- Washington Nationals hosting RHP Chris Tillman
- Los Angeles Angels hosting LHP J.A. Happ
- Boston Red Sox hosting RHP Scott Carroll
- New York Yankees (lefites) visiting RHP Justin Masterson
- Chicago White Sox visiting RHP Clay Buchholz
Longshot stack:Tampa Rays hosting former teammate James Shields
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Wainwright is coming off a season-low 1-strikeout performance, and his 7.69 K/9 is his lowest ratio in 5 years. But what he lacks in swings and misses, he’s made up for in weak contact, as his 2.45 FIP and 3.7% HR/FB ratio are the best of his career. Waino hosted the Pirates towards the end of April, and turned in a typically solid performance (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K). While the Bucs offense is much more dangerous with Gregory Polanco leading off, Wainwright’s incredible curveball helps him neutralize lefties, as he has a 1.93 FIP and 20/1 K/BB ratio against LHB at home this season. The man leads the N.L. in ERA, Wins, and is averaging a steady 25.2 DK points. The isolated thunderstorms in St.Louis may be the only thing that could threaten his status as tonight’s top pitcher.
The Mariners 2nd best starter may not have the upside of some more expensive pitchers, but Iwakuma seems to be in a great position to post quality DK point totals in a home matchup with the Twins. In his last two starts against Minnesota, Iwakuma has spread 11 H over 13.2 scoreless innings while striking out 14 batters. The Twins current offense is missing their best option for the leadoff spot, and their perennial all-star in Joe Mauer, and is in the bottom 10 in runs scored (170) and batting average (.232) on the road this season. They’ve also struck out the 2nd most times (403) away from home. Iwakuma is walking fewer batters and has a career-high 54.7% ground ball rate, but has been done in by the long ball. As he faces a Twins team that lacks pop in the middle of the lineup, he should be able to avoid any serious damage.
Two Duds (Value Plays):
Leake flopped in his last start (at San Diego), but he should be motivated to bounce back as the Reds open a divisional series at home tonight. Leake is holding batters to a .233 average, and his 0.57 HR/9, as well as his 8.62 K/9 ratios are much higher at Great American Ballpark. He’ll also be hosting the Cubs, or the team that leads the league in strikeouts in road games. Leake has faced the Cubs 11 times over the last three seasons, and is 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He’s more vulnerable to lefties, but the LHB that Chicago will trot out there are far from fear-inspiring. After posting too very strong starts against the Blue Jays and Giants, Leake fell victim to some well-placed groundballs as the Padres tagged him for 11 H over 5.2 IP, but he kept the ball down and his luck should turn around in this start.
Jake Odorizzi (TB) vs. KC: $7800 – Facing RHP James Shields
DraftKings’ scoring system is heavily dependent on strikeouts, with each K worth 2.25 points (the same as a scoreless IP). Therefore, a young SP like Odorizzi, who has a 10.29 K/9 ratio, is a worthwhile value play in all formats. He pitched reasonably well in cramped Yankee Stadium, and at Camden Yards against the hottest offense in baseball in his last two starts, and returns home- where he’s been able to dominate this season. Odorizzi has great breaking pitches, which explains his lofty 13.19 K/9 ratio against LHB at home. He’s striking out nearly 30% of batters he faces, and generating weak contact with a 2.65 FIP and .189 BAA at the Trop. The Royals offense has been hit or miss throughout 2014, and if you start Odorizzi, you’re hoping they continue to swing a miss on the road.
Yadier Molina (STL) vs. PIT: $4100 – Facing RHP Charlie Morton
After going 9 for 20 to start the month, it may be safe to say that Yady is back. One of the best hitting catchers in the game has been ignorable in DFS this season, but he’s quietly raised his stock, and comes into today’s matchup having produced DK points in 18 of his last 20 appearances. He’s averaging 7.2 DK points per game while batting .319 at home this season, and happens to see today’s starter very well as he’s 10 for 22 (.455) off Morton. The Pirates RHP posted a Quality Start against the Cardinals a month ago, but he was 1-6 with a 5.91 ERA and .321 BAA in his previous 9 starts against the Red Birds. Look for Molina and company to try and jump all over the mediocre right-hander.
Travis D’Arnaud ($2600) is red hot since the Mets called him back up to the Majors. He’ll face LHP Mike Minor, who is struggling
Jose Abreu (CWS) @ BOS: $5100 – Facing RHP Clay Buchholz
Welcome to Fenway Park, Mr. Abreu. The potential Rookie of the Year brings his league-leading .349 ISO against RHP to a park that is built for right-handers with power, and will face one of the least confident SP in baseball. Buchholz managed to get Abreu out in their only 3 meetings, but that could be chalked up to a fluke, as Buch is allowing RHB to slash a ridiculous .348/.574/.948 against him this season. He’s pitched pretty well since returning from a fake DL stint, but starts against the Mariners and Cubs will not prepare him for facing a slugger like Abreu. He didn’t walk a batter over those 13.2 IP, which is a marked improvement for a SP that really struggled with his control last month, but will almost certainly run into trouble if he doesn’t pitch around the White Sox first baseman.
C.J. Cron (LAA) is a GPP play that crushes hard-throwing LHP like J.A. Happ and could go yard tonight for the low price of $3600.
Altuve slowed down after an incredible June, as he’s 1 for his last 13, but that just means he’s due for a multi-hit game soon. He goes from facing a couple of quality starters in Anaheim, to a rookie making his second Major League start in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. Mikolas allowed 3 ER over 5.1 IP against the Orioles last week, and limited their success by attacking the strike zone. That’s not the approach you want to take with an Astros team that is very free-swinging. Mikolas’ two best pitches are a two-seam fastball and curveball, which happen to be two pitches that Altuve rates very highly against. In fact, his 6.1 rating against the curve is the best in the MLB according to data collected by Brooks Baseball. I think he’ll be quite productive this evening.
Kike Hernandez (HOU) has drawn 3 walks in his last 4 games. While that’s been his only source of value in his last two starts, 2 DK points is decent output for an infielder that costs the minimum $2000.
Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) vs. BAL: $4300 – Facing RHP Chris Tillman
We warn you against reading into a small sample size, but Zimmerman is (incredibly) 3 for 3 with 3 HR in limited appearances against Tillman. The man who started for the O’s on opening day has pulled out of his tailspin recently, but is still walking too many batters and his straight-line fastball is a juicy pitch to hit. On the road this season, Tillman has a 5.53 ERA, and nearly equal 1.38 K/BB ratio. Opposing batters sport a .359 wOBA, and have 34 XBH off him in those 10 starts. In 4 of those 10 starts, Tillman has failed to go 6 innings while allowing at least 5 ER. He’s an ideal candidate to stack against, and with the Nationals offense heating up due to the return of Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, and Bryce Harper, they’re all in play in a home matchup with Tillman.
Casey McGehee (MIA) is rolling right now and has a .485 OBP over last month. He costs $3600 despite averaging 10.4 DK points per game over his last 9 appearances.
Ian Desmond (WAS) vs. BAL: $4200 – Facing RHP Chris Tillman
Desmond’s inconsistency this year has made him a risky play, but he’s 7 for his last 14 and seems to be heating up in July. He’s averaging 10.5 DK points over his last 4 games, and the Nationals have been facing some mediocre pitchers during that stretch. As mentioned with Ryan Zimmerman, they’re facing another SP that can implode tonight, and Desmond could be the 6th or 7th hitter that clears the bases with a huge hit. That makes him an important part of any Nationals stack.
Jhonny Peralta (STL) is 3 for 5 against Charlie Morton and remains a bargain with upside at $3500.
Ruben Tejada ($2900) is worth consideration if he’s batting higher in the Mets order tonight. Mike Minor struggles against RHB that hit for contact and Tejada is 3 for 7 with 17 DK points over his last two games.
Mike Trout (LAA) vs. TOR: $5900 – Facing LHP J.A. Happ
For some reason, Trout isn’t the most expensive outfielder on the board tonight, but he clearly should be as he spearheads a dangerous Angels lineup that could put up big numbers against Happ. He’s equally dangerous against righties and lefties, but his .333 ISO and .458 wOBA against LHP this season are rather impressive. Trout is a perfect 10 for 10 on SB attempts this year, and Blue Jays catchers haven’t been throwing anybody out this year. It could be a night where Trout fills up the box score as the Angels roll.
Like most Rockies, Dickerson has enjoyed tremendous success at home where he’s sporting a .402 average, and averaging 10.1 DK points per game. He’s been producing consistently since CarGo and Cuddyer hit the DL, and will face Ian Kennedy in the series opener tonight, who we really don’t know what to expect from at this point. Kennedy recovered from a putrid June to post decent starts in his last two appearances, but he’s been very hittable (7+ H allowed in each of his last 5 starts), and throws the type of cut fastball to LHB that Dickerson is more than capable of crushing.
Curtis Granderson (NYM) vs. ATL: $4100 – Facing LHP Mike Minor
Granderson is streaking again as he’s moved into the leadoff spot for the Mets, and is averaging 10.8 DK PPG over his last 6 starts. He’s been even more dangerous against LHP recently, and homered off Minor to open the floodgates in the left-hander’s last start. Grandy Man is hitting 25 points higher against lefties, and is running more than he has in years, making him a solid dual threat that should be considered in GPP formats tonight.
Allen Craig (STL) also has great splits against Charlie Morton and has flashed some upside in recent days despite his season-long struggles.
Scott Carroll is a truly awful pitcher that is starting for the White Sox as they visit Fenway Park tonight. He’s vulnerable to LHB so Daniel Nava ($3400), Brock Holt ($4100), and although he’s a RHB, Mookie Betts ($3200) look like solid values in the outfield.
I will answer any lineup questions on Twitter: @nweitzer7
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