DFS – August 8 – Pony Up

DFS Baseball LogoPaul previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for August 8th.

Today we have a full slate of games on the MLB schedule starting at 1:05 pm.  As always, be sure to check the weather report before game time as there may be issues in the forecast (currently it looks like all is clear for today) and check your lineup prior to the start for any late scratches.

Another day, another set of expensive arms on the Draft Kings docket. My plan was to choose one high-end arm and then one value-priced 2nd tier starter, but none were priced accordingly. All of the SP2 choices were still ticketed at $8,500-$9,800 so I ponied up for my top two starter picks of the day. Luckily I found some very good value bats and am feeling pretty confident in my lineup. I’ve got 7 of my picks listed below and will share the rest on twitter throughout the day. It should be a great day for baseball and I’m hoping for the same tomorrow as I get a chance to take a look at the Red Sox in Detroit. Good luck today.

1. Tyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres ($10,600) Ross takes on the Phillies at home today; while the Phillies have been hitting well (8th best in the 2nd half), they are a whole lot better against LHP (13th best for the year) than they are against RHP (29th). Ross meanwhile has gotten his ERA down to a season-low of 3.43, and since April his worst month has been a 3.19 ERA. While his numbers at home have been frightful this year, his FIP and xFIP are actually better than when he has been on the road. He is 2-1 with a 3.24 lifetime against the Phillies and has a 2.55 xFIP so far in the second half. Vegas has this as an extremely favorable match up with SD at -170 with just 7 runs as the over/under.

2. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals ($10,100) This is a lot of money to spend on a pitcher coming back from injury, especially one with a 5.16 ERA for the season. Strasburg is no ordinary pitcher though. Today he faces the Rockies in Washington where he has a 3.54 ERA for the year and a 2.64 lifetime mark. Strasburg pitched pretty well his last few games before going on the DL, with 2 wins and a 1.15 ERA in his final 3 starts. He also holds a 3.09 lifetime ERA against the Rockies (not easy) with 36 K in 32 innings. Vegas likes this match up as well, with the Nats as the day’s biggest favorites at -185.

3. Kyle Schwarber, C, Chicago Cubs ($4,100) This is what I wrote about Schwarber on July 16th, when the Cubs called him up (for good):

Until Draft Kings starts pricing Schwarber amongst the top hitters, I will have him in my lineup everyday. Heck, I may even have him in my lineup then too. Schwarber is the 16th highest priced catcher today, and I can count on one finger the catchers I may like better offensively for the remainder of 2015. I spent my last $29 in FAAB on him in the Fantasy Assembly Friends and Family League and I’d do it again. Schwarber is a beast, and while he won’t continue hitting over .400 and will eventually get on 0-fer, he’s a solid bet to produce on a daily basis. At $3,100 it would be negligent to not roster him. 

Today he faces Matt Cain, having nearly a 1.200 OPS against RHP so far this year. At $4,100 I would no longer call it negligent to leave Schwarber out of your lineup, but I still wouldn’t advise it.

4. Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Nationals ($3,500) I don’t get the great price on Desmond that Neil had yesterday, but I like the way Neil thinks. Desmond is hitting .263 in August after hitting just .211 in the first half. Even more important, the power is back with a .826 OPS in the 2nd half vs a .589 in the first. Today he faces LHP Yohan Flande who doesn’t strike out many batters – meaning extra chances for Desmond and his .364 August BABIP. 

5. Rajai Davis, OF, Detroit Tigers ($3,300) Davis leads off for the Tigers against LHP, though he’s hitting just .171 in the second half. On the plus side, the price is good, he’s hitting the ball hard 40.6% of the time during that stretch meaning he’s likely due for some correction. He’s a career .300 hitter against LHP and faces Wade Miley of the Red Sox today. RH hitters have a .343 wOBA against Miley this year as well as a .344 OBP. Davis has only faced him twice before, but did manage to hit one out of the ballpark. 

6. J.D. Martinez, OF, Detroit Tigers ($4,600) Martinez hits RHP as well as LHP, but I like this match-up against Miley today who has given up 12 HR already this year (11 to RH). Martinez ranks 3rd overall with 30 HR, with 21 of them coming in the past 10 weeks. He is a better hitter at home, hitting a HR every 7.6 AB in Comerica against LHP. While his numbers haven’t been huge in August, his Hard Hit rate of 45.8% in the 2nd half is even slightly better than his first half mark of 45.1. I’m looking to Martinez and Schwarber to provide the big hits for me today for a combined price of just $8,700.

7. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals ($3,700) Zimmerman faces LHP Yohan Flande of the Rockies today, with a career .307 AVG against left-handers. This year, he’s at just .255 (compared to .201 vs RHP), but he has come on strong since being reinstated from the DL. He has an OPS of .831 since his return and has an insane hard-hit rate of 63.6% in those 10 games. Typically Zimmerman is a much better hitter in the second half, with an .868 lifetime OPS. The Nats lit up Flande last year in the one time they faced him (RZ was 2-4) and I expect more of the same today.

For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @fantasyassembly


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Paul Hartman

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Fantasy Baseball player since 1987. Creator of Fantasy Assembly, yet just fortunate enough to be a part of it.