DFS June 18 – Rocky Mountain High

Jim shares his top Draft Kings plays for June 18th along with his thoughts for the day.

We have a full state of games on tap today (odd for a Thursday) kicking off at 1:05 with the Orioles at Philly.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for potential cancellations (an occupational hazard these daysand make sure to check your lineups before game time for late scratches.

Injuries, slumps, bad weather; these things are a pain in the regular fantasy world, but in DFS they can be a complete nightmare.  At least in a weekly H2H matchup or in a roto league if your guys is scratched before game-time or if a game is rained out, you can make up for it the next day and look forward to your big hitter getting a double-header down the line.  In DFS, one rainout and no time to chance your lineup means no money – unless you get lucky with your remaining players.  All of us here have brought up this fact at one time or another this year, but if there were ever a dead horse worth beating – this is it. 

Check your lineups each day.  If there is rain in the forecast and you can’t check it, pick players from another series or just don’t play.  Yes, not playing is an option (several DFS junkies just cursed at me for saying that).  I have taken off a number of nights because of my schedule and inability to check my lineup and the world didn’t end.  Tomorrow is another day, but for now here are today’s picks.

1. SP – Gerrit Cole ($10,200) @CHW: Cole isn’t the best strikeout pitcher in the league and the White Sox aren’t the worst when it comes to strikeouts, but paired together they make a nice combo.  The Sox are 29th in the league for scoring runs, 28th in OBP, 28th in home runs and 27th in stolen bases.  The are also 6th in the league for ground outs and Cole has a GB% of 51.9%.  Cole has turned things up a notch in June (if that’s possible) with three wins and only 1 earned runs over his last 3 starts (20 innings).  If you want an idea of a worst case scenario for today, look to Cole’s last game versus Philly where he allowed 1 earned run over 6 innings with 7 strikeouts. 

Realistically given the pitcher and opposing team here I shouldn’t have had to say anything, but then you would have had nothing to read.  Reading is fundamental – you’re welcome.

2. SP – Kendall Graveman ($6,600) vs SD: You wouldn’t know it by looking at his 4.22 ERA, but Graveman his done quite well over the last 30 days.  In his last 5 starts (32.2 innings), Graveman has 2 win and 24 strikeouts to go along with his 2.20 ERA.  Sure he gave up 3 earned runs to the Yankees and at Detroit, but he blanked Tampa and allowed one earned run each at Boston and Los Angeles (Angels).  He also went 7 and 8 innings in his last 2 starts which is good from an inning stand point.  The Padres offense as of late falls more into the territory of the latter teams so this should be a low scoring game.  I expect at least 15 points here, but don’t be surprised if Graveman scores 20+. 

3. OF – George Springer ($5,700) @COL: I put the money I saved on my second pitcher into the most expensive bat on DraftKings today.  Over the last 7 days Springer is batting .520 (13-25) with 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 7 runs scored and a stolen base.  Colorado Catchers Hundley and McKenry have allowed 45 stolen bases this year.  Hundley has had a little more success throwing out runners but McHenry has only caught 2 of 22 robbers this year so fingers crossed he’s in there today.  Opposing pitcher David Hale has given up 11 earned runs over his last 3 games along with 6 home runs (5 in Colorado).  The only thing Hale has going for him today is his BAA against right-handed hitters (.213 vs .300 against lefties).  I’m expecting a home run, more than likely a stolen base and at least a couple of runs from Springer.

4. 2/3B – Luis Valbuena (4,800) @COL: Remember what I just said about David Hale and left-handed hitters, meet Luis Valbuena.  Like Springer above, Valbuena has been hot the past 7 days batting .278 (that’s hot for him) with 4 home runs, 9 RBIs and 5 runs scored.  12 of his 16 home runs have come against right-handed pitching and while 13 of his 16 have come at home, this is Colorado so I’ll ignore that one statistic.  Bad pitcher, home run friendly park, hot hitter and home run friendly pitcher; I’m taking Valbuena price and overall batting average be damned.  The only question I can’t answer right now is if he will be playing second or third base for my team.

5. OF – Charlie Blackmon ($4,400) vs HOU: Not the typical hot bat I normally go for; Blackmon has actually been in somewhat of a funk lately, but today’s opposing pitching might just be what the doctor ordered.  Of all the starting pitchers going today, Collin McHugh would be the worst of the bunch if not for Sean O’Sullivan of the Phillies.  For the season McHugh holds a 5.08 ERA but over the last 30 days his ERA has been 6.83 (1.59 WHIP).  He has allowed a home run in 4 of his last 5 starts and 3 of those games were multi-home run games. Then there are the earned runs with 4 or more being scored in 3 of the last 4 contests.  While McHugh has done better on the road, Coors field will not do him any favors today. 

Behind the plate we should see either Jason Castro (28 steals) or Hark Conger (13 steals-1 caught); if Blackmon gets on base he should have a green light to run (3rd in the league for stolen bases).  Just like Springer, Blackmon could do some damage today either with the long ball or on the base path.

6. SS – JJ Hardy ($3,400) @PHI: I just mentioned opposing pitcher Sean O’Sullivan above; you know, the worst starting pitcher going today over the last 30 days.  How bad has O’Sullivan been?  His season ERA stands at 5.08, but over the last 30 days the ERA has been 6.14 (1.67 WHIP).  Other than the 4 home runs allowed against the Mets he has done a good job keeping the ball in the park, but he has given up a ton of hits (40 in 29 innings) and hits are what Hardy has been getting a lot of lately.  Over the past 7 days Hardy is batting .357 with 6 RBIs and 6 runs scored.  He is also on a 10 day hitting streak with multi-hit games the past two nights versus the Phillies.  Depending on what happens with the rest of my lineup I may have to scrap Hardy for a cheaper options, but I that doesn’t mean I don’t view him as a great play for the price. 

7. 1B – JD Martinez (4,400) @CIN: Martinez may only be batting .270 for the season, but over the last 7 days he is hitting .364 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs and 11 of his 12 home runs have come against righties.  Right-handed opposing pitcher Mike “sprung a” Leake holds an ERA of 5.79 over his last 5 starts (1.57 WHIP) and a 6.23 ERA at home (1.73 WHIP).  He also has a home BAA of .324 and has allowed 8 home runs in Cincy over 34.2 innings.  The only thing that will keep Martinez from launching one out today is mother nature, and she has rained all over our schedule for over a week now.

What, no 7up Wild Card play today?  Nope, sorry about that but I feel strongly about the players I have chosen.  The wild card comes with filling my last 3 slots with value player.  Odds are those slots will be filled as it gets closer to game time and I can see who is in the lineup. 

Chris Davis (4,500) is an early frontrunner for first base, and if you read the JJ Hardy write-up you know how bad opposing pitcher O’Sullivan is – and he’s even worse against left-handed bats.  2/3B is up in the air, but thanks to Valbuena I have double the options to fill this slot.  As for Catcher, I’m guessing my budget will allow someone in the $3,000 range, possibly lower.  If you go with this lineup you’ll have to wing the catcher position based upon who is starting and what I have left to spend after filling first and second (or third).

That’s all I got. Follow me on Twitter @TheJimFinch for any last-minute changes.

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Jim Finch

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The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.