Happy June 9th (noice)! Both FanDuel and DraftKings feature 12 game main slates starting at 7:05. As of this writing, there’s some rain to keep our eye on in the Braves/Phillies, Dodgers/Pirates, and Brewers/Reds game. There are not a ton of aces on the slate outside of Gerrit Cole, which forces us to get creative when it comes to our SP2 on DraftKings. Luckily for us, the lack of aces means there’s an abundance of bats to attack with. Let’s take a look at the Implied Run Totals for each game, and then we’ll dive into the slate!
From an implied run total perspective, a couple of things stand out. On a slate where we have 24 teams, there are just five with an implied total of five runs or more. On the flip side of that, there are only four teams with a total of fewer than four runs. To me, that means there’s a lot of parody on this slate. There may end up being chalkier plays based on a player’s salary, but no one team stands out as the must-stack team.
Cash Starting Pitchers
As I mentioned in the intro, Gerrit Cole ($11,200 DK, $11,500 FD) is the only high-priced ace that really stands out today. He has the highest strikeout rate on the slate (36.5%), and that’s while walking just 3.9% of the batters he’s faced. There is some concern about his opponent, the Twins, who are top-10 in the league in isolated slugging and wRC+ against right-handed pitchers while striking out just 22% of the time. There’s also a question as to how he’ll respond to “Spider Tack-gate.” For me, there are so many questions that are up in the air. If I assume he was using it, will he continue to use it until he gets punished? If he stops, how much was it really improving his performance? Those are tough questions because we don’t have the answers to them, but I think it leads me to a couple of GPP builds where I’m fading Cole. As for cash games, though, I think you have to lock in Cole. From a projections standpoint alone, Cole is a full 2.5 points clear of anyone else, and only he and Adam Wainwright are projected to top 20 DraftKings points.
From a cash game perspective, Cole is the choice on FanDuel, where you only require one pitcher. On DraftKings, where we need a pair of starters, let’s take a look at who to roster as our SP2 in cash games. Being that Cole is pretty pricy, and there isn’t another ace on the slate, I’m going to look to find some value in my SP2. One value pitcher that I really like is Austin Gomber ($6,000 DK, $9,500 FD). As you can see, there’s a monster pricing discrepancy between DraftKings and FanDuel. Over his last five starts, Gomber has allowed just five earned runs while striking out 32 over 29.1 innings pitched. Four of those earned runs have come off of solo homers. The good news is that Gomber’s opponent, the Marlins, ranks 28th in the league in isolated slugging against right-handed pitchers. They also strike out at a 26% rate against righties. This is exactly the type of pitcher I’m looking to roster as my SP2 – strikeout upside, decent matchup, and a reasonable price tag.
A couple of other cheaper options on DraftKings are Patrick Corbin ($7,400 DK, $6,300 FD), Shane McClanahan ($8,200 DK, $6,600 FD), and Chris Flexen ($6,400 DK, $7,000 FD). All three have matchups with teams that have implied run totals of 4.4 or lower. I know it’s tough to trust Corbin, but the Rays currently sport a 29.6% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers.
GPP Starting Pitchers
Today’s a tough slate because there isn’t a natural pivot off of Cole. One pitcher that’s in consideration is Lance Lynn ($10,400 DK, $10,800 FD), but his matchup is against a Toronto team that is third in the league in wRC+ and fourth in isolated slugging against right-handed pitchers. However, when we’re talking about GPPs, we’re looking for peak performance, and that’s been Lynn so far this year. In 10 starts this year, he’s allowed more than two earned runs just once, and that was a three-run outing against the Indians back on May 1. Since that game, he’s allowed exactly three earned runs over 34 innings thrown.
While I don’t get excited about Adam Wainwright ($9,500 DK, $7,700 FD), it would not be smart for me to not mention him when he’s projected to score the second-most DraftKings points. He also has a matchup against the Indians, who have an implied run total of 3.9 runs. Wainwright is purely a GPP play, as he’s allowed a career-high 17.2% home runs to fly balls rate and faces an Indians team that is in the top third of the league in isolated slugging.
Tucker Davidson ($6,200 DK, $7,400 FD) looks like a fine GPP dart throw on the cheaper end of things. Davidson has pitched well in his two big-league starts and now gets a matchup with the Phillies, who strike out at a 28% rate against lefties. There is a decent amount of risk in this matchup as the Phillies have a 4.8 implied run total and are in the top third of the league in isolated slugging and team wRC+ against lefties. Those factors should keep his roster percentage down.
Taijuan Walker ($8,600 DK, $7,800 FD) gets a matchup with the Orioles, who rank in the bottom third of the league in isolated slugging and wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. While I think Walker has some home run regression coming for him (4.0% HR/FB%), I don’t see that regression coming against the Orioles. Walker has been what I’ll call “inefficient with his pitches.” That means that while he’s striking out a decent percentage of the guys he’s facing, he’s also giving up too many walks, which have limited his ability to go deep into games. That’s what is keeping him out of my cash game options.
If you’re into narratives, Matt Harvey ($5,000 DK, $5,500 FD) faces the Mets. I’m going to completely contradict myself in a minute because the Mets are going to be featured in my cash-game hitter stacks, but I could see Harvey going all out to show his former team that they were wrong to give up on him.
One other pitcher I wanted to mention was Tony Gonsolin ($9,100 DK, $7,000 FD). His matchup against the Pirates is really nice, but this will be his first start since returning from the 60-day IL, so I expect him to be on a pretty strict pitch count.
Cash Hitter Stacks
For my cash game hitter stacks, I’m looking to stick to the high implied run totals of the Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, and Reds. All have run totals between 4.9-5.4 runs. As I mentioned before, keep an eye on the weather, as there’s rain in the forecast for all of those teams except for the Dodgers.
Jake Odorizzi has had a rough start to his Astros career, allowing three or more runs in three of his five starts and giving up four homers in just 16.1 innings. If you’re looking to stack the Red Sox, you have to include J.D. Martinez ($5,100 DK, $3,900 FD), Rafael Devers ($5,900 DK, $5,700 FD), and Xander Bogaerts ($5,800 DK, $3,600 FD). The only issue with the big boppers is that they’re priced up pretty well. Luckily for us, salary relief comes at the top of the lineup, where Danny Santana ($3,200 DK, $2,200 FD) and Alex Verdugo ($3,900 DK, $3,300 FD) are projected to hit first and second.
Next up are the Mets, who face ex-Met Matt Harvey. I mentioned Harvey as a pure GPP play, but the last time he faced the Mets, Harvey allowed seven earned runs over 4.1 innings. Like the Red Sox, the Mets bats that we want to stack – Francisco Lindor ($4,700 DK, $3,300 FD), Pete Alonso ($5,800 DK, $3,800 FD), and Dominic Smith ($5,200 DK, $3,200 FD) – are priced up. If you need a little salary relief, Mason Williams ($2,700 DK, $2,000 FD) shows up as a decent value, albeit out of the eight-hole.
It sounds strange to say, but the Yankees stack may be the place to go if you need to save a little cash. On the bump for the Twins is Randy Dobnak, who is struggling with allowed homers like never before. The sinkerballer just hasn’t been on point, allowing a career-high 21.7% HR/FB. Aaron Judge ($5,600 DK, $4,000 FD) is the lone bat that is priced up, while everyone else is priced at $4,400 or below on DraftKings. Giancarlo Stanton ($4,400 DK, $3,300 FD) will be a mainstay in my lineups today, while Rougned Odor ($2,800 DK, $2,200 FD), Clint Frazier ($2,200 DK, $2,000 FD), and Brett Gardner ($2,000 DK, $2,000 FD) provide all the value you need.
Another cash stack that can save you some money is the Dodgers. They face lefty Tyler Anderson today, and the top of the Dodgers lineup is projected to be righties from 1-5. Mookie Betts ($5,000 DK, $3,600 FD), Justin Turner ($4,900 DK, $3,100 FD), and Chris Taylor ($4,600 DK, $3,000 FD) are a little pricy, while Albert Pujols ($3,100 DK, $2,800 FD) and A.J. Pollock ($3,100 DK, $2,200 FD) provide some salary relief.
GPP Hitter Stacks
With only having one ace on the slate, you don’t really have to get THAT different to get a takedown. The difference may be whoever you roster as your SP2 or which two-hitter stacks from above that you go with. If you’re looking to get REALLY different, though, I have a couple of under-the-radar stacks that I like.
With Mike Trout on the sidelines, it’s easy to see why the Angels have lowered expectations even against Brad Keller. While Keller hasn’t allowed the super-crooked numbers since April, he has been plagued with a touch of wildness which has led to an increased walk rate and the highest homer rate of his career. FantasyLabs has Justin Upton ($4,000 DK, 3,200 FD) projected to bat leadoff, with Shohei Ohtani ($5,900 DK, $4,200 FD), Anthony Rendon ($4,400 DK, $3,200 FD), and Jared Walsh ($4,100 DK, $3,400 FD) batting behind him.
While they don’t have the highest implied run total, I really like the Royals stack today. They’ve been really hot over the last two weeks and face Griffin Canning, who has allowed three or more runs in each of his last three starts. During that time, he’s also allowed four homers. While he has managed to keep his strikeout rate up, the Royals are striking out just 21% of the time. I don’t expect them to be rostered at a high rate because they’re priced up pretty well. Whit Merrifield and Salvador Perez are both priced above $5,500 on DraftKings, but Andrew Benintendi ($4,100 DK, $3,100 FD) is projected to bat third and is reasonably priced.
Good luck today!
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