It’s finally February, football is in the rear view mirror, spring training is on the horizon, and it’s time to start breaking out the player ranks and loading up the mock drafts (or waiting for Yahoo to let us). While we wait for any MLB team to sign a free agent I have been struggling on which players I plan on keeping this season in my keeper leagues. I’m not talking about Dynasty leagues, where you keep every player, but the leagues where you only can keep two, three, or at most five players every season. These types of keeper leagues seem to be a mainstay for dedicated players and leagues as of late. I have noticed it’s rarely the same players you’re keeping every season, especially if you have so few to keep…

Keeper leagues can be tough because every draft is going to be so unique. Whether each team is keeping two players or five your draft is going to look very different when missing multiple draft day studs forcing you to go into the draft with a completely different strategy. Do you want to keep a great player but forfeit a top pick or somebody not as proven but for a much lower pick? Do you go with the respected fantasy players you can count on like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw or with the young guns with the high ceiling and questionable floor like Cody Bellinger and Luis Severino

What factored into my list was how much you can trust each player, what round they were taken the previous season, how good of a fantasy contributor have they been throughout their career, their team, age, etc. Even though every league has different keeper numbers and keeper rules I have ranked out 10 tiers of my top 40 keepers. This list is mainly skewed for leagues with just a handful of keepers. Most of the rankings consist of top players going in the first couple rounds or players that majorly outperformed their ADP last season. I did leave off some guys who I would take in the earlier rounds like Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Justin Verlander because the juice just might not be worth the squeeze. Getting Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger in the last few rounds this year is almost laughable and hard to pass up even with your 2nd or 3rd overall pick. Below is my Top 40 separated into tiers of how important I see these players going into keeper leagues.

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For these pitcher pairings, I’m going to be using our (my) 2018 fantasy baseball rankings.  Notably, the top 20 starters for 2018 fantasy baseballtop 40 starters for 2018top 60 starters for 2018, the top 80 starters for 2018 and top 100 starters.  You can also just go to our Fantasy Baseball War Room.  Okay, formalities out of the way.  *rolls up sleeves, makes farting noise with hand under armpit, rolls down sleeve*   Let’s get busy!  Now, what is a pitcher pairing?  It’s your plan for putting together a fantasy staff.  A course of action.  If you have A pitcher, which B, C, D, E and F pitcher goes with him?  Which is different than ‘F this pitcher,’ that’s what you say in May.  You should have six starters.  The sixth starter is Josh Hader or take whoever you want.  I suggest an upside pick.  Hader comes to mind.  Or Mike Montgomery.  Sean Newcomb also comes to mind.  Luiz Gohara anyone?  I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5 and some variation of 9 pitcher leagues like the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Speaking of which, the RCL league signups will begin on Monday. (NOTE: What you are about to read is massively confusing.  If it were found scribbled in a notebook, the FBI would be watching me.  If Ed Kemper stood up and read this at the next prison Meet N’ Greet, no one would blink an eye.)  Anyway, here’s pitcher pairings for pitching staffs for 2018 fantasy baseball drafts:

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If you are new to playing Head-to-Head fantasy baseball or if you are a veteran looking for some advice on how to dominate your league, you came to the right place. H2H leagues are personally my favorite because it combines the traditional “roto” aspect of fantasy baseball, while also furthering the competitive spirit by going against a single, rotating opponent every week. Instead of the champion being crowded at the end of the year by who has the most roto points, teams are fighting year long in the standings in hopes to earn a playoff spot and ultimately win a couple playoff matchups to bring home that coveted championship trophy.

There are a few different variants to playing H2H leagues. You can play using point-based scoring, similar to how fantasy football works, or using categories like roto leagues. Categories is much more popular than points, but I still want to touch on both. For points leagues, hitters and pitchers earn fantasy points based off the statistics they accrue throughout the week and give their owner a raw total. The team with the most points at the end of the week gets a win while the other team gets a loss.

Categories leagues typically use 5×5 scoring, which means 5 hitting categories and 5 pitching. For hitting they are typically batting average, runs, RBIs, HRs, and SBs. Pitching is usually ERA, WHIP, Wins, Saves, and Ks. Throughout the week both teams’ stats are tracked under each of the categories which you can get a single win, loss, or tie in each. So if you are winning six categories, losing three, and tied in one your score will appear as 6-3-1. The two variants to category scoring are Head-to-Head with a single win/loss, and H2H where each category counts as a win, loss, or tie individually. For example, winning 6-3-1 in week 1 can either make you 1-0, or it can make you 6-3-1 in the standings if you score using each category.

I personally think that playing H2H Each Category is the ideal way to play as it combines tracking each category like roto leagues, with the competitiveness of playing a new opponent every week to keep things fresh.

I know the following advice I offer may not be groundbreaking, but these are things that have helped me win many leagues that I wish to share with you so bear with me. Without further ado, here are my keys to dominating your H2H league.

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Ranking catchers is dumb. There are four or so that matter and then the rest are practically the same. Seriously, there are only four catchers from last year that met the minimum plate appearances to qualify compared to 2016’s eight and 2015 and 2014’s nine. Plate appearances matter in fantasy. You need your players to play often. Get a good catcher that plays regularly and puts up solid stats. You can slot him in and forget until you make the playoffs. After those guys though it’s the Wild West. Take the Dodgers. Yasmani Grandal had 482 PAs last year and had another solid year behind the plate. However, he’s a catcher, can’t DH and has a teammate named Austin Barnes. Barnes would play mostly against lefties but began taking more and more games away from Grandal. They both hit well overall last year, and as it stands now, they could easily split playtime. That isn’t a good sign for either player. The same goes for most other catchers too. They don’t play every day except for the select few. However, there is one that could, and his name is Evan Gattis.

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Today, is the day in history known as, “Aw, sookie sookie, don’t need the nookie, Grey’s giving me a fantasy baseball cookie.”  Or, more succinctly, the top 500 for 2018 fantasy baseball.  A few years ago, the top 500 was only a top 300 for fantasy baseball.  Before that, it was 16 AD and I was rolling with Jesus to this deli that had great matzoh ball soup.  In a few years from now, this is going to be a top 10,000 and I’m going to be ranking Mike Trout Jr. Jr. Jr. the 15th.  Today, in this year, eighteen after twenty, comes the top 500 for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Or as I like to call it, from Mike Trout A to chimpanzee.  Actually, I don’t call it that.  So, this post isn’t meant to send shockwaves through your system.  The pipe cleaner that the doctor uses to get the clogged wax from your ears is meant for that.  This is simply to give you an idea of where guys are ranked in relation to other positions.  I.e., you know I like Jose Peraza better than Orlando Arcia, according to the top 20 shortstops, but do I like Peraza better than Matt Olson?  Okay, it’s not that simply.  You’ll notice after the top 200, positions start to get clumped together.  I might be the only fantasy baseball ‘pert to tell you this, but it doesn’t matter where, say, Eric Thames is ranked vs. Jeurys Familia.  If you need a closer, Thames isn’t going to help you.  He can be ranked 75 spots in front of Familia and it doesn’t matter.  That’s why I have the 2018 fantasy baseball rankings broken down by positions.  If you need a 1st baseman, where Justin Bour vs. Greg Bird matters, but where Bour vs. Realmuto really doesn’t matter.  Also, there’s no comments about players, which you really should know prior to drafting.  In other words, Tommy Pham might be in the 80’s overall, but am I drafting him?  Well, you’d know if you read the top 40 outfielders.  There’s also a top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball to help you.  Also, the Fantasy Baseball War Room and tomorrow will be a pitchers pairing tool, then on Monday will be our Razzball league signups.  Anyway, here’s the top 500 for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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Draft This: Justin Bour, MIA ~ Not That: Eric Hosmer, FA

Welcome to part two of an ongoing series where I take a lot of heat in the comments for telling you why you should draft one player who is going significantly later in drafts than another player. Last week saw me sliding-in cleat first at the catcher position and now I’m going to take on the lumberjacks at first base.

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It seems fitting for me to debut with a sneak peek of the 10 best base stealers in the majors for 2018, because let’s be honest, I like to go fast (I promise I won’t reference Talladega Nights again).  In my opinion, speed is one of the most exciting elements in baseball.  It would be easy to look at statistics from 2017 and list the 10 athletes that led the league in steals, but we’re going to take a deeper look at the speedsters I like for the upcoming 2018 season, and we’ll be doing this for all of the major scoring categories throughout the preseason.  And sure, you’ll see plenty of the usual suspects, but who knows, maybe I’ll throw in a few surprises as well. Included next to each player are Razzball’s own 2018 fantasy baseball ranking and FantasyPros most recent Average Draft Position (ADP).

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One word about this top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2018 fantasy baseball rankings.  If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2018 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2018– Ah, I almost got you.  This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other.  Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from.  428 more, to be very exact.  Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 530.  Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500, then a top 25,000, then a top 600,000, until we end up with a top kajillion in April.  Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel.  Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2018 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.”  Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters.  Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter!  Also, the online Fantasy Baseball War Room is, uh, online.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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Now to finish out the positional rankings for 2018 with my favorite: the relievers!  I may have went a little crazy here, 3000 words on closers and one stat fellas is just bonkers to think about.  I could have just used “save potential” and “hard hit percentage in medium leverage situations” about 40 times in my rankings, but I didn’t.  Ranking relievers is an ever changing game of robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.  There are always going to be injuries and attrition, which lead to relievers getting changed and making the preseason rankings look stupid in hindsight.  Last year there were 40 relievers that garnered 10 saves or more.  Now, if you are keeping track, there are still only 30 teams so my previous sentence about replacement value in relievers is very true.  That is why handcuffs and secondary bullpen pieces on draft day are important, not only for saves but to help your cranky ratios that creep up from day-to-day.  This ranking is just based on relievers with potential for saves and how they will stack up in that department.  Holds post will be something separate and should be forthcoming, though you sure as hell aren’t getting 3000 words on Holds because I’d rather blow my brains out.  Still love the Holds game as much as, or even more than any other fantasy writer, just gotta temper expectations as not many other sites give you so much bullpen love as we do.  So enjoy the rankings of 2018 fantasy relief pitchers.  (It says 50 but I went ahead and did a little extra.)  Enjoy!

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Boner alert! It’s another week of the Razzball Podcast starring the one the only, the King In The Standings, The Master of Rankings, The Opener of Jars! It’s our very own Fantasy Master Lothario, Grey Albright. This time around we’re not talking nothing but the keystone. It’s second base this week, as we cover Grey’s top 25 or so names at the position. We debate Dee Gordon, Robinson Cano, Jonathan Schoop, and many more! I learn what boba is, and immediately decided I would never ingest it. Just another week here with Ralph & Grey! Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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