July 18, 2016 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
Welcome back from the All-Star break! I used the time off for a little recharge from DFS, and it feels good to get back! Tonight, we have a very interesting set of pitchers going. Some obvious plays, some non-obvious plays, and some great fading targets.
Jose Fernandez: One of the night’s most obvious plays. You don’t need me to spell this one out. He strikes out an insane number of batters and faces a PHI offense which—though it might not K as much anymore—still doesn’t have much pop. Yes, PHI did have a great run before the AS break, but they looked pretty unimpressive in their first series back. Perhaps Fernandez comes out flat, but I see that as very unlikely. He’s a very strong cash game play. You could use him for GPPs, but that $13,800 price tag on DK really limits you. There is a great chance that someone puts up at least his value for a far lower price point. I’m going to fade for GPPs, but that’s not to say he’s a bad pick at all.
Chris Sale: Sale is a maddening pitcher for DFS purposes. He has shown that he can still post elite scores, and he’s an innings eater, too; he has also shown he can get blasted or even post pretty weak scores with regularity far beyond what you want to see at his price. The matchup is pretty mediocre, but Sale has great numbers vs SEA. His price tag ($12,200) is high, and though he could hit value—he certainly could hit value—I’m looking cheaper for value tonight. That price makes it hard to afford the hitters you’ll want.
Nick Tropeano: I like this pick a lot. Tropeano strikes out a lot of batters, and though TEX doesn’t K as much, they really struggle against fly ball pitchers, of which Tropeano is one. He gives up more hard-hit balls than I like to see, and of course, fly balls can turn into HRs, but I like his upside as much tonight as I did when he last faced TEX (6.2 IP, 0 R, 6 Ks, 28 DK pts). At $7900, I’m a big fan for both GPP and cash.
Corey Kluber: I like Kluber a lot tonight, too. Yes, he’s facing KC—so sometimes, the Ks can be harder to come by—but Kluber is the type of pitcher that can overcome that. KC is a pitcher-friendly park, as well, and he’s a pretty good-sized favorite. I like him a lot for cash, as he comes at a big discount to Fernandez (and a small discount to Sale). I have the same issues as I do with Fernandez/Sale for GPPs. Kluber can pitch a CGSO any night. Even when he’s off, he can go 7 or 8 innings. However, at his $11,900 price, he limits the rest of your roster. I’m going to fade, but like Sale or Fernandez, Kluber can get the value that you want for GPPs.
Mike Fiers: I don’t know if I dislike him as much as the sheet does tonight, but I don’t see a particularly big chance he scores respectably tonight. He does get the favorable park, but he’s been really hittable, his Ks are down, and OAK isn’t the easiest team to K. Crazy cheap ($5500), but not nearly enough upside for me to want to go there.
AJ Griffin: Griffin, like Tropeano, is a fly ball pitcher. The Angels, unlike Texas, thrives against fly ball pitchers. Though Tropeano has a reasonable number of Ks, LAA doesn’t strike out at all. The wind is blowing out tonight. There’s a decent chance his fly balls turn into HRs, but even if they don’t, his upside is so limited that it’s not worth looking here.
Edinson Volquez: I get why he’s down here. When he’s off, he’s really off, and he’s facing CLE, who has been really hot for like 2 months now. He’s also been a little rough recently, and he’s facing Kluber. So I get it. I will say, though, that he’s a big ground ball pitcher, and CLE does not do well against ground ball pitchers. At all. Volquez has one start against CLE this year: 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 walks, 4 Ks, a win, and 21.6 DK pts (one month ago). Though it’s more likely he gets hit tonight, it’s also possible he doesn’t suck.
Matt Boyd: Boyd’s not as bad as this, but this is still not a great matchup. He has shut down TOR twice (that’s good!) but MIN is more dangerous against lefties than TOR is. He also has blow-up potential. At $4800, he’s not a bad dart throw for GPPs, but there are better darts to throw tonight.
John Lester? Huge K upside and a decent favorite. I think he makes for a great cash play at a reasonable price tag of $9400. Likely very popular as a result, but a good play.
Kevin Gausman? I like this matchup for GPPs. Slight favorite, and the guy has some serious reverse splits. People will see R/L matchup and avoid at Yankee Stadium, but the upside is very high here.
Ivan Nova? Mike Leake? Two guys to stack against. Their respective opponents (BAL and SD) have destroyed ground ball pitchers this year, and these guys are big ground ball pitchers. Vegas agrees on Nova and disagrees on Leake. I think that makes SD hitters a sneaky play.
Christian Friedrich? If he keeps the walks down, he’s a great play against STL. If not, look out!
Drew Smyly? Very, very interesting GPP play tonight. He’s at Coors, is a fly ball pitcher, has some pretty awful peripheral numbers, but a very sneaky K upside. Likely will give up a few runs, but could also K 10+. Give him a thought.
Who do you stack? DET has the highest implied runs on the day, but not sure they make for the best stack. I like BAL and LAA the best. You can always stack Coors, but tonight, that’s a very chalky play. People will also flock to MIN/DET, and though you should have some exposure, don’t go overboard. SD is my sneaky stack pick. Kemp, Myers, Ramirez, Norris, Wallace, Solarte, Rosales, Schimpf, Jankowski—any or all could have a big night.
Good luck, and I’m happy to be back writing these again!