This past week has seen an extreme heat wave in parts of Texas, including Arlington. It has been at least over 100 degrees for 5 of the last 6 days (on Tuesday it was “only” 97) getting as high as 107 on Friday and 109 Saturday. While it’s normally pretty hot in Texas in late July, it isn’t normally this hot (I looked it up – typically it will be about 95-96 degrees, and it rarely exceeds 102. These last few days have all been abnormally hot). While I do believe that weather is generally overrated in baseball DFS, when it gets to be this hot, you simply can’t ignore it. Just to illustrate:

Friday, July 20th (107 Degrees) – Cleveland 9, Rangers 8

Saturday, July 21st (109 Degrees) – Cleveland 16, Rangers 3

Sunday, July 22nd (102 Degrees) – Rangers 5, Cleveland 0

Monday, July 23rd (100 Degrees) – Athletics 15, Rangers 3

Tuesday, July 24th (97 Degrees) – Athletics 13, Rangers 10

Wednesday, July 25th (100 Degrees) – Athletics 6, Rangers 5.

In other words, when it gets really hot, offenses just become downright silly (except apparently on Sundays). Yesterday’s game was a disappointment in that there were “only” 11 runs. To put it bluntly – no matter what DFSBot might want, at some point when it gets to be this hot, you have to just weather-truth it.

On to the picks…

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PITCHERS

Stephen Strasburg, P: $10,000 – Strasburg strikes out 28.8% of batters, walks 6% of batters and has a 43.5% ground ball rate. The combination is very good, but the complaint is that he’s not Chris Sale. The Marlins vs righties strike out at an above average clip and don’t walk at all, so the matchup is there for him to do well, but he just has to do it. He threw 98 pitches his first start off the DL, so there’s no concern about him being limited at all. (Editors Note: This article was written and edited pre-DL news, so as an aside, Sonny Gray is your next best option and Rich Hill always offers strikeout upside.  However, the Braves in Hotlanta are a fiesty bunch, and you always have to watch out for modern day Captain Hook, so this could get ugly for Hill in a variety of ways. I’d run with Gray on the short slate and beat everyone with your offense.)

Sonny Gray, P: $7,800 – There are 4 just completely garbage offenses. The Padres, Tigers, Royals and Orioles. If you face one of those 4 teams, you are viable. The Royals don’t strikeout, but, they swing at legitimately anything thrown to the plate and Sonny Gray doesn’t throw any anything in the strike zone (40%) so if the other team has no patience (Royals fit the bill) Gray could have a pretty good start since his stuff is pretty hard to hit when it’s not in the zone.

HITTERS

Every Single Hitter Playing At Globe Life Park (Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers) – I assume anyone reading this also read the introduction, If they did not, go back and read that. And then come back here. Okay. So now that we know that when it gets well into the triple digits in Arlington (or any city, for that matter), you just have to keep it simple and weather-truth it, let me start the picks by saying this: it’s currently forecasted to be 103 degrees today in Arlington. Get these guys into your lineup. It’s not even like you can argue that the pitchers are good enough to overcome the heat – the two guys going tomorrow are Trevor Cahill and Bartolo Colon. While there’s enough other good spots out there that it’s not a requirement that you just play 8 guys from this game and nothing else, this should still be the #1 priority by far – particularly the Athletics because while neither pitcher is anything to be afraid of, Bartolo Colon is far more attackable from a DFS stand point. As a result, the two Athletics with platoon edge, Jed Lowrie ($3500) and Matt Olson ($3500), are basically must plays. Khris Davis ($4500) and his .277 ISO is quite attractive given Colon’s inability to get strikeouts. I felt obligated to point out that Khris Davis has 6 home runs in his last 4 games (has homered in each of them). He apparently loves hitting in 100+ degree weather. He is, however, probably only a cash play if you’re not going Strasburg, as his price got bumped up just a bit too high – $4500 maybe just a touch too much given that J.D. Martinez is just $4900, and a Strasburg cash lineup can’t afford both of them. If you’re comfortable with a cheaper pitcher, Khrush is absolutely in play in cash and GPPs. Semien and Piscotty are far from core guys since they got price bumps but whether or not you want to play them in cash will depend on what you’re prioritizing and where you land at other spots. Chapman is likely a touch too expensive for cash (playable in GPPs though), but if either Nick Mantini ($2200) (complete scrub) or Dustin Fowler ($2300) (somewhat scrubby but has pop) are at the top of the lineup, they are cash viable given their cheap prices. To me, a Strasburg lineup without at least 3 Athletics (Lowrie, Olson, and either Martini or Fowler) is flat out suboptimal, and you can argue for Khrush as well. You can also make a case to play Semien as your 4th Athletic instead of Khrush given the weakness of SS today. A non-Strasburg cash lineup should absolutely use 4 Athletics, and if you are going really cheap at pitcher, you probably can run both Khrush and Semien with Lowrie and Olson. But don’t let my focus on the Athletics so far lead you to conclude the Rangers aren’t also quite attractive. Cahill’s not good enough to overcome the power of weather-truthing 103 degree games either. However, the matchup is tough enough that I’d use the platoon-side guys. Shin-Shoo Choo ($3400) and Joey Gallo ($2800) are the two most attractive – the reason I’m off of Rougned Odor ($3600) is simply that I prefer Lowrie for the same price, and unless you’re weather truthing and going 8 guys from this game, Odor is the odd man out. Ronald Guzman ($2200) provides decent value as well, and Willie Calhoun – he of the “scouting report that can’t stop raving about all the things he does well offensively – hits for power, hits for average, commands the strike zone, doesn’t strike out…and all the ways he stinks defensively” makes for a great GPP play at $2600 near the bottom of the lineup. I will conclude this incredibly long section by noting that right handed Rangers, while not cash plays, are certainly in play for your Rangers stacks in GPPs.

David Freese, 3B: $2,200 – Pure value play here. He’s projected to be a league average player and he’s got the platoon advantage. And while Matz is pretty OK, he’s just that, pretty OK. Also Jordan Luplow ($2,200) and Jordy Mercer ($2,300) normally bat too low to be cash viable, but every so often Clint Hurdle randomly bumps one or both of them to the top of the lineup. If today happens to be that day, a top-of-the-order Luplow or Mercer with platoon edge for their almost-minimum price is definitely cash viable.

New York Yankees – This is one of the primo spots of the day. Jake Junis gives up a lot of home runs (1.72 per 9 in his career). This combined with his perfectly average bat missing ability (21.4%) and propensity for strike throwing means this could be a big day of bombs for the Bronx Bombers. Obviously the top plays are Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but Gardner, Hicks and Bird at their prices are the likeliest to fit into your cash game lineups. The reason to pick Gardner over Bird is if you respect leadoff hitters over guys who have a lot more power and in the case of playing guys vs Junis, you probably want to go get the guys who have more power. Which brings me to the likeliest of guys to be in your cash game lineups, Didi Gregorious. He’s got some pop (.209 ISO), he’s eligible for the dumpster fire that is SS and he’s isn’t monster expensive and he’s got the platoon advantage making him a very nice cash game SS.

J.D. Martinez, OF: $4,900 & Mookie Betts, OF: $5,000 – Mookie and JD lead the league in slugging and are legitimately awesome at baseball and it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, these 2 are good. Whether or not they are elite cash plays usually depends on the guy who is on the mound since the guys surrounding them aren’t nearly as good at the whole baseball thing. At this point in time, Kyle Gibson probably is good enough that they aren’t elite cash plays but are always elite GPP plays. If Gibson gets traded to the Brewers along with Dozier, and the entire pen, then these guys are elite cash plays. Just remember to set up your Hug Watch Fantasy League, I’m sure Rudy will come up with some genius algorithm to help you win your league.

Jose Peraza, SS: $3,300 – SS is hot garbage fire today. You can either weather truth Semien or Andrus with their inflated prices or drop down to Didi or Peraza. Peraza is facing a lefty who’s making his MLB debut, so obviously we don’t know what we’re getting out of him. Steamer has him as replacement level type starter, low strikeouts, average walks and average home runs. While Peraza isn’t good, he’s good enough that when he’s batting leadoff, with platoon advantage, in a plus matchup and isn’t bonkers expensive he’s viable.

Joc Pederson, OF: $3,200 – Joc has had quite a transformation since he debuted. He went from a striking out 29.1% of the time to striking out only 15.4% of the time this year. And outside of last year when he was “awful” (league average wRC+) he’s been pretty good in his career. His walks have also come from 15.7% to 10.4%. He’s got a 139 wRC+ this year, so I’m sure the Dodgers are very pleased with this transformation. Anibal Sanchez has shockingly been OK this year with slightly above league average strikeouts (24.2%) and walks (7.6%) and below average ground balls (40.7%). Playing Joc in cash seems awful, but his production (and projections) are screaming at us that he’s much better than a $3,200 player and FanDuel has grossly mispriced him, normally I’d say this is GPP play only because, well, it’s the Dodgers and Joc (and both have done me very very dirty), but if you land at $3,200 at your last spot in OF or Util, Joc is a an excellent play.

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

I think we should rename this section, ‘I’m Only Happy When It’s 100+ Degrees in Arlington.” It’s also going to be cold in San Fran, so if you wind up playing hitters in that game, you’re probably going to lose.

Doing Lines In Vegas

Since the first and foremost part of this article is that once it goes over 100 in Arlington, you play that game as much as possible, I’ll stand by it, even with an 11 over/under in Vegas. Bet the over! I will weather-truth this spot every time.