Jim shares his top Draft Kings plays for June 23rd along with his thoughts for the day.
We have a full state of games on tap today kicking off at 7:05. That’s right, no day games today so everyone can play.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for potential cancellations (an occupational hazard these days) and make sure to check your lineups before game time for late scratches.
I was trading emails with fellow DFS “expert” Neil Schnurbach the other night and he mentioned making a last-minute switch to his DFS lineup, removing Kennys Vargas (who he had earlier recommended) because he was batting 8th in the lineup. Vargas went on to go 4-4 with a Grand Slam, 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Ouch! I did the same thing a few days earlier, taking out Max Scherzer in place of Liriano because I was second guessing a few bats and needed some extra money *facepalm*. At least I got a free Dominos pizza for his No-No, but I could have bought Pizza every day for six months with what it cost me. The moral here: If you feel strongly about a player when you set your lineup, leave it alone. Occasionally the gamble pays off when you make a switch, but more often than not you’re left kicking yourself. See the 7 players I have chosen below, they’re in my lineup today for better or worse – hopefully for the better. That’s all I have to say about that.
1. SP – Madison Bumgarner ($11,200) vs SD: There are 3 teams with over 600 strikeouts; fortunately for Bumgarner the Padres are one of them. The Padres are also 26th in OBP and 23rd for batting average (27th in June). Bumgarner is a lefty and the Padres have a few guys that hit lefties well like Yonder Alonso (.367) and Derek Norris (.333); other than those two, you’re looking at batting averages of .262 and lower (Clint Barmes also hit lefties well, but he isn’t a game changers). Bumgarner has already faced the Padres twice this season; the first time was his second start of the season when the Padres where hot and tagged him for 5 runs over 3 innings and the second time in May where he 2 hit them for 7.1 innings. I expect this game to be more like the latter one as Bumgarner has been dialed in his last two starts.
2. SP – Carlos Martinez ($8,300) @MIA: How good has Carlos Martinez been the last 30 days? Over his last 6 starts he has allowed only 4 earned runs and 1 home run covering 40.1 innings. He has also gone at least 6 innings in each of those starts. Oh, and then there are the 42 strikeouts. The Marlins are in the bottom 10 for strikeouts and 24th in the league for runs scored; they have been better this month, but that isn’t showing up in their batting average or OBP. Martinez has an ERA which is a half point lower on the road (2.56) and the Marlins have a somewhat spacious home park so he should be able to keep the ball in the yard, keep the score low and generate a strikeout an inning. There are a few cheaper options you can gamble on that might be able to produce similar numbers, but this one is as close to a guarantee as you can get for a minimum of 18 points. Yup, I’m even calling the minimum point total.
A side note: Those of you looking at Zack Greinke today should know that he has pitched 3 times at Wrigley Field in his career. In 2011 he went 5.1 innings surrendering 8 runs (6 earned) but did manage 10 K’s. In 2012 he lasted only 3.2 innings giving up 8 earned runs with 5 strikeouts. Finally last season he pitched 5 innings late in the season and gave up 4 earned runs with just 5 K’s. I know the Cubs are 29th in the league in strikeouts, but history is not on Greinke’s side here so Caveat Emptor. Also Johnny Cueto had his start today pushed back until Friday to give him some extra rest.
3. OF – Brett Gardner ($4,600) vs PHI: This is one of several Yankees I’m putting in the lineup today. Gardner is batting .293 against right-handed pitchers, .323 at home and .333 over the past 7 days. Right handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan has a 6.04 ERA over his last 4 starts (1.73 WHIP), a 6.75 ERA on the road (1.63 WHIP) and a .330 BAA against left-handed hitters. On top of all that bad, he has surrendered 10 home runs this year (7 to lefties) and 7 of them have been on the road (in 22.2 innings). This one is a recipe for disaster – for O’Sullivan.
4. C- Brian McCann (4,800) vs PHI: Normally I wait on catcher, but after seeing how bad O’Sullivan was against left-handed bats, I had no choice but to stack. McCann is batting .290 against righties (9 homers), .341 at home (8 homers) and .364 over the past 7 days (1 homer). I think Clubber Lang can sum up my predictions for this game.
5. 2B- Stephen Drew ($3,000) vs PHI: You guessed it, today is pick on the Phillies day. Drew isn’t much to look at batting average wise, but he is a left-handed batter who has had some home runs success this year against righties (10 homers) and at home (8 homers). Prior to last nights game Drew had 3 multi-hit games in a row along with 2 home runs on Sunday. Drew is also walking a little more this month, striking out less and hitting .267 – much better than the paltry line he produced the first two months. Finally, he’s cheap and with the money I’ve spent everywhere else, a few corners have to be cut. Drew is a nice bargain play that has the potential to produce just as well as the high-priced options.
6. 1B – Albert Pujols ($4,400) vs HOU: The Machine is back! Pujols is batting .338 with 12 home runs in June. He is also batting .295 at home, .290 against right-handed pitchers and 19 of his 23 home runs have come against righties. Opposing pitcher Collin McHugh has had some struggles against righties this season (.306 BAA) and has allowed 13 home runs this season over 85.2 innings. While his road ERA is 3 full points lower than it is at home, McHugh has gotten batted around his last two road games and in 7 of his past 8 in general. It all started after his May 12th game on the road against (coincidentally) the Angels. Pujols went 2-4 that game so I expect nothing less here.
I would be lying if I said I preferred Pujols over Paul Goldschmidt ($6,000) today. I love Goldy in Colorado against Kyle Kendrick, I just can’t afford him.
7. 3B – Matt Duffy ($3,300) vs SD: Duffy has been a real sparkplug for the Giants and fantasy teams alike. He is batting .290 for the season, .328 against right-handed pitching and .357 over the past 7 days. His bat got him a bump in the order and Duffy was batting 3rd on Sunday sandwiched between Joe Panik and Buster Posey; a good spot for runs and RBIs. Opposing pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne has a BAA of .303 against righties and his road ERA (6.00) is 2 full points higher than his home ERA. In his last 3 games (18.1 innings) he allowed 24 hits and 12 earned runs along with 3 home runs (all 3 in road games) – and only 10 K’s. I like the matchup, but more importantly I like the price.
For my final 3 players I’ll have to look for value. At SS I like Didi Gregorius ($3,000) for obvious reasons. He’s a left-handed bat and if you’ve read this far you know why that is important today. My final 2 OF bats will be a game time decision. If I go with Gregorius I have $7,400 left over to spend on 2 outfielders, maybe one big money guy and a cheap option or two mid-level players. For the high-priced guys I like Trout ($5,000), Mookie Betts ($4,800) and Ben Zobrist ($4,700). Unfortunately my normally reliable cheap guy Billy Burns ($4,900) has finally been priced out so I will have to scrounge elsewhere – maybe Clint Robinson (2,500).
That’s all I got. Follow me on Twitter @TheJimFinch for any last-minute changes.
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