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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: August 10, 2015

Welcome back to The Fix! I’m here to discuss the top plays and values for tonight’s 7-game slate on DraftKings. I’ll give you my thoughts on the slate, and at the bottom we have rankings of the top plays at each position. If you’re on Twitter, you can find me @RyNoonan.

Forecast

It’s difficult to nail down weather hours and hours before first pitch. Given how often forecasts change between the time this post is written late the night before and when games actually start, make sure to follow @KevinRothWx for updates.

Pitching Perspective

Tonight’s pitching analysis has to begin with Chris Sale ($12,000). He’ll likely be 70%+ owned in cash games, and rightfully so. He faces the Angels (94 wRC+ vs. LHP) at home, and he’s head and shoulders above the rest of tonight’s options. He’s been slightly un-Sale like of late, failing to top 25 DraftKings points in three of his last four outings, but there’s nothing to be concerned about here. After spending most of the summer north of $13,000, we can roster him tonight for just $12,000.

Sale’s opposition tonight is Matt Shoemaker ($8,400) who’s strung together three excellent outings since the All-Star break. His price is on the rise but it’s not prohibitive. It’s in line with his preseason expectations actually, but Shoemaker got off to a terrible start. Home runs have been an issue all season for him, but he’s yet to allow a run in the second half, while striking out 27 in 19 innings of work. I’m not against starting him as a SP2 with Sale, but if you want to fade Sale in tournaments then Shoemaker is a great anchor for your staff.

Those looking to fade Chris Sale in tournaments will likely look to Johnny Cueto ($10,300) tonight, but that may be a dangerous proposition. The Tigers have continued to rake right-handed pitching (.328 wOBA/107 wRC+) despite being without Miguel Cabrera for over a month. They’re obviously not the same, but they still have enough fire power to make things difficult for the opposition. I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Cueto since his mid-season elbow issues.

Gio Gonzalez ($9,100) has been steady but far from spectacular of late, making it difficult to justify his $1,200 spike in price tonight against the Dodgers. LA isn’t quite as explosive when facing a southpaw as they’ve been against right-handed pitching, but overall they’ve been scuffling lately. I like the 57.2% ground ball rate from Gio, but I’m not in love with him at this price. For cash games I’d much rather save and drop down to Shoemaker.

I’m not sure who this version of Jon Niese ($6,800) is but he’s pretty useful. Outside of one stinker against the Dodgers, Niese has registered a quality start in 10 of his last 11 outings, regularly scoring between 15 and 27 DraftKings points. There’s not a lot of strike out upside here, but paired with Chris Sale helps raise the tide. The Rockies are a below average offense on the road this season, and are in the midst of a historically bad season against left-handed pitching (61 wRC+).

 

Some other pitching quick takes:

  • Ian Kennedy has been really bad this season. Homeruns are the root cause for the bloated ERA, but his FIP is north of  5. I like using xFIP at times, but I think it’s painting with a broad brush to assume a fly-ball heavy pitcher like Kennedy should have a league average home run rate. His been hit hard by both left-handed (.348 wOBA) and right-handed (.367) batters.
  • Rubby de la Rosa is difficult to roster with such extreme handedness splits. He has 60+ innings of a .399 wOBA versus left-handed bats.

Stack Options

According to Vegas, our best bets today are the Diamondbacks (4.7 implied-runs), Mets (4.4) and Royals (4.2).

We’re limited with just seven games, but it’s strange to see just one team with a projected run total north of 4.5. The Diamondbacks faces off in Arizona against Aaron Harang. He leans heavily on fly-ball outs (35.2% ground ball rate), and that’s a dangerous mix for an August night in the desert.

The Mets are huge favorites tonight (-191) at home against Rockies’ rookie right-hander Jon Gray. The energy in Queens is something that hasn’t been seen in nearly a decade. Pretty interesting considering they were an offensive black hole for most of the first half. The influx of talent at the deadline, paired with the dominant starting pitching has Mets fans thinking about the playoffs for the first time in years. The Mets have a few reverse/neutral splits bats like Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d’Arnaud, so the right-handed Gray should have his hands full.

Kansas City is at home against Tigers’ left-hander Matt Boyd. The Royals continue to roll, and have enough pop in their lineup to give Boyd trouble.

Player Rankings

Catcher

1. Travis d’Arnaud -$4,100 New York Mets

2. Tucker Barnhart -$2,000 Cincinnati Reds

3. Matt Wieters -$3,100 Baltimore Orioles

4. Caleb Joseph -$3,300 Baltimore Orioles

First Base

1. Ryan Howard -$4,000 Philadelphia Phillies

2. Joey Votto -$4,600 Philadelphia Phillies

3. Lucas Duda -$4,000 New York Mets

Second Base

1. Cesar Hernandez -$3,400 Philadelphia Phillies (2B/SS)

2. Daniel Murphy -$3,400 New York Mets (2B/3B)

3. Odubel Herrera -$3,600 Philadelphia Phillies (2B/OF)

Third Base

1. Todd Frazier -$3,800 Cincinnati Reds $3,800 (3B/1B)

2. Ryan Zimmerman -$3,400 Washington Nationals (3B/1B)

3. Nolan Arenado -$4,300 Colorado Rockies

Shortstop

1. Yunel Escobar -$3,600 Washington Nationals (SS/3B)

2. Kike Hernandez -$2,200 Los Angeles Dodgers (SS/OF)

3. Wilmer Flores -$3,400 New York Mets (SS/2B)

Outfield

1. Nelson Cruz -$5,500 Seattle Mariners

2. Lorenzo Cain -$5,100 Kansas City Royals

3. Yoenis Cespedes -$4,400 New York Mets

4. Nolan Reimold -$2,200 Baltimore Orioles

5. David Peralta -$4,100 Arizona Diamondbacks

Starting Pitcher

1. Chris Sale -$12,000 Chicago White Sox

2. Matt Shoemaker -$8,400 Los Angeles Angels

3. Johnny Cueto -$10,300 Kansas City Royals

4. Jon Niese -$6,800 New York Mets

5. Gio Gonzalez -$9,100 Washington Nationals

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