Two games (Oakland at San Diego and Miami at San Francisco) get lost between the cushions of Wednesday’s afternoon and evening FantasyDraft slate, but that still leaves a dozen combined games in both contests. At least it’s still Kluber Day.
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Top SP: Corey Kluber ($24,700) vs. Chicago White Sox
The Klubot malfunctioned last week, when he allowed a season-high four runs with a season-low three strikeouts. It was the first time he failed to work at least six frames in 15 turns. Before the mortal outing, Kluber had posted a ridiculous 1.09 ERA, 46 strikeouts, and one walk in his prior six starts. His 9.64 K/BB ratio laps runner-up Max Scherzer’s 6.61 for the MLB lead. Expect a return to dominance against the White Sox, who possess the highest K% of any AL club. Don’t get cute and fade him in cash contests.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Morton ($23,900) vs. TB
Value SP: Michael Fulmer ($14,500) at Cincinnati Reds
Let’s balance out the lofty Kluber expenditure by trotting out Michael Fulmer for just $14,500. The 25-year-old righty has allowed five hits and one run over seven innings in each of his last two starts, posting respective game scores of 75 and 70 against Cleveland and Minnesota. He has massaged his swinging-strike rate to 10.4 % and issued one walk in those two gems, but this is a rare case of the hot hand remaining available at a staunch discount. While the Reds aren’t the ideal opponent to unlock his hidden strikeout upside, they’re still a below-average offense against righties (92 wRC+).
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Loaisiga ($16,200) vs. SEA; Michael Wacha ($14,900) at PHI
IF Didi Gregorius ($8,900) vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez)
This may amount to random noise, but Felix Hernandez has surrendered 31 runs in 35 innings away from Safeco Field. Yankee Stadium is a treacherous place for any pitcher, especially a righty with a 5.44 ERA and fading fastball. His Big Apple trip coincides with Didi Gregorius once again catching fire. After recorded a minus-1 wRC+ in May (following a 201 wRC+ through April), the shortstop is batting 14-for-57 with three homers this month. He has even attempted to steal double the bases (eight) from all of last season in those 15 games. He has recorded a .527 slugging % against righties since the start of 2017, so roll the dice on Gregorius igniting another cheesy home-run call from John Sterling.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Nimmo ($9,800) at COL (Chad Bettis); Manny Machado ($8,900) at WAS (Gio Gonzalez)
IF Wilmer Flores ($8,400) at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chad Bettis)
DFS gamers know Wilmer Flores as a platoon player to target against lefties. Perhaps the Mets do as well, but that view overlooks his progress against the other guys. Since the start of 2017, the resourceful infielder is brandishing an above-average 110 wRC+ versus righties. As hard as the Mets have seemingly tried to avoid extending Flores a full-time role, they now have no choice. (Well, they could promote Peter Alonso, but they’re more likely to bring up Tim Tebow because LOL Mets.) With Jay Bruce joining Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares on the shelf, the Mets have moved Dominic Smith to the outfield, clearing steady playing time at first base for Flores a week after they dumped Adrian Gonzalez. The opportunity (and his return from a back injury) presented itself just in time for a visit to Coors Field. Their next opponent, Chad Bettis, has capitulated a career .300/.356/.508 slash line to righties, so fire away Flores in the evening slate.
Honorable Mentions: Jeimer Candelario ($8,600) at CIN (Tyler Mahle); Matt Kemp ($8,300) at CHC (Jon Lester); Ian Desmond ($8,300) vs. NYM (Seth Lugo); Brett Gardner ($7,700) vs. SEA (Hernandez)
Value: IF/OF Trey Mancini ($6,500) at Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez)
I had actually considered recommending Gio Gonzalez before seeing the prices. Yet despite his disastrous June (6.61 ERA, 6 HR, .381 wOBA), the Washington southpaw costs more than every evening starter besides Charlie Morton. Baltimore’s batters, meanwhile, offer cheap supplements to the evening’s Coors Field participants. (The stack highlighted below is also costly.) So I’m instead rolling the dice on Trey Mancini, who took Jefry Rodriguez yard last night. Perhaps this is the first step toward his .287 wOBA catching up to his .346 xwOBA, as of Tuesday night. At $6,500, it’s a risk worth taking. Adam Jones is also available for $6,400, so they’d make an intriguing value stack alongside Manny Machado, who is somehow just $8,900.
Honorable Mentions: Enrique Hernandez ($6,800) at CHC (Lester); Johan Camargo ($6,000) at TOR (J.A. Happ); Alex Gordon ($5,500) vs. TEX (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Stack: Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner)
I bet Matt Adams wishes this matchup occurred before he landed on the disabled list. Just as he goes down, Andrew Cashner will return from a brief absence to face the Nationals, who will be champing at the bit to face a hurler with a 4.98 ERA and .387 opposing wOBA. Righties and lefties are both slugging over .500 against Baltimore’s struggling righty, so just about any starter is fair game. Bryce Harper ($10,800) has recorded one extra-base hit since June 9, but he’s still a superstar slugger given an ideal matchup. A $9,200 tag might now represent a bargain for teenage phenom Juan Soto, who sports a sublime .326/.420/.593 slash line. Also pricey, but affordable for the circumstances, Adam Eaton ($8,500) has etched out 11 hits in eight games since his comeback. While Daniel Murphy ($8,400) cannot boast the same triumphant recovery, the early doldrums have at least mitigated his cost. Still searching for his first June long ball, Anthony Rendon ($8,000) is nonetheless a strong play who has reached base seven times in 14 encounters against Cashner.
Honorable Mentions: Mets at Rockies (Bettis); Yankees vs. Mariners (Hernandez); Orioles at Nationals (Gonzalez)