We do not have a ton of high end pitching tonight, so we may have a lot of different guys rolled out as SP2s. We do have some really nice spots for hitters, so it should be a pretty diverse slate. Let’s dive right into it!
Johnny Cueto – Giants v. Rockies – $11,800 – Cueto is the chalk pitcher and likely high scorer on the night. He’s by far the most talented pitcher on the mound. Cueto is lights out against right-handed bats who are barely hitting .200 against him this year. Cueto is an extreme ground ball pitcher, so he rarely gives up home runs and gets a lot of weak infield contact for outs and double play balls. He has solid strikeout upside, with an 8 K/9. I like him for cash games, but think he lacks tournament upside unless he throws a complete game.
Michael Pineda – Yankees v. White Sox – $10,600 – I’m not thrilled with the price increase here, but on an 8 game slate, I have to look for upside. Pineda has the ability to strike guys out, so he is one of the few who does have upside today. He had a rough start to the year, but has been over 20 DraftKings points in his last 6 starts with upside of the 25 and 32 he flashed in his last two starts. The way to attack him is left-handed bats, but the White Sox really only have Eaton and a switch hitting Melky Cabrera to worry about. The offense has been holding back this White Sox team all year, so Pineda has a solid matchup to avoid getting blown up and to get some strikeouts.
Jaime Garcia – Cardinals v. Pirates – $8,300 – Garcia is not a sexy pick, but he is reasonably priced for what he does. What he does is induce a ton of ground balls. He can strike a few guys out, but does not have huge strikeout upside. Pittsburgh is not performing up to what people expect of them on offense, and Garcia is someone who keeps teams off balance. I’m not looking for him to be the high scorer on the day, but he could be one of the better options as far as price if he limits the damage and gets the win.
Drew Smyly – Rays v. Angels – $8,100 – If you are looking for upside, then Smyly has it with his strikeout potential. Smyly has been very inconsistent this year, as he has given up a ton of hits and a lot of home runs, especially to right-handed bats. Smyly certainly has upside because of his strikeout potential, but he has shown the ability to give up runs as well.
Josh Donaldson (3B) – Blue Jays v. Royals – $5,200 – Fresh off a two home run game against a fly ball pitcher in Chris Young, he gets another extreme fly ball pitcher in Ian Kennedy. Donaldson owns a .395 wOBA and a .269 ISO against right-handed pitchers and is in his home run friendly home ballpark here where those fly balls can turn into home runs. Kennedy is neutral to left and right-handed bats, so I have no problem taking Donaldson in this righty/righty matchup.
Mike Trout (OF) – Angels v. Rays – $5,400 – Trout is always in play, but this is a particularly good spot. The stud youngster has a .413 wOBA and a .243 ISO against left-handed pitching since the start of last year. He faces a guy in Smyly who right-handed bats have hit well this year, including 15 home runs in 76 innings of work. Smyly will strike some guys out, but he will make his mistakes too, and Trout is the guy who can make him really pay for those mistakes.
Jose Altuve (2B)- Astros v. Mariners – $5,300 – This price is usually reserved for power hitters, not a 5’6″ second baseman. With that being said, that 5’6″ middle infielder has outscored most of those power bats in fantasy this year. Altuve has home run pop and stolen base upside which justifies the high price. He is also a masher of left-handed pitching as his .414 wOBA since 2015 suggests. Wade Leblanc is not good, and right-handed bats are the way to attack him. Altuve is pricey, but he is in an excellent spot today.
Buster Posey (CATCH) – giants v. Rockies – $4,200 – Posey is the top catcher option today by a wide margin in my opinion. He is the only big right-handed bat left in the Giants order. They face Jorge De La Rosa today, and De La Rosa struggles with right-handed hitters. Posey owns a .380 wOBA against lefties since the start of 2015 and De La Rosa is allowing a much higher average to right-handed bats with more home runs in 2016.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – Cardinals v. Pirates – $4,600 – The Cardinals are weak against left-handed pitching with one huge exemption. Stephen Piscotty. He has owned left-handers, and Jeff Locke is a weak left-handed pitcher. Piscotty has a .420 wOBA and a .224 ISO score since 2015. Locke struggles on the road with 23 hits, 21 earned runs, and 3 home runs allowed over the 13 innings he lasted in his last three road starts. If he gets blown up again here, Piscotty will likely be a major reason for it.
George Springer (OF) – Astros v. Mariners – $4,900 – Springer is another Houston player that is not cheap, but is in such a good spot. Springer also crushes left-handed pitching with a .401 wOBA and a .247 ISO since 2015. He leads off and gets a ton of at-bats from that spot with guys like Marwin Gonzalez, Altuve and Correa behind him to knock him in. The top of this Astros order is all right-handed bats to attack LeBlanc with and they should do a lot of damage.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B) – Blue Jays v. Royals – $5,000 – Everything we said about Donaldson’s matchup holds true here for Encarnacion. He owns a .386 wOBA since 2015 with a big .280 ISO score against right-handed pitching. Kennedy is an extreme fly ball pitcher in the Rogers Centre which is unlikely to end well. Plus Encarnacion has been providing the power this year for Toronto with 22 home runs already and 77 RBI to go with them.
Xander Bogaerts (SS) – Red Sox v. Rangers – $4,900 – I hate this price, but it does underline how good he has been. Bogaerts owns left-handed pitching as his .388 wOBA since 2015 suggests. Perez is an extreme ground ball pitcher, which is fine for Bogaerts who tends to make his mark with a few singles or doubles anyway. He does not rely on the long ball to produce fantasy points, so this matchup is ideal for him.
Michael Saunders – Blue Jays v. Royals – $3,800 – Saunders gets extreme fly ball pitcher Ian Kennedy in his hitter friendly home park of the Rogers Centre. Saunders has been batting clean up for the Jays behind Donaldson and Encarnacion. Not only does he get a ton of RBI chances, but he has some HR upside himself.
C.J. Cron (1B) – Angels v. Rays – $3,900 – Cron has passed Pujols as my Angels first baseman of choice. The kid has been on fire lately. In his last 8 games, he has gone 16-for-37 with 5 home runs, 4 multi-hit games, and a bunch of RBI. Smyly struggles with right-handed power bats, so Cron profiles very well to keep this hot streak going today.
Travis Jankowski (OF) – Padres v. Diamondbacks – $3,700 – Jankowski is still going low owned, but he has big upside. Most people look for home run upside, but stolen base upside can pile up the points too. Jankowski is a lefty on top of the Padres order, so he is in a good spot against Shelby Miller who is letting left-handed bats hit close to .300 off of him in 2016. Jankowski has also stolen a base in 4 of his last 8 starts and scored a run in 5 of them. A few hits, a stolen base and a run scored is a nice way to rack up 15 fantasy points, and he has shown the ability to do that often.
Logan Forsythe (2B) – Rays v. Angels – $3,900 – Forsythe is a sneaky play today against a bad pitcher in Jered Weaver. Weaver has allowed right-handed bats to hit .311 against him with 10 home runs in 53 innings of work. Forsythe is not known as a guy who smashes righties, but Weaver has very little strikeout stuff to worry about. I think Forsythe puts the ball in play, and he is someone who makes a lot of hard contact.
Marwin Gonzalez (3B) – Astros v. Mariners – $3,400 – Marwin usually finds himself in the two hole against left-handed pitching, and he has solid numbers with over a .360 average in L/R matchups. With Springer in front and Altuve and Correa behind, he can score or knock in runs while racking up a few hits for cheap in a solid matchup.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is BRich11) 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.