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Today is going to be a fun day of baseball! The aces are wild as Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, and Sonny Gray are featured on our 13-game slate. On top of the established aces, newcomers Aaron Civale, Merrill Kelly, Dinelson Lamet, Brandon Woodruff, Tyler Chatwood, and Frankie Montas are on the bump today! On the hitting side of things, we have Coors on the slate as the Rangers look to get right in Colorado. Keep an eye on the weather in Chicago, but as of this writing, the wind was forecasted to be blowing in at 8 mph. Without further ado, let’s start your weekend off right with a breakdown of today’s DFS slate brought to you by our friends over at Fade The Noise.
Top SP: Sonny Gray, CIN ($9,600 DK, $10,800 FD) vs. PIT
Alright, don’t freak out you people who are looking for Gerrit Cole or Jacob deGrom at the top. They’re excellent. I’m not trying to take anything away from them. You know they’re good and they’re expensive because they’re good. If you want to play them, I’m all for it.
Now that my disclaimer is over, I can get to my ace, Sonny Gray. The Reds’ righty has started the year with a bang, posting a 36.8% strikeout rate en route to a 2.25 ERA. Gray had a slight hiccup in his last start in Milwaukee, allowing 4 earned runs over 5.1 innings. He managed to salvage the start some by striking out seven Brewers. Tonight, Gray returns home where he’s been a master of his craft. Great American Smallpark has been Gray’s best friend as he’s posted a 2.68 ERA over 104.1 IP since the beginning of 2019 at home. Gray faces the Pirates who, outside of yesterday’s shellacking of Tony Disco, have struggled mightily against right-handed pitching. They’ve put up a 45 wRC+ against righties for the year. That’s dead-last by a mile.
New Indians ace, Aaron Civale ($9,300 DK, $9,600 FD) comes in pretty close to my love for Gray. My man has a 28.4% K-BB%. No matter what numbers you plugin, that comes out incredible (credit to @MLBMovingAverages for that line), but the 2.7% walk rate is so nice. Civale gets a matchup with the Tigers, who have struggled against right-handed pitching this year. For the year, they top the charts (in a bad way) with a 31.2% strikeout rate against righties. If you’re into strikeouts, Civale’s your man.
Value SP: Frankie Montas, OAK ($8,400 DK, $8,800 FD) at SF
The pitching on this slate hits an expensive cliff and then the quality falls off super hard. I’m not sure we can even call Frankie Montas a “value”, but check the next paragraph if you’ve come here for something a little on the bold side. Montas has been excellent to start the year, posting a 1.57 ERA. What has been particularly excited is just how good Montas has been on the road. Over his last 61 innings pitched on the road, Montas has a 2.21 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. The Giants rank in the bottom third of the league in wRC+ against righties and Oracle Park gives Montas a slight park factor bump.
Okay, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Let’s get bold. This one’s for the GPP players out there, but let’s roll with Patrick Sandoval ($6,800 DK, $6,300 FD) against the Dodgers. Sandoval has taken the hill twice this year, allowing three earned runs over 10 innings while striking out eight. Sandoval is not without flaws, as the 50% hard-hit rate scares me pretty good – especially against the Dodgers. However, the Dodgers have struggled pretty good against lefties to start the year. They’ve posted an 84 wRC+ against southpaws for the year and while they haven’t faced a lefty starter over the last 7 days, they’ve put up a 20 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in that time (super-small sample alert). Sandoval is not a sure thing, but on today’s slate, I’ll throw him in a GPP lineup for some late night fun.
One last note that I’m adding to this. I think I like Lance Lynn pitching in Colorado. Hear me out here. One of the issues of Coors is that breaking pitches don’t break as much due to the elevation. Guess what Lynn doesn’t throw – breaking pitches. On the year he’s thrown his curveball or slider just 8.2% of the time. Lynn leans on his four-seamer, cutter, and sinker, throwing the trio of pitches 91.1% of the time. The only issue is his price on DK. $9,000 is way too expensive to play in Coors, however, at $7,000 on FD I’ll be throwing Lynn into a GPP lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Woodruff, MIL ($8,200 DK, $8,400 FD) at CHC; Patrick Sandoval, LAA ($6,800 DK, $6,300 FD) vs. LAA; Framber Valdez, HOU ($8,800 DK, $8,600 FD) vs. SEA; Lance Lynn, TEX ($7,000 FD) at COL
OF Joey Gallo, TEX ($5,400 DK, $4,000 FD) at COL
Another week, another visiting team not priced up enough in Coors. Granted, the Rangers offense has been quite stinky of late, but a trip to Coors should be just what the doctor ordered. Joey Gallo has the highest ceiling of the Rangers and is projected by FTN’s Lineup Optimizer to be the highest scoring batter on today’s slate. “But Rich, the pitcher he’s going up against hasn’t allowed a hit yet in the majors!!” Yes, it’s true that Ryan Castellani went four no-hit innings against the Mariners in his season debut. However, our faithful leader Nick had this to say about Castellani, “Sadly, Ryan’s fastball is way flatter and despite nailing some location with it along the edges, I’m terrified what will happen to it inside Coors.” I’m confident that the Rangers will force Castellani into allowing his first hit of the year today.
Honorable Mentions: Nelson Cruz, OF ($5,300 DK, $4,000 FD) vs. KC; Mookie Betts, OF ($5,600 DK, $4,100 FD) at LAA; Willie Calhoun, OF ($4,200 DK, $3,300 FD) at COL; Shin-Soo Choo, OF ($4,700 DK, $3,800 FD) at COL.
1B Luke Voit, NYY ($4,500 DK, $3,100 FD) vs. BOS
This one will be a little bit tough to breakdown as the Red Sox haven’t announced a starter, but let’s do our best. I’m going to treat this as if it’s a bullpen game because I really have no idea who else the Red Sox could call upon to start. Speaking of the Red Sox bullpen, they’re bad. If we include the full season, they sport a 4.94 ERA and they’ve thrown the second-most innings of any bullpen. These are some tired arms and it’s shown recently as that ERA balloons up to 5.40 over the last 7 days. I expect the Yankees to feast on these tired arms and smack dab in the middle of the fun should be Luke Voit. The Yankees’ slugger has mashed five homers in the early going, leading to a .314 ISO. Keep an eye on FTN’s Lineup Page to see who the Red Sox announce as a starter, but I really like the Yankees bats today.
Value Batter: OF Byron Buxton, MIN ($3,500 DK, $3,000 FD) vs. KC
The breakout of Byron Buxton appears to finally be happening before our eyes. The power-speed threat has been putting it all together, barrelling up balls at the highest rate of his career. Despite stealing just one base, he leads the league in Sprint Speed, so the steals should catch up. Buxton is coming off consecutive 3-hit performances including a steal in the first game and two taters in the second. This year, Buxton has hit righties very well posting a .333 ISO and .385 wOBA thanks in part to a 45% hard-hit rate. On the bump for the Royals is Jakob Junis, who will look to rebound after two mediocre starts. Junis just faced these Twins last Friday and went 4.2 IP allowing two earned runs and a 1.52 WHIP. One of those earned runs came on a Buxton solo shot. If we look back to 2019, Junis sported some sneaky reverse-splits. He allowed a .21o ISO against righties and a more troubling 41.3% fly-ball rate with a 38.8% hard-hit rate. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do against the Twins it’s to allow hard-hit flyballs.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Conforto, OF ($4,000 DK) at PHI; Brandon Nimmo, OF ($3,400 DK; $3,200 FD) vs. PHI; Mike Ford, 1B ($3,800 DK, 2,400 FD) vs. BOS; Clint Frazier, OF ($4,000 DK; $2,600 FD) vs. BOS; Robbie Grossman, OF ($2,700 DK, $2,700 FD) at SF.
Lineup Stack: Mets at Phillies (RHP Spencer Howard)
Here’s where I get to write about my favorite team, the Phillies. I did not want to talk about how their bullpen is hot garbage, but they did this to themselves, so here we are. The Fightin Phils just wrapped up a three-game set with the Orioles which saw the O’s put up 26 runs. While the starters did not pitch great, the bullpen allowed 15 runs in those three games. As a DFS player, that’s who I want to stack against. I’m not worried about what happens when the starter exits the game, because the fireworks can continue. The Phillies haven’t officially given the word, but it looks like it will be Spencer Howard on the mound today. Howard got hit pretty hard by the Braves in his MLB debut, allowed two homers and eight baserunners in just 4.2 innings.
The Mets bats have been heating up as they put up 19 runs on that Nationals over the last two days. The best part about the Mets’ bats – other than facing the Phillies bullpen – is that they’re not expensive. Brandon Nimmo ($3,400 DK, $3,200 FD) is cheap and has been leading off against righties. Jeff McNeil was carted off yesterday after crashing into the wall making a catch, so J.D. Davis ($4,400 DK, $3,000 FD) is currently penciled into the 2-hole. Pete Alonso ($4,900 DK, $3,700 FD) and Michael Conforto ($4,000 DK, $3,300 FD) are locks for me today. Just make sure to check FTN’s Lineup Page to see what the lineup looks like when it comes out. Good luck today!
Honorable Mentions: Yankees vs. Red Sox; Athletics at Giants; Astros vs. Mariners; Rangers at Rockies
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)