My counterpart Tim Finnegan gave you his Main Slate thoughts a little earlier today. I am here to offer up my thoughts on the Early Only slate. My previous sample lineup from May 8th came in at 206.4 FDP, a lower score than it could have been because I didn't man up and say stack all your Orioles bats. I labored over Mookie Betts or Manny Machado as my "Stud of the Day," and Machado was the one with the gigantic afternoon (54.4 FDP). I luckily had a few Baltimore stacks going and had a pretty good day for myself. Now let's aim to stay hot like those Red Sox...
Jake Arrieta ($12,000) vs. Pittsburgh
Jake Arrieta ($12,000) is a -260 favorite against the Bucs and southpaw Jeff Locke. Locke had a 9.00 ERA and 1.94 WHIP against the Cubs in 2015, thanks in large part to Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo is 7 of 20 with three home runs and two doubles against Locke, and makes for one of the best plays on this early slate. Dexter Fowler ($4,000) against a southpaw is always a fine play, as that is Fowler's strongest side. Even the slumping Jason Heyward has a .368 batting average against Locke in a LvL matchup. All that said to say: Arrieta is on the mound for these Cubs hitters, who already have a big advantage against Locke. The run total is at 8.5 in this one, up from an opening line of 7.0 runs. Cubs bats should roll and Arrieta should be pitching with a lead. He is the supreme cash game option at this time, arguably in all of baseball.
Kendall Graveman ($5,000) vs. Tampa Bay
This pick is not for the faint of heart. But the Athletics bats fared pretty well yesterday, and Graveman gets a big boost here at the Trop. The Rays have a collective .213 batting average against right-handed pitching this season, and they have not seen Graveman much at all. The Rays also have 227 strikeouts against RHPs so far this year, "good" for ninth-worst among all teams. Rostering Graveman allows me to load up on the hitters of my choosing, something I am considering doing on this small slate. Yes, I mainly play tourneys...
Anthony Rizzo ($4,800) vs. Jeff Locke
Rizzo is worth the price of admission, folks. Anyone who does any DFS research at all knows that Rizzo is in play against southpaws. He doesn't show as much power against them but he has good ole' BvP on his side today (three HRs and two doubles in 20 at-bats). I prefer him in a tournament due to the price point, but I won't argue his upside in any format.
Bryce Harper ($4,300) vs. Justin Nicolino
I'm not going to say Nicolino is a bad pitcher, but I am going to say that I will be enjoying Harper at this 4.3K price point for as long as it is available (probably only one more day). With a price this low, I think you can even look to Harper in cash games, due to his insane .456 on-base percentage. Harper has a 1.103 OPS, .391 ISO, and .460 wOBA against southpaws so far in 2016. So yes, he hits them phenomenally well. Also, a cool "statistic" from MLB.com this morning told me the Marlins are the only team who currently have no left-handed pitcher available out of the bullpen--which means that mid-game there is no lefty to attack Harper with. That's good for at least 6 FDP (two walks) right? Lock him in.
Boston Red Sox vs. Collin McHugh
McHugh has been a reverse splits guy historically, but so far in 2016 left-handed hitters have been roughing him up more (.397 wOBA). I tend to lean with history in this case, as McHugh has only allowed 18.6% hard contact to opposite-handed hitters and his HR/FB ratio is inflated to 16.7% so far. McHugh's career mark versus opposite-handed hitters is 10.6% and suggests some positive regression is coming. All that said, the Red Sox are on fire and David Ortiz is in play against any pitcher alive. Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup today, so Jackie Bradley, Jr. gets the nod in the coveted #2 spot in the batting order--making his increased salary worth it. I'm going all-in on Bradley today, so prepare for Armageddon (0 FDP). I just can't sit him while he is this hot. The man is on fire.
Stud of the Day: Jackie Bradley, Jr. vs. Collin McHugh
82 percent of the money in "Vegas" is on Clay Buchholz today, which can only mean one thing--the Red Sox bats are legit. I am not looking too far for my stud, as Jackie Bradley's batting order slot, coupled with the ineptitude shown by McHugh against lefty batters so far in 2016 is too much to pass up. Yes, I expect positive regression for McHugh, but I do not believe that regression begins today. Give me all the Red Sox.
Graveman, Navarro, Ortiz, Lawrie, Shaw, Russell, Betts, Harper, Bradley, Jr.