Friday, July 6, 2018

Today’s main slate has 14 games, but there are a couple of standouts among the pitching options that are clearly the safest plays of the night. I will analyze five of the best value plays of the night, but realistically the decision will come down to even less pitchers than that for most DFS players. The uber-high ceilings for some of tonight’s pitchers is enough to convince me who should be in my lineup.

High Salary Plays

Chris Sale, BOS (8-4, 2.41 ERA) @ KC – $12,500

According to DailyRoto, Sale is the best value on the slate today by a substantial margin. This says a lot because of how high his price tag is. He is viewed as being an incredibly safe option in tonight’s game, and it’s not hard to see why. He has posted at least 52 fantasy points in each of his past five starts, appearing almost unhittable at times. Over that time frame, he has averaged seven innings pitched per game while allowing just 4 runs on 16 hits with 54 strikeouts. On the year, his strikeout numbers have simply been phenomenal with 164 punchouts in 116 innings pitched; his strikeout rate is third in the majors at 36.1%. Additionally, he has given at least six innings in 14 of his 18 starts this year, and has not had a start shorter than four innings. For the year, Sale has averaged 47 points per start.

Going against Kansas City tonight, Sale is in a decent spot to have a good game. Kansas City ranks dead last in the majors in runs scored which points to me that he is very likely to pitch deep into the game. However, they are also second to last in strikeouts as a team which could prevent Sale from having quite as high of a strikeout total as normal. Sale faces far more righties than lefties, but is extremely dominant against lefties; KC will likely have at least two in the lineup tonight. Kaufman Stadium is one of the largest parks in the majors, favoring hits but severely hindering power. Sale will be even further aided by a very strong wind blowing in straight from center field at the time of the start of the game. This will only slightly be offset by the hot weather in Kansas City tonight. As of the time of this writing, the umpire assignment is unknown. Ultimately, I have adjusted the DailyRoto projection due to the weather conditions tonight. I project Sale to score 54.7 points, 4.38 points/$1000. Given that he has not given up a run in his last two starts and is facing one of the worst scoring offenses in the MLB, he has an extremely high floor tonight. While his strikeout numbers are a little bit unpredictable, I would be surprised to see them dip too low given his track record; if he has his strikeout pitches working tonight, it’s easy to imagine him with an incredibly high ceiling tonight. I will absolutely have Sale in my lineup tonight despite the high price tag.

Jacob DeGrom, NYM (5-4, 1.85 ERA) vs TB – $12,000

DeGrom should be well-rested tonight after missing his last start due to personal reasons. Each of his last nine starts have seen fantasy outputs of at least 31 points, a very impressive streak. Despite this, the two lowest outputs that he has had over that period were in his last two starts, with 31 and 37. The big right-hander is in the top ten this year in K%, striking out over 31% of the batters he faces. Tampa Bay is a team that strikes out a little more than most, but they usually feature three to four lefties, against whom DeGrom’s numbers are slightly less impressive. He has been even better at home than on the road this year, especially with regard to his K:BB ratio. In New York tonight, the wind is blowing pretty strongly out of the ballpark, which is unfavorable for DeGrom. Slightly warm weather will help the ball carry a little bit. The umpire for tonight’s game has not yet been announced. I would be shocked if he doesn’t put up a good game tonight against a bad Rays team, but he isn’t the safest play on the board tonight. Ultimately, I am predicting 43 points, 3.58 points/$1000, with an average distribution of outcomes.

Mid-Range Plays

Mike Foltynewicz, ATL (6-4, 2.02 ERA) @ MIL – $8800

It is relatively rare to see a player have such a low ERA and a low price tag. His strikeout numbers have been very good this year as he ranks 15th in the league in K%, and his average fantasy output is 36.5 points. The Brewers strike out a lot as a team, and are about league average in runs scored. Foltynewicz is almost as good against lefties as he is against righties, with the big disparity being in the increase in walks to lefties; the Brewers will likely have three or four lefties in their lineup tonight. The umpire, James Hoye, is unlikely to have any substantial effect on strikeout rate as his numbers are right on the league average. Playing in the dome tonight at Miller Park will cause little change in Foltynewicz’s output. Foltynewicz usually performs almost equally at home and on the road. Ultimately, I have him scoring 38.3 points, 4.35 points/$1000, with the distribution of the outcomes being relatively tight.

Lance Lynn, MIN (5-7, 5.49 ERA) vs BAL – $8000

Lynn is in the midst of what has been by far the worst season of his career. After never having an ERA above 4.00 this year, he is currently holding a 5.49 ERA. While he had experienced a consistent seven start stretch after a brutal start to the year, it ended in his last start as he allowed seven earned to the Cubs in less than two innings pitched. His biggest issue this year has been control, and that was the case in his poor last outing. Hopefully we will see a nice bounce-back game from Lynn tonight, but his inconsistent control and recent inability to do what he usually does well, keep runs off the board, makes me hesitant to trust him in tonight’s matchup. He is likely viewed as valuable on DailyRoto due to the great matchup that he has tonight against the lowly Orioles, losers of 10 of their last 11 games. They have the second-worst scoring total in the league and strike out at a top-ten rate. They rarely walk as a team, which is very important for Lynn’s outlook tonight. He has been particularly horrid against left-handed batters this year, but luckily for him the Orioles are a righty-dominant lineup. With an average fantasy point total of 24.6, Lynn is a risky option, especially given his above-average price. He will be hurt a bit by the wind blowing out towards left field. Umpire Vic Carapazza is one of the most pitcher-friendly umpires in the league. He has a very high strikeout rate with a notably low walk rate, and this will have a huge impact on Lynn tonight as it should mitigate his biggest weakness. The umpire assignment has caused me to raise Lynn’s projection to 35.1 points, or 4.39 points/$1000. He is expected to produce tonight, however proceed with caution; his distribution of outcomes is far wider than some of the other options on the slate tonight. Lynn is a guy who has a lot of boom or bust potential.

Freddy Peralta, MIL (3-1, 2.28 ERA) vs ATL – $8400

Peralta has made five starts this year, and he has averaged 41.6 fantasy points. With 40 strikeouts in just 27 innings pitched, he is certainly a good option in fantasy. His relative inconsistency is the factor that may scare me from using him tonight; he has two starts above 60 points but two with 21 or less. He doesn’t give up many hits, and control is key to his success. His MLB stats this year align with his AAA stats: lots of strikeouts with slight control issues. Going against Arizona tonight is a somewhat frightening proposition given Peralta’s control issues; Arizona is top-five in the league in walks. However, they also strike out a lot, which gives Peralta a high ceiling tonight. Pitching in the dome, he will not be affected by weather concerns. The umpire, James Hoye, is unlikely to have any substantial effect on strikeout rate as his numbers are right on the league average. He is projected at 37.8 points, 4.5 points/$1000, but could realistically have an output anywhere from 10 to 70 simply due to walks and strikeouts. A risky play, he could pay off big time if you have him in your lineup tonight.