If you have not experienced a wide range of emotions over the past few days given the state of unrest our country is in, then one of two possibilities must be true: either you do not watch the news or you are amazingly numb to the suffering of others. I am deeply saddened and having a difficult time processing all of these acts of violence occurring in our country. I do not claim to have all of the answers. I only aim to be honest, and right now all I can come up with is sadness and disbelief. God’s peace to all those affected by the recent tragedies in our nation. It felt wrong to discuss daily fantasy sports—something comparatively (and massively) unimportant—without first acknowledging these current events. All that said, baseball is still being played today. Let's check out the slate.
Our own Tim Finnegan wrote up why you should start Corey Kluber against the Yankees yesterday (and that was a great call) so I will steal the words right out of his mouth (and give him credit):
Corey Kluber ($10,900) faces a bottom third Yankees offense in Cleveland. The Yankees have an 88 wRC+, 9th worst in baseball, and get a park downgrade moving away from Yankee Stadium. Kluber has a 3.79 ERA, but a 2.96 FIP and a strand rate (62%) that will very likely come up significantly in the second half which should help normalize his ERA.
Danny Salazar ($10,700) vs. New York Yankees
Now consider that the Yankees are playing in a day game after a night game and face the nearly-dominant Danny Salazar, who boasts a 2.36 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 85.6% strand rate so far in 2016. Salazar’s strand rate is excellent and likely to regress towards his career rate of 77.0%, but he has some room for regression with that sub-3.00 ERA. Salazar strikes out left-handed hitters 30.3% of the time and has an FIP of 2.52 against them. That theoretically nullifies the stronger parts of that New York lineup. RHH have fared better against him, as Salazar has a 3.94 FIP against them. But he still strikes them out 26.7% of the time...so are you really afraid of Alex Rodriguez? Salazar is in play for me in any format on Saturday, largely because of fading the next guy...
Jose Quintana ($9,300) vs. Atlanta Braves
I do not want any part of Jose Quintana today. The Atlanta Braves just shelled another lefty named Chris Sale (maybe you’ve heard of him) on Friday night. Prior to that, the bulk of the DFS community was laboring over whether to roster Justin Nicolino against the Braves or not, just because he is a lefty. The Marlins won that game 7-5, but not because of Nicolino’s line (5.0IP, 7H, 4ER, 1BB, 1K, 1HR allowed).
Still, the Braves have been in the running for the worst team in baseball against southpaws all year long. Atlanta has an .089 ISO (30th), .273 wOBA (29th), 67 wRC+ (29th), and a K-rate of 21.0% (17th) against LHPs in 2016. Those numbers are terrible. And yet, recent history against Sale on Friday (10 hits, 8 earned runs, three homers) suggests that perhaps the Braves are figuring something out against lefties. After all, the law of averages suggests that professional baseball players can’t be this bad at something for an entire season...right? Or maybe it’s just good old variance and we’ll see Quintana toss a gem on Saturday. I don’t know for certain. If I did, this DFS racket would be a heck of a lot easier. For now, I’m not dying to play Quintana when I like some other similarly-priced options. But I am open to finding reasons to do so as the day wears on, since I know Atlanta has been bad against LHPs for the bulk of 2016.
Carlos Martinez ($8,900) vs. Milwaukee
Carlos Martinez ($8,900) seems underpriced against a Brewers team that just doesn’t hit RHPs very well and is the main reason I probably won't use Quintana much today. The Brewers have a .148 ISO (23rd), .313 wOBA (19th), and a 88 wRC+ (24th) against RHPs in 2016. They also have a 26.0% K-rate, which is the worst in the league. Furthermore, C-Mart has been slaying right-handed bats all season long, to the tune of a pitiful .182/.232/.192 slash and .195 wOBA. He is striking out RHH 23.0% of the time and has a 2.09 FIP against them. The Brewers boast a few right-handed threats in Ryan Braun, Chris Carter, and Jonathan Lucroy, but I am siding with Martinez in this one. C-Mart’s shiny 61.1% GB rate and 21.1% hard contact rate to RHH only solidifies that notion. Martinez has been worse against left-handed hitters (4.96 FIP, 16.2% K-rate) but that basically means the only bat to be scared of in this lineup is Scooter Gennett. I'll take those odds, especially since the Cardinals will square off against the reeling Chase Anderson (5.49 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 17.4% K-rate).
If I had to rank these three in order of preference, I would go Martinez, Salazar, Quintana.
Boston Red Sox vs. LHP Matt Moore
Matt Moore allows 35.4% hard contact and 1.61 HR/9 to RHH. He has a paltry 36.2% GB rate as well, so expect one or two of these Red Sox to park one against him. Brock Holt injured his left ankle on a steal of second base on Friday night, and Bryce Brentz entered the game as his replacement. Brentz slashed .321/.367/.500 with an OPS of .867 against LHPs at Triple-A Pawtucket this year and is a great cost-saving option with upside (only $2,100). Hanley Ramirez (.258 ISO, .445 wOBA), Mookie Betts (.242 ISO, .311 wOBA), and Xander Bogaerts (.138 ISO, .389 wOBA) are all in play as well. Feel free to fade Dustin Pedroia (.069 ISO, .312 wOBA) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.133 ISO, .320 wOBA). Note: the Red Sox acquired Aaron Hill from the Brewers and this will be his first start against a southpaw for his new team. He's actually shown more power against right-handed pitching this year (.149 ISO compared to a .104 ISO vs LHPs) but he is another right-handed hitter to contend with and still has a .330 wOBA against lefties this year. I won't be playing him due to a lack of upside, but if you chose to at only $3,000 I wouldn't hate the pick.
Lesser-known Cleveland Indians vs. LHP C.C. Sabathia
Almost every major Cleveland bat is far worse against LHPs than they are against RHPs. You can safely fade Jason Kipnis (.107 ISO, .278 wOBA) against a southpaw—or you can be contrarian and ride the hot streak. I will likely play the larger set of numbers and just fade Kipnis. Francisco Lindor (..124 ISO, .328 wOBA) and Carlos Santana (.101 ISO, .275 wOBA) are also both worse against southpaws. Only Mike Napoli (.190 ISO, .329 wOBA) and Yan Gomes (.190 ISO, .346 wOBA) look appealing other than the obvious choice of Rajai Davis (.159 ISO, .328 wOBA). Tyler Naquin (.278 ISO, .378 wOBA) is a sneaky option, but he costs $3,900 on FanDuel so he is tournament-only for me. He will likely bat 8th in the order, which seems criminal.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chase Anderson
Anderson is allowing 42.8% hard contact to right-handed hitters, putting Aledmys Diaz and Randal Grichuk squarely in play. I probably won't pay up for the eroding Matt Holliday, but I would for Stephen Piscotty, even though we prefer him against LHPs. Greg Garcia will likely bat first, and makes an excellent punt option for the minimum salary on FanDuel.
For those who don't know, I have been focusing primarily on single-entry GPPs lately. I opened up last week about how difficult it is to embrace variance in the fake game, but I am being public with the struggle (the struggle is real) hoping to flesh out my errors so that I can learn from them. With that in mind, here is my tentative lineup for Saturday's Early Only slate on FanDuel:
Carlos Martinez, Yan Gomes, Mike Napoli, Greg Garcia, Manny Machado, Aledmys Diaz, Randal Grichuk, Tyler Naquin, Rajai Davis
This theoretically gives me the 7, 1, 2 for STL and the 7, 9, 1, 4 for CLE with Machado as my one-off. Definitely not stacks that make total sense, but darn if you don't have to be about insane with your lineups to take down a GPP. Given the Indians' overall woes against LHPs, this one does not make total sense. But I like riding the hot streak against an eroding pitcher. Also, if the Redbirds can beat up on Chase Anderson that just gives my pitcher the lead to work with, right? We'll see how it goes and I'll update my thoughts in the comments as the day wears on. Good luck today, champs.