Eight games are on tap for tonight’s main FanDuel slate with one afternoon game taking place in Cleveland.
It’s an interesting night in the sense that the night’s most talented arm just happens to be in the least favorable environment for pitching, which has led to one of the lower totals of the season in Coors Field (9.5 on the MLB odds board as of this writing).Pitching isn’t plentiful outside of Scherzer, so it should be an especially interesting GPP night with no clear-cut heavily owned pitcher.
Drew Smyly ($8,500) – He hasn’t had the type of season I expected from him in the early going, but Smyly is still a very effective pitcher in the right spots and he clearly prefers pitching at home. He’s allowed just a .288 wOBA at home (.364 on the road) with a 28.3 K% (19.7% on the road), with the one big blemish being the number of home runs he’s allowed (1.62 HR/9 rate at home). He allows plenty of contact in the air which leaves him vulnerable to the long ball, although a Padres lineup which boasts only one above-average right-handed bat shouldn’t make him pay too heavily. He’s one of the biggest favorites on the board and has massive upside when he’s clicking, especially considering the mid-level price tag.
Robbie Ray ($7,800) – I always hesitate to target Ray at home, but his peripherals and batted ball profiles don’t really differ much from his road statistics. He’s one of the league leaders in strikeout percentage (27.5 K%) and boasts a K/9 over 10.8 against both right and left handed bats, giving him a consistently high ceiling relative to his price tag. His biggest weakness has been hard contact (36.4 hard% allowed at home), although he can negate some of that concern when he’s cutting down on walks (1.89 BB/9 in August, by far his best mark of the season). The Mets rank 22nd against LHP on the season and own a fairly high K% against LHP (22.0%, 13th highest), giving Ray a ceiling worth targeting even in his home park.
Since this game has a total below 10 – something we almost never see in Coors Field – I’ll be recommending players from this game below. The Nationals are clearly the preferred team target so I’ll try to not dig too deep into those recommendations, but the Colorado lefty power bats could give Scherzer trouble,judging by the HR issues the strikeout master has dealt with at times this year.
Wilson Ramos ($4,000) – Most of the appealing options at catcher will run you at least $3,500, so you might as well just spend a little extra to afford Ramos, who has by far the highest ceiling at the position tonight. Jorge De La Rosa somehow continues to pitch (slightly) better in Coors which he’s done over the past few seasons, but that still doesn’t mean he’s pitching well. He’s allowed a .365 wOBA to RH bats in Coors (1.48 HR/9) and can’t get them out on the road either, setting Ramos up for a productive day towards the heart of the Nationals order.Ramos owns an elite .412 wOBA and .309 ISO against southpaws in 2016, so feel free to roster him in any format.
If you want a lesser owned pivot off of Ramos, Jonathan Lucroy and Victor Martinez are both suitable GPP options at a similar price tag. Travis d’Arnaud and J.T. Realmuto are serviceable punt plays at or below $3,000.
Miguel Cabrera ($3,800) – Not much needs to be said about Cabrera at this point. He’s had a predictably dominant season (.400 wOBA, .260 ISO, 38.5 hard% against RHP) and will face off with homer-prone Ian Kennedy at home this evening.Cabrera has been tearing the cover off the ball in August, racking up a 37.6 Hd-Sft% - a 37.6 hard% in itself would be an impressive mark, but his 5.1 soft% keeps his floor very high. Ian Kennedy has allowed 18 HRs on the road in under 80 IP (2.03 HR/9 rate), and considering that he doesn’t do a very good job of keeping the ball on the ground (34.1 GB%), he’s going to struggle with a powerful Tigers lineup.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,000) – Cabrera gets the slight nod over Goldy for me, but I can’t fault anyone for looking in this direction (not to mention Joey Votto, who is also in an elite spot). Goldschmidt owns a .354 wOBA, .227 ISO and 37.7 hard% against RHP at home, and while those numbers may not make you jump to pay $4,000 for his services, he’s one of the league’s most dangerous hitters night in and night out. Bartolo Colon doesn’t miss many bats which helps Goldy’s cause, but Colon also doesn’t walk many hitters and has been above average against RH bats on the season. Regardless, Goldschmidt is always going to be an option against soft-tossing RHs that can’t record strikeouts.
Daniel Murphy ($4,400) – I’m hoping that because of the L/L matchup, Murphy’s ownership is miniscule compared to that of the Nationals RH bats. Murphy does possess more upside against RHP, but he’s no slouch against lefties – he’s sporting a .381 wOBA, .250 ISO and 32.1 hard% against southpaws in 2016. He’ll remain in the heart of the Nationals order with potent bats surrounding him on both sides, giving him notable run producing opportunity in the league’s most favorable run environment.
Dee Gordon ($3,400) – Another left/left matchup! Gordon’s numbers don’t really change much whether he’s facing a right or left handed pitcher, as he’s more reliant on speed than anything else. He finished 2015 with a .359 wOBA, .100 ISO vs. LHP compared to .329 and .079 marks against RHP, so this matchupshouldn’t scare anyone away. Brandon Finnegan has been more effective against LH bats, but he’s walking them at an insanely high clip (5.04 BB/9) which gives Gordon an easier avenue to the base paths where he does the majority of his damage.Finnegan has actually struck out just as many lefties as he’s walked this season, so the strikeout concerns for Gordon also go down in this spot.
Anthony Rendon ($3,900) – Rendon hasn’t crushed lefties in 2016 (.367 wOBA, .156 ISO), but he’s still producing at a healthy clip against them and will get a notable bump in value tonight doing battle in Coors Field. He’s projected to hit right in the middle of the order which should give him plenty of run producing opportunities against Jorge De La Rosa, who struggles mightily against RH bats regardless of the venue. Rendon is enjoying his most productive month of the season thus far, rocking a .417 wOBA and .316 ISO in the month of August.
Jake Lamb ($3,300) – I love this price tag on Lamb. He’s in about as good of a spot as he could ask for tonight, as he has much more success against RHP at home relative to any other split this season. He’s the owner of a .434 wOBA, .361 ISO and 50.9 hard% at home, numbers that blow teammate Paul Goldschmidt’s out of the water. We can also acquire Lamb at a nice discount to Goldy, so if you want some exposure to the D’Backs lineup without going all in, Lamb is your best bet.
Trea Turner ($4,200) – Turner is among the top overall bats on tonight’s slate as the leadoff man in Coors Field. He’s got a great shot at 5 ABs which is valuable in itself, but when you consider the stolen base potential to go along with the run scoring opportunities he has at the top of the Nats lineup, paying $4,200 for him seems very reasonable. He’s come flying out of the gate early in his tenure as a regular starter and doesn’t figure to slow down this season.
Marcus Semien ($3,300) – It still feels like he flies a little under the radar as a lefty masher, but Semien has massive potential in a matchup with Martin Perez in Arlington. The shortstop is the proud owner of a .392 wOBA, .305 ISO and 151 wRC+, numbers that suggest he should be hitting in the heart of the order as opposed to the top of the lineup. Perez has allowed a .342 wOBA to RH bats this season with an xFIP that sits just a shade below 5.00.
Jayson Werth ($4,000) – Werth is my top overall outfield on the slate. He’s a notorious lefty masher who has recorded a .439 wOBA, .270 ISO and 48.1 hard% against them this season, and those numbers should be inflated to account for the hitter-friendly conditions in Denver. Werth is a great fit for the #2 spot in the lineup between Turner and Harper, as he should continue to get good pitches to hit while also having top-end speed on the bases in front of him.
Billy Hamilton ($3,500) – Speaking of top-end speed, Hamilton has been zooming around the base paths over the past few weeks and has recorded an absurd 12 stolen bases over his last seven contests. David Phelps has held LHs in check for the most part (.314 wOBA allowed), but he’s walking them at a very high clip (6.26 BB/9) which gives Hamilton a very good shot to reach base, where he’s bound to wreak havoc. The $3,500 price tag still seems a tad too low given how productive Hamilton has been of late.