It’s Sunday morning and somebody must make some tough decisions at the pitcher position today. I’m not overly thrilled with the pitching matchups today and struggled to piece together my favorites. DFSBot is showing some love to sir Brandon McCarthy who has been pitching extremely well over the past few weeks. He gets a difficult matchup against the Rockies though this game is being played in LA. The Rockies home/road split confirms that the Rockies bats are not intimidating when they are away from Coors. McCarthy is nothing but a safe play to score 20+ points. He won’t get you many K’s but he’ll limit the hits and walks and should walk away with the win. McCarthy makes for the best starter in double ups today due to his consistency at home. His price is also a modest $15,000.

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The answer: this pitcher has a swinging strike rate of 12.1% on the year, which is just .1% less than the likely chalk play of the night, Stephen Strasburg.  Oh, oh I know, it’s Alex WoodThat is incorrect…the answer is ‘Who is Alex Wood?’  I’m sorry, but we cannot accept as your answer needs to be in the form of a question.  Suck it, Trebek!  That’s you and I playing Jeopardy together which is a WHOLE lot better than playing Lambs with me, I can assure you.  Lets get this over by saying that Alex Wood being good is by no means a secret but on a slate like tonight when there are some massive lines in favor of some stud home pitchers, Alex has got me thinking he’s gonna bring the sexy for a little bit cheaper than the other massive arms on the slate.  He’s by no means a bargain at 9.5 K, but him finishing the night with a better line than the three above him in price wouldn’t be much of a shock to my system.  Alex is my cash game swerve off of the likely Stras vs Chris Archer debate and I’m obviously willing to roll with him in a few GPPs.  But now that we’re done with that, let’s get down to this; here’s my returning champion worth negative $5,300 dollars taeks for this Friday FD slate…

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There’s numerous ways you can choose to earn funds on Thursday’s FanDuel slate, but one starter stands above the rest. The 23-year-old Astros prodigy David Paulino looks to wreak havoc on the Athletics, a weak lineup that has just a .319 wOBA versus righties. The A’s and their 25% K-rate will look like shook ones against Paulino, who has a 9.15 K/9 and a 2.29 BB/9 in his four starts this year. Paulino is coming off of a six inning outing against the Red Sox where he gave up just one earned run, so it looks like he’s settling in to the big leagues. Avoiding Paulino at just $7,400 will be the start of your ending, so just step to him in your lineups.

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Hello, I hope everyone is enjoying their work day.  I welcome you all to another wonderful DFS slate on FanDuel.  I know all the way back in week 1 I said I’d try to never recommend a game in Coors Field…well that ends today.  Sorry, but you can’t ignore the game in Coors Field.  There’s plenty of ways to make sure your lineup isn’t all chalk.  Making multiple lineups and stacking each team or stack a whole team 1-8 across a few lineups and I’m talking right down to the catchers.  Tony Wolters?  Sure, if he’s playing and not Tom Murphy.  What about Chris Herrmann?  Yeah, him too.  The usual suspects are in play as well including Mark Reynolds, Nolan Arenado, Jake Lamb, Charlie Blackmon, and Paul Goldschmidt.  Those OF bats ain’t too shabby either, so check and see if Gregor Blanco, Carlos Gonzalez, and/or David Peralta are playing.  Just remember: don’t use either of these pitchers, though…DUH.  Colorado is playing too well for Walker to make a difference and Hoffman is really really bad.

Now on to the picks…

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Earned run averages are taking a beating in the Razzball Commenter Leagues this year.  It seems like every week when I run through the weekly data there is a large number of teams with 6+ ERAs for the week.  It makes sense, with MLBers on pace to set another league wide home run record that (mostly) no pitchers are safe.  Where a 3.50 ERA used to mean you were middle of the league, now you could be leading your league with that mark.  The average ERA for the RCLs is a 3.96 right now.  That seems high, in fact, all of these numbers seem high.  So, I compared them to last season’s end of year stats.  The average ERA for the RCLs last season was 3.71.  We haven’t even hit the hot summer months yet when the bats really come alive and we’re already looking at a 0.25 ERA hike.  I can’t be certain, but I wouldn’t expect the end of season ERA to be lower than it is right now.  There are only 117 of our 876 teams (13.35%) with an ERA of 3.50 or lower.  Last season we had nearly double that number to finish the season, 226 of 1020 (22.15%).  The leader in the ERA clubhouse currently is Team Visbisky of league Viz Versus The Commenters with a 2.642 ERA in only 265 IP.  If we were to use my arbitrary weekly cutoff limit of 40 IP for 11 weeks and find a team with 440+ IP, that number jumps to a 2.761 ERA by Guys and Dahls (great team name by the way) of Super League fame.  Interestingly, the current worst team ERA is also from the Super League.  Long Dongs is sporting a 5.576 ERA in 500 IP, good for DFL in the RCLs.  I should also note that 3 of the 4 robot managed teams are currently in the top 100 for ERA, with one checking in at 17th.  So, should we all run out and trade for Clayton Kershaw to offset this high ERA nonsense?  I don’t think so, personally (although, maybe Long Dongs should).  With guys like Jason Vargas and Ervin Santana out there doing their thing and Lance McCullers and Robbie Ray that could likely be had for cheaper, I don’t think Kershaw is necessary.  It might cause you to think about the value of Alex Wood or Jose Berrios a little differently though.  Something to keep in mind, but for the most part, everyone is in the same ERA boat.  Just remember, that 3.70 ERA might not be so bad after all.  More ERA talk and more stats from the week that was, week 11 below:

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Mike Montgomery ($10,800) is finally getting his chance in the rotation after being in the hybrid role of starter and reliever. He has a great matchup tonight versus the San Diego Padres as they rank dead last in hitting against LHP (.215 AVG .613OPS). They also rank in the top three in strike outs so Montgomery should be able to feast on the weak hitting line up. We also have Chris Sale ($25,600) on the slate and he has a fantastic matchup vs. the Kansas City Royals. He is very expensive but with Montgomery’s low price, he is very affordable and you can still mix in some quality bats. Lets take a look at the picks…right after the editor comes in and steals my thunder.  [EDITOR’S NOTE]: Sorry bro, we didn’t get a chance to play last week so I definitely have to hop in and give the Razzball Listener’s League link care of FantasyDraft.  Five bucks per person, twenty people may play but only five can win.  Welcome to Thunderdome, beechnuts!  Now back to the writeup…

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So loyal readers of mine are probably thinking – why the switch to Monday, and why the switch to FantasyDraft? Well, simply, the editors asked me to, and I said yes. Now, FantasyDraft and FanDuel have a lot of differences in gameplay, but one of those differences far outweighs all the other ones – the use of a second pitcher in your lineups. All the other differences are cosmetic.

Therefore, it makes more sense for those new to FantasyDraft to compare it to other two-pitcher sites – such as DraftKings. And when you look at it, the two sites are very similar in scoring systems and in salaries (FantasyDraft is almost always double DraftKings, with a few exceptions for what I like to call “pricing buckets”). But there is one major difference between FantasyDraft and DraftKings/FanDuel/most other DFS site that I know of – positional requirements. FantasyDraft requires you to have 3 Infielders, 3 outfielders, and 2 utility players. You do not need to roster a shortstop specifically – you can have Thames, Goldschmidt and Rizzo in a lineup, or for that matter, you could have a lineup of Alcides Escobar, Andrelton Simmons and J.T. Riddle (in which case, send me your FantasyDraft screen name so I can challenge you to a h2h match).

FantasyDraft’s different roster requirements, flexibility and pricing buckets can create a whole host of issues, but there is one noticeable consequence that pops up frequently and it has to do with being able to roster several outfield punts and not have to use punts (or pay up for subpar high end) at very weak positions. For the most part, value plays on DraftKings at every position except outfield are the glove-first, bat-second (or glove-first bat-never) players. Only in the outfield do you get value plays who actually can hit – Gregory Polanco and Billy Hamilton are both very affordable (and yes, I know Billy Hamilton can’t hit, but if you’re reading a DFS article, you know that stolen bases are important). Just to illustrate my point – today, Alcides Escobar is $6,000 and Gregory Polanco is $6,800. There is not a single scenario that does not involve Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale where I would voluntarily play Alcides Escobar over Gregory Polanco were it not for positional requirements.

More on this and today’s picks once I find a reason to play Alcides Escobar on Fantasy Draft…

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Happy Father’s Day to all Yu dads out there and all Yu dads that don’t know Yu are a dad. Today’s article is being brought to you by Yu Darvish ($23,400). Darvish is not the best pitcher on the board today however he comes in $2,600 cheaper than Robbie Ray. If you can afford to put Ray in your lineups today go ahead and do so. Alright, Darvish takes the mound against a struggling Mariners offense. My confidence in Darvish really stems from his outing earlier this week. He looked flawless against the Astros which is arguably the best offense if you take away the park factor. He’s going to need more than 4 k’s today if he’s going to meet his value. My only concern is that Yu is pitching at home where he sports at 3.30 ERA. DFSBot has Darvish as the 3rd best pitcher today and is projected 6.6 k’s. There have only been 2 out of 14 starts where he didn’t make it to 6 innings this season. Darvish is extremely conservative with his pitches which is why he’s successful on the mound. Get him in your lineups today and hopefully he logs 7+ k’s today.

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It’s another of those weeks where I wish I didn’t have to pick a pitcher at all for my FanDuel lineup: tough parks, tough match-ups, or tough-to-justify pitchers. The Rockies are at home in Colorado, Cleveland heads to Minnesota and the Yankees take on the As in Oakland (one of the more hitter-friendly ballparks so far this season), and I’d steer clear of pitching in all those places. So … hitter-stacking it is! It’s a warm, breezy day in Coors, which means the ball should fly there. It’s also a particularly good day for outfielders, for some reason: After the jump, you’ll find a few cheaper options to slip in amid your obvious big plays (Charlie Blackmon [$5,000], Mark Reynolds [$4,100], Ian Desmond [$4,000], I’m looking at you … I just can’t afford you).

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Kenley Jansen over his career has thrown 436.1 innings, has struck out 40.1% of batters faced, walked 7% to go with a .64 HR/9. He’s been worth 15.4 WAR over his career, which is pretty good for a reliever. His last 2 years, he’s basically done away with those walks, walking 4% and 4.4% of batters. And this year, he’s down to 0%. Yes, that’s right, he’s walked no one this year. Yes, I know he’s a reliever and he’s only thrown 27.2 innings this year, but it’s still pretty impressive. His 45% K-BB% would be the best since 1946, except Craig Kimbrel this year exists with his 49.5% K-BB%. But, the thing that makes Kenley Jansen so amazing is that unlike pretty much everyone else, he really only throws one pitch over and over again (Kimbrel throws fastball, curve). Once Jansen mostly junked his slider earlier in his career he’s thrown his cutter nearly 90% of the time, which is similar to the great Mariano Rivera. Kenley Jansen is able to get Major League hitters out throwing one pitch over and over again and is one of the main reasons why the Dodgers pen is so good. Now I know you’re saying – this is a DFS article, why is Kenley Jansen being discussed? Well, first of all, you actually can play relievers (just unclick the “Show Probable Pitchers Only” button), and there actually are some theoretical situations where you can justify it (2 or 3-game slates with a juicy Coors matchup is the most obvious one). But more importantly, with baseball (correctly) moving more and more to the “starting pitcher goes 5-6 innings, 7 innings tops, and the bullpen handles the rest”, bullpens become more and more relevant for analyzing whether or not a hitter has a good matchup. If the hitter is going to get 2 at-bats against the starter and then 2 at-bats against relievers, a batter facing a weak Dodgers starter becomes less attractive if half of his at-bats will be against Ross Stripling and Kenley “I Just Get Hitters Out With One Pitch, Man” Jansen. Meanwhile, facing the Twins becomes that much more attractive when their best reliever is Chris Gimenez. So while your main focus when analyzing a hitter’s matchup should always be on the starting pitcher, the bullpen is absolutely part of the equation so ignore it at your own peril.

On to the picks once Kenley Jansen walks a batter…

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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