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?

Who’s the guy who wrote up Jason Hammel the night prior only to see Dan Haren subbed in for him this morning while trying to set his season long and DFS football lineups. Two thumbs pointed back and me! Which is really hard to do when you’re typing at a rapid pace…hope you appreciate it! So we’re doing a mad scramble to find a lede and…I ain’t got one for ya, sorry. I don’t see a reason to change my analysis below and I really don’t feel like see a reason to flesh it out fuller with a hastily written blurby-mah-bob up here. Worst part? I really went in depth on how good it would be to play Jason Hammel! Teh Phils are teh suck! But they haven’t always been. But most times they are…eh, that was a synopsis as if written by a 13 year old. You’re welcome. Anyhoo, happy first Sunday of football for the 2015 season and happy overlay in baseball for us, amirite? Exactly, so let’s get to it. So here’s my Foosball hot takes for this Sunday 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?

Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-5 with his 31st homer and, like, his 12th homer in the past week.  Doode’s straight combustible heat.  Like a fatty steak on the grilling heat.  Uh-oh, I feel my rap altar ego, B-Fire, coming on.  Cannot stop the blaze.  Like a Scottish sheep, I can’t stand here, I gotta graze.  Between Monday and Tuesday is a hidden day called Muesday, between Monday and Sunday is all Grey’s days.  I watch a Merchant-Ivory period flick with my piece, because I’m strapped and going through a phase.  Shh, it’s my Victorian secret.  Whomp, there’s another Yoenis hit.  Cepedes is so on-lock it’s like he’s got a hundred legs all stuck in tar pits.  For my Def Poetry Jam audition tape, this I will submits.  I liked About Schmidt, but why Kathy Bates gotta get out of the tub naked with her flabby– Nah, I need to quit.  So, on the year, Yoenis has a line of 93/31/92/.298/7 and is nearly top five for all players on our Player Rater, not just top five outfielders, and, for 2016, it’s going to be real hard to knock him down much past the 2nd round.  Unless, of course, the Padres get their grubby mitts on him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On this fine summer Sunday I will play the role of one Captain Obvious and tell you to start the best pitcher in baseball. I don’t condone buying the most expensive pitcher of the day regularly, but today it makes sense. Clayton Kershaw‘s ($14,800) opponent the Houston Astros have been the worst offense in the league the last 14 days. Posting the league’s lowest wOBA and highest strikeout percentage. So let’s put this together and really take it over the top shall we? Best pitcher in the game vs the lightest hitting lineup at the moment, that strikes out at the highest rate. Does this sound like a buying opportunity to you? If not, you can start Michael Wacha at San Diego for $11,000, and tell all your friends that you’re too cool for aces, and that you like Wacha’s matchup better. That’s cool. Or you could start both and fill your lineup with punts and platoon guys. Funny thing is some of my best lineups have been platoons and punts.

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?

Much like the classic street hockey scene in Wayne’s World, Zack Greinke called time on his 43 2/3 inning scoreless streak to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Congrats Zack, being a Dad is a gift and I commend you for putting everything aside to be there. But now that the important stuff is out of the way allow me to be the first to say “GAME ON”. What better gift for Zack to return to than a date with the anemic Mets offense. It’s like an extremely early Father’s day gift for Mr. Greinke. Only less like socks and more like an increased opportunity to extend that scoreless streak to 50+ innings. Now don’t get me wrong, even the Mets could score a run or two. Believe it or not, they’ve scored some before even as recently as yesterday. They don’t call them Amazing for nothing! But lets consider Mr. Greinke’s streak shall we? 43 2/3rds scoreless (one Mike Trout ASG tater notwithstanding), 42 strikeouts, 4 walks and just 19 hits. That’s sex watching Scarface! Why? Because that’s gangster! In what equates to nearly 5 full games Greinke has a nearly 2/1 strikeout to baserunner ratio. That’s Nintendo RBI baseball Nolan Ryan good. That’s Lance Armstrong with one ball on PED’s good. That’s $45 ribeye medium rare good. It’s good, really really good. I can’t promise the new pops keeps the Mets off the board today but I can tell you this….. Versus RHP the boys from Queens are 29th in weighted on base average and OPS. So there’s no better opponent to face outside of the Old Timers lineup they call the Phillies. Sure he costs $13,000 but the matchup and form couldn’t be better.

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.

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Max Scherzer against the Phillies. If there was ever a chance to redeem yourself in losing a perfect game on the last out the very next day, this would be the pitcher and the team to do so. From a daily fantasy perspective, I’ve always said that in order for a pitcher to pay for his price, he has to have a reasonable expectation of doing 2 things: Allow 3 runs or less, and strike out 1 batter for every thousand dollars you pay. You may ask why I don’t include innings or hits in this formula of mine, and it is a valid question. For one, if a pitcher has allowed less than 3 runs up to a certain point, he has a good chance of remaining in the game. Also, if a pitcher is going to strikeout plenty of hitters, he must pitch plenty of innings, therefore that basis is completely covered. I don’t worry about hits so much, because they tend to correlate with runs scored and high contact rates (which pitchers that strike hitters out typically don’t have). So this all begs the question, “is Max Scherzer worth paying 14K for on DraftKings?” My answer is no. Now to preface this, you will never find someone that lends themselves to the “pay for pitching” mantra than myself. The reason I say no does not boil down to one simple point, but rather to many. My first reason to avoid Scherzer is that while the Phillies are the worst in basically every hitting category ever, they actually don’t strike out that much. Even against one of the more strikeout prone teams such as the Astros or Cubs, I would have a hard time giving any pitcher the reasonable expectation to reach 14 strikeouts. Another reason, maybe even bigger so than the first, is the fact that there are so many other solid, high-upside options for 3-5K cheaper. So should you pay 14K for 14 Ks? Yes! Should you pay 14K for Scherzer today? No!

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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It can be easy to watch home run hitters and otherwise high scoring bats get above 5K and then say, no way, that’s too high to roster that guy! But if the conditions are right, and these epically awesome, and otherwise game-changing hitters can be rostered easily after you’ve applied all the other goodness and value plays, then you should absolutely do it, even if you’re slightly “downgrading” another position.

Experts all the time find their values so they can take advantage of situations like rostering Stanton against a LHP or Harper against a homer prone RHP, as he was Tuesday against Alex Colome.

Limiting yourself mentally to excluding these players, regardless of situation, will leave you out of the money in a lot of tournaments. Bryce Harper is absolutely the mashiest lefty bat going right now and is posting obscene numbers against RHP (1.247 OPS, .432 ISO, .511 wOBA, 230 RC+), so why wouldn’t you want to make room? Cost is relative and if you have the right value, then it’s worth rostering a little lower somewhere else so you can fit someone like Harp in.

Tonight, Harper faces Matt Andriese at home in Washington, where Harper’s numbers against righties….actually tick up another notch (1.339 OPS, .515 ISO, .541 wOBA, 251 RC+). Sluggers and Sluggers…it’s the new Vote Early, Vote Often!

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?