We have a slow night in MLB with just five games on the schedule. As we get into September, you need to be even more diligent about double checking the MLB starting lineups before locking in your rosters on FanDuel. Teams will start resting players more often, as contending teams rest stars for the stretch run and out of contention teams begin to evaluate young talent in place of proven veterans.
Jordan Zimmermann – WAS vs ATL – $9,300 - There are only three pitchers worth considering tonight: Zimmermann, Francisco Liriano and Taylor Jungmann. Zimmermann sits comfortably at the top of my list as the heaviest favorite on the MLB odds board at home against a weak Braves lineup. Always stingy with the walks, he has bumped his strikeouts up to a strong 25% rate over the past month to go with a 2.97 SIERA. He is an easy choice for cash games, and a fine play in tournaments as well.
Buster Posey – SF at COL – $4,400 - You’ll want as much exposure as possible to the Giants-Rockies game at Coors Field tonight. Posey gives you a big edge at the catcher position, and his price, while high, is not unreasonable. His numbers against left-handed pitchers are down from his usual lofty standards, but he still has elite plate discipline along with a 42% hard contact rate against lefties.
Yasmani Grandal – LAD at SD - $2,200 – A slow month of August has dropped Grandal’s price all the way down to the minimum. The Dodgers are facing an average at best young pitcher in Colin Rea and should be able to put some runs on the board. Grandal’s numbers for the season are excellent with a .361 wOBA and .362 OBP against right-handed pitching.
Ben Paulsen – COL vs SF – $3,400 - On the Rockies side, you should look to the left-handed batters first, as the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong has been hit hard by lefties, allowing a .375 wOBA. Paulsen is one of the most affordable Rockies hitters, has a solid .360 wOBA against right-handed pitching and should come to the plate with plenty of runners on base.
Adrian Gonzalez – LAD at SD - $3,100 – Like teammate Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez is part of a Dodgers lineup that has been struggling, and so they have very nice price points against a weak pitcher. Gonzalez comes in with a .372 wOBA and .240 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Anthony Rendon/Danny Espinosa – WAS vs ATL - $3,200/$2,500 – The Braves’ Matt Wisler may be the worst pitcher on tonight’s slate with his 5.05 SIERA, so you’ll want to get a piece of the Nationals offense. Wisler is much worse against left-handed batters, so if Espinosa gets into the starting lineup, he would be my first choice. If Espinosa sits, Rendon is a fine option, as Wisler gives up a lot of hard contact to right-handed batters. Rendon comes in with an 11-game hitting streak and has been hitting near the top of the order.
Nolan Arenado – COL vs SF - $4,900 – Arenado is an elite hitter in the best scoring environment in the league, and comes in hot with home runs in three straight games. If you can afford him, he is an easy choice as the top third baseman on the board.
Justin Turner – LAD at SD - $2,700 – Turner is yet another Dodgers batter that simply looks underpriced for his skill set. Turner is a reverse splits hitter, so there’s no need to worry about him facing a right-handed pitcher. He comes in with elite numbers against righties; a .399 wOBA and .380 OBP.
Alcides Escobar – KC vs DET - $2,200 - The Royals are one of the top offenses to target outside of Coors Field, and you can get their leadoff hitter at minimum salary. Detroit’s Matt Boyd has a low 9.6% strikeout rate to right-handed batters, while Escobar carries a strong contact rate. If you want to pay up at shortstop, Colorado’s Jose Reyes is a great play, but I’m looking to save salary here with Escobar to be able to pay up for big bats elsewhere.
Bryce Harper – WAS vs ATL - $5,600 - Harper is easily the top hitter outside of Coors Field tonight, and rivals the upside of the Colorado bats. Atlanta’s Matt Wisler has allowed a .444 wOBA to left-handed batters with a terrible 9.4% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate. Harper has a .473 wOBA and .332 ISO against right-handed pitching. Harper left last night’s game with tightness in his leg, so be sure to check that he is playing tonight.
Charlie Blackmon/Carlos Gonzalez – COL vs SF - $4,800/$4,300 – These two Rockies left-handers should be near the top of your list against Ryan Vogelsong. I’ve mentioned Vogelsong’s struggles against left-handed batters; in addition to his .374 wOBA and 2.25 HR/9 allowed, he also walks a lot of batters, which will lead to more runners on base when he gives up extra base hits. Gonzalez hit two more home runs last night, giving him 20 HR since the All-Star Break. Blackmon has a .371 OBP against right-handed pitching out of the leadoff spot.
Ben Zobrist/Lorenzo Cain – KC vs DET - $3,600/$3,500 – Either Zobrist or Cain would pair well with shortstop Alcides Escobar in giving you two of the top hitters in the Royals lineup against young Matt Boyd and his struggles with right-handed batters. Zobrist has strong numbers against left-handed pitching this season; a .393 wOBA and .411 OBP which stems from great plate discipline. Cain has been even better with a .428 wOBA and .240 ISO against lefties. Cain missed last night’s game with a minor injury, but could be back tonight.