August 1, 2016 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
Hey everybody! Hope you had a good weekend! We’re swinging into the dog days of summer and the part of the season where the contenders separate from the rest of the crowd. It changes some of the dynamics in DFS (not nearly like what it does in September), so that’s something to watch going forward.
An additional note: with all the trades going on, teams are changing rapidly. Some of the season-long (and even month-long) stats we look at aren’t as valid anymore. Jay Bruce, and the stats he accumulated for CIN are gone! They now belong to the Mets! It will take a while to catch up to the effects. Your best bet is to look at the lineups the teams put out to make sure you’re not relying on data that’s invalid. Things will change again when the rosters expand on September 1.
With that said, let’s look at tonight’s smaller slate! Top 4 and bottom 4.
Stephen Strasburg (DK $12,900 FD $11,600): The top pitcher by salary and by the sheet today, and with good reason. He’s having an MVP-caliber season and easily has the top projected K’s on the night. Very good at limiting damage and facing a D-Backs team that has been surprisingly weak this year, even at home. He’s a huge favorite, and he should be in your cash game lineups. There is always merit to fading such a popular pitcher in GPPs, especially when he’s this expensive. The upside is undeniable, but Chase Field can be a tough place to pitch, and Strasburg historically has been worse on the road (though not this year). There’s a handful of guys you can go to tonight, so you don’t have to use him. He’s strong, but he’s so popular, he can be faded without causing too much heartburn.
Chris Archer (DK $10,100 FD $9,300): He’s finally looking like the pitcher he is instead of whatever imposter showed up for the first 2/3 of the season. His K’s are good, his walks are much improved, and he’s allowing less damage. Tonight, he gets the Royals who have been pretty weak overall. They don’t K a ton, but they also don’t do much damage. They are also perilously close to out of the playoff race. Archer is a strong pivot away from Strasburg in cash, if you wanted to go that route, and I expect people won’t be too keen on paying up for him in GPP’s. His biggest weakness (control) isn’t one that KC exploits much (just a 6.2% walk rate against Rs). I like his high floor, and I like his upside a lot.
Marcus Stroman (DK $8,200 FD $7,400): The Astros are scuffling, and Stroman is in a good place to exploit that. The guy defines “elite GB rate,” and the move from TOR to HOU’s park won’t change much. His SIERA is a very healthy 3.69, and he’s been victimized a bit by the long ball more than his numbers say he should be. The Astros, for their part, are an all-or-nothing type of team with a penchant for striking out. Stroman isn’t big on K’s, but quick efficient outs are what he does. HOU just came off getting swept by DET, and Mike Pelfrey gave up 0 runs. The Astros could turn this around pretty quickly, but I don’t like their chances today, and I expect pretty low ownership on Stroman. I like him for cash and GPP’s.
Eduardo Rodriguez (DK $6,200 FD $7,000): Now here is the interesting name to see. He’s been largely bad this season, but his increased use of his slider seems to have gotten some decent results the last couple times out. This includes a SwStr% of 14.7% and 11.9%, increased K’s, decreased contact%, and a greatly decreased hard-hit%. Now, this might be just a small sample size thing, or it might be the real deal. On the other side of things, the Mariners have been pretty cold lately. They did put up 6 runs last night, but that was 3 2-run HR’s. Nothing else. In the end, I don’t think ERod will have the highest total of the night, but at his price, there is some serious value. Also, he will go completely overlooked. Interesting GPP call.
James Paxton (DK $6,300 FD $6,900): I’ve recommended Paxton before, and his numbers are undeniable. He has a very good SwStr% (11.9%) which should translate into more K’s than he already gets (21.3%), his BB rate is excellent (5.9%), his SIERA is a very good 3.74. Some people will focus on his ridiculously high .376 BABIP and the fact that BOS has been very iffy lately at the plate. Those people are right, of course. But I’m not enthralled (any longer) by his 34.3% hard%, his 22.9% LD, his lower-than-it-should-be 8.9% HR/FB rate or his matchup against BOS. He throws hard, but BOS can hit. I don’t fault you for using him in a GPP, but I think the sheet is more right than wrong here tonight.
Doug Fister (DK $6,600 FD $7,200): I love Doug Fister as a player in real life. He served my Tigers well for a while! But he’s not very relevant in DFS. Yes, he’s been great, and yes, he’s managed some really nice value from time to time, but vs. TOR is not a place we like to use him. I will avoid without much hesitation. There is such a low margin for error, and he’s a hittable pitcher.
Archie Bradley (DK $8,000 FD $6,800): The Nats aren’t world-beaters right now, but they still are pretty good. They get to face Bradley at Chase Field, which is good. Also, he’s REALLY BAD against lefties (Harper and Murphy should benefit). His K rate is inflated and is due to come down. This spells disaster. I like the Nats a lot tonight and, as a result, I dislike Bradley.
Jose Berrios (DK $5,800 FD $6,500): He’s unbelievably dangerous tonight, either way. He has immense talent and can rack up K’s, but he’s going on the road as a recent call-up against a very tough CLE team. He also was garbage in his first stint in the majors, including getting smacked around by CLE at home. He could go out and K 10. Or he could go out and give up a bunch of runs. Good luck guessing which he will do! A solid GPP play but so, so risky.
Danny Salazar? Everything I said for Chris Archer applies for Salazar. They have similar numbers, though Salazar has a slightly tougher matchup. I think those two are interchangeable, and they should have similar ownership. In a GPP, I’d go with whoever you think will be lower-owned.
Jimmy Nelson? Your regular Petco plug-and-play. Very solid play in any format, but expect high ownership.
Danny Duffy? Love him for GPP’s. He’s crazy expensive, but the Rays just traded away two guys that do damage against lefties in Guyer and Pearce. He’s not favored, and he’s expensive, so ownership should be low. I think that’s an opportunity. But yuck on that price tag.
With all the roster changes, I am not sure who to stack! WAS lefties are primed for a big night. CLE will be popular, but you see what I say above there. I like BOS a good bit tonight. Let’s see where the dust settles, and we’ll have a better picture tomorrow!
Good luck tonight, and win some money!