Zach Eflin has struggled to get anyone out as of late so start Josh Reddick at a price tag that is simply too cheap for his potential upside. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $9,200 – The fact that a household name like “Cole Hamels” will draw the start against the Rockies will no doubt tone down their ownership…and for good reason. Hamels sports a career 2-2 record, 3.94 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 7.6 K/9 in Coors Field, which is about as well as you can expect a pitcher to fare in the high altitude. Furthermore, he has produced a 1.90 ERA on the road this year…although there is no comparable environment to Denver. While Nolan Arenado isn’t a must-start in cash games, there is a whole lot of reason to like him. This season, Hamels has allowed a whopping 14 HRs to RHHs, and a 1.09 HR/9 overall. Yesterday, Arenado hit two HRs and drove in five runs against another talented lefty (Adam Conley) at home. Hamels relies on his curveball as an out pitch, and it’s his only breaking ball according to FanGraphs, which is a no-no for Coors Field. Multiple studies have concluded curve balls are less effective compared to other breaking balls in the altitude which explains why so many pitchers struggle there. If Hamels doesn’t get the rotation he wants on just one pitch, Arenado could hit one a long way.
Adrian Beltre, Rangers, $7,600 – Since the All-Star break, Adrian Beltre’s batted ball statistics have been interesting to say the least; he has only produced a 13.0-percent line drive rate but a 33.8-percent hard hit rate to boot. Squaring off against a lefty in Coors Field, Beltre is a pure price play because no one with a .380 wOBA against the handedness should be priced at a sub-$8,000 cost in this ballpark. For the season, Beltre is slashing .323/.385/.515 against LHP, and opposing starter Tyler Anderson has allowed a .336 wOBA to RHHs. Fading him in cash games is a dangerous proposition as he should end up 50-plus percent owned (if not more). Just fill a spot with Beltre and move on because there is a whole lot of potential for a mid-tier price tag.
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals, $8,700 – The no-brainer play of the day, even over Beltre, is none other than Stephen Piscotty. Probable starter Cody Reed’s last start came against the Cardinals as well and Piscotty hit a bomb off of him in that contest. Reed is basically a gas can as both sides of the plate have produced a wOBA of at least .408 against him through eight starts this season. Right-handers specifically are the ones to target against him because they’ve hit 10 of the 11 homers he has allowed. Meanwhile, Piscotty owns a .457 wOBA, .310 ISO and .340/.441/.650 slash line against LHP this season. With the Cardinals implied to score 5.3 runs tonight (second most behind only the Rangers), Piscotty should once again be expected to be a major contributing factor.
Josh Reddick, Dodgers, $8,100 – Heading into Monday, probable starter Zach Eflin has allowed at least six earned runs in two consecutive starts. Vegas lists the Dodgers as -200 favorites despite the fact Julio Urias will take the mound for them and probably pitch four innings at most. Like most right-handed starters, Eflin possesses typical split numbers with left-handers hitting him harder than right-handers. In 27.1 IP against LHHs this season, he has allowed six HRs to go along with a .261/.308/.523 slash line and .345 wOBA. As if that weren’t enough, Eflin’s ERA is nearly an entire run worse (5.19) on the road compared to at home (4.21). All of the Dodgers lefties are in play but Josh Reddick stands out as the best value at $8,100…especially considering Corey Seager is nearly $2,000 more expensive ($10,000). Reddick owns a .382 wOBA against RHP this second, second to Seager’s .390, so start him with confidence in any and all formats.
Jose Fernandez, Marlins, $24,800 – Death, taxes and Jose Fernandez at home are the surest things in life. In 11 starts at home this season, Fernandez has failed to reach 24 fantasy points just twice, and failed to eclipse 17.8 fantasy points just once. To put that into context, Fernandez owns a 2.11 ERA at home with a 13.27 K/9! While the Giants aren’t a prime team to target opposing starting pitchers against, Tanner Roark just shut them down through 7.0 IP yesterday. Overall, the Giants rank in the bottom half of wOBA, ISO and hard hit percentage against RHP, although they only strike out at a 16.5-percent rate. Unsurprisingly, the Giants are only implied to score 3.0 runs, which is easily the lowest on the entire slate. Fernandez’s -145 money line is indicative of his matchup against another ace (Johnny Cueto) more so than it is a knock on his matchup against the Giants. Pitching is brutal on this slate so don’t get cute and simply lock in above and beyond the safest play on the slate
Kevin Gausman, Orioles, $16,400 – SP2 is where this slate gets fishy as there really isn’t a solid second option. For that reason, you may as well spend down and open up salary for bats in order to increase potential upside. Kevin Gausman is listed as a -140 favorite in a game with an 8.5 run over/under but his price tag is pretty cap-friendly. He’ll be pitching in Oakland Coliseum so the park shift will be extreme in a good way for him. Over the past two seasons, only Safeco Field has played more pitcher-friendly in the American League, per ESPN Park Factors. Additionally, the aforementioned Reddick was traded to the Dodgers, so the Athletics’ already mediocre lineup lost their top weapon. The Athletics rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, BB rate, AVG and OBP so Gausman is worth a shot due to the salary relief his price tag offers.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners, $14,400 – Need even more relief than Gausman’s price allows? Although he is no sure thing, Hisashi Iwakuma is worth a shot considering his recent results. Over his past five starts, Iwakuma has produced at least 15.30 fantasy points in four of them. While Iwakuma’s numbers are down across the board this year, most notably in the GB rate deparment, he’ll at least pitch in the comfort of Safeco Field in this start. To this point, Iwakuma owns a 3.86 ERA at home compared to a 4.11 ERA on the road. After beginning the year allowing an ERA over four in each of the first three months, Iwakuma cut that number down to 3.77 in July and 0.00 through one start in August. The Tigers are a tough opponent but the over/under is listed at a promising 7.5 runs (most games on the slate at 8.5 or over). Only twice this year have Iwakuma failed to reach 14.95 fantasy points at home and he has yet to dip into the negative in Safeco Field this season. In other words, he should possess a reasonably safe floor for the price tag, which is really all you can ask with this dumpster fire of a pitching selection.
*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, August 7