I really segregated the weak arms today, pushing more and more of them down my list. Keep in mind that even most of my “Middle of the Pack” rankings offer considerable risk, and that seems to be my main goal these days: mitigating risk. Sure, it’s not a bad way to go about setting your lineups for 50/50 or Head-to-Head leagues, although for those bigger GPP opportunities? You’ve got to take bigger risks if you want to cash out the big bucks.
Good luck on Sunday, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @TheRolyPolyBoy
Today’s Highlighted Contests
Cream of the Crop
1) Matt Harvey vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($11,300) – Harvey is in a pretty good groove right now, with his last three starts hovering around the 30-point mark. You really can’t ask for more than that, and I’m fine with forking out $11.3 K to lock Harvey in. I’ve got Harvey pegged for 7 IP, 6 K and the win, as he keeps the Pirates in check with limited base runners. Harvey has only walked one batter over his last four starts.
2) Carlos Carrasco @ Minnesota Twins ($10,800) – Carrasco has been pitching outstanding baseball of late, averaging 32.4 points a game over his last three starts. You’re not going to find much better, although there is some concern about Carrasco heading into Target Field to pitch to the Twins. Park Factor can worry a DFS owner at times, although Carrasco has been killing it away from Cleveland, allowing only 4 HR in 11 starts on the road.
3) Zack Greinke vs. Cincinnati Reds ($12,400) – There just isn’t anything negative to say about Greinke, who easily bounced back from one of his worst starts of the season against the Phillies, giving up 5 ER, to blank the Nationals over six innings pitched. If you’re prepared to spend the big bucks, Greinke is your guy. He continues to lead the league in ERA.
4) Madison Bumgarner vs. Washington Nationals ($11,900) – You get a slightly better pitcher at home in Bumgarner, where he runs his home ERA at 2.28 compared to the road at 4.16. Bumgarner’s consistency ranks with the best, with a 25.5 FPPG average over his last 10 games started. As a team, the Nationals have had a rough go of it on their current West Coast road trip, having lost 5-of-6 to the Dodgers and Giants.
5) Carlos Martinez vs. Miami Marlins ($9,100) – Martinez’ efficiency is worrisome at times, with hitters catching up to him a bit. I’d be happy if Martinez went 6 IP and got 6 K in the process, assuming he wasn’t all over the place with the location of his pitches. Martinez’ control can disappear at times, so you’ve got to be wary as the season moves along as the Cards continue to push the youngster into completing his first full MLB season in the rotation. With that said, the salary isn’t bad on Martinez.
Middle of the Pack
6) Taylor Jungmann vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($9,000) – It’s not difficult to figure out why I like Jungmann here, although $9K is a bit steep. Still, with the Phillies’ bats facing him, Jungmann is a quality guy to roster without having to spend over $10 K. Don’t expect miracles, but a seven inning performance is not out of the question.
7) Chris Sale vs. Chicago Cubs ($11,600) – Locking in Chris Sale just makes you squishy inside, right? It’s like everything is going to be okay, like nothing can hurt you. Unfortunately, paying for that baseball security seems a bit steep right now on Sale. It’s not that I don’t think the guy has mad skills, it’s that I’m tired of paying this sort of salary and getting dud return. Yes, you run the risk of that every time you choose a high-priced pitcher, but it’s starting to annoy me, with his last 2-of-3 starts being stinkers. You have to wonder if the almost 3 MPH drop in velocity off his fastball from 2014 to 2015 is starting to affect the outcome of games.
8) Wei-Yin Chen vs. Oakland Athletics ($8,100) – Chen is an under-the-radar play on Sunday, one of my favorites actually. He draws a good park to pitch in, even on the road, and the Athletics are one of the worst clubs in the league at powering balls out. Sneaky, sneaky, me thinks. If I was building my lineups with mid-range salaries, Chen would be at the top of my list. Chen’s worst fault, and DFS owners most-hated statistical issue, are the homers he has given up this season – 23 to be exact. Again, I’m not so worried in this start facing the A’s in Oakland.
9) Mike Fiers vs. Detroit Tigers ($7,600) – At this salary range, I love the strikeouts that you can count on from Fiers. Plus, Fiers is a guy that you know will keep his team in the game. He gets carried away with the free passes at times, but I’m willing to risk it considering his ability to rack up the K’s. Fiers is a great option to pair with Wei-Yin Chen.
10) Henry Owens vs. Seattle Mariners ($6,900) – Golly gee, I really love Henry Owens. I love Owens’ future so much that I gave the farm away to land him in my long term AL-only keeper league. I know this is DFS, but just had to profess my undying affections for Owens. Dude is going to be something special. So, what about today facing Seattle you ask? The price is tempting and I like what I’ve seen from Owens in his first two MLB starts. It’s expected that Owens will struggle with control and command, but I’m actually okay with that if I can net 15 fantasy points for the $6.9 K spent. I like Owens chances at those 15 points, and that’s solid value in my mind for what you’re spending to lock him in. Owens is a nice risk pairing him with an elite pitcher like Matt Harvey or Zack Greinke. And, let’s face it, the Mariners offense is just putrid.
11) Rubby De La Rosa @ Atlanta Braves ($7,300) – Call me a Rubby De La Rosa fan. I admit it – I celebrate his entire collection, Michael Bolton-style. De La Rosa is a streaky pitcher, but the best thing about him is that the Diamondbacks are not afraid to let him go in his starts. De La Rosa averages almost 6.2 innings per start in 2015 and he can bring the strikeouts most nights he pitches. He’s a bit hit-able at times, so there’s always that, but the Braves aren’t exactly the best hitting team around these days. De La Rosa is a good contrarian play for me in large GPP leagues.
12) Joe Ross @ San Francisco Giants ($8,600) – The Nationals are looking for someone to break their slump, and Joe Ross could be the guy, even with Ross coming off his worst start of the season where he gave up 5 ER in 4.2 IP. Ross had some control issues and he couldn’t keep opposing hitters from hitting the ball into the air, with his success within his ability to get the groundball out. This is a risky play in my mind, although I do understand if take the chance on Ross. I just think you can get a bit more bang for your buck.
13) Shelby Miller vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,400) – It’s concerning to me when a young pitcher starts giving up more walks, less strikeouts and 100 pitches only takes them as far as six innings. The matchup isn’t too great for Miller, with the Diamondbacks ranking in the Top 10 in AVG, OPS, SLG and OBP. Plus, they have hitters in their lineup that can drive runners in. I’d be super wary of tossing Miller out there today.
14) Anthony DeSclafani @ Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,400) – DeSclafani is a bit of sly play on Sunday, with his success on the road this season: 2.57 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 49 K and only a .220 BAA facing opponents. Not bad at all, considering he’s also given up 30 free passes in his road starts; however, I just don’t have a great feeling about DeSclafani in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. I’m just not brave enough to roster him, even with the solid temptation facing one of the best power-hitting clubs in the game. Oh, and the Dodgers know how to get on base too as a team, ranking No. 1 in the league with a .332 OBP percentage. I’m not going to ignore my inner-me!
15) Yordano Ventura vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6,600) – Eleven walks total over his last three starts? Blah. The walks really do kill me, although in Ventura’s last outing the six free passes he gave up didn’t hurt him as he held the Tigers to only two hits over 6 IP. It’s hard to figure, ain’t it? You take obvious risk into your lineup with Ventura starting for you, , but there is certainly some bright optimism with his skill set. I’m really sort of impartial to playing him. Call me undecided, which means I’m avoiding in most lineups.
Rest of the Field
16) Hector Santiago @ Kansas City Royals ($7,500) – I’m probably the biggest Santiago fan out there these days, but I’m not touching him heading into Kansas City. The salary is tempting, however, but Santiago is struggling of late, giving up 6 HR over his last four starts. That’s a bit of yuck right there, facing one of the best hitting clubs in the Majors.
17) Kendall Graveman @ Baltimore Orioles ($5,700) – Graveman has slipped away from the successes he had from the middle of June through the early part of July, giving owners only one good start over his last six games. Surprisingly, Graveman does pitch better on the road for DFS owners, so if you’re scrounging around at this price range for a pitcher Graveman is the best of the worst.
18) Dan Haren @ Chicago White Sox ($6,700) – Haren is another guy that I’d be very happy with if he could just reach his seasonal 13.8 FPPG average. But, will he? Haren is almost always good for 6 IP and some strikeouts, but it’s the home run ball that’s scary, giving up 11 long balls over his last 10 starts. Not good. I think you can find better options on Sunday.
19) Tommy Milone vs. Cleveland Indians ($6,300) – Milone has exceeded expectations at times in his starts this season, although he really doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. Milone isn’t the worst play at this price range, but I’d have to be really loading up with top-tier hitters to have Milone in my lineup.
20) Luis Severino @ Toronto Blue Jays ($5,500) – Severino is another tempting arm at this price range, and he’s started his career off well with his first two starts of the year. There’s potential here for a solid game with the Jays not seeing Severino as of yet. Interesting, eh? Makes you think, although when we smarten up and realize the Blue Jays rank No. 1 in MLB in Runs, RBI, SLG and OPS, we look elsewhere. And, let’s not forget the Jays also rank No. 2 overall in HR and OBP. Since we’ve just gotten smarter, we can say we’re okay moving along. If you want.
21) Drew Smyly @ Texas Rangers ($8,000) – What to expect of Smyly in his first start back with the club after major injury layoff? I think DraftKings is smart with the $8K salary assignment, but it’s not tempting me enough to take a chance on Smyly pitching in Texas. I’m passing, although I certainly wish Mr. Smyly luck in his happy return.
22) Yovani Gallardo vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($6,100) – I could’ve sworn Gallardo had given up more than 11 HR on the season. You too? Hmm. Well, if it’s not the home runs it’s certainly the 88:53 K:BB rate that is maddening. It looks like Gallardo will never have great control, and the walks are just apart of his game. The bitchin’ thing? You don’t have to roster him.
23) Vidal Nuno @ Boston Red Sox ($4,300) – Since being traded to the Mariners, Nuno is being given a chance to hold onto a rotation spot. He didn’t pitch badly last start out facing the Orioles, although he did take the loss throwing 94 pitches in only 5 IP. Not very efficient of Nuno. While I’d love to say he’ll get better, I’m just not sure. I don’t see the sense in slotting Nuno into your lineups at Fenway Park.
24) Matt Boyd @ Houston Astros ($4,000) – Nah. Boyd is better than a couple of other options, but overall the only reason to roster him is if you’re left with only $4 K to snag another pitcher. But, that must mean your other starter is dominant and your bats are sizzlin’ hot, right?
25) Drew Hutchison vs. New York Yankees ($6,200) – With the way the Yankees bats have been going of late, it’s a good idea to avoid Hutchison here. True, he is a different pitcher in Toronto that he is on the road (2.68 home ERA vs. 9.00 road ERA), but, man, it’s the Yankees bats! No thank you.
26) Chris Rusin vs. San Diego Padres ($4,500) – I think Rusin will pitch better than counterpart Ian Kennedy at Coors Field today, although that’s really not saying much. I see another mash day with the bats, so look to avoid Rusin.
27) Ian Kennedy @ Colorado Rockies ($6,500) – Confucius says: “He who starts Ian Kennedy at Coors Field this Sunday is bound to be disappointed.” Well, that’s good enough for me. Move along.
28) Jeff Locke @ New York Mets ($6,400) – When you get into this price range and this level of pitcher, you’re ecstatic with a once-in-awhile good start, but this isn’t it for Locke. The Mets’ hitters will destroy Locke today, who doesn’t do well on the road at all.
29) David Phelps @ St. Louis Cardinals ($4,700) – There’s always been a bright side to Phelps’ career, but I just have to come to terms with the fact that he’ll never develop into the pitcher that I wanted him to be. Maybe it was high expectations binding me on Phelps, but looking at this game alone and what Phelps can do for you? If you got anything more than 5 fantasy points from him on Sunday I’d be utterly shocked.
30) Aaron Harang @ Milwaukee Brewers ($5,300) – With three negative fantasy point starts over his last four games, there’s no reason here whatsoever to consider Harang for your lineups. No reason at all.
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