The city of Cleveland is celebrating an NBA championship today, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in Major League Baseball and a California team just came up short in their bid for Lord Stanley’s Cup in hockey. It is the first official day of summer, but someone check to make sure it isn’t snowing, or pigs aren’t flying.
One thing that has been flying is the ball off the bat of Cincinnati Reds OF Adam Duvall. He has clubbed 13 homers with 32 RBIs over the past 30 days, leading the majors in both categories during the span. San Diego Padres 1B Wil Myers is finally healthy and living up to his amazing potential, too, batting .340 with eight doubles, a triple, nine homers and 27 RBIs with a 1.106 OPS over the past month. His teammate OF Jon Jay has also been scorching the ball, recording 12 doubles over the past 30 days to lead the National League during the stretch, checking in with a .314 batting average.
All of the surprise studs haven’t come from the NL, though. Kansas City Royals 2B Whit Merrifield has come out of nowhere to emerge as a DFS staple, batting .333 (39-for-117) over the past 30 days with 10 doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs and four stolen bases. And Toronto Blue Jays OF Michael Saunders has posted seven doubles, eight homers and a 1.059 OPS over the past 30 days, hitting a cool .295.
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DraftKings.com salaries included below where applicable. (*** salaries subject to change ***)
TOP DFS PITCHER OF THE DAY
Doug Fister, SP, Houston ($7,800 vs. LAA): Fister has been on point in the month of June, going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA over three starts while striking out 14 in 19.1 innings with a .222 batting average allowed. In Fister’s previous appearance against the Halos he allowed one earned run, five hits and four walks with six strikeouts over six innings at the Big A May 29 in a no-decision. He is a great low-priced value the way he is rolling.
Johnny Cueto, SP, San Francisco ($12,900 at PIT): Cueto knows the Pittsburgh Pirates well from his days pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, and the encounters rarely end well for the Bucs. Since April 2013 Cueto is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA and two complete games in nine starts against the Pirates, striking out 57 batters over 65.1 innings with a .174 opponent batting average. He is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in five outings at PNC Park. It’s a heavy price, but look for more good results.
Cole Hamels, SP, Texas ($10,300 vs. BAL): Hamels doesn’t carry quite as high of a price tag as some of his counterparts, but that’s fine with DFS owners. Take advantage. He has an ultra-favorable matchup against the Reds at home. He is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four June starts, striking out 20 over 282 innings with a .173 opponent batting average, lowest for any month this season. While, yes, he has been more effective on the road than at home, he is a stud option in his matchup.
Tim Lincecum, SP, L.A. Angels ($8,100 vs. OAK): It will take a little while to get used to seeing Lincecum in an Angels uniform. The A’s are already tired of it. He held Oakland to one run, four hits and two walks over six innings in a win at O.co June 18 in his debut, and now he sets his sights on the A’s again. The Athletics offense is in a tailspin, so look for more good results at a cut-rate price for Lincecum.
Jered Weaver, SP, L.A. Angels ($5,000 vs. OAK): Thought Weaver’s salary might be a glitch. If it remains at 5K for Friday’s start, you need to be all over that. It isn’t so much that Weaver has been impressive – he hasn’t. But he is going up against the shaky A’s LHP Eric Surkamp, who somehow continues to hang onto a rotation spot. Weaver dusted the Athletics last time out, throwing a complete game shutout with just three hits, a walk and seven strikeouts to even up at 6-6. He isn’t pitching well this season, but surely at 6-6 and coming off a complete game shutout his salary should be higher. This is a great gift for DFS players.
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington ($9,800 at MIL): Gonzalez has been a bit uneven by his standards, posting a 4.25 ERA and dismal 3-6 record. But DFS owners know he is a good play due to his high rate of strikeouts, especially against a free-swinging Milwaukee club that ranks No. 1 in the National League in whiffs per game (9.49), and just nine off the major league lead. Win or lose, Gonzalez is going to post a strong stat line.
Johnny Cueto, SP, San Francisco ($12,900 vs. PHI): Cueto again? Yep. Look, he is 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA over 14 starts with three complete games, so there isn’t much to dislike. And he gets the Phillies at home, a place he is 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA with two of his complete games, allowing just five walks over 55.1 innings with 48 strikeouts in seven starts. A fourth complete game wouldn’t be a surprise, and you can certainly expect a quality start littered with strikeouts.
TOP DFS HITTER OF THE DAY
Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis ($4,400 at CHC): Carpenter rolls into Chicago with a 12-game hitting streak, going 19-for-41 (.463) with nine runs scored, a homer, seven RBIs, 13 walks and just four strikeouts, good for a .593 OBA. Carp is on fire and worth every penny of his DFS salary until he cools off.
Paul Goldschmidt, OF, Arizona (at TOR): Goldschmidt has been on fire lately, carrying a 13-game hitting streak north of the border for Tuesday’s series opener. He is 21-for-53 (.396) with 12 runs scored, four homers and 12 RBIs during the outstanding run, posting a .698 slugging percentage along the way. And for what it’s worth (not a lot), he has homered in three at-bats against Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada.
Matt Kemp, OF, San Diego (at BAL): Kemp has a fairly lengthy history against Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, and it usually turns out well for the outfielder. He is a career .316 hitter (12-for-38) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, four RBIs and a 1.014 OPS, with most of their dealings coming from when Jimenez was in Colorado and Kemp was in L.A.
Albert Pujols, 1B, L.A. Angels ($3,300 vs. OAK): Pujols is starting to heat up a bit, hitting safely in four of the past five while posting multi-hit games in two of the past four. He heads into the favorable matchup against Athletics RHP Kendall Graveman looking to stay hot. He isn’t the only Angels player to target, as 2B Johnny Giavotella ($3,500) rolls into the new week with an eight-game win streak with three homers. An Angels stack isn’t a bad idea Thursday, as OF Kole Calhoun ($3,900) has also handled the twig nicely in limited action against Graveman.
Brian McCann, C, N.Y. Yankees (vs. MIN): Batter vs. Pitcher stats can sometimes be misleading, and shouldn’t be your only reason for starting a guy. However, in the case of McCann vs. Minnesota Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco, it is perfectly acceptable. McCann OWNS Nolasco, going 21-for-65 (.323) with five doubles, eight home runs and 24 RBIs with a 1.107 all-time against the right-hander. In a much smaller sample size, but impressive nonetheless, SS Didi Gregorius is 10-for-19 (.526) with three doubles, three RBIs and a 1.211 OPS against Nolasco, while OF Carlo Beltran is a career .353 (18-for-51) hitter against the righty. Look to a Bronx Bomber DFS stack Friday night.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay ($5,000 at BAL): There is something about Orioles RHP Chris Tillman that agrees with Longo. He has launched seven career homers in 54 at-bats against the Baltimore righty, adding four doubles with 10 RBIs and a 1.151 OPS. While a Baltimore stack isn’t recommended, Longo needs to be a part of your DFS squad come Saturday.
James Loney, 1B, N.Y. Mets (at ATL): Loney is a nice DFS sleeper for the series finale in Hotlanta. The left-handed hitter has roasted Braves RHP Bud Norris to the tune of a .583 average (14-for-24) with three doubles, a homer, four RBI and a 1.476 OPS. 2B Neil Walker is also a recommended play, going 10-for-27 (.370) with a 1.003 OPS against Norris. OF Yoenis Cespedes also has a homer in 14 career at-bats against Norris, and OF Curtis Granderson is even better with two round-trippers in just seven ABs against the Atlanta righty.