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What a night! We have five amazing pitchers (plus some solid cheaper values), a Coors Field slate (with temps in the 80s), and a lefty in Yankee Stadium (with the wind blowing out to LF), and that’s just the beginning! It should be a wild and wacky night, so if you’re an FTA+ subscriber make sure to join us in chat this evening. If you’re not, give us a free trial for a month and check out our updated projections and live chat every night leading up to first pitch. I’m also on twitter @jac3600. Good luck!
BREAKING: As I’m writing this, Hanley Ramirez has been DFA’d by the Red Sox. Be on the lookout for potential values due to a lineup shift (Hanley had been batting second).
Max Scherzer, WAS ($12,000)
I would like to say that one of the cheaper studs is the better cash option, but Scherzer clearly tops the field in my opinion, and is worth paying the extra money for. He’s been utterly ridiculous against right-handed batters since the beginning of last year (.095 wOBA allowed, 45.7% K rate) and will likely face no less than six of them tonight. The Marlins rank 28th in wRC+ against RHP with the tenth highest K rate, and Scherzer is a -270 favorite with a minuscule 2.7 IRTA. If any watered down lineups show up against the other studs, I’ll look into saving money, but right now I plan on paying all the way up.
My current rankings for cash priority of the five studs:
Ross Stripling, LAD ($6700)
Opportunity cost at the SP position is SO high that most of my lineups in GPPs will contain a mix of the five guys above, but if you want a full Coors/Yankees/Red Sox stack of hitters, Stripling is a great option (and a wonderful SP2 on DK). He’s been very impressive this season with a 2.32 FIP and a 25.7% K rate, and gets a honey of a matchup against the Padres who rank 26th in wRC+ against RHP with the second highest K rate (and still don’t have Wil Myers). They are capable of running out a lot of lefties but the overall lineup isn’t good, and Stripling’s Vegas odds (-200 favorite, 3.1 IRTA) is in line with the studs.
Other options – Dallas Kuechel, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jon Gray, Sean Manaea, Reynaldo Lopez, Fernando Romero, Joe Musgrove
Joey Votto, CIN ($4500)
Keep in mind that most of the “top plays” on this slate will be GPP options if you’re paying up for pitching (especially if you’re paying for Scherzer). Votto comes in cold, but he’s a lefty in Coors field which automatically propels him up the charts. Jon Gray is a quality pitcher but less so at home (obviously), and he’s been vulnerable to lefty power (.177 ISO allowed to them since the beginning of last year). Votto has elite platoon numbers, and a Coors series could be what he needs to get back on track.
Other options – Jose Abreu, Paul Goldschmidt, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Justin Smoak, Gary Sanchez, Salvador Perez
Ian Desmond, COL ($3400)
Desmond doesn’t come with the best lineup spot, but he’s a little too cheap for a Coors bat. The Rockies (predictably) have the highest IRT on the slate at a whopping 6.7 runs, and one would hope that Desmond’s ridiculous 64% GB rate this year normalizes and he starts elevating the ball more. Sal Romano is a little tougher on RHB than lefties, but he only has a 15% K rate this year and is backed by a horrid bullpen. All Rockies are in play in all formats.
Other options – Tyler Austin, Neil Walker, CJ Cron, Brad Miller, Wilmer Flores
Catcher values – Chris Iannetta, Tyler Flowers, Russell Martin, Victor Martinez, Robinson Chirinos
Scooter Gennett, CIN ($4400)
Unlike Votto, Gennett comes in hot (a 34% hard hit rate over his last ten with two homers and seven RBI in his last three). Like Votto, he’s fully priced and only fits in GPPs, but gets all the same pomp as we discussed in Joey Votto’s blurb. He should be hitting cleanup on the road as well which gives him additional upside.
Other options – Ozzie Albies, Yoan Moncada, Cesar Hernandez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Whit Merrifield
Jonathan Villar, MIL ($2500)
Second base is tough today, and Villar doesn’t have a good matchup at all (Syndergaard). However, Villar is cheap and Thor’s walk rate is at 5.3% which is the highest of his career. If Villar can get on base (which is a big if), he can do some serious damage with his legs as Syndergaard and Devin Mesoraco both have negative wSB- scores.
Other options – Josh Harrison, Yangervis Solarte, Dustin Pedroia, Joey Wendle, Rougned Odor
Nolan Arenado, COL ($4700)
Arenado far outstrips the competition at the 3B position and is worth the price if you can afford him. As I said, Sal Romano is better against righties, but Arenado is an elite hitter (and even more so at home). He has a .369 wOBA and .245 ISO against RHP over the last three years, and the best hitter (arguably) on a team with an IRT of 6.7 runs is rarely a recipe for failure. If I make one big spend tonight I’d prefer it to be Blackmon, but there is a lot more value in the OF position than at 3B.
Other options – Josh Donaldson, Eugenio Suarez, Rafael Devers
Yolmer Sanchez, CHW ($2900)
Sanchez isn’t the greatest hitter, but he hits second, and Mike Fiers isn’t the greatest pitcher either. The switch-hitting Sanchez will hold the platoon edge all game against the wretched Tigers bullpen, and Fiers has allowed a .199 ISO to LHB since the beginning of 2016. Sanchez also comes with a bit of speed. It’s not a world-beating play, but the value is nice if you want to spend elsewhere.
Other options – Matt Davidson, Kyle Seager, Hunter Dozier
Trevor Story, COL ($4000)
Story is the top option by a lot, but he still falls down the list of “Rockies priorities”. There are plenty of value shortstops that are more than adequate, but Story clearly comes with the most upside for GPPs. His downfall is always strikeouts, and the fact that Sal Romano is deficient in that category really helps Story’s matchup. He’s a key piece to a Rockies stack, and a great one-off with higher expected ownership on Blackmon, Arenado, and the cheaper Colorado OFs.
Other options – Manny Machado, Trea Turner, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar
Jose Peraza, CIN ($3100)
Peraza has no power upside and Jon Gray is tough on RHB, but I still like Peraza a lot for cash. He should hopefully hit first or second on the road in Coors (even though he dropped to seventh last game), and Peraza is a consummate “top-of-the-order” guy with only a 12% K rate and 53 SBs since the beginning of 2016. Colorad amplifies the “balls-in-play” upside here, and Peraza is nice and cheap.
Other options – Marcus Semien, Jean Segura (weirdly cheap), Nick Ahmed, Scott Kingery
Charlie Blackmon, COL ($4600)
If you use any other pitcher than Scherzer (even Kluber), Blackmon is a lock bat for cash. If you do use Scherzer, I’d still make an effort to get him into your lineup as he’s the top overall bat on this slate. He’s even underpriced on FD (usually we see him surpass $5000 at home), and Sal Romano has been far worse against LHB. Over the last two years, Romano has allowed a .356 wOBA and .198 ISO to LHB, and Blackmon has a .400 wOBA and .277 ISO against RHP in that span.
Other options – Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna, Scott Schebler, Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Gonzalez, Tommy Pham
David Dahl, COL ($3200)
If Dahl hits anywhere in the top five (hoping for second), he’s virtually a must in cash at his price. Dahl has not shown huge power numbers, but a .176 ISO to go along with a .374 wOBA against RHP is more than enough to justify him as a building block for cash in Coors Field. Pitching to contact in Coors is a dangerous thing, and it’s also important to remember that Cincinnati’s putrid bullpen lost their best pitcher to the DL (Raisel Iglesias).
Other options – Jesse Winker, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua, Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Jackie Bradley, Denard Span, Aaron Altherr
Jamie Calandro (DFS alias jac3600) is the President of Operations and was an FSWA finalist in 2018 for basketball writer of the year. He has been playing fantasy MLB, NFL, and NBA since 2001. He has won various titles and is a 10-time NFBC and 14-time NFFC champion. He is a seasoned daily fantasy sports player, logging in 7 days a week on multiple sites and winning multiple large-field GPPs while being a prolific cash game grinder. Jamie is FantasyPros' 2016 MLB Daily Fantasy Accuracy Cup champion and earned a top five finish in 2017 as well. Look for him in chat on FTA, and follow him on twitter @jac3600.