The early slate on FanDuel has seven games and begins at 1:07pm ET. These picks come solely from that slate.
Jose Fernandez ($12,000) at Atlanta is where I am going if I'm paying the gold price at pitcher. I like the park (Turner Field) and the opposing pitcher (Lucas Harrell). Fernandez has been death to RHH so far (29.2% hard contact and a .165/.221/.238 slash with a .207 wOBA). LHH have enjoyed a making hard contact 37.4% of the time, however, and the slash is a slightly-improved .220/.310/.329 with a .281 wOBA allowed. Freddie Freeman ($3,400) is the best left-handed hitter the Braves can offer (their best hitter, period) and has some solid BvP totals against Fernandez--a .294 average and a home run in 17 AB. Still, rostering Freeman seems like grasping at air, especially at his price. I can get Eric Hosmer for $200 less against the recently-horrible Aaron Nola? I'll pass on Freeman, and roster Fernandez.
I am "off" of Chris Sale ($11,200) as he travels to face the Houston Astros and their right-handed heavy lineup. His opponent, Doug Fister, has actually been very reliable in 2016 (8-4, 3.36 ERA) and those Astros RHH scare me a little. Minute Maid Park plays to right-handed power, and the Astros are littered with those types of hitters. Chris Sale has allowed 11 home runs (out of 13) to RHH this season, as well as a 30.2% hard contact rate (compared to 18.4% hard to LHH). Sale is still elite; right-handed hitters are only slashing .211/.262/.338 with a .261 wOBA against him...those are hardly "gas can" type numbers. Still, all things considered, I feel much better about paying the $800 more and rolling with Fernandez today. And I'm a Braves fan.
In the middle tier, I like Justin Verlander ($8,800) in a "get right" sort of game against a sneaky-bad-against-RHP team known as the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have a 91 wRC+ (20th) and a .304 wOBA (24th) against RHP so far in 2016. Against southpaws, we love to play the Rays. But against RHPs they are a team you should be attacking.
Danny Duffy ($8,000) has been on a "quality start tear" and gets the anemic Philadelphia bats today, who have managed a pitiful .101 ISO (29th) and 60 wRC+ (30th) against southpaws in 2016. The Phillies only walk 6.6% of the time and strikeout 23.7% of the time, "good" for the seventh-worst mark in the league against LHP. You get the idea. Duffy has a prime matchup here.
That is about as deep as I am willing to dig with starting pitching today; I want no part of Aaron Nola until he shows me something positive, and Blake Snell has a nightmarish matchup with the Detroit Tigers. Snell's 16:11 K/BB ratio is not inspiring and the Tigers just dominated a southpaw on Friday night in Drew Smyly. If Snell has poor command again today, the Tigers could be all over him in a hurry.
Basically we are asking ourselves this question: Which team has the best chance to put up a 10-spot in their matchup for today? I don't see a clear-cut top option, but there are a couple of possibilities.
The Detroit Tigers are a promising bet against the left-handed Snell, especially after putting up 10 runs on Friday night. Victor Martinez (.203 ISO, 150 wRC+), Nick Castellanos (.276 ISO, 96 wRC+), and Ian Kinsler (.209 ISO, 157 wRC+) are all solid bets against lefties. However, Miguel Cabrera has managed a meager .176/.315/.284 slash and .108 ISO against LHP so far in 2016. I made the mistake of using Cabrera on Friday night instead of getting Victor Martinez into my Detroit stack (I used James McCann instead). Both McCann and Cabrera had solid days, but neither had the double-dong upside of V-Mart. I won't be making that mistake again. Cameron Maybin ($3,300) is my preferred fourth option in this offense instead of Justin Upton--but I'd settle for J-Up if I needed to save a little coin. I'd be sad, though.
The Kansas City Royals are on my radar today against Aaron Nola. Nola hasn't made it through four innings in any of his previous four starts, and posted a 15.23 ERA over that stretch of time (stat courtesy of MLB.com). Until he shows me he can rebound, I am picking on him. The only big choice here is whether to ride the white-hot Kendrys Morales or save $700 and roster Eric Hosmer, as both are 1B-eligible on FanDuel. I think if you can fit Morales in you have to do it and respect the hot streak. The other "stackables" are Salvador Perez (I love when my catcher fits into my stack), Alex Gordon, and either Cheslor Cuthbert or Whit Merrifield. I personally like Cuthbert a little more than Merrifield, but Merrifield has the better batting order spot.
***All of the above was written prior to discovering that the left-handed Shawn Morimando is pitching against Toronto instead of Trevor Bauer. That means all Toronto bats are in play, at least through the top five spots in the order. I particularly like Michael Saunders at his 3K price point. And I'll be using Edwin Encarnacion over Kendrys Morales for the exact same price.***
Sample Lineup (GPP)
Danny Duffy, Victor Martinez, Edwin Encarnacion, Derek Dietrich, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Saunders, Ian Desmond, Kolten Wong
***After the 19-inning affair on Friday night between CLE and TOR, some of these bats may get the day off. If that happens, I will amend the sample lineup.***