Welcome to the home stretch, boys, gals, and in-betweens. Like we discussed last week, the two-start starters list has been dwindling due to expanded rosters, young arms having their innings limited, and many teams opting for six-man rotations as a result. This week, with many teams also having an off day, there are fewer than 30 options for two-start starters. (By the way, fogimon, will you be watching Corey Kluber’s second start tomorrow? #KissyEmoji)

There are still some options for two-start streamers, however. Checking in with Streamonator, here are the two-start starters for this week with a positive dollar value who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs:

  • German Marquez COL, $16.80, 20%
  • Jharel Cotton OAK, $5.60, 18%
  • Blake Snell TB, $4.70, 31%
  • Tyler Mahle CIN, $1.70, 1%
  • Dan Straily MIA, $0.70, 53%

Despite the light list, we still have five starters with positive dollar values. Of the names on this list, I like Marquez and Straily the most. Snell I would gamble on if I needed to, but I would stay away from Cotton and my cousin Tyler Mahle (not really my cousin).

Marquez shines through this week because of his matchups: at San Francisco and at San Diego. Two teams who have struggled mightily at the plate, and he gets them in their pitcher-friendly ballparks. He is not without risk, but you could not ask for two better matchups.

I’m not sure how Straily is still only owned in 53% of RCLs, but sign me up for that, too. His matchups aren’t as good (vs. Mets and at Diamondbacks) because of that trip to Arizona, but I am still willing to roll with him over the others on the list.

Snell is meh, but he doesn’t scare me as much as Cotton or Mahle. Despite their positive value, if I am in need of starts in H2h playoffs, I am not going near either of those two. Their potential for disaster outweighs any value they provide, at least in my eyes. Stay away and save yourself.

And now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, where does Mookie Betts go in 2018?  That’s what we all want to know, right?  That and WHAT TIME IS IT?!  Sorry, was listening to Steppin’ To The A.M.  I was not listening to Time to Get Ill, however, because I don’t like the Beastie Boys, but it might be more appropriate with The Bettsie Boy, Mookie.  Home run distance is a weird thing.  Well, maybe not weird, but hard to trust.  Yeah, that’s the ticket, said like that Jon Lovitz character.  In hindsight, it’s obvious.  Mookie had so many Just Enough home runs last year, of course, he’s not hitting as many this year, but I thought there would be enough mitigating factors to lessen Betts’ drop off.  He’s young — power still peaking; he’s in a good park — Pesky/Wall; the lineup — oh, that lineup.  Didn’t play out that way for power and average.  His average is nearly fifty points off of last year, and his power will end likely down about five homers from last year.  Not huge?  Well, that is around a 15% drop — even after his big game yesterday of 3-for-5, 6 RBIs and his 20th and 21st homer.  So, what does all this mean for next year?  I think he’s going to be undervalued, and I expect a bounce back of sorts.  Likely closer to a 27-homer guy than his 30+ last year, but there’s no way he hits near-.265 as he is right now.  He’s hitting as many line drives as last year, hitting the ball harder, in general, and a .267 BABIP.  He’s gotta be one of the unluckiest hitters this year.  He’s basically hitting line drives up the middle, but a squirrel is knocking it down into a fielder’s glove.  Maybe he’s not Mookie Best this year, but I’m not counting out Mookie Ballgame yet.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s nothing more random than September baseball.  It’s a time where you throw season stats out the window and ride the hot bat or hot hand.  The mystery of a new guy can throw the league off for a few games and you can enjoy that all the way to a championship…or a few FantasyDraft bones.  Then there’s the recency of it all.  It’s always good to look at the 7 day performance of a given hitting team when trying to pick a pitcher during this time of year.  All year, it’s been a known thing: don’t start a pitcher vs the Dodgers.  Now?  Dodgers have been in a free fall and have the worst wRC+ over the last thirty days.  All this to say, this ain’t your mom’s time of year…hrm, not what I meant to say…namely cuz I don’t know what it means so instead I’ll just say over the last seven days, the Orioles have been one of the worst hitting teams in the league with a 53 wRC+ and a monstrous 28.2% K rate during that span heading into their matchup with Estrada last night (Marco was sitting at 3 K thru 2 as of this typing).  Why does all this matter?  Well, Joe Biagini already got to enjoy the mess that is Baltimore.  At Camden Yards on September 1st, Biagini went 7, struck out 10 so there’s a good chance this slide continues for these birds.  Keep in mind, this Biagini dream could quickly turn into a nightmare so stay away in cash, children.  Good?  Good.  With that out of the way, lets get on to this.  Here’s my Barbara Eden taeks for this Tuesday FantasyDraft slate (walks away humming the I Dream of Jeannie theme song)…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Victor Robles was called up by the Nats.  He’s number two in Prospector Ralph’s top 100 prospects, and everyone loves him, even Brad Garrett!  Robles will likely be the first guy I go over this offseason when I go over some high-profile rookies for 2018.  He is real, and he’s beautiful.  So, here’s the text question I posed to Prospector Ralph yesterday, “Who gets more at-bats from now until the end of the season for the Nationals, Alejandro De Aza or Robles?”  At that point, Ralph stopped talking to me, but it’s even worse.  Prior to my text, I saw “…” showing that he was typing, then that disappeared and nothing.  Just silence.  Eventually, I got a text back that Robles could play half the time.  I don’t know.  My guess is Nats are promoting him as a sort of butt pat that he did well this year.  Maybe he replaces Werth, Kendrick or Taylor here and there and plays a few times a week.  Werth’s shoulder has been barking and he’s woof, in general.  I didn’t care about picking up Robles in a 12-team mixed league, but grabbed him in a 15-teamer to drop Francisco Mejia, who was last week’s “YOU GOTTA GRAB HIM!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the season begins to wane, Dr. Easy — my fantasy baseball partner-in-crime — and I decided to look back to the beginning of the 2017 season while at the same time looking ahead to next season (and boy, do we have neck ache!). We wanted to compare the Razzball Pre-Season Player Rater (PS PR) top 12 players versus the top 12 right now per the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), look at discrepancies, and learn what lessons there are to learn (if any there are) for next season: which players to reevaluate in light of what they’ve done for us this year. Who’s still riding high; who’s sunk to depths not hitherto foreseen? This is the first installment.

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The Phillies seem determined to burn some serious pitching rubber. It’s September and they’re still rolling Aaron Nola ($8,400) out like these games actually mean something. I know players have their own self-pride, but this is like a hotel bible – it’s nice, but no one really cares. While the Phillies are busy playing Russian Roulette with Nola and a potential injury though, you should be Russian to get him in your lineup tonight. If you ignore Nola’s 20 earned runs across his last five starts and focus on the Nats ranking dead last in hits, third last in RBI’s and that whopping  .204 AVG over the last week, suddenly, this match up looks kinda okie-dokie. Here’s the rest of my Thursday picks:

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time.  Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?”  Let’s look under the hood and see.

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For the last few days, I’ve been in New York for my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  With each passing year, he gets more casually racist, and, let’s just say, he didn’t start at zero.  I told him Byron Buxton hit three homers on Sunday, and he said, “Byron?  What’s he, a Jew?”  I told him, no, I don’t think so, but, of course, he can’t hear so well, so he continued, “I didn’t think Jews played sports.  Well, I guess he’ll at least be good with the money he makes.”  Then he went on a twenty-minute rant about how he’d have more money if he was Jewish (he’s Italian).  If you read Who Is Grey Albright?, you’ll know that I was raised by my grandparents, so let’s hope the apple rolled far enough away from the tree.  Otherwise, I’m gonna be writing roundups in 40 years like this, “Byron Buxton Jr. – He has better contact rates than his father, and prolly can find a good interest rate, ya know, because Jew.”  Here’s my grandfather with the entertainment we got for the party.  For those of you that grew in the tri-state area in the 1980’s, you’ll be familiar with the entertainment:

Any hoo!  Byron Buxton went 4-for-5, 4 runs, 5 RBIs and three homers (11, 12, 13) and his 24th steal.  A triple slam and legs?  What a glutton for wonderful!  From the 1st half to the 2nd half, his average went from .216 to .309; his K-rate is down from 31% to 25%; his OPS went from .594 to .903; his ISO went from .090 to .245, and his OBP went from .288 to .350.  Beginning to think real adjustments have been made for 2018, because everything’s been better in the 2nd half.  His 2nd half has been bigger and better than the pictures I saw recently of Tiger Woods, if you catch my drift.  (Okay, so the apple doesn’t roll that far from the tree after all.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?