If you have a little free time, and what fantasy nerd doesn’t, go back and look at how dominant Justin Verlander was in 2011.  The numbers are absolutely ridiculous.  Now, fast forward, while keeping a keen eye on each season as you move ahead.  Verlander has had two seasons with an ERA over 3.50 and two seasons with a WHIP over 1.30 since 2011.  Though he lost all of 2020 and 2021 to injury, he still managed 119 wins.  Read that again…119 wins!  We are witnessing a Hall of Fame pitching career and I think we take it for granted how dominating Verlander is.  If we need any additional proof, we should look at his current numbers for 2022: 7 games started, 7 earned runs (WHAT?!?!?!?!), 5 wins, 41 Ks, ERA under 1.40 and WHIP under 0.70.  Again, just let that sink in.

Dead ball, blah, blah, blah.  Sure, the ball appeared to be dead over the first five weeks of the season, but take a look at XBH and HR numbers lately and I promise you will see an increase.  Where you will not see those increases are from batters facing Verlander.  What that means for us DFS players is we need to roster pitchers that take advantage of the dead ball and/or those not affected by it.  Add in the Astros mashing the ball and sitting well atop the AL West as they welcome in Jon Gray (TEX) and his bloated 5.73 ERA and we have the makings of a Houston/Velander win.  If you need anything more to stick Verlander in your lineup, consider the Rangers are coming into the game averaging double digit strikeouts, by batters, over the last handful of games.  Justin Verlander (DK: $10,300 / FD: $10,800) wins the Battle of Texas this fine Saturday and I will not accept any other opinion!  Remember, Verlander will need run support.  Without giving anything away and to keep you reading, please know I have that covered below.

Moving onto the remainder of my picks for today shows there are a lot of secondary arms to select from.  Manoah, Musgrove, Kopech, Rodon, Bieber, Joe Ryan, Woodruff, amongst others.  Instead of using those names, some you have seen recommended in prior articles, (teaser alert) I am going with a guy that is currently 1-4 going up against the top team in the NL.

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Aaron Nola, SP: DK: $9,500 / FD: $9,300 – Considering the names mentioned above, I am confident if we held a redraft today, only Woodruff would correctly be chosen ahead of Nola.  I think Rodon would be incorrectly chosen ahead of the Philly Ace.  With that being said, season long leagues are much different than DFS.  You know this.  I know this.  So, why Nola?  Well, it is simple to me.  He is not going to be owned by a lot of DFS players as they shy away from both his current 1-4 record and the fact he is facing the formidable Dodgers lineup.  Throw in Citizens Bank Park being hitter friendly and you have a mix of things not in Nola’s favor.  I am ok with that; ok with being the guy with guts enough to trust in the old baseball adage ‘the best arms will always beat the best bats’.  Give me Nola as a #2 to Verlander and let’s find some bats to round out this lineup.

Willson Contreras, C: DK: $5,500 / FD: $3,600 – Currently the best fantasy catcher and I do not think it is that close with Salvy down and JTR just being a guy right now.  Facing a lefty at Wrigley as the weather warms up while batting in the top three of a decent, if unspectacular Cubs lineup makes me think Contreras is an easy choice today.  If he feels too chalky or you are a believer in the MadBum stats (NOTE: I am not), take a long look at MJ Melendez.  He is the #1 with Salvy down and should come at a discount at home versus Joe Ryan.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B: DK: $5,500 / FD: $3,600 – If you have ever rostered Goldschmidt, you recognize he is a slow starter every season.  HOLD and reap the benefits.  In DFS, Goldy is a guy you start to look at a month into the season.  We are a little past that initial month and look who is heating up…our guy Goldy.  With Arenado raking behind him, look for him to see more fastballs/strikes.  Playing against lefty JoCY Quintana certainly does not hurt Goldschmidt’s chances at a big day.

Brendan Rodgers, 2B: DK: $4,500 / FD: $4,300 – I have used the big names in previous articles and am bored with the Lowe/Albies-type write-up and am citing the ‘when in Coors, play hitters’ mantra and will ride the hot hand at a thin position.  Couple in Rodgers having ducks on the pond all day in Cron and McMahon who are both smoking hot right now, too, is a good equation for positive stats.

Austin Riley, 3B: DK: $4,600 / FD: $3,400 – If the Braves can stay away from South Beach activities on Friday night, Riley will wait for the left-handed bats (Olson, Albies) to chase Elieser Hernandez and then he will mash through the bullpen.  Do not be surprised if the Braves three-hole hitter has a hand in chasing the starter considering he is in the top ten for number of barrels through Friday.

Tim Anderson, SS: DK: $5,700 / FD: $3,500 – Don’t look now, but the White Sox bats are heating up.  One of my favorite players to watch, Anderson rarely looks at a pitch, so if tuned in do not look away or you could miss something special.  Timmy gets on and has Moncada, Abreu, Robert, and Grandal behind him to help him score runs.  Out on a limb here, similar to a mention from last week, I see the CHW/NYY weekend series as potential to look like a softball tournament scorefest.  Look for T.A. to be right in the middle of all that action.

Yordan Alvarez, OF: DK: $5,600 / FD: $4,000 – Let’s have some fun with analytics while we support or Verlander pick above.  Yordan is Top 4 in barrels, Top 2 in hard hit %, Top 7 average distance per ball in play, and Top 3 in average exit velo.  What more do you need to know?  Oh ya, RHP Jon Gray (mentioned above) versus Alvarez’ lefty bat should be all you need to lock him in your lineup.

Kyle Tucker, OF: DK: $5,300 / FD: $3,800 –  I will end today’s recommendations by tripling down on the Astros and doubling down with left Astros bats.  Though the analytics are not as crazy as Yordan’s, please know Tucker is not far behind.  Add in his ability to steal bases and our Houston stack is complete!

 

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Less than 50% chance of rain in Denver.  No other weather to report, to include wind.

 

Doing Lines In Vegas

Give me SD, LAD, and SEA as road dogs all at plus money.

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