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DFS contests that feature just 4 games, like the one we see tonight, is a unique challenge compared to the bigger slates. Many teams will feature the obvious plays, and there will be fewer opportunities to find ways to differentiate your roster from the pack. We’ll keep that in mind as we examine tonight’s options.
Top SP: Tyler Skaggs, LAA ($19,700) vs CWS
You don’t have to dig too deep to understand why this guy is so enticing for tonight’s contest. Skaggs has been fantastic this season, as evidenced by his 2.68 ERA, 3.10 FIP, and shiny new 11.2% whiff rate (compared to 8.1 in 2016 and 2017) over 18 starts, and he faces a rebuilding White Sox squad that has the 3rd highest strikeout rate and 8th lowest wOBA against right-handers so far this season. For those of you worried about his 1 strikeout performance last week against the Astros, consider the following: Skaggs has 9.17 K/9 overall this season, but if you carefully remove his 2 starts against Houston and his start against Boston, it jumps to 10.2 (and his ERA drops to 2.28!). While that’s not a great way to analyze a player for season-long formats, it’s just fine here as the White Sox are nothing at all like either of those two juggernauts. Oh, and you can go ahead and pencil in those 4 points for a win– James Shields is the opposing starter.
Honorable Mentions: David Price ($18,500), Charlie Morton ($16,700)
Value SP: Martin Perez, TEX ($8,600) vs OAK
Let me start by saying I do not actually recommend playing Perez and that I highly recommend using Skaggs, David Price, or Charlie Morton and ignoring the rest. If you want to get really creative, Perez is significantly less expensive than any of the other options and faces a middle-of-the-pack A’s lineup that strikes out slightly more than average against lefties. Knowing that all of your competition will be spending $30k+ on pitching (which I recommend), you could consider going with a contrarian play with Skaggs + Perez and hope that you can make up the difference with the extra $10,000 in your lineup. A reasonably ideal start from him would probably be a PQS with 4 or 5 strikeouts, which is actually fairly valuable at this price point. You’ll also be one of the only ones with those points, which can help distinguish you in a short slate.
Honorable Mention: None. Only consider this if you’ve got a very specific team build in mind.
IF Jed Lowrie, OAK ($7,700) @ TEX (LHP Martin Perez)
He busted out of his mini-slump in a big way last night by going 3-6 with a dinger, 2 runs, and 3 RBI against lefty Mike Minor, and he should be able to find continued success against Perez. Perez has allowed a .351 wOBA over his career to righties, and the switch-hitting Lowrie will be in a prime lineup spot with two righties ahead of him in Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder and one monster righty behind him in Khris Davis. That spot in the order combined with his ability to put the ball in play and avoid strikeouts make him extremely valuable.
Honorable Mention: IF/OF Chad Pinder, OAK ($8,000) @ TEX (LHP Martin Perez)
IF Rougned Odor, TEX ($8,100) v OAK (RHP Edwin Jackson)
While Odor is hot, he’s worth a look against all but the toughest of pitchers. Thankfully for us, he is not facing the toughest of pitchers tonight. Edwin Jackson’s low ERA is largely smoke and mirrors (his 4.48 SIERA is a more reasonable gauge of his talents), and Arlington is a very friendly environment for hitters. Edwin has not shown discernable platoon splits, but Odor has been significantly better against righties than lefties since coming to the big leagues. This is a classic case of a hot batter against a bad pitcher in a nice ballpark. Don’t overthink it.
Honorable Mention: OF Willie Calhoun, TEX ($7,300) v OAK (RHP Edwin Jackson)
OF Justin Upton, LAA ($8,100) v CWS (RHP James Shields)
It’s fairly easy to recommend any Angel tonight in this choice matchup, I’m particularly fond of Upton based on his price and his success against righties (.348 wOBA against righties since the start of 2016) combined with Shields’ vulnerability to righties (.345 wOBA allowed to righties since the start of 2016). Additionally, Shields already has 3 starts since the beginning of June with 7+ runs allowed, so choosing a hitter from the heart of the order is an easy investment to bank on. I’m guessing others will focus on Mike Trout because he’s amazing or Kole Calhoun because he’s hot and a lefty, so Upton might be a nice way to get points that others aren’t using.
Honorable Mention: IF Andrelton Simmons, LAA ($6,900) v CWS (RHP James Shields)
Top Stack: Rangers v Athletics (RHP Edwin Jackson)
I’ve already mentioned two Rangers earlier in the post, but this stack is intriguing not only because Edwin Jackson is a ticking time bomb of regression, but because they have several options in both the infield and outfield throughout the top half of the lineup. With platoon splits being neutral, feel free to plug in Shin-Soo Choo ($9,200), the previously mentioned Odor and Calhoun, Joey Gallo ($8,400), or even aging players Elvis Andrus ($7,400) and Adrian Beltre ($6,500).
Honorable Mention: Angels v White Sox (RHP James Shields)
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