I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pitching slate as stacked as this. To put it into perspective, I have Clayton Kershaw ranked FOURTH right now, and choosing one over the other is already giving me hives. I do have a clear-cut ranking (I won’t wimp out), but weather and lineups could certainly change things as the day goes on. I’ll see you all in FTA+ chat this evening, and follow me on twitter @jac3600 (my winning streak is up to seven days on DraftKings!).
As of this writing, my rankings for top top five are:
Chris Sale, BOS ($11,300)
It’s hard to choose, but Sale seems to check all the boxes just a TEENSY bit more than the others. The Royals are no longer the contact oriented team they once were (fifth highest K rate against LHP) and Sale is currently a -255 favorite with a 3.1 IRTA. The Pirates are just contact oriented enough to push Scherzer a bit below Sale for me, and Boston’s bullpen pitched five innings yesterday (Sale can be extended a bit tonight). The $200 savings doesn’t hurt either.
Other options – Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander
Michael Wacha, STL ($7000)
Honestly, I’m very unlikely to deviate much from the top five as opportunity cost is SKY HIGH at the SP position tonight, but Wacha has a great matchup and you can hope to build an offensive explosion around him. Wacha has no K upside but the White Sox are getting a major park downgrade and losing the DH. Wacha is a -230 favorite (which rivals the top guys) and a 3.6 IRTA. If he can get you 30 and the offense does the rest, you could have something cool.
Other options – Chris Archer, Sean Newcomb, Jon Gray, Nick Tropeano, Felix Hernandez, Andrew Suarez
Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($3800)
Jon Gray is a quality pitcher, but the wind is once again blowing out in Wrigley which has led to the Cubs having an IRT of 5.5 runs. There are elite values at the 1B position you need since we’re paying up at SP, but Rizzo has immense upside with his .379 wOBA and .233 ISO against RHP the last three years. He’s great for GPPs, but not in the cash conversation.
Other options – Joey Votto, Cody Bellinger, Justin Smoak, CJ Cron
Matt Adams, WAS ($2000)
Adams is a gift on FD as long as he’s in the lineup. He’s been hitting fifth against RHP and the minimum price tag helps so much on this slate. Adams crushes righty pitching, and Chad Kuhl has allowed a .370 wOBA and 1.50 HR/9 to LHB over the last two years. Adams also has a 36% hard hit rate the last ten games. He’s a must tonight, and having a UTIL spot is great because you can pair him with Wilmer Flores (another great punt) for a combined $4200.
Other options – Wilmer Flores, Matt Olson, Chris Davis, Logan Morrison, Willson Contreras
Catcher values – Wilson Ramos, Evan Gattis, Manny Pina
Brian Dozier, MIN ($3900)
There’s a cheaper value I like at 2B so Dozier won’t be in my cash lineup, but he’s certainly viable if you want him. Temperatures a rising in Minnesota where righty power is elevated, and Dozier will take on Marco Estrada who has allowed 1.46 HR/9 to same-handed pitching over the last three years. Estrada’s constant use of the changeup gives him much more success against lefties, and Dozier is a strong power/speed threat.
Other options – Jose Altuve, Javier Baez, Scooter Gennett
Matt Carpenter, STL ($3100)
Carpenter will be my cash 2B tonight. It’s also warming up in St. Louis and Carpenter will have the pleasure of facing off against James Shields who has allowed a .375 wOBA and almost two homers per nine innings to LHB over the past two years. Carpenter has a .224 ISO against RHP in that split and is always a great cash play due to an elite K/BB ratio.
Other options – Ian Kinsler, Jonathan Villar, Chase Utley
Kris Bryant, CHC ($4100)
Bryant has the potential to be my “big spend”. He doesn’t discriminate against killing lefty or right pitching, and context tonight (warm temps, wind blowing out) plays really well to Bryant’s upside. His rapidly diminishing K rate should combat Jon Gray’s greatest strength, and the ball should be flying in Wrigley tonight. Bryant is really a great price at $4100 too.
Other options – Nolan Arenado, Travis Shaw, Miguel Sano, Rafael Devers
Eugenio Suarez, CIN ($3300)
If you aren’t spending up at 3B, Suarez seems to be the best drop-down value. He’s hitting fifth now for the Reds (second was preferable) and gets to face Chase Anderson who is a good SP but has significant reverse splits in his career. Anderson has allowed a .345 wOBA and 1.39 HR/9 to RHB, and his 2.86 ERA this year is all smoke and mirrors. He’s striking out less than six batters per nine innings, and his 5.05 xFIP tells us he’s been very lucky so far. I love the Reds as a sneaky stack tonight, and Suarez is cash viable.
Other options – Matt Chapman, Maikel Franco, Daniel Robertson
Trea Turner, WAS ($4100)
Shortstop is a bit tricky again, but Trea Turner is viable in all formats if you can squeeze him. It’ll be tough with your SP commanding so many funds, but Turner has upside for a Nationals’ lineup that has an IRT of 4.7 runs. He has the most speed upside of anyone in the game, and run scoring opportunities should abound in this one.
Other options – Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Marcus Semien
Jose Peraza, CIN ($3100)
Peraza is not a good hitter, but he does have eight hits over his last four games and he’s been hitting second for the Reds lately. The matchup against Chase Anderson is excellent, and Peraza has speed upside. I’m not planning on paying my top dollar for SS, so Peraza is an adequate value until a punt (hopefully) opens up.
Other options – Eduardo Nunez, Addison Russell, Scott Kingery
Bryce Harper, WAS ($4600)
I feel like I’ve underrated Harper this whole year, but he takes the top honor at OF tonight for me. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s not a cash option with a full price tag and plenty of OF values. Harper is facing a righty pitcher who allows a ton of power to lefties, and Harper has a .430 wOBA and .320 ISO against RHP since the beginning of last season. Get him into GPPs at the very least.
Other options – Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Tommy Pham, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, George Springer, Charlie Blackmon
Ryan Braun/Domingo Santana, MIL ($3300/$2700)
For value, I’m going right back to the Brewers bats even though they don’t have the platoon edge today. Homer Bailey has a 5.10 xFIP and has only struck out 5.50 batters per nine while allowing 1.57 HR/9 and the hitting environment is fantastic. The Brewers are an amazing stack in GPPs tonight and you’re going to want at least one of their underpriced bats in cash.
Other options – Dexter Fowler, Marcell Ozuna, Eddie Rosario, Jesse Winker, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gomez, Albert Almora, Joc Pederson, Carlos Gonzalez, Aaron Altherr, Max Kepler, Gerardo Parra, Jackie Bradley