Can you smell that? Can you? It’s the smell of a brand spanking new baseball season about to begin and with it, the smell of popcorn, fully chewed Redman, hot dog-flavored water, and gun powder. Why gun powder? MURICA! That’s why! What are you a bunch of red commies that hate freedom? No?!?! Good! Now that we’ve established your patriotism, let’s move on to our first two-start pitcher post of the young season. As I did at the end of 2014, when I took over this ship, I’ll break down all of the starters into a few tiers based on quality of the pitcher and then of course their matchups. To back up just why I’m placing each pitcher into a particular tier, I’ll provide stats on the pitcher and the lineups they’re facing. Considering the only data I have at this point in the season to go on will be last year’s numbers…and what good are those? I’m going to skip this step and just do my rankings and usual blurbs per tier. After all, it is Week 1, and much like a toilet in a unisex bathroom, we’re dealing with everyone’s 1’s and 2’s. Plus, we have plenty of tools to help you figure this stuff out… So sit back, relax, catch ya contact, sip ya cog-ni-ac, and feel free to share your perspective in the comments. I didn’t think the last part about laundering money applied.

Shameless Plug Alert!!!! When you’re done here, head on over to Razzball Soccer and catch all the goodies that Smokey and I are providing for Fantasy Premier League!! Do it!

In the spirit of me writing this just a few hours after taking my two children to Disneyworld for the first time we’ll be naming each tier after rides from the park.

Space Mountain (Must Start): This is the tops of tops, the classic, the aces of bases. You’re starting these Kings and you’re not thinking twice. I don’t know about you but I’m walking around with a raging Scherzer in my pants at the thought of Max doing his dirt in the NL East. I own this handsome devil everywhere and I’m hoping to see the first 300+ K season since Wild Hogs Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it back in 2002. Awwww 2002 was a simpler time I had more hair and a lot of Ecko clothing.

Clayton Kershaw, LAD: (vs. SD, @Ari); Felix Hernandez, SEA: (vs. LAA, @Oak); Max Scherzer, Was: (vs. NYM, @Phi); Madison Bumgarner, SF: (@Ari, @SD); Corey Kluber, Cle: (@Hou, vs. Det); David Price, Det: (vs. Min, @Cle)

Splash Mountain (Great Start): Due to this being the first week of the season we have a ton of great options in this tier. A lot of pitchers looking to prove themselves with a bevy of off-season questions marks surrounding them as well. Questions like does Cole Hamels prefer Jiff or did the spokespeople tell him to? Is Sonny Gray really the illegitimate son of one Mr. Albright? Will Gray’s BB/9 begin to hurt him? Will Teheran’s ERA regress toward his xFIP in the mid to high three’s? Is Monsanto a shell company for Dr. Evil? All this and more this week on Baseball!

Johnny Cueto, Cin: (vs. Pit, vs. Stl); Cole Hamels, Phi: (vs. Bos, vs. Was); Jeff Samardzija, CWS: (@KC, vs. Min); Julio Teheran, Atl: (@Mia, vs. NYM); Sonny Gray, Oak: (vs. Tex, vs. Sea); James Shields, SD: (@LAD, vs. SF); Masahiro Tanaka, NYY: (vs. Tor, vs. Bos); Jon Lester, CHC: (vs. Stl, @Col), Adam Wainwright, Stl: (@CHC, @Cin)

Thunder Mountain (Good Starts): These are the gents that have me on edge. Are they good starts? Are they meh? Does it matter? Y’all a bunch of fantasy number two’s! I like Alvarez’s starts this week at home vs. two sub-par lineups. If it wasn’t for his 4.78 career K/9 I’d love this guy. He’s a stud with the ratios. This tier also houses my man crush Phil “Too Good For My Home” Hughes. I say this because he hated Target last year posting a 4.25 in the Twin Cities, and a 2.78 away from it. He gets two road starts this week (Yay!), but against two strong lineups (nah!).

Tyson Ross, SD (@LAD, vs. SF); Phil Hughes, Min (@Det, @CWS); Henderson Alvarez, Mia (vs. Atl, vs. TB); Dallas Keuchel, Hou (vs. Cle, @Tex)

Pirates of the Caribbean (Meh Starts): So quick story, in a frantic attempt to escape the heat, and shield our little fair skinned brood from the strong rays of the Florida sun. I pulled my wife and two kids into the Pirates of the Caribbean. My son is four and this was perfect for him, but I was not thinking of how wildly inappropriate it was for my 20 month old daughter…ehhhh…So now my sweet angel has been exposed to the plights of the people of the 18th and 19th century Caribbean and their pirate problem. I mean drunkenness, skeletons, swords, wench slavery, and general crime. This stuff never hurt any one right? Right? Well there’s upside, maybe I toughened her up, and in that spirit all of these pitchers have some upside. Ventura could put it all together and be a pitcher in the ilk of those in the first two tiers. Weaver could keep it together for another season and offer some upside collecting wins. Archer is just underrated. Tillman could continue his dominance from last year’s second half. Liriano is always a risk/reward type. Hahn is a guy many drafted in the later rounds hoping he can put it together and be a stalwart for the backend of your rotation. Drew Hutchison is a favorite around here and you don’t have to look any further than the K/9 to know why. The last two are familiar names to fantasy players everywhere as they both look to regain some relevance.

Yordano Ventura, KC: (vs. CWS, @LAA); Jeff Weaver, LAA: (@Sea, vs. KC); Chris Archer, TB: (vs. Bal, @Mia); Chris Tillman, Bal: (@TB, vs. Tor); Francisco Liriano, Pit: (@Cin, @Mil); Drew Hutchison, Tor: (@NYY, @Bal); Jesse Hahn, Oak: (vs. Tex, vs. Sea); Clay Buchholz, Bos: (@Phi, @NYY); Jake Peavy, SF: (@Ari, @SD)

Hall Of Presidents (Stay Away): Have you guys been to the Hall of Presidents? Sooooo boring!

Kyle Loshe, Mil: (vs. Col, vs. Pit); Yovani Gallardo, Tex: (@Oak, vs. Hou); Josh Collmenter, Ari: (vs. SF, vs. LAD); Bartolo Colon, NYM: (@Was, @Atl); Colby Lewis, Tex: (@Oak, vs. Hou); Kyle Kendrick, Col: (@Mil, vs. CHC); Jordan Lyles, Col: (@Mil, vs. CHC)

 
  1. de nachos says:
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    You took your kids at 4 and 1? You’re a better man than I; I successfully negotiated a Disney trip talk moratorium until 6. One year to go until I pay the piper.

    Nice wrote up for opening day. next week will be fun, bunch of interesting Wednesday starts: Nolasco McCarthy Duffy Shoemaker DeGrom Anibal Dickey.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @de nachos: Haha you sir are the better man! Truthfully my batshit crazy mother in law lives down here and there is no reasoning with my wife when she gets in the same page with that women.

      Agreed on the Wednesday starts, I have a ton of stock in Shoemaker, DeGrom, and McCarthy. Hoping they get off on the right foot.

      • wJessereid says:
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        deGrom was the only arm I drafted over a position player. Followed by Fister later on. Added Shoemaker, Paxton, TWalker and Alvarez off the wire.

        These two divisions seem weak offensively, have a lot of pitchers parks and the NL East has the Braves and Phils who I plan to feast on this year.

        Of these 6 SP which would you be most likely to use as a streamer And which of those options has a better chance of going unclaimed?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @wJessereid: Shoemaker might be the streamer of the bunch. His home splits are great (low 2 ERA) and road splits are bad (mid-4 ERA).

          I’m guessing Alvarez is the most likely to go unclaimed.

          • wJessereid says:
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            Are you as drunk on Paxton as others here?

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @wJessereid: Yeah I love a lefty that throws gas.

  2. CMUTimmah says:
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    My league allowed us to overdraft (I had more picks than I needed in a keeper league), so now I need to make a decision…

    Hahn, Shane Greene, Wily Peralta (Have to choose one)

    I like all three in different ways, thinking I start with Hahn? The other two will assuredly be picked up as soon as I drop them.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @CMUTimmah: It’s between Hahn and Greene to me. Hahn is a tick younger, the K rate is close and I like anyone who pitches in Oakland. Hahn by a hair!

  3. PistolofPete says:
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    My opponent has Kershaw, Scherzer, and Bumgarner all for 2 starts each…and I don’t think their collective schedule could be any easier. I’m so screwed.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @PistolofPete: Pray for rain!

  4. Ante GALIC says:
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    Ralph!

    Nice work, man! Thanks as always for this. Returning tomorrow with the family from our trip to Barcelona – think National Lampoon’s European Vacation less the sex and goofiness. We’re all going back to school on Tuesday of next week so we get a brief respite on Monday to catch up.

    Might be a little light this week as I have no Space Mountain class pitchers. It’s a long season, so here’s hoping that my lower-leveled pitchers can perform.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Barca! Holy smackaroo! Did you go to the Camp Nou? BTW thanks for reading buddy!

      • Ante GALIC says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Of course to Camp Nou! My son is a Barca fanatic and can list the formations of all the top teams and usually predicts the correct score lines of many games. Our 14-year old daughter likes Diego Simeone, the trainer for Atletico Madrid. He looks like a dog to me, but I digress.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Ante GALIC: nice! I’m a United fan so I don’t really have a dog in the La Liga fight.

          • Ante GALIC says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: ManU 100% fan here. Hoping you weren’t a Leeds United fan. That would be some SERIOUS masochism.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Ante GALIC: Come visit the soccer site from time to time to talk Footie!

  5. PistolofPete says:
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    Also, where would you rank Kyle Lohse this week? Looks like he has two starts as well.
    vs COL and vs PIT

    Thoughts? I could start him or Hutchison for two.

    • PistolofPete says:
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      @PistolofPete:

      Also, it looks like Wood has two starts. Thoughts on starting him?

      • CMUTimmah says:
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        @PistolofPete: Loshe is listed in the bottom rung… Hutchinson is the second from bottom rung… I think that answers your question!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @CMUTimmah: Yeah no worries!

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @PistolofPete: Is Wood Two start? If so he gets Miami and Mets so I’d place him right next to Teheran.

  6. wJessereid says:
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    This is a great write up for 2 start pitchers.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @wJessereid: Thanks!

  7. True and Correct says:
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    Greinke doubles……and no rainout possible.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @True and Correct: Yup had Greinke on my list and missed it sorry! There’s always one. I’d place him right above Cueto. He’s Splash mountain!

      • True and Correct says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: No problem, Ralph. I like Greinke’s double. Probably as much as Bum’s. A little scared of Bum this year after 270 innings, many of them full of pressure. He’s a stud, but a lot of serious pitches last year.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @True and Correct: Legitamate concern with Mad Bum, I don’t own him anywhere for that reason. When looking at strictly this week I like Bumgarner a bit more.

  8. Todd says:
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    Nice article!

    So, I play in a daily points league. How do you like Hutchison vs. the Yankees? What about Hahn vs. Texas? These guys are both favorable-matchup-only starters on my staff, so my default is to leave them on the bench.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Todd: I like Hahn vs Texas but I’m not a huge fan of Hutchison’s matchups this week.

  9. Wait says:
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    Does Arrieta have two starts?

    • PistolofPete says:
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      @Wait:

      Nah, he gets two next week though. I like that better than starting him at COl though haha

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @PistolofPete: Yeah not this week and I agree don’t want none of him at Colorado.

        • Charles says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: I hope you’re right, but ESPN shows the Cubs going Lester/Arrieta on Sat/Sun at Coors.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Charles: Well I could be wrong have been before.

  10. birrrdy! says:
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    Cool, I don’t have a single pitcher named. Am I like anyone else and want to LOSE weeks 1 and 2 so I can get first dibs on weekly waivers? So much juicy goodness to be had by sucking out of the gate!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @birrrdy!: This is true many times. I can remember getting gems like Cliff Lee in 2008, E5 in 2012, and Joey Bats in 2010 to name a few.

      • Donald trump says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: you should do auction budgets. It’s just better.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Donald trump: Auction budgets for what?

          • ChefBoyRG54 says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: I think he means faab instead of waiver order. We use it and I like it better also. Keeps fa bidding/claiming all even….unless you spend all your loot!!!

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @ChefBoyRG54: Yes I’m in about 15 leagues each season about 7 of them use FAAB. So I’m very familiar.

    • I don't want to brag, but i have irritable bowel syndrome says:
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      @birrrdy!: auctions budgets is best, but better than regular waivers is at least the parity driven worst starting each week is first.

  11. Filet O'Fish says:
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    Here’s my keeper league team (10 team, 5×5 roto, 1450 innings limit). Where am I strong/weak? I’ve got two empty roster spots to fill so whom do I add? Anyone I should drop? Thanks to any who take the time to comment.

    C – Carlos Santana
    1B – Anthony Rizzo
    2B – Jedd Gyorko
    3B – Evan Longoria
    SS – Jean Segura
    CI – Adrian Gonzalez
    MI – Alexei Ramirez
    OF – Jason Heyward
    OF – Ryan Braun
    OF – Charlie Blackmon
    OF – Khris Davis
    UT – Adam LaRoche
    BN – Dexter Fowler
    BN – Rougned Odor
    BN – Scooter Gennett

    SP – Madison Bumgarner
    SP – Jake Arrieta
    SP – Collin McHugh
    SP – Nathan Eovaldi
    SP – Francisco Liriano
    RP – Drew Storen
    RP – Zach Britton
    RP – Jenrry Mejia
    RP – David Robertson

    Available on Waivers:
    B – Pearce, Rajai, Headley, Prado, Semien, Zunino, Vogt

    SP – McCarthy, Odorizzi, Ryu, Hutchison, Paxton, Bauer, Dickey, Pomeranz

    RP – Neshek, Leone, Strop, Farquhar, Bastardo, Diekman, Jepsen

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Filet O’Fish: I think you look strong I’d add Pearce and Farquhar. If you went Paxton and Farquhar or Paxton and Pearce I don’t think you’d be wrong. Due to it being roto with a innings limit I’d grab the RP with the most upside and stay away from another starter. Then again you could drop Fowler and add Paxton, Pearce, and Farquhar….

  12. DominicanPower says:
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    16 team Deep league H2H. Who do I start as my 5th starter, Niese, CC, or CJ Wilson?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @DominicanPower: Niese but it’s a toss up really.

  13. Chris says:
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    Nice article Ralphie,

    Here’s my situation i’m in a 14 team league head to head 5×5 wondering if i should start Feldman or Boxberger. Would be uo a RP but down 1 starter. Start 9 total P.

    Mt staff:
    Strasburg-Wood-Ross-Weaver-Fister-Rubby De la Rosa-Feldman-RP-Krod-Cishek-Boxberger

    His Staff
    Samardjza-J Zimmerman-Arrieta-Keuchel-Fiers-Carrasco-Collementor-RP-Street-Casilla

    What staff do yo think has the edge and should I start Boxberger or Feldman?

    After further review, he has 1 more that I think I saw 2 start pitchers so maybe I go Boxberger and hope for saves? Tough call.

    Thanks for any help!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: I like going Boxburger, Feldman is very meh. His staff has the edge over yours.

      • Chris says:
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        Thanks!!

  14. asdfasdf says:
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    Hey, which two SPs do you like most for this season: Danny Salazar, Archie Bradley, Rafael Montero, Zach McAllister. Thanks!

    • I don't want to brag, but i have irritable bowel syndrome says:
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      @asdfasdf: damn, that’s rough as they all will be likely have innings pitched concerns, probably salazar and bradley for skills though. better ceilings.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @asdfasdf: Archie and Montero. I think Montero is slept on and Archie has the most upside for sure. Not a Salazar fan myself.

      • asdfasdf says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: All right, thanks to both of you for the response!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @asdfasdf: That’s why I’m here brah

  15. David Brys says:
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    Need to drop one for a starting pitcher have to many outfielders. Drop avisail Garcia or wil myers

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @David Brys: tough call Myers…..

  16. BW says:
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    In my league we run waivers weekly (weekly FAAB) on Sunday nights. Our draft was a few days ago, and I didn’t realize lineups for Week 1 would lock before I had a chance to make pickups. So annoying because I drafted a guy who I then moved to the DL, meaning I have an empty slot, and Henderson Alvarez is just sitting on waivers. I’d love to have his two home starts against weak offenses this week. Love everything about that guy except strikeouts, and in two-start weeks he can even sort of hold his own in Ks…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @BW: Yeah grab Hendo!

  17. Fister Furbush says:
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    I wish the Angels were pitching Jeff Weaver instead of Jared Weaver..

    -Mariners fan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Fister Furbush: Bahahahaha! I totally missed that one Hilarious!!!

  18. nick the dick says:
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    Great stuff Ralph! A fair-skinned 4 year old and 1 year old? Batshit crazy mother in law in Florida? AZ lyrics?? Jesus, did I write this and forget or are you just plagiarizng my life? Just please tell me Ecko is still cool. It is, right? Right??!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @nick the dick: Twinsies! Whatever the Dick does is cool!

  19. Pjr says:
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    ******************
    NL $260 11 team – 10 keeper with 40 man roster so ITS DEEP W/ HIGH INFLATION. Minors do not count against the $260. So for the second half hording these guys that help this year is a bonus.———
    Question is my last keeper?
    KEEPING( Goldy 10-Harrison 7-Soler 10-Pederson 5-Storen 10-Giles 7-BRYANT , GRAY, AND SYNDEGARD are MINORS)
    which 1 to KEEP out of Cashner 14-Polanco 20- Hanson (Pitt) stays 5 till he hits 150 MLB ab’s so nice 2016 keeper

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Pjr: I say go Polanco, bats have staying power.

  20. thesportsguy says:
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    2 more days til draft to keep sweating this out…10 Team AL 5×5…who to keep?

    Tajuan Walker or Derek Holland?

      • Ths Sportsguy says:
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        lieklihood of innings cap towards end of year?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Ths Sportsguy: Hmmmm possibly but I’m not sure. This is always assuming that Holland stays healthy all year. It’s close and I’m not sure you can go wrong either way. Walker has the greater upside.

  21. hanklongball says:
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    Great suggestions for week one! For the year, which two do you keep on the roster as a #5? Norris, Gausman or McAllister?

    • hanklongball says:
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      @hanklongball: to clarify, it was Daniel Norris, not Bud

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @hanklongball: Norris for sure and then McAllister by default.

  22. Surfer dude says:
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    With a “dead arm” issue and now talk of having his first start of the season skipped, should I be worrying about Peavy? Drop him for any of the following: Eovaldi, House, McAllister, C.Martinez, Graveman – thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Surfer dude: I’d move on and take a flier on House or Graveman. I prefer House.

  23. TarmanGotHim says:
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    I was offered Samardjia and Fister for McHugh in Keichel in a standard H2H league which includes Quality Starts

    I’m actually torn, but I love McHugh, and Keichel and Fister are similar but I thinn Fister is a for sure low WHIP, ERA, W, and quality starts.

    I own Samardjia in another league but neither McHugh or Keichel.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @TarmanGotHim: I think you upgrade all around there. Shark is better than McHugh and Fister and Keuchel are equal. Fister may have the edge due to higher probability for wins, he pitches in the NL, and the NL east at that.

  24. PhrasingBackInTheMix says:
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    Love this feature so much, thanks as always! So I’m in a pretty shallow 10 team weekly points league, and teams not adding guys to the DL is killing me. Have to set the lineup by tonight and Rendon and Jansen are taking up much needed room…

    I have Alex Wood, Carlos Martinez and Graveman in my 3 RP slots right now, with Shoemaker as the last SP and Charlie Blackmon and Xander as bench bats. I’m thinking about dropping one of those guys for Henderson Alvarez and maybe another for Mujica. Would you make moves there?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @PhrasingBackInTheMix: Thanks for reading!

      Those are good bench bats stay pat it’s bigger than week one. It’s a marathon not a sprint!

      • PhrasingBackInTheMix says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Wise words, I’ll keep the bench bats…

        Luckily, Rendon was just added to the DL. Would you either add Hendo to start in place of Shoemaker for the week? Or add Mujica to start in place of Graveman? Or still hold?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @PhrasingBackInTheMix: Add Hendo to start for the week he’s a double up.

Comments are closed.