Reminder: Always double check the lineup card before rosters lock to make sure that a player you've chosen to roster is playing that day, and check the weather to make sure your players won't get rained out of their game.
My general strategy on FanDuel is to pick the pitcher I think has the best chance to put up the highest point total regardless of price and then find value with hitters (I don't know if this is the best way of going about things, but it's generally worked pretty well for me). I take price into consideration with pitchers if a few guys are close. The top two options today are Clayton Kershaw ($13,400) and Jacob deGrom ($11,600).
Everybody knows why Kershaw is so great, but deGrom's emergence has been fueled by a significant rise in fastball velocity, the development of a filthy 90 mph slider, and fantastic pitch sequencing that makes hitters have no idea what is coming next. deGrom throws 5 pitches, and they're all nasty: a four seamer that touches 98 mph, a two seamer that moves a lot, a hard slider, a curve, and a nasty change up. Here are some of my thoughts on each:
Kershaw: Kershaw faces an A's offense that has a mediocre 96 wRC+ vs LHP on the year (and has also traded Ben Zobrist) in a park in Oakland that is very pitcher friendly. The Dodger offense, which is the #2 offense vs LHP by wRC+ at 114, faces LHP Felix Doubront, who is below average. deGrom faces an Orioles offense that is 8th vs RHP in wRC+ at 102 in a hitter friendly park in Camden Yards. The Dodger offense will likely be in superior position to give Kershaw run support, and Kershaw will be much more likely to prevent runs against the worse offense in the better pitching environment.
deGrom: the A's have the third lowest K% vs LHP at 17.2% (although the Ben Zobrist trade will make this rise to some degree) while the Orioles have the third highest K% vs RHP at 22.2%. This will make the difference in deGrom's K% (26.9%) and Kershaw's K% (32.7%) less dramatic. deGrom also provides huge salary relief in comparison with Kershaw; an additional $1,800 in spending on hitting gives a fantasy owner much more roster flexibility.
Bryce Harper in Coors Field against a significantly below average RHP is the most elite of elite plays a fantasy owner will come across all year. His 210 wRC+ vs RHP is Ruth-ian, but he will cost $5,700 and practically cannot be fit into a lineup with Kershaw as the pitcher. A fantasy owner will have to look at lower priced pitching options, like Garrett Richards ($8,800) vs the White Sox, who have a bottom third wRC+ vs RHP and play on the road in Anaheim.
Yesterday, I wrote the following about CC Sabathia's scheduled matchup with the Minnesota Twins in Yankee stadium:
Twins RHB vs C.C. Sabathia
CC, one of the great pitchers of his era, is in a sad decline, and in particular he has been woefully ineffective vs righties. He has faced about 450 right handed batters this year and is running a hideous 5.33 FIP with a .321/.371/.529 opp. slash (for emphasis: that is a .900 opp. OPS). Twins hitters get a large park upgrade in Yankee Stadium. Brian Dozier ($3,600) has hit LHP to a 129 wRC+ and .220 ISO over 356 PA from 2014-15. Trevor Plouffe ($2,800) has hit LHP to a 118 wRC+ and .177 ISO over 305 PA from 2014-15. Unfortunately, monster power hitter Miguel Sano ($3,500) is listed at the same position as Plouffe, so a fantasy owner will have to choose between the two. I suspect Sano will be the much higher owned of the two.
CC got scratched from his start yesterday and got bumped to today, and I'll stick with what I wrote above. Plouffe's price has gone up $200 to $3,000, while Dozier has gone to $3,500 and Sano to $3,600.
A fantasy owner will need multiple salary relief plays to fit Kershaw into a lineup. Here are some $2,000s range options:
3B: Mike Moustakas ($2,200) vs Raisel Iglesias
Moustakas has hit RHP to a 128 wRC+ and .157 ISO and gets a huge park upgrade in Cincinnati. Iglesias' MLB numbers are a very small sample, but his FIP is over 4 vs LHB and the projection systems have him performing at a below average level the rest of the season.
OF: Seth Smith ($2,300) vs Chi Chi Gonzalez
In 310 PA vs RHP this year, Smith has hit them to a 117 wRC+ and .190 ISO. The projection systems peg Gonzalez at an ERA over 5 the rest of the year.
C: John Jaso ($2,500) vs Scott Feldman
Jaso has hit RHP to a 135 wRC+ and .175 ISO in 407 PA since the start of 2014 and has been slotted leadoff, giving him extra chances at PAs. He faces a below average RHP.
OF: Yasiel Puig ($2,800) vs Felix Doubront
Puig has battled injuries this year but is still hitting LHP: he has a 153 wRC+ and .264 ISO in 2015 to add into his career 146 wRC+/.183 ISO. Puig faces a below average LHP in an offense that is capable of scoring a lot of runs.
You can follow me on Twitter at @TimFinn521