Fantasy Daily notes for Sept. 4
With the late scratch of Corey Kluber, Jacob deGrom is alone in the spotlight and should be very highly owned, especially in DFS cash play. The New York Mets are spending Labor Day weekend in South Beach, battling a rather vapid Miami Marlins offense. However, the Fish fan at a pace below league average so the lack of a big strikeout upside tempers deGrom's value in tourneys since those extra points are needed to justify the huge price.
If in the spring someone would have predicted the Chicago Cubs would be in the thick of the playoff chase with Jon Lester sporting an 8-10 record at the beginning of September, you would have requested a urine check. But alas, that's where we stand, as the Cubs are in the driver's seat for the second wild-card spot. To be fair, Lester deserves a better record with his respectable 3.59 ERA, and he has a chance to get a bit closer to the .500 mark with the Arizona Diamondbacks visiting Wrigley Field without the services of their best hitter, Paul Goldschmidt. The Snakes don't lend Lester a huge strikeout upside, but it's enough to put the lefty in GPP play.
You want elevated strikeout potential? The Minnesota Twins and their 27 percent strikeout rate on the road versus right-handers the past month have a weekend date in Minute Maid Park. Collin McHugh gets the call for the hosts, and although his 7.4 K/9 is down from last season's 9.1 level, his 9.2 mark for the past month indicates he can take advantage of the visitors' recent plethora of punch outs. In addition, while Twins starter Mike Pelfrey has been nails at home, he's getting nailed on the road which puts the all-important win in play. McHugh's spot is so favorable that not only is he one of the best tournament candidates, he's safe enough to use in cash, especially on a site where you need to complement deGrom with another arm.
It's been a rough year for Julio Teheran, but his first five August starts reminded the fantasy community why last season was deemed his breakout campaign and so much was expected this season. In 33 frames he fanned 29 with only five walks then was blasted by the New York Yankees to end the month. Teheran looks to get back on track in September with a road date against the Washington Nationals. For the season the Nats are an average club at home against right-handers, but since they are sending Tanner Roark to the hill, the Braves have a chance to score some runs for Teheran. McHugh is in a better spot, though Teheran is a reasonable means to diversify.
After having his last turn skipped to allow full recovery from a minor back issue, Carlos Martinez is raring to go with a home date against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the docket. The Bucs fan at a rate higher than league average against right-handers, putting Martinez front and center for GPP play.
The Texas Rangers are another squad that whiffs more than most on the road against right-handers. Garrett Richards has been inconsistent all season and is a bit of a risk -- but one worth taking, as evidenced by his last outing, when he punched out nine with no walks in seven innings.
When James Shields takes the hill in Petco Park he's usually a cash game candidate, and this is no exception with the Los Angeles Dodgers in town. With their recent acquisitions and injuries it's hard to get a read on what lineup Shields will have to face, but, regardless, he's another cash option on multiple pitcher site.
I usually write off home/away surface stat splits that are greater than normal as noise, but in the case of Drew Hutchison, the difference in his peripherals in Rogers Centre are too extreme to ignore, especially with respect to strikeouts. Now factor in that the Baltimore Orioles fan in one fourth of their trips to the dish on the road versus righties and this looks like a double-digit strikeout affair for Hutchison. Not only is the Toronto Blue Jays righty a streamer, he's a top GPP play as well.
Whether this is an indictment of wins as a statistic or a sign Joe Kelly is pitching better lately, the Boston Red Sox righty went 6-0 in August. Although a 2.67 ERA with 35 whiffs in 37 innings suggests Kelly had a little something to do with his good fortune. First up in September is an interleague tussle with the Philadelphia Phillies. Like Hutchison, Kelly is not only worthy for a spot start but he's DFS viable, for both cash and GPP action.
J.A. Happ is another pitcher on a bit of a roll, allowing just two earned runs over his last four starts, spanning 23 innings. The win will be hard to come by with his Pittsburgh Pirates mates having to do battle with Carlos Martinez, but Happ has a good chance to keep the St. Louis Cardinals and their average offense at home versus southpaws in check.
Assuming you still need to exhibit some measure of caution with respect to ratios, both Chris Heston (unannounced but likely San Francisco Giants starter) and Jorge De La Rosa are too flammable to be used in the thin air of Coors Field.
As a whole the Milwaukee Brewers team hitting stats are weak, but they still have some iron at the top of the order with Ryan Braun, Khris Davis and Adam Lind. This is just enough to sit Cincinnati Reds rookie Keyvius Sampson in Miller Park
At home, both John Danks and Mike Pelfrey are viable starters, but on the road it's still best to avoid using them. Danks visits Kaufmann Stadium, where the Kansas City Royals rarely whiff against a southpaw while sporting a productive weighted on-base average, while Pelfrey takes the hill against the homer-happy Houston Astros in homer-happy Minute Maid Park.
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