I survived the crapfest of a pitching day on DK yesterday, but unfortunately not on FD. Tonight is the polar opposite as we’re loaded with high-end starting pitching. The challenge, however, is that we’re also loaded with high-end offenses, highlighted by the red hot A’s going to Coors Field. Tonight could prove to be extremely difficult trying to balance both, so let’s see what we can come up with. I’m on twitter @jac3600.
Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,500)
It’s hard not to call Chris Sale the top pitcher anytime he pitches, but the $1300 discount for Max is more than enough justification I need. Scherzer has been less “Scherzer-like” lately, but the matchup is fantastic against the Marlins who rank 24th in wRC+ against RHP with an above average K rate. Max is also getting a park boost in his favor and will be pitching in a controlled environment while a lot of the rest of the country deals with humidity.
Other options – Chris Sale, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Carrasco, Dallas Keuchel, Madison Bumgarner (this list is crazy)
Chris Archer, TB ($9000)
Archer is too volatile for cash games with all the elite options above him, but he still has as much upside as they do, and perhaps even a touch more today than usual. Archer is coming off a 13-strikeout performance and now will face the Orioles who rank 27th in wRC+ against RHP with the second highest K rate against. Throw in the fact that Manny Machado is now out of town, and there’s little resistance here. The only knock is that the park factor is very hitter friendly, and Archer is often plagued by the long ball.
Other options – Andrew Heaney, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Pivetta, CC Sabathia, Chase Anderson, Luis Perdomo, Anthony DeSclafani
Ian Desmond, COL ($3700)
Desmond has been hitting second against lefties since D.J. LeMahieu went on the DL, and he’s a solid play as long as he’s there again. Even with the Coors factor in play, the Rockies still do not QUITE lead the slate in IRT, but their 5.9 mark is a close second to the Yankees. Desmond has been quite adequate with the platoon edge since the beginning of last year, posting a .349 wOBA and .209 ISO. He’s pretty cheap considering the Coors effect.
Other options – Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Olson, Carlos Santana, Justin Smoak
Greg Bird, NYY ($3000)
The unfortunate wrist injury to Aaron Judge is going to cause some shifting around in the Yankee lineup. Bird will at least move up one spot to sixth which really drives his production for a Yankee squad that has the highest IRT on the slate at 6.1 runs. Bird has a .224 ISO against RHP in his limited major league time, and he’s posted a 33% HHR over his last 15 games. He’s very much in play in cash, and is an elite GPP option.
Other options – Mitch Moreland, Yonder Alonso, Kendrys Morales, Brandon Belt, Yuli Gurriel
Catcher values – Chris Iannetta, Tom Murphy, Evan Gattis, Yasmani Grandal, Elias Diaz
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4000)
It’s possible the Astros go overlooked with a lot of focus on the Coors teams, Yankees, and Red Sox. However, the Astros have an IRT of 5.3 runs and are facing Yovani Gallardo who is an awful pitcher despite trolling us against Cleveland his last start. Gallardo has a 7.08 ERA and a 5/4 K/BB ratio this season, and is backed by a bad Texas bullpen (one who they further seem to be trying to dismantle in trades).
Other options – Jed Lowrie, Whit Merrifield, Gleyber Torres
Josh Harrison, PIT ($2700)
Given the context of this slate, Harrison is the guy you want in cash games. He hit second against Steven Matz yesterday, and now faces a far worse lefty in Jason Vargas. The environment aids pitchers, but Vargas has a horrific 8.60 ERA and 2.63 HR/9 allowed this season. He’s also backed by a bullpen that ranks 29th in xFIP and just traded away Jeurys Familia. Harrison is an awesome value as long as he’s in the top two spots in the order.
Other options – Yoan Moncada, Garrett Hampson, Cesar Hernandez, Neil Walker, Eduardo Nunez
Nolan Arenado, COL ($4500)
Arenado is priced as you’d expect, but I’d make every effort to fit him into cash games, even if you spend ALL the way up for Sale (which you don’t really have to do). The Rockies righty has generated an insane .540 wOBA and .422 ISO against LHP since the beginning of last year and faces Sean Manaea who has really struggled with hard contact to righties. It goes without saying that he’s the top overall hitter on this slate.
Other options – Jose Ramirez, Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Eugenio Suarez, Matt Chapman
David Freese, PIT ($2100)
Freese is not a great hitter, but he’s always been a good platoon play, and his near minimum price tag really helps out on this slate even if it means sacrificing Arenado. Freese hit cleanup yesterday, homered off Matz, and gets to face Vargas today. He could easily outstrip his price tag, and lets you pay up for other top hitters along with a high-end SP.
Other options – Yangervis Solarte, Rafael Devers, Jake Lamb, Matt Duffy
Trevor Story, COL ($4100)
If you fade Arenado for Freese, you can make up for the loss of Arenado’s upside by locking in Story’s. Sean Manaea has not struck out near enough batters to shut down Story, and the Rockies’ SS has busted up LHP to the tune of a .416 wOBA and .316 ISO since the beginning of last year. He’s an elite play in all formats.
Other options – Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien, Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius
Trea Turner, WAS ($3300)
Turner has been cold, but he’s too good a hitter to be this cheap, and he homered yesterday. Turner has blazing speed, and also a solid matchup against Pablo Lopez who had allowed 1.45 HR/9 at the AAA level, and has followed that up with a 1.57 mark in the bigs. Turner’s batting order spot is vital here, as he’s hit anywhere from first to seventh lately.
Other options – Jose Peraza, Andrelton Simmons, Tim Beckham, Jordy Mercer
Khris Davis, OAK ($4700)
Let’s talk about the A’s, who scored 41 runs in their four-game series with the Rangers and now rank fourth in overall wRC+. Davis has six homers in his last five games to go along with a 50% HHR over his last 15. Now he gets to go to Coors and face Kyle Freeland, and Davis has a .247 ISO against LHP over the last three seasons. He’s a bit expensive for cash games, but is one of the best GPP options out there.
Other options – Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Rhys Hoskins, George Springer, Stephen Piscotty
Michael Brantley, CLE ($3400)
Brantley’s price makes no sense on FD. He’s consistently been near 4k but now has dropped to $3400 against Mike Fiers who has allowed a .208 ISO to LHB over the past two years. Brantley has a 37% HHR over his last 15 games and leads the majors in contact rate. The Indians are another team that might be lost in the shuffle despite their IRT of five runs.
Other options – Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Mark Canha, Chad Pinder, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Justin Upton, Kole Calhoun, Cody Bellinger, Jackie Bradley, Nick Williams, Kyle Tucker