We have a robust thirteen games in the main contest slate today with solid pitching, terrific offensive options and a Coors Field Extravaganza pitting the Chicago Cubs against the hometown Rockies. Let’s dig in and see what treasures we can uncover!
Max Scherzer – WAS at ATL – $13,600 – Current Braves batsmen have been stymied by Scherzer with a .207 average and a 32.8% strikeout rate over 174 at bats. While Mad Max only lasted four innings during his last start, it was in Coors Field, so we will give him a mulligan. On the season, Atlanta has mustered an 80 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes park factors and creates a League-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100) which means they are scoring 20% less than the average team against right-handed pitching and that is also the lowest team total this season. The price is high, but there are some discounted hitters that can make this choice a reality.
Robbie Ray – ARZ at SDP – $10,300 – Ray has been somewhat uneven this season and this is a fairly high price tag so he is best utilized as a tournament option. Over his last two starts he has been great going 12.0 innings with just one earned run on 13 baserunners which have been offset by nine strikeouts. Before we get too comfortable, in the two starts prior to that he allowed ten earned runs over 11 2/3 innings, but most of the damage was done by three home runs as he did have 20 punch-outs in those contests. The Padres have been adequate against southpaws this season, but they are striking out at a 24.4% clip against lefties this season which is the second highest in the MLB. For me it is the ballpark upgrade that tips this decision in Ray’s favor along with his 1.2 K/9 rate which has placed him in the top ten on the strikeout leaderboard for the season.
David Phelps – MIA at PIT – $6,100 – Since moving into the rotation three starts ago, Phelps has been a hidden daily fantasy gem with a 2.48 ERA over 14 2/3 innings with 17 strikeouts. He has thrown 90 and 91 pitches during his last two appearances so he should not have to worry about being on a short leash. The Pirates have been playing well and have won ten of their last thirteen games, but for this price point I am comfortable using Phelps in all formats on Saturday.
Chad Kuhl – PIT vs MIA – $6,800 – Staying in the same game, RHP Chad Kuhl is also worthy of consideration against the Marlins who will be without Giancarlo Stanton for the remainder of the season (this is the third year in a row where he finished up play on the disabled list). Since returning to the rotation in early-August, Kuhl has been on-point, allowing just four earned runs over 12 innings with nine strikeouts. While I do prefer Phelps who has more upside, there is merit to taking both of these pitchers in the same lineup hoping to capture the four fantasy points for a win and rooting for a low scoring game (currently the projected total is sitting at 8 runs).
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – ARZ at SDP – $5,400 – Let’s start off the hit parade in style with Paul Goldschmidt against LHP Clayton Richard. Over his last 366 plate appearances against southpaws, Godly has posted a .456 wOBA, a .240 ISO and an insane 189 wRC+. Over his last 168 lefty/righty matchups, Richard has been knocked around allowing a .362 wOBA and 1.2 HR/9. Yasmany Tomas (OF) – $5,200, Rickie Weeks (OF) – $4,900 and Welington Castillo (CATCH) – $4,600 can all be considered as individuals or as part of an Arizona synergy play as most gamers tend to shy away from hitters in Petco Park.
J.D. Martinez (OF) – DET vs BOS – $4,200 – Martinez has been great since returning from his elbow injury, and over his last ten games he has gone 18 for 40 with four home runs (averaging an amazing 12.4 DraftKings points over that stretch). He will be facing LHP Drew Pomeranz Saturday evening and I expect him to post another home run.
Bryce Harper (OF) – $5,000 – After missing nearly a week with a neck issue, Harper has been back with a vengeance, and over his last six games he has a .381 average with three doubles and a home run to go with six runs scored. This is a fine matchup for him against RHP Tyrell Jenkins who allowed seven runs to the Nationals last Sunday.
Manny Machado (SS/3B) – BAL vs HOU – $4,800 – Machado slots in nicely at shortstop or third base with his multi-position eligibility and throughout his young career he has been a force to be reckoned with against same-handed pitching with a .377 wOBA and a .230 ISO since the beginning of 2014. This is going to be a long/short night for RHP Mike Fiers who will be the third right-handed pitcher Houston has sent out against the Orioles in as many days. Between Thursday and Friday’s games, Baltimore scored 21 runs and they have shown their collective brilliance against right-handed hurlers.
Carlos Correa (SS) – HOU at BAL – $5,000 – Houston has been joining in the scoring as well with 20 runs of their own during the last two days in Camden Yards. Tonight they will be facing RHP Chris Tillman who had his last start pushed back due to shoulder fatigue. Correa should be in the mix of the Astros fantasy goodness once again!
Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA vs MIL – $4,700 – Despite allowing just three earned runs over his last two starts, RHP Wily Peralta still has a 6.00 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. Cruz has popped 17 of his 31 home runs this season against right-handed pitching and he is a tremendous option in this matchup. Teammates Robinson Cano (2B) – $4,700 and Kyle Seager (3B) – $4,900 will have lefty/righty matchups with Wily P. and they are among the highest projected options at their respective positions.
Joey Votto (1B) – CIN vs LAD – $4,800 – Were you aware that Joey Votto has compiled a .402 wOBA and a .210 ISO against fellow lefties over the last two plus seasons? Don’t worry, most casual gamers still won’t know and we can use that to our advantage tonight.
Tommy Pham (OF) – STL at PHI – $3,700 – Pham has been very effective against same-handed pitching with a .353 wOBA and a .250 ISO over his last 221 plate appearances. Let’s hope that manager Mike Matheny is at least vaguely aware of this success.
Jake Smolinski (OF) – OAK vs CHW – $2,700 – This is a tough matchup against LHP Chris Sale, but we should see Smolinski near the top of the A’s batting order and he is a nice discount dandy that will help us work in some top shelf pitching options or some hitters in the Coors Field extravaganza.
Gary Sanchez (CATCH) – NYY at LAA – $3,700 – Scorching is not a strong enough descriptor for Sanchez right now. Over his last five games he has 11 hits, including four home runs and he even stole a base on Friday night. Regression is coming, but until then ride the streak!
Mitch Haniger (OF) – ARZ at SDP – $2,900 – Haniger is another cheap outfielder who has upside in the matchup with LHP Clayton Richard. The Diamondbacks are projected to score 4.6 runs tonight and we will want to get in on that action as a nice counter-move against the Coors Field crowd.
Adam Lind (1B) – SEA vs MIL – $3,400 – Lind has solid power upside against his former teammate RHP Wily Peralta and he is a sneaky tournament target.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is emac) 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.