The Main Slate on FanDuel for April 16th has seven games available, with a start time of 7:05pm ET. Remember to check those lineup cards prior to lock to make sure your players are indeed in the game. And always check for inclement weather.
Pitching: Mad Max or Bust?
Even with a rocky start in his last outing against Atlanta, Max Scherzer ($11,500) still rebounded for the win and a solid 36 FDP. That would seem to be his floor against the lowly Philadelphia Phillies, who have yet to muster 10 hits in a single game this season and managed only four hits against Joe Ross and company last night.
Johnny Cueto ($10,200) and Scott Kazmir ($8,900) will square off in Los Angeles, where Kazmir will face the same Giants lineup that knocked him around just six days ago (in San Francisco). Perhaps a return home will aid Kazmir, but even though Kazmir is a tiny -112 favorite, 67% of the money is on Cueto and 93% of money is on the 'over' in this one. So apparently the betting public likes the Giants to get after Kazmir yet again. For my part, I generally avoid games where two good pitchers face each other, and this one is a good example. I don't feel great about spending the $10,200 on Cueto when I can just go up to Scherzer against a far inferior opponent.
Aaron Nola ($7,100) is an interesting choice, as he has managed 42 and 36 FDP in his first two turns of the season, despite not getting the win in either contest. Other than Bryce Harper, the Nationals are generally not frightening--so an effort similar to his last outing where he allowed four runs over 7.0 innings with solid strikeout totals would not surprise me. I am really uninterested in him as a cash game option, however.
Finally, Jon Niese ($6,300) bears mentioning due to being a -150 favorite at home against Taylor Jungmann ($6,900) and the Milwaukee Brewers. Jungmann was demolished in his prior start against the Cardinals, as he allowed eight runs and eight hits over 2.0 innings of work. That is a stupendously bad -12 FDP, in case you were wondering. Niese is pitching in a game with an O/U of 7.5 and has 81% of the betting public on his side at the moment. 98% of money is on the over, however, so if you roster Niese you are expecting something like three to four runs allowed and hoping for a victory (worth a whopping 12 points on FanDuel). If Niese doesn't get the win you may be in trouble, as he doesn't strike many batters out (career 6.99 K/9). He is a bit risky for my tastes, especially with Ryan Braun coming off of a double-dong game just last night. One final point on Niese is that his command has been excellent, as he has only walked two batters in his 11 innings of work so far.
I like Scherzer in cash games, but I'd take Nola in cash games if I felt good enough about my offensive pieces. Cueto and Niese are interesting for tournaments.
Hitting: Welcome to Globe Life Park in Arlington, Baby
The game with the highest run total of the slate belongs to the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. The total is set at 9.5. While Colby Lewis ($7,900) is a tiny -115 favorite at home, 60% of the money is on Yovani Gallardo ($8,000) and the Orioles. 83% of the money is on the over, so the betting public likes another high-scoring affair in this one. Last night I paid the price (with no return) as I penciled in Nomar Mazara ($2,900) into one of my tournament lineups instead of Mitch Moreland ($2,900). Mazara was red-hot and batting 2nd in the order, so that titled things in his favor. Of course Moreland went yard and made me rue my lack of guts. Mazara is still the safer play, but if you decide to stack Rangers today don't forget about Moreland, who owns a career .269/.337/.473 slash and .204 ISO against right-handed pitchers in Globe Life Park.
For tournaments, the San Francisco Giants bats are in play, including the left-handed ones. Kazmir has had a case of reverse splits over the last two seasons, with left-handed hitters performing better against him those years. Last year LHBs had a .269/.312/.462 slash and .332 wOBA against Kazmir, while RHBs were relegated to a .221/.301/.344 slash and .287 wOBA. Kazmir is still a very good pitcher, so tread lightly here. I am guessing the Giants bats will have some slightly more elevated ownership levels in cash games than they should due to roughing Kazmir up for six runs on seven hits (three home runs) in just four innings on April 10th. I prefer to look elsewhere for my cash game options (BAL @ TEX, for instance).
Justin Verlander ($8,600) got roughed up by the Pirates in his previous start and will take on the Houston Astros and Collin McHugh ($8,900) at Minute Maid Park tonight. McHugh is a -128 favorite and 52% of the public is on his side. That makes this game a toss-up, but 76% of the money is on the over and the run total is at 8.5. That means some Houston bats are in play for me, including the right-handed ones. Verlander has had a case of reverse splits the last few years, and even his career arc shows a slightly better performance allowed to right-handed hitters. I prefer Carlos Correa ($4,400) over Jose Altuve ($4,800) if I am only picking a bat or two from this game. Saving $400 and getting the #3 hitter who happens to be a shortstop seems like some okay game theory to me.
Stud of the Day
Manny Machado ($4,500) was a popular play yesterday against southpaw Martin Perez, but his preferred split is against right-handed pitchers. Machado owns a career .356 wOBA against pitchers of the same handedness, compared to a (still solid) .319 mark against southpaws. His opponent, Colby Lewis, does perform better against RHBs (career .317 wOBA compared to .354 against LHBs) but all that means is you can feel good about stacking Baltimore bats, eh?