Short slates (such as a 6-gamer, which is what we are presented with on FanDuel today) usually present the decision of whether or not to pay up for Coors Field bats (and run an inexpensive pitcher) or fade the expensive bats, selectively play one or two bats from Coors Field if they are cheap enough, and pay up for a high end pitcher. Today may be an exception – because it’s entirely possible that the two offenses I am personally going to recommend later are in as better spots overall, and are comparably priced. I see a fairly decent Ross Stripling making the Rockies not at the level that they’d need to be to justify paying their salaries, leaving only the Dodgers as cash playable. Justin Turner, Matt Kemp and Chris Taylor are the cash game plays if you want to go there. Manny Machado is quite expensive, as is Brian Dozier. Enrique Hernandez is always a DFS tout-darling because of his success against lefties in his career, but he’s fool’s gold because he’s got a pretty high pinch hit risk once the lefty-starter is out of the game. It’s really hard to play anyone in cash when there is a very strong possibility he’s going to only get 2 plate appearances. The other Dodgers like Yasiel Puig and Austin Barnes bat too low. It’s simply a spot where you’ve got a team that overall seems to be in a decent spot and worth playing, but when you look at it on the individual level, you’re not looking at a lot of attractive plays worth the salaries. What that suggests to me is that this is a classic GPP spot where the play at the macro level is much better than any individual play. So for you GPP players out there – either you’re going to go with a full-blown Dodger stack (pick the 4 you like, or pick the 4 that best fit with what you want to do with the other games, or heck, randomly pick 4 guys in the lineup because it’s a GPP), or completely fade the Dodgers altogether.
On to the picks…
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Justin Verlander, P: $11,800 – Verlander’s numbers this year are silly, 33.7% strikeouts and 4.6% walks. The Mariners aren’t a big strikeout team, but they are also a team that tends to swing a lot and doesn’t hit for power. Verlander is just pretty clearly the best pitcher on the slate but he is quite expensive on a day where we have a lot of good spots for bats.
James Paxton, P: $10,000 – This guy this year has been quite good as well and in his 2 starts since returning, he’s been solid, striking out 15 in 14 innings. Paxton is going to see a lot of right handed bats, but he’s just good vs them as well with 30.2% strikeouts and 6.7% walks. This current iteration of the Astros is without their 3 of their top 4 hitters and just is not a lineup to be afraid of. Given the $1,800 discount, the lack of value as of this moment and the great hitting spots elsewhere, I will likely land on Paxton for cash games.
New York Yankees – The Yankees are facing right handed pitcher Ariel Jurado, who doesn’t get any strikeouts (projected 4.61 per 9) but throws some strikes (projected 2.84 per 9). In his first 15 Major League innings, he’s at 50% ground ball rate, which at least explains why someone who is striking out 10.9% of hitters is in the big leagues. The power and fly ball combination of Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Greg Bird and Gleyber Torres make them the best cash game plays, while Stanton can hit the ball out vs anyone, especially when they can’t miss any bats. If Neil Walker is at the top of the lineup, which is fairly unlikely, he becomes one of the top values of the day since he’s right there with Aaron Hicks at getting the ball in the air. And if you’re pitching Verlander, it’s likely you’re going to play Walker anyway since he’s so cheap.
Boston Red Sox – Ryan Borucki has been astoundingly lucky this year. He’s striking out 16.5% and walking 6% with a 46% ground ball rate, so of course his ERA is 2.6. In his 43 innings this year, he’s yet to give up a home run. The Red Sox should change that today. Mookie Betts and JD Martinez are some of the best hitters in the game vs righties, never mind with the platoon advantage. JD Martinez with the .456 wOBA vs lefties since the start of last year and Mookie only has a .425 wOBA. Steve Pearce is another excellent play with his .372 wOBA and .258 ISO.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B: $2,200 – David Hess is a jabroni, he doesn’t miss bats (14.1%), walks people (8.7%) and has an extreme 33% ground ball rate. Choi is a league average hitter who in the minors has shown the ability to hit for average and power while showing some patience (career at AAA is .297/.394/.474) and on a day where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of value, you have to take it where you can get it and Choi is a very solid play. Hess is such a jabroni, you can play any value that pops up on Tampa to get Coors, Yankees and Red Sox in your lineup.
Brandon Crawford, SS, $2,800 – While SS isn’t a bad position, it is an expensive position and if you want to pay down at SS, you’re landing here (unless Adames is batting at the top of the Tampa lineup). Nova is very good vs righties, but vs lefties he really struggles. He drops to 11.4% strikeouts and 42.2% ground balls. Crawford is a league average hitter but he’s got the platoon advantage and the price that lets you pay up at other spots.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Doing Lines In Vegas
Given that I don’t think the Rockies are in a particularly good spot today, that Dodgers -132 line looks attractive. Also, the betting so far in that game has been on the over of 10.5, so if it continues and pushes the line to 11, I think at that point, hitting the Under is a good play. I would wait until it gets to that point, however, and if it never reaches 11, then I wouldn’t force an under bet of 10.5 just to get action on the spot.