Andy Behrens

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  • Closing Time: A.J. Griffin frustrates Jays, continues hot start

    A.J. Griffin was sidelined for two seasons, you guys. Two years, wiped out. Griffin delivered a breakout campaign in 2013, winning 14 games for Oakland and striking out 171, but he required Tommy John surgery the following spring, then right shoulder issues limited him to only 14.1 minor league innings in 2015.

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    We wouldn't normally expect a pitcher with Griffin's deep injury history to return to fantasy relevance, but, well ... just look at the Wiffle nonsense he threw at Toronto's lineup on Monday.

    Griffin struck out nine Blue Jays over six frames, holding a dangerous team to just three hits, two walks and one run. He had 'em flailing at non-strikes and generally looking mystified. Impressive stuff. Griffin is now 31 innings into his big league comeback, and he's allowed just eight earned runs (2.32 ERA) while striking out 26.

    Luck is almost always part of the story when a pitcher is posting ridiculous stats, but Griffin's 3.30 FIP

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  • Yu Darvish dials it up to 97 in rehab appearance

    Yu Darvish made his first minor league rehab start of the season on Sunday, and it really could not have gone much better. Darvish threw 32 pitches, allowing no hits, no runs and one walk while striking out two. His fastball routinely hit 94, topping out at 97.

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    Ninety-seven, you guys. That works. 

    If you're wondering about his breaking stuff, just look at the finishing pitch in this video. Pure wickedness. 

    When asked what he was thinking prior to his appearance, Darvish had jokes:

    “Seriously, I hoped that I was not going to blow my elbow,” Darvish said. “That’s what I was thinking. That was my first concern. I’m very happy about my outing.”

    Darvish missed the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, but there have been no significant negative reports about his recovery. He was outstanding in his brief appearance on Sunday — vintage Yu, really. He has additional rehab starts ahead, gradually increasing

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  • Daily Dime: Nathan Karns, Nolan Arenado and other solid Monday plays

    As always, be sure to watch the weather and stay on top of MLB lineups.

    P Nathan Karns, Sea, $38 (at Oak) – Karns has struck out 24 batters in 22.1 innings so far this season, and he tossed seven scoreless frames in his last appearance. Oakland ranks dead-last in the A.L. in team OBP (.291), so there's no reason to fear the opposing lineup.

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    P Bartolo Colon, NYM, $35 (vs. Atl) – Colon hasn't given up more than three runs in any start this season, and he's facing the N.L.'s lowest-scoring lineup. At $35, he's a gift.

    (Honorable mention at pitcher: Jose Berrios is a rookie with wicked stuff and he's facing the Houston Astros, a team that leads MLB in strikeouts. It's tough to bank on Minnesota getting a win in any matchup, but Berrios has a great shot at a significant K total.)

    C Jonathan Lucroy, Mil, $14 (Weaver) – Lucroy has reached base seven times over his last three games, and Jered Weaver isn't the most intimidating opponent.


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  • NFL Draft 2016: Top fantasy prospects for Rounds 2-3

    A full day of drafting is in the books, and Myles Jack isn't the only massively talented prospect still waiting to hear his name called.

    [Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now!]

    Here are three potential impact skill players still available, likely to be drafted on Day 2:

    RB Derrick Henry, Alabama – Henry earned pretty much every trophy available to him last year — the Heisman, Maxwell, Doak Walker, three CMAs, a Grammy, two local Emmys, etc. He was the centerpiece of a punishing Alabama run game, dominant in the biggest moments, and he was a freak at the combine. In the right team context, running behind an O-line that allows a clean first step, he'll be a beast as a pro.

    WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma – Smooth, quick and gifted with terrific hands, Shepard has the potential be a high-volume slot receiver in his first NFL season, if he finds the right landing spot. He caught 86 balls for 1288 yards and 11 spikes for the Sooners last season, and rarely missed a

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  • Closing Time: Welcome back, Kevin Gausman

    Baltimore's Kevin Gausman entered spring training with plenty of breakout buzz this season — not for the first time in his career — but the right-hander developed shoulder tendinitis in mid-March, ultimately landing on the DL. At that point, he slipped off the radar for most fantasy owners.

    Gausman finally made his 2016 debut for the O's on Monday, and, well ... it's time to add him. Here's all you really need to know:

    He didn't get the win on Monday night, because he was opposed by a lights-out Chris Archer. But Gausman was dealing, routinely reaching the high-90s on his fastball and mixing in a slider that coaxed plenty of ugly half-swings. It was a thoroughly impressive outing for the 25-year-old, who finished with seven Ks over 5.0 innings, allowing just three hits and one run.

    We shouldn't need to tell you that when a major league starter is hitting 97-100

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  • Report: Rays calling up prospect Blake Snell for weekend start

    Tampa Bay Rays prospect Blake Snell was a breakout star in the minors last year, rising from Single-A to Triple-A over the course of the season, dominating hitters at each stop. He finished with absurd numbers across three levels: 15-4, 1.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 163 Ks in 134.0 IP. Just silly.

    Entering 2016, Snell ranked among the elite prospects in the game on pretty much everyone's board. The left-hander has opened his season like an ace at Durham this year, striking out 21 batters in 14.1 innings, allowing seven walks and four runs. He's great, is what we're saying — and he'll reportedly be pitching in the big leagues tomorrow.

    I've had Snell stashed in a monster dynasty league for the past eight or nine months, plus I drafted him in two other mixers this year. So THIS IS A GOOD DAY. Hooray, Rays. 

    Of course there's a clear possibility that Snell will be immediately

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  • Yup, that's right: Yahoo's fantasy crew is stepping out. We will be LIVE  on location at Ditka's Chicago during the first two nights of the NFL Draft, April 28-29. Drop in. Mingle. Make a friend. 

    Come for the fantasy advice, stay for the pot roast nachos (or vice versa). 

    Yahoo fantasy experts Brad Evans, Liz Loza and Andy Behrens will answer all of your NFL questions on Thursday and Friday of draft week, in an event that will live stream on Facebook. (Brad is always willing to tackle your non-NFL questions, too, regardless of subject.) We'll bring you a pair of 30-minute pre-draft shows from 7:30 to 8 p.m. ET on Thursday and 6:30 to 7 p.m. ET on Friday, plus news and analysis throughout the opening rounds.

    Join us, Chicago-area gamers. All are welcome, but space is limited. First come, first served. 

    And if you can't make it to the event, you are encouraged to visit the Yahoo Fantasy Facebook page or the Yahoo Sports page to catch our coverage. 

    We can't promise dead-on perfect

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  • Closing Time: Jake Lamb powers up

    Arizona trailed by a run with two outs in the ninth on Monday night, no one on base, Jake Lamb at the plate and down to his final strike against Giants closer Santiago Casilla. A tight spot, to be sure.

    And then Casilla served up a cookie, a pitch that Jake didn't miss.

    Lamb's game-tying homer set the stage for additional heroics in the eleventh, when he drove in Jean Segura with a crisp double to center. Not a bad night for Lamb, all things considered. He finished 3-for-6 with three extra-base hits and two enormous RBIs, raising his season slash to .292/.364/.521.

    It may feel as if Lamb has been around forever, but he's still just 25 years old. He was a career .321/.408/.552 hitter in the minors, so it's not crazy to expect improvement here. Lamb fills a premium roster spot, he was batting second on Monday and he's unattached in over 90 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues at the moment.

    Consider the add, if you have a need.

    Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ got the win on Patriots' Day in

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  • Daily Dime: Thor, Rizzo, Tomas and various Reds

    It's Patriots' Day, gamers, which means marathoning and early baseball in Boston. Plan accordingly. Also, be sure to watch the weather and stay on top of MLB lineups.

    P Noah Syndergaard, NYM, $54 – OK, this should not require any explanation. Syndergaard has been obscene in his first two starts (13.0 IP, ER, 2 BB, 21 Ks).

    P Tanner Roark, Was, $35 – Just chasing a win here, with Roark facing 3-win Miami. He was effective in his last start, tossing seven shutout innings against the Braves.

    C Tony Wolters, Col, $10 – Here's hoping Wolters starts on Monday. He's off to a nice start in limited action this season (5-for-14, 3 SB), and he's a left-handed bat facing Dan Straily. Colorado's usual catcher, Nick Hundley, was just placed on the 7-day concussion DL.

    1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC, $18 – Rizzo has enjoyed plenty of success against Cardinals starter Mike Leake (10-for-30, 2 HR, 3 BB), as have most batters who've faced the righty so far this season (1.84 WHIP).

    2B Ryan Goins, Tor, $12

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  • Farm Report: Trea Turner building call-up case

    Washington's Trea Turner is widely considered one of the game's more intriguing prospects, as most of you know. Turner, 22, made a cameo appearance for the Nationals late last season (9-for-40, HR, 2 SB) following an outstanding year in the high minors (.322/.370/.458, 8 HR, 29 SB). He opened his 2016 campaign at Triple-A Syracuse, where he's basically been a hitting machine: 8-for-19, 6 BB, 4 Ks. He's reached base at least twice in every game this season, with a 4-for-4 performance included.

    Meanwhile, the Nats are starting Danny Espinosa at shortstop. His next hit will be his first since April 6. Espinosa is 0-for-16 over his last six games, batting .130/.276/.174 so far this season. Not good. The Nats are winning, of course, so perhaps the organization finds it easier to overlook Espinosa's non-hitting.

    It seems pretty clear that Turner will be Washington's everyday shortstop before long — it's not as if Espinosa's history suggests a surge is forthcoming. Turner is owned in 16

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