My goodness, look at the aces going today. McClanahan, Giolito (maybe not right now, but you get it), Nola, deGrom, Burnes, Gallen (don’t trust me…go look at his numbers), plus Webb and Yu are just outside the aces discussion. All of the names above will be used throughout DFS today and I will not argue with any of them. What I will do is pivot away from them to save some money as we load up on offense. Also, please note it is easy to recommend an ace. I am not here for easy. I am here to give you the recommendations that may fly under the radar to help you separate yourself from the masses.
Normally, I like to pair an ace with a lower-priced option, but today, I am going lower cost so we can take advantage of the second game in the South Beach double-header. Yep…it is an old-fashioned stack coming today. Why, you ask? To me, I think the Marlins are not very good and I think their ‘pen will be tested in Game 1 with Jesus Luzardo recently back from injury and probably not ready (or able) to be streatched out. That tells me the evening game will result in a lot of runs for the Braves against youngster Nick Neidert and even more if/when they chase the starter and get back into the Miami reliever corps. The Braves can and often do score in bunches and I look for them to light it up in Miami tonight, so let’s get to the names!
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Spencer Strider, SP: DK: $X,XXX / FD: $X,XXX – Certainly a 6-4 record does not inspire confidence to the Nth degree, but hear me out. K’s play and K’s pay. Headlining the second game of the South Beach double-header, I see Strider mowing through the Marlins lineup that will undoubtedly be tired. Not only that but they are overmatched to begin with and have nothing to play for. The Braves, defending their crown, absolutely have something to play for as they chase the Mets. Strider is a pure power pitcher and this match-up is one I simply cannot pass up. Need a little more to pull the trigger on Strider? How about 138 K’s in under 90 innings pitched? How about an ERA just above 3.10 and WHIP of 1.05? I bet that 6-4 record is looking better and better now, isn’t it? One final thing to mention…The Streamonator loves Strider and has him as the #5 play today only behind four aces mentioned in the intro (deGrom, McLanahan, Giolito, and Burnes).
Spenser Watkins, SP: DK: $X,XXX / FD: $X,XXX – Speaking of teams that have something to play for, how about these Birds? The Orioles, even as sellers at the deadline, are right in the AL Wild Card mix and I am here for it. As a Mariners fan, I feel for what the #Birdland fans have gone through over the years. I will root for these O’s until they are in the way of my Mariners getting into the playoffs. I digress. Watkins does not jump off the page at me and he will not for you, either. He is facing a Rays lineup that has a number of personalities. Some days they score with the best of teams and some days they show up looking like a High-A team from Charleston. Akin to my Strider recommendation, hear me out. Since June 25th, Watkins has five starts under 2.00 ERA (and two stinkers) while averaging around 5 K’s per start. The only pause I take before locking Spenser in is he is matching up against Shane McClanahan. If the O’s offense can get to Shane Mac early, then Watkins has a chance. I like saving the money here even if The Streamonator is not a fan (#27 ranked for today).
Keep an eye on starting lineups for both pitchers listed above. There is a a rumor floating that Strider may get bumped to Sunday and a second rumor that DL Hall has been called up to take Watkins’s place in the rotation for at least Saturday. When submitting this article for editing and review, neither of the pitchers above had prices listed.
Will Smith, C: DK: $4,800 / FD: $3,600 – Best offensive catcher, batting 4thfor the most potent lineup in the NL (if not MLB). What else do we need to discuss? Betts, Trea, Freeman all bat in front of him so there will always be runners on for him and he is facing a KC team that just won a few games against their AL Central rival ChiSox, so they may be feeling a little something about themselves. Well, I will be the first to tell you KC will be brought back to reality with the Dodgers coming to town. Start Smith with confidence, but check the lineup card first to ensure Austin Barnes does not get the nod on Saturday evening.
Matt Olson,1B: DK: $4,700/ FD: $3,500 – Let the Braves stack begin! Olson is a beast and mashes RHP. As alluded to earlier, I think the Braves get to Neidert early and chase him only to feast on the Marlins bullpen arms. I think Olson has a great Saturday with the second game bringing three hits with a couple of runs/RBI. I think he goes yard early thus helping to chase Neidert.
Jake Cronenworth,2B: DK: $4,500 / FD: $3,000 – San Diego’s Swiss Army Knife is just what we need at 2B today. He has a tasty matchup against Anibal Sanchez (pinch me, I must be dreaming because this guy retired like 5 years ago, right) sporting an ERA above 7.50 and a WHIP over 1.50. Though his splits do not sell me on this selection, I think the matchup against a really bad starting pitcher with no bullpen to speak of behind him is one I look for plus he is a bargain at a thin position. Remember, names like Albies and Story are out, so there will be a lot of lineups with Altuve (expensive) and you want to be different where it makes sense. Do not pay up for that chalk when you can save here and load up on the Braves corner infielder stack (sorry, spoiler alert—see name above and next name).
Austin Riley, 3B: DK: $5,100 / FD: $4,200 – It’s happening! Riley is making a push for NL MVP (again). His numbers are sick and, similar to Olson, he hits RHP. What more do you need than 30 HR (most in MLB by 3B) and 74 RBI (second only to J. Ramirez) while batting .297 to know this kid is the real deal? Pay up for him and reap the benefits.
Josh Rojas, SS: DK: $5,000 / FD: $3,400 – The kid qualifies at most every position; only lacking 1B and C (and P if you want to be critical). He is at Coors and he has been hitting and stealing bags since the All-Star Break. The Hittertron loves Rojas as he comes in as the #9 ranked bat for Saturday. In fact, the majority of the D-Backs lineup (A. Thomas, D. Varsho, K. Marte,. C. Walker, and even E. Rivera) are inside the Top 20. Those names represent another stack opportunity and at a lesser cost than my Braves stack recommendation. What stacking the D-Backs offense will do is allow you to pivot from Watkins and possibly land another ace pitcher. Something to consider. I am all about options. If you want a solid pivot option, consider moving Rojas to 2B while inserting Jose Iglesias here at SS. Iglesias is raking lately and also playing at Coors and comes in at DK: $4,400 / FD: $3,200.
Michael Harris II., OF: DK: $4,400/ FD: $2,800 – Rounding out the Braves stack is another guy that just keeps hitting. Harris brings a .290 average with double digit HR and stolen bases and has a nice matchup against a RHP. All of his power comes against RHP and his average is 25 points higher than against LHP. This is the less expensive piece of the Atlanta stack, so start him with confidence and know the next and final name for Saturday is baaaaaack and I could not be more excited. A HR on Friday night instills additional confidence that this weekend is a good time for Money Mike to shine.
Julio Rodriguez OF: DK $5,200 / FD: $3,800 – If you follow my Saturday write-ups, you knew this was coming. This is not a surprise. The only concern I had was the IL stint and would it end early enough for me to recommend JROD for today. Considering the M’s pulled him off the IL on Thursday evening for the Friday game tells me my guy is ready to get back at it and start raking and running again. He did it again…a couple of hits; a couple of knocks. JROD is baaaaaaaack!
All right, there you have it…Braves stack (with their starting pitcher) with a very strong pivot option in the D-Backs offense (and possibly Gallen) at Coors. Best of luck and let me know through comments how you did using any of these players in your DFS lineup for Saturday.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
No weather to report for Saturday.
Doing Lines In Vegas
No lines jump off the page at me, so I will simply double-down on my stack and back-up stack. Give me Atlanta and the Over in Game 2 and give me Arizona and the Over at Coors.