Francisco Liriano – Liriano has been awesome this year with a 2.92 ERA and has 140 K’s in 126 IP. Now I like Kluber and Hernandez a lot as pitchers, but Hernandez is playing at Coors today, and I like Liriano vs. the Cubs much more than Kluber vs. the Angels even if the Angels have been struggling lately. Surprisingly, Liriano actually pitches better away from Pittsburgh having a 3.65 ERA at home, but only has a .202 AVG against and has 70 combined walks and hits in 66.1 IP. The only difference is that he has given up 8 of his 10 HR at home this year which doesn’t worry me too much considering the lack of hits he is giving up. Other than a poor month of May, Liriano has been elite this year, and in July he is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA, a .237 AVG against, and 32 K’s in 31 IP. Finally the great thing about Liriano is that these numbers are very sustainable for him so it hasn’t been luck. He actually has an XFIP of 2.82 which is lower than his actual ERA, so one could say he has been slightly unlucky this year. I look for him to continue his dominance as the year goes on. He is going against the Cubs who have the lines in their favor as they hit better on the road (.246 AVG/.318 OBP/.391 SLG with 54 HR in 1880 AB’s), and hit better against lefties (.248 AVG/.335 OBP/.369 SLG with 14 HR in 726 AB’s). However, the most important stat is the Cubs K rate against lefties of 26.3%. This is an extremely high rate, and a guy like Liriano can take advantage of him with his nasty stuff. The Cubs get a lot of hype, but they are a perfect team to have an opposing pitcher against in MLB DFS.
Nathan Karns – Karns is a pitcher that makes me a little nervous, but if he’s on, he is a great fantasy play. Karns has some really solid numbers, especially on the road with a 3.13 ERA, a .207 AVG against, and 44 K’s in 46 IP. What makes me nervous though is the 40 BB’s in 115 IP, and he has only pitched 115 innings in 20 starts this year which is less than 6 innings per start. Now I’m not expecting a complete game or anything, but you are losing out on valuable points for GPP’s which is most likely where I would be picking Karns. Looking at his past 10 starts, he has only pitched more than 6 innings 1 time, but hasn’t pitched less than 5 innings once so he hasn’t gotten rocked or anything like that. The Rays will be going against lefty Jose Quintana which should be good for them as they hit lefties really well. Karns will be obviously then be pitching against the White Sox who have been much better offensively after 3+ months of struggling pretty badly. They have a line at home of .243 AVG/.301 OBP/.374 SLG with 42 HR in 1625 AB’s and have a line against righties of .254 AVG/.309 OBP/.387 SLG with 70 HR in 2738 AB’s. I don’t know the way it is with most lineups, but the 5-9 hitters struggle on the Sox, so it is all about getting through the Eaton, Abreu, Saladino, Cabrera stretch. They do K 22.4% of the time against righties which is about average, which means you can expect 5-7 K’s from Karns which isn’t too bad. He has been great in 7 of his last 8 starts and I look for him to continue his hot streak tonight.
Buster Posey – As like most days, I really like Buster Posey today against the below average Mike Foltynewicz. Foltynewicz was actually pretty solid in his last start, only giving up 2 solo homers and striking out 8 guys in 6 innings. That being said, he still has a 5.05 ERA on the year, including a 5.34 ERA at home with a .310 AVG against and 45 hits and walks in 28.2 IP. That does set one up for success, and when he is giving up a line to right handed batters of .282 AVG/.345 OBP/.468 SLG with 6 HR in 124 AB’s, he is asking for some trouble. He did pitch well against the Giants in a start this year only giving up 2 ER in 6.2 IP with 8 K’s. I won’t let such a small sample size worry me though as Foltynewicz has really struggled overall on the year and is simply allowing way too many guys on base. Then there is Buster Posey who hits just about everything well, posting a line against right handed pitching of .338 AVG/.403 OBP/.513 SLG with 12 HR in 275 AB’s and has a line on the road of .330 AVG/.382 OBP/.551 SLG with 11 HR in 185 AB’s. We have seen guys like Grandal, Vogt, and Martin get hot throughout the year, but Posey is Mr. Consistent which is why I really like him. He has been crushing since the All-Star break with a line of .404 AVG/.421 OBP/.519 with 1 HR and 12 RBI’s in 52 AB’s. The Giants have the best offensive WAR in baseball, and you can bet Posey is a huge part of that. He may not be having an MVP caliber season, but he has been great always and will likely lead the Giants into the playoffs once again.
AJ Pierzynski – Pierzynski is not the sexy pick, or the guy that’s going to put up huge numbers, but he is so consistent and is great for cash games. He is going against Matt Cain who I wouldn’t say has been bad historically on the road, but he has been worse on the road compared to his home stats. From 2012-2014, he had a 3.66 ERA on the road with a .239 AVG against while giving up more HR and a higher walk rate on the road. This year he has been far worse on the road with a 5.63 ERA, a .308 AVG against and giving up 4 HR in 16 IP. Now part of that is rust from coming back from injury, but it has been 5 starts now, so we can start to build up a sample size. Then we have Mr. Pierzysnki who has a line against right handers of .301 AVG/.330 OBP/.457 SLG with 6 HR in 219 AB’s and has a line at home of .254 AVG/.307 OBP/.404 SLG with 2 HR in 114 AB’s. As you can see, there isn’t anything that stands out with these lines, but he gets on base quite a bit for a catcher, and gets quite a few base hits. Combine that with his amazing July of .359 AVG/.390 OBP/.500 SLG with 2 HR in 78 AB’s and you can understand why I like him so much. I don’t expect him to replicate those July numbers, but he has been hot, and going with the hot hand is usually a good thing.
Paul Goldschmidt – If you are going to spend big on a position player, Goldschmidt is the perfect guy to do so on as he has a great matchup against Doug Fister today. As I often say, Goldschmidt is one of those players than just destroys anything, kind of like Posey right now, but he does so even better than Posey. Goldschmidt has a line against righties of .337 AVG/.461 OBP/.568 SLG with 15 HR in 285 AB’s and has a line on the road of .332 AVG/.423 OBP/.606 SLG with 14 HR in 193 AB’s. Those are great numbers, and the funny thing is that you could make an argument that his numbers at home and against lefties are actually even better. It’s not really going out on a limb picking him as he is the best 1B in baseball with Cabrera out right now, but it’s too good of a matchup to pass on. I say this because of Doug Fister’s struggles this year. He has been better at home with a 3.80 ERA and a .281 AVG against, but he is giving up a line against righties of .367 AVG/.394 OBP/.531 SLG with 3 HR and 11 doubles in 147 AB’s. I mean that line is simply not good, and a guy like Goldschmidt who gets on base over 40% of the time will definitely be taking advantage of this. I would for sure have him for GPP’s and if you can afford him, I would put him in there for cash games.
Yonder Alonso – With today being a bit of a smaller slate, it’s hard to find a cheap 1B, but I think I found a solid one today in Yonder Alonso. He is going against Wily Peralta who may have a 3.90 ERA, but has a 1.40 WHIP and is allowing a ton of guys on base. Part of that is because of the .316 BABIP against him when his career average is .297, but he still has a LOB% of 78.9% which is higher than his career average of 72.6%. Peralta also has a 3.71 ERA at home with a .271 AVG against, but has given up 6 HR in 34 IP which helps out Alonso a bit. What also helps Alonso is the fact that Peralta is giving up a line to righties of .292 AVG/.344 OBP/.434 SLG with 3 HR in 113 AB’s. He might not give up a ton of HR’s but he gives up more at home, and Alonso doesn’t rely much on power for his value. Then there is Alonso who has a line against righties of .285 AVG/.374 OBP/.391 SLG with 3 HR in 207 AB’s and has a line on the road of .313 AVG/.417 OBP/.401 SLG with 2 HR in 147 AB’s. Again the lack of power for a 1B is concerning, but he is super cheap, gets on base a ton (.417 OBP on the road), and bats anywhere from 2nd-6th in the lineup. Now part of his value will hinge on this, but even if he is batting 5th, he still has Kemp and Upton in front of him which helps. I don’t expect a ton out of Alonso, but he does have 2 HR in 50 AB’s since the All-Star break so you never know!
Robinson Cano – Again, I know I’m not going too far outside the box with this pick, but a lefty that is hot going against Eddie Butler in Coors Field gets me very excited. Let’s start with Cano who really turned it on in July with a line of .337 AVG/.398 OBP/.622 SLG with 7 HR in 98 AB’s. He was said to have a stomach virus that he was playing through that was really hurting his swing. Now he may have a slight quad injury, so I would double check and make sure he is playing, but assuming he is, I love him tonight. Against righties on the year now, he has a line of .272 AVG/.325 OBP/.449 SLG with 9 HR in 283 AB’s which is great considering where it was a month ago. Assuming he plays, he will be batting behind Nelson Cruz who I imagine will not be given many pitches to hit today, meaning they will have to pitch to Cano. Then we have Eddie Butler who has a 5.96 ERA at home this year with a .352 AVG against and basically a 2.00 WHIP as well. Against lefties, he is giving up a line of .333 AVG/.442 OBP/.550 SLG with 5 HR in 129 AB’s. I mean there just isn’t anything not to like other than Cano’s salary got a major bump for this series. In GPP’s he is definitely worth paying up for, and I look for him to have a very nice series.
Dee Gordon – While he may not be super cheap, Gordon I believe is great value today for his price, and he is my top cash game 2B today. He is going against Bartolo Colon whose stock is rapidly falling, and is someone I have no problem picking guys against. He has been worse on the road this year with an ERA of 5.57 and an AVG against of .302. He has also been worse against lefties with a line of .316 AVG/.331 OBP/.473 SLG with 8 HR in 237 AB’s. He has given up 17 total HR on the year which is almost 1 per start, and while I don’t expect Dee Gordon to hit one, I hope he will be on base for it. His ERA on the year has dropped to 4.96 and will continue to drop if he keeps pitching like he has lately. Until he proves me otherwise, I love a guy like Dee Gordon against him. Gordon has a line against righties of .319 AVG/.345 OBP/.399 SLG with 1 HR and 25 SB’s in 276 AB’s and has a line at home of .324 AVG/.337 OBP/.403 SLG with 0 HR and 14 SB’s in 176 AB’s. Speed is what gives Gordon a lot of his value, and while he has been caught 13/47 times, it is well worth the risk as those are key points for him. I don’t really love a Marlins stack without Stanton, but Gordon is one of my top value plays today and is very affordable.
Carlos Correa – He is a very expensive player as well, but he has been on a major hot streak and is definitely worth taking in GPP’s. In his past 10 games he has hits in 9 of them including 12 overall hits, 2 doubles, 4 HR, 7 RBI’s, 6 runs, and 5 walks. He has been on a major heater and while I like him against lefties more, Colby Lewis doesn’t concern me all too much. Correa has a line against righties this year of .287 AVG/.331 OBP/.533 SLG with 7 HR in 122 AB’s and has a line on the road of .268 AVG/.321 OBP/.505 SLG with 5 HR in 97 AB’s. There’s no doubt he’s more worth his money at home against a lefty, but on a small slate options can be limited and he still has a ton of upside. He is going against Colby Lewis who has a home ERA this year of 4.76 with an AVG against of .248, and has a line against righties this year of .244 AVG/.276 OBP/.388 SLG with 8 HR in 209 AB’s. The line against righties is pretty good, but he has been struggling in July with a 5.34 ERA and a .266 AVG against. I often say this, but Correa and Altuve are the only guys that I would take for cash games, but for GPP’s the Astros are never a bad bet.
Brad Miller – If I can, I always love to target cheap guys at Coors Field, and while Miller isn’t dirt cheap, he is more than affordable. Miller can’t hit lefties much at all, but he does have a line against lefties of .247 AVG/.343 OBP/.431 SLG with 8 HR in 239 AB’s, but unfortunately has a pretty dreadful line on the road of .183 AVG/.269 OBP/.294 SLG with 3 HR in 153 AB’s. With the game at Coors today though, I am willing to forgive that road line, with my only question being where will he bat in the lineup. He has most of his at bats (102) from the 8 hole, but he does have 65 AB’s from the 1 and 2 hole so if he can move up there today I like Miller even more. Even if he does bat 8th, I would definitely consider Miller with the factors today. He is also going against Eddie Butler who just hasn’t pitched well at home or against lefties. He has a 5.96 ERA at home, and is giving up a line to lefties of .333 AVG/.432 OBP/.550 SLG with 5 HR in 129 AB’s. Make sure to check the lineup before locking these guys, but I really love the Mariners against Eddie Butler tonight.
Manny Machado – Machado continues to be one of my favorite players this year, and has also been one of those very consistent players. He is going against Jesse Chavez today who has been solid this year, but isn’t going to wow you as a pitcher. Machado has a line against right handed pitchers of .296 AVG/.369 OBP/.537 SLG with 19 HR in 311 AB’s and has a line on the road of .291 AVG/.360 OBP/.495 SLG with 10 HR in 196 AB’s. Machado is coming off probably his “worst” month of the year with a line of .250 AVG/.367 OBP/.467 SLG with 6 HR in 92 AB’s which is pretty good for a “bad month”. The Orioles are right in the middle of the playoff race and are going to need Machado to keep playing well. Then there is Chavez who does have a 2.33 ERA at home with a .244 AVG against, and has a line against right handed batters of .226 AVG/.282 OBP/.286 SLG with 2 HR in 199 AB’s. I know that the numbers may not exactly matchup here, but I don’t consider Chavez an ace or anything, and an Ace is probably the only time that I would not pick Machado in anyway.
Evan Longoria – I can’t believe that Longoria hasn’t picked it up much this year, but with a pretty poor offense around him, I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. However, Longoria has continued to mash lefties this year with a line of .316 AVG/.411 OBP/.468 SLG with 3 HR in 79 AB’s and has a line of .238 AVG/.302 OBP/.362 SLG with 4 HR in 185 AB’s on the road. I would say that these lines balance each other out which makes Longoria a solid play for his price tag today. Over the last week though Longoria has been pretty hot with a line of .364 AVG/.481 OBP/.591 SLG with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 runs, and 4 walks. The Rays look to stay alive in the wild card race and will need Longoria’s offense to help keep them alive. He will be going against Jose Quintana today who has been pretty even on the road and at home, but has given up a line to righties of .297 AVG/.336 OBP/.449 SLG with 9 HR in 408 AB’s. He does shut down lefties pretty well, but is going up against a Rays offense that hits lefties well. I actually like the Rays as a sneaky pick for GPP’s tonight as they could do some damage tonight.
Nelson Cruz – Finally, we get to my favorite play of the day as I think Cruz is in for a monster day against Eddie Butler. Now he isn’t left handed, but I still expect Cruz with his power to hit a couple HR in this series. He has a line against righties of .295 AVG/.355 OBP/.535 SLG with 21 HR in 312 AB’s, and has a line on the road of .322 AVG/.368 OBP/.702 SLG with 22 HR in 205 AB’s. If you get Cruz out of Safeco, he is very dangerous as he is hitting a HR in less than every 10 AB’s which is crazy good. Then we see the hot streak that Cruz is on with a line since the all-star break of .356 AVG/.413 OBP/.740 SLG with 8 HR in 73 AB’s. I get that he is very expensive tonight, but again it’s one of those nights where you simply expecting him to hit a HR. Getting back to Butler real quick, he has that 5.96 ERA at home, and has a line against righties of .294 AVG/.364 OBP/.468 SLG with 4 HR in 126 AB’s. As you can tell, I really like the Mariners today, and Cruz is my top play of the day.
Yamany Tomas – I don’t remember the last time that I picked Tomas, but I will gladly take him against the struggling Doug Fister tonight. Tomas actually has the reverse splits this year hitting righties at a line of .302 AVG/.333 OBP/.409 SLG with 4 HR in 232 AB’s which is better than his numbers against left handed pitching. Tomas has a line on the road of .296 AVG/.329 OBP/.426 SLG with 3 HR in 162 AB’s which is basically the same as his home numbers. I like that he usually hits right behind Goldschmidt who is on base a ton, and is going against a pitcher who allows a lot of righties on base. Fister is giving up that line to righties of .367 AVG/.394 OBP/.531 SLG with 3 HR in 147 AB’s. He might not give up a ton of HR, but Tomas doesn’t hit a ton, but instead relies on a good average. This actually strikes me as a great matchup, and one that I would look at targeting tonight.
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