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Top Play SP: Justin Verlander, HOU ($12,800) at LAA
It’s clear that Justin Verlander is the top pitcher on today’s slate. The only question is how deep will he go into today’s game? Verlander faced the Angels in his last start on September 22nd, where he allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five in five innings pitched. He threw 92 pitches in that game, so if we’re looking at something similar and we expected him to be a little more efficient than his last start, I could see him working into the sixth inning.
Verlander faces the Angels for the second straight game. Since losing Mike Trout on September 8th, the Angels have put up a league-worst 54 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers while striking out 25.6% of the time. Verlander should be able to cruise in this game and with his strikeout upside and has the chance to pay off this big pricetag.
Honorable mention: Robbie Ray, ARI ($10,600) vs. SD.
Value SP: Reynaldo Lopez, CHW ($6,700) vs. DET
You would think a start against the Tigers would be as safe as they come, but welcome to September baseball. Reynaldo Lopez faced the Tigers in his last start and proceeded to allow five runs on nine hits over four innings. So why are we headed back to the lion’s den? I’m clearly a glutton for punishment.
For what it’s worth, Lopez has been better at home (5.11 ERA – LOL) than on the road (6.02 ERA). Lopez faces the Tigers, who, since the All-Star Break, have just a 75 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, second-worst in the league. They have also struck out at a 27.1% rate against righties in that time. At least he’s not tricking me into drafting him next year with a solid second half.
Note, I wrote this before the double-header was canceled, so there’s a chance Lopez isn’t on the Main Slate. If that’s the case and Ivan Nova is pitching instead, he’s a play as well.
Honorable mention: Garrett Richards, SD ($8,000) at ARI.
Top Play: 3B Eugenio Suarez, CIN ($4,800) at PIT
I’d like to hop in the way-back machine to go back to my first ever Pitcher List article. It was a review of a mock draft that I did with 11 other writers. In said mock draft, I selected Eugenio Suarez with the 43rd pick and wrote, “I’d like to introduce you to my bae, Eugenio Suarez.” Here we are in September and 49 taters later, Suarez is competing for the home run crown.
Suarez has been red-hot in the second-half batting .301 with 29 bombs. The Reds face James Marvel, who has not been marvelous of late. Over his last two starts, Marvel has allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in 7.1 innings pitched. He’s also allowed three homers in those two starts, my bae’s specialty.
Top Play: OF George Springer, HOU ($5,200) at LAA
When going through today’s games, I knew I wanted to get a bat in against Jose Suarez, but just wasn’t sure where to go since the Astros have their division and the best record locked up. Suarez has struggled in September, allowing 15 runs to score in just 13 innings pitched. He has allowed four homers over those four starts.
You’ll have to keep an eye on the lineup to make sure George Springer is starting. If he is, I like him to take advantage of Suarez giving out homers like Oprah. In September, Springer has mashed nine homers and has hit a new career-high for the year of 38 bombs. If Springer is out of the lineup, keep an eye to see if Myles Straw is leading off, as he’s been particularly hot in September, batting .444, albeit in only 20 plate appearances.
Value: 2B/OF Garrett Hampson, COL ($3,800) vs. MIL
Who’s got two thumbs and is the hottest player in fantasy? This guy! Errrrr that guy over there? Oops, messed up that one. Regardless of my poor, dad jokes, Garrett Hampson has been the hottest player in fantasy. In the month of September, Hampson is batting .351 with five homers, 16 runs scored and nine stolen bases. Hampson gets a matchup in Coors against Gio Gonzalez, who has been decent of late but has only gone 10.1 innings over his last three starts.
Top Stack: Reds at Pirates (RHP James Marvel)
As I wrote in the Suarez blurb, James Marvel has struggled lately. Luckily for us, the Reds have some cheaper bats, so we should be able to fit Verlander with a Reds stack. I’m starting my Reds stack with Eugenio Suarez ($4,800) and Joey Votto ($4,000), as they have been really hot in September. Votto is batting .372 with eight extra-base hits this month. Josh VanMeter ($3,900) is projected to lead off, so he’s piece number three.
From there it just depends on what you can afford. If you have the money to lock in Aristides Aquino ($5,200), I’m all for it. Otherwise, you can look to Tucker Barnhart ($3,300) or Jose Iglesias ($3,300) if you want to make it a five-man stack. For what it’s worth, I’m not against keeping this as a three-man stack. Good luck today!
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RMoss1983) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any nonpublic information.