We’re dealing with a relatively small late-slate tonight with just six games on tap, but we’re fortunately given a nice mix of high and low-end arms, making it a fairly straightforward day in terms of who we’re targeting on FanDuel. The big question today will be whether it’s wise to pay up for hitters or pitchers. Let’s get into it!
Max Scherzer ($11,600) – There isn’t much that needs to be said for Scherzer – he’s a large favorite (-240 as of this writing) facing one of the weakest offenses in the National League. There isn’t a safer choice for cash games and his GPP ceiling is considerably higher than any of the other pitchers toeing the rubber. He’s not priced too far above the other high-end arms (Lester, Gray), so I really can’t find a viable reason not to play him in H2H/50-50 contests.
Steven Matz ($8,500) – If you’re looking for a way to afford some of the more expensive bats in GPPs, give Matz a look. He’s one of the more highly touted young arms in the league and started his career off in style last season, racking up four wins in six starts to go with a K/9 of just under 9.00. The big concern for him today will be avoiding the wrath of Giancarlo Stanton (9 HR in 59 ABs against LHs in 2015), but if he’s able to do that he shouldn’t have much trouble with the Miami lineup.
Stephen Vogt ($2,700) – Vogt finished 2015 with a healthy .353 wOBA/.211 ISO against RHP and he’ll remain a key cog in the middle of the A’s lineup anytime they aren’t facing a lefty. Angels starter Nick Tropeano was recently called up after Andrew Heaney landed on the 15-day DL, and while he showed some upside at points last season, he’s worth targeting with LH bats this evening.
Travis d’Arnaud ($2,700) – It’ll be Vogt carrying a higher ownership percentage tonight, but d’Arnaud’s ceiling is just as high against Jarred Cosart. The Marlins righty was atrocious against opposing RH bats in 2015, posting a 5.84 FIP to go along with a dreadful 5.11 K/9 rate (not to mention a BB/9 of almost 4.0). Cosart did fare better against RHs in 2014, but I’m not avoiding any of the Mets bats this evening against a pitcher that simply hasn’t been missing bats.
Eric Hosmer ($3,100) – Hosmer and the Royals move to the hitter friendly confines of Minute Maid Park tonight against Collin McHugh, putting several of them in favorable spots relative to their salaries. He’s never really turned into a big time power threat, but Hosmer’s .378 wOBA/.192 ISO against RH pitching makes him a strong target in the middle of the Royals order this evening. The KC/HOU match-up has by far the highest total on the MLB odds board, so don’t be shy about stacking this game up in any format.
Ryan Zimmerman ($2,800) – I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started picking on Bud Norris. He’s not particularly effective against hitters from either side of the plate (5.00 FIP vs. LHs, 5.09 FIP vs. RHs in 2015) and that is very unlikely to change here in 2016. He had a fair amount of trouble missing RH bats last season (6.03 K/9) and his overall ineffectiveness makes Zimmerman viable in any format hitting in the middle of the Nats lineup.
Robinson Cano ($3,800) – There are actually a number of strong plays at the keystone, but Cano stands above the rest in a match-up with HR prone Colby Lewis. Cano has come out of the gate red-hot and appears to be over any lingering injury concerns from last season, so I’m perfectly content paying his $3,800 tag. He’s already up to four homers on the year – it took him until June 22nd to hit his third homer last season. Lewis allowed 13 HRs to LH bats last season and has already given up two this season in just over five innings.
Ben Zobrist ($3,000) – I’d be perfectly content with either Jose Altuve or Daniel Murphy, but Zobrist is the cheapest of the group and offers a similar ceiling against LH Brandon Finnegan. He’s immediately become a force in the middle of the Cubs lineup and will be counted on even more heavily with Kyle Schwarber out for the year. While he’s a switch hitter, Zobrist had more success as a RH hitter in 2015, posting a .398 wOBA and 156 wRC+.
Carlos Correa ($4,800) – If you can afford Correa, take the plunge and save cap at another position. He’s head and shoulders above anyone else at the position and his upside is higher than almost any other bats on tonight’s slate. It gets ugly quick at the SS spot tonight so while I’m more likely to pay the big price tag for Bryce Harper, there are a lot of reasons to allot that cap space for Correa’s services. Royals starter Chris Young doesn’t miss many bats and he’ll suffer pitching in an environment that is much more favorable to offense.
Alcides Escobar ($2,400) – As I mentioned above, the SS spot is more or less a wasteland after Correa. Rostering Escobar is my likely course of action if I’m not paying up – he’s hitting leadoff in a game that is expected to be the highest scoring on tonight’s slate. There isn’t anything exciting about Escobar but he’s got a shot to see 5 ABs in a hitter’s park.
Kyle Seager ($3,400) – I absolutely love this spot for Seager. He took a step back against RHs last season (.322 wOBA/.168 ISO) but still owned a solid hard/soft contact ratio (34.5 hard%, 10.8 soft%), which makes me think his 2014 numbers may better represent his upside. Seager owned a .435 wOBA/.315 ISO when hitting at home against RH pitching in 2014, and the match-up with a beatable Colby Lewis makes him a very strong target in any format.
Kris Bryant ($4,200) – If you have the cap space, Bryant is well worth the investment in GPPs given his power potential. Brandon Finnegan had a cake match-up in his first start of 2016, but the sledding gets much tougher tonight in Chicago and I’d expect the Cubs to hang a healthy run total on him. Bryant finished his rookie season with a .206 ISO against LH pitching.
Bryce Harper ($5,200) – This one is about as obvious as it gets. Harper faces one of the weaker RH starting pitchers in the league at home, which is about all I need to see in order to carve out cap space for his services. His power numbers against righties are insane (.354 ISO in 2015) and there isn’t any real reason to expect much (if any) of a drop off as he enters his mid-twenties. Target him confidently in any format.
Curtis Granderson ($3,100) and Michael Conforto ($2,500) – If Conforto is somewhere in the top six of the Mets lineup, I’ll be targeting him heavily. If he doesn’t find his way into the lineup, I’ll be looking in Curtis Granderson’s direction. It’s been a rough start to the 2015 campaign for Granderson, but there is definitely value in targeting players perceived to be on cold streaks early in the season. If his 2015 numbers are any indication (.384 wOBA/.225 ISO), it won’t be long before Granderson gets going against RH pitching.
George Springer ($3,600) – Speaking of slow starters, Springer is just 4-24 in the early going. He’s the type of player that can contribute in basically every category which always makes him a fun player to target, and a match-up with Chris Young in Houston helps protect against one of Springer’s biggest weaknesses (the strikeout). Springer owned a 26.5% K-rate against RH pitching last season, but that won’t be much of a concern against Young, who posted a 5.94 K/9 rate against RH bats last year.