Now we are rolling right along as the MLB season is in full swing. We have a solid 10-game main slate Friday night to kick off the first weekend series of the season to give us some fresh matchups to explore. Of course, we are also now at the end of the team’s rotations which makes choosing a pitcher to roster very dicey. When your “ace” recommendation is a pitcher that could through a no-hitter or give up eight runs in the first inning you know it is a tough night for pitching.
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Let’s mow down the competition 3 Up and 3 Down…
Francisco Liriano (FD-$8,000 / DK-$8,900)
Liriano is far from the safest pitcher to roster but as we enter the end of the rotation for teams, he still offers the biggest upside as well. He has had a strikeout rate over 23% in each of his last five seasons and will face a Rays’ team that led the league in strikeout rate (25.3%) against lefties last season. Be sure to hedge against Liriano in some contest to limit your overall exposure just in case he gets blown up.
Mike Fiers (FD-$7,300 / DK-$7,500)
Fiers doesn’t have the same upside that Liriano has but he might be a little bit safer. His xFIP was lower than his ERA indicated last season and while he can be hurt by the long ball he is facing a Royals team that hit the second fewest homers in the league against righties last season with a bottom three wOBA, ISO and wRC+ as well.
Jesse Chavez (FD-$4,000 / DK-$7,100)
Chavez is in a home start for the Angels as a small favorite against Yovani Gallardo and the Mariners. FanDuel is treating Chavez like he has near pitched in the majors before with a bare minimum $4,000 salary. If you want to stack up a ton of high-priced bats, Chavez is a more than adequate option plug in your pitcher spot. He is not quite as appealing on DraftKings but he could be a solid contrarian option on that site.
Indians vs. Shelby Miller
Miller was a complete disaster last year in his first season with the D’Backs posting a 6.15 ERA and allowing 1.25 HR/9. As bad as he was overall, he was even worse at home with a 7.39 ERA while allowing a .395 wOBA and 1.72 HR/9. He could improve (hard not too) this season but pitching in Arizona against a loaded Indians lineup does not seem like the spot.
Carlos Santana (FD-$3,800 / DK-$4,700) – Santana is off to a good start this season hitting .417 with two doubles and a homer. Last season he had a .285 ISO and .388 wOBA against righties. You’ll need to choose either Santana or Encarnacion since they qualify at the same position, I give a slight edge to Santana.
Francisco Lindor (FD-$3,700 / DK-$4,500) – Speaking of a good start, Lindor already has two homers this season, put up a .351 wOBA against righties last season and is still only 23-years-old. Arrow pointing up.
Michael Brantley (FD-$3,100 / DK-$4,800) – Price on Brantley is a little high on DK but hitting in the middle of the lineup, Brantley looks to recapture his 2015 form where he had a .386 wOBA against righties.
Jose Ramirez (FD-$3,300 / DK-$4,300) – Another young Indians’ infielder who is improving by posting a .376 wOBA over the second half of the season last year.
Cubs vs. Jimmy Nelson
Nelson actually performed pretty well against Cubs’ hitters over the last two years allowing just a .302 wOBA in 112 at-bats. However, Nelson allowed 1.32 HR/9 at home last season and performed progressively worse over the second half of the year.
Anthony Rizzo (FD-$4,000 / DK-$5,500) – Rizzo crushed righties last season with a .273 ISO and .404 wOBA.
Kris Bryant (FD-$4,200 / DK-$5,500) – Hard not to include Bryant in a Cubs’ stack as he hits both lefties and righties well.
Kyle Schwarber (FD-$3,400 / DK-$5,000) – Schwarber has hit 14 of his career 17 home runs off righties with a .266 ISO and .400 wOBA so far in his young career.
Ben Zobrist (FD-$3,000 / DK-$4,700) – Zobrist must see Nelson’s pitches well as he is 3-for-10 with four walks against him over the last two season. The extra base hits will come.
Athletics vs. A.J. Griffin
Griffin will pitch against his former team for the first time. Not sure it matters who he faces as long as he is going to give up a .406 wOBA and 2.88 HR/9 to lefties like he did last season. The A’s are a nice cheap stack option to pair with one of the high-priced options above.
Matt Joyce (FD-$2,100 / DK-$3,000) – Joyce has batted either first or second this season and will likely again against the righty Griffin.
Khris Davis (FD-$3,200 / DK-$4,600) – Davis is still too cheap on FD for the upside he has after posting 42 homers last season including a .276 ISO against righties.
Stephen Vogt (FD-$2,800 / DK-$3,800) – One of my favorite catchers to roster in DFS hitting in the middle of the lineup at a reasonable price. He does his best work on the road against righties with a .342 wOBA last season.
Jed Lowrie (FD-$2,200 / DK-$3,300) – Lowrie should hit near the top of the order at a position (2B) that can be tough to find good cheap options.
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