I’m on a two-day losing streak on FanDuel, so it would nice to right the ship with today’s eight-game slate (lots of games are later, interestingly). We have some strong starting pitching up top, so value will be the name of the game as far as hitters go. I’m back home for chat this afternoon, so service shouldn’t be an issue (I cut out on you around 6:55 last night). It’s the last day of our weekly FTA+ HR call competition, so get those picks in to dethrone @ThoreosNMilk! I’m also on twitter @jac3600.
Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,600)
At first glance it seems like Noah Syndergaard is the easy choice against Colorado who is 29th in wRC+ against RHP at $1500 less, but I’m still building through Max today. The big difference is the expected innings pitched, as Thor has been at six innings or less all but only once this season while Scherzer has more of a tendency to work deeper into games (even though he’s thrown only six himself the last three outings). Max is currently putting up absurd numbers, with a 38% K rate and a 1.79 ERA. Philly ranks 21st in wRC+ against RHP and is tied for the lowest IRT on the slate at 2.9 runs.
Other options – Noah Syndergaard
Chris Archer, TB ($8700)
Archer is cheap enough to use in GPPs as he always carries K upside, but it’s worth noting that his K rate is down to 24.6% this season. The Blue Jays are a middle of the pack team in wRC+ against RHP but have the tenth highest K rate, and it’s unclear if Justin Smoak will return to the lineup today. Archer has only a 3.7 IRTA so Vegas is a little more confident that he’ll start righting the ship, and Tampa Bay is still one of the better pitcher parks in the AL. He’s my preferred route to stacking bats in GPP.
Other options – Jake Arrieta, Marco Estrada, Kyle Freeland, Kyle Gibson, Domingo German
Jose Abreu, CHW ($3900)
This is definitely a day to pay down at 1B as all the top guys have less-than-stellar matchups. Abreu ranks a little bit ahead of the rest since Kyle Gibson doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but keep in mind he is an elite GB pitcher. Abreu’s hard hit rate is up right now, and Gibson has still allowed a 35% hard hit rate to RHB over the last three years. Abreu is a good GPP target.
Other options – Freddie Freeman, Edwin Encarnacion, Matt Adams, Brandon Belt, Gary Sanchez, Salvador Perez
Joe Mauer/Logan Morrison, MIN ($3200/$3000)
The Twins are my main target as far as offensive teams go today, as they face off against the infamous James Shields. The Chicago righty is his usual gas can self, and has allowed a .227 ISO to LHB since the beginning of last season. Morrison is the better bet to homer (.221 ISO against RHP since last year), but Mauer gets the ideal lineup spot leading off. Both are solid targets in all formats.
Other options – CJ Cron, Josh Bell, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores
Catcher values – Wilson Ramos, Manny Pina, Mitch Garver
Brian Dozier, MIN ($3700)
Dozier’s price isn’t the gift it was the last two days at $3300, but he’s still too cheap not to use in this context. Over the past two years, Dozier has a .224 ISO against RHP and Shields has allowed a .353 wOBA and a .221 ISO to RHB in that span. If I wasn’t so far behind in the HR call, I’d make Dozier may play today, but I’m going to need some cheaper magic there. Dozier is a key play for me in all formats today.
Other options – Ozzie Albies, Asdrubal Cabrera, Whit Merrifield
Jonathan Villar, MIL ($2900)
If Villar leads off, he will challenge Dozier as the best value for cash. Even if he doesn’t, though, he’s still a solid value for a Brewers squad that has an IRT of 4.8 runs. Chad Kuhl walked over four batters per nine innings in 2017, and Francisco Cervelli has a negative wSB- rating over the past three seasons. Villar is a fine value.
Other options – Jason Kipnis, Daniel Robertson
Travis Shaw, MIL ($3800)
Speaking of the Brewers, Shaw is another top play today against the extreme reverse splits of Chad Kuhl. The Pirates righty has dominated RHB in his career but has gotten smashed by lefties for a .380 wOBA and .228 ISO. He’s also allowed 1.95 HR/9 to start off this year. Shaw had an elite .312 ISO last season and is rocking a .250 this year so far. It’s going to be tough to fit bats in this range with Scherzer, but if you decide to go down to Syndergaard then Shaw is a strong target.
Other options – Jose Ramirez, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Jeimer Candelario, Todd Frazier
Cheslor Cuthbert, KC ($2500)
Cuthbert doesn’t carry much upside (even though I caught him for his double-dong game last week), but he’s cheap and will carry the platoon edge against Matt Boyd. The Tigers lefty has allowed a .230 ISO to RHB since the beginning of last season and is backed by an absolutely horrendous bullpen. As long as he’s in the top six, Cuthbert is a very usable value with Scherzer.
Other options – Anthony Rendon, Jose Bautista
Didi Gregorius, NYY ($4400)
Didi is strictly a GPP play, but his .442 wOBA and .368 ISO is wonderful there with the short RF porch. Mike Clevinger is a decent pitcher but he’s allowed a career 33.1% hard hit rate to LHB and is getting a negative park shift in Yankee Stadium. Yankee stacks are solid in GPPs, and Didi is a cornerstone.
Other options – Francisco Lindor, Trea Turner, Eduardo Escobar
Brandon Crawford, SF ($2600)
As someone in FTA+ chat pointed out last night, the Giants are once again becoming a “thing” in DFS, as the team K rate is dropping while the hard contact is rising. Crawford shouldn’t hit any higher than sixth, but he has a .188 ISO against RHP over the last three years and is super cheap at $2600. If you’re paying all the way up for Scherzer (which I think I am), sacrifices have to be made.
Other options – Amed Rosario, Orlando Arcia, Jordy Mercer
Christian Yelich, MIL ($4000)
All the guys ahead of Yelich don’t have eye-popping matchups, and Yelich does (hence the top ranking). I mentioned Chad Kuhl’s extreme platoon splits, and Yelich is a great pure hitter. He doesn’t have the power upside that Shaw does (only a .188 ISO against RHP the last two years), but he also brings speed to the table and hits second in the order. He’s someone I would love to fit in on this slate if possible, but some values will need to open up.
Other options – Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Ronald Acuna, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Gregory Polanco
Max Kepler, MIN ($3300)
Kepler has been hitting third lately for the Twins and would be a strong play if he’s there again. The Twins’ IRT against James Shields is sitting at 4.9 runs, and Kepler posted a solid .350 wOBA and .212 ISO against RHP last season. He’s a solid cheaper option for getting exposure to the Twinkies this afternoon.
Other options – Starling Marte, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, Brett Gardner, Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, Robbie Grossman, Leury Garcia, Adam Frazier