It's an odd day for daily fantasy contests. Yesterday's rain out in Washington D.C. means that four games will be played early and eight are late. However, that rescheduled game and another early one are not included in the afternoon contest. As such, we'll focus on the eight evening games. This was a difficult day for picks.
Rain could spoil two of the evening games - those in New York and Boston. As usual, work around them and keep an eye on the weather. With just six "safe" games, I have no choice but to pick on Trevor May once again. He'll face an unforgiving Tigers offense at Detroit. May has mixed one dominant outing into a handful of flubs, flashing his upside while also showing why it's taken so long for him to reach the majors. The wild, fly ball pitcher is not well matched against Detroit's prolific offense. The Tigers are one of just five teams with a strong interest in the outcome of their games. They're two games ahead of the Royals in the AL Central with four to play. We know they would love to put the Royals on the ropes with a win.
Andrew McCutchen - PIT: McCutchen will face David Hale, a perfectly acceptable swingman who hasn't started since May. McCutchen is a monster at the dish, so he's an obvious selection with only six "safe" games to ponder.
Miguel Cabrera - DET: There aren't many options in the top shelf today - the six listed here are practically all of them. I usually wouldn't bite on Cabrera's sky high price, but you do have to like his matchup relative to others today. Target him if you have the money, but I expect most DFSers will prefer to hire a strong pitchers and a less expensive first baseman. It's a deep position today - perhaps the only deep position.
Anthony Rendon - WAS: While his matchup with Zack Wheeler is less than stellar, most of today's hitters are facing decent pitching. Rendon offers the complete package at the plate. If you have the payroll, he's usable even if he isn't exciting. Make sure Rendon is starting. The Nats have a doubleheader today and tomorrow plus they've already clinched their playoff berth. They're still playing for the best record in the National League.
Jose Abreu - CWS: Nobody wants to jump on a James Shields start, yet Abreu's combination of fantastic power, tolerable strikeout rate, and hitter friendly venue makes him a top play. With so few options, you're going to have to risk some offensive picks against good pitching.
Leonys Martin - TEX: Martin has led off for the Rangers when they face right-handed pitching. He's also hitting well in recent weeks. He'll face Jason Hammel, who is one of the weaker pitchers this evening. Martin is an unlikely choice for a home run, so he'll need to get multiple hits to return value. I think you're probably starting to understand how stretched today is for attractive options.
Bryce Harper - WAS: The Nationals are hoping Harper miraculously recovers his hot swing in time for the postseason. He's slumped his way down to a near-bargain price. He'll have the platoon advantage against Wheeler, but the Mets hurler is tough to square up. As with Rendon, you'll have to make sure Harper plays. Washington does have four games in two days. You have to assume all of their starters will sit at least once.
Adam Dunn - OAK: Dunn often bats cleanup when the A's face a right-handed pitcher. He'll face a decent but exploitable starter in Colby Lewis at Globe Life Park. Texas is a good place for offense, so Dunn looks even better. As you know, walks, strikeouts, and home runs are Dunn's thing.
Pablo Sandoval - SFG: He's been a little slumpy since returning from a hip injury, but Sandoval's high contact approach should serve him well against Andrew Cashner. AT&T Park will hurt Sandoval's power potential, so you're hoping for multiple hits in big spots.
Eric Campbell - NYM: Campbell was slotted to bat third against Gio Gonzalez yesterday before the game was rained out. Obviously, the matchup is less than ideal although Gonzalez does contribute the occasional stinker. This isn't a recommendation of Campbell so much as a recommendation against other bargain bin choices.
Max Scherzer - DET: The most expensive pitcher of the day should have a near auto-win against the Twins. We discussed his opponent in the introduction, so there's an expectation for run support. The Minnesota attack is easy to overwhelm, which could put Scherzer in position to pitch seven or more innings with double digit strikeouts.
James Shields - KAN: The Royals trail the Tigers by two games in the AL Central, so they'll be keen to pull out all the stops. Shields lasts deep into his starts, which should help him to earn a win against the White Sox. He doesn't have Scherzer's strikeout numbers, and he's opposed by an effective pitcher in Jose Quintana.
Edinson Volquez - PIT: You may notice my preference for pitchers with something at stake. The Pirates are just 1.5 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. A win today would move them within one game of the division with three to play. Volquez will face a pitiful Atlanta lineup. They can't muster any sort of offense against right-handed pitching. The Braves may also be demoralized after their slow summer fade.