Salutations Gamers! Tonight we have a tournament ready seven game MLB schedule with plenty of top-tier options to choose from. Harper is against a righty tonight, Scherzer is toeing the rubber against Philly, and guys like Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun could end up being sneaky tournament plays. Let’s get on with the analysis!

Pitchers

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Studs

Max Scherzer – WAS at PHI – $13,100 – Scherzer is the easy recommendation as the SP1 for head-to-head format contests. The Nationals are heavy favorites against the Phillies who are projected to plate just 2.8 runs. There is not much else to say, other than to roster Scherzer, we are going to have to look at a couple extra value hitters.

Values

Aaron Nola – PHI vs WAS – $7,900 – On DraftKings I do not have too much of an issue taking both pitchers in the same matchup. Overall, a starting pitcher wins only about 35% of their starts, and at four DraftKings points, it equates to two strikeouts. Despite the lofty 9-1 record, heading into Friday’s matchup, the Nationals were averaging just four runs per game with an offense that was middle-of-the-pack at best in most hitting categories. With just 6.5 projected total runs in this NL East matchup, I am fine going with both pitchers from this game.

Andrew Cashner – SD – $7,000 vs Shelby Miller – AZ – $8,100 – This game is projected to stay close, which is surprising considering how bad the Padres have been to start the season. On one side we have Andrew Cashner who is a little more trustworthy, but who is perceived as being a better strikeout pitcher than the numbers suggest a 0.85 per inning for his career. However, he has a very effective 1.28 WHIP and a solid 3.65 ERA, but that is the benefit of spending the last three seasons in Petco Park. On the other side of the diamond, we have Shelby Miller who has already allowed five home runs this season, but he gets a matchup against the Padres who have a legitimate chance to set the modern day record for most scoreless games. Either of these guys could end up having a good night, but I like Cashner a bit more than Miller in tournaments.


Batters

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Studs

Bryce Harper (OF) – WAS at PHI – $5,000 – Harper is going to be a great play pretty much every time he is facing a right-handed pitcher. Over the last two years, he has an amazing .424 wOBA and a 173 wRC+ with a .270 ISO (isolated power) against right-handed pitching. While I am rolling with a fair amount of Aaron Nola myself, I don’t think he will pitch a no-hitter, and if anyone gets to him it will likely be Harper.

Ryan Braun (OF) MIL at PIT – $4,700 – The Milwaukee Brewers are turning into the Rodney Dangerfields of Major League Baseball in that they just don’t get no respect (trust me youngsters, it was a funny joke back in the day). The Brewers swinging the stick from the right-side of the plate are still effective, and even though PNC Park favors pitchers, southpaw Jonathon Niese is VERY hitter friendly. Since the beginning of 2014, Braun has posted a .380 wOBA and a .235 ISO against lefties, and he is a very sneaky play who will be overshadowed by the sexier names.

Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – AZ at SD – $4,900 – There will likely be a strong contingent of RHP Andrew Cashner backers in tournaments looking to his strikeout upside and favorable ball park. That, along with the same-handed matchup will suppress the popularity of Paul Goldschmidt. What most gamers fail to realize is that Goldy is in the top five weighted on base percentage leaders with a .398 wOBA with anyone who has had more than 500 at bats. The others are Bryce Harper, Corey Dickerson, Mike Trout and Carlos Gonzalez. Yeah, great company there.

“Goldy is in the top five weighted on base percentage leaders”

Manny Machado (SS/3B) – BAL at TEX – $4,800 – We have a nice gift from DraftKings with Machado now eligible at shortstop which makes that position a little more tolerable. The youngster seems more comfortable in righty/righty matchups, and over the last two seasons he has posted a .374 wOBA and an elite .210 ISO. He is in a fine spot against RHP Colby Lewis who has a little trouble keeping the ball in the yard.

Prince Fielder (1B) – TEX vs BAL – $4,700 – This is a nice matchup for the Rangers as RHP Yovani Gallardo is nothing more than an innings eater at this stage of his career, and he still allows too many home runs. That is DFS GOLD for us, however, and we will want to look to the Texas hitters on Saturday night. Despite hitting for less power than we are accustomed to seeing from Fielder last year, we need to remember that he was dealing with the rehab from his neck surgery that held him out two seasons ago. He looks much better at the plate, and I think our patience will be rewarded this season if we choose our spots carefully with him.

Andrew McCutchen (OF) – PIT vs MIL – $4,700 – The Bucs have been solid against right-handed pitching, if only they were not rolling out David Freese in the three-hole every day. At least McCutchen is a player who absolutely thrives in same-handed matchups, and he is the player we want to focus on. Over his last 930 at bats against righties, he has a .394 wOBA and a 194 wRC+ which means he creates runs nearly twice as often as the average MLB hitter against righties.

Buster Posey (C/1B) – SF at LAD – $4,100 – Posey has been one of the better catcher eligible players over the last couple years against left-handed pitching. In his last 315 at bats against southpaws he has an excellent .200 ISO and a .374 wOBA with a 147 wRC+. At this price point, he is a fantastic option as LHP Scott Kazmir is not going to scare too many hitters.

Carlos Correa (SS) – HOU vs DET – $4,500 – Hopefully other gamers have not caught on that RHP Justin Verlander is just a shadow of his former greatness. He has had to become a crafty pitcher now that his fastball has lost its zip. Correa does well against right-handed pitching, and he is a nice contrarian play.

Values

David Peralta (OF) – AZ at SD – $3,500 – More and more daily fantasy sites are mentioning David Peralta; however, most have not yet gotten wind of our diamond in the rough. Despite the downgrade in hitting environment from Chase Field to Petco Park, this price is just too good to ignore for the sneaky power upside from Peralta, even against RHP Andrew Cashner.

Yasiel Puig (OF) – LAD vs SF – $3,700RHP Johnny Cueto has been a little more shaky than expected this season, and until he makes a course correction, we can continue to pick on him in tournaments. Puig is a difference maker in DFS with his ability to score with both his bat and his speed on the base path.

Colby Rasmus – (OF) – HOU vs DET – $3,400 – Rasmus has been a tremendous value this season and he is hitting a robust .340+ through the first two weeks. He should be in the middle of the order once again for Houston, and the Astros are a fine tournament option against RHP Justin Verlander at a hopefully lower popularity than they normally would be.

“Rasmus has been a tremendous value this season”

Jonathan Lucroy (CATCH) – MIL at PIT – $3,400 – Though it is away from the hitter friendly Miller Park, this is a nice discounted price for a catcher who should be hitting in the middle-of-the-order Saturday. Since the beginning of 2014, Lucroy has tallied a solid .331 wOBA and a .757 OPS against left-handed pitching. While these are not eye-popping figures, in context, against LHP Jonathon Niese for this discounted price, they are superb.

Justin Bour (1B) – MIA vs ATL – $3,300 – While it is hard to punt with the first base position, this is an excellent matchup for the second year hitter who poked all 23 of his home runs last season over the fence off of right-handed pitchers.

Luis Valbuena (1B/3B) – HOU vs DET – $3,400 – When I first discovered daily fantasy baseball, it was RHP Justin Verlander who was the coveted ace. Here we are four years later, and the mighty have become vulnerable. Valbuena is elite against right-handed pitching with a.220 ISO over the last two plus seasons, and he is fine as a solo play who helps you get that otherwise perfect lineup or as part of a Houston synergistic strategy.

Derek Dietrich (3B/OF) – MIA vs ATL – $3,300 – There is a decent chance that we see Dietrich in the top half of the order against RHP Bud Norris. Over his last 350 at bats against righties, he has been productive with a .210 ISO and a .356 wOBA. This level of output is a steal at his current price point.

Clint Robinson (1B/OF) – WAS at PHI – $3,100 – There is a chance that Robinson makes a rare non-pinch hitting appearance and draws the start on Saturday in this lefty/righty matchup. He is an extreme option, but with his multi-position eligibility he is a nice last minute bargain bin option.