We have about another month or so until the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star break in San Diego. Man, where has the time gone? It seems like we just kicked off the season, but now we have two full months of action under our belts.
Recently there have been plenty of unlikely players re-emerging as DFS studs. Earlier in the season you weren’t depending on Cincinnati Reds OF Jay Bruce ($5,100), Tampa Bay Rays 1B Logan Morrison ($3,700) or Milwaukee Brewers SS Jonathan Villar ($5,000), but lately those guys have become staples. On the flip side, it didn’t take long for Kansas City Royals OF Paulo Orlando ($3,300) to go from a dependable option with a lengthy hitting streak to DFS kryptonite.
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DraftKings.com salaries included below where applicable. (*** salaries subject to change ***)
PROBABLE PITCHERS TO START
MONDAY (10 games)
Jon Lester, SP, Chicago Cubs ($11,600 at PHI): Citizens Bank Park is a bit of a bandbox, but Lester will be just fine there. He has allowed one or no runs in eight of his 11 starts, and the last time he faced the Phillies, he gave up one earned run and six hits with seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings in a win May 27. Look for Lester to handle the Phils just fine and exceed DFS salary expectations.
TUESDAY (15 games)
Cole Hamels, SP, Texas ($10,600 vs. HOU): Hamels has handled his business against the Astros this season, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in two outings with 18 strikeouts over 14.2 innings and a .192 opponent batting average. There’s not much to dislike about Hamels when it comes to facing the Astros, who strike out more than any other team in the majors.
Julio Urias, SP, L.A. Dodgers ($4,000 vs. COL): Urias has been terrible in two appearances so far, but both outings have also come on the road. Look for him to be a little more comfortable at home against a free-swinging Rockies club. Sure, Colorado has some big bats that could add to Urias’ woes, but at this minimal DFS price, he is worth a roll of the dice in his first home assignment. It won’t take much for him to exceed expectations, and you can load up on hitters with all of the salary saved.
WEDNESDAY (15 games – 11 after 7:05 pm ET)
Jaime Garcia, SP, St. Louis (at CIN): Garcia is 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in five road outings this season, striking out 24 batters over 30 innings. He has a 3.82 ERA over his past 37.2 innings over six starts against the Reds, posting 32 strikeouts. He will post a solid stat line and strikeout totals against a Cincinnati offense which averages 8.32 strikeouts per outing.
Drew Pomeranz, SP, San Diego ($11,800 vs. ATL): The price tag continues to increase for Pomeranz, who is enjoying the best season of his career. He allowed just two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings against the Rockies. The Braves are much less formidable than the Rockies, posting just 23 homers through 56 games with a team batting average of just .227. Pomeranz will shine again.
THURSDAY (Nine games – seven after 7:05 pm ET)
Nathan Karns, SP, Seattle ($6,800 vs. CLE): Karns is a bargain, even against what has been a rather hot Cleveland lineup. Karns is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five home starts, striking out 26 batters over 30 innings with a .243 opponent batting average. Plus, the Indians enter this series just 2-6 in their past eight games against American League West foes.
FRIDAY (15 games)
Matt Andriese, SP, Tampa Bay ($5,900 vs. HOU): Andriese allowed just two earned runs with five strikeouts over five innings last time out in Minnesota to run his record to 4-0. In six starts, he has a 4-0 record, 2.52 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 25 strikeouts over 39.1 innings. He should push his strikeout totals up a bit against the free-swinging Astros, and his overall numbers make him a tremendous DFS bargain at this price level. Don’t expect the low prices to last much longer.
SATURDAY (15 games – six after 7:15 pm ET)
Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami (at ARI): Fernandez is more of a DFS certainty at home, but he is no slouch on the road, either. He is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA over 31 innings with 41 strikeouts and a .225 opponent batting average away from Marlins Park. If you use Shoemaker (below), you’ll have ample money to afford the sure thing from Miami.
Matt Shoemaker, SP, L.A. Angels ($7,700 vs. CLE): Overall, Shoemaker’s numbers aren’t that impressive. But over his past four starts he is 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA with 36 strikeouts over 27.2 innings, whittling his season ERA down from a dismal 9.12 to a more manageable 5.50. Over the past month he has re-emerged as a DFS must-start at a cut-rate price.
SUNDAY (15 games)
Rick Porcello, SP, Boston (at MIN): Porcello faces the struggling Twins, and he is a great play at Target Field. Since the start of the 2013 season, he is 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA with a .246 opponent batting average in five starts at Target Field. And the Twins offense he is facing in this one is much less formidable than those of the past.
HITTERS TO START
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston ($5,200 at TEX): Altuve has been scorching the ball, hitting .409 (18-for-44) with five runs scored and four RBI during his 11-game hitting streak. While DFS players would certainly like to see a little more power, he’ll log plenty of stolen bases and runs scored along the way.
Jurickson Profar, 2B/SS, Texas ($3,300 vs. HOU): In the same game, Profar has been running extremely hot and he’ll have a favorable matchup with Mike Fiers on the mound. Profar rolls in with five straight multi-hit games, and two or more hits in seven of his past eight to push his average to a gaudy .390. Now that he is healthy, he is showing why he entered this league with so much fanfare. His OPS sits at 1.039 on the season, too, so the hits certainly aren’t all singles.
David Ortiz, 1B, Boston (at SF): Big Papi has not only posted a 13-game hitting streak, longest active in the majors going into this week, he has been racking up a ton of extra-base hits, too. He is hitting .440 (22-for-50) with six homers, 20 RBIs, eight runs scored and just six strikeouts during this 13-game run.
Stephen Vogt, C, Oakland (at MIL): Vogt carries an 11-game hitting streak into the new week, hitting .370 (17-for-46) with six runs scored, one homer and seven RBI. At a mid-level price he is worth a look, especially against the very hittable Zach Davies.
Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis (at CIN): Carpenter will look to take advantage of the uneven veteran Alfredo Simon at Great American Ball Park. The lefty loves hitting at GABP, hitting .303 (37-for-122) with eight doubles, a triple, three homers, 18 RBI and an .856 OPS since the start of the 2013 season in Cincinnati.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee (vs. OAK): Lucroy has been on fire since around Memorial Day, hitting safely in nine straight while going 17-for-33 (.515) with six runs scored, three homers and 11 RBI. He is facing the very hittable Jesse Hahn, who lasted just two-thirds of an inning in his most recent outing. Look for the good times to continue to roll for Lucroy.
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington (at CHW): Harper doesn’t have eye-popping numbers against southpaws, but he has made his hits count. In just 44 at-bats against lefties he has 10 RBI with four doubles and two homers. Look for Harper and the Nats to make it a miserable night for Chicago White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon.
Wilson Ramos, C, Washington (at CHW): Ramos probably wishes the team was able to face more southpaws. He is hitting .353 (12-for-34) with three doubles, three homers and nine RBI with a 1.095 OPS against left-handed pitching. Ramos is a key part of a Washington stack Thursday.
Jayson Werth, OF, Washington (at CHW): Werth has managed five homers and 12 RBI in just 44 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season, so you’ll definitely want to have him in your DFS stack against the southpaw Rodon.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas ($4,500 at SEA): Beltre knows Mariners SP Hisashi Iwakuma well, and it usually turns out well for the hot corner man. He is hitting .289 (13-for-45) with two doubles, three homers, five RBI and an .852 OPS. The power potential is good for Beltre in his old stomping grounds.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh ($3,600 vs. STL): Cardinals SP Michael Wacha has fooled many hitters over his early career. Cutch isn’t one of them. The All-Star outfielder for the Bucs is hitting .545 (12-for-22) with two doubles, a triple, a homer and a 1.447 OPS against Wacha over his career.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas ($4,500 at SEA): Use Beltre again. He’ll be facing a left-handed pitcher in James Paxton, and that’s great news for his DFS prospect. Beltre ranks third in the majors with 13 RBI against southpaws, and he is hitting .322 (19-for-59) with three doubles, three homers, 13 RBI and a solid .910 OPS against lefties.
Ian Desmond, OF, Texas ($5,200 at SEA): Desmond is another Texas batter who handles the twig well against lefties. He is 22-for-59 (.373) with three doubles, three homers and nine RBI to go along with an impressive .989 OPS vs. southpaws. You’ll definitely want Desmond as part of your Texas stack.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Texas ($3,500 at SEA): Fielder was recently benched, and it’s no certainly he’ll be in the lineup against the lefty. If he is, he has produced power numbers against southpaws. Fielder has produced 13 RBI in 55 at-bats against lefties, although he also has 13 strikeouts, too. Still, at a mid-level price he is not a bad play, and a contrarian play at that.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh ($3,600 vs. STL): Cutch has been a fair hitter against Mike Leake over the years, posting a pair of homers and six RBI in 68 at-bats. At a mid-level price he is worth using against a pitcher he is very familiar.