Fantasy daily notes for September 1
|43||R. De La Rosa,|
The Elite (ranked for use in daily cash games such as 50/50s and double ups)
For a baseball fan, the holiday slate is a delight, featuring two games in which a pair of the best pitchers in the game are hooking up. But this poses an issue for the daily fantasy player, as targeting the win is even more difficult. Even though the rule of thumb in a cash game is to focus on skills and not win potential, inherent in that thinking is a pitcher with better skills has a better shot at a win. With that as a backdrop, the top two choices here may not be so shocking.
Since being dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays, Drew Smyly is a slick 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. His 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings is right around league average but, combined with a low walk rate, this has paved the way for the talented southpaw to pitch at least seven innings his past four starts and on some daily sites, innings are worth more than punch outs. His Labor Day opponent is the Boston Red Sox in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. While you never know what to expect from a team playing more for pride than the pennant, the Red Sox have been terrible on the road versus left-handers since the All-Star break, sporting a .280 weighted on-base average and a whopping 29.4 percent strikeout rate. Rookie Rubby De La Rosa starts for the visitors, giving Smyly an excellent shot for his fourth win with his new squad.
The cat is out of the bag; Tyson Ross is good. Monday, he faces a depleted Arizona Diamondbacks squad in friendly Petco Park. The Snakes possess the fifth worst road wOBA versus righties, though their strikeout rate is league average. Ross fans more than a hitter an inning at home so he should still punch out a fair share.
The game of the day from a fan's perspective is in Progressive Field as the Detroit Tigers and David Price visit the Cleveland Indians and Corey Kluber. Price was rocked his most recent time out, serving up nine straight hits to the New York Yankees. Kluber was also off his game in his latest start, allowing more than eight hits for the first time since May 9. This season, the Tribe hasn't hit lefties all that well, but lately, it's been even worse: They sport a putrid .228 wOBA at home versus left-handers since the All-Star break, fanning 24 percent of the time. The Tigers, on the other hand, are the best road squad in the league versus righties, though they haven't been as effective since the All-Star break. Both aces should go deep into a low-scoring affair, so they're both viable cash game anchors. If Miguel Cabrera plays, the slight edge goes to the Tigers and Price.
The second marquee contest is at Turner Field as the Atlanta Braves and Julio Teheran host Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies. After a five-game stretch where Hamels allowed no more than one run, he's allowed three in his past three outings. Teheran has won three straight, but has fanned only eight during that spell, covering 18 1/3 innings. The hitting edge goes to the home team, so if you're compelled to have some action on this game, Teheran is the better option. But, both he and Hamels are best avoided, despite each having a good chance to get back on track. The other options offer less risk.
Solid (can be considered for both daily cash games and tournament play)
The solid tier also features matchups of similarly ranked hurlers, beginning in Busch Stadium as the St. Louis Cardinals with Lance Lynn will entertain the Pittsburgh Pirates and Gerrit Cole. The home team's offense gets the edge, making Lynn the better choice of the two. The Cardinals' righty has allowed more than two earned only once since July 4. He's not especially dominant, but his strikeouts should be padded as the Bucs fan at a 23 percent clip on the road versus right-handers. Cole isn't a terrible play, but there are better options.
Continuing with the theme, a duo of solid arms square off in Marlins Park, as Zack Wheeler leads the New York Mets into South Beach to face Henderson Alvarez and the Miami Marlins. While Alvarez is a sneaky-good hurler in traditional fantasy, Dellin Betances has more strikeouts, which limits Alvarez's points potential in daily scoring. Wheeler, however, sports an above-average strikeout rate of 8.7 per nine innings, and the Fish whiff at an above-average clip. Wheeler is therefore a solid choice with his increased strikeout potential.
Value Plays (best used in tournaments or on multiple-pitcher sites)
This is gravity call. Jason Hammel isn't as bad as he's looked since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. The Oakland Athletics offense is due for a turnaround, and with extreme fly ball pitcher Chris Young on the hill against it, that could be sooner than later. The Seattle Mariners are decent on the road versus right-handers, but value plays are all about potential and bang for the buck, and Hammel is in a good spot to reverse both his and his team's recent fortunes.