Fantasy daily notes for July 23

Starting pitcher rankings for Jul 23
75Y. Darvish,
RHP, Tex
@NYY2.88 /
65S. Strasburg,
RHP, Wsh
@Col3.55 /
64J. Chavez,
RHP, Oak
Hou3.14 /
62M. Bumgarner,
@Phi3.38 /
62A. Burnett,
RHP, Phi
SF4.08 /
61J. Shields,
@CWS3.70 /
59R. Dickey,
RHP, Tor
Bos3.95 /
57A. Sanchez,
RHP, Det
@Ari3.22 /
55A. Cobb,
@StL4.08 /
55L. Lynn,
TB3.13 /
54E. Santana,
RHP, Atl
Mia4.03 /
54J. Weaver,
Bal3.43 /
53K. Lohse,
RHP, Mil
Cin3.16 /
53F. Liriano,
LHP, Pit
LAD4.43 /
53C. Buchholz,
RHP, Bos
@Tor5.46 /
53D. Phelps,
Tex3.87 /
53A. Swarzak,
RHP, Min
Cle4.34 /
53J. Quintana,
KC3.26 /
52I. Kennedy,
@ChC3.62 /
50B. Colon,
@Sea4.12 /
49C. Tillman,
RHP, Bal
@LAA4.03 /
49T. Cahill,
RHP, Ari
Det5.63 /
48T. Bauer,
RHP, Cle
@Min3.89 /
47D. Haren,
@Pit4.30 /
46B. Peacock,
RHP, Hou
@Oak4.39 /
46M. Leake,
RHP, Cin
@Mil3.63 /
43T. Walker,
RHP, Sea
NYM3.60 /
43N. Eovaldi,
RHP, Mia
@Atl4.08 /
43T. Wada,
SD0.00 /
41J. De La Rosa,
LHP, Col
Wsh4.39 /
GS: The pitcher's projected "Game Score," from Bill James' original formula, which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A Game Score of 50 typically is typically regarded a quality start; anything over 70 is exceptional, anything under 30 poor. An asterisk notes that the game score has been adjusted by the analyst. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.

Wednesday's slate is very intriguing, as it features five of the better pitchers in the league visiting good if not great hitter's parks: Yu Darvish takes the bump in Yankee Stadium, Stephen Strasburg will work a mile high in Coors Field, Madison Bumgarner will hope for some brotherly love in Citizens Bank Park, James Shields aims to have a big game in U.S. Cellular Field and Anibal Sanchez looks to get hot in Chase Field. Venue is only part of the equation; quality of opposition is even more important. Don't be afraid to use a starting pitcher in a hitter's park if they're facing a lesser opponent.

Wednesday is a getaway day throughout the league, so there are six afternoon games on the docket. On days like this, daily fantasy sites usually split their contests into an early slate and a late slate, so we'll make a point of highlighting players for both time slots.

The Elite (ranked for use in daily cash games such as 50/50s and double ups)

If you're a one-shot Willy playing a single cash game lineup in the early games, your pitcher of choice should be Jose Quintana. Yes, Jose Quintana. As suggested above, there's some risk involved with the ace tier. The primary characteristics desired from a cash game anchor are going deep into the game and averaging in the neighborhood of a strikeout per inning. These traits are also conducive to picking up a victory. Quintana has quietly upped his strikeouts per nine innings rate to 8.3, which is fine for DFS. He's tossed at least seven frames in five of his previous six outings. The opponent is the Kansas City Royals with James Shields at the helm. The Royals are a little below league average against southpaws and admittedly don't fan a lot, though they have struck out at a higher clip the past month. On a slate where there isn't an obvious choice for an anchor, you want reliability. Quintana offers that reliability, along with some extra budget space to build a strong offense. Remember, you're only trying to best half the field in cash games. Safe trumps upside.

The best option in cash games for the late slate is no stranger to this designation, as despite visiting the Bronx, Yu Darvish and his strikeout potential are too strong to ignore. The New York Yankees will be without Mark Teixeira, who has hit 15 of his 17 homers against right-handed pitching. The Yanks' lineup versus righties is top-heavy, so if Darvish can keep Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann in check, he should be able to handle the rest. If you're playing in a day-long contest incorporating both the early and late slates, while Darvish may put up better numbers, the cost differential makes Quintana a better value. If you're confident with the hitters supporting Darvish, he's the play. If the extra salary significantly improves the bats you buy, go with Quintana. This will be a site-dependent decision.

The top alternative to Quintana during the day is Anibal Sanchez for a road tilt against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sanchez sports a strikeout rate of only 6.9 per nine, but his career mark is a full batter better so he's capable of racking up the punch outs. He's thrown seven or more stanzas in six of his past 11 starts; that isn't ideal, but at least he's trusted to go deep when he's on. Despite playing in a hitter's haven, the Snakes are league average versus right-handers.

The next best candidate at night is Madison Bumgarner, despite his struggles entering the break. Even with his recent woes, Bumgarner's strikeout and walks rates have improved on last season's already fine level. Giving up a homer in three of his past four outings along with at least nine hits in three of his previous five efforts are the exception, not the norm. The Philadelphia Phillies will host the left-hander, and as a team are a tick below league average versus southpaws.

Solid (can be considered for both daily cash games and tournament play)

Let's start this tier with a late-slate starter, as Lance Lynn welcomes the Tampa Bay Rays to Busch Stadium. Along with being a tournament option, Lynn makes a fine cash game play too. The St. Louis Cardinals righty has only lasted more than seven innings twice in his past nine outings, but does have a complete game along with a pair of eight-inning efforts on his ledger since May 27, so he's able to go deep on occasion. The Tampa Bay Rays are playing very well lately, sporting a .319 weighted on-base average versus right-handers since June 1, but that's why Lynn is listed as solid and not elite.

Leading the solid tier for the early start times is Kyle Lohse, as the Milwaukee Brewers welcome a depleted Cincinnati Reds outfit into Miller Park. Lohse's strikeout rate is a pedestrian 6.6 whiffs per nine, but he compensates by being among the league leaders in innings pitched per game with the 13 starters averaging more in that metric all being 2014 All-Stars except Hisashi Iwakuma. With Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto on the sidelines and Jay Bruce hitting a dismal .138 in July, Lohse has the chance to look like an All-Star for a day.

Value Plays (best used in tournaments or on multiple-pitcher sites)

Whether Jesse Chavez is a true value depends on his cost, but the risk/reward nature of this start is best discussed here. He's fanned an excellent 29 hitters over his previous 28 2/3 innings covering five starts; however, 15 walks over that span is disconcerting. In addition, an average of 5.7 innings per effort is low. But with the Houston Astros visiting Oakland, Chavez has a good chance to spin a strong effort as no team in the league strikes out against righties as much as the Astros.

The deceptive Tsuyoshi Wada has struck out an impressive 120 while walking only 28 in 113 2/3 innings this season for Triple-A Iowa. Today, he makes his return to the bigs in Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres (insert Triple-A lineup joke here). The Friars carry a league-worst .251 wOBA versus southpaws, giving Wada a strong chance to prove he should be up to stay and fill a rotation void in the Windy City.

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