July 21, 2016 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
Good evening everyone (at least those of you who read this)! I hope you’re cashing, and I hope I’m helping even a little bit. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for me lately, but the good part about DFS, everything you’ve done in the past is, well, in the past.
Tonight’s slate is a lot like last night’s: a couple expensive (pretty safe) guys at the top, and then a whole bunch of relatively cheap guys. The strategy on nights like these is different. All things equal, there is little merit to going with the top guys unless they have fantastic matchups. There is a lot of opportunity in the hitters, and you force yourself to go value if you run with the big guys.
But let’s jump in!
Adam Wainwright: As Strasburg pitched in the early game, Wainwright holds the top spot tonight and is one of the night’s most obvious plays. The Padres can actually mash lefties, but they are pretty dreadful against righties, and STL doesn’t offer much of a park bump. He’s a big favorite tonight. Now, there is a bit of caution to be noted here: his SIERA is a not-very-good 4.27. Pretty much everyone’s SIERA is garbage tonight. He does not K an elite number of guys, and let’s not forget how much he struggled early on this season. He costs $10,400 on DK. His opposing pitcher—Cashner—is really bad, so a win is likely, thus lending some merit to using him on FD. I think the risk is too much given that virtually everyone else is dirt cheap. Find a win from them. Wainwright’s not a bad play, but he’s not a play I’m making tonight.
Mike Foltynewicz: So we jump right to Coors! But before you scoff at this one, I think you should give it some serious consideration. First of all, there’s crap to choose from tonight. Second, Folty has the best SIERA of anyone going (3.96). Third, he induces over 10% swinging strikes, a good mark. Fourth, he limits hard hits better than almost anyone else tonight (and among him and the two who do better in that metric, Koehler and Wright, Folty keeps the ball on the ground the most). Fifth, ownership is likely to be low because it’s Coors and it’s the Braves. Sixth, the Rockies have been scuffling a tiny bit. It’s still Coors, and Folty is likely to give up some runs—and may even get shelled—but at $5700, I think he makes for a very strong play.
Francisco Liriano: He’s going to be ultra-popular tonight because he’s pretty cheap, he can miss some bats, and he’s facing the Brewers, who strike out their fair share. I get the play. But you know what I see? I see a vast collection of under-owned right-hand hitters who have a strong chance to hit Liriano hard. He’s not a bad play, given his K upside, but his ownership levels make me want to fade him, even in cash games. Certainly in GPPs. It’s somewhat of a risky fade, but that’s where I’m at!
Chad Bettis: What? A second Coors guy? Here, the draw is that he’s playing the Braves, who are well-known for their inept hitting. I’m not as keen on Bettis as I am on Folty, even though there’s an O/U of 12 (!!) and Bettis is on the good side of it. He does induce a lot of ground balls, but he induces fewer Ks than one would like to see, and there’s a lot more hard contact than we want for a guy going at Coors. He might be a trendy pick, and while I don’t see ATL crushing extra base hits everywhere off him, I also don’t think he’s the strongest bet for a good game.
Mike Pelfrey: The story is always the same with him: he’ll never get you any Ks, and he gives up a ton of hits. That’s a recipe for some really bad DFS outcomes. I’ll say this, though—the current White Sox have 130 PAs against him in his career, and though he has struck out just 8 (omg, that’s bad!), and he has given up 43 baserunners (.357 OBP, also bad), he has surrendered just 7 extra base hits and no HRs. Perhaps a White Sox stack is a great idea for cash games, but I caution you for GPPs.
Matt Garza: Ugly numbers here. He’s not getting you Ks, he’s allowing lots of guys to hit the ball (and hard), and he’s surrendering tons of hits and runs. PIT is not the world’s most dangerous team, but this is a bad matchup.
James Shields: One of the more intriguing pitchers tonight. On one hand, Shields has been bad this year, but on the other, he’s had 4 decent starts in a row (vs. MIN, NYY, ATL, and LAA) each going 6 or more innings. Then you have the Tigers who are always dangerous, but who have hit one of their patented cold streaks—and it’s REALLY cold. Vegas has the Tigers scoring 4.9, which all things considered, is likely to go overlooked by the DFS herd. I vote for picking on Shields here, and so I’m avoiding him as the sheet suggests.
Tyler Duffey: This is all about the Red Sox being awesome. Duffey has been really, really good in his last two away starts, but those were spots against some vulnerable-at-times offenses (NYY and TEX). I’d really like to use him, like I did in his 30-pt affair, but I think the COL/ATL game has a much better chance of offering more favorable pitching outcomes for you. I’ll pass, but I’ll secretly hope he has a good enough game to keep the BOS hitters at bay.
Sonny Gray? Meh. TB can be had for Ks, but Sonny Gray does not excite me.
Jerad Eickhoff? I’m intrigued. Doesn’t have quite the same upside that Hellickson did last night, but there’s some merit in coming this way tonight. I’m considering it.
Steven Wright? Heavy favorite, but he hasn’t been scoring big DFS points since June 20. Heavy price tag, too. The knuckler could dance tonight, but more people will be on him than should be, in my estimation.
Who do you stack? I like: DET, PIT, STL, MIL (oh, do I like MIL). SD would be pretty contrarian, but I don’t dislike the play, as ownership should be pretty low and Wainwright is not invincible.