At near minimum price, Luke Weaver possesses some serious upside against the strikeout-prone Brewers, so consider him the best value at the starting pitcher position on Wednesday evening. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (Late) – On the late slate, only one game is projected an over/under above 9.0 runs and Blue Jays are listed as -140 road favorites in that contest. Yes, the Orioles/Blue Jays game in Camden Yards opened at a 9.5 run over/under as Aaron Sanchez will square off against Yovani Gallardo. Apparently the odds-makers aren’t being swayed by Gallardo’s home/away splits which suggest he has pitched much better at home this season (3.69 ERA) than on the road (7.18). This Blue Jays lineup is chock full of RHHs and Gallardo has already surrendered five HRs to righties (out of 12 total), a .281/.357/.449 slash line and .347 wOBA. On the other hand, Josh Donaldson headed into Tuesday night absolutely on fire after homering a whopping four times in his past two games. When the former MVP gets hot, it’s always worth taking notice, especially when he draws a matchup against a beatable opponent once again the following night. Oh by the way, Donaldson leads Blue Jays regulars in AVG (.290), OBP (.395), SLG (.582), ISO (.292) and wOBA (.410) against RHP this season. He’s an elite play in any and all formats.
Ryan Schimpf, Padres (Late) – If you aren’t paying attention closely, you may have missed Ryan Schimpf’s recent tear. Prior to Tuesday, Schimpf has produced at least 17 fantasy points in each of his past for games including a homer in two of those games. Since joining the big leagues, opposing starter Matt Wisler has been roasted by opposing left-handers: 112.0 IP, 20 HRs (out of 38 total), .286/.373/.493 slash line and .371 wOBA. This year, Wisler is struggling with hard contact to everyone and lefties specifically have hit him hard 37.4-percent of the time. While Schimpf is generally considered a boom-or-bust type option, his recent production and this plus matchup both suggest he can be used in both cash games and GPPs.
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (Early) – For the first time in the series, a pair of subpar pitchers will match up against one another in Coors Field, meaning it’s time to load up on bats. Starting Justin Verlander is the top priority on the slate but stockpiling as many hitters as possible in a duel between Ross Stripling and Jeff Hoffman is definitely next. Out of all the bats in the game, the one who stands out above the pack is the en fuego Charlie Blackmon. Since the All-Star Break, Blackmon is slashing .337/.386/.621 with a .284 ISO, .419 wOBA, five SBs and a ridiculous 28.9-percent line drive rate. Over the span of his last 13 starts, Blackmon has failed to reach double-digits just four times. By comparison, he has exceeded 30 fantasy points four times during that stretch as well. Without question, Blackmon is both one of the best and most consistent contributors in the game of daily fantasy baseball and the matchup against Stripling is not scary in the least. He should be a staple in cash games and you’re setting yourself up for failure on the early slate if he is not included in your lineup.
Jayson Werth, Nationals (Late) – Here is an equation to remember for daily fantasy baseball: “Jayson Werth plus LHP equals must-start.” Wednesday night is no different as nothing about Adam Morgan’s skill set (or lack thereof) should deter you from rostering Werth. In 80.1 IP this season, Morgan sports a 6.50 ERA, 5.61 FIP, 4.64 xFIP, 1.61 WHIP, 36.2-percent hard hit rate, 34.7-percent GB rate, 2.24 HR/9 and 7.51 K/9. To review, Morgan allows a hefty amount of hard contact, rarely induces a ground ball and has been plagued by the home run ball. All these statistics are music to Werth’s ears as he has crushed LHP to the tune of a .443 wOBA, .280 ISO, .346/.432/.626 slash line and 46.4-percent hard hit rate. Considering Morgan allows hard contact and Werth produces it, Werth is my favorite bet on the entire slate for a bomb.
Corey Kluber, Indians (Late) – Okay so there are two ways to attack the night slate: Corey Kluber and a cheaper starting pitcher or combine David Phelps/Luke Weaver and spend up for all the bats. At first look, there are enough value bats to justify spending up for the streaking Kluber. In the second half so far, Kluber been dominant as evident by his 1.84 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .223/.289/.383 slash line allowed and 9.39 K/9. This line jumped off the page because Kluber opened as a substantial -295 favorite in a game where he is only implied to allow a slate-low 2.9 runs. His opponent, Pat Dean, is just plain bad so the Indians offense should provide him with support as well. On paper, the Twins rank as virtually a neutral matchup, so Kluber should be relied upon to continue his dominance. Kluber easily rates as the safest play at pitcher on the night slate.
Mike Fiers, Astros (Early) – Justin Verlander is the obvious SP1 play on the early slate so writing about him would just have been a waste of time. Instead, I’d rather focus on saving money and rostering Mike Fiers as a SP2. Not only did the Astros open as -200 favorites against Ross Detwiler but the Athletics are only implied to score 3.5 runs and there is a measly over/under of 8.0 (which is an extremely low total for a game in Minute Maid Park in a game not featuring a true ace). Fiers quietly has produced at least 12.35 fantasy points in six of his last seven games including at least 20 fantasy points in three of those contests. The splits actually favor Fiers pitching at home (3.43 home ERA versus 5.57 on the road) and the Athletics offense is a train wreck sans Josh Reddick (and with Coco Crisp likely being traded before tomorrow). At this price tag, you could certainly do worse, and it helps fit all the Coors bats alongside Verlander.
Luke Weaver, Cardinals (Late) – Despite pitching reasonably well in all three of his big league starts thus far, Luke Weaver’s price tag has barely risen. In his starts, Weaver has pitched 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 innings respectively, so his pitch count seems to be rising. Weaver produced excellent numbers in the minors in limited sample sizes and so far, so good in the majors as well: 3.60 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 3.14 xFIP, 1.47 WHIP, 22.7-percent hard hit rate, 1.80 HR/9, 3.00 BB/9 and 9.60 K/9. Okay so there are a few holes (HR rate and BB rate) to the stat line but I’m willing to chalk it up to a small sample size. Basically, we’re looking at a kid with strikeout potential for nearly minimum price. No team strikes out at a higher rate than the Brewers against RHP (27.1-percent) so there really is some significant upside to this matchup. Even if he gives up a few bombs, he can easily hit value at this price tag. Oh and the Brewers also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage against RHP. Assuming all goes right, we could be looking at a pitcher flirting with double-digit Ks, which makes him the likeliest candidate to lead all pitchers in fantasy-points-per-dollar.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, August 30