Weather: With some nasty weather heading to the midwest, rain could be a factor in several games. Light to moderate is very likely for the Reds @ White Sox and Cubs @ Brewers, while right now it’s looking like the Dodgers @ Rockies stands a pretty good chance of being postponed. Check back later, but I’d be very hesitant about using any players from these games.
MLB Injuries: MLB.com’s injury page is a great stop in your daily prep just to make sure you’re up to date on the latest injury news. And right now you can keep updated on 90 percent of the injuries just by checking out the Rangers section.
Vegas Lines: I like to see the run totals expected by Vegas, so OddsShark.com is my next stop. Of course the Dodgers – Rockies game was projected to see the highest run total at 10.5, but I’m going to ignore that game in my picks with the weather issues likely wiping that game out. The next highest run totals are for the Red Sox @ Toronto and Reds @ White Sox games at 9.0 runs.
Probable Pitchers: I’ll check a couple sites to be sure, but ProbablePitchers.com is my favorite place to check out each day’s starting pitchers. Of course FanDuel also has this info as well. I just like to verify things on a couple of sites.
Batter vs. Pitcher: I’m not much of a believer in Batter vs. Pitcher numbers. You can read why here. If you do the BvP thing, the two sites that present it in the most helpful way are DailyBaseballData.com, where you can also link directly to FanGraphs and Baseball Reference pages for each player, and on RotoWire, where they have adjustable criteria to help you find the most extreme matchups.
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FanDuel Strategy for the Day
My FanDuel strategy always starts with pitching. In 50/50 contests, getting a win from your starting pitcher is a huge leg up on finishing in the top half of the field. Taking a chance on a lower priced pitcher may be an option in larger tournaments, but chasing wins in 50/50 contests is a necessary evil, so I’m looking for an ace who’s matched up against a weak offense and a shaky opposing pitcher.
There’s really no perfect matchup tonight, as the pitchers I like most are matched up against other quality pitchers. Sonny Gray probably comes the closest pitching in Seattle against Taijuan Walker and the Mariners. With no other obvious mismatches I look for the best pitchers matched up against struggling offenses. Matt Harvey against the Phillies jumps out at me and Michael Wacha facing the Pirates is another nice option.
Top Stacking Options for the Day
If the weather forecast changes in Chicago, both starting pitchers make nice stacking options, with Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu in particular being strong plays. Since that game is in danger I won’t list them here.
- Toronto Blue Jays vs. Wade Miley (LHP) – Wade Miley has been horrid this year and it’s actually been left-handed hitters who have done the most damage. Regardless, I’m still eyeing the big three right-handed hitters of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion, and maybe including Devon Travis though his price tag is quickly rising. Miley will likely be a decent pitcher at some point this year, but I’ll jump on the pile while he’s struggling.
- San Diego Padres vs. Jeremy Hellickson (RHP) – After watching Hellickson for the last two years in Tampa, I’m probably tainted. Either way the Padres big bats should do some damage; “Hell Boy” will just make sure it happens at an annoyingly slow pace.
Top Starting Pitchers for the Day
The following rankings take into account skill of pitcher, quality of opposing offense, quality of opposing pitcher, ballpark factors, and of course price at FanDuel.
- Sonny Gray ($9,400) vs. Seattle Mariners – I’ve been a big proponent of Taijuan Walker, but there’s no denying how bad he’s been early this season. Meanwhile Gray has been on the other end of the spectrum. Surprisingly Gray actually has a lower career ERA outside of O.co Stadium and Safeco isn’t exactly Coors Field west.
- Matt Harvey ($10,600) vs. Philadelphia Phillies – This is maybe the best guarantee of a quality outing you could imagine. The only negative is that Harvey is opposed by Cole Hamels, who will likely be up for the Mets. Still, when it’s said and done, I may go with Harvey over Gray just for the safety.
- David Price ($10,900) vs. Kansas City Royals – The Royals offense has scored the third most runs in all of baseball, but this is David Price. He’s the most expensive pitcher on FanDuel tonight, so I’m not likely to use him over Gray or Harvey; that may not stop him from throwing a complete game shutout. If you like him best, go with it.
Top Options at Each Position
Here are two choices at each position; one is the best bet for production and the other is a lower priced option with a favorable outlook.
Stephen Vogt ($3,800) vs. Taijuan Walker (RHP) – Vogt will slow down and Walker will likely right the ship… but not tonight. Left-handed hitters are batting .375 against Walker so far and Vogt should have plenty of RBI opportunities hitting behind some other very hot hitters.
Wilson Ramos ($2,800) vs. Eric Stults (LHP) – I know the power has been AWOL, but Ramos is still hitting .319 this year and .450 against LHP (.320 career). And Eric Stults is not exactly a Clayton Kershaw type left-hander. For the price, Ramos may represent the best catcher play of the day.
Chris Davis ($3,700) vs Adam Warren (RHP) – Warren has been a study in mediocrity this year and as you would expect, left-handed batters fare much better against him than righties. Toss in the short porch and Davis’ nice on-base skills and this looks like a safe play with plenty of upside.
Ryan Zimmerman ($2,700) vs. Eric Stults (LHP) – Zimmerman has started a bit slow, but he’s a career .308 hitter vs. lefties and you already know how I feel about Stults. If you spend the money on Harvey or Price today, going cheap here may help you build a competitive offense.
Devon Travis ($3,4000) vs. Wade Miley (LHP) – It pains me that Travis is already an expensive option, but against Wade Miley, I’ll pay the price. Whether he’s scoring them or knocking them in, Travis could add to his impressive rookie campaign tonight.
Dustin Pedroia ($2,900) vs. Aaron Sanchez (RHP) – I don’t get it. Pedroia is scoring as many Fantasy points as any second baseman outside of Travis and Jose Altuve, but his FanDuel salary is below the likes of Rey Navarro and Justin Turner and only 100$ more than Dan Uggla… Yes, Dan Uggla. I’ll just deal with it and use Pedroia, as Aaron Sanchez likes to put plenty of runners on base. This TOR – BOS game could have a football score tonight.
Josh Donaldson ($3,600) vs. Wade Miley (LHP) – Sometimes I worry about hurting a pitcher’s feelings by targeting them, but in Miley’s case, I’m pretty sure his $20 million extension will help him make it through the trauma. Donaldson is always a good pick. As one of my 50 Hitters To Use Against LHP, today he’s almost a must-have. An extra 2.5 points per 10 plate appearances will do that for you.
Danny Valencia ($2,200) vs. Wade Miley (LHP) – Valencia is hitting .533 vs. LHP this year and .333 over his career. Make sure he’s in the lineup tonight, as he’s been dealing with an ankle sprain, but if he is I’m not sure there’s a bigger bargain going.
Ian Desmond ($3,000) vs. Eric Stultz (LHP) – Starting to think I should have added the Nats to my stacking options. Desmond hasn’t gotten hot yet, but tonight should be a chance to get started. I also like that he can add points to the board with his bat or legs.
Xander Bogaerts ($2,600) vs. Aaron Sanchez (RHP) – I’d rather go with a more consistent player or at least a platoon advantage, but many of the top SS options are playing in games threatened by rain. Bogaerts is hitting decently and Sanchez typically puts plenty of runners on base. At $2,600 that’s a pretty good formula for success.
Justin Upton ($4,300) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (RHP) – It’s been kind of quiet, but there aren’t too many outfielders scoring better than Upton on FanDuel. The five stolen bases are a bit of a surprise after eight total in each of the last two years. Upton has a slight platton advantage against lefties, but Hellickson more than makes up for that.
Michael Brantley($4,200) vs. Mike Pelfrey (RHP) – The early back issues were a concern, but Brantley is doing a perfectly acceptable impersonation of his 2014 season. He’s got the platoon advantage hitting .347 vs. LHP this season and .337 last year, and he might add a few points with his legs as well.
Kole Calhoun ($3,300) vs. Roberto Hernandez (RHP) – Calhoun had been batting cleanup for a few games, but has now moved back to the lead-off slot. Either way, he’s hitting well and Hernandez has no real weapon to deal with left-handed hitters.
Adam Eaton ($2,500) vs. Jason Marquis (RHP) – Again, watch the weather, but the price here is right. Eaton has not really gotten rolling yet, but Marquis should help with that. The White Sox offense should be able to plate some runs against this righty retread and Eaton should be in the middle of it.
Travis Snider ($2,200) vs. Adam Warren (RHP) – Snider is not exactly setting the world on fire, but the Orioles should do some damage against Warren. At this rock bottom price the RBI potential is pretty solid if Snider is in the lineup.
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