Done downing hot dogs and beer for America? All 30 teams play on Independence Day, so there are plenty of options in Fantasy Draft’s early and evening slates despite overlooking the 11:05 a.m. opening from the nation’s capital. Some lackluster probable pitchers should lead to plenty of fireworks.
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Top SP: Aaron Nola ($25,600) vs. Baltimore Orioles
Do you know what today is? It’s
Independence Rusev Nola Day! Philadelphia’s ace is flaunting a 2.48 ERA and 25.2 K% this season while not allowing more than four runs in a single start. After surviving a rough schedule against the Cubs, Rockies, Brewers, and Nationals (twice), he gets a pleasanter opponent in the Orioles, who possess an MLB-low .227 batting average with the seventh-worst K% (23.7) and third-worst wOBA (.290). An already reeling lineup will lose a position player at Philadelphia, and the afternoon’s top alternatives (Sean Manaea vs. San Diego and Jose Berrios at Milwaukee) come with much more downside. Pay Nola’s steep price in cash contests.
Honorable Mentions: Trevor Bauer ($26,300) at KC; Sean Manaea ($22,900) vs. SD
Value SP: Marcus Stroman ($12,600) at New York Mets
“This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” Take Don Draper’s advice and forget about Marcus Stroman‘s start to 2018. Pitching through a shoulder injury, the righty registered a 7.71 ERA in seven starts before mercifully going on the disabled list. He has since returned to allow one walk and two runs (one unearned) in two turns against the Tigers and Angels. Despite a horrid start, the 27-year-old carries a 62.9 % ground-ball rate and 3.87 SIERA into Wednesday’s tilt against the Mets, who batted .210 with a .285 wOBA in June. Past transgressions make Stroman available for just $12,600 in the evening slate featuring an expensive Coors Field matchup, so take the holiday clearance deal.
Honorable Mentions: Chase Anderson ($14,800) vs. MIN; Luis Perdomo ($8,000) at OAK
IF Nolan Arenado ($10,500) vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Andrew Suarez)
It’s Nolan Arenado against a lefty at Coors Field. You pretty must have to write a blank check. The Colorado stud’s career .328/.401/.628 slash line against southpaws pales in comparison to his current .431/.520/.882 (!) clip, and he went yard for his ninth time in 14 games on Tuesday night. The opposing Andrew Suarez, meanwhile, has surrendered a 5.35 ERA away from AT&T Park. Arenado going for only $10,500 is the equivalent of a stadium only charging $4.50 for a soda. It’s a lot, but you’re oddly relieved to not encounter a more ridiculous rate.
Honorable Mentions: Trevor Story ($10,400) vs. SF (Suarez); Alex Bregman ($10,100) at TEX (Mike Minor); Andrew McCutchen ($9,000) at COL (Tyler Anderson); Buster Posey ($8,800) at COL (Anderson)
OF Curtis Granderson ($7,400) vs. New York Mets (RHP Corey Oswalt)
What’s more American than picking on the Mets? As Matt Harvey revitalizes his career with the Reds and Seth Lugo transitions back to the bullpen for some weird reason, Corey Oswalt gets Wednesday’s start at Toronto. The 24-year-old rookie, who notched a 5.32 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts, has already surrendered three homers and eight runs in 7.1 major league innings. I almost made the Blue Jays my stack, but lineup turnover makes the choices difficult to pinpoint. Besides, they share the evening with two teams partying at Coors. Let’s instead focus on Curtis Granderson, who is brandishing a .375 wOBA against righties. The 37-year-old, who laced two doubles yesterday, should once again DH in the leadoff role against his former team. Then again, the Mets are awful, so don’t rule out a Blue Jays stack.
Honorable Mentions: Yuli Gurriel ($7,600) at TEX (Minor); Randal Grichuk ($7,300) vs. NYM (Oswalt)
Value: IF/OF Daniel Palka ($6,500) at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Sal Romano)
Everybody loves facing Sal Romano, who has relinquished a 5.30 ERA in 17 starts, but lefties especially relish the opportunity to tee off against a hurler who has ceded a .372 wOBA to their ilk. Having forfeited a homer in all but one of his last eight starts, he’ll have his hands full against the hulking Daniel Palka. The boom-or-bust slugger blasted two bombs last night, giving him nine long balls in 196 plate appearances. Reverse splits mitigated his price, but Anthony DeSclafani can attest to a small sample size fueling that deception.
Honorable Mentions: Albert Amora Jr. ($7,300) vs. DET (Francisco Liriano); Hunter Renfroe ($7,200) at OAK (Manaea)
Lineup Stack: Detroit Tigers at Chicago Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana)
Picking on Jose Quintana worked relatively well last week; Enrique Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a double, walk, and two RBI. The Cubs’s southpaw now sports a 4.31 ERA, 4.50 FIP, and 39.7 % hard-hit rate with a .339 wOBA relinquished to righties. I initially only planned on isolating John Hicks ($6,600, .379 wOBA vs. LHP) as a cheap value play to manage the hefty Nola investment. Then I realized I also want to play Nicholas Castellanos, who has blasted four home runs and doubles apiece over his last 10 games. He’s batting .430 (34-for-79) versus southpaws this season. And hey, Jeimer Candelario ($7,800), a career .303/.378/.535 hitter against lefties, is worth a look against his old squad as well.
Honorable Mentions: Rockies vs. Giants (Suarez); Giants at Rockies (Anderson); Blue Jays vs. Mets (Oswalt); Astros at Rangers (Minor)