Tonight we have a terrific pitchers duel between Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers. I wouldn’t rely on too many hitters from that game. Let’s take a look at some of the best plays for Wednesday’s DFS MLB action.
Noah Syndergaard – Mets v. Dodgers – $11,500 – This is a really good spot for the man known as Thor. This game has a very low total at only 6.5 and Syndergaard is the favorite despite being on the road. He has been awesome this year limiting opposing batters to low averages from both sides of the plate. His swinging strike rate is high and almost nobody makes solid contact. Thor is the most expensive pitcher on the board today, but he also profiles as the likeliest high scorer.
Max Scherzer – Nationals v. Tigers – $11,300 – I know some of you are cringing at the thought of taking him, but he makes the most sense of anyone above the $8K range not named Noah. Scherzer is facing a DH-less, right-heavy Tigers team that may also be without Miguel Cabrera. Scherzer has owned right-handed bats in the last year and a half, holding righties to a .184 batting average with a WHIP of 0.75 in 2015 and a .164 average with a WHIP of 0.59 this year. Given the lack of upside in the $9-11K range today, I can’t see myself coming down off of Scherzer if I decide not to roll Thor as my SP #1.
Jerad Eickhoff – Phillies v. Braves – $8,000 – I love this spot for Eickhoff today. He has flashed strikeout upside this season, with 34 K’s in 36 innings of work. He faces one of the worst offenses in all of baseball today as well. Atlanta does not score runs, they are dead last in home runs, they strikeout at a high rate and they have a low batting average. Atlanta checks the boxes for all the things we look for in a team to target against. If you want some decent bats it will be tough to fit two $10K+ studs into your lineup, but pairing a top arm with Eickhoff opens up some lineup flexibility.
Juan Nicasio – Pirates v. Reds – $6,000 – I do not really love the ballpark switch from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, but the price is nice enough where I can make an exception. Nicasio has seen his strikeout numbers increase this season, but he is still prone to walking a few guys, which could lead to trouble in a hitter-friendly park. However, this Reds team has a pretty high K%, a low batting average and does not really pound out a ton of runs. Joey Votto is the one guy with decent numbers against right-handed pitching. Nicasio could be a sneaky source of upside at a cheap price if he limits damage and continues to strike guys out.
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Giancarlo Stanton (OF) – Marlins v. Brewers – $5,100 – The Marlins have one of the highest team totals, so this should be a game yielding a few runs. Anderson has been a reverse splits guy, and that is why the right-handed bats on Miami have hit him well. Stanton has a .378 wOBA and a .298 ISO score since the start of 2015 v. righties. He already has 7 homers in his last 15 games and 10 on the season. He has 4 hits in 11 at-bats v. Anderson with a home run too, so the profile matches the limited performance.
Andrew McCutchen (OF) – Pirates v. Reds – $5,000 – Alfredo Simon is on the mound for the Reds, and I want to pick on him. Cutch has the best combo of wOBA and ISO v. right-handed pitching for the Pirates. Simon is very hittable, and his recent 2016 numbers show just how bad he has been. The Pirates are going to be a popular stack against him today, so makes sure you have some exposure.
Matt Carpenter (3B) – Cardinals v. Angels – $4,300 – Matt Carpenter is one of my favorite cash game plays every day. Whenever the Cards face a righty, he is usually good for a hit and a walk. He gets max at-bats hitting from the leadoff spot, and he has scored a ton of runs over the last few years. Carpenter also has some sneaky power and tends to hit home runs in bunches. He bashed two out of the park yesterday, so maybe he is getting ready to start his next barrage.
Ryan Braun – Brewers v. Marlins – $4,800 – I love Ryan Braun when he faces a lefty, and he gets that matchup today. Chen has always been a guy who is worse against right-handed bats. Braun owns a .418 wOBA and a .261 ISO score against LHP since 2015. He is already 3 for 6 against Chen, so the profile has been backed up by his limited opportunities. Braun has at least 16 fantasy points or more in 5 of his last 9 games. That kind of consistency and upside is very rare to find together in one player who also has a favorable splits matchup.
“In 6 of his last 8 starts, Murphy has multiple hits”
Daniel Murphy (2B) – Nationals v. Tigers – $4,500 – Jordan Zimmerman gave up a .284 batting average with a 1.39 WHIP to left-handed hitters in 2015. I wanted to write up Bryce Harper, but teams are giving him the Barry Bonds treatment and walking him every time up. That limits his upside, but it also means a guy like Murphy hitting behind him is always up with runners on. In 6 of his last 8 starts, Murphy has multiple hits. He is 19 for his last 42, and has runners on in front of him more often. That is a dangerous combo that gives him tons of upside.
Ben Zobrist (2B) – Cubs v. Padres – $5,000 – Drew Pomeranz is a solid pitcher, but Zobrist loves left-handed pitching. He owns a .405 wOBA and a .205 ISO score since the start of 2015 against LHP, and those are huge numbers from a second baseman. He has already gone yard off a few lefties to start the season and has an overall batting average of .305 right now. Plus, he hits in the heart of arguably the most explosive run scoring offense in all of MLB this year.
Stephen Piscotty (OF) – Cardinals v. Angels – $4,200 – I love Stephen Piscotty. He has been really good this year and is always lower owned than I would expect. Piscotty faces Matt Shoemaker today, who is bad against right and left-handed bats. Piscotty has home run upside, and he finds himself in the 2 hole lately, so he should get a lot of at-bats and a lot of chances to score and drive in runs.
Kris Bryant (3B) – Cubs v. Padres – $4,400 – I know Drew Pomeranz has been good to start the year, but so has Kris Bryant. Bryant’s number are a tad lagging since 2015 with only a .345 wOBA and .211 ISO score, but those are not bad numbers. He hits in the middle of one of the most feared orders in baseball. Bryant has hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games. The matchup is not great, but you can’t deny his upside against a left-handed pitcher.
Jonathan Villar (SS) – Brewers v. Marlins – $3,000 – Villar has hit well against left-handed pitching this year and is way too cheap for his skill set. He has hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games. Over the course of these games, he is 13-for-40 with 7 runs scored, 8 RBI, and 5 stolen bases. As a lead off hitter for a road team, he is guaranteed a maximum number of at-bats, so he has plenty of opportunities to produce. At only $3,000, he makes a very safe and solid cash play with his preferred splits matchup.
Derek Dietrich (2B) – Marlins v. Brewers – $3,400 – He is still cheap and has another solid matchup. With Dee Gordon suspended, he has found himself leading off for the Marlins. Dietrich has elite numbers against right-handed pitching with a wOBA over .380 and an ISO score well into the .200s. Now that he is getting more opportunities, he has been producing solid returns for cheap. Keep in mind, as long as the price stays down, there’s going to continue to be high ownership on him.
Alex Gordon (OF) – Royals v. Yankees – $3,400 – With Moustakas on the DL and Morales not hitting a lick, Gordon has moved up in the lineup and become the second best left-handed stick in that lineup behind Hosmer. Left-handed bats tend to do well against Michael Pineda, and they also do well in Yankee Stadium with that short porch in right field. He has a lot of ways to give us upside for only $3,400 today, so I think he makes a great salary saver for tournament rosters.
“. . . he is pretty cheap for a 3 hole hitter with a stadium advantage”
Brian McCann (CATCH) – Yankess v. Royals – $3,500 – Sticking with the same game, McCann is still reasonably priced compared to his peers. While he may be expensive for a catcher, he is pretty cheap for a 3 hole hitter with a stadium advantage, splits advantage, and facing a guy who seems to have lost his control. Yordano Ventura has walked a ton of batters and gotten himself in trouble lately. With a lefty-heavy Yankee lineup attacking him, he could get tagged for a home run or two with men on if he keeps giving up walks. McCann is reasonably priced for a guy many expect to be doing some of the damage against him.
Matt Holliday (OF) – Cardinals v. Angels – $3,300 – With the Cardinals in an American League park, it actually ticks up the value of Holliday. Holliday can still swing the bat, and now he gets to do that without having to worry about playing the field. I know his numbers are not great, but he still makes good contact and he still has power if he gets a good pitch. Matt Shoemaker is know for throwing home run balls, and Holliday continues to bat in prime 3-4-5 real estate, so he makes sense as an option for cheap.
Jung Ho Kang (3B/SS) – Pirates v. Reds – $3,900 – Alfredo Simon is on the mound for the Reds, so every Pirate is going to be in play. With that being said, some make better plays than others. Kang was the second best hitter statistically last year behind Cutch for the Pirates. He just came off the disabled list, so we do not have a ton of 2016 stats so far. Because of this, his ownership may stay low until people realize he is back, so that makes him a solid tourney option given the upside potential and likely lower ownership.