The MLB DFS Strategy takes a close look at pitchers and stacks to target in tonights MLB action. We have a full slate of games with some of the biggest GPPs we will see all week. Lets take a look at the current game lines and then go over my favorite plays to target tonight.
D’Backs @ Pirates(-205) 7
Marlins @ Brewers(-150) 8.5
Giants @ Cardinals(-140) 7
Nationals(-150) @ Rockies 10.5
Braves @ Padres(-175) 7
Twins @ Yankees(-165) 9
Indians @ Red Sox(-120) 9
Mariners(-138) @ Rangers 9
Rays @ Astros(-119) 8
White Sox @ Angels(-170) 7.5
Blue Jays(-180) @ Phillies 8.5
Mets(-115) @ Orioles 7.5
Royals(-125) @ Reds 7.5
Tigers @ Cubs(-165)
Dodgers(-230) @ Athletics 6.5
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (FD $13,400, DK $15,000) – Oh my that price! Well, it has taken longer than I would have guessed but Kershaw is finally priced where I do not know if he is that much of a lock. If you can find the value bats out there, then by all means employ Kershaw tonight as he is in a great spot to do some serious work against the Oakland A’s. Did you know that over his last 7 starts, spanning 55 innings, Kershaw has allowed just 5 runs while striking out 65 batters? Kershaw and the Dodgers are a -230 favorite as they travel to Oakland for the game tonight and maybe that’s the only way the A’s have a chance as Kershaw has been closer to human than robot when throwing on the road this season.
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (FD $11,600, DK $11,600) – deGrom and the Mets are a -115 road favorite as they travel to Baltimore and I am actually a big fan of this game from a pitching standpoint as I expect it to play to the under of 7.5 runs. deGrom has been absolutely dominant since April and has many experts touting him as the best pitcher on the Mets staff. He faced the Orioles earlier this season and held them to 1 run over 7 innings while racking up 9 strikeouts. He is coming off of what might be his best start of the season as he went 7 innings of shutout baseball while allowing just 2 hits while striking out 10.
Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels (FD $8800, DK $9800) – Richards and the Angels are a -170 home favorite in this game and that plays well to Richards’ advantage as he has been a ton better when pitching at home so far in 2015. He has an average against of just .184 when pitching at home to go with an ERA of 2.53 and 69 strikeouts in 78.1 innings. He is averaging just over 7 innings per home start as compared to less than 6 innings per road start so far this season. The White Sox do not have many at-bats in their careers against Richards with only Abreu having taken him deep. I think Richards makes a safer play than somebody like Liriano, who we will get to shortly.
Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles (FD $6500, DK $5100) – As we stated under deGrom, the Orioles are a slight home underdog here and that is just fine with me as I think that keeps Gausman under the radar slightly. Gausman is coming off of a really solid start in which he managed 9 strikeouts in 7 innings, while allowing 3 runs on 6 hits. He is considered one of the best pitching prospects in the game for a reason and there is also a reason why the Orioles refused to include him in any trades. He has been exponentially better at home this season as evidenced by his 1.50 home ERA to go with a .205 average against at home. He did throw an inning against the Mets earlier this season and managed to K two of the three he faced. His price makes him a great GPP option, especially on multi pitcher sites.
R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays (FD $8000, DK $7000) – Dickey and the Blue Jays are a -180 favorite as they travel to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Dickey has made one start against the Phillies this season and managed 8 shutout innings while striking out just 4 batters en route to the victory. Dickey has been a lot better at home, so that is a slight scare, however he has been dominant in August so far as he has an ERA of 1.80 to go along with an average against of .197 across 20 innings. Dickey is generally pretty low owned and I think that makes a great thing for GPP’s as he is a sneaky source of innings and wins. He is capable of posting double digit strikeout games at any time as well.
Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates (FD $9700, DK $10,300) – Liriano would normally find himself in my stud category as he has been mowing down hitters all season long, however he just has not looked himself in August as he has an average against of .342 in his two August starts. Generally I love to target D’Backs when they face left handed pitching as they are very potent from the right side, however Liriano shut them down the last time he faced them this season as he threw 6 shutout innings while striking out 7 and allowing just 2 hits. His pitch count jumped in that game because of the 6 walks he issued. I watched his most recent start against the Cardinals in which he managed to get the win and some innings he looked off and others he looked absolutely dominant. I take that as a step in the right direction and think he has more dominant innings than off innings in him tonight.
Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays (FD $8800, DK $8300) – Odorizzi and the Rays are a slight underdog as they face the Astros in Houston tonight. Odorizzi has made one start against the Astros so far in 2015 and managed to throw 5.2 shutout innings while allowing just 2 hits and striking out 5. The Astros offense has been in a funk recently and they are capable of striking out more than any other team and Odorizzi can certainly rack up the strikeouts. The concerns for me are the fact that he has struggled on the road as evidenced by his 3.97 road ERA in 2015 along with the fact that right handed hitters have hit 9 home runs in 190 at-bats against him this season. He seems to have corrected some early season home run issues as he allowed 5 of his 10 home runs on the season to be hit against him in back in May.
Minnesota Twins: Aaron Hicks (FD $3100, DK $3500), Brian Dozier (FD $3500, DK $4400), Trevor Plouffe (FD $3000, DK $3800), Torii Hunter (FD $2700, DK $3600) – Sabathia was moved back a night and now we get to see the Twins smack around a washed up left handed starter. Sabathia seems to have turned it around slightly, however he is still allowing a ton of base runners and that is a bad situation to get into with the Twins as they love to knock around left handed pitchers. The Yankees bullpen had to cover 10 innings last night and should the Twins knock out Sabathia, they will have a weakened pen to deal with. The Twins put up 5 runs in 5.2 innings against Sabathia earlier this season. The big debate comes down to Sano or Plouffe. Sano is generally the more owned player and that automatically makes me think Plouffe for GPPs, add in the fact that Sano has been better against righties in his young career and that makes Plouffe my third base option.
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon (FD $3400, DK $4000), Bryce Harper (FD $5700, DK $6400), Ryan Zimmerman (FD $3900, DK $4600), Jayson Werth (FD $3700, DK $3500) – The Nationals get to travel to Coors tonight to take on a fresh off the DL pitcher in David Hale. Hale has given up 7 home runs in just 31 innings at Coors this season to go along with an average of .317. I generally like the Nationals against a left handed pitcher, however I think they swing like they are facing a left handed pitcher tonight. I can certainly see a full DK stack, adding in Escobar and Desmond. Did you know that Harper has just 1 career home run in Coors? I think that changes tonight.
New York Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury (FD $3000, DK $4400), Brett Gardner (FD $3000, DK $4300), Alex Rodriguez (FD $3600, DK $4400), Brian McCann (FD $3300, DK $4700) – The other side of the Twins-Yankees match-up has the Yankees getting to swing away at Mike Pelfrey and his .357 average against on the road this season. Pelfrey has yet to allow a home run in August and that comes to an end tonight as McCann CAN and will take him deep. McCann is a measly 19-40 against Pelfrey in his career (.475 average). The Yankees as a whole have nearly as many extra base hits (15) as they have strikeouts (18) against Pelfrey in their careers. They also have an OPS of .912 over 150 career at-bats. I expect Teixeira to get the night off after fouling a pitch off his leg last night and would not mind using Beltran and even Bird in a full DK stack.
Toronto Blue Jays: Troy Tulowitzki (FD $4000, DK $4000), Josh Donaldson (FD $5500, DK $5000), Jose Bautista (FD $5200, DK $5000), Edwin Encarnacion (FD $4700, DK $4700) – I could have gone with a number of teams in this slot as teams such as the Mariners, Rangers, Brewers, Cubs and even the Rays are in positive situations. The Blue Jays have the most potent lineup in baseball and are traveling to what might be even more of a hitter’s park than the Rogers Centre is. They do lose the DH in this game, which does hurt their potency a little bit, but I would assume Encarnacion gets the nod at first, but should he not, Smoak or Colabello make excellent additions.
As I said under the Blue Jays, there are a handful of offenses in positive situations tonight and I think its best to try and sprinkle some of those players in your lineups to go along with one of your favorite stacks. Looking at the sum of the over/unders for tonight’s games makes me excited for my bats as their are plenty of runs expected to be scored, which might lead to a lower ownership of Coors players. I think the Rockies are an interesting stack as they do get to play at home but up against a solid Jordan Zimmermann. I think both sides of that match-up are GPP worthy.
(Bryce Harper, Trevor Plouffe and Jay Bruce as additional DONGS)