Please see our player page for Jordan Montgomery to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Fernando Tatis Jr. went down in a heap after a swing, and I fell off my couch, rolled three feet and laid there for twenty minutes until Ted, my dog, placed his butt on my face, the sign we mutually agreed on for “he needs to be walked.” Outside, we spotted two pigeons teaching a third how to fly again with broken wings. I stood by that hopeful scene signing Mr. Mister, “Take these broken wings…and learn to fly again, learn to live so free,” and I was briefly uplifted. Then, the branch they were perched on fell, and deposited all three in front of traffic. Feathers blew up in my face, triggering my allergies and I told Ted, “Let’s go home and sob under some blankets.” It’s impossible to know fully, until the Padres say one way or the other, but you’d have to think that Tatis only injures himself on a swing if he was playing hurt already. As of this writing, the Padres are saying a partial dislocation, which would mean weeks vs. months, and would be relatively good news. Also, if you can even think about next steps, I grabbed Jurickson Profar, and Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim should see an increase in playing time. I await further news while securely under these blankets. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to one of the busiest Monday slates of the year as almost every team is playing today We are nearing the end of the rotation at the start of the week which usually lends itself to you having to ponder whether you really want to put Julio Teheran (Yuk!) or Trevor Williams (Oh Boy) in your lineup in order to get to that juicy Dodger stack. Luckily for us, the COVID gods have spoken, and deemed us not worthy enough to have watched a great opening day matchup between Jacob deGrom ($11,000) and Max Scherzer. The fallout from that being we get to put him in our lineup today! Now how fun is that right? DeGrom looked fantastic this spring mixing his 4 pitches like a puppet master pitching 13 innings and only allowing 1 ER while striking out 21. Although Spring Training games mean very little he did face the Astro regulars three times. DeGrom brings a 38.8% strikeout rate from last year and only seems to be getting better with age. He faces a good Philadelphia Phillies lineup tonight but a lineup that is prone to strikeouts which is just up DeGrom’s alley. In an uncanny weirdness to the schedule, he has only started a game against the Phillies 1 game out of the last 28 game he has started going back to last season. Start him with extreme confidence no reason to get cute here.

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The year is 2021. A Covid ridden 2020 has turned pitching into a post-apocalyptic landscape where no pitcher in the MLB threw more than 84 innings (Except Matt Moore) MOORE on him later. With the worry of how many teams will use a 6 Man rotation, and whether or not pitchers will be on a short leash to try and manage innings, everything pitching is in question. None the less there will assuredly be a bevy of 2 start pitchers for the next 25 weeks. This is just the beginning so let’s get crackin’.

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Since we’re talking closers, I just want to expand a bit on my closer strategy. I mentioned in part 1 of this article that my plan at closer is to wait and grab two of the tier 3 closers and then just try to play the FAAB game. Some may scoff at that idea and think it’s too risky but I think it’s the best play in this format. I get it, it’s human nature to crave safety and security. We come out of the womb and one of the first things we do is try and latch on to our mom’s boobs because that’s comforting. Similarly, many of us want to grab an early closer and feel that warm comfort of knowing that we have 30 saves locked up. Is grabbing a closer like sucking on your mom’s nipples? Somewhat. While there’s really not much downside to breastfeeding (at least according to my lactation consultant), there is a huge downside to taking a closer in those early rounds.

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A lot of pitcher fantasy analysis centers around pitcher quality: Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, recent performance…balancing out all of the available metrics to determine cost (draft slot, $ value) is the name of the game. Today we’re going to look at a metric I rarely see discussed in the pre-season: strength of schedule (SoS).

In-season, starting pitcher matchups are gold, whether you’re playing the streaming game or DFS. But pre-season, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. At the individual-SP level, this makes sense: projecting out specific full-season matchups for an SP is impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who has a tough road. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? The middle 60% will be mostly based on pitcher quality; at the margins, we have actionable start/sit decisions.

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All things being equal the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball is around the 150th overall range to about 225th overall. This is your number three to fourth starters. Of course it could be your first starter and you’ve punted everything accidentally by oversleeping your draft. Wipe that sweat off your brow and grab the Streamonator! Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Also, you can get Rudy’s downloadable War Room by subscribing early to the Razzball Tools. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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The New York Yankees signed two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year contract worth $11 million dollars this weekend. Immediately the fantasy sports sphere on Twitter — which is really more of a rounded mound of a shape — well, analysts went Klu-razy with the news. A big-time player on a big-time team! Hooray! Stonks up and let care fly to the wind! I’m looking through rankings from various sites on Kluber, and people are absolutely Ku-losing it (let’s see if I can get one more pun in before the jump!). Even Razzball’s 2021 Steamer Projections have Kluber as SP22 at this point in the pre-season. With some big time sites considering Kluber in the 30s for SP — in other words, your 3rd starter in a 12-team league — it’s absolutely worthwhile to see if the stats are Klean or Kluttered. Ha! Four of ’em!

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I’m freshly back from The Hotties, which is the annual Razzball award ceremony for the “hottest taeks” in fantasy baseball. With the sharp-toothed piranhavirus in full swing, Grey called for a “Mask-erade” ball, but the Eventbrite invitation auto-corrected it to a “masquerade” ball. Everybody showed up with the wrong parts of their face covered. I thought Grey would be upset but he seemed to take everything in stride, saying that he had been waiting for this day since “Eyes Wide Shut” was released. Is that a movie or a novel or a contact delivery service? Anyway, Grey started giggle-whispering “Fidelio!” at everybody. Hey, Grey, I get it. Fidel Castro liked baseball. Let’s get with the times!

I did manage to record Grey’s speech to all the writers and Instagram models who attended. Here’s the transcript if you want to read it:

“I’ll get right to the point: I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Razzball and the San Diego Padres. 2021 will be known as STAN DIEGO around here, and all hot taeks will involve Padres players. The top 10 pitchers? Lamet, Davis, Clevinger, and Paddack [audible hissing from the crowd]. The top 10 hitters? Tatis, Machado, Grisham, and Myers. Trevor Rosenthal is a top 30 pick. You will all write sleeper articles on Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon, and yes, Eric Hosmer. [pause while Grey dodges thrown masks] Fear not, for STAN DIEGO comes with perks! You will all get a free hot dog with a purchase of an annual pass to Sea World, and you’ll get a personal tour of the tiger enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. Now, writers, start hyping Jake Cronenworth!”

At that point, all the people Grey whispered “Fidelio” to disappeared into Grey’s private grotto, which he named “50 Shades of Play” because of the underwater mini-golf course he installed. Myself? I was left standing in the foyer with a mysterious note that only said, “MacKenzie Gore, 2021 hot taek.”

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Hard to believe, but my first season as a baseball analyst here at Razzball is almost at an end! For athletes, that means they’re leaving the bubble soon. Us fantasy writers? We’re all bubbled-up to protect from the dreaded Piranhavirus. Oh, you don’t know what that is? See, we’re so forward thinking here at Razzball, we’re already sequestered away for the next pandemic. You may be asking, “How does the Razzbubble work?” Well, future victims of piranhas, let me show you my notes from earlier this summer when I bubbled up.

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In the highly lucrative industry that is imaginary sports team management, we here at Razzball are always looking to give you readers the sharpest edge of advantage. I mean, how do we keep up with a provider like Pitching Ninja, whose name literally invokes the finely-honed edges of a ninja star slicing through bats before landing softly in the supple leather of a catchers mitt? Fear not, fearful reader! I have been to cram school, and I have been to Austria, and I have been in dungeons, and I combined all of my knowledge of those places and completely threw it out the window. See, to be sharper than sharp, you gotta think outside the box. When the competition goes sharp, you go — that’s right! — blocky. I present to you, followers of the Top 100 Starting Pitcher series, the latest in pitching analysis: 8-bit graphics.

Robbie Ray Demonstrates his elite level of unpredictability

Let’s apply this newfangled technology to our top starting pitchers and see what we can do to help you to fantasy glory!

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