Happy Friday! Today is another more extensive slate, with 14 games lined up. The pitching landscape has no legitimate ace but rather a plethora of viable arms with decent matchups. Furthermore, the keys to success today might rely on not spending too much on SPs and going a little heavier on stacks. The first game kicks off at 7:05 PM EST, so keep an eye out for oddball lineups and interesting batting orders. As always, good luck!
Implied Run Totals
The apparent game to produce high scores is in Coors Field, with Atlanta looking like the top-scoring team. However, in a sense, the overall scoring looks to have cooled off as the weather dips. Outside of that, the home teams are the favorite in nearly all the games. Target the home teams when building lineups, especially for your pitchers.
This tier is our cash game arms and your SP1s. Except for Adam Wainwright, the rest have a massive strikeout upside. However, Waino continues to pitch deep enough into games while keeping batters off the basepaths to score more significant points. The real question is, does he warrant the top salary this high? If you’re building chalkier stacks and want more stability, Waino will likely get rostered in fewer lineups.
The best matchup belongs to Nathan Eovaldi and Shohei Ohtani, as Cleveland and the Rangers strike out well above league average. These two pitchers are in good spots and should put up high enough strikeout totals to be the top pitcher on the slate. I lean slightly to Eovaldi since we could see Ohtani’s innings limited, and Cleveland is striking out at a nearly 24% clip in the last two weeks.
Lastly, Alek Manoah belongs in this tier but comes with a large amount of risk. The Athletics bolstered the OBP of their lineups with acquisitions like Starling Marte, Yan Gomes, and Josh Harrison. Although, none of those bats showcase the ability to go deep often. If I’m looking for an SP1, I want K-rate over 20-25%. Manoah has struck out 30% of left-handed bats and 23% of right-handed bats faced this season. When they make contact, it’s not for much power. If he keeps Matt Olson from getting a hold of one, he should quickly repay his salary.
This tier is a perfect tier for selecting your second SP. The lowered salaries offer a chance to get stronger with the bats while also maintaining plenty of upsides.
José Urquidy is trickier because he is returning from the IL, and we don’t know what to expect. And I do wish his salary was a touch lower-oh well! The matchup is also challenging due to the Padres’ ability to smash RHP for power. However, one thing the classy bunch in San Diego can do too much at times is whiff.
Tyler Anderson and Kyle Gibson fall into the same thought process. Both are pitchers that don’t exactly wow you with strikeout numbers. Instead, they mix-and-match a limited arsenal to keep hitters off-balanced and putting the ball on the ground. If my SP1 were Ohtani (wild command at times) or Manoah(less experience), I would look at either of these. Additionally, Gibson gets a weak offense in a pitcher-friendly park.
Sean Manaea undoubtedly gets the most challenging matchup on the slate. The Yankees have a lineup stocked with players that can go deep. Although, with great power comes great…strikeout rates! If Manaea can effectively locate the fastball and keep bats from missing the changeup, there is a big evening to be had. The field will stack the Yankees heavily, so gaining all that negative correlation helps pass the field quickly.
Let’s call this tier what it is-wildcard plays. John Means and Carlos Hernandez have a chance to put up substantial strikeout totals but matchups that are uber scary. Next, Glen Otto. Where do we begin? He locked down the Astros with seven Ks over five innings pitched. While he draws a much better matchup, will he be as productive?
Point blank, grabbing any SP from this tier will give you all the monopoly money needed to roster whatever else is required. It will all come down to how risk tolerant you are.
With a full 15-game slate, I would have expected more viable stacks than I found. There are quite a few more one-offs and secondary stacks, but let’s keep it to these three.
New York Yankees (vs. John Means)
- Except for Atlanta (in Coors Field), the Yankees are projecting like the top-scoring offense. Part of the reason is a matchup against Means. He has the command to strike out many batters(18% K-rate vs. LHH, 24% K-rate vs. RHH), especially if the changeup is working. However, if the changeup isn’t finding the zone, his fastball will get crushed by the Yankee’s power bats. On a slate this big, finding that one team to put up double-digit wins can help take down the GPP easier, so find the bats with power vs. southpaws. Core stack targets: Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Gary Sanchez, and Luke Voit.
Tampa Bay Rays (vs. Randy Dobnak)
- The matchup bodes favorably for the Rays. Dobnak relies on balls in play for out, and he is giving up way too much hard contact (.320 ISO vs. LHH, .220 ISO vs. RHH). Additionally, he won’t strike out many batters, so stack with less regard for batter-handedness. However, in GPPs, I would steer from chalkier Rays like Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena and stack with Zunino because he smashes RHP (.260 ISO vs. RHP). Core stack targets: Brandon Lowe, Nelson Cruz, Austin Meadows, and Mike Zunino.
Houston Astros (vs. Jake Arrieta)
- The Astros implied run total is quite bizarre. There are one of the best fundamentally sound teams with loads of dynamic talent, yet only a four IRT? Additionally, they square off against Arrieta, who is a shell of his former self. Left-handed bats are extremely problematic for Arrieta (3.14 K-BB%, .240 ISO, .460 xwOBA). Unfortunately, the Astros bats are expensive and quite difficult to stack. Save your salary and stray from Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. Core stack targets: Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and Kyle Tucker.
Here are some of the best value hitters not mentioned above. Also, the value hitters are players under $3500 on DK and under $3300 on FD—just a step below my cash players. Use these players to smash into your lineup when you need to save some salary.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)