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Justin’s Pick: Brad Peacock
Brad Peacock has featured plenty of ups and downs through eight games (six starts) this season. He owns a 3-2 record with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, while recording a 4.19 xFIP and a 3.88 SIERA. Peacock has limited his opponents power this season, as he has held them to 8.9% HR/FB and 39% hard hit rates, although he has also allowed a 42.9% fly ball rate. His strikeout rate is down quite a bit this season, but it still sits at 24.7%. He has also posted a 9.3% swinging strike rate in 2019. Most importantly, Peacock gets a matchup against the Detroit Tigers, who lead the slate in strikeouts per at-bat, while also ranking second last in team wOBA. He’s a -152 favorite in a game set at 8.5 runs, and he will see a boost from the weather being so cold in Houston. Peacock could potentially be the highest owned pitcher on the slate, and he’s a strong option in all leagues tonight.
Jason’s Reaction: Peacock is the best available pitching option tonight. The wind will likely be a weather consideration in favor of the pitchers tonight, as well.
Jason’s Pick: Robbie Ray
Brad Peacock is an absolute must-roster tonight against the Detroit Tigers, but fantasy owners need two pitching options, and Robbie Ray makes a lot of sense. He is a little bit too expensive to consider him a bargain of any sort, but he is pitching better this season at home, averaging 17.2 fantasy points per game on the road to 23.6 in Arizona. He has a wicked 11.3 K/9 rate, and the Pittsburgh Pirates strikeout 0.247 times per at-bat. Vegas has this game set at 9 total runs, the Arizona Diamondbacks are -165 favorites, which puts the Pirates at an implied run total of 4.0. That is fourth best on the slate tonight. Ray’s strikeout prediction is second only to Peacock. He currently has a great ground ball rate of 56%, which should thwart the home run potential that Chase Field boosts. Peacock saves fantasy owners a little bit of money with his moderate price tag, which can be used to pay up for Ray and his strikeout potential. Shane Bieber and Aaron Nola are also worth consideration, but neither has the upside that Ray does.
Justin’s Reaction: Ray is likely my third favorite pitcher on this slate, so I have no issues using him tonight.
Justin’s Pick: Yuli Gurriel
Yuli Gurriel is one of the most mispriced players on the entire slate. Over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .400 with a .650 slugging percentage and a 1.065 OPS. He owns five extra-base hits (two home runs) and five RBIs over that span. Gurriel also owns 33% hard hit and 52% fly ball rates with a 93 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He gets somewhat of a tough matchup against Matt Boyd, but Gurriel enters this game with 0.108 wOBA and 0.067 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching. He’s also expected to hit fifth in the Houston Astros lineup, which will be one of the best offenses on the slate. Gurriel and Tyler White are two cheap options for Houston, who will help with a bit of salary relief on this slate.
Jason’s Reaction: Stacking the Astros tonight is definitely a solid fantasy move. I have no issues rostering a cheaper Gurriel in the five-hole.
Jason’s Pick: Alex Bregman
How is it even possible to avoid Alex Bregman right now? In his last 10 games, he is hitting .324 with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs. On the season, he has 12 home runs and 31 RBIs with a .277 batting average. Only three of those home runs come at home in Houston, so perhaps playing away in Detroit tonight is a bonus for Bregman. The Astros are expected to score 4.7 runs, and Bregman is hitting second in the batting order. Over the last 15 days, he has an average batted ball distance of 245 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 94 MPH, a fly ball rate of 51%, and a hard hit rate just under 40%. Fantasy baseball is a lot about strikeouts and home runs. Robbie Ray will handle the former, and Bregman will handle the latter.
Justin’s Reaction: It’s an Astros day! I love Bregman if you can fit him in your lineups.
Justin’s Pick: George Springer
Is there any reason to avoid George Springer tonight? He’s been arguably the hottest hitter in the MLB recently, as he’s hitting .462 with a .974 slugging percentage and a 1.474 OPS over his last 10 games. Over that span, he has posted 8 extra-base hits (6 home runs), 13 RBIs, and 1 steal, while averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game. He has also posted an elite .33/.667/1.062 line at home. Springer has posted 47% hard hit and 32% fly ball rates with a 94 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days, as well. Similarly to Gurriel and the other Houston Astros’ bats, Springer gets somewhat of a difficult matchup against Matt Boyd. With that being said, he owns a .281 average with a .530 slugging percentage and a .924 OPS throughout his career against left-handed pitching. Springer is leading off for Houston, and there’s no reason to avoid him tonight if you can afford his price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: His price tag will be slightly concerning, but any true Astros’ stack tonight will have to include Springer.
Jason’s Pick: Nick Castellanos
Save a little bit of money at the outfield position and roster Nick Castellanos. He is expected to hit third for the Detroit Tigers tonight, and despite getting a poor matchup against Brad Peacock, his advanced statistics suggest he is in line for a few solid fantasy performances. Peacock can be rostered alongside Castellanos. A one-off hitter against a pitcher that a fantasy owner also rosters is not going to cause any kind of true issues. Even if Castellanos hits a home run, Peacock still has ample time to return value. All that said, over the last 15 days, Castellanos has an average batted ball distance of 230 feet, an average exit velocity on those batted balls of 94 MPH, a fly ball rate just under 50%, and a hard hit rate over 45%. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .300 with one home run, four RBIs, and five total extra-base hits. He flashed upside in two consecutive games now, scoring a combined 35 fantasy points. In response, DraftKings lowered his price tag.
Justin’s Reaction: I generally don’t love using any batters against my pitchers, but with only six games on the slate, we might have to. Castellanos is a fine one-off.
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