Jim shares his top Draft Kings plays for August 6th along with his thoughts for the day.
We have 10 games on tap today kicking off at 12:35 with St Louis at Cincinnati.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for potential cancellations and make sure to check your lineups before game time for late scratches.
It’s days like today that are a challenge for DFS, at least as far as pitching goes. Out of the 20 starters going, only 8 have a season ERA below 4.0. To muddle things even more, over the past 30 days only 8 of today’s 20 starters have an ERA under 4.0. Just 3 of those first 8 with a season ERA under 4.0 fall into the second category of starters over the past 30 days. The other 5 have less than 19 innings each in the past 30 days making that ERA below 4.0 somewhat untrustworthy.
So which numbers should we believe in when selecting our pitchers today? Do you trust Michael Wacha’s season ERA of 3.09 or the 4.88 he has put up recently? Is Jason Hammel’s 3.13 the number you should be looking at, or is it the more recent one of 4.70? On the other end of the spectrum: David Buchanan has the worst season ERA at 6.44, but over the past 30 days that ERA is 3.38. Same thing with Matt Garza with a season ERA of 5.17 but an ERA over the last 30 days of 3.06. When choosing your second pitcher today, be sure to weigh all the options. I say second pitcher because your first one should be obvious.
1. SP – Zack Greinke ($13,500) @Philadelphia: There are only 5 pitchers going today with over 100 strikeouts, and Greinke has the best matchup of the group. While the Phillies have picked it up offensively, they were just outside the top 10 in July for the worst in strikeouts; considering they are the 11th best team in K’s for the season, that is a bad trend. Greinke has faced the Phillies once this year (just before the all-star break) and he one hit them over 8 innings with 8 K’s. This is still the same team so nothing has changed – only the venue. Greinke has started 3 games in his career at Citizens Bank Park, throwing a total of 20.1 innings and allowing 11 hits and 4 earned runs (1.77 ERA). For his career, the only two teams Greinke likes to face more are the Mets and Padres. Versus Philly he has a career 2.03 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a strikeout an inning. If you want a virtual guaranteed ace today – you’re going to have to pay the piper.
2. SP – Mark Buehrle ($8,900) vs Minnesota: I was tempted to take Chris Heston here versus the strikeout friendly Cubs, but I’m going with Buehrle for a number of reasons. First off is Buehrle has been a better pitcher at home in regards to ERA, WHIP, BAA and strikeouts (the few he gets). It’s also a night game and Buehrle’s ERA is .70 lower when the lights come on. Since the calendar turned June Buehrle has had an ERA under 2.0. Next is the innings; in 21 starts he has failed to go at least 6 innings just 3 times. Finally there is his batted ball profile with a groundball rate just under 50% and a line drive rate under 20%. The Twins are one of the better hitting teams when it comes to lefties, but they are also 6th in the league when it comes to K’s. That doesn’t mean much here but Buehrle needs every advantage he can get in the strikeout department.
The last time Buehrle squared off against Minnesota was in May when he allowed 4 runs and 6 hits over 9 innings. That was also the month the Twins were 5th in the league in runs scored and 6th in batting average. Over the past 3o days the Twins have just 3 players hitting over .250, Eddie Rosario, Aaron Hicks and Kurt Suzuki; Hicks is the only one of them that truly enjoys hitting lefties (too bad he can’t hit on the road). I like this Buehrle matchup today.
Value Play – Jeremy Hellickson ($6,100) @Washington: Hidden beneath that 4.95 ERA there have been some good games. Before getting blown out by Houston in his last start, Hellickson rattled off 4 solid starts. He allowed 2 earned runs or less in each, went 6 or more innings in 3 and had 6 strikeouts in 3. He also allowed only 1 home run over those 4 games and had 2 games where he did not issue a walk. While there is a chance he implodes, that risk seems to be going down the further along we go. Hellickson’s start today is in Washington so he gets a nice roomy park along with a team that has hit wall. For the month of July the Nationals are 27th in runs, 29th in OBP (.283), last in BA (.213) and were the 6th worst team for strikeouts. Hellickson could net you negative points, but he could also score you 20+ at a fraction of the cost compared to Wacha or Heston. There are not many cheap players I would trust, but this is one I might gamble on.
3. OF – Chris Young ($3,300) vs Boston: Eduardo Rodriguez may have held the Yankees to 2 runs on 5 hits the last time he faced them, but I don’t think he’ll have the same luck in Yankees Stadium – or against Young. C.Y. loves lefties, hitting them to the tune of .371 – coincidentally that is what he is hitting over the past 14 days. 13 of his 18 home runs have come against lefties so we could see some fireworks today. The only thing playing against Young today is the fact that 12 of his 18 home runs have come on the road. Still, it’s a great matchup for him and you can’t beat the price tag.
4. 3B – Matt Carpenter ($4,800) @Cincinnati: Opposing pitcher Michael Lorenzen has been lit up his last 3 times out allowing 17 earned runs in 13 innings (3 starts). He has also given up 15 home runs in 84.1 innings. That plays well for Carpenter who has 4 home runs in the past 7 days along with a .435 batting average. Carpenter is hitting .375 (6-16) at the Great American Ballpark this year with 2 home runs and has a career .324 average at the very same venue. 10 of his 14 home runs this season have come against righties, and since he is on a hot streak and Lorenzen is prone to the long ball, today could be a big day.
4a. Alex Rodriguez ($5,300) vs Boston: If you end up with a few extra dollars and you’re not sold on Carpenter, A-Rod makes a great play today as well. Over the past 14 days he is hitting .318 with 5 home runs. He’s also hitting 287 against lefties with 9 home runs in 101 at bats. The game is in NY where A-Rod is batting .313 with 10 home runs. Finally it’s been a little over a week since A-Rod hit his last home run so he’s due. I’m torn on which third baseman to recommend, so I’ll let you and your budget decide; you can’t go wrong with either in my opinion.
5. SS – Xander Bogaerts ($4,100) @New York: C.C.Sabathia has been bad this year (5,54 ERA), but he has been even worse at home (6.80 ERA). His BAA at home is .318 and righties are hitting .331 against him. This lines up nicely for Xander Bogaerts who is hitting .375 over the past 7 days and .396 versus left-handed pitchers. Bogaerts is also locked in as the number two hitter in Boston so run and RBI opportunities are there. I would not count on a home run or steal here, but there should be hits, runs and double-digit points scored.
6. 2B – Yangervis Solarte ($3,400) @Milwaukee: Matt Garza has not blown up for 3 straight games – so he’s due, right? His ERA is over 5.0 and he has given up 18 home runs so far this season; 12 of those were in Miller park. While Garza has pitched a little better recently, he still walks too many batters, is hittable and susceptible to the long ball. Solarte has been hot lately batting .452 over the past 7 days. He’s had 2 multi-hit games so far in this series, one of which was a 2 home run game on Monday. He also hit .400 last season at Miller Park (4-10) and while the sample size is small, it is growing. Solarte is a better hitter against righties, better hitter on the road and a much better hitter since the all-star break. You can probably find a cheaper option for 2B, but I don’t think any of them will match Solarte’s point total on DraftKings today.
7. 1B – Edwin Encarnacion ($4,200) vs Minnesota: Sometimes I don’t understand the pricing at DraftKings; I’m not complaining, just trying to figure out why E.E. is not in the top 10 for first basemen. Last night was his first home run since July 21st; while he was in somewhat of a home run drought, the bat has been heating up – batting .359 over the past 2 weeks. E.E. has 20 home runs and 18 doubles this season, 18 of those homers and 16 of the doubles have come against righties. Today’s starter Kyle Gibson has faced the Blue Jays once this year and while he only allowed 1 earned run that game, he gave up 8 hits, 4 walks and was chased out in the 6th inning. That was in May when Gibson was rolling and Toronto was reeling. This have been reversed as Toronto has found new life and Gibson has been hittable – he’s given up 22 hits, 13 earned runs and 2 home runs in his last 3 starts. I smell double-digit points at a bargain price.
That leaves me $7,800 for 2 outfielders and a catcher. Not much to work with, but there are always bargains to be found. I also reserve the option of going with Hellickson over Buehrle; that would add an additional $2,800 to the payroll and give me some flexibility. James McCann ($2,800) is my bargain catcher pick. He’s not flashy but he is reliable and can surprise you on occasion. As for the outfield, I’ll do my best to post a few bargain suggestions before game time – no promises though when it comes to early games during the week. Happy Hunting.
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