With only eight games tonight, it’s going to be tough to get cute with the pitching. I’ll break down the Top 10 options. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) David Price – BOS vs TB – $11,000 – David Price takes on his former team tonight at Tropicana Field where, on paper, this matchup is as good as it gets for Price. We all know the ups and downs of Price in 2016, as he comes into this start with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, topped off with a K/9 of 9.1. This will be the fourth time that Price will be facing the Rays this season with one good start coupled with two bad ones. In the most recent, Price went eight shutout innings, allowing four hits with 10 strikeouts. Again, on paper, this should be a no-brainer start for Price against a team that owns .298 wOBA against lefties with a .386 SLG and a 25.7 K%. It’s been tough to trust Price, but he has a lot of factors in his favor tonight.
2) Jon Lester – CHC vs. SD – $12,500 – Lester takes on the Padres for the second time this season where he pitched six innings allowing three runs on four hits with a 4:1 K:BB ratio. Lester looks to continue a solid month of August, as he’s held opposing hitters to a .231 wOBA with a .306 SLG, a .227 OBP and a 9.6 K/9. The Padres remain one of the favorite teams to target against when facing a left-handed pitcher, as they own just a .317 wOBA with a 25.3 K%, which ranks third in the league. Since the All-Star Break, the Padres have been one of the worst offensive teams in the league, owning a .303 wOBA with a 25.8 K%.
3) Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. OAK – $11,500 – After a couple of hiccups recently, Carrasco looks as if he’s settled back in. Tonight, he gets the benefit of Oakland Coliseum behind as he faces the A’s. Carrasco has been absolutely dominant on the road this season, averaging 25.3 FPPG in nine starts with a 1.97 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. Even more of a plus is the fact that the A’s have been striking out a bit more than they usually do, with a 20.1 K% since the All-Star Break. With a .305 wOBA and a .299 OBP, Carrasco should be in a fantastic spot tonight to put up a solid score.
4) Doug Fister – HOU vs. PIT – $6,100 – Once we get past the top three pitchers tonight, it gets a bit rough around the edges. Fister feels like a viable option tonight, especially with a $6,100 salary. In 12 road starts, Fister is averaging 16.3 FPPG with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. The Pirates have been one of the worst offensive teams since the All-Star break, owning a .297 wOBA with a 20.9 K%. Fister isn’t a huge strikeout guy, owning a 5.8 K/9 on the season, but he’s still putting up solid numbers without them. Averaging just less than 14 points per game, I can see Fister posting enough fantasy points to be worth his salary.
5) Chad Bettis – COL vs. MIL – $5,200 – Bettis will be on the road in this one taking on the Brewers. I don’t LOVE this matchup for him, but you have to love the strikeout potential as always. Bettis only owns a 6.8 K/9 on the road, but the Brewers own a league leading 26.3 K% and it has my attention. I’m not expecting a ton here, but it won’t take much for Bettis to reach value at just $5,200. He’s a viable GPP option in my opinion.
Editor’s Note: Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the DL and will not start tonight. A.J. Cole has been recalled and will start in his place, per Mark Zuckerman
7) Michael Pineda- NYY vs. SEA – $7,700 – I’m a bit torn on this start for Pineda, as we have some factors that we certainly like, and others we don’t. First and foremost, Pineda has been slightly worse on the road than he has at home this season. The owner of a .339 wOBA on the road with a .458 SLG, Pineda faces a team that has been fairly tough to strikeout. The Mariners own a 19 K% against righties, which ranks 24th in the league. Mix in the fact that they hit well at home, owners of a .333 wOBA with a .440 SLG, and Pineda isn’t as attractive as a quick glance would make him out to be. He is pitching in a friendly Safeco Field, so a GPP play on him at $7,700 certainly isn’t out of the question, I just can’t expect a whole lot here.
8) Jameson Taillon – PIT vs. HOU – $9,100 – The problem with Taillon tonight is his opponent. It has nothing to do with how he’s been pitching, as he’s done quite well as of late, as he’s averaging just under 20 FPPG over his last four starts. Unfortunately for him, he faces arguably the hottest hitting teams since the All-Star break. Since that time, the Astros lead the league in wOBA at .354, OBP at .350 and are in second in SLG at .478. As always though, they do strikeout at a decent clip, with a 21.2 K%.
9) Blake Snell – TBR vs. BOS – $6,800 – Another example of “loving the pitcher, hating the matchup” for tonight. Snell has been fantastic this season since getting the call up, owning a 3.07 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.6. The unfortunate part is that he goes up against one of the best offenses in the league, the Boston Red Sox. They’ve been a tough team to strikeout, owning just a 17.4 K% against lefties, which is the third lowest in the league. Honestly, I don’t see a lot of upside here; however, if Snell can pull of a decent start, I think he’ll be vastly under owned and thus makes him somewhat valuable. He is extremely cheap for how he’s performed, and that makes him a GPP option for me tonight.
10) Dylan Bundy – BAL vs. WAS – $6,600 – For the most part, I could copy and paste the breakdown for Snell and insert Bundy’s name into it. He’s another pitcher tonight who I love, but hate his matchup. Bundy is also extremely cheap for how he’s been performing, but a matchup against the Nationals at home is not exactly a matchup I’m ready to pounce on. For what it’s worth, Bundy has been decent at home, owning a 3.05 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP with an 8.4 K/9, but these numbers also include his relief appearances. The Nationals are a tough team to strikeout, especially on the road where they have a 19.5 K%. This is yet again another “unsafe” GPP play, but one that would pay off handsomely if he turns out a decent game.
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