I’ll be honest with you. I dread this time of the baseball season for Daily Fantasy Baseball. When the calendar turns to September on Tuesday, that’s when rosters can be expanded. Some clubs will bring up some of their top prospects from the minors, while others will add some depth for their pitching and bench for the final stretch. Either way, we start to see those nagging injuries guys play through from April through August turn into DFS nightmares, because studs are out of the lineup for days on end. It’s a double-edged sword, however, as sometimes some low-priced guys can see significant at-bats allowing you to use more of a high-low strategy with your offense. It’s nice because you know the studs from contenders will be playing every day, so try to couple high-priced guys on playoff-hopeful teams with some highly-touted prospects and you just might be able to fight through September and into the black.
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FantasyAces.com salaries included below where applicable. (*** salaries subject to change ***)
PROBABLE PITCHERS TO START
TUESDAY (16 games – incl. Game 1 DH ARI-COL 3:10pm)
Scott Feldman, SP, Houston (vs SEA): Feldman posted surprisingly decent numbers in August, posting a 1-0 record and 1.33 ERA in four starts in August. He won’t pick up a ton of strikeouts, but he allowed just two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Mariners April 30. He hasn’t lost in six straight decisions.
WEDNESDAY (15 games – 11 after 7:05 pm ET)
Matt Harvey, SP, N.Y. Mets (vs PHI): Harvey was nearly perfect in the month of August going 2-0 with a 0.33 ERA and minuscule 0.63 WHIP in four starts, striking out 24 batters while walking just two over 27 innings. He’ll be facing the team with the worst run differential, so expect another giant outing to kick off September.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, L.A. Dodgers (vs SF): Pairing Harvey and Kershaw seems almost unbeatable Wednesday night in DFS. Kershaw has been lights out, going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in six August starts while whiffing 51 over 45 innings.
THURSDAY (Six games – five after 7:05 pm ET)
Edinson Volquez, SP, Kansas City (vs DET): With a light schedule, Volquez stands out as the best of the lot Thursday night. He has a favorable matchup against Tigers LHP Matt Boyd and he has been solid lately, going at least six innings in each of his past nine outings while turning in quality starts in seven of those affairs. He also has at least five strikeouts in four straight outings.
FRIDAY (15 games – 14 after 7:05 pm ET)
Drew Hutchison, SP, Toronto (vs BAL): Hutchison has been untouchable at home, going 11-1 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts while striking out 77 over 87 2/3 innings. He has been very touchable on the road, so avoid him in such situations. He has a win in two previous outings against the O’s while holding them to a .229 average over 12 1/3 innings this season. Oh yeah, he leads the majors in run support from his offense, too. DFS owners always love that.
Lance Lynn, SP, St. Louis (vs PIT): Lynn had one of his better outings of the season in San Francisco Aug. 29, allowing just six hits and two walks over seven innings before leaving early due to an ankle injury. He is expected to be fine. He has won each of his past two outings and has quality starts in four of the past five showings. He won’t wow DFS players with his strikeout totals, but he is crafty and will earn wins more often than not, especially at home. He is 6-4 with a 2.53 ERA at Busch in 13 outings, and he has 77 strikeouts over 78 1/3 innings at home with a .235 opponent batting average.
SATURDAY (15 games – nine after 7:05pm ET)
Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs (vs ARI): Arrieta rolled through August with ace-like aplomb, going 6-0 with a 0.43 ERA, 43 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings and a no-hitter against a good Los Angeles offense at Dodger Stadium last time out. Arrieta has faced the Snakes once this season and he did not have a decision, but posting seven strikeouts in a quality start back on May 23.
SUNDAY (15 games)
Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco (at COL): MadBum is starting to work back into postseason form after some minor hiccups this summer. He enters the week 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 0.72 WHIP over his past five outings. Pitching reigns supreme in DFS and dictates whether you win or lose. In his only outing against the Rockies this season, Bumgarner allowed just two runs over 7 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts in a win June 28.
Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona (at CHC): Corbin has 52 strikeouts in 50 innings this season through 10 starts, and no team strikes out more than the Cubs offense. It should be a DFS match made in heavy for Corbin buyers.
Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit (vs CLE): If you’re looking for a bit of a contrarian pick with a lot less exposure, Verlander could be your guy. He posted three losses in five outings in August, but still turned in an eye-popping 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He’ll come cheaper than some others on the board, but he has always owned Cleveland in his career, especially at Comerica.
HITTERS TO START
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay ($4,800 at BAL): Longoria has murdered Orioles RHP Chris Tillman over the years, going 16-for-43 (.372) with four doubles, six homers, nine RBI and a 1.321 OPS. At a mid-level price Longo cannot be overlooked.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati ($5,700 at CHC): Three guys enter the week with an OPS of 1.000 or greater against right-handed pitching, and Votto is one of them. He should fare well Monday against Cubs righties Kyle Hendricks (MON), Dan Haren (TUE) and Jason Hammel (WED). And Votto has abused Cubs’ pitching all season, going 16-for-47 (.340) with four doubles, a triple, four homers, 13 RBI and a 1.079 OPS, including a 1.086 OPS in 27 at-bats at Wrigley Field.
David Wright, 3B, N.Y. Mets ($4,950 vs PHI): If you can find a way to get all three of these corner infielders in your lineup, do so. Wright has abused Phillies RHP Aaron Harang over the years, hitting him to the tune of .455 (15-for-33) with four doubles, a homer, eight RBI and a 1.203 OPS.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas ($4,500 at SD): By Wednesday we ‘should’ see Gallo back in the majors and playing regularly. If he starts Wednesday he would be a cheap option against Padres RHP Ian Kennedy, who has served up 26 homers in 134 2/3 innings. Sure, Gallo strikes out a lot and he will need to curb that, and Kennedy enters the week with 130 punchouts, but Gallo is a nice power option against right-handed pitching at a cut-rate price.
Nolan Arenado, 3B – AND – Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado ($5,600 each vs ARI): If you’re looking to run a stack, using the stud hitters from the Rockies against Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson is a good starting point. Anderson has yielded 11 homers over his past 10 starts, including three in his last trip to Coors Field June 23. Arenado got him for two of those clouts. Arenado and Gonzalez lead the majors with 28 homers apiece against right-handed pitching, and that total should grow against Anderson Wednesday.
Lorenzo Cain, OF – AND – Ben Zobrist, 2B-OF, Kansas City (vs DET): If you really want to double your pleasure, a Colorado/Kansas City offense combination might do the trick. The Royals face Tigers retread LHP Randy Wolf. Lo Cain has toasted lefties with a .351 average, 16 doubles, five homers and a .979 OPS in 151 at-bats, while Zobi jas 12 doubles, two homers and a .911 OPS in 112 at-bats against southpaws this season.
Wilin Rosario, C, Colorado ($4,900 vs SF): The Rockies might summon ‘Baby Bull’ from the minors when rosters expand, and if that happens he is worth a roll of the dice against Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong. He has three homers with six RBI in just 14 at-bats against Vogelsong. And remember, see above for Rockies dominance against RHP, at least in terms of power numbers. Arenado has two homers in 10 career at-bats against Vogey.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati ($5,250 at MIL): Unfortunately for Frazier, and DFS owners everywhere, the Reds will not face a single left-handed starter this week. Frazier leads the majors with 14 homers against southpaws in just 125 at-bats. Still, he is no slouch against righties, particularly those from Milwaukee. He is hitting .295 with three doubles, three homers and seven RBI in 44 at-bats against the Brewers this season, his second-highest OPS (.983) against any team he has at least 25 ABs against this season. And for early-week games, he has seven doubles, three homers and 10 RBI in just 55 at-bats against the Cubs, so keep that in mind.
Buster Posey, C-1B, San Francisco ($5,600 at COL): Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa has pitched well in his career at Coors Field, but that doesn’t confront Posey. He is hitting a solid .301 against lefties this season, he has at least a .919 OPS in each of the past four months and he is hitting .282 (11-for-39) with three doubles and nine RBI against the Rockies this season. In his career against JDLR he is 9-for-30 (.300) with three doubles, a homer and eight RBI.
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore ($5,050 at TOR): Not many have had sustained success against Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle, but Jones is an exception since he hits lefties so well. Jones is hitting .390 (16-for-41) with four doubles, two homers, eight RBI and a 1.091 OPS against Buehrle, and he has eight doubles, six homers and 19 RBI in 108 at-bats against lefties overall this season.
Carlos Santana, C-1B, Cleveland ($4,950 at DET): Santana’s lifetime .213 average against Tigers RHP Justin Verlander is rather middling, but he has also launched six homers in just 47 at-bats with a .926 OPS. At a mid-level price he is worth a roll of the dice Sunday. Those homer totals are just too hard to pass up.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto ($3,750 vs BAL): Pompey is another one of those September call-ups who could provide DFS players an offensive boost at a cut-rate price. He has plenty of offensive upside, and was on fire in the minors this summer after flaming out in April with the Jays. At a minimal price he is worth using. At the very least he’ll save you valuable money to allocate elsewhere.
Tampa Bay at Baltimore – OR – N.Y. Yankees at Boston (MLB Network, 7:05 p.m.)
L.A. Angels at Oakland – OR – N.Y. Yankees at Boston (MLB Network, 3:35 p.m.)
Washington at St. Louis (ESPN, 8:15 p.m.)
Detroit at Kansas City (MLB Network, 2:10 p.m.)
San Diego at Washington (MLB Network, 7:05 p.m.)
Arizona at Chicago Cubs (MLB Network, 2:20 p.m.)
Minnesota at Bouston – OR – Pittsburgh at St. Louis (MLB Network, 8:10 p.m.)
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees (FOX Sports 1. 1:05 p.m.)
Pittsburgh at St. Louis (FOX Sports 1, 4:05 p.m.)
Atlanta at Washington – OR – Minnesota at Houston (MLB Network, 7:05 p.m.)
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees (TBS, 1:05 p.m.)
Pittsburgh at St. Louis (ESPN, 8:05 p.m.)