Much like the famous Doors song that shares it’s name, bullpens are drawing near.  (Minus the Oedipus complex that the song explores.)  I mean, it may… but that is gross and I don’t wanna associate my bullpen goodies to that.  Moving on, shall we?  This year has been the SAGNOF-fest that we always come to expect.  Closers up, closers down.  Trades and attrition.  It happens every single year and it is the reason why the waiver wire is what it is: So we can get the new third closer for the Twins.  The chase for saves never ends, well, I mean it ends for season-long leagues, but for dynasty and keeper leagues, the times never change.  Saves are a category.  A deeply hated and often cursed at category that will always be debated about.  Whether or not to invest earlier picks then normal to get a stud, or just fill in with hope-so’s and also rans.  There unfortunately is no right or wrong answer because both strategies work as long as you are a waiver goblin.  So with the final post of the year, much like the other years that I have done this, we look to next year…  This year’s counting stats and information don’t matter, we want to know what lies on the horizon. So let’s find out!

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Sometimes with the SAGNOF machine it’s best to take a trip on the way back machine.  Players long past their usual usefulness of SAGNOF every now and again peep their heads out from the geriatric bingo and arts and crafts tent to be a whole bunch of fantasy useful.  We peer our eyes on Jose Reyes.  The once polished-up steal machine formerly of NY and now back again.  The end of the year flurry which we are seeing could be fueled by his pending free agency, or maybe he has found the fountain of yutes.  Either way he is showing out for the final stretch and is basically a must own type entity right now.  Slashing .348/.446/.582 over his last 15 and has basically repeated his counting stats in the second half of games, in half the games (83 in first half and 4 since all star break). The middle infidel spot has been a tumultuous path of futility all year with ping-ponging guys that have arguably more value from day-to-day than keeping rostered the whole year.  Just to put in perspective how good he has been over the last 30 days, he has better counting stats then Alex Bregman, who is owned in 91% of leagues right now.  Reyes is only owned in 32%.  If apples were to apples here, I would choose the dude in the big apple because of the speed.  No I am not saying dump Bregman for him, I am simply saying that comparatively Jose Reyes should be rostered.  Think fast it’s on to the saves and steals news of the past week.  Cheers!

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Who doesn’t love them some BOGO sales? Girls love them, hell even flamboyant fake baseball players like it.  I prefer the pun value in them better than buying two pairs of shoes, only of which I need one.  Which leads us to Javier Baez.  I equate him to that sushi roll that you aren’t sure that you like and don’t exactly know what’s in it.  Like a Ahi Tuna special, but in a baseball hat.  Entering play (as of me writing this) he had 21 Homers and 9 steals.  Not fantastic by any stretch of the SAGNOF variety, but I wanna see if there is more juice to squeeze out of the North Side orange.  We are fully entrenched in the here and now of fantasy, but always need to be looking to next year.  So with his uptick in speed over the past eight games (3 steals), making everyone aware of their surroundings in the SAGNOF world seemed like a good spot to write about Javy for the first time this year.  Batting average is not what you want him to be a stalwart on your team, but the 21 taters with 12-15 stolen base potential with SS, 2B and 3B eligibility heading into next year, he is someone with name value that you may want to ask to your fantasy prom.  Enough with the debate about Baez for now and later, let’s get to the Stealers and Savers for the week…  Good luck down the stretch lads!

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When does the trend end for the path of articles that trend in the direction for Bux-ton?  Weirdly enough, he shares the same name as the guy who stole Pee-Wee Herman’s bike, pretended to hide it in the Alamo, and then in the end got what he deserved.  I wish I had some genius follow-up to that haymaker of a comparison, but there is more in the world of steals than some Minnesota Twin who is actually not a twin but quite possibly an only child. So ignoring the greater northern Midwest, as there are other things going on in steals-ville.  Ahhh, who am I kidding, the world needs another Byron Buxton article.  I have only seen 42 in the past three days across the fake baseball world, so one more should summarize it nicely.  The dude is straight up sizzlin’ right now.  If it’s not Hoskins, it has to be Byron.  If you don’t know his stats over the past fortnight… well here they are anyways: batting .345 with 9 runs and 5 steals.  This is the speed portion of the Buxton love affair, so the taters and other starchy stats aren’t included, sorry.  It’s the end of year SAGNOF grab who you can and will drool all over… the fancy guys that you don’t own in the concessionary drooling steals/saves session.  Let’s see what else is going down in the lower ownership SAGNOF ship of love!

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Looking for value in a baron steal world is not very fun.  Scouring the waiver wire every day, wandering the earth looking for value or a good match-up is lonely territory.  Kinda makes you feel like the guy from Kung Fu, but just not with all the sexual asphyxiation type stuff.  Listen digging for steals and even saves for that matter is a matter of right place or being first to the waiver wire.  Not every move is a good one, especially in the stolen base category.  It’s fantastic that guys steal bases, but they also have to get on base.  Stealing first is still a non-entity. So look at the match-ups at hand and do not be afraid to gamble on a guy.  Check the OBP, check the catcher/pitcher rates of stolen bases against.  And god forbid do not fall in love with the one-stat wonders of the world this late in the year.  You don’t wanna be stuck holding a guy and miss out on the next guy to accumulate stats.  Play, ditch and go re-fishing for stats.

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Because I am always late to the writing party, I figured why not just add another Bryce Harper column, but with a Michael Taylor happy ending.  So what’s-his-face got hurt and now Mike Taylor returns from the DL to save the day.  Gone one day and BH is now what’s-his-face.  It sucks, but injuries happen.  That is why waivers and free agent pools exist.  So before Taylor inured his oblique in early July, he was on a torrid pace that was making him an asset for fantasy.  Now what capabilities will he have with that injured oblique?  Since this is the SAGNOF report, we only care about one thing.  Increasing his SB total from 10.  The thing in his favor is that the Nationals lineup is going to change slightly.  Because of the absence of “some guy”.  Small ball and base-to-base stuff still wins and it may have to happen without a middle of the lineup thumper (besides Zimmerman).  I can’t believe I just called him a thumper, well… suspend disbelief for a minute and just assume I didn’t mean it.  Taylor may take a few days to get into the swing of things but Bryce isn’t walking through the door anytime soon, so at-bats and top of the order stuff are coming. Happy SAGNOF’n!

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When it comes down to it at the end of the days, teals are steals and saves are saves.  Doesn’t matter how coyly they are obtained or if you are stealing from the waiver wire one day to only dump and chase the next.  The big wheel of accumulation keeps turning.  My near-the-end of the year strategy for closers is: I would rather chase on winning teams as the saves and chances are greater.  Steals… not so much, it is the exact opposite almost as the “look what I can do” type players come more from them, especially with September call-ups and such.  So to recap, saves for winners, stealing is for losers.  I sound like an after-school special starring Judith Light.  So now on to another loser, of the Philadelphia denomination… let us take a peek at the goodies that César Hernández is doing, and doing it fairly unnoticed.  He is owned in less then 40% of the four-letter word leagues and has been tuning up most opponents lately.  He is batting .379 with 10 runs scored and 6 steals in the last 15 games.  He also has a 12-game hitting streak and a poodle that can walk on it’s front paws.  Why do I bring attention to César ?  Because the middle infidel spot is always a good spot to find free-range steals.  It turned Merrifield into a household name and it’s the same place that Villar is still rostered in 70% of leagues.  I can’t ever explain everything, but I throw some deadly darts sometimes.  Have at this week’s SAGNOF do’s and doh’s…

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The trade deadline usually makes a real hash out of bullpens, and this year was no different.  Closers become just ordinary relievers.  Ordinary relievers become closers on teams punting.  Even further down, the holds through the obtuse guys now become a usable commodity.  Fantasy baseball with hold leagues, catch the spirit!  So like I was just saying, we have seen 5-6 teams rip apart their pecking order for hold-dom, and in some cases muddle up the closer order by trade, attrition, or subtraction.  This is a good thing, makes decisions easier.  Aim for guys on teams that are still getting you save opportunities. If you can’t find the stat, always fall back on the standings to guide your waiver wire hand.  Or even more finite, look at that teams W/L record over the last 10 games.  It is no coincidence that the top three teams in save opportunities since the All-Star break have winning records (Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays).  Also, if you haven’t been streaming Holds yet this year, there is no better time than the present.  The list of holds leaders over the last 15 games is littered with names that weren’t even in print by me for the whole year.  So don’t be afraid to roster the unknown rather than a commodity because with the season basically over in six weeks (three if you have playoffs), every one counts and every H2H win counts.  Cheers!

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In the real world, the realm of 20 homers and 20 stolen bases has now become a cheap rack of cheaters at your local pharmacy.  The state of the power and thievery in the game, as a combined entity, is a pooh-fest currently filled with zero residents.  The possibilities of getting maybe three could happen by the end of the month and those names are first round darlings: Paul Goldschmidt (22/15), Jose Alutve (15/21), and Mookie Betts (17/17) are the closest to reaching the ranks of the common folk from 10 years ago.  I have gone over the numbers in previous years posts and the number of 20/20 players is on a perpetual downward slope.  So while nothing is guaranteed for the standard “he is a 20/20 player” from year-to-year, the reward when he does it is, well… rewarding.  If the standard for the dual threat is just being one of a few who does both, then they deservedly so belong in the first round.  Like the three names that I just mentioned.  All had ADP preseason in the top-10 and very comfortably.  I know it’s August and I am here waxing poetic about ADP… Well, it is the first of the month and the other ADP is all about paying people, so I thought it was apropos.  So when looking next year at what you can get out of a player, dumb down the 20/20 expectations and limit it to a select and proud few.  sad state of affairs, next thing you know we will be giving fantasy participation trophies to everyone so nobodies feelings get hurt.  Cheers!

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It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light.  Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy.  So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship.  That being Marcus Semien.  I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals.  Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube.  So why now?  Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year.  Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats.  (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.)  So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10.  I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference.  Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230.  The steals are what we want and that’s why we here.  So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues).  With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.

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