Tonight the Colorado Rockies travel to Boston to battle the Red Sox on zero days’ rest. A bottom-three road team on both sides of the ball, I’ll be looking to pick on the Rockies with bats and arms alike.
Let’s see what else we can find on tonight’s 7-game DraftKings slate, which locks at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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The Core (Players who will appear in most of my lineups):
James Paxton, P: ($9,300) – Of his five starts since his return from injury, four have been very good, including games with 8,9 and 8 strikeouts. His 33% K rate and 3.98 xERA support what he’s done. Facing the lowly Rockies in Boston, he’ll be very popular, and he should be.
Zach Eflin, P: ($11,000) – He’s been incredible, rocking a 2.97 ERA (and an even better 2.82 xERA). His lowly 3.5% walk rate has made him an elite run suppressor. His 25.7% K rate isn’t huge, but it’s still above average. He gets the 27th-ranked offense against right-handed pitching in the Athletics, in the A’s run-suppressing park.
Paxton and Eflin are your no-brainer cash-game combo, and they’ll be the most popular pairing in DraftKings tournaments as well.
Alex Verdugo, OF: ($4,900) – Everyone in a Red Sox uniform is in play tonight. The stack will be highly-owned, so if you go this route find a way to make your stack unique, and/or avoid the chalk pitching combo.
Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B: ($4,300) – With his talent, dual position eligibility, and still-too-low price tag, I’m a little afraid of the ownership that Elly might attract today. I’d be more afraid to pitch to him, but I’m not Zack Greinke.
The Fades (Highly-owned players I will mostly avoid):
Austin Slater, OF: ($3,300) – Assuming he’s batting leadoff, Slater will be a terrific value in a platoon-advantage matchup against Michael Liberatore. This won’t go unnoticed by the field.
It’s important to remember that while Slater is excellent against lefties, he often gets pulled for a pinch hitter when a right-handed pitcher enters the game. This caps his upside, and reminds us that the best cash game plays are sometimes very good tournament fades.
Dane Dunning, P: ($6,100) – If you hadn’t guessed, today’s stat of the day is xERA, or “expected ERA.” xERA accounts for the amount of contact (strikeouts, walks, hit by pitch), and the quality of that contact (exit velocity and launch angle), in an attempt to provide a “true” ERA independent of ballpark factors and batted ball luck.
xERA in itself is not a predictive stat, but if we see a pitcher whose xERA is much worse than their ERA, we should take a closer look before buying into their performance.
Dunning sports a clean-looking 2.52 ERA, but his 4.69 xERA reveals some hidden dirt. Looking deeper, his BABIP and LOB (left on base percentage) are significantly better than his career numbers, while his K% is down. This indicates that he might be benefitting from some luck. With the Angels on tap, don’t do it.
The Pivots (low-owned plays I’ll take a chance on):
Jesus Luzardo, P: ($9,600) – With his upper 90’s heat and nasty slider, Luzardo can toss a gem at any time, as evidenced by his 30 DK point performance against the Twins earlier this season. The Mariners are actually a below-average offense against lefties so far this season. If we’re looking to get away from the chalk combo, Luzardo is a solid option.
Bryce Miller, P: ($10,000) – Fifteen earned runs over his last two starts is #notgood, but let’s not forget that this kid put up 24 or more DraftKings points in four of his first five starts. Is something wrong with him, or were the last two starts just a fluctuation? With the Marlins on tap, I’ll bet on the latter and take a shot or two on Miller.
Ketel Marte, 2B: ($5,000) – The roof will be open in Arizona, which is part of the reason for the game’s healthy betting total (10.0 runs). Opposing starter Matt Strahm has been vulnerable to righty hitters, so I’ll go back to the Ketel well on a slate that’s weak at 2B.
Emmanuel Rivera, 1B/3B: ($3,300) – This guy has been putting up 10+ point DraftKings scores like it’s his job, which it kind of is.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Keep an eye on Boston, which could see some light rain.
Doing Lines In Vegas