Welcome to Razzball’s 2018 team previews. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be previewing all of the teams and talking to writers who represent those teams around the web. We want to provide the best and most in-depth fantasy projections to go along with the asking the most useful questions to those who know their teams best. We want to talk about the players in the first half of your draft and also the deep sleepers that make you log into google and start watching Midwest Single-A ball for hours. Just kidding, don’t do that, hopefully we don’t go that far…

Baker finally hit the dust…y. Dave Martinez now takes over as the National’s manager as they try to bring Washington D.C. a World Series title. This lineup remains an offensive machine and still boasts a top half of the rotation that causes a lot of whiffs. There are still a couple of new faces to talk about and also a highly touted prospect who is sure to see at bats in the majors this season. I talked to Drew Douglas from District on Deck.

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I want you to take some deep breaths and clear your mind. Now, I want you to fill in that blank space with the MLB’s most boring baseball player. He’s a bit older, has been in the league a while but hasn’t done anything too notable. He’s more than likely a utility infielder that doesn’t have great speed. He hits reasonably well but can’t get past 20 home runs and can’t hit too close enough to .300. Nothing terrible though. He holds his own. He definitely doesn’t play for a contender, the A’s perhaps. His name doesn’t stand out nor does his number. He’s no Rougned Odor. In your mind’s eye, you have conjured Jed Lowrie, the MLB’s most boring baseball player.

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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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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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When the MLB started juicing the balls back in 2015 there were a few players we all expected to not reap any benefits. Elvis Andrus was on most everyone’s list. But those juiced balls found their way. Bartolo Colon even hit a homer! In 2016, Andrus produced a line consistent with his career averages, yet the following year he became the next member of the 20/20 club. 20 home runs! Andrus never had a season with more than 8, and that high mark was the year before. In 2014, he only hit 2 in 157 games. Most people, like Grey, should look at that inflated number questionably. However, Andrus, just like many other players recently, decided to hit for more power. You’re telling me a player that hit 2 home runs 3 years ago can just decide to be a 20 home run hitter? Yes I am, and yes they can.

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Before we get into the top 20 2nd basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball, let’s go bobbing for clickbait.  Here’s my top 10 for 2018 fantasy baseballtop 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball, top 20 catchers for 2018 fantasy baseball and the top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball. So, without further hubbub on the tomfoolery, the top 20 2nd basemen were shallow like how Altuve likes his pool water as recently as three years ago, then bounced back two years ago, then were drowning in a puddle last year.  So, what about this year?  Thanks for the expository segue!  As always, my projections are included and I mention where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2017 fantasy baseball, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted.  If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season.  Hey, Miguel Cabrera, no hard feelings from me, because I didn’t own you.  You prolly got some splainin’ to do to your owners though.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league.  Two years ago, I said offense was making a comeback.  This year, I say, you prophetic son of a B, darn tootin’ offense is making a comeback.  How’d you get so handsome and wise, though not wise enough to answer a question posed by yourself?  Lots of guys on this list not only did well, but did better than their preseason projections.  Offense is in full swoon, like Our Commissioner Manfred is swooning with the guy who wrapped the baseballs a little bit tighter.  To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Tim Anderson is a guy that I would glance at earlier in the season and then move on with my life and with our beloved Top 100. He is a nice young player and all, but he wasn’t spongeworthy. Now, though, we’re in the last couple weeks of the season, and homeboy is lighting it up. And more than just hitting, TA is running wild. He has six stolen bases in his last seven games after not running much at all this year, so he is providing SAGNOF value, as well.

Anderson has been so hot that he is your PR15 king this week, with a 17.18 rating. That stretch of games only includes two home runs, which should give you an idea of just how hot he has been at the plate in order to be able to record a 17+ PR15 with only two long dongs. Our boy is hitting everything in sight and swiping bags now.

If you are battling down the stretch in roto leagues, Anderson can help you while providing some SAGNOF. If you are battling it out in weekly H2H league playoffs, though, he doesn’t have the same kind of appeal. IF (read: big IF) he stays hot, he will help across the board except for power and possibly RBI, while helping with AVG, R, and potentially SB. Compared to the standard stiff on the waiver wires, he looks like a stud. But in terms of cross-category production and overall value, he does have a pretty low ceiling. Grab him for the hot streak, but don’t drop anyone of value for him if you can help it.

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Greetings and welcome back to everyone except salty commenter Fogimon. Just kidding. Love you, Fogimon. If you didn’t read Saturday’s post, I moved up north from South Florida just in time to avoid Hurricane Irma, avoiding the chaos of evacuating or staying and hunkering down for the storm. Can’t have much better luck than that, I guess.

Hopefully, you survived without me for a week as we head into the home stretch and fantasy playoffs. If you didn’t, then you are probably not reading this, I guess. So, welcome, survivors. Let’s all bring these leagues home.

We only have so much time left, so we have to continue to focus on the players who are contributing now. If that means dropping Miguel Cabrera (in non-keeper and non-dynasty formats) in order to pick up Matt Olson or a Nick Williams, so be it. Now is not the time for name value consideration. I usually preach patience in this space, but we only have a few weeks left here to close this out. Go, go, gadget Jose Reyes!

Expanded rosters make these last few weeks even more difficult, especially if you have players on teams like the Dodgers or Nationals who can afford to rest players like Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager. You want to make sure you have some additional positional flexibility where possible, which makes waiver wire additions such as Eduardo Escobar and Matt Olson that much more valuable. Not only are they producing right now, but they play a couple positions and give you some added flexibility.

I touch on Olson a bit in a blurb below, but Escobar is a guy who taking a look at because of his eligibility at both shortstop and third base. He won’t have too much value once Miguel Sano returns, but it sounds like Sano is progressing pretty slowly. With only a few weeks left in the season, we probably still have at least another week of Escobar playing time, if not more. There is no guarantee that he continues to play every day once Sano comes back, but it is equally possible that, if he keeps hitting, the Twins find a place for him in a lineup that could certainly use the help. For a guy with a 9.92 PR15 who is owned in less than 20% of ESPN leagues, I would definitely be willing to take a chance.

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So with September baseball upon us, I offer one tidbit of DFS knowledge that can end up being the difference between winning and losing on a given slate. September baseball means far more late scratches, as teams with expanded rosters are more willing to tell a player to sit a game out if he injures himself in warm-ups or just doesn’t feel right that day. For example, yesterday, two Indians were scratched and the White Sox starting pitcher was scratched, all well after the lineups were announced, and all after DFS lineups locked. Granted, the scratches were not players who were likely to be played in any DFS lineups (maybe Zimmer, but if you were using Greg Allen or Rodon in your lineups, please email me so I can challenge you to h2h matches), but there’s been plenty of scratches over the last few days of players that were relevant to DFS lineups. So the one piece of advice I can offer is that when you build your lineups, try, where possible, to keep as much of your lineup “open” and flexible, so that if there are late scratches, you can make pivots where possible, since both FanDuel and DraftKings offer late swap for baseball. Now, that does not mean make an entire lineup of 10pm night-game players, because often times the best plays are from the early games, but it does mean that if you’re deciding between two players at similar price points for a position, and one plays at 7:05 and the other at 10:05, I would give the edge to the 10:05 guy as it gives you more flexibility in case there is a late scratch somewhere else in your lineup (unless the 10:05 guy would be the only late night player in your lineup – in which case I would actually advocate for an entire lineup of 7:05 guys so that you have no risks of late scratches whatsoever). Basically – unless you’re building an entire lineup of 7:05 starts, which means no risk of late scratches, you should try to have as many late starts as possible (all else equal of course, don’t choose an inferior play simply because the player starts later) to keep your lineup open as much as possible.

On to the picks once another post lock scratch happens…

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