 3rd (since everyone is over Hill, especially Aaron) or Villar can play 2nd, and Scooter’s a platoon guy that can’t always get it out of first.  Villar has 40-steal speed and should not be on waivers anywhere.  *pulled hammy Yo Momma guy pokes his head up*  Yo Momma is so ugly…Yeah, I can’t continue, my hammy is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

In this age of technology, sometimes its good to look back on a forgotten pastime. There was a time when we all believed in the unknown. A time when we believed in that which was unbelievable. A time when some well dressed yet ominous looking man would grab an impeccably dressed lady from the audience and tell you there was nothing up his sleeve while he sawed said beauty in half. All the while, the audience gasped only to have their fears assuaged as he puts her back together with the house band playing a resounding ‘tada!’ via horns and drums. Maybe you never got a chance to believe in those things so for that reason, I’m here today to bring that little sense of illusion and wonder into your life. Please be seated. Are you ready? Please examine my right hand. Notice there’s nothing in it? Ok, please examine Patrick Corbin‘s left hand. Notice a baseball in it? I’m going to show you how with that left hand and a baseball, Corbin is going to make the Cards disappear. Now normally a magician doesn’t reveal how his magic is done but since I like all three of you that read this, I’m gonna let you in on the secret: the Cardinals are terrible against lefties this year and it was a problem last year as well. Look, the sample size for 2016 has been small to say the least – they only have the 19th most PAs against them so far this year – but when Jon Niese K’s seven of you while only walking one, you have a southpaw problem in my book. After finishing basically second in K% in 2015 at 23.6% vs the wrong hand and now sitting at 27% for this season so far, I’m gonna have plenty of Corbin exposure for tourneys and enjoy the likely low ownership. And with that, my magic show is done. Oh wait, you want an encore? Well I’ve been working on this ping pong ball trick I learned from Winona Ryder…well actually, that’s part of another old pastime called the burlesque show and I’m sorry, kiddos, that ain’t free. But you know what is? The rest of my picks. So with that, we’re off. Here’s my pyrotechnic extravaganza magic show hot taeks for this Wednesday DK slate…

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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Platoon. The word fantasy baseball owners hate and the word that makes no sense in its context to anyone outside of baseball. The word that makes you wish death upon all left handed pitchers and maybe all lefties in general. (Don’t worry, they die earlier than us pure breeds anyway. Seriously…look it up!)  (There’s also a tool for all platoon splits.)

And as we wish death to lefties, we think to ourselves… is the platoon a death sentence for your fantasy player in a shallow league? How much does it really even affect your player’s value? Well, let me do the dirty work for you.

In this write up, I show you which teams are expected to see the most lefty pitchers for their 162 game season based on the percentage of likelihood they face a lefty in any given game. It sounds like a lot, but I am the king of taking shortcuts. Instead of looking at projected starting pitchers for all 15 NL teams, I used probabilities (based on % lefties in a given teams’ rotation), to identify which platooners might be spending the most and least times on the bench.

Now if your head isn’t spinning by now, then I failed at my job. Take a look for yourself and hopefully it makes more sense:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Rangers called up their super-prospect, Nomar Mazara (3-for-4 and a solo homer).  That’s super *prospect*, Hillary Clinton fans.  Don’t worry, not the word that is also a title of an Arnie, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura movie.  How is that trifecta not in more movies?  I wanna see ACJ in everything!  This Mazara call up is happening a lot faster than I thought it would.  As the Story one did and the Max Kepler one and the Mallex Smith one (which I’ll go over in the post) and others.  Maybe clubs read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I started to read it, got to the first chapter, “Put first things first,” skipped to the third chapter about being proactive, grew bored and never finished it.  Feels like the days of Super Twos and June call-ups are behind us, right?  Not answer, but to ruminate.  I gave you a Nomar Mazara prospect post back in November of last year where I said, “He won’t struggle to hit .220.  He won’t be a liability anywhere.  He kinda reminds me of a young Matt Holliday, though from the other side of the dish.  I watched some of his YouTube highlights and he doesn’t struggle to hit balls a long way, but also doesn’t look like a fat turd that can’t make it to first.  I’m no scout, but watching him makes me think this is what scouts call sexy.  I’ve seen him compared to Miguel Cabrera.  Okay, no one is Miguel Cabrera until they are Miguel Cabrera, if you catch my drift, but Mazara doesn’t look like a guy that is going to disappoint.  .280 with 30 homers a season for many years, that’s what he profiles as.”  And that’s me quoting me!   I grabbed him in every league where he was available.  For now, he’s just filling in for Shin-Soo Choo, who is out four to six weeks with a strained calf, but I could see Mazara staying up and producing.  Think Stephen Piscotty-type numbers, 20 HRs, .275, and a few steals.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I start my lineups these days in one place: the starting pitcher. They’re the fulcrum upon which all things must work. You can find way more diamonds in the rough among the hitters than you can on the hill, so it behooves you to focus on this position first before attacking the rest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t target hitters, especially when there are Coors games and the like, but those hitters aren’t going to lift you as high if there is a SP in your slots working a negative number.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should just pop the first two pitchers you come to in the salary list and then mine the lineups for values. That happens sometimes, but what you should really do is look at the SP trends, matchups, splits, parks, swinging strike and K-rates to whittle down the slate to a few good men you could live with for the night.

Oh I’ve gone through this process and ended up with some strange birds on the hill. There was a night this season where Joe Blanton, patron saint of gas cans, actually went into Safeco and helped me to a nice payday. Recently, even, Kris Medlen has been helpful with his low salary and decent performances, allowing me to target more prime bats.

As I look at the slate for Wednesday, I was hoping I could log on, take a quick glance and know where I was going, but I couldn’t. This was because the best two SP on the slate happened to be the highest paid as well:

David Price, SP: $12,500

Jake Arrieta, SP: $14,000

Price in Atlanta and Arrieta in Pittsburgh were, at first glance, the best SP, so I had to dig deeper just to be sure and, sure enough, they came through the process on top.

Since they are so high priced, about 6K more than I like to dedicate to the cause, I didn’t automatically ink them in the lineup until I could see if there was indeed enough value in the hitters to make it work. Looking down the list, it was clear that I could roster two or three Phillies, who can hit a lefty fairly well and have a nice home park, to make it happen. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who has a mid 4s SIERA and nearly 800 OPS vs. righties over the last 30 days also made it easy to go that route.

So I did. It looks like a newb move, rosting the top two SP of the night, but you have to trust your process. Other nights, I would lay up short well short of this $$ commitment at SP, but tonight, it’s pay up.

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?