IMPACT PLAYER: ERIC THAMES

A full 15-game slate kicks off our weekend tonight. With some many options to choose from, including a Coors Field game, we have lots of information to dive into. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Top Pitcher

Chicago vs. Cincinnati | Jon Lester ($10,600) | Cubs (-180 ML)
Lester and the Cubs are the favorites on this slate tonight as they take on the Reds at the Great American Ballpark. Lester has been fantastic in his first three starts of the season, averaging 19.5 FPPG with a 17:5 K:BB ratio. The current Reds roster was not a strong team against lefties last season, owning a .317 wOBA with a .318 OBP and a 23.7 K%, which ranked fourth in the league. The Reds are currently tabbed with a 3.8 team run total for tonight, making Lester a viable option for your lineups.

Highest Totals

San Francisco vs. Colorado | 10.5 Projected Runs
Believe it or not, we have two games on this slate that have a projection of at least 10 total runs. Johnny Cueto and Tyler Chatwood will take the hill for their respective teams tonight in this Coors Field battle. Cueto has pitched very well in six games at Coors Field in his career, holding opposing hitters to just a .358 SLG and a .309 OBP. In a GPP lineup, Cueto could certainly be a low-owned risk to take, as he checks in with just a $8,100 salary. I’m not telling you to roster him, but GPP lineups are all about going YOLO sometimes.

Chatwood didn’t enjoy his time at Coors last season, owning a .374 wOBA with a .497 SLG and a 375 OBP. Both left- and right-handed batters owned an equal wOBA against him last season, but the righties had the higher SLG at .519. While Chatwood could always be an option on the road, Coors Field is not a place to take a chance.

L.A. Dodgers vs. Arizona | 10 Projected Runs
Alex Wood and Taijuan Walker will be opposing each other tonight at Chase Field. This is the first game that I can recall this season that has an implied run total of 10 that’s not taking place at Coors Field. The Dodgers are projected at 5.5 runs, which is the highest total of the night. Taijuan Walker has some good numbers thus far, but two of these starts have some at Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park. His real test will be tonight at the hitter-friendly Chase Field.

Weather Concerns

  • Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ball Park) – This game isn’t much of a concern, but they do have a slight chance of rain all throughout the night. I don’t think it’s enough to cause a delay, but then again, I’m not the weatherman.

Editor’s note: Also keep an eye on the Royals vs. Rangers game, as thunderstorms are expected in Arlington, Texas.

Park Factors

Park Factors are ranked on a scale of 1.000. Anything above 1.000 is favorable towards the hitters. Anything below that mark favors pitchers. All stats come from the 2016 season.

USATSI_10003767_168381090_lowres

  • Coors Field (SFG @ COL) – As always, Coors Field is the number one ballpark on the slate. To the surprise of no one, all offensive categories were favored here in 2016.
  • Chase Field (LAD @ ARI) – Chase Field also has a hot spot for hitters last season as it’s always been. All offensive categories get the nod here, especially triples, where this had the highest rating in all of baseball.
  • Oakland Coliseum (SEA @ OAK) – The Coliseum is our most unfavorable ballpark for hitters tonight as they host the Mariners. Triples were the only category that favored hitters last season.
  • Citizens Bank Park (ATL @ PHI) – The Phillies will host the Braves in tonight’s second least favorable ballpark. The only category that was favored here was home runs, which of course no one complains about.


Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Justin Verlander | DET vs. MIN | $10,300 – Verlander has some inflated numbers due to his horrific start against the Indians his last time out. Otherwise, he looked great in two starts against the White Sox and the Red Sox. Tonight he’ll take on the Twins at Target Field with a salary of $10,300. I like this spot for him because of his strikeout potential, and his salary isn’t all that damaging. The Twins are currently striking out 21.4% of the time against righties, which places them in the middle of the league. Aside from that, they aren’t hitting them well, owning a .305 wOBA with a with a .361 SLG. Look for Verlander to get back on track here tonight.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Corey Seager | LAD @ ARI | $4,600 – I love this spot for Seager tonight as he’ll take on Taijuan Walker. As you may remember, Walker pitched at Safeco Field last season, which certainly helped his numbers. His road numbers left much to be desired, as evidenced by his .388 wOBA against lefties with a .613 SLG and a .327 OBP. As you’d expect, Seager was great against righties on the road last year with a .383 wOBA and a .504 SLG.

Save Big by Drafting…

USATSI_9997936_168381090_lowres

Cesar Hernandez | PHI vs. ATL | $3,400 – You may be looking to save some salary tonight, so Hernandez could be the answer at second base for you. The switch-hitter has been crushing the ball in the early going, averaging 10.6 FPPG with three home runs and eight RBI out of the leadoff spot. Hernandez can do a little bit of it all, including stealing bases, which he’s done three times already. Facing Bartolo Colon, who allowed a .335 wOBA to lefties last season, Hernandez could be a good money saver for you on this Friday slate.

Stack Em Up

Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals (Nate Karns, RHP) – I’ll tell you who doesn’t impress me, it’s Nate Karns. Pitching in Texas tonight doesn’t exactly bring about the confidence, as his road numbers last year were not good. Karns owned a .365 wOBA on the road with a .481 SLG and a .374 OBP. Righties were his biggest enemy, as they tagged him for a .488 wOBA. Texas is a stack that I think will be overlooked tonight but can hopefully bring us some big numbers.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.