There’s a dark side to the expansion of rosters that no one wants you to talk about. Or people do talk about it, but they talk about it as written by the writers of The Honourable Woman so no one can understand it. You laid a cable modem through the Gaza Strip? But now the Palestinians can see which celebrities are on their side. “We got Rihanna! With a hashtag, baby! If we could only buy her albums. What does she sing? S&M? What’s that mean? Whips and chains? Oh, yeah, like torture? Oh. Regarding sex? Hmm, we’d kill her for singing that. What other songs does she have? Umbrella? It doesn’t rain here. What else does she sing? Only Girl in the World? That is neither accurate nor encouraging. Could she remix it to 72 girls in the world?” This MLB roster expansion has a side to it that is that disturbing. With teams expanding, they don’t need to DL players. A week ago if Dustin Pedroia was forearm shivered as he was on Saturday, he would’ve hit the DL. Now, well, he’s going to sit on the bench for at least a week. Miguel Cabrera may have also hit the DL a month ago, so he could rest his ankle. Now, the Tigers said he could sit for 4 to 5 days. It’s not great news, though with how he’s hitting, in some leagues it might pay to just bench him and grab a hot bat. As for Pedroia, I’d drop him in most mixed leagues. He could be out for a week or longer, and, brucely, he hasn’t done much this year when he has been playing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is happening on the other side of my laptop as I sit here writing the Two-Startapalooza…
Yes, that is a dog dry-humping Boo the star Pomeranian in stuffed animal form. He does it all the time, but for some reason it seemed profound to me and strangely relevant to this week’s batch of pitchers. [Jay’s Note: Uhhhh. Okay?] Perhaps my dog represents the fantasy gods, and Boo is fantasy owners everywhere, especially those on the playoff bubble in their leagues. No Clayton Kershaw, no Max Scherzer, no David Price, no mega-aces to speak of. Combustible No. 2’s. A lot of mediocrity. Dudes obviously pitching over their heads, and dying to, well, eff you over. And then the looming threat of namby-pamby real-life baseball managers pulling guys early in games to get ready for the real-life playoffs and even scratching top-flight starters with mysterious blisters, hangnails and other assorted bogus injuries in an effort to save them for the postseason. The nerve! But I see two little gifts from these same fantasy gods: Two guys with potential who have good-to-great matchups this week.
First up is Eric Stults, a Hodgepadre with two home starts (Brew Crew and Dodgers) and a nice run going. He’s 3-1 in August with a 1.49 ERA, and only one of those starts was in Petco. Also, he’s only walked two guys in his last three starts, and has the potential to strike guys out on top of that. Then there’s Dillon Gee, who looked like a potential ace out of the gate this year but then missed two months with a back injury. He’s been about as appealing as amusement park food since his return, racking up a 5.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with no wins over the last 30 days. But if you drill down into his last four starts, he hasn’t been that awful. He held down the Giants for the most part on Aug. 4, giving up two runs over 5-plus innings. He then dominated the flat-lining Phillies in Philly. Now I’ll make some excuses. Is there shame in getting a little shaken (4 ER in 5 innings) in a loss to the first-place Nats at home or a road loss to first-place Oakland? This week, Gee welcomes two beatable opponents to Citi Field: The strikeout happy Braves and then those same crappy Phillies. I like Gee and Stults as streamers who won’t “screw you over” (heh) and nothing else. Now let’s see what else we got in the Two-Starter cupboard this week.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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?
You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?
Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!
Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?
You: I think I’m entitled to…
Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?
You: I WANT THE TRUTH!
Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
[Jay’s Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer…] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.
You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?
Me: I did the job…
You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?
Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Oakland A’s have been the team to beat in the first half of 2014. They own the best record the majors, their offense, which is comprised of a ragtag bunch of misfits from the other side of the tracks, ranks second among all teams in RBIs and total bases. They lead the league in ERA and WHIP, and they just upgraded their rotation with the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, all without the help of fat Jonah Hill. You don’t need Andy Serkis’ acting school to show you you’d be a real monkey to doubt these guys. They’ve been just as good from a fantasy perspective. Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Sonny Gray have carried over their success from 2013, and Jesse Chavez, Sean Doolittle and the two-headed catcher platoon of John Jaso and Derek Norris have all been first half surprises. So which A’s can you hitch a ride on for some second half fantasy glory? Jed Lowrie (2-for-4, RBI) can get real hot, real quick, and is currently on a seven game hitting streak, with multi-hit performances in six of those games. You might want to scoop him up before he explodes, or gets injured again. Similarly, Stephen Vogt (3-for-3, HR (4)) has been excellent since receiving everyday at bats and is slashing .435/.480/.652 over the past two weeks. He’s got an 11 game hitting streak (six multi-hit games in that span) and two homers in his past three days, and that catcher eligibility makes him extra valuable. P. Diddy says Vogt or die, so you should grab Stephen while he’s still just under 30% owned. We may be through a little over half of the fantasy season so far, but there’s still plenty of time to ride the Oaktown bandwagon to some fantasy glory, at least until they get to San Antonio. #keeptheAsinOakland!
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night (*All-Star Edition*):Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Cubs. The lovable losers. The trade first and ask questions later…ers…
Say what you want about what the Cubs are doing, but I liked their blockbuster deal with the A’s. John Kruk was slamming it on Sunday Night Baseball (while my boy Rick Porcello got a bitch slap of regression), but then again I’m a Brewers fan and not a Cubs fan!
Last year, the Cubs sold Scott Feldman for current pickup of the year nominee Jake Arrieta. So that’s one thing they’ve done right! Both the Shark and Jason Hammel weren’t re-signing, and this ridiculous emergence from Arrieta eases the pain of rebuilding a rotation.
But we don’t really care about Wrigley politics, we just want some nasty stats on our fantasy teams. Arrieta has been absolutely unbelievable (only Clayton Kershaw has been better the past month) and he had back-to-back no-nos through 7 prior to Sunday’s start. How legit is this breakout? Is Arrieta a sell high? I’ve seen the highlights and bits of some of the previous starts, but I wanted a deeper look into his stuff and decided to Profile how he looked in yesterday’s great outing against the Nationals:Please, blog, may I have some more?
James Jones has appeared in this column before, but his three steals against the Padres last week opened the eyes of fantasy players in all formats. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise given who those steals came against though. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the majors at holding baserunners and on that particular night it was Tyson Ross on the mound. Ross is currently leading the major leagues in stolen bases allowed (21). He’s got a big red target on his back for those of us in daily leagues looking to deploy SAGNOF types. If you look at it as a rate, the Padres hurler is giving up about a steal for every five innings pitched. Ross is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks this week, so even fringy players like Tony Campana might be worth a shot for a stolen base. Week to week we give you the best and worst teams to run against, but looking even closer at the individual pitchers can be helpful for daily lineup changes. Hey Mike, I wish we had a tool for that! I hear you, friend. Check out the SB Rates vs. SP tool. It will give you the stolen base against data for each pitcher in 2013. Here’s a quick rundown of the best arms to run against in 2014 fantasy baseball…Please, blog, may I have some more?
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.
Everyone got all excited last Wednesday because Bartolo Colon hit a double in a game that he also won. Obviously, this was worthy of some attention given the fact that Colon is 41, bears a close resemblance to “Big P*ssy” Bonpensiero, and the fact that he twirled eight innings of one-run ball en route to the victory in St. Louis, which is not an easy place to pitch. Lost in all of that was the fact that Terry Collins took Colon out heading into the 9th at only 86 pitches. Unless Colon asked to come out because his mummy arm was falling off, I just don’t get it. It’s another one of those robot moves that make baseball managers so infuriating. Oh, it’s the 9th inning and we have a lead of three runs or less, time to bring in the closer. Nevermind that we don’t really have a closer, and that the closer of the night is Jenrry Mejia, whose birth certificate was typed up by someone who liked to eat peanut butter at their desk. Nevermind that the backup plan for that is a guy (Dana Eveland) who has a different hat on in his fantasy baseball profile photo. Well, Mejia almost blew it, which would have not only cost the 700-year-old Colon a well-deserved victory but would have also pissed off fantasy managers everywhere, including right here. Except for a few turdlet pies, Colon has been surprisingly sturdy in 2014. Maybe it’s not so surprising given his strong performance in the telling strikeout per walk category, where he’s at 5.3, good for sixth right behind Stephen Strasburg. It would have looked really silly, but I almost put Bartolo in the first tier, with starts in his cavernous home against Oakland and continues in Pittsburgh, where teams just don’t score a lot for some reason. He’s only 36 percent owned in Yahoo, 37 percent owned in ESPN. He’s definitely worth a spin while he’s going good, especially at Citi Field.
Here’s some more two-start pitchers for the week:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.
Up until now, Two-Startapoola 2014 has kind of resembled a post-taco feast fart party, where you’re trying in vain to wave away the pervasive stench cluttering up the lower tiers but that cloud of doom just won’t move.
But this week there is absolutely no shame in being down in the lower Second Tier or even the Third Tier.
Former aces who had fallen on hard times, like Yovani Gallardo and Josh Beckett, finally have their shtuff together, some of the pitchers who sucked earlier in the year (Brandon McCarthy, Jake Odorizzi) have gotten way better, and the Twins finally set their rotation so they don’t have the same guy pitching twice in the same week. Which means at least one less garbage starter in the system. You think Ron Gardenhire had us fantasy geeks in mind when he set up his real-life Twinkie pitching lineup this week? Me neither.
Anyways, have yourself a look-see at what the fantasy gods have sent down for us…Please, blog, may I have some more?
When it comes to DFS play nothing can kick you off your throne quicker than a cold streak. And I hit one last week. Playing daily fantasy sports can be a fun, lucrative and an absolutely maddening endeavor. No other sport has as much variance on a nightly basis. I often wonder why I put myself through this athletic sadism. Ok, I know why. I like
pain the competition, I like the cash and I love baseball. Over the past week, your humble-but-nonetheless-royal Guru has had plenty of competition, not so much cash and nowhere near the love I deserve as I went just 23 for 40. I may be no draft king, but the bankroll increased a bit and I’m inching closer to a winter of fun in the sun. The problem is I may have to pass on Cancun and head to Coney Island. Hopefully, I have a little left over for the bail bondsman. If you want to join me poolside just hit the DraftKings link and you’ll get a free ticket for a contest with your first-time deposit. The winner of that contest gets entry into our $500k Showcase with a $100k top prize – that’s a lot of banana daiquiris. Also, if you haven’t fired up the DFSBot yet, check it out. It’s a great tool for your bag of tricks that’ll give you an advantage over the competition. I used it Monday for some Tim Lincecum love that banked big for me. Believe me, I needed it.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared some of my strategies when playing DFS baseball. If you missed them you can give a look here, here, and here. This week, let’s talk a bit about managing the budget. On DraftKings you get 50K to spend on two pitchers and eight positions. I usually spend 18- 22K of that on pitching which doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes with hitters. One of the questions I get asked a lot is if it’s okay to leave money on the table when constructing a team. I say, unless you’re a seasoned DFS shark, it’s best to spend to the cap or real close to it. I never leave more than $500 on the board and there are three reasons for that: 1) No projections are 100% accurate. Sorry, DFSBot, you’re good but no one’s that good. 2) More often than not your “optimal lineup” will be wrong. Ha! I know this sounds negative, but play DFS awhile and you’ll realize that not spending that leftover $800 will hurt. I found this out on Monday when I didn’t spend up for pitching and went with Tyler Lyons – he gave me -11 points. Yes, negative 11! 3) Finding cheap players that produce is necessary to win, but players are in the bargain bin for reason. If you see a player that usually has a high price tag is suddenly cheap there’s probably a reason for it – he has a bad matchup, he’s unlikely to play or he’s hurt. I saw a lot of people grab Mark Teixeira on Monday because the price was right in a great matchup. Unfortunately, he ended up not playing which left some people with a big fat zero.
With all that said, we have just eight games on the evening slate, a number of aces on the mound and some weather to pay attention to in St. Louis and Cincinnati. Here’s your dirty turbaned Guru’s lineup for Wednesday’s 5/14 contests on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball. Good luck, cheers.Please, blog, may I have some more?