Last night was a near-perfect slate in my opinion. It was the perfect size (eight games), it had strong pitching options, and it had plenty of strong hitters. Tonights slate is strong as well, but I don’t like the pitchers as much in this slate. I have decided to change up the format for todays article. Let me know in the comment section if you would like me to stick with this format or revert to the old ones.
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7:05 pm Detroit Tigers vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Detroit Tigers pitching: Jordan Zimmerman is one of my favorite pitchers to see on the schedule, but not for the right reasons. He doesn’t strike out that many batters and gives up way too much hard contact. He doesn’t last very long in games as he tends to give up runs in bunches. Zimmerman should be as far away from your lineup as possible.
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching: Chad Kuhl is the better pitcher in this game, but that isn’t saying that much. While he isn’t a strong play by any means, he does make for a decent cash game play given the matchup. He likely won’t be on my radar in tournaments, but he is a value SP2 in cash games.
Detroit Tigers hitting: The Tigers feature one of the worst lineups in the majors and even in a strong matchup with Chad Kuhl, I will be limiting my exposure to them. Nevertheless, there are a couple of decent one-off plays. Jeimer Candelario and Leonys Martin are both cheap, but on a slate of this size, I don’t see them as core plays.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitting: The Pirates got off to a torrid start to the season, but they have since cooled down. Despite their mouth-watering matchup, I don’t have that much interest in the Pirates outside of a couple of players. Starling Marte is always an intriguing tournament play given his combination of power and speed. Corey Dickerson is my preferred hitter on the Pirates given how well he performs against righties. I don’t see him as a core play, but I will still have exposure to him.
7:05 pm Arizona Diamondbacks vs Philadelphia Phillies
Arizona Diamondbacks pitching: Robbie Ray had a breakout season last year, but hasn’t quite found his mark yet this year. Sadly, I don’t think that will change tonight. I have a lot of respect for how the Phillies perform against lefties, which takes Ray out of cash game consideration for me. Given the propensity the Phillies strike out, Ray offers plenty of tournament upside. He likely won’t be a core tournament play for me, but I may have a couple shares of him.
Philadelphia Phillies pitching: I will be playing Vince Velasquez on plenty of occasions this season, but tonight isn’t one of those times. The Arizona Diamondbacks feature one of the better lineups in the MLB, and that doesn’t bode well for Velasquez succeeding. He is an easy fade tonight.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitting: Even though I won’t be playing Velasquez, I have enough respect for his talent that I won’t be targeting hitters against him. However, David Peralta makes for a strong cash game play given his high floor.
Philadelphia Phillies hitting: Robbie Ray is one of the more talented pitchers in the league, and I don’t make a habit of targeting hitters against talented pitchers. I will have no exposure to the Phillies tonight.
7:05 pm Tampa Bay Rays vs Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays pitching: The Rays will be starting Jake Faria on the mound. He is a pitcher that has had a variety of outcomes in different games this year. In his first game he pitched decent, but wasn’t able to last very long. In his second game he got shelled for 8 runs. In his third and fourth games, he turned in strong performances. For such a volatile pitcher, there couldn’t be a more fitting matchup. The Baltimore Orioles are a boom/bust matchup as they will either strike out a ton, or mash a couple of home runs. Because of this, I see Faria as a strong tournament play, but I will be avoiding him in cash games.
Baltimore Orioles pitching: Alex Cobb has had one of the worst starts to the season that we have seen in recent memory. Every single one of his pitches seems to get clobbered. Even though he draws a mouth-watering matchup with the Rays, he should be completely avoided.
Tampa Bay Rays hitting: The Rays draw a near-perfect matchup, but they don’t have that many hitters that will be able to take advantage of it. Nevertheless, there are a couple of interesting spots to target. Joey Wendle, Brad Miller, and Denard Span are all cheap enough and offer enough upside to be played in both cash games and tournaments. While they aren’t necessarily core plays, they make for strong lineup fillers.
Baltimore Orioles hitting: As I stated earlier, the Orioles will either get completely shut down, or they will absolutely go off for a big game. I don’t love their matchup with Jake Faria, and because of how I will have more exposure to Faria, I will be avoiding the Orioles for the most part. However, Manny Machado at least deserves tournament consideration given the way he has been swinging the bat recently. Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez are also decent tournament darts.
7:07 pm Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox pitching: On the mound for the Red Sox is Rick Porcello. After his Cy Young year of 2016, Porcello fell into a slump for most of 2017. Luckily he has looked like his 2016 self so far this season. His matchup with the Blue Jays is one that he should be able to prevail in. The Blue Jays have performed poorly against righties all year and that won’t change tonight. Porcello is one of my favorite pitchers in a slate that doesn’t offer too many strong options. I like him a bit more in cash games, but he is viable in tournaments as well.
Toronto Blue Jays pitching: I always like rostering JA Happ thanks to his mix of floor and ceiling. However, this isn’t the matchup I want to play Happ in. I have a lot of respect for this Red Sox offense and they don’t strike out enough to put Happ in play in tournaments. There will be plenty of times that I roster Happ this year, but not today.
Boston Red Sox hitting: While I will be avoiding Happ, I won’t be rostering the players on the opposite end of the matchup. Mookie Betts always has upside, but at his current price, he is a fade given the matchup. Hanley Ramirez and JD Martinez are also overpriced for the matchup.
Toronto Blue Jays hitting: Porcello is one of the better pitchers in the American League when it comes to limiting damage, so I don’t tend to roster players hitting against him. Also, most of the Blue Jays’ lineup performs better against lefties.
8:05 pm Oakland Athletics vs Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics pitching: Andrew Triggs is a pitcher with strikeout upside, but he also has a tendency to get pulled from games after getting shelled early on. The Rangers are one of the more overrated lineups in the MLB, and while they do have power, they strike out a lot as well. I view Triggs and Trevor Cahill as very similar pitchers. Cahill had a decent outing last night, and I expect a similar outing from Triggs. Triggs is only really a cheap SP2 in tournaments.
Texas Rangers pitching: I expect Cole Hamels to garner more ownership than he should. Hamels still carries plenty of name recognition and people will think that a matchup with the Athletics is a good thing. The A’s quietly have one of the better lineups in the MLB and I don’t expect Hamels to perform that well against them. Hopefully my complete fade of him will end up paying off in both cash games and tournaments.
Oakland Athletics hitting: The Oakland Athletics never get the respect they deserve from the daily fantasy community. They routinely have big innings and their players are all cheap enough that you can have a full team stack. I still have some respect for Hamels so I won’t be featuring a full team stack in my lineups, but there are a couple of strong one-off plays. Marcus Semien always performs well against lefties and makes for an excellent value play at a shallow position. Khris Davis and Matt Chapman are secondary tournament plays given their raw power, but I wouldn’t have too much exposure to them.
Texas Rangers hitting: The Texas Rangers are actually a decent team stack tonight. They feature plenty of righty-mashers in their lineup and I will be targeting each one of those righty-mashers. Nomar Mazara and Shin-soo Choo are both borderline elite cash game plays, and Joey Gallo is a borderline elite tournament play.
8:10 pm Los Angeles Angels vs Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels pitching: I did not expect Shohei Ohtani to perform this well out of the gate in his first MLB season. He has shown he has GPP winning upside, but has also shown a low floor. The Houston Astros are a very disciplined and talented lineup; much like the Boston Red Sox lineup he got destroyed against. There will be plenty of times to play Ohtani this season, but tonight is not one of those times.
Houston Astros pitching: Charlie Morton is one of the most underrated pitchers in the league; especially for daily fantasy purposes. He has been on an absolute tear to start the year, and I don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon. The Angels have a ton of talent in their lineup, but all of that talent is right handed. Because of that they have performed better against lefties than righties. While this matchup presents risk, I expect Morton to handle it. He will most likely be the highest scoring pitcher of the slate and is the top pitcher on the board when you don’t factor in salaries.
Los Angeles Angels hitting: The Angels draw the most difficult matchup of all the teams in the slate. I don’t make a habit of targeting hitters against good pitchers, and I won’t be doing that tonight. Mike Trout can perform in any matchup, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to roster him. If you have the salary space, he makes for a decent tournament play because of the low ownership he should carry.
Houston Astros hitting: Even though I will be avoiding Ohtani, I won’t be stacking the Astros’ bats. This game could very well turn into a pitchers duel, so I will have very little exposure to the hitters in this game. However, Josh Reddick is an interesting play because of how well he has performed against righties this year and throughout his career.
8:15 pm New York Mets vs St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets pitching: I played Wheeler in his first game back from injury, but then faded him in his next game. That strategy ended up paying off big time for me as he went off in his first game, but then did poorly in his second. Tonight I expect him to have an outing more similar to his first game. He is pitching in a true pitchers park against a lineup that performs poorly against righties. His elevated price tag pushes him down to a borderline SP1.
St. Louis Cardinals pitching: Luke Weaver is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and has proven that throughout his time in the majors. His mix of a high ground ball rate and a high strikeout rate bodes well for future success. The Mets are a team that performs very well against righties, but lacks talent at the bottom of its lineup. If Weaver is able to survive the top of the order, he should have no problem turning in a stellar outing. I see him as more of a tournament play, but a very good one in that.
New York Mets hitting: The Mets have a couple of hitters that absolutely destroy righties, but in a difficult matchup, all those players are secondary options. Against righties: Yoenis Cespedes has all the upside in the world, Michael Conforto is always a strong cash play, and Jay Bruce has plenty of home run potential. However, in a matchup with a righty of Weaver’s caliber, none of those players are as strong of plays as they normally would be.
St. Louis Cardinals hitting: The only Cardinals remotely on my radar are Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler, but they are best suited as cash game lineup fillers.
8:15 pm Milwaukee Brewers vs Kansas City Royals
Milwaukee Brewers pitching: I’m not that big a fan of this game so we can save some time talking about it. Zach Davies is a pretty average pitcher that has decent upside. He isn’t the worst play given the matchup, but he isn’t the best either. If you are struggling to find a pitcher, he is a fine lineup filler, but he isn’t a core target.
Kansas City Royals pitching: Ian Kennedy is another very average pitcher. He is never an exciting player to put in your lineup but he gets the job done most of the time. After putting together three consecutive strong performances, he fizzled in a great matchup with the Blue Jays. My advice for him is pretty much the same as my advice for Davies.
Milwaukee Brewers hitting: We can save some time here: Eric Thames and Travis Shaw are the only players that should really be on your radar. Thames is a secondary tournament play, whereas Shaw is a borderline elite tournament play.
Kansas City Royals hitting: I highlighted the first and third baseman on the Brewers, and I will be doing the same thing here. Lucas Duda and Mike Moustakas are both secondary tournament plays.
8:40 pm San Diego Padres vs Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres pitching: There are so many hitters I want to talk about in this game, so we can save time with the pitchers. DO NOT PLAY ERIC LAUER.
Colorado Rockies pitching: DO NOT PLAY KYLE FREELAND.
San Diego Padres hitting: This is the game that everyone is going to want to get exposure to. Not only is it being played in Coors, but there are two bad pitchers on the mound. Hunter Renfroe is my favorite player of the entire slate. He absolutely destroys lefties and has plenty of power. I would not be surprised to see him have a multi-homer game. Jose Pirela and Austin Hedges both destroy lefties and are one of the top plays at their respective positions. I would love to play Christian Villanueva, but he is simply too expensive.
Colorado Rockies hitting: Eric Lauer couldn’t choose a worse place to make his debut in. The Rockies are far and away the top overall team stack. The 1-6 stack is viable, but very expensive. Of the Rockies, my favorites are (in this order), Nolan Arenado, Chris Iannetta, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and David Dahl.
10:10 pm Miami Marlins vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins pitching: Dillon Peters is on the mound for the Marlins, and while he may be a decent prospect, he shouldn’t be rostered tonight. He draws a matchup with a talented Dodgers lineup and I don’t like his chances of lasting past the fifth inning.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitching: Kenta Maeda draws the best matchup out of every pitcher on the slate. He is by far the top cash game option for pitchers. I am a bit hesitant to play him in tournaments because of how the Dodgers will pull him after 5 or 6 innings, regardless of how well he is doing.
Miami Marlins hitting: Justin Bour is always an intriguing tournament option, but I don’t like his chances against Maeda and the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Los Angeles Dodgers hitting: The Dodgers’ matchup with Dillon Peters is one that they should be able to take advantage of. Kike Hernandez, Corey Seager, and Matt Kemp are all players I will have exposure to in both cash games and tournaments. Of those players, Kike Hernandez is my favorite.
10:15 pm Washington Nationals vs San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals pitching: I love streaming right handed pitchers against the San Francisco Giants. Nearly the entire Giants lineup is right handed and each of those hitters performs better against lefties. Tanner Roark might just be my favorite pitcher of the night given his mix of floor and ceiling. It also doesn’t hurt that he should have plenty of run support.
San Francisco Giants pitching: Albeit the fact that the Nationals perform noticeably worse against lefties, Ty Blach should not be on your radar. He doesn’t strike enough hitters out and gives up plenty of hard contact.
Washington Nationals hitting: I have been toying with a Nationals stack throughout the day, but I will not be going in that direction. Nevertheless, there are a couple of elite plays on the Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman has hammered subpar lefties throughout his career and is my favorite cheap first baseman on the slate. Trea Turner has tournament winning upside thanks to his speed on the base-paths. I see both as elite tournament plays, but they are viable in cash games as well (more so Zimmerman).
San Francisco Giants hitting: Because of the interest I have in Roark, I won’t be rostering a single Giants player.
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