Neil previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for August 17th.
Today we have 10 games on the MLB schedule kicking off at 7:05 p.m. As always, make sure to check your lineup prior to game time for any last-minute scratches, and be sure to check the weather forecast which is looking iffy in the Diamondbacks/Pirates and A’s/Orioles games.
There are 10 games on the slate today and we’re nearing crunch time for many teams. It’s also getting to be crunch time in yearly fantasy formats. If you are in a head to head league and your team has flamed out, now is as good a time as any to try Daily Fantasy. You can make up for a lost season with some positive performances in DFS in the last 6 weeks of the season.
For today’s slate, I almost pulled the trigger on some high-priced pitching, but looking further at the numbers made me shy away from both Gerrit Cole and Scott Kazmir. My gut instinct was to take both, but I ended up with neither and now have cheap(ish) pitching and more expensive hitting. Let’s see how we do.
1. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners ($8,100)
The Mariners pitching staff got trounced in Boston this weekend and that is one reason that I am rolling with Walker. Even if he is not at his most effective, he will have to go 6 innings in this one, which could mean he racks up a good strikeout total. On top of that, Walker has been very solid in the 2nd half of the year with an xFIP of 3.41. He was very effective against the Rangers in Texas earlier this season, holding them to 0 earned runs over 7 innings in a Mariners win.
2. Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox ($6,700)
The Angels have really been scuffling at the dish in August, with the MLB worst team OPS of .616. Carlos Rodon contributed to the Angels’ offensive futility just last week as he dominated them over 7 innings, allowing no runs, 4 hits and striking out a career high 11 batters. Rodon has been dynamite in the 2nd half with an xFIP of 3.34 and an astronomical K/9 at 11.72. There’s no guarantee that Rodon can dominate the Angels again, but I’m willing to roll the dice.
3. Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins ($4,400)
Dozier has slowed down some in the 2nd half, but I am counting on a little dose of CC Sabathia to cure what ails him. Sabathia has a 6.13 home ERA and has allowed righties to hit him this season at a .321/.371/.529 clip. Dozier has been at his best against left-handers this year with a line of .267/.349/.511. Yankee stadium is the 5th most friendly park for homers this year, and Dozier’s mark against lefties coupled with Sabathia’s futility against righties make me think that a dinger is in store tonight.
4. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros ($5,100)
This kid is just so good, but he has been especially so at home. Maybe it is the good food in Houston, but Correa has a wOBA of .440 and a wRC+ of 186 in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park. His 2nd half has been just as amazing as he holds a 1.003 OPS since the all-star break. Opposing pitcher Erasmo Ramirez has been surprisingly effective this year, but much less so on the road where he holds a 4.70 ERA. I like Correa for a big night.
5. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,300)
It seems like just yesterday that everyone was worried about McCutchen’s knee injury and thinking it would be a lost season for him. Don’t look now, but McCutchen is 5th in the National League in OPS, 6th in runs and 4th in RBI, where he looks poised to deliver a career high. On the year, McCutchen has especially nice reverse splits with a .293/.398/.521 line versus righties and he has really picked it up in August with a .300/.373/.650 slash. Today he faces Jeremy Hellickson who has an abysmal 6.09 road ERA. This is a good day to splurge for McCutchen.
6. Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers ($4,600)
Both in the minors and in his brief cup of coffee in the majors, Marlins’ southpaw Justin Nicolino does not miss many bats. Miller Park, the 4th best ballpark for runs and top one for homers allowed seems like a tough place for a pitch to contact guy to throw. Ryan Braun will likely be the beneficiary of the anticipated Nicolino struggles as he has a robust .298/.392/.536 line against lefties on the year. Braun has also gotten hot recently with a homer yesterday and an overall line of .319/.385/.489 in August. Roll with the Hebrew Hammer today.
7. Stephen Vogt, C/1B, Oakland A’s ($3,600)
After a scorching first half, Vogt has really lost his way in the 2nd half. But he hits in a favorable home run park tonight as Camden Yards is 2nd most friendly in yielding homers. Vogt has been especially potent on the road against right-handed pitching with a .899 OPS. I think Vogt turns things around tonight with a big game.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @nschnurbach
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